There are a few times of the year that make a person especially happy they live in Texas. We are smack dab in the middle of one of them–Bluebonnet Season. The state flower of Texas is an ephemeral little blossom that makes a spectacular appearance once a year, usually from the end of March to the middle of April.
This ignites weekend pilgrimages of minivans and SUVs to the Texas Hill Country in search of them. You never know from year to year what the crop will look like–conditions over the winter have to be just right for them to put on their best show. Some years they are puny, other years they are breathtaking. But the annual hunt for them is serious business. For proof of this, one need look no further than the Bluebonnet Status Update Facebook page. 🙂 I’d like to share a little bit with you about why Texans love bluebonnets.
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and a little blue wildflower that grows prolifically in parts of the state in the spring. You simply cannot claim Texas citizenship unless you have pictures of yourself as a baby plopped down in a field of bluebonnets. And if you missed the opportunity as a baby, you must rectify this as soon as possible by taking copious amounts of photos of you as an adult in a sea of blue to show you are committed to this rite of passage. 🙂
There are festivals devoted to the blooming of the bluebonnets. Our favorite is in Chappell Hill, Texas. They have a whole Facebook page dedicated to the upcoming events.
We have President Lyndon Johnson’s wife Lady Bird to thank for our vast fields of wildflowers. When she was First Lady, she made it her mission to beautify the roadways by planting wildflowers. The great thing is thanks to seeds flying everywhere and pollination, you can find beautiful wildflowers everywhere. They grow along the embankments by the airport in Houston, and in fields everywhere. I took this picture of one of the fields in my neighborhood.
A historian once said of the bluebonnet: “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.”
So in late March, you give the kids a bath, dress them up and head out on the open road on your quest. We have done this every year that I can remember. When my daughter is home from college for spring break, the list of activities always involves a hunt for bluebonnets. She was home last week and they weren’t quite ready yet. But reports are starting to come in that they have started.
My husband has one of those internal GPS brains that know how to head off the beaten path and still get back where we need to be. I, on the other hand, get lost coming home from the grocery store. 🙂 So he is essential to have along when hunting bluebonnets. As such, we have discovered many wonderful things in Texas others might miss. One year we found an old Masonic cemetery with members of Davy Crockett’s and William Travis’s family resting in peace. Last year we ended up in Independence, Texas, where Sam Houston once resided, and where Baylor University got its start. The ruins of the original school remain.
You get to see cool stuff like this.
And these guys.
(That’s a lot of cow stink eye.) 🙂 These two look a bit more chill.
Pet wildflower pics are as important as baby pics. 🙂
Boots are also a favorite thing to take pictures of in the bluebonnets. We took this picture of our boots and used it as our Christmas card when we moved back to Texas from Virginia.
Bluebonnets have a little help creating their beautiful spring palette over the Texas countryside. Another flower that grows alongside them is the Indian Paintbrush. This is a reddish flower that is similar in shape to the bluebonnet.
They grow in fields of their own and together with bluebonnets.
Bluebonnets make everything look better.
And winding roads.
Bluebonnets are best enjoyed up close. Just get right in there!
Every time we go out looking for bluebonnets it makes me happy to see so much unspoiled scenery. Stuff we haven’t messed up yet. The crowds of people out looking for them those few weekends in March and April makes me think I’m not the only one who feels this way.
If you want to see bluebonnets for yourself, there are some tried and true places to go for the best chance of seeing a good crop. I can’t speak for my neighbors in northern Texas, but in our part of Texas, the best places include:
Chappell Hill, Texas: Pretty much the epicenter of all bluebonnet activity. They host the Bluebonnet Festival every year in April.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park: This place is worth a visit any time of year, as it is the “birthplace of Texas” where Texas declared its independence. It remains one of my favorite school field trips from when my daughter was in grade school. But it is especially beautiful during bluebonnet season.
Navasota, Texas: A lovely little town with Victorian homes and an annual Blues, Bluebonnets and BBQ Festival in April. Navasota is on the way to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
If you want to come see our bluebonnets, there are a few rules:
- Don’t ever enter someone’s private property to take pictures even if their bluebonnets are spectacular.
- Park safely off the side of the road if you see a patch you can’t pass up and have to stop to take pictures.
- Always check around for snakes and fire ants before sitting little ones on the ground for pictures. Or anyone, for that matter. 🙂
- Don’t pick the bluebonnets. They are the state flower, and though it is not illegal to pick them, please don’t do it. Leave them in all their glory for everyone to enjoy.
So if you can’t make it down here for this year’s crop, make a plan to come next year. Come see these little blossoms for yourself and I think you will quickly come to understand why Texans love bluebonnets. There’s nothing like them anywhere else. 🙂
If you have any questions or you know of a great bluebonnet spot, let me know in the comments. And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!