Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘cemetery

The cemetery in Sibonga

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Sibonga*, on the east coast of Cebu, is Eve’s home town. On none of my previous trips had I gone to the town’s cemetery, but on the morning of December 15th we walked over there for a visit. From my time in Honduras I’d learned that cemeteries in poor countries are likely to be very different from those in the United States and other wealthy countries, so what I found in Sibonga didn’t surprise me. It may, however, surprise you or even disturb you. With that caveat, here’s a photo essay showing parts of Sibonga’s cemetery.

The boy shown below cutting off coconuts in a tree at the edge of the cemetery seemed an early candidate for membership as he stood barefoot on the tops of two metal poles to which electric wires were attached.

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* Most languages have at least the five vowels [a], [e], [i], [o], and [u]. Cebuano is unusual in that it reduces that basic set to three vowels: a native speaker doesn’t distinguish between [e] and [i], nor between [o] and [u]. As a result, in spite of the spelling Sibonga, people pronounce the name as if it were Sibunga.

Also notice the strange fact that although the inhabitants of the Philippines speak their various native languages almost all the time, when it comes to signs, posters, billboards, and even to tombstones, the large majority of those are written in English. Some of today’s pictures provide examples of that.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2020 at 4:51 AM

The fifth wildflower-covered cemetery

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The fifth and last wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Garza-Valadez Cemetery in Floresville. On March 27th we’d left the main city cemetery and the downtown and were beginning to head back to Austin when on a whim I stayed on 4th St. for a while instead of cutting over to US 181 on 10th St. Without that whim we’d never have known about this place.

Even better than the cemetery itself was the wildflower meadow behind the house next door. I couldn’t go in there so I had to content myself with shooting over the fence with a telephoto lens zoomed to 400mm.

And now for the colorful botany lesson. The white flowers were white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora). The yellow were Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis). The magenta were a species of Phlox. The blue were sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The red were Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2019 at 4:32 AM

Floresville City Cemetery #2

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The fourth wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Floresville City Cemetery #2. Below you’ll see how it looked on March 27th. The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, and the yellow are Nueces coreopsis, Coreopsis nuecensis. The white daisies may be in the genus Aphanostephus.

In the second photograph you can pick out several cream-colored paintbrushes. They’re not a different species, just a normal variant that springs up from time to time. Notice the misspelling of Floresville on James Gray’s tombstone. The flowers themselves are not misspelled. (UPDATE: I’ve found out a little more about the James Gray featured in the second picture.)

In some places sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus) entered the mix.

Different color combinations prevailed in different places.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Cañada Verde

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On our three trips south of San Antonio from March 18–27 we stopped at five cemeteries covered with wildflowers. You’ve already seen pictures of the one at Christ Lutheran Church near New Berlin and the Sand Branch Cemetery near Poteet. The third, on March 27th, was the Cañada Verde Cemetery* on the western side of Floresville. There the wildflower that predominated was the white prickly poppy, Argemone albiflora.

In a several places winecups (Callirhoe spp.) punctuated the white:

And here’s a closer look at some of the crinkle-petaled prickly poppies** in their own right:

* In case you’re wondering, Cañada has nothing to do with Canada. The Spanish word caña means ‘cane,’ and a cañada is ‘a gully, a ravine, a low-lying piece of wet land,’ in other words ‘a place that fosters the growth of a canebrake.’

** Try saying “crinkle-petaled prickly poppies” quickly several times in a row.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 2, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Categorically phantasmasepulchrofloragorical*

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On March 21st, three days after spending time at the wildflower-covered cemetery in New Berlin, we reveled in the Sand Branch Cemetery on FM 2504 west of Poteet in Atascosa County. This time the dense wildflowers were even more widespread than before.

The first photograph sets the scene, while the second and third emphasize the way some of the tombstones were engulfed in a sea of wildflowers.

The other two pictures highlight the profuse wildflowers in their own right.

The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). The yellows are Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) and also some sort of daisy with a smaller flower head.

The purplish blue flowers are sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The magenta flowers are a species of Phlox. The whites are white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora) and a kind of smallish daisy.

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* I’d come up with sepulchrofloral while preparing this post and Susan Scheid independently created phantasmafloragorical to describe the previous cemetery views, so I hybridized the two hybrids.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2019 at 4:43 AM

A cemetery that welcomes wildflowers

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On May 23rd Eve and I were in Dickinson, Texas, to attend the wedding of a former student of mine. The reception was held about 30 miles away in the Hotel Galvez that evening, and as we drove down Broadway in Galveston on our way there, we passed the Old City Cemetery, which to our delighted amazement was covered with wildflowers. Short on light and time (and long on prohibitive clothing), I conceived a plan to return the following day to take pictures, but it rained on and off the next morning back on the mainland where we were staying and things weren’t looking good. At noon we had lunch with Linda of shoreacres, whom we were meeting for the first time (long overdue). When we’d finished our meal, the weather, though still heavily overcast, looked like it might be okay, so the three of us drove to Galveston and spent the better part of an hour exploring the wildflower-bedecked cemetery.

Old City Cemetery in Galveston 1806

You’re looking at a part of it here. Most of the flower heads are a species of Coreopsis, but the ones with prominent red in the center are Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels or Indian blankets. Why can’t all cemeteries look this colorful?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 27, 2015 at 5:21 AM

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