Tip-toeing through the wildflowers

Spring is a fickle season around the ranch

Back in the States, we always heard that the spring equinox fell on March 21, give a day or two, and April showers punctually brought May flowers. The safe setout day for spindly seedlings grown indoors was around mid-May in the Chicago area, though if you didn’t want to risk a cold snap or errant snowfall killing your babies—and your winter dreams of a lush garden—it was best to wait until mid-May or even Memorial Day.  

Astronomy works pretty much the same in this part of Mexico as it does in Chicago, but the actual seasons do not. In May, some prickly pears may be setting flowers along with the jarrilla, a wild bush with yellow flowers, but the ground is still dry, and the grass brownish and brittle to the step. It may be downright hot outside and there are no signs of rain yet. 

But now, after some tentative rainfall—may we get much more before the rainy season is over!—the grass is bright green and dewy, and after a morning walk on the ranch, your shoes are wet and muddy. Temperatures are a mild 70-something at noon, and in the 50s at night, the air brisk. Perfect weather. 

And the most beautiful part of this spring-in-August phenomenon are the wildflowers, most tiny and timid, barely poking through the wet, invigorated grass, some larger and bolder, all ready to delight you if you just keep your eyes on the ground. 

A week ago I went out and took pictures of these little gems and tried to identify them using a small book I’d bought, shortly after we moved to San Miguel, called “Flores Silvestres de San Miguel de Allende,” by Richard Cretcher. 

I picked out the names of a few, but why bother? It’s best to just enjoy the spectacle, these flowers are all dazzling in their own way. And what better way to spend this time under house arrest, waiting for the coronavirus to leave us alone. 

Toritos or “little bulls”, or Ram’s horn in English. 

Estrella, or “star” or Mexican Star, which shines all by its lonesome self. 

Cola de caballo or Horse’s tail? Maybe some type of morning glory?

This yellow number peeks from behind the leaf of a striped agave. 
These neon-red flowers called “bat face” are not really wild. I planted them
two years ago, but last year didn’t come up at all. Now they are back. 

This is actually a beautiful blue butterfly, taking a rest. 

A star jasmine plant that had almost died in a pot on the terrace. Félix 

moved it and tied it to a huizache bush, where’s lived happily ever since. 

A perennial Mexican sunflower that I grew from seeds from the U.S. 

These tiny blue flowers. growing like beads on a rosary, 

are barely a half-inch in diameter but their markings
are incredibly intricate. Look closely and make sure you
don’t step on them. 

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