Bluebonnets and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Bluebonnets and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Bluebonnets and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

If you are crazy for bluebonnets, this is your time of the year! All of the major highways in Texas have been thoughtfully seeded by the Highway Department to give Mother Nature a hand in filling the highways and byways full to the brim with bluebonnets and the other gorgeous wildflowers that we can grow in Texas.

And no, it is not illegal to pick our state flower, the bluebonnet. It is, however, illegal to park on the sides of busy highways and walk that area. The legal community also frowns upon our climbing private fences to approach fields of bluebonnets, albeit for a beautiful photo op. And while there are not too many reports of snakes in fields heavily laden with wildflowers, I would certainly check out the area before sitting my family down for their spring wildflower photo.

The bluebonnet has been loved since man first trod the vast prairies of Texas, according to Jerry Parsons of Texas Cooperative Extension Service. 

“Indians wove fascinating folk tales about them,” he said. “The early-day Spanish priests gathered the seeds and strew them around the missions. This practice gave rise to the myth that the padres had brought the plant from Spain, but this cannot be true since the predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world.”

In our area, think about planting bluebonnets into old whiskey barrels and terracotta pots. Or if you have an area with lots of sun and very good drainage, you can plant a field full of this Texas legend.

Bluebonnet planting time is important. Many of us wait until we see the bluebonnets blooming in fields to begin planting. That is too late. Fall is the time to plant your bluebonnet seeds and transplants. The sooner in the fall the bluebonnet seeds are planted, the better. Root systems of transplants and seeds that are begun in early fall expand more and are able to produce a larger plant by the time spring comes around.

Look for new bluebonnet colors. Yes, they are still bluebonnets if they are not blue. There are new shades of blue and there are white and pink options. The Aggies are continuing their research into red and maroon bluebonnets. A maroon bluebonnet would make any Aggie proud!

As you take a drive in the next few weeks, try driving some of the back roads around Jefferson County and up toward College Station. You will be thrilled with the varieties and quantities of bluebonnets and other wildflowers along the roads. Interstate 10 and highways leading in and out of Southeast Texas have flower-covered fields everywhere.

Want a field trip? You might think about a drive over to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. It is blooming with everything wild! Entrance is $10 for adults, and parking is free. There are visitors who even pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at available picnic tables. If you forget your picnic lunch, a casual café with outdoor seating is easy to find. 

It is just a beautiful time of year to be in Texas.

 

Joette Reger can be reached by e-mail at joreger [at] msn [dot] com and on Facebook at “Gardengate with Joette Reger.”

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