Tag Archives: bees

Springing Along

Brown-eyed Susans (like me!) are abundant.

Brown-eyed Susans (like me!) are abundant.

Now that we’ve finally bid a not-so-fond farewell to winter, the wildflowers in our neighboring master-planned community are flourishing.

Two of my favorite wildflowers

Two of my most-loved wildflowers

I’m happy to report that small patches of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush continue to thrive.



Which means that the little buzzers are sticking around. Which is fine as long as they’re not sticking me!

Indian blankets mix with pink evening primrose.

Indian blankets mix with other blossoms.

Finally showing their lovely orange-yellow blooms are Indian blankets, another favorite wildflower of mine. It always seems like there are no two alike.

The poppies mingle with the pink evening primrose and the red phlox.

A couple poppies mingle with pink evening primrose and red phlox.

New to the scenery are orange and red poppies. They’ve dotted the landscape before, but now they’re out in copious amounts.

Even more poppies

Poppies are plentiful.

Every week it seems like there’s something different to see, which makes me look forward to my exercise even more.

Who knows what this weekend will bring. I can’t wait to find out!

Buzzing Around the Bluebonnets

They’re baaack!

They’re baaack!

As I’ve written many times in this blog, getting up close and personal with my beloved bluebonnets has a distinct downside: Bees love ’em, too. That means that my sting-phobic self battles its nerves to stay as steady as possible while snapping away with my Nikon dSLRs.

Good thing my Nikon 105mm macro lens has a VR (Vibration Reduction) setting!

Checking it out.

Checking it out.

Of course, I’m a fan of bees, because without them we wouldn’t have certain fruits and veggies.

And this one, too.

And this one, too.

But I prefer to shoot solo, thank you very much. I don’t like the little buzzers infringing on my space.

See ya!

See ya! Wouldn’t want to bee ya!

And, apparently, they feel the same way about me!

Let Me Tell You ’Bout . . .

Neal (left) and Adam watch in awe as Eric scores in two.

My younger son’s putt is good for a birdie.

. . . the birdies . . .

(Eric [top] and my younger son [bottom] clang the chains with their second shots during last Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini at the First Colony Aquatic Center; all 18 holes were par 3s.)

Definitely a hazard near one of the baskets

Definitely a hazard near one of the baskets

. . . and the bees!

Late April Update

Still blue and beautiful

Still blue and beautiful

Now that it’s the end of April, it’s time to assess how the nearby wildflowers are doing as we head into Houston’s loooooong, hot summer. So I recently took a nature walk in our neighboring master-planned community to snap a few pics.

First and most importantly, the bluebonnets still are growing and thriving. Unfortunately, the weeds are overgrown around them in many places; I’m hoping that’s some sort of landscaping plan rather than laziness by the maintenance crew.

There’s a lot of pink.

There’s a lot of pink.

Adding to all that blue is an amazing amount of pink, thanks to a bumper crop of evening primrose. These little beauties are all over the place in Houston!

Indian blankets add lovely pops of color.

Indian blankets add lovely pops of color.

I’ve been jogging in this community for about six years, and it’s been interesting how the wildflowers are ever-changing. For example, this is the first time the Indian blankets have been plentiful. That makes me smile, because they’re one of my faves.

However, I’ve yet to see a sunflower. Those have been commonplace the last few years. I guess life is all about trade-offs, even when it comes to nature.

You can never have too much purple.

You can never have too much purple.

A recent returnee along the walking path are foxgloves in different shades of purple.

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

They’re pretty as both a group and individually and are springing up all along the route.

A waspy bee enjoys an Indian blanket.

A waspy bee enjoys an Indian blanket.

One thing that hasn’t changed? Those flippin’ bees! Wherever I go, whatever I do, they seem to think we’re going to go through it together (name that song!)

A bee hovers over a bluebonnet.

A bee hovers over a bluebonnet.

Personally, I’m a solo act.

Brushin’ Up With the Bees

Love seeing all this brilliant red

Love seeing all this brilliant red (can you spot the bee?)

One of my favorite flowers in my neighborhood is the bottlebrush.

Lots of buds means more brushes

Lots of buds means more brushes

During the winter (or what passes as winter for the Houston area), its bushes look just about dead.

Starting to look like a brush

Starting to look like a brush

Then April hits and boom! Buds emerge followed by those lovely, red bristles. You can’t help but touch them.

Starting to fill out

Filling out more

Did you know that the bottlebrush is native to Australia? Wonder how it got all the way to Texas.

“Cover me, I’m going in!”

“Cover me, I’m going in!”

I know that those danged bees definitely are glad it did. They sure were protective of the ones I was shooting, much to my dismay and apiphobia.

It was yet another in my many “brushes” with the pesky, little stingers!

Pretty in Pink

These dwarf azaleas look like mums from a distance.

These dwarf azaleas look like mums from a distance.

Three years ago when I visited Bayou Bend, the only stop along Houston’s annual Azalea Trail that interested me, there definitely was a trail.

But no azaleas.

What a bummer!

Pink on pink azaleas

Pink on pink azaleas

Fortunately, our weather has been kinder this winter. So when I once again broke through my 10-mile comfort radius and made the drive into Houston, I was relieved to see lots and lots and lots of azaleas.

