By Janice Brown of On the Grow
It’s time to pay a little homage to one of my favorite signs of spring, the Texas bluebonnet. The sight of this breathtaking flower brings back memories of my mother who made sure we took a trip to Brenham each year to take pictures of the grandkids in the many patches along the road. Afterwards there was always a picnic lunch she’d packed and on the way home, a stop at Dairy Queen for ice-cream. Ah, the simple joys of being a Texan!
Some may wonder what all the fuss is about over this flower. Well botanically speaking, flowers that are a true blue are a rarity in the world of botany. So a flower whose blue is as true as that of the Texas bluebonnet is one to take note. Also, those snowcapped blue wonders are a wildflower so they can be quite prolific on their own, providing the Texas landscape with massive waves of blue rivaling any ocean surf! Not to mention that they are our state flower and literally grow nowhere else on Earth, but in Texas.
Due to our warm winter, the bluebonnets are up and in full bloom extra early, so now is the time to go see them. They are usually out late March – early April, but they are riding the weather roller coaster along with the rest of us Texans and decided they’d better get going before it gets too hot.
If you’re hoping to grow bluebonnets, some garden centers have them for sale. You probably won’t want to buy enough to plant a mass of them, but the reason you want to pick up a few is to get the seeds for next year. The seed pods look a bit like fuzzy green beans because they are actually a part of the legume family. Once the seed pods dry, they begin to pop open, literally making a popping noise! You want to catch the seeds before they pop open if the plant is not where you want more. Pull off the brown, dry seed pods and put the seeds in a paper bag or other breathable container. Save them to plant in September – October of next year.
I know it sounds crazy to plant flower seeds in fall for spring flowers, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did next March. The truth is the seeds need a cold period for the plants to thrive. In September I’ll have a primer for you on how to plant the seeds. While they know what to do on their own in the wild, we humans have to get a little know how to help them along in our backyards.
Meanwhile, take a drive through the quiet highways and byways of Texas in the next couple of weeks to enjoy this Texas treasure. Don’t forget to pick up a few at your local garden center to enjoy now and save seeds for next year. Also remember that it is illegal to pick our Texas state flower, so leave every patch you find just as you found it. I’m sure all the thousands of people, including me and my family will be much obliged for that. Enjoy our Texas spring!
On the Grow is a garden coaching service launched by Janice Brown to teach people how to be successful gardeners in the sometimes difficult, Gulf Coast climate. On the Grow provides garden education for the home gardener, children in outdoor classrooms, neighbors in community gardens, and employees in workplace gardens. Whether you want a new idea for a girls’ night out, a new way to engage children in nature, or want to implement a fresh wellness program in your company, On the Grow is here for you. Your coach will take you step by step teaching you the basics, while presenting you with a fresh perspective by helping you experience the healing benefits of gardening. Our mission at On the Grow is to help everyone experience the joy of a garden and build a greater connection to Mother Earth. Connect with One The Grow on Facebook and Twitter!