Courtesy of Travel Texas
Photo by Shutterstock
Texas bluebonnets and other wildflowers are starting to bloom throughout central Texas this month.
Wildflower experts say all that snow and ice ended up insulating Texas bluebonnets.
After winter storms left millions of Texans without electricity or heat in mid-February, nature has something much brighter in store for the state this spring.
“Bluebonnets are starting to show up in small patches along roadsides and in meadows and fields,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of Horticulture at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, on March 25. “The nice rain earlier this week will surely push things along.”
In fact, all the wet weather this winter will likely contribute to a more colorful than usual wildflower season in Texas this year, according to Jason Singhurst, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanist.
“Most native perennial or biennial plants such as bluebonnets fared just fine under the insulated snow and ice,” Singhurst said in a statement in mid-March. As long as Texas continues to get steady rain and temperatures stay in the mid-80s or below through April, “it should be a great Texas bluebonnet spring,” he said.
Here’s what else we know about when and where to enjoy Texas wildflowers in 2021.
The typical peak of Texas bluebonnet season runs from the end of March and goes through mid-April. With flowers already starting to appear, the 2021 season is expected to follow this regular schedule.
You can find Texas bluebonnets throughout the state thanks to people who have seeded them on their own. However, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, these purple-hued wildflowers are native to the Hill Country and the Blackland Prairie Ecoregions in central Texas.
They’re also a great flower to spot on Texas road trips since they often start blooming along Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Houston. Eventually, you’ll find them farther north in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, too. Over in the far western part of the state, Chisos bluebonnets have been known to put on a show in Big Bend National Park some years, often growing up to three feet high.
DeLong-Amaya says she’s also noticed several other varieties of wildflowers starting to bloom around central Texas this season, including windflower, giant spiderwort, large buttercup, phlox, Texas toadflax, crow poison, baby blue eyes, and dewberry.
“Redbuds, Mexican buckeye, and plums are also happening,” she said.
In central Texas, Singhurst says people can anticipate seeing Engelmann’s daisy, Blackfoot daisy, Drummond’s skullcap, Lindheimer’s paintbrush, Missouri primrose, prairie fleabane, and many others this season, too.
If you’d like to take a socially distanced Texas wildflower road trip this spring, it’s worth noting Texas lifted its state-wide mask mandate and reopened all businesses at 100 percent capacity earlier in March. However, these hotels in central Texas are continuing to screen guests and staff for COVID-19 symptoms and offer plenty of outdoor space to spread out.
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Just because most Texas Hill Country road trips start in Austin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors before you head out into the remote countryside. In fact, it’s easy to forget you’re just a 10-minute drive from downtown Austin at the Commodore Perry Estate, which opened last summer as part of the Auberge Resorts Collection. Set on 10 acres with expansive formal gardens, the estate was built in 1928 as a family home for Austin businessman Edgar “Commodore” Perry. Now guests can check into any of the five suites inside the original mansion or the 49 rooms and suites at the newly built inn adjacent to the historic home.
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With just 32 rooms—including 16 stand-alone cabins—the JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa offers 13,000 acres for guests to enjoy in the heart of Texas Hill Country about a three-hour drive west of Austin. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the extensive wildflower fields on horseback or ATV during the day, but the staff can also set up a private sunset picnic if you’d rather pair your blooms with a glass of wine.
The Texas Wildflower Watch Instagram account—run by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—collects audience-submitted current native wildflowers throughout the season using the hashtag #TXWildflowers2021. In early March, photos of violets, Mexican plum, and trout lilies have all made appearances on the feed. A week ago, it posted the first bluebonnets of the season, which are starting to appear more frequently in the hashtag.
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