Springtime in Texas means warm weather, cool nights and of course beautiful wildflowers. This year’s wildflower season has already shown great signs and field researchers believe that it will only get better.
Many factors come into play that determines how healthy the springtime bloom will be. However, weather conditions for the proceeding fall seem to play the largest part. This past fall saw a good amount of rain, allowing seedlings to take hold properly. Following that, a warm winter ensured the survival of many of the seeds. These conditions have led to an early bloom for many Texas wildflowers.
Horticulturist Andrea DeLong-Amaya said that the iconic Texas bluebonnet has been particularly affected by these conditions. Typically for central Texas, the flower begins blooming in mid-March and lasts until about Mother’s Day. This year, reports showed the Bluebonnets starting to bloom as early as February.
Along with the luscious patches of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes have started filling Texas roadsides. The quality of these early season flowers can be used to determine the quality flowers like winecups, pink evening primrose and Indian blanket which all bloom a little later in the season.
Aspiring photographers looking to capture these flowers on film don’t have to go much further than the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. For the more adventurous, large blooms have been spotted along Highways 71 and 281. Thanks to the early blooms this year, you may want to be on the lookout for interesting wildflower combinations that may be rarer during slower seasons.
During such a healthy season it is easy to forget that these flowers still need to be protected. With large industrial projects like the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and SMART Terminal potentially coming to Hays County, protecting native plant species is more important than ever.
“A lot of the time when you see a disturbed sight you end up getting a lot of weeds coming up instead of the native plants that were there before,” DeLong-Amaya said. “Especially if any soil is being imported or if any equipment has weed seeds on them.”
For anybody wanting to help preserve the native flowers, DeLong-Amaya said that spreading seeds on disturbed areas is a great way to help out. You can also allow flowers that already bloom naturally live out their full life cycle before mowing. Respecting our local plant life and allowing it to live naturally is the easiest way to ensure the healthy bloom of future seasons.
Featured image by Hunter Buttner.