Sailing a Sea of Flowers

Rockport, Texas

As winter’s strong northerlies subside and seas become more predictable, boats along the upper Texas coast begin to move. After passing through Galveston’s jetties and leaving behind the freighters and tankers of the fairway anchorage, some turn left, toward Mobile Bay, the Florida Keys, or the tropical waters of the Bahamas. Others turn right, taking a south-westerly course along two hundred and fifty miles of Texas coastline: a course punctuated by a series of sea-focused and island-moored ports as different from Houston, Austin, and Dallas as you could imagine. Each port has its own personality, and each evokes memories from my own years of working and cruising along the coast.

My first offshore trip began in Freeport, an industrial town anchored by the largest Dow Chemical complex in the world. Only a few hours from Galveston via the Intracoastal Waterway, it provided an easy first leg for our cruise, and easy entrance into the Gulf.

As we left Freeport’s jetties at sunset, our intended destination was Port O’Connor, home to the Poco Bueno fishing tournament. Affectionately known as the Poco Loco, the tournament’s a yearly highlight in an area known for extraordinary fishing.  Port O’Connor’s also the gateway to a favorite anchorage at the Matagorda Island Army Hole, where a bold raccoon once boarded our boat and made off with every Pepperidge Farm cookie on board.

After weather forced us past Port O’Connor, we set a course for Port Aransas, the sole established town on Mustang Island. Accessible only by ferry, boat, or bridge, Port Aransas was significantly damaged during Hurricane Harvey, but rebuilding continues, and there’s no question the town’s growing popularity as a destination for foodies, crafters, birders, and cruisers will continue.

Thirty years ago, the town’s reputation was somewhat funkier and more laid-back. Populated by island lifestyle enthusiasts who weren’t always sure how to maintain their lifestyle, it became known as Hippie Hollow South: a tribute to a well-established Austin attraction. As the saying went, “Port A’s the Key West of Texas. Everyone wants to live here, but not everyone wants to work here.”

Lydia Ann Lighthouse ~ Port Aransas, Texas

In truth, the next port down the coast, Mansfield, probably bests Port Aransas when it comes to a laid-back approach to life. For decades its reputation has been summed up in its nickname: Port Mañana. A census-designated place with a population hovering around 226, it’s favored by fishermen more than sailors, although anyone cruising the length of the Intracoastal Waterway can stop there for enough fuel, ice, and beer to get them to Port Isabel, the last of the Texas ports along the coast.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve always thought of Port Isabel as the edgiest Texas port. Hearing her name, I remember the anxiety of being shadowed by another vessel on a long offshore run between Isabel and Galveston, not to mention a few minutes of panic after being stopped by the DEA just before entering West Galveston Bay.

In the end, the explanation was simple enough. Shipments of illegal weapons had been moving through Port Isabel, and as we tacked into strong north winds during our sail up the coast, our erratic course attracted the attention of the Coast Guard. After tracking us through the night, they  handed us off to the DEA agents who stopped and boarded our vessel.

Professional, and entirely pleasant once they figured out we weren’t gun-runners, they let us go on our way with a grin and a wave. Still, the thought that we’d been under surveillance for smuggling makes me laugh, and the memory of those undercover agents, Miami-Vice perfect as they lounged on their speed boat in muscle shirts and sunglasses, is delightful. Every time I hear Smuggler’s Blues, I think of them.

But of all the ports along the Texas coast, my favorite always has been Rockport. Named for a rocky ledge that underlies its shoreline and known for shoal water, it’s still a lovely cruising destination, with first-class marinas and a cluster of good repair yards nearby.

When an unfortunate encounter with Rockport’s skinny water led to the loss of a rudder, my appreciation for their repair yards grew exponentially. At the same time, being grounded in the Rockport-Fulton area — both literally and figuratively — allowed me to explore local attractions like the Fulton mansion, home to George and Harriet Fulton.

After George Ware Fulton married Harriet Gillette Smith, eldest daughter of Henry Smith, the first provisional governor of Texas, the Fultons and their children moved back to Ohio, then Maryland. In 1867 they returned to Texas, where Fulton founded the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, a cattle operation, as well as helping to develop the towns of Sinton, Gregory, and Rockport. Their mansion, built between 1874 and 1877, was a bit of a marvel, with central heating and air conditioning, gas lighting, and indoor plumbing.

The Fulton family was large, and as civic-minded and generous as they were wealthy. Most are buried in the Rockport cemetery, but their simple and dignified markers aren’t immediately obvious.

Two of George and Harriet’s grand-daughters, Ina and Emma, died in childhood; Emma’s is the oldest marked grave in the cemetery.

Emma Fulton (1874-1876)
Ina Fulton (1880-1881)

In truth, the Fulton graves were a serendipitous find. When I heard from a friend that spring wildflowers were blooming in the Rockport City Cemetery, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to re-visit the Fulton mansion, to see how post-Hurricane Harvey repairs were progressing in the area generally, and to see more of our flower-rich Texas spring.

Given the four-hour drive to Rockport, I wanted to be sure the flowers hadn’t faded away, so I called the Chamber of Commerce. The woman who answered the phone barely could contain her enthusiasm. “Flowers at the cemetery?” she said. “Oh, my gracious. You must come! They’re past their prime, but they’re still lovely, and you won’t be disappointed. They’ve been so thick this year — like a sea of flowers.”

By the time our conversation ended, my decision was made. It was time to return to Rockport: not by sea, this time, but by land, in order to experience the Chamber of Commerce endorsed ‘sea of flowers’ for myself.

I wasn’t disappointed. The cemetery combined Rockport’s iconic, wind-bent oaks with a variety of flowers, including our beloved bluebonnets.

Everywhere I looked, bluebonnets lapped at benches and covered gravestones with great waves of color.

In other areas, bluebonnets gave way to phlox, wine cups, coreopsis and blue curls, as well as a few firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella) and lazy daisies (Aphanostephus skirrhobasis).

The blue curls were well past their prime and most were putting on seed, but I’d seen them only once in the wild, and was happy to encounter their lavender accents around the graves.

Winecups, coreopsis, blue curls, phlox ~ and that one white daisy
Blue curls (Phacelia congesta)
A bee curled over a blue curl

In an area of military graves, coreopsis and several species of plantain predominated. People will attack plantains with an enthusiasm usually reserved for dandelions, but allowed to grow and mature, they’re actually quite attractive.  I thought it interesting that so many Confederate graves also were marked with our nation’s flag.

A damaged, but not destroyed, marker surrounded by plantain, phlox, and coreopsis
Hooker’s plantain (Plantago hookeriana)
Thanks to Steve Schwartzman for encouraging a second look at what I’d previously identified as Heller’s plantain (Plantago helleri)

Everywhere I looked, a limited number of species combined in different ways, under different light, to create a kaleidoscope of colored patterns.

Phlox, bluebonnets, coreopsis, plantains, and prairie larkspur
White prickly poppy, coreopsis, and phlox

In the midst of so many familiar flowers, there were plants I’d never seen, like this prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum).