Sidebar: I couldn’t help but laugh when a guy said to his wife and friends, “Yep, there are a lot of pink flowers. And just more of the same the rest of the way.”

Buds bring the promise of more beautiful flowers.

Buds bring the promise of more beautiful flowers.

He definitely was right in his assessment: Pink was the predominant color in the gardens.

The bees were busy, as usual.

The bees were busy, as usual.

Whether it bee azaleas . . . .

The little stingers were all over the place.

The little stingers were all over the place.

Or camellias . . . .

Love how the sunlight hit these just right.

Love how the sunlight makes these glow from inside.

Tulips . . . .

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is, but it sure is pretty.

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is, but it sure is pretty.

Or even the budding trees, that lighter shade of red made it seem kind of like Valentine’s Day (in a very feminine way).

The heart looks ghastly!

The heart looks creepy!

I think that Cupid was tickled pink!

High Flyers and Low Crawlers

Can you find the caterpillar among the bluebonnets?

It’s been a fun week bringing to the blog a taste of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Butterflies love Indian paintbrush.

From wildflowers to cacti to sculptures to out-of-focus hummingbirds, the Austin venue has something for all nature lovers. Including different kinds of critters.

A turtle ignores me.

Turtles swim silently in a small pond near the entrance.

A chrysalis harbors new life.

Chrysalises hang on in screened eclosion boxes where they’re safe from predators.

Silk moth caterpillars hang out on leaves.

An insectary houses caterpillars that will develop into silk moths. I’d never seen so many of the little crawlers in one place before.

A bee hovers over Wright’s skullcap flowers.

My experience with wildflowers has been that beasts usually accompany the beauty. Most of the varmints have been bees, of course, who like the flowers as much as I do.

Is the bee reading the informative sign?

Looks like they want to learn more, too!

UTSA’s Wildflowers Wow Me

Photos don’t do the wildflowers justice! It’s best to see them in person.

When I decided to make a solo, one-day visit to see my older son in San Antonio last Saturday, I had four goals in mind.

Phlox show off their purpleness.

The first, of course, was to see my handsome collegian at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Even though he had been home a mere week ago during spring break, I never turn down the chance to spend time with my blue-eyed boy.

Here’s more purple!

Second, we both read “The Hunger Games” a month ago and wanted to see the movie together. It’s so much easier discussing the pros and cons of the film with someone who also enjoyed the novel.

Bluebonnets and lily-like wildflowers go together.

Third, we wanted to check out off-campus housing for the fall. Even though we weren’t able to tour our first choice, we saw it from outside and liked it. Good-bye, dorm!

A small bee flies near a coreopsis.

And, finally, I figured that Texas’ recent abundant rains had produced a bountiful crop of wildflowers. I hoped my Nikon 105mm macro lens would get a workout.

A bokeh’d Indian blanket background surrounds a lone bluebonnet.

Which, of course, it did! After I dropped my son back at his dorm in the early afternoon, I was curious to see what kinds of wildflowers were blooming on the UTSA campus.

A bee enjoys an Indian blanket.

Along a road behind the dorms, the grounds were bursting with beauty! Indian blankets, bluebonnets, coreopsis, and more fought for my lens’ attention.

Which Indian blanket will the bee pick?

Naturally, something else mirrored my wildflower love: Those darned, stinkin’ bees. As always, I moved in as close as possible, shot fast, and quickly walked away before the little buzzers could target me.

Thistle pollen covers a bee.

After about a half hour, I was ready to continue my drive back to Houston, where more of my state’s natural beauty distracted me until I just had to stop and shoot.

Which I’ll share in Thursday’s blog!

Bluebonnets Are Busting Out All Over!

Beauty as far as the eye can see.

Remember that drought the Houston area suffered through last year?

Loads of bluebonnets

We’ve had plenty of rain so far in 2012. That precipitation blessing has been returned in the form of a gorgeous blanket of bluish-purple. In other words, bluebonnets are plentiful in our neighboring community.

A bee has its pick of posies.

Of course, the bees love Texas’ state flower, too.

Two bees for the price of one photo—can you spot both of them?

I’m glad we share that flower-power love, but bees turn me into the quickest photographer in the southwest. I do not want to get stung! Can’t blame the little stingers, though—the bluebonnets are un-bee-lievably bee-utiful!

Love those Indian Blankets, too.

These are purty, too!!

Has Spring Sprung?

What a day brightener!

The end of February rolling into the beginning of March is my favorite time of year in the Houston area. The temperatures are warming (lows are more often around 60 degrees now) . . . .

Is it purple or blue?

. . . and the wildflowers are starting to kick up their heels! Or could that be their seedlings?

Bluebonnet bokeh fun!

No matter how you look at it, it’s bluebonnet season! Our state purple-blue wildflower is blooming in our neighboring master-planned community where I do long runs. After my Sunday-morning workout, I returned in the afternoon to shoot and marvel at all that bluebonnet beauty.

Oh, how I love Texas’ bluebonnets!

A bee gets busy (as a . . .).

The bees seem to agree!