Paintbrushes and Bluebonnets

The wildflowers have arrived and are spectacular this year.  Decorating the highways, they add a sense of wonder to driving.

But one of the best places to enjoy wildflowers is a rural cemetery.  You don’t have to worry about getting run down when you step out of the car.  It’s also so peaceful and quiet.

Indian Paintbrushes (Castilleja) bloom a little earlier than Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) but they remain side by side for many days.  There are actually several different varieties of both Paintbrushes and Bluebonnets.

Wildflowers are not known for their scent, but a wonderful aroma surrounded us when we stepped out of the vehicle.  Wasn’t able to determine which ones provided the smell.

The older headstones were fascinating.

Think these are Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa).  Little clusters were scattered here and there.

The scenery around the cemetery was serene.

Pink was the dominant color here.

White Prickly Poppies form large colonies that are visible from a distance.

The wind was so strong, their delicate petals were brown in one direction.

In front of this handmade headstone is a weed I couldn’t identify.  All the weeds were lovely in this setting because none were prickly and seemed at home.

Dotted Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchiurn pruinosuem) makes me wonder how it got that common name.  The eye is yellow, so it’s doesn’t seem logical.

Found some headstones with my maiden name.  Have no idea if they were related to me.

Notice the fake flowers beside the marker.  That’s very common in Texas because most of the year, there are no native flowers or even foliage in the long hot summers.

I was curious what this growth on the stone is.  Some kind of fungus but this was the only stone I saw it on.

There are a number of low growing native white daisies or asters.  Don’t know which one this is.

A thick carpet is formed by this unknown native.  It’s definitely not a plant for your yard unless you intentionally want a covering of this instead of grass.  It spreads by runners and seems prolific.

 “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Benjamin Franklin

Willow City Loop

These pictures show the Willow City Loop drive from our trip above and below Llano.  I am repeating a link to wildflowers drives for those who might not have seen it.

WillowloopA small two lane road forms a loop beginning and ending on Hwy. 16.  It doesn’t have the large sections of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes scattered along the main highway but provides a leisurely scenic drive.

Willowloop5The road crosses private property with pastures on both sides.  Some of the ranches are not fenced and have cattle guards across the road.  A cow trail parallels this section of the road.

Willowloop1Even though traffic was heavy on a Saturday, there were ample places to pull over and enjoy the flowers up close.

Willowloop2These look like native Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa).

Willowloop4Just to prove this area is open to roving cattle, note the dried cow patty.

Willowloop6Nice views as the road winds from the valley up to the hills.

Willowloop8Bluebonnets in natural setting.

Willowloop9It’s common to find them among Prickly Pear Cactus.

WillowloopbWee little flowers form a nice ground cover.

WillowloopeOne ranch got everyone’s attention starting with these gimme caps.

Willowloopf

WillowloopdThen for half of a mile every fence post was topped with a boot.  Parked cars in the distance indicate a prime photo spot.

Wonder where all the boots came from.

WillowloopgNice property with no underbrush and mowed fields.  Lots of work to keep it looking like that.

WillowloopiBluebonnet patch just across the fence.  Another electrified fence at the other edge keeps cows from trampling the flowers.

The loop drive took us about an hour with several stops for pictures.  Very pleasant way to spend the day.

“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.” Jean-Claude Juncker