There were oddities, including a plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) paired with a natural variant I wish were a species. There’s already a propeller plant, so I decided to name this one the pinwheel coreopsis.

Was nature having fun?

One of the most striking plants I found was a large shrub or small tree with extraordinarily red flowers. Even though it’s not yet identified, it’s too pretty not to include.

Spicy Jatropha, or Peregrina (Jatropha integerrima)

As I wandered through the cemetery, one plant was noticeably absent: the Indian paintbrush. Once I realized they were missing, I searched more intently, but found no evidence of them. What I did find were yuccas, cacti, and agaves; combined with Mexican olive and desert willow trees, they gave the cemetery a piquant, south Texas flavor.

Charlie K. Skidmore’s family no doubt established the town of Skidmore, northwest of Rockport
The Skidmore plot was surrounded by beautiful yuccas
Mexican olive flowers drew pollinators of every sort

Looking again at the map of Rockport that sits atop this page, I hardly can believe that, for years, I passed within two blocks of the City Cemetery on my way to and from Key Allegro without realizing the cemetery was there.

Times and interests change, of course, and I’m certainly glad to have learned of its existence. I’m already looking forward to next year’s visit.

 

Comments always are welcome.

156 thoughts on “Sailing a Sea of Flowers

  1. I have stayed in Rockport, TX, but I was there for birds and have no recollection of any floral extravaganza. I was there in winter in any event. The one clear memory I have is that we didn’t get too far into a conversation before someone brought up the topic of one hurricane or another. If I am not mistaken Rockport was very seriously damaged by one of the savage storms over the past few years. I am sure it will happen again.

    1. I thought of you when I was writing this, David. I was certain you had to have visited at some point. Even apart from their wonderful hummingbird and whooping crane festivals, they’re well known for the migrations of unbelievable numbers of raptors and neotropical birds. One of the great sadnesses of Hurricane Harvey was the damage done to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, home to the cranes, as well as to the coastal towns, but restoration efforts were swift and effective, and the returning birds found their homes ready for them, too.

  2. Those Rockport City Cemetery photos are gorgeous. I feel as if I can walk into them.
    I’d mention that I was once a suspected gun-runner as often as possible if I were you. That’s rich stuff.

    1. It’s easy to wish I’d been there a couple of weeks earlier, at the very height of the bloom, but obviously there was a lot to enjoy when I was there. I ended up making two trips, since the first, one-day trip, was just too much driving, and left not nearly enough time to explore. The second time, I stayed overnight in Palacios, and was able to be at the cemetery early, before the crowds of people showed up.

      That ‘gun-running’ story’s one of my favorites. Apart from one traffic ticket for a rolling stop, it’s my only brush with the law.

      1. So here’s my question… About the boat that was shadowing you – was it actually a gun-runner using you for cover from the law, or the UC/Miami Vice types who boarded you later, or merely a coincidental encounter (if you believe in such a thing as coincidence; )?

        1. No — it was the Coast Guard who was shadowing us. They no doubt were coordinating with the agents who boarded us just before we entered Galveston’s West Bay. The Coasties’ patrol boat had too deep a draft to go near shore, and it was easier to do an interdiction while we were in the Intracoastal Waterway. At that point, there was nowhere to go, and believe me, a sailboat has no chance against any law enforcement boat, let alone that one. Even the Texas Highway Patrol has some pretty spiffy boats now, and some well-armed “dinghies” are a common sight around here. Some are Coast Guard, and some are Homeland Security (because of the port).

          1. Can definitely understand the shortcomings of trying to “outrun” a powerboat by sail, lol. (And really, the whole idea seems rather ridiculous, doesn’t it? *Thinking it was a slow day with not enough real work to do.

            1. If there’s anything the Coast Guard and related agencies don’t do, it’s sit around and think, “Well, it’s a slow day. Let’s see who we can nab.” At least that’s true in my experience. I have nothing but respect for those guys and gals, particularly since I’ve watched them work for several decades now: not only during televised disasters like hurricanes, but also in less publicized ways on a day to day basis.

              At a somewhat out-of-the-way yacht club where I work, I get to watch the Coast Guard and assorted other law enforcement agencies practice everything from maneuvering their boats to SONAR techniques for search and rescue. Even if they just were “practicing” with us that night, I’m fine with that. Inevitably, they’ll have to deal with less amusing situations, and they need to be prepared.

            2. No offense taken at all, Deb. I just have an especially soft spot for the Coast Guard. They’ve rescued people I know from some utterly crazy situations, and I guess none of us forget that.

  3. What a lovely Easter post, Linda. From the smiles of imagining the raccoon making off with your cookies, to the cemetery covered in wildflowers! Thank you.

    1. If you like the cookie-stealing raccoon, you’d love the peanut butter-eating raccoon that broke into the park rangers’ place at the Army Hole by taking the screen off the window. They found him sitting on their kitchen table. He’d taken the lid off the peanut butter jar and was scooping the stuff out with his paws.

      I didn’t see any raccoons in the cemetery, but I did find another squirrel in a hollow limb — and enough butterflies to please anyone. It was a wonderful spring trip.

    1. “Very few blooms” is better than no blooms, that’s for sure. It can’t be long now, and I suspect we’ll be getting reports as you and Melanie hit the hiking trails again. At least, I hope so!

    1. Thanks so much. It’s a beautiful day here, and I hope your Easter is lovely.

      It was a little hard to focus on what to include and what to set aside — but then, it was hard to focus in the cemetery, too. There were so many delights that some will have to wait for other posts.

    2. Oh my goodness! That was just heavenly! Although I’m in my Sunday afternoon stupor & read “first-rate marijuana” instead of marina & thought I’d learned a little something extra about you today. Ha!

  4. Stunning flower images.

    I would love to have visited that sea of flowers for myself. Plenty of material for some great photography. I’ve always liked your flower images, but they seem to be getting even better.

    The Blue Curls and Heller’s Plantain are really beautiful :)

    1. It was great fun to return to a place that I’ve visited for years, and see it in a new way. In Rockport, there tend to be bird people, water people, and “we’re just here to get away from northern winters” people, but now I know there are flower people there, too. In fact, there are some gardens and natural areas I didn’t know about until I returned home, so there’s an excuse for another trip even before next spring.

      I agree about the blue curls and plantain. One of the most interesting aspects of the blue curls is that they uncurl as they mature. I couldn’t put everything in one post, but I’ll eventually show that stage of their life, too.

      Thanks for those kind words about my photos. I do smile from time to time when I look at photos from five years ago. It’s worth browsing those early photos as a reminder of how far I’ve come when I start fussing about how far I have to go.

  5. obviously my sister and I went in the wrong direction on our quest for wildflowers. we didn’t see anything as spectacular as this. one thing we do/did have around this little town though is indian paintbrush. they’re past prime but were very abundant. that little blue curl is gorgeous. I’ve been trying to remember if I’ve ever seen it in the wild. maybe once, like you. I have no idea about the small shrubby tree with the red flowers, looked through two of my books on Texas wildflowers. I had a small pot of winecups that would bloom every year but Harvey took care of that. It didn’t care to be underwater for three days I guess. the queen anne’s lace is showy right now and the yellow clasping leaved coneflowers are coming into full bloom.

