Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 14th, 2023

Rancho Cemetery

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Yesterday we spent seven hours on a wildflower quest to the southeast and south of Austin. At the farthest point in our circuit, approaching the town of Nixon, I saw a sign for a cemetery. I followed the arrow and almost immediately encountered the Rancho Cemetery, named for the now-long-gone little town of Rancho. Happily covered with wildflowers the cemetery was, and I took several dozen pictures. The most interesting grave I found was the one shown here. To get a closer look at the seashells covering it, click the thumbnail below. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox drummondii) and the blue ones are sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus), named for the sandy soil that’s common in that part of Texas. As I’ve said many times: would that all cemeteries were wildflower cemeteries. At least in central Texas a bunch of them are.



Update. Theresa Blackwell has provided a link to the informative article “Why Victorian-era Southerners created seashell graves and where you can still see them.” Jean Wilson has added that “these cement grave covers adorned with shells were common in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in the South, particularly Texas and German settlements. Comal Cemetery in New Braunfels and Fischer Cemetery near Fischer (Canyon Lake area) have several that are attributed to Heinrich T. Mordhorst (1864-1928) who came to New Braunfels around 1900. These grave covers display Mordhorst’s attention to detail and individual style. On the domed covers, rows of shells form almost perfect lines, running from the head to the foot of the grave, and follow a distinct pattern attributed to Mordhorst.”



© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2023 at 5:01 PM

Texas dandelion in a phlox colony

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From March 5th along TX 95 a few miles north of Bastrop,
here’s a Texas dandelion (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus)
in a colony of phlox (Phlox drummondii).


✦        ✦        ✦


I’ll bet you didn’t know that American government agencies have been seizing innocent people’s bank accounts or other assets and refusing to give them back. You can read about that.



As a follow-up to the spam from the other day, here’s a new one I got: “Whhat a stuff of սn-ambiguity and preserveness օf valuable knowledge ϲoncerning unpredicted emotions.”


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2023 at 4:22 AM

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