June 19, 2012

Wildflower Wrangling

I'm a cautious sort.  This means at times living vicariously through others who aren't.  In this case, my friend Deb.

We were heading out of town to pick up some recycled glass mulch and I spotted these gorgeous purple wildflowers among the sunflowers along FM 1327.  While volunteering at the Master Gardener desk last week I was reading up on Texas wildflowers and came across wild foxglove in a book.  I hoped these might be them and we stopped to take a closer look.

I've written briefly about Deb before and alluded to her inquisitive, playful nature. She wasn't to be deterred from gathering up a few samples of these wildflowers. The home on the property was abandoned and the fence in disrepair.  It was as if the universe was graciously inviting her in...

Did I mention that I'm cautious?  And leery of snakes.

Stick in hand, swinging it to and fro to warn any snakes of her approach, Deb made her way out to the middle of the field.  She is clearly not cautious...careful, but not cautious. 

Cautious is still standing on the side of the road, iphone in hand, snapping pictures and prepared to call 911 if necessary for a paramedic.

Deb grew up on a farm and showed steers as a teenager so apparently has no fear of snakes and such.  Unlike myself who grew up in a big, metropolitan area on the east coast.  I watched, coached and cheered from the sidelines wishing I too was brave enough to tromp through knee high grasses in sandals and shorts.

A few minutes later, she returns triumphant and all smiles with a small cluster of flowers gathered to bring home to dry for seeds so she can spread the love of a beautiful prairie wildflower in a suburban landscape.

Turns out, these are not the wild foxglove we'd been hoping for but possibly bluebells, a Texas native.  Looks like she gathered a little something else there in the left of the bouquet. I'm not sure what that one is, maybe wild petunia?  Any ideas?

I learned a lot yesterday as I watched my friend carried by sheer joy into that field. 

One, always have my 'good' camera with me when I'm going on an outing with her because there is never a dull moment (these shots were taken with my iphone).  Phones have really come a long way, haven't they?!

Two, it would be a good idea to wear jeans and boots no matter the season or destination when in her company.  And, maybe carry a shovel and anti-venom.

And three, you can experience immense joy and satisfaction cheering on your brave friend as she marches forward to a task you'd like to do but just can't muster up the courage for. 

*By telling this story I am in no way condoning nor advocating wildflower wrangling*


  1. Hahaha, i love the way you made this post! Deb is certainly more courageous, but i will do the same. Those flowers are beautiful, you should have joined her so you can take the photos in natural setting.

  2. Haha, I thought you were braver than me ;-) as I would be then one on the sideline, too.

  3. I would be more cautious where there may live poisonous snakes otherwise I live wandering through meadows....but I think I am cautious as well...love to know what these are...gorgeous wildflowers...and it is good to be cautious sometimes or take along a friend like Deb.

  4. And you I bet you were not compensated in any way by the WWWA...Wildflower Wrangler Writers Association.

    Bold...I have a friend here who grew up on a ranch who sometimes carries a bolt cutter for illegal locked gates across county roads. Crazy!

  5. Are there that many snakes in Texas? I think I missed the cautious gene - at least in respect to nature. I get carried away by the desire to explore. I definitely would have hopped that fence with Deb... I agree, though, about bringing the good camera at all times. I don't do it yet, but many times have regretted not having it with me.

    1. Yes, Sheila, unfortunately there are lots of poisonous things here in Texas. Last year I found a rattle snake and a coral snake in my garden. It's not uncommon for pets, especially dogs to get bit by rattle snakes in the spring and fall. Just last night a friend posted on FB that she was nearly struck as she walked her dog. Don't get me wrong, we aren't knee deep in snakes but they are definitely around and you need to be aware of where you're putting your hands and feet.

    2. a rattlesnake in your garden? OK, that would make me think twice!

    3. a rattlesnake in your garden? OK, that would make me think twice!

  6. Those gorgeous flowers are worth braving snakes but only if they aren't poisonous. I'm more of the cautious urban type too.

  7. Ha ha - you sound a bit like my wife, Cat - she's also the cautious one, while I'm more prone to throwing caution to the wind. But in your area, I can understand being careful at least. Looks like Deb hit the jackpot out there - nice flowers.

    Oh, and I share the pain about bunny visits to the garden. After the first year living in our current home, I put a chicken wire fence around the entire veggie garden - there are acres of wild greenery here they can have and I'm just not up to cultivating veggies for bunnies.

  8. I'm not against stomping through high grasses. I'd be more worried about chiggers, than snakes. But, snakes can pop up here and there. We had a Coral snake here recently.

    That one flower looks like a ruellia bloom....sort of petunia.

  9. We are very lucky around here to be able to tread off into the wild with no fear of snakes. However, deer ticks carrying Lyme disease are always a deterrent. I would be with Deb though.

  10. Chuckle, chuckle... love the disclaimer. The purple petunia looks like Mexican Ruellia to me as well. Most snakes are more afraid of you, then you are of them. Of course, I don't recommend testing that theory. Guess I'm a little cautious too.

  11. Love the flowers. As I am in the north I have no idea what Deb brought you but they sure look wonderful - and big!

  12. At first I was thinking, it's just going for a walk in a field, can it really be such a big deal but I read the comments and realized, Texas has a lot of snakes and not just little wee ones like we have here. I might have stayed on the side of the road too :)

  13. Yep, indeed, it is our native ruellia nudiflora. The bluebells are gorgeous ! We don't have those around here (near San Antonio). What an adventure, you guys !

  14. Hi Cat, The only harmless thing that I can think of in a field here would be ticks. They won't kill you, but they can make you very sick. I am not sure I would be brave enough to tramp into a field that is possibly filled with snakes, but I admire Deb for doing so. The flowers in her arms are so pretty. Wild flowers here are so much smaller and more dainty. Those flowers are huge in comparison.
    P.S. I can't believe that those shots were done with an iphone. They sure have come along way!

  15. I love those special, impromptu moments that we share with friends. I was fearless growing up but have gotten more cautious the older I get. Oddly, I would be more freaked running across a field mouse in those fields than a snake. Those are gorgeous flowers. I hope you are successful getting seeds from them to propagate next year.

  16. i very much like your friend. this made me giggle. yes, i do recognize wild petunias there. :)


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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