    1. Some of the best wildflowers I’ve seen in past years were along 71 between Blessing and Alt90, along with the associated country roads, but this year was a little disappointing in that area. When I traveled Alt90 to Gonzales, there were plenty of paintbrush, but the real show was south and west of San Antonio. On the other hand, we are getting that second flush of flowers now, with lots of summery blooms, so I hope you’ll find yourself surrounded with flowers.

      That blue curl is one of my favorite wildflowers. I had no idea it could be as thick as bluebonnets, but it certainly was, and would have been quite a sight in full bloom. I’ve already got the Rockport cemetery on my list for next year. Of course, flowers are fickle, so there’s no telling whether they’ll appear or not. At least I had the chance to see them this year. I think I remember seeing your Queen Anne’s lace along 71 — maybe it’s time for another jaunt in that direction.

      1. About the recurrence of wildflowers? Not likely to be for another 4-7 years, if their cycles run true (and also assuming they’re not just a serendipitous result of all the moisture from the previous year, of course:/). Good you caught them while they were still there to see:)

        1. Actually, I’ve seen our wildflowers return fairly regularly, and as often as two or three years in a row. What’s serendipitous are the great displays. We regularly get good displays, and we always get “ok” displays. What may differ from year to year is which flowers show up — but there’s always something.

  6. The sea of flowers is a grand Easter sight. As always, your writing and attention to detail, your beautiful photos and area history make this a post to save and review again.

    1. Thank you, Dor. There’s a good bit of interesting history in Rockport itself — it was there that the United States flag first was planted on Texas soil — but I try to remember I’m writing blog posts, not books! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and that it added pleasure to your celebration.

  7. I just love your life! Such interesting experiences you’ve had made all the better because you’re such a good storyteller. That cemetery truly is a special, awesome place! It’s nice to know that places like that exist. The bees must be very happy there. Since I’m allergic to bees so it would be crazy for me to wander through that cemetery like you did, but I sure would have loved smelling it from afar.

    1. Honestly, I don’t think you’d have a thing to worry about from the bees. They were deliriously happy just to have such a banquet spread before them. Still, having once stirred up a nest of bumblebees, I can understand your preference for caution. Even though I don’t seem to be allergic to stings, they’re nasty enough all on their own.

      There are cemeteries all around Texas that have opted to let their wildflowers thrive through the season. I visited another that was quite different, with great spreads of bluebonnets, paintbrush, and coreopsis. If variety is the spice of life, Texas was pretty darned spicy this year.

  8. Old cemeteries are always intriguing to me.
    Thank you for the tour and the beautiful pictures. Lots of friends back in Cali are sending pics of the awesome wild flowers this year. Not so much the wild flowers here in the pacific north west. I think it’s too early. The tulips thought are outstanding in their fields…

    1. It’s true, isn’t it? Even without the wildflowers as an added attraction, the beauty of cemeteries is there — and of course the history.

      The photos I’ve seen from California are remarkable, as are the ones of the desert blooms. Some day, I hope to make it to the southwest to see the cacti bloom — but your tulip fields would be worth a trip, too. So many flowers, so little time!

  9. Needless to say, I loved your post today, Linda. A visit to the city cemetery to view the flowers had to have been a highlight. Having left Port Aransas, it is always interesting what is said about the town. I think the best description is “A drinking village with a fishing problem.” Thanks for the memories. 😀

    1. And needless to say, I thought of you when I was writing it. I laughed at your description of Port A. The only thing I’m unsure of is whether Port A stole that description from our San Leon, or vice-versa. I think it’s apt in both cases. Of course, now that you’ve made your move and will be making new memories, some of us are awaiting your report from Hippie Hollow.

      1. You should see my neighborhood. Fillled with senior citizens who left the hippie life long ago. They are leaving the “Keep Austin Weird,” to someone else. Leaf blowers, lawn service, delivered water, and designer autos are de rigeuer. It is very peaceful and a fitting destination to a rough road travelled. Thanks, Linda.

        1. To be fair, I think Hippie Hollow might have mellowed a bit, too. When I went to the Travis County website to check it out, I was amused to find a link at the bottom of the page to a plant inventory for the spot, including Texas endemics. Back in the day, I suspect most people there were interested in only one plant.

  10. All of this is way south of where I was in Texas, Linda, so I was totally immersed in your tale. Love your descriptions — and your photographs from the cemetery — and I’m still chuckling over the thieving raccoon and the misinformed DEA agents! Delightful memories, my friend, and thank you for sharing them here. Happy Easter to you!

    1. There are people who enjoy sailing for sailing’s sake — they’re all about tweaking sails and increasing speed by a tenth of a knot. But for most cruisers, the stories are the point, and there’s always a story: always! I’m glad you enjoyed these, Debbie.

      Of course, an equally interesting story is how I turned from a boat person to a bloom person, but that story’s a longer one, and not quite so easy to tell: especially since the changes we go through sometimes surprise us as much as they surprise those around us.

  11. After my good fortune with wildflower-blanketed cemeteries this spring, it’s gratifying to see the fruits of your fine time in the Rockport Cemetery. Any thoughts of going back a couple of weeks earlier in the season next year?

    I’ve sometimes come across two plants close together that because of the proximinty I initially assume to be of the same kind but that upon examination of leaves or some other feature I have to conclude are different species. Might your propellor coreopsis not really have been a coreopsis? It looks so different from the for-sure coreopsis alongside it. Of course, as you said, it could just be a weird variant.

    I’m also wondering about the plantain. As soon as I saw the picture I thought it didn’t look like Heller’s. I just checked the USDA map and confirmed that the closest to the coast Heller’s plantain has been reported is several counties away. If you think it’s worth the time, you might check the BONAP maps for Plantago species and see which ones have been found in Aransas County. You could then compare your picture to pictures of those to see if you make a match.

    Even though you found the blue curls mostly past their prime, the specimen you showed looks excellent. Your picture not only caught the curls and the flowers but displayed them against three pleasant bands of amorphous color.

    1. Thoughts of going back a couple of weeks earlier next year? I’ll start checking a month earlier — with all of the cemeteries, not to mention favorite spots. An impulsive trip to Sandylands yesterday yielded young ferns, larkspur, and what I think is a species of Palafoxia — there’s always something to see.

      Now, as for identification — that’s something else. I do think the strange ‘pinwheel’ is coreopsis. I’ve read that Gaillardia sometimes can produce that sort of strangely shaped ray, as well as a variety of colors, and there were some Gaillardia in the area. Still, the stems and leaves on the ‘pinwheel’ looked like those of the surrounding coreopsis. Learning to pay attention to the stems and leaves isn’t a fully developed habit, but in this case I remembered to do it.

      As for the plantain — that’s a little more complicated, but it’s time for me to get to work — more later. I think you’re right about the misidentification (I saw your photo of P. hookeriana) but I think there might have been P. helleri there, too. I’ll be interested in your opinion; there are photos.

