|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?