By Sylvia Hubilla
Or is it? Texas weather can keep you guessing. There is, however, one very clear predictor that spring has sprung – bluebonnets, the Texas state flower.
“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,” says Jack Maguire, historian.
From mid-March through April and May, these fragrant blooms cover South and North Central Texas in seas of blue in wide, open spaces, and even by roadsides and highways. Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, is credited with seeding the highways of Texas with these beautiful, fragrant wildflowers in varying vibrant hues of blue and blue-violet.
Google describes “Lupinus texensis as a wildflower endemic to Texas. It is an annual plant. Its 6 – 18 inch stems are topped by clusters of up to 50 fragrant, pea-like flowers. The tip of the cluster is conspicuously white.”
Blue bonnets are easy to grow and easier to care for. They thrive in low water, lots of sun, and on rocky, alkaline soil. You will probably spend more hours just enjoying them than caring for them. What’s more, they also attract butterflies! Can anything be more perfect than that?
A word of caution, though. Enjoy the view. Capture the moment. But before you make an attempt to pick the flowers, make sure it is not illegal. There is a lot of discussion, where you can pick them and where you cannot. Some say it is not the picking of the flower that is illegal, but one could cross the line on the laws on trespassing or traffic safety rules.
As spring explodes in many shades of blue in Central Texas, it also signals the beginning of a ritual of sorts.
Families head off to where the bluest bluebonnets are and try to capture the beauty of the moment before it ends all too soon. Selfies, videos, and portraits of babies and pets and families in fields of bluebonnets soon flood the social media, each trying to outdo the other.
This family certainly is no exception. A moment of joy and the beauty of the bluebonnets frozen in time…before it’s gone too soon. Until next spring.