    2. Now, about those plantains… Once I took a good look at the BONAP map and some photos, I decided that the one I showed here is P. hookeriana. My misidentification began when I found this plantain first, in the same area of the cemetery. The white flowers with the brown centers suggested the Heller’s plantains I found in the hill country, like this one.

      What I didn’t remember is that both the Heller’s and Hooker’s plantains have those translucent white flowers with brown centers. Eason’s descriptions of the flowers are identical. It’s the leaves, the height, and other such details that differ between the plants.

      When I got that all sorted out, I laughed, and thought, “Learning to pay attention to the stems and leaves isn’t a fully developed habit, and in this case, I didn’t remember to do it! Thanks for pointing out the error.

      I really was pleased with the photo of the blue curls. I thought the background turned out perfectly.

      1. In rereading my post about Hooker’s plantain after you referred to it, I saw that it was Bill Carr who identified it during a field trip he led in Bastrop. It sure helps to go wandering with an expert identifier. Compared to Hooker’s plantain, Heller’s has softer and longer hairs. The similarity of the names Hooker and Heller adds to the potential for confusing the two species.

  12. Cemeteries and the abundance of flowers often go hand in hand. The one in Rockport is stunning when embraced by so many wild flowers. There is a lot more to Texas than cowboys chasing each other around the same set of rocks. I am so glad you have set the record straight, Linda.

    It seems my introduction to Texas through movies and TV series was somewhat askew. Very beautiful photos and such a great post, Linda.

    1. I suppose there’s some truth in every stereotype, Gerard. I certainly was surprised to find that the eastern part of Texas had more pine trees than cactus, or that there could be blizzards in the Panhandle and hurricanes on the coast. During the 1950s and 1960s, when my ideas of Texas were being formed, my view was similar to yours — which is part of the reason I so enjoy presenting some alternate views of a very complex state.

      One of my cherished possessions is a set of letters sent to my gr-gr-grandmother in the late 1800s by a friend who camped on the Texas prairie with her. There are references in the letters to the wildflowers, and to my gr-gr-grandfather’s love of them. The flowers have been here for a long, long time, and it’s thrilling to see more and more places doing what they can to encourage their presence.

  13. Beautiful floral landscapes. Very heart warming that they are so profuse in the cemetery. I was in Rockport several years about 1945 to around 1968. I don’t remember so many flowers but we went at Christmas time. Family tradition of my Grandfather Jim. One of my memories from the first year I went, was that of meeting a teen who told me he had never seen snow. How odd that was to me.

    1. Your memory serves you well, Oneta. At Christmas time, the cactus and yuccas would be doing just fine, and there certainly would be some flowers, but these wildflowers are a spring phenomenon, and I almost missed them this year. Now that I know they’re around, I can start planning for next year.

      I’ve met a few Texas kids over the years whose one big wish has been to see snow. The artificial snow they create for winter festivals just isn’t the same. A few years ago, we had a big snow on Christmas eve, and people still refer to it as the Christmas miracle. There was enough for snowmen and sledding, and everyone turned into a five-year-old, no matter their actual age.

    1. I love small towns, and Texas has some of the quirkiest. Even as the coastal towns become more popular, and more tourists arrive, there’s always the sea — the fishing, the commerce, the sailing — underneath. The storms come and the storms go, but the people just rebuild, and go on.

      The wildflowers are part of our heritage, too. Every part of the state has their own special ones, and seeing them come back in spring is like finding an old friend at the door.

    1. Exuberance is the perfect word. In fact, I couldn’t fit all of the treasure into this post, so there will be one more Rockport cemetery story, with an unexpected connection to another blogger you know — Gary Myers. He doesn’t know about it yet, but he — and you, I suspect — will enjoy it.

      There’s nothing more fun than sitting around with a bunch of sailors and playing “Remember when…?”
      Long-forgotten stories bubble up, and we laugh all over again — especially if no one died, and no boat sank.

  14. A lovely review of this coastal area. I grew up in Corpus, so am familiar with several of these spots. Oddly, I’m not much of a water/beach person. I hate the humidity.

    Oh, your shots of the flowers/graves and cemetery/pollinators. That honeybee on the blue curls–divine! My curls are now blooming, though I haven’t seen any honeys on mine, no doubt, they’ll find the blooms.

    I did look for that gorgeous red thing, no luck! Even my hub got into the search, no luck there. It looks vaguely familiar, though….

    1. Believe me, Tina ~ you’re not the only one who hates the humidity. It’s creeping back, and my favorite weather guru said that this past weekend may have been our last truly spring-like days before summer conditions arrive. Oh, joy.

      I’ve seen some of the most interesting insects the past few weeks, including some beetles (?) I’ve never seen. Yesterday I saw what seemed to be a small, fuzzy black bee with a white face, or at least white frontal markings (not stripes). It got away too quickly for a photo, but I’m hoping to see one again.

      I sent out a couple of other emails about that red mystery plant. I figured that some of the Master Gardener chapters in the coastal bend would be the best bet. When our local independent nursery reopens this week, I’m going to ask them about it, too. They carry both native plants and standard garden fare, and might be able to ID it. I was too dim to take a photo of the stones they were next to. There might be family members who know what it is.

  15. Beautiful, and these places – Poco Loco, Port Mañana, Army Hole, Hippy Hollow South – all sound pretty intriguing, great places to poke around. I’m curious about the air-conditioning in the Victorian mansion – – there used to be huge ice warehouses in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, but I think Maine was the center of the ice trade, so maybe they shipped ice blocks in sawdust by sea, out of Rockport, ME, or maybe by refrigerated rail car by the ’70’s, to get it to Rockport, TX. Boy you’ve had some year for wildflowers!

    1. George Fulton apparently was mechanically inclined, and quite the inventor. He worked as a teacher, machinist, structural engineer, bridge builder, and railroad superintendent, so he had some skills to apply to home building.

      The “air conditioning” apparently wasn’t quite what we imagine, but it still was clever. A forced air heater in the basement and a series of ducts throughout the home provided heat in winter, and circulating, unheated air in summer. A carbide gas plant in the back of the house supplied power to the gas chandeliers and heat to the furnace, while cisterns in the basement and a tank in the house’s tower provided water for indoor plumbing — both cold and hot.

      The house was badly damaged in Hurricane Harvey, but restoration began last January. What’s neat is that they’re allowing visitors during the restoration process — the house is more interesting than pretty at this point, but there still is a lot to see, like the world’s most glorious doorknobs.

      The name of the house is Oakhurst: a tribute to the famous Rockport oaks.

    1. No ~ I’ve taken some chances in my life, but I’m not taking that kind of chance. If I’m going to shoot anything, it’s going to be a photograph! I did have great fun with these; I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  16. Oh my word; what a wonderful palette! Blue Bonnets, Purple (?), PINK (?), White (?) and Sunshine Yellow Coreopsis; all afloat in a sea of green… (If you can, could you fill in my blanks please, dear Linda?: ) SO glad the wild flowers have been allowed to stay and flourish – and thank you so much for sharing!

