Our little refuge in North Texas was bursting with flowers and teeming with life this week. In lieu of a wordy post, I just want to leave you with some visual impressions of what I saw Saturday (May 9
th). It was serene, quiet except for the singing of the birds, and quite beautiful. But, as always, I could only capture images of a small fraction of what I actually saw, and they are amateur images. I shoot what interests or pleases me. I hope it also pleases some of you.
Barbara’s Buttons, Marshallia caespitosa, with a shiny green beetle visitor–maybe Trichiotinus lunulatus? I’m fairly lame at beetle ID, but it’s a place to start.
All kinds of pollinators love Barbara’s Buttons. I don’t speak “beetle latin” so I’m not sure what kind this is–but it may fall in the general category of Flower Scarab. Possibly a different Trichiotinus sp?
There were new patches of Barbara’s Buttons in several places. Apparently, they liked the wet seasons we have had two years in a row. This is excellent news.
Butterflies will actually vie for space on these flowers. They don’t smell strong, but apparently the nectar is good.
Sundrops , Calylophus berlandieri, had burst into full bloom since last week, putting on a show.
A random clump of Sundrops in the wild with zero care. Is it any wonder people are starting to understand the beauty of native plants for gardens?
Fleabane Daisy, Erigeron annuus
Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis
Florida Lettuce, Lactuca floridana
Procession Flower, Polygala incarnata
Red Admiral Butterfly. There were so many in the big Blackjack Oaks !
Six-lined Racerunner–but feel free to check. This guy did a little shimmy dance as he paused between short dashes to a new location.
A little later, as I was hunting for the Racerunner to get better pictures, this Little Brown Skink showed up. Both lizards were very fat. I don’t know if that means there will be more lizards soon, or just that there is an endless supply of grasshoppers and crickets for them. Apparently, “lizard photographer to the stars” will never be my new profession. It’s just as well. I dislike Hollywood.
Grasses blooming and setting seed everywhere. So many confusing kinds! I think this one may be one of the Panic Grasses–literally. It’s a group of species. Identifying grasses well is on my bucket list to accomplish.
Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana . The birds never needed to eat all the berries over the mild winter.
Certainly not stunning pictures, but enough to see that a tiny Meagachile Bee is visitng the Spiderworts
Packing pollen under her abdomen, this bee would fall under Megachile
White M Hairstreak Butterfly. Can you spot the white “M”?
So much choice for pollinators and other creatures.
Plantago aristata, a short prairie plant. It would rather grow where tall grasses don’t shade it out, so does well in mowed or disturbed areas.
Sour Dock, rumex hastatula, and a plethora of grasses and sedges—some good, and some bad.
Shooting green plants can be like shooting black and white portraits. sometimes it’s not about the color but the light. Happy jumble in the late afternoon. Next month, those Rough leaf Sunflowers in the back might bloom.
Stiff Yellow Flax, Linum medium texanum. This is another plant that appreciates mowing. It’s not big and tough enough to comete with bunch grasses.
Prairie Gaillardia, Gaillardia aestivalis, just beginning its long summer run. This one will keep blooming until Fall unless extreme drought sets in.
Texas paintbrush, Castilleja indivisa is mostly done for the year, but some are still fresh and lovely. With enough rain, they can have an extended season.
Dotted St John’s Wort, Hypericum punctatum. Not hard to see where it gets its name. The farm is home to four St. John’s Wort species.
Narrow-leafed Coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, a drought and heat resistant native that knows how to keep its cool.
Green Milkweed, Asclepias viridis. This one is healthy, but something has drilled holes in some of them.
Empty chrysalis of a Question Mark Butterfly. Many thanks to Laurie Shepherd and Dale Clark for confirming ID for me.
Stiff Yellow Flax again. 5:30 pm. These don’t open up until evening and stay open all night, closing before noon the following day. They’re shockingly hard to spot when not blooming, so at the right time of day, you can walk down the road not seeing any, and on your way back up the road be surrounded by them–as if they just appeared there in a sea of yellow.
Prairie Parsley, Polytaenia texana
Large Flowered Coreopsis, Coreopsis grandiflora var. harveyi
Barbara’s Buttons again (in white or pink) with an American Lady Butterfly.
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, Flower Scarab Beetle
White Prairie Larkspur, Delphinium virescens
The view from the far back gate.