Friday, April 18, 2014

Unexpected beauty

This is the first post I've written that isn't about my own garden. Strictly speaking, it's not about a garden at all.

On the way out of my mostly lovely neighborhood, there's a partly abandoned strip of commercial properties. The Hilton Garden Inn is still there, along with Bone Daddy's, a couple of convenience store/gas stations, and a small strip mall. For years, two vacant restaurants and a former gas station turned used car lot have been the eyesores of the neighborhood.

This past fall, we heard exciting news that a Pappadeaux restaurant is in the works. Construction crews razed one of the existing vacant restaurant buildings and converted an adjacent lot to a parking lot. All of this took several months, and so far, I haven't seen any work started on the new restaurant. So it goes with building projects, I suppose. My neighbors and I eagerly await a gourmet restaurant within walking distance.

As I drove by recently, I noticed a line of bright white flowers peaking over the construction fence, seeming to gawk back at the neighbors eyeing the lot. I thought they might be prickly poppies. Today I pulled over for a closer look.

My plant identification skills are novice at best, but I think this is White Prickly Poppy. There are a bunch of them, about 3-4' tall.

Several bluebonnets have popped up, too. I love that the official state flower so quickly reclaimed this land, in a matter of mere months.

Prairie Verbena shows up, too, along with several other yellow-flowered species I did not recognize.

The girls and I will keep watching this property, and when those bluebonnet seed pods dry out, I am going over there to grab them. I'm no expert in seed collection either, but it's worth a shot.

Before we know it, this land will be capped with a building again, but for now, nature has reclaimed it.


  1. Lovely photos--it's always nice to see wildflowers.

  2. Thanks, Tina! They truly are survivors, aren't they?

  3. I have this weird obsession with natural disaster shows. I love watching documentaries about tornadoes and tsunamis and earthquakes. It's not because I'm morbid, but for the same reason you listed above... I love that nature will overcome humans eventually... no matter how badly we screw it all up.

  4. Julie, I used to have a recurring dream about seeing miles and miles of elevated bridges, like the ones over the Louisiana bayous, crumbling and covered with vines and plants, with birds darting about everywhere, beginning to get swallowed back up into nature. It wasn't a scary dream, it was somehow exhilarating. Nature can outlast us, for sure.

    I also like that we have this unique opportunity to gently shape the nature around us. I wonder what could be our lasting positive legacy.

  5. I like your plan to bring wildflowers into your yard, especially those that will be flattened by construction. We have a spot like that nearby and I've been bringing plants in for several years now. After the first few years some I didn't even pick invited themselves to the party. Get those bluebonnet seeds just as the pods brown, if you wait until they dry they might drop.

  6. Thank you, Shirley! I was wondering when exactly to gather the seed pods. Should be any day now...