Blazing Indian blanket and more at the Wildflower Center, part 3


So many wildflowers were in bloom last Friday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center that it’s taken three posts for me to show you everything. Today I’m leading with the eye-popping hotness of a swath of Indian blanket, also known as firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella).


Can’t you just bask in its warmth?


Pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) blooming behind it added a sweetness to the scene—a sweetness belied by that plant’s aggressive nature.


But what a surprisingly pretty combo it makes.


Another meadow scene stars twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola), an unknown penstemon, and Texas bluebonnets, as well as various native grasses.


Could this be standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra)? I admired the vertical, ferny foliage against last season’s tawny grasses.


Another interesting textural contrast was provided by gone-to-seed golden groundsel (Packera obovata) backed by Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera), a grass I hadn’t encountered before.


A closeup of the golden groundsel seedheads


Moving on to something a little fresher, I spotted this beautiful iris blooming in a shallow pond…


…as well as this pretty white flower.


Heading back toward the parking lot, I passed another open meadow awash in sunlight. This Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana) seemed spotlit, its gnarled, silvery-gray trunks edged with white, its fresh green leaves illuminated like stained glass.


Then I noticed that a live oak’s low branches perfectly framed another trio of Texas persimmons, like dancing nymphs.


Bluebonnets and penstemons bloomed at my feet.


A closer look


An aqueduct, draped in Virginia creeper, transports rainwater from one of the building’s roofs to a stone-sided cistern—the first structure you see as you enter the Wildflower Center. Here, water is treated as the precious resource it is.


Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), so pretty in fall when it turns red, is equally pretty in springtime, cloaking a stone pillar in greenery.


And here’s one last kinetic sculpture, part of a temporary art display, to bid you goodbye.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts about my recent visit to the Wildflower Center. For a look back at Part 1 and Part 2, please click the links.

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

14 Responses

  1. This was a great trio of posts for Earth Day. I really need to get to the Wildflower Center some day. You are fortunate it is so convenient for you. They should put you on the Marketing payroll.

    You DO need to visit, Michael. I think you’d really enjoy this type of botanical garden, considering your interest in native prairie plants. I do feel lucky to be able to visit so often, but it’s located on the other end of town from me, about a 25-minute drive, which can turn into an hour in rush-hour traffic. I met another photographer there last Friday who told me he visits every few days and lives just 5 minutes away. Now that’s lucky! —Pam

  2. Daricia says:

    I agree with everything Michael said. The Wildflower Center is near the top of my list of places to visit, and it seems that April is the time to go! I love the color combos you’ve shared, both the warm and the cool. And you got great shots of the persimmons. Beautiful!

    Yes, April is the best month for wildflowers, Daricia, although October and November are pretty spectacular also. I hope you get to come for a visit one day. Maybe a reprisal of the Austin Fling will bring you out one day. —Pam

  3. Gail says:

    I loved the series Pam…such a delightful garden.

    Thanks for “touring” with me, Gail. —Pam

  4. Marcia says:

    Thank you for your beautiful photos and lovely prose, Pam. When I’m at the wildflower center tmw, I will be looking for the flowers you’ve highlighted. You are a wonderful ambassador for the WFCtr.

    Thank you, Marcia! I hope you enjoy your visit. —Pam

  5. Shirley says:

    I’ve enjoyed the series very much, April is a beautiful time to visit the wildflower center. I like the blanketflower so much I coaxed a few into my yard from a nearby field so the combinations you showed are helpful.

    Texas bluegrass looks so soft, I hadn’t seen it before either.

    I should coax a few blanketflowers into my garden as well. Good idea, Shirley! —Pam

  6. Alison says:

    I did enjoy this series very much! The Penstemons are such a beautiful group of perennials. I definitely need more Gaillardia in my garden.

    There are so many beautiful wildflowers to grow, aren’t there? If only we all had meadows to grow them in. —Pam

  7. KimH says:

    Thanks for sharing your photos.. I didnt get to the Hill Country as I had planned when i was in Texas for 2 weeks.. :(
    At least I still get to see the wildflowers thru you.. thanks!

    I love that you featured the Virginia Creeper.. Im amazed at how many people (in Tex especially) think that it is Poison Ivy.. I cant tell you how many times I’ve gone over & run my hands thru it to prove to someone that its not PIvy.. haha.. They’re always shocked to pieces but they learn. ;)

    I almost mentioned in my post that Virginia creeper is often mistaken for poison ivy. Five leaves instead of three! —Pam

  8. You have an incredible talent for capturing the essence and beauty of nature. Thank you.

    Thank you, my friend. :-) —Pam

  9. Steve says:

    Beautiful job (like it was work, or something!!)

    Thanks, Steve. You might be surprised to know how much work it is to create a nice photo-driven post though. :-) —Pam

  10. Randy says:

    Pam,
    That first photo of the Gaillardia is just absolutely stunning. Very nice shot!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Randy! —Pam

  11. Normally, I would key in on the live oak branch framing the persimmons…but the soft greens, even fresh colors, all look so spring-like and lush. Refreshing – paying forward for the summer to come?

    I expect so, David. Gotta soak up a glorious spring while the gettin’s good. —Pam

  12. I’ve always enjoyed Gaillardia. It’s so bold and yet feminine at the same time. Thanks for taking us on these virtual tours!

    I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed them, PP. —Pam

  13. Bob Pool says:

    Your pictures are stunning even in the bright sun.

    That was Standing Cypress in the sixth picture. I have some here at the house. I have collected lillions of seeds to get the ten or so that come up very year.

    Isn’t it funny how a plant can defy our efforts to sow it by seed, when in the wild it just seeds out easily? —Pam

  14. Mary Hillers says:

    I happened on your site today and love your colorful ideas, and your creativity. Very inspiring and fun!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary! —Pam