    1. And that’s what I get for starting to write (before I get distracted and forget what I was going to say, lol). Will do some more multi-link reading as time allows; ) and maybe even make it to the end of your post!

    2. Purple (or blue-purple) included some larkspur, blue-eyed grass, and of course the blue curls. Pink (and red, and variegated) phlox were all over, and the white were lazy daisies. The Mexican olive blooms were white, of course, and there even were some white bluebonnets — soon to make an appearance on Lagniappe.

    1. One thing that intrigued me was how different a cemetery near Seguin was from this one, in the sense of which flowers were blooming. For example, the one near Seguin had a different species of coreopsis, and lots of Indian paintbrush. Rockport didn’t have any paintbrush, but had plenty of cactus and yucca. It was beautiful, and interesting to see.

    1. For whatever reason, the site won’t come up for me just now, but I’ll check it later. I’m not one to forage and I don’t have herbalist tendencies, but I suspect the site is one that a couple of my friends would greatly enjoy. I’m not getting an error message, and even when I go through a search engine link it won’t open, so I’m sure it’s just some temporary glitch.

    1. They’re all delightful, but I’ve rarely seen the bees so thick around the bluebonnets — except for one time last year when I found bumblebees visiting them. All of the flowers are lovely, but in truth their fading isn’t so sad, since new species are beginning to fill the ditches and fields. I can’t keep up!

  17. Thanks for the cruise down our Gulf Coast! I have driven up and down it but never sailed it. Rockport is probably the treasure of these towns but I like Port A too. The cemetery was a surprise for me too as I did not know it was there. Next spring I must check out the wildflowers. Your photos and identification of so many were a pleasure!

    1. Just today I identified that wonderful red flower, thanks to a local nursery. It’s called Spicy Jatropha, and its scientific name is Jatropha integerrima. It’s native to Cuba and the West Indies (if I remember correctly) and would suit your zone just fine. It certainly has thrived in Rockport, and our nursery is getting some. I might be tempted to try one in a pot. Maybe.

      Isn’t it interesting how many little wonders are tucked away in territory we think we know? Next year I’m going to start checking earlier in the year. Wouldn’t it be fun to meet in Rockport for lunch and a little light botanizing?

  18. What an absolutely glorious sea of flowers! I cannot even choose a favorite there are so many beauties. Seems like a very special coastal town. Your photos are beautiful and your writing a perfect compliment.

    Peta

    1. Thanks so much, Peta. Some flowers and pleasant weather are a good antidote to so much happening in the world just now. I thought about you during the events in Sri Lanka, and will be by soon to read what you have to say about that. Coming on top of Notre Dame, it just seems too much. The little floral immersion I’ve been able to do has been good for the soul.

  19. The picture of the Blue Curl is my favorite, but they are really all so beautiful. How marvelous that you made the decision, just in time! It was fun to hear a bit about your sailing along the coast. I can’t quite imagine losing my rudder. Yikes! And the story of the DEA was funny too. Sailing and flowers are so nicely paired in this. I was down doing a bit of work on Santa Maria last weekend. They’ve pushed back the haul in date to May 10, so that is looking a bit better for painting!

    1. I think it’s always easier to appreciate the beauty of a given flower when it’s isolated from such a busy background, as the blue curl was. On the other hand, the great sweeps of color do have an equal, if somewhat different, appeal.

      My suspicion is that you don’t have nearly the amount of shoal water that we do, although rocks might be more of a problem. Every now and then a storm rearranges the bottom, and white PVC pipes pop up here and there as warnings that say, “You used to cut across here, but don’t do it now.” In winter, when wind and tide combine to really drop the water levels, people with any kind of draft are confined to their marinas until the water comes back.

      I can imagine how eager you are to be back in the water. Still, there’s a lot of satisfaction in doing the prep work, and the anticipation itself is great fun.

      1. Rocks are definitely more of a problem. But you’re correct, water levels generally don’t confine boats. And I definitely enjoy the prep. The warming sun really heightens anticipation.

  20. I see why you’re fond of blue curl – the bright anthers stand out against the vivid blue petals. Lots of excellent images in your post, wonderful color combinations of the different flowers.

    1. I have another post simmering that shows differently colored patches of flowers along a particular country road. It’s really amazing to see how much variety there is. I’m going to post a small group of individual flowers over on Lagniappe, too. Like the blue curls, they really shine when their details are made clear.

    1. It’s been quite a spring — and now I see that spring’s coming to your area, too! It’s about time. I can only imagine how delighted you are to be able to see some flowers of your own. I just can’t get over how beautiful this spring has been.

  21. Forrest and I finally got out of town last weekend to met my sister in Wichita, KS for the day. Even though because of time limitations we had to take I-35, I was pleasantly surprised to see more wildflowers along the interstate than usual. Your cemetery images are simply outstanding! This must be a banner year in Texas with just right conditions for spring flowers. Sadly, I have not managed to spend much time on our own property to see what’s going on. I’ll have to be happy visiting your images for now.

    I find it exciting to think that for one moment someone thought you might be a gun-runner. Life throws us adventure in the oddest ways sometimes!

    1. I still remember how impressed I was with all the milkweed and other flowers along the Oklahoma highways a couple of years ago. Like you, I was pressed for time on that trip north, and it pained me not to be able to dawdle, but it still was pleasing to see so many flowers.

      It has been a good year for wildflowers — no question about that. What’s pleased me most is the wide variety. We’re accustomed to looking for bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, but there were several surprises for me this year. Of course, that has more to do with my looking than with the flowers’ blooming — I’m sure of that.

      I thought of you when I made my recent survey of my vacant lot. Of course it’s not really “mine,” and it’s not very large, but that’s sort of the point. Even the smallest bit of land can hold a lot of treasure. And honestly, I think I know as much about the flowering plants there as the owner. I’m not so good with the grasses and trees, but I’m learning.

      As for that little on-the-water encounter, it’s better to be thought a runner of contraband than to come up against the real thing! Likewise, with pirates. They still roam, and the stories I’ve heard are hair-raising.

  22. Oh my goodness!!! Absolutely stunning!! The flowers are so beautiful and so plentiful (for being past their prime?!?) My brother had told me that the wildflowers were really beautiful this year around Dallas too.
    So interesting to hear of your adventures along the coast and I had never thought of shallow water as “skinny water” love that! What adventures!

    1. It really has been a wonderful spring. Even now, as the first spring flowers fade, the summer flowers are on the way, and they give every evidence of being just as lovely. I’m glad to hear the Dallas area got to share the wealth, too. It seems like the entire state was blessed this year.

      Isn’t “skinny water” a fun term? Sailing (and life on the water generally) is full of interesting phrases — just like other occupations and social groups.

      By the way, I added a link to your hen house in a friend’s blog today. How are the girls doing?

  23. I enjoyed learning about some of those port cities (I may have to mosey down that way sometime soon), but oh my, the flowers! Wish I’d known they were there! I will tuck this place away in my head for next spring.

    1. One place I think you’d enjoy is the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, between Port Lavaca and Rockport. There aren’t any mountains there, but there are wonderful hiking trails through a variety of woods, marshes, and so on.

