Welcome!Gypsy TourTexasWildflowers & Butterflies

 

Texas’ wildflowers are legendary, so naturally we were disappointed when the display was almost non existent due to drought conditions. It broke our hearts when folks kept telling us that the hills, roadsides and fields around Fredericksburg were usually carpeted with bluebonnets. We probably looked foolish taking pictures of any bluebonnet we could spot, no matter how puny.


Wildflowers and Butterflies

The countryside surrounding Fredericksburg is gorgeous … filled with live oaks, peach stands (a third of Texas peaches are grown here) angora goat ranches (Texas produces 97 percent of all U.S. mohair), wineries with stately tasting rooms, and the states only class II pari-mutuel horse racing tract (at the turn of the century the worlds best thoroughbred horses were raised here).

We got our wildflower fix just a few miles from Fredericksburg at the Wildseed Farms & Market Center …  the largest working wildflower farm in the country.

Even though the elusive bluebonnet wasn’t in bloom, we quickly consoled ourselves with the acres of Larkspur.

Corn Poppies offered a cheerful and dazzling display of color.


One unique feature at the farm is the Butterfly Haus … an enclosed butterfly habitat that includes nectar and larval plants for more than 25 native butterfly species. This one is a Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonia).

It was quite an experience to see so many butterflies swooping and fluttering amid the array of flowering plants. Danny jumped in and joined the crowd of shutter bugs attempting to get that award winning nature photo. This Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) seemed to enjoy posing for us.

This butterfly ... which we think is a Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia) ... offered a visual contrast to the colorful Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata). You can click here for a larger look.

This one seemed a bit chewed up!

You can click here for a bigger view.

All of these photos were Danny's first attempt to photograph butterflies with his new camera (Nikon D300) and shot with a standard zoom lens (Nikkor 17-55). Now he's lusting after a new macro lens. Boys and their toys ... it's always something!

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Butterflies are self propelled flowers.

— Robert H. Heinlein —