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Monday, May 16, 2016

Wildflowers in the Country by Joan Reeves @JoanReeves

Prolific Bitterweed offers a yellow carpet.
I spent the weekend at our house in the country, working in the yard. Trimming shrubbery, removing winter kill, and laying out some new flower beds.

I also spent a good bit of time admiring the 3 varieties of lantana--red/orange, lavender/yellow, and purple--in my yard that are already blooming madly and trying to take over the entire flower beds where they're planted.

Also blooming are the fields of wildflowers around us.The photo to the left was taken from my front yard, looking south. This wildflower richness is just part of the Texas landscape in the spring and summer.

Texas Wildflowers

Beginning in late February, depending on the weather, Texas is awash in color as the wildflowers begin their annual show.

Just about everyone has heard of Bluebonnets (Lupinas havardii), lovely pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa), and even orange Indian Paintbrush (Castilljra purpurea), sometimes called Prairie Paintbrush or Prairie Fire, but there are so many more flowers that bloom along roadways and in fields from early spring through summer.

Depending on where in Texas you travel, you'll see many different varieties of wildflowers. In East Texas, you'll find masses of Red Clover, but rarely outside that area. Bluebonnets abound from Houston to Dallas and westward. The Hill Country is covered with them, and thousands throng to view the beautiful display.

Back at the Ranch

The Bluebonnets have faded, and the Indian Paintbrush are going away too, replaced by pink Evening Primrose and sunny yellow Brown-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). These carpet the sides of the road leading to my house in the country. Occasionally, you'll see the tiny brilliant purple blooms of Trailing Four-O-Clocks (Allionia incarnata), the small pink blooms of Sea-Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), and other small samplings that produce a blur of red, violet, pink, and blue as I drive past.

The happy pink Primrose has a brilliant yellow center (tons of pollen) that causes many to call them Buttercups. They're not Buttercups though. The buttercup is actually a solid yellow flower. So cheerful yellow and happy pink blossoms claim the attention now.

Color Parade

As the weeks pass, other wildflowers will join in the color parade. At our place, the Bitterweed (Helenium sp.), bright yellow flowers whose greenery has a pungent odor when crushed, have gone to seed. Soon, Bluebells (Eustoma grandiflorum) will sprout. This delicate blue flower with the perfume-like aroma is the flower for which Bluebell Creamery is named. Once the bluebell grew prolifically in the fields around Brenham, Texas. They don't seem as common now, and many people don't know what they are.

Bull Nettle with showy blooms atop tall stalks are nice to look at, but we try to eradicate them when they pop up. The spines on their stalks and leaves can rip your skin up if you brush against them.

Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella are the biggest addition to the carpet of color on the back of our property. Many now call this Mexican Hat, but my husband's grandmother called these orange, yellow, and brown showy flowers Mexican Sombrero.

If you'd like to know more about Texas Wildflowers and see photos of the different varieties, visit Texas Highways Wildflowers and Gary Regner Photography Texas Wildflower Index.

For Your Consideration

I'm currently writing Book 3 in my Texas One-Night Stands series. Why not check out the previous books for some laughter and romance? Book 1 is The Trouble With Love.  Available at most ebook sellers.

Hang on to your Stetson as the fun and games begin in this contemporary romance that's sexy and funny and hotter than a bowl of Texas chili!

To catch a thief, small town deputy Susannah Quinn and FBI Special Agent D. E. Hogan (just call me Hogan) pose as husband and wife and go undercover. Unfortunately, Susannah and Hogan have already been undercover--in a bed at the Houston hotel where they first met.

For her part, Susannah wishes her lapse in judgment would take a flying leap and land on Jupiter. Hogan, on the other hand, wants to get the contrary deputy back in his bed, but the complications caused by family--his and hers--pretty much guarantee that's never going to happen.

Throw in an over-the-hill Romeo and his lady love, a single mom determined to have her own love affair, and the charm of a small Texas town, and you get a story with heart and soul and passion--lots of passion.

Can Susannah and Hogan, two mismatched lovers doing everything in their power to avoid falling in love, catch a thief and recover stolen jewels? The clock is ticking. They have only seven days--and nights--to complete their assignment and resist the sweet siren call of desire.

Post Script

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  1. Love the wildflowers, Joan. I notice this is a banner year for Queen Anne's lace in our area as well as the primrose I love.

    1. Yes, all the rain we've had makes for a bountiful wildflower display.

  2. Beautiful post. When we lived near Houston, one of our springtime rituals was going on a road trip to see the wildflowers blooming along the highways. Such a lovely time of year. Thanks for sharing the beauty.

  3. Beautiful post. Love your pics and descriptions.


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