      As for the flowers, I’m compiling a list of places that were productive over the past two or three years, and I’ll publish the list next spring, ahead of the beginning of the bloom. It’s impossible to know what will be the hot spots next year, but at least I’ve learned a lot about where to begin looking.

    1. It was such a wonderful experience. I went to visit twice, since the first visit, a one-day trip, completely wore me out. I was glad to go back and have a whole day to spend just wandering, appreciating the flowers and reading the stones.

  24. This post was a feast for my eyes, Linda. Your photos, both macro and micro, are exquisite. I love the bluebonnets. I’ve been attracted to Robert Woods’ paintings of Texas hill country and those gorgeous blue flowers all my life.

    1. They’re certainly iconic. A friend, now gone, used to travel to Rockport to teach flower painting. She specialized in roses, but of course painted bluebonnets, too, and some of her canvases hung in the State Capitol. When I can gather my thoughts and process the photos, I’ll have another, rather different post about this spring’s wildflowers — with some of those iconic Texas vistas.

    1. What’s so interesting is that the Port of Houston is the opposite of all these smaller ports. It’s the second largest port in the US in terms of tonnage, and watching the car carriers, tankers, and container ships ply the Houston Ship Channel is quite a different experience. There are lots of towers, cables, wires, and machinery to photograph there! They’re not as pretty as the flowers, but I think you’d find them equally intriguing.

  25. O how utterly enchanting. What a glorious flower meadow and how farsighted of whoever looks after the cemetery to let them set seed and proliferate. I would most certainly go every year to behold the miracle. Areas of wildflowers are few and far between nowadays, you either get regimented plots and flowers or wild areas where the grasses take over.

    I think sailing down the Texas coast must be a very romantic thing to do. As I have never sailed I might have totally the wrong idea and maybe it’s hard work, but the mere thought makes me feel great envy.

    1. You know, when I commented on your recent post, I completely neglected to mention one of the primary “falling in love” stories of my life: the day I fell in love with sailing. Honestly, I can pinpoint it to the day; it involved my first sailing trip on a boat a friend chartered for her birthday celebration. I’ve written about it, and it’s maybe time to repost the story, since it’s still one of my favorites — and I’m still living out the consequences.

      There’s a lot of about cruising that is romantic: the new ports, the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, the stars at night offshore. There are new friends to be made, and old ones to meet in out of the way corners of the world. But it’s a lot of work, too, requiring a level of attentiveness and an array of skills that take time to develop. My sailing days are over now, partly because it is so physically demanding, but I don’t regret a single one of those years — who knows when the ability to bleed a diesel engine will come in handy?

      The flowers are wonderful, and more and more cemeteries are seeing them as points of pride: not only for their beauty, but also as teaching tools for communities still learning about the importance of native plants, pollinators, and so on. I have a couple more stories to post about this spring’s bounty, including one that’s more landscape oriented, and just as pleasing.

  26. If the graveyards’ inhabitants could be pleased, I’ve no doubt they would be pleased with the beautiful wildflower garden, Linda. And I laughed about your experience with the law. Our son, Tony, is now off the Bahamas on a small island, chasing down drug runners in his Coast Guard helicopter. He gets deployed out there once a month for a week. I get nervous whenever a police car gets behind me! –Curt

    1. It certainly adds a little fillip of meaning to the old expression about pushing up daisies. It’s much more fun to be pushing up bluebonnets, coreopsis, larkspur, and winecups along with those daisies. Apparently in some towns there’s a little gentle grumping about “untidiness,” but more and more often the flowers win out.

      I always enjoyed the Bahamas, especially down island. Somewhere I have a photo of a friend and I on Norman’s Cay, next to the sign for MacDuff’s — of course it’s an arrow, pointing to ice and beer. Thinking about Tony and his helo, I was remembering the days when the Iowa Highway Patrol used aircraft to catch speeders. They’d paint white lines on the highway, and time the cars passage between them. The speed/time/distance formula works on land, too!

      1. I also remember the days when airplanes helped patrol the highways, Linda, especially out in the wild, wide west. They used to post signs.
        Peggy has a Bahamian cousin and used to spend time down in the islands.
        I’m beginning to think you had a wilder youth than I imagined— hitchhiking from Liberia to London, wandering the Caribbean on sailboats. Inquiring minds do indeed want to know. (grin)

        1. Actually, none of that wandering began until I was well out of my youth — and I was forty-one before I began sailing. By the time I hit eighty, who knows what I’ll be up to?

          I did look to see if Iowa still uses aircraft to monitor speed, and the answer’s “Yes, but…” the ‘but’ being a much reduced air presence. Still, there are a lot of states using the technique in particular situations. Next up? Drones.

          1. A late bloomer! My first great adventure was heading off to Berkeley and then Liberia. I never went ‘wild’ per se. There were no communes, or gurus, or open marriage,etc. in my life. Adventures aplenty. –Curt

  27. These wildflower photos are fantastic. A visit to Texas in the wildflower season is on our bucket list. Just beautiful, especially the bluebonnets with their contrasting companions. Interesting that a cemetery is such a great place for wildflowers. Cemeteries in Illinois have some of the highest quality prairie remnants.

    1. One of the most interesting sites in Galveston is a collection of seven cemeteries known collectively as the Broadway Cemeteries. Some allow the wildflowers to grow and bloom, while others keep everything mowed and trimmed. It’s quite a contrast, to say the least.

      I learned about or visited several cemeteries this year, and will have a bit more to post about them — I missed a couple, but managed to get to one that was simply breathtaking. When you decide to head this direction, I can send plenty of information about the various sites, as well as bloom information.

      I was surprised to learn that there’s quite a movement in Britain to reestablish natural areas in their cemeteries. There’s a nice video here from a group called Caring for God’s Acre that seems to be doing a lot of good work in promoting churchyards and cemeteries as natural areas.

  28. An ever so interesting read, Linda. We’ve been to Rockport/Fulton twice, but never to the cemetery. Your map of Rockport reminds me that we drove around there quite a bit when we were still living in Karnes City, but looking for a place to move to. Finally it was the humidity at the coast that made us decide against it, and thus we ended up in the much drier air of the Texas Hill Country. Talking of the coast: your post here makes me long to be on a sailing-boat again!
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Pit

    1. Choosing against coastal humidity and for hill country pollen is a reasonable choice, particularly since the north winds that tend to blow when the cedars are releasing their pollen send a good bit of it this direction. At least you get to suffer only one of nature’s insults.

      Rockport’s really changed over the years, as have all of these coastal towns. When a town becomes a tourist destination as well as a place for the wealthy to establish first or second homes, change is inevitable. Some are pleased, and some aren’t, but so it goes. What is true is that all of these coastal towns seem to have retained a strong sense of community, and that’s all to the good.

      Have you ever thought of bareboat chartering along the coast? There are several places in my area where you can charter for a day or a week. Many of the boats in the fleets are good ones, but belong to people who live elsewhere, and don’t use the boats on a regular basis. Now that you have the house in Karnes City under control, it would be a fun adventure for you. Of course captained charters ae available too, but that probably wouldn’t be as appealing.

