In late March or April we see millions of our state flower popping up their glorious bonnie-blue heads in pastures, roadsides, and even ditches throughout the Texas Hill Country. This, my friends, is our Texas harbinger of spring. And, most of us want to get up close and personal with bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers to really appreciate and share in their showy, multihued splendor. So, we take a road trip.
THE BUFFALO, WOLF AND RABBIT
Near the end of March through late May, the queens of the Texas wildflowers emerge. The bluebonnet, genus Lupinas, is also known as buffalo clover, wolf flower and by its Mexican name of el conejo (the rabbit). But bluebonnets are only Act 1. Shortly after they herald springtime’s arrival, reddish orange spikes of Indian paintbrushes and colorful red and yellow Indian blankets or fire wheels appear, along with soft pink evening primroses, deep gold coreopsis and rich, reddish-purple wine cups. And, we’ve only just begun listing the spring wildflowers we adore.
And, in case you’re wondering, it’s not illegal to pick bluebonnets or other wildflowers. It is, however, illegal to trespass on private land. And, it’s good wildflower etiquette to be gentle with the flowers as we carefully squat in the brilliant clusters for our prized family photos and Easter pictures. We’re reminded that bluebonnets and other wildflowers are annuals that must go to seed to re-bloom next spring.
THE TEXAS WILDFLOWER HOTLINE
So, how do Texans keep up with the flower blooms and know when to plan their annual treks? Texas has a wildflower hotline with recordings of locations and bloom information for the magnificent wildflowers viewed by thousands of visitors wanting to witness this display of nature firsthand. The TXDOT Wildflower Hotline is 800-452-9292. It’s also notable that the TXDOT spreads more than 33,000 pounds of dozens of varieties of wildflower seeds along Texas highways each year. Thank you Lady Bird!
LADY BIRD AND HER FLOWERS
Lady Bird Johnson’s quest to populate Texas with more wildflowers began in the Texas Hill Country. As the wife of the 36th President, she worked on a state and national level to beautify Texas roads and conserve and preserve the natural landscapes that exist. She also founded the Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin in the early 1980s, though it was originally the National Wildflower Research Center.
Johnson City claims to be the wildflower capital of the Hill Country. And, they walk their talk by having an annual month-long Wildflower Days festival in April – just after the Texas State Men’s Chili Cook-off and BBQ Championship (also free to the public). Last year there was a town-wide wildflower decorating contest as well.
THE BEST BLUEBONNET & WILDFLOWER CLAIMS
The self-guided Hill Country Wildflower Loop maps are available at many businesses in Johnson City as well as at the Chamber / Visitor’s Center. This popular loop involves roads winding through the towns of Johnson City, Blanco, Stonewall, Luckenbach, Willow City, and Round Mountain to name a few. We’ve heard the Willow City Loop, a subpart of the map near Fredericksburg, is often touted by local residents as the best of the best. The area around Willow City is geologically very old and has breathtaking rugged beauty, especially when accessorized by colorful swaths of living color.
Several other Hill Country towns claim to be the wildflower or bluebonnet capitals of Texas and many have scenic drives to offer as well. We say try them all! The Highland Lakes’ Bluebonnet Trail includes Burnet, Llano, Lampasas, Kingsland and Marble Falls. Burnet has a bluebonnet festival, too. Another popular drive is outside of Kerrville on Texas Highway 16 toward Medina. But, part of the serendipity of the wildflower quest trying to discover where that perfect patch of flowers will be found.
Just east of Fredericksburg is the Wildseed Wildflower Farm, featuring 200 acres of wildflowers in various stages of growth. They have walking trails, butterfly gardens, pick-your-own bouquets, and many local products for sale, including wildflowers. They also have a Biergarten with wine tastings and light food. There’s no charge to walk around and admire or photograph the flowers. Wildseed is open year-round, though April is the month most of the fields are in full blooming splendor.
TEXAS HILL COUNTRY LAND
If while driving the scenic back roads and viewing the beautiful wildflowers you decide to search for Texas Hill Country land for sale, you might want to check out Belvedere on Hamilton Pool Road. Belvedere is a community of custom homes on 1-3–acre sites with sweeping vistas of the Hill Country around Austin. It includes an 80-acre nature preserve. This gated, upscale community offers a state of belonging and cheerful well-being.
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Belvedere on Hamilton Pool Road is surrounded by gorgeous wildflowers every spring and summer. Belvedere is a community of custom homes on 1-3–acre sites featuring an 80-acre nature preserve, fishing pond, and lazy river pool. This gated, upscale community offers a state of belonging and cheerful well-being. Visit us on Belvedere’s website, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.