Beauty’s Beginning to Blossom
Beauty’s beginning to blossom in the Canyon Lake area, and butterflies will soon alight on everyone’s favorite flower.
Pack a swimsuit for the water fun but bring a camera along for those famous roadside shots of “Texas treats” this Spring.
Bluebonnets, a.k.a. Lupinus texensis , don’t pop up at the same place at the same time from year to year. But as of March 10, sightings have been reported in Canyon Lake, New Braunfels and San Marcos.
Peak season for bluebonnets is typically mid- to late March but don’t overlook this April. Photographers say optimal times for taking images are an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset.
Here’s a link to typical bloom times for bluebonnets and other popular Texas wildflowers.
Here’s a good guide to all Texas wildflowers, and a great place to keep track of sightings.
What Experts Are Saying
According to Texas Wildflower Report, “Based solely on rainfall and average temperatures, I do not see evidence for an above average wildflower season across all of Texas.”
However, Jason Weingart Photography predicts a better-than-average bluebonnet season.
“The drought has been creeping back, but this is Central Texas, so that’s not out of the ordinary. In fact, drought can often reveal some mind blowing bluebonnet fields as river and lake levels drop, allowing seeds to germinate. These plants are very drought resistant,” Weingart poted on his site.
According to WildflowerHaven.com: “Most folks come to Texas to view the fields of blue created by the Texas Bluebonnet. The two main species of bluebonnets that adorn our roadsides and fields in the spring, germinate in the fall and grow to rosettes about the size of the palm of a hand or small salad plate before ‘wintering over’ while building their root systems.
“When the nights begin to warm and the rains return in the spring, the bluebonnet and other wildflowers get the signal to begin their advance into the Texas landscape. If the temperature and rainfall are just right, bluebonnets will start to bloom in late February to early March. Usually only a small percentage of bluebonnet plants will bloom before mid-March. Historically, the peak of the bluebonnet season is between the last week in March through the end of April, but this depends on location in Texas. ”
The state’s foremost expert on Texas wildflowers, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has yet to issue its 2018 Wildflower Forecast.
Driving Around for Bluebonnet Sightings?
Stay safe and know the rules (this is Texas, y’all):
- Texas Department of Public Safety: “Safety Tips for Wildflower Fans” and “Can you Pick the Bluebonnets?” at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/…/media_and_comm…/2014/pr040414.htm
County Laws: Some counties in Texas do not permit stopping along some roads, especially Ranch and Farm to Market roads.
Texas historian Jack Maguire (1920-2000) wrote: “It’s not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat… The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.”
Other colorful plants
Other colorful plants bordering the areas roadsides and the banks of the Guadalupe and Comal rivers are Indian Blanket, Indian Paintbrush, Green Thread, Winecup, and the Square-Bud Primrose, aka “Buttercup.”
Most famous are Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Phlox, Verbena and other colorful flowers.
Visitors to Central Texas over Spring Break also will spot the fragrant, trumpet-shaped yellow blooms of Carolina Jessamine. Other plants blossoming early include Elbow Bush, Golden Groundsel and Agarita. Redbuds are producing pink blossoms.
Over in Guadalupe River State Park in Spring Branch, emerging Antelope-Horns milkweed stems also herald an early spring and the soon return of monarch butterflies from their winter home in Mexico.
Pay a visit to the naturalist who put Texas on the map. New Braunfels’ famed Lindheimer House, was home to Ferdinand Lindheimer, the father of Texas botany who collected over 1,500 species of plans during the 1830s and 40s.
In 1933 the Texas legislature adopted a state flower song, “Bluebonnets,” written by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett.
When the pastures are green in the springtime
And the birds are singing their sonnets,
You may look to the hills and the valleys
And they’re covered with lovely Bluebonnets.
Blue is the emblem of loyalty,
They’re as blue as the deep, deep sea,
Their smiling faces bring gladness,
For they bloom for you and for me.
Bluebonnets, so gorgeous and stately,
In your mantle of blue and of green,
In the spring when you’re in your full glory,
You’re the loveliest sight ever seen.
You’re beautiful when you sway in the sunshine,
You look like waves of the sea,
Ah, Texas was wise in her choice of a flow’r,
So we offer our homage to thee.
Bluebonnets, blue lovely Bluebonnets,
More beautiful than all the rest.
Texas chose you for her flower,
And we love you best, Bluebonnets.
Famed children’s author Tomie de Paolo wrote an award-winning book, The Legend of the Bluebonnet, about a killing drought that threatened the existence of a Comanche tribe.
In it, a courageous little Comanche girl sacrifices her most-beloved possession. The Great Spirit’s answer results not only in much-needed rain but a very special gift in return.
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