      1. We certainly prefer the Hill Country even over Karnes County, let alone the coast. But don’t mention pollen. Even if I only think of those my nose starts itching. :(
        I know how much the coastal towns have changed when I see Mary’s pictures of Port A when she visited there with her parents. And I have noticed those changes even since I first came there.
        I certainly have thought of bareboat chartering. There are some places in Kemah that have boats I’d like. I need to find out if they’d accept my German sailing licenses, or if they’d just check me out, or if I could have some short – say 2 to 4 hours – onboard instruction. I’d prefer that over a captained charter. Or I might go down for a real sailing-course. We’ll see. Meanwhile I’ll keep (day)dreaming. :)
        P.S.: If you could recommend any plave to charter a boat from, I’d appreciate that.

        1. If you want to show someone what Hill Country pollen is like, you always could point them to this video. Rusty Hierholzer’s the Kerr County Sheriff, so the source is reliable. Comparisons with smoke are apt, to say the least.

          I’ll put out some feelers and see what’s happening on the charter front these days. When I was more involved, the requirements varied depending on the experience of the charterer. I suspect at most you’d have a brief shakedown with a captain, and then be free to go. Your license would be a plus, but not required. I’ll see what I can find out.

          1. Thanks, Linda, for your offer to help. I know that some of the charterers only want to check one out. That happened the first and so far only time I chartered a sailing-boat at the Gulf Coast, out of Corpus Christi, for a few hours on Corpus Christi Bay. At that time someone went around the boat with me to explain things and I believe that guy seemd to think I knew my way around a boat. He didn’t even go out of the harbour with us but let me do it all by myself. I”’ see what will happen if I make up my mindat all. ;)

  29. Happy Belated Easter, Linda. This is a wonderful post filled with history and flowers. Pretty much the only time one will find an abundance of flowers around here is on Memorial, Mother’s and Father’s days. All in neat vases. Seeing what your cemeteries look like there in Texas makes me think we should move there and rethink cremation before our times come. Lovely collection of images.

    1. Like Christmas, Easter’s a season as well as a day, so your greetings aren’t belated at all. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. It sort of ranged all over the place, as I tend to do, but when something makes sense to me, I figure there’s a chance it might to others as well. Besides — everybody likes flowers.

      Actually, cremation and burial in one of these lovely places is becoming more common. Since more than one person can be buried in a standard plot after cremation, people who are trying to save either land or money — or both — are choosing the option more frequently. If I wanted cremation and burial, I’ve got a choice of spots (one in Iowa, one in Texas), and I need to make a decision one of these days — not that I intend to depart this mortal coil any time soon.

      1. My folks are floating around the Atlantic Ocean. We and our dogs will be on a mountainside in Acadia N.P. We love it there and will happily rest for eternity plus it is an impossible building site.

  30. I just now read this. Our Easter was yesterday, so Im glad that I waited to open your post. And the celebration continues today and tomorrow– long enough for me to revisit a number of times.

    Those flowers in the graveyard speak for themselves– a collection of poems and a long silent prayer.

    And the whole story is both pleasing for me and symbolic. Memories returned of sailing trips with my father along the waterway between Florida and Mississippi, of adventures imagined and real, and of taking pictures of here-and-there bones of trees, transformed by the work of water and sun, markers in the lonely but shining graveyard of the beach.

    I liked the map too. I had almost forgotten the experiences of leaning on my dad’s weathered shoulder, hoping to learn how to read charts. Years and years later I have come to depend on other charts, but the process seems somewhat the same.

    Many thanks for the effort and time it must have taken to produce this beautiful report from the Texas coast.

    1. A happy Easter to you. I have several friends and acquaintances who celebrate Orthodox Easter, and I’m always struck by the beauty of your liturgies and customs. The coincidence of Easter and spring arriving together in our hemisphere always has seemed wonderfully apt to me — even when our midwestern Easter flowers were up to their necks in late snow.

      I’m glad to have stirred some pleasant memories for you. While I loved offshore sailing, there are pleasures to be had in the rivers and waterways, too. One of the most remarkable sections of the ICW for me is the long stretch between Corpus Christi and Brownsville; it passes along the great King Ranch, and most of the time the only ones watching your passage are the cattle.

      I’ve always enjoyed plotting on paper charts, and even today prefer a paper map for navigation on land. Charting a course — literally or metaphorically — is important work, and the simplest tools often are the most reliable.

      As far as I’m concerned, this piece was well worth the time involved, and I’m glad you found it so, as well.

      1. I know how satisfying it is to understand and savor experiences by writing about them. I’m glad that you and others enjoy sharing them.

        I think maybe I get tricked into thinking that the writing is an experience too. (Which it is in its way– but my problem is wondering if it shouldn’t be a performance too. The burden of being a former teacher and imaginary author.) Your words flow freely, and I prefer that, even though it probably involves a lot more time than telling stories while talking.

        I agree about the paper charts. I still prefer books in the hand too, and magazines. Old notebooks. Dusty and well thumbed texts. So imagine my near-disbelief last week at vespers in the darkened church when a young full-bearded priest began booming forth his part of the ancient chant while reading the words from a  glowing “hand-held device.”

        1. One of the best things anyone can say to me is that they find my words flow freely, or find my work easy to read. I’ve come to understand the quotation, variously phrased and attributed, that “easy reading is hard writing.” That’s not to say it’s unpleasant. If it were, I’d not still be at it after ten years. But I’ve always believed that the way to learn to write is to write, and I’m more interested in writing than in being thought a writer.

          As for your young priest — suffice it to say I had a bit of a visceral reaction to that. I’d say I can’t imagine it, but the sad thing is that I can. New times, new customs, and all that. Still, there was a time in my life when chanting the Easter proclamation at the Vigil fell to me, and there was no hand-held device — nor even a book. Because I memorized it, I still possess it, words and music both. I like thinking about how much tradition has been saved and transmitted in such ways over the centuries.

          1. About the vigil, you said so much of what I was thinking, and still am.

            As for writing, I have heard over and over that it is the act itself– total involvement, including physically– that pleases and satisfies artists.

            1. That’s an interesting observation about the act of writing. It would explain why some people I know are more concerned with the quality of the paper they write on, and the nature of the pen. Me? I wrote the poem that gave rise to my blog title on the back of a piece of used sandpaper with a cheap ballpoint pen. I was dripping with sweat, as I recall. None of that made a bit of difference. It was the words that counted.

          1. Even so, I wonder how the first use of printed books during services was received after 1000+ years of, what, memorized “readings”? Or scrolls, or ? Probably not as big a change however.

  31. Some terrific images combined with a compelling narrative…pretty much the Platonic ideal of a a blog post. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. When I read your latest entry, I certainly smiled at your mention of “f/8 and be there.” If I hadn’t made tracks for Rockport when I got word that the flowers were in bloom, and instead had waited for the next weekend, the combination of inclement weather and the flowers’ natural maturation process might well have meant that I’d have missed out. There’s a lot in this world that’s ephemeral: and not only the morning and evening light!

