Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Blue Texas

Bluebonnets in Houston's Terry Hershey Park

Come spring, Texans pile into cars and trucks and hunt down stands of bluebonnets in fields, parks, and alongside highways, where the Texas Department of Transportation sows seeds. In fact, TxDOT's website includes a regularly updated map that shows where wildflowers like bluebonnets can be found

It's a tradition for parents to photograph little ones sitting, running, or playing among bluebonnets. As soon as the perfect shot is taken, though, the parents must brush off the kids to whisk away fire ants and other pests. Spring in the Lone Star state may carry a sting.

Texas schoolchildren learn the "Please Don't Pick the Bluebonnets" message. If the flowers survive long enough to broadcast their seed, we'll get a glorious show of color next year. Of course, Mother Nature has to cooperate with rain and the right temperature. It helps, too, that municipalities and individuals join TxDOT in sowing seeds.

Here in southeast Texas, winters are mild, so bluebonnets don't signal the end of bitter cold. Why then do Texans so look forward to them? I can think of at least three reasons. One, the flowers are pretty, perky, and a striking shade of blue. Two, the legend of bluebonnets' start in Texas begins with the little Comanche girl who gave up her prized possession to end a drought. Not only is the little girl's story touching, but the specter of drought is as pertinent today as it was then. Finally, spring is outstanding in southeast Texas, and the bluebonnet reminds us to stop and savor the season. The blistering heat of summer is around the corner, so we have to wring every bit of enjoyment out of balmy temperatures, the sight of trees in bud, and, of course, those bluebonnets.

Here's a charming article about Texans' fascination with bluebonnets by the Houston Chronicle's Kyrie C'Connor. 

Texans aren't the only ones in stalking a favorite blossom. Here, Melinda Van Lone writes of her quest to see and photograph Washington D.C.'s cherry blossoms

What's the weather like in your part of the world? Does your area boast an iconic spring blossom? If so, what is it? 


Jennette Marie Powell said...

In the space of one week, the weather here in OH has gone from < 30° to 80! Of course, the latter came with rain. My suburb's official flower is the yellow marigold, and the city encourages people to plant them, but they're hardly iconic. Enjoy your spring!

Anonymous said...

We get Cherry Blossoms and sometimes in large cities not known for being "lovely".

Wasn't aware of the blue bonnets in Texas - only been in that State a few times, mostly Houston. Have experienced Springtime there on a few occasions and it was very nice. Never had the pleasure of experiencing a Houston summer yet.

- Pat

Lark Howard said...

Except for a chilly evening last night and a cold rainy morning today, I'm loving our Spring weather. Hope you're getting our and enjoying it, too, Pat!

Coleen Patrick said...

Those blue bonnets are so pretty. Around here we have lots of Dogwood trees-pink and white. :) We finally got spring weather here this week but the weather started showing off when we hit 91 yesterday!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hardly iconic? Don't dis the marigold, Jennette.

Whoa! A fifty degree hike in temperature? How do you decide what to wear for work in the morning?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Pat,
Unlovely cities often have other things going for them. Houston is not lovely, but it is diverse, tolerant, business-friendly, arts-oriented, food-centric. That said, I wouldn't mind a few more cherry blossoms.

Keep avoiding Houston in summer. Spring, late fall, and winter are nice here. This spring, though, is particularly stunning.

Hope you get to stalk cherry blossoms this weekend.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Lark! Isn't this an awesome spring. I couldn't even complain about the rain because we need it so. I guess you've been driving with the convertible top down, huh.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Ninety-one? That's more than showing off, Coleen, that's in-you-face flaunting. So how do you dress for weather like that? Do you pick out one cool-weather outfit and one hot-weather one and see what the day brings?

I like Dogwoods.

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