Mexican plum in flower: Photo contest entry for GGW

Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana ), a native Texas tree with satiny gray bark, blooms in late February or early March in Austin. When in flower, it’s hugely popular with pollinators of all types, particularly bees but also tiny flies like the one visible here.

This is my entry for Gardening Gone Wild’s Picture This photo contest. July’s theme is Flowering Trees, and photographer Rob Cardillo will be judging. Go to GGW to check out Rob’s own luminous image of a solitary redbud amid a cathedral of tall tree trunks.

Looking through my files for flowering trees, I noticed that I have almost no images of the most commonplace mid-summer flowering tree in Austin, the crepe myrtle. Why do I neglect such a beautiful tree, especially one hardy enough to bloom all summer in withering drought and heat such as we’ve been experiencing for a month? Let’s just say it’s a matter of not seeing the tree for the forest of crepe myrtles around town. I vow to pay better attention and work on getting a few images of the hot-pink crepe myrtle blooming like mad outside my kitchen window.

Are there certain flowering trees you gravitate to with your camera, time and time again? Which ones do you pass over in a “familiarity breeds contempt” sort of way?

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

22 Responses

  1. arythrina says:

    As a transplant to the midwest from the west coast, I’m stopped in my tracks every spring by the redbuds! They may be ubiquitous around here, but they will probably always catch my eye. I also like that the overall fuzzy pink effect gives way to those very peculiar pea-like flowers up close.

  2. chuck b. says:

    I enjoy most of the flowering trees in my area, and I would like to see more of pink horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea). It’s a rare sight. One I’m tired of is the New Zealand Tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium), a ubiquitous workhorse.

  3. chuck b. says:

    Oh, and I really like a flowering Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)!

  4. Janet says:

    For spring time –besides all the magnolias– I like the Chionanthus virginicus, Fringe tree. For summer the ‘different’ tree around here is the Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste tree. That being said, I really marvel at all the different colors of the Crape Myrtles. I got one red one–Dynamite, which is a great firey red.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Crepe myrtles are only shrubs around here. I love the tree form in the south with the way the bark gets all splotchy and peals. This is a great photo of the plum.

  6. chrisf says:

    Well, not common, but I saw a stupendous Bauhinia(white) in full bloom at a plant collector’s house this weekend. Biggest one I’ve ever seen and full of fat bees.

  7. Crabapples may be common as dirt around here, but I’m still stopped in my tracks by one in full bloom. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt probably because the show is so short lived. The only thing that comes close to that for me is Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriaca), which is a shrub. I have one, but they just leave me cold.

  8. Jean says:

    Looking through my tree photos, it looks like I neglect to take pictures of just about all flowering trees! How weird!? Mexican plum is one of my favorites for its drought tolerance and its early fragrant blooms.

  9. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, fabulous shot and good luck with the contest. Blooming trees here that get the photographer’s attention are the dogwoods and Yoshino Cherry in springtime. The crepe myrtles are in nearly every yard, seems like the eyes glaze over and they become invisible, like so many things do when so commonplace. Must-do-better! :-)

  10. Hi, love your entry in the contest. I’m a sucker for closeup shots of fruit blossoms though, especially with pollinators!

    I have tried numerous times to get good dogwood photos. I am so enthralled by the way they fill the hollows in the spring time with their ethereal clouds of blossoms. So far, I have not been able to do it justice. Better luck next year.

  11. Nicole says:

    Oh so pretty!

  12. For me in a “familiarity breeds contempt” sort of way it’s the dogwoods. Then every once and awhile one just stops me.

  13. Best of luck in the contest! It’s a beautiful shot you are submitting! -Jackie

  14. Nice picture and nice looking plant. Good luck!

  15. The detail in your photos never ceases to amaze me. What a gorgeous shot! Mary Beth

  16. Mamaholt says:

    Gorgeous photo! I, too, am struck by the crepe myrtle’s show. And in this drought!

  17. Beautiful photo. Today, as I was driving past all of the wonderful crapemyrtles everywhere, I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps they are difficult to catch in their loveliness. I don’t know.~~Dee

  18. Libby says:

    What a beautiful photo, Pam. It would make a great fabric pattern. Hey, you’ve gotten way further on your stock tank than me. I still haven’t purchased the tank!

  19. TexasDeb says:

    What a beauty of a shot! I tend to take the flowers on our loquat trees completely for granted. They are small albeit fragrant, and it is typically the ripening fruit later in the season I focus on. When the conditions are right we have three white crepe myrtles that “snow” on part of our back yard.

  20. I can smell moist, clear early spring air when I look at those blossoms!

  21. Kim says:

    Pam, congratulations on the Runner Up – I’m happy your photo was recognized.

  22. Pam says:

    Gorgeous! I just went and looked at the images linked to, and they are all so nice.

    It’s funny what you say about the crepe myrtle – but I’m guilty of the same. The only images I see of them are generally in landscape shots – rarely is an image of just the tree or a close-up. The bark can be so gorgeous too. Perhaps we need to have a crepe myrtle appreciation day!!!