  32. Such a cool post with so many thoughts to comment on and the gorgeous flowers ( so that’s a blue curl…have you thought about sending that red one to the count nature in the area/counties contest people to see if they know what it is?) Always loved that light house. Wondered how Rockport/area was doing -it was a bit overshadowed by Houston’s flooding (from rain, not sea)
    I don’t think anything is more beautiful or peaceful than an old cemetery in the country. Can’t imagine resting any place finer.

    1. You reminded me that I did get an ID for that red one, and I simply forgot to update this post. The name’s there now — Spicy Jatropha, or Peregrina (Jatropha integerrima). All it took was a trip out to Maas with a photo in hand. A couple of the women there took one look and said, “Oh, of course…” It’s native to Cuba, but will do in our region with a little care, and they’ll be getting some in this season. But it’s not recommended for homes with children or pets who might be tempted to nibble on it.

      Rockport certainly fared better than Port Aransas, but they still had a lot to recover from. The Fulton mansion took a pretty bad hit, but there’s funding for restoration now, and the work’s begun. I was intrigued by their approach. You can visit while the work’s being done, with no admission charge, and you get to see the “bones” of the house.

      I didn’t realize until a few years ago that in Texas any burial spot is considered a cemetery, and is protected. Near Goliad, there are three graves in a tiny, triangular bit of land where some roads intersect. They have as many rights and privileges as the Broadway cemeteries, or other significant cemeteries around the state.

  33. A very engaging post from the intriguing title to your adventures at sea and many wonderful photos of the wildflowers and cemetery. I’ve seen very little of Texas, and only on business travel, so I really enjoyed this travelogue, including the cookie-scavenging raccoon.

    1. I hope you have the opportunity to see more of our state some time, preferably on a more relaxed schedule than business travel. I don’t have enough years left to explore everything that’s on my list — not to mention the things that aren’t on my list because I don’t know about them yet. That’s where these cemeteries came in: purely serendipitous discoveries that were filled with delights. I’m glad you enjoyed the report — and the raccoon.

  34. What a long list of comments! Glad you’ve enjoyed your shore and acre travels. :) Love all the pics of the fields of wildflowers. I’d sent my camera away to seek for an opinion on repair, so no more bird pics for a while. I’ve been on a trip too, went back to my birthplace, Hong Kong the past few weeks. Haven’t returned there for over 15 years and O what changes.

    1. People love flowers, Arti, especially after the long, cold, snowy winters some of them have had. I’m so glad you were (presumably) able to escape the end of your winter — what a trip! Do you still have family there? If so, it must have been quite a thrill for them, too.

      An out-of-sorts camera’s no fun. I’ve used a fine repair shop in Houston: a family business that’s been operating for years. They work on film cameras of all sorts (Hasselblad, Pentax, and so on), but not on point-and-shoots. I’ve used them twice, and will need another visit in the medium future to take care of a minor issue that’s draining the battery. As long as I remember to turn it off, all’s well, and I think I know the problem. It will be interesting to see if I actually figured it out.

      I hope you get yours back soon enough to be able to document the spring activity. There are babies galore around here, and I’m sure you’ll have some soon.

  35. I cannot get over how stunningly beautiful your cemeteries are down there. You really brightened my morning. I love the tales of your sailing adventures, too. Being under surveillance is a bit creepy, but being pulled over by Miami Vice-worthy guys sounds like fun!

    1. Being under surveillance was disconcerting, if not downright creepy. On the other hand, at least we were aware that we were being watched. In today’s world, people happily accept gadgets and gizmos that are far more effective at surveilling, and don’t even notice it. There will be no Alexa in my world, thank you very much. I can’t eliminate the intrusiveness entirely, but I certainly can reduce it.

      Now, as for those Miami Vice-like guys — they were pretty impressive. Professional, cute, and friendly, once they figured out we were nothing more than resident cruisers. It’s a great memory.

      This past weekend I went up to the hill country, and found some places that were equally as beautiful as the cemeteries. The bluebonnets are in decline, but other flowers are taking their place, and I was able to get some photos of a changed landscape for a little “compare and contrast.” It’s neat to go back to a given spot and see how different it can be just a few weeks later.

      1. That is neat. I like that too, to see the succession of plants in a given area.

        You’re right about the gadgets that bring surveilance right into people’s homes. I truly cannot understand what people are thinking.

        Hmmm…maybe if I tack my kayak back and forth I too can be pulled over by cute Miami Vice types! :D

        1. If you try it, and it works, of course we want to hear about it — or see it in a painting, perhaps. I can just see a bank filled with reeds or grasses, and a sneaky pair of eyes peering out at the suspicious lady kayaker.

  36. Better late than never, I come to this post full of gorgeous flowers that you have photographed so exquisitely. I don’t know most of them, but I will look them up and see what our counterpart farther west might be, if we have one. The coreopsis I know and have grown…

    As you’ve probably noted, the only cemeteries that I frequent are either the mown-grass type, or very dry and neglected ones whose wildflowers are a challenge to present and frame in a good light for the camera. Even without the flowers, I do love cemeteries and could wander in them for hours, reading and studying the engravings on the markers or headstones, trying to extract stories.

    I haven’t been to Texas, unless you count the airport (I don’t.) I’ve gotten lots of inspiration and encouragement to visit, though, from your blog. Thank you!!

    1. You surely have some lupine species, and I know there’s a native California prickly poppy that looks almost exactly like ours. It may be farther south, though, as it also grows in Arizona — it probably likes that dry climate. On the other hand, some of your natives that I adore don’t do so well here. A friend has tried and tried to grow your native poppies, but after a season, they retreat, and never are seen again.

      If you’re ever inclined to visit Texas, I’d be happy to show you around a bit. On the other hand, I’ve never been to Big Bend or far west Texas. We could meet in the middle, and have fun exploring!

  37. I scrolled with anticipation soon as you said flowers were lapping the benches. At first I thought it was a painting you’d posted! Love the idea of a cemetery rampant with wildflowers.

    1. There are a lot of cemeteries here that allow the wildflowers to run rampant during the spring. They’re not only beautiful, they offer photographers some great, unhurried opportunities to make portraits. And of course people enjoy visiting just for a stroll. Depending on which flowers are blooming, they can fill the air with fragrance, too.

  38. Are a number of cemeteries graced with such abundance of flowers? All we have in this neck of the woods are gravestones and grass. Makes it easier to find the stone you’re looking for, but it would be grand if I had to hunt through a forest of forbs to find it.

    1. Yes, indeed. This year, I managed to get to the East Berlin, Seguin, and Galveston cemeteries, though I missed Floresville and a number of others that I heard about. There always are people who fuss because they prefer things “tidy,” but more and more people are coming to love the flowers. This isn’t the best shot of the Galveston cemetery, but it gives an idea of the expanse of coreopsis and Gaillardia. It’s really kind of amusing; there are several cemeteries clustered together and known collectively as the Broadway cemeteries. Some allow the flowers to bloom, but a couple mow everything down within an inch of its life. The contrast is — interesting.

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