More Texas wildflower joy near Independence Leave a comment

March 26, 2024

Bluebonnets are popping off in Texas this spring, so much so that I made time for a second wildflower safari last Friday, heading east through farm country toward Independence. I shared Part 1 of that drive yesterday. Today, here’s Part 2.

The rolling fields, farms, and ranches between Giddings and Independence make up some of the prettiest country in all of Texas. These two horses were smack in the middle of it, enjoying their bluebonnet field of dreams.

I thought they might saunter over to say hello as I photographed the flowers. But the horse on the right was wary, and the one on the left barely left off its grazing to take a quick glance before getting back to it.

I love the blue of bluebonnets with the new, yellow-green leaves of mesquite trees.

As the sun dropped toward the horizon, we enjoyed the rural beauty of east-central Texas.

A swath of white, wild onion-like wildflowers caught my eye.

Does anyone know the name?

Atop a hill of exposed rock, a Hill Country-esque scene greeted us.

An overgrown gravel lane traced a track through the wildflowers.

A cedar-post barbed wire fence ran through it too.

Coreopsis, I think

Cholla added its branching beauty to the rugged scenery.

Mouse-eared prickly pear too

One last look down the bluebonnet path

The golden hour glow was starting. We considered staying on the hill to watch the sunset, but I couldn’t help thinking there might be even prettier views ahead.

Found one!

And gleaming, mahogany horses

An old barn with Yellowstone energy

A ranch sign on the fence

Gorgeous country

And curious cows

Live oak

And an even bigger live oak

What a beauty, especially with a dash of bluebonnets and paintbrush

Another massive old tree — a declining post oak maybe? — in a field of bluebonnets urged me out of the car again.

On a gnarled dead branch at the top of the tree, a large bird with red beak — a raptor, by the look of it — was keeping a sharp lookout. I snapped a few photos, wondering what it was.

After it stretched its huge wings and soared away, we did a reverse Google Image search to identify it. It’s a crested caracara, a falcon that’s common in South and Central America but only occasionally seen in Central Texas. I’m happy to have been able to photograph one.

As the sun dropped below the horizon, we pulled into Old Baylor Park in Independence, where an old log cabin overlooked a field of bluebonnets and paintbrush.

And an ancient live oak arched over a field of blue.

And with that, an excellent day of wildflower watching was done.

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Digging Deeper

March 30-31: Come see the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Show at Zilker Botanical Garden on 3/30 and 3/31, from 10 am to 5 pm. Includes a plant show with specimen cacti and succulents, handcrafted pottery, daily silent auction and hourly plant raffles, and expert advice. Admission is included with paid admission to Zilker Garden, $5 to $8 for adults, $3 to $4 for children (under 2 free).

April 6: Come out to Austin’s Mayfield Park on 4/6 for the Mayfield Park Gardening Symposium & Fundraiser, 8:30 to 11 am. This annual benefit for the park includes a raffle, plant sale, and garden speakers.

May 4: Explore “brilliant backyards, perfect pools and pergolas, and outdoor rooms and gardens” on the ATX Outdoor Living Tour on 5/4, 10 am to 3 pm. Landscape architects, designers, and builders will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for kids age 10-17.

May 11: Save the date for Austin Home’s Great Outdoors Tour on 5/11.

May 18: Pop up to Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Garden Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $18 if purchased online prior to 6 pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or at the event. For a sneak peek, click here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and around Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Garden Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come learn about gardening and design at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, authors, and gardeners a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Stay tuned for more info!

All material © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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