The magic of Spring

The magic of spring is all around us. What a joy to see the profuse colors along our highways and in our neighbor’s yards. It has been wonderful to drive into Brady and on our county roads lately. Our neighboring rancher’s fields are all in bloom with some spectacular colors. I have come to love this area and the natural beauty it has to offer. The wildflowers across Texas are so diverse in different zones. The Bluebonnet’we all know and love’is our Texas state flower. Our Master Gardeners Association studied a bit about this beautiful flower when we went on a tour of the Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg. I learned that as our state flower, the bluebonnets have a most interesting history. In 1901, the state Legislature came to choose our floral emblem. After 70 years, in 1971, the Legislature chose all the species of the lupines as our state flowers. Interestingly enough, there are five state flowers. The Lupinus sub camosus’this is the champion and still holder of the title’grows naturally in deep, sandy loams from Leon County to Laselle County. Lupinus texensis is the favorite of tourists and artists. It provides the blue spring carpet of Central Texas. The Lupinus havardii is known widely in the Big Ben area with huge flowering spikes that grow up to three feet in height. The Lupinus concinnus is a little guy that grows from two to seven inches with flowers that resemble many elements of the other flora. Some will be white, rose and lavender’this is commonly known as the annual lupine. It is found around the Trans-Pecos region. The last, but not the least, is the Lupinus plattensis. This bluebonnet is seen north into the Texas Panhandle and it is the only one that grows to about two feet tall. Now who’s to say that they aren’t bigger and better in Texas’ We have to realize the natural beauty in the Plains verbena. It has the purple shade that shows a good color. There have been many hybrids made available, as I’ve seen a red variety on the market now. The Indian paintbrushes here are so beautiful. I am surprised to see such a good variety of colors here as well’ranging from hot pink to orange-red and yellow to a soft color of white. Now I know the ranchers know about the most prevalent wildflower, Broom weed. It is also in our pastures and along our roadsides, and with its tiny nugget-sized flowers, it looks like sheer gold against the green pastures. It is considered a pest, but it is a blessing to the bee keepers. The evening primrose is a hardy, upright perennial that is also a native. The flower petals are soft pink and make the transition to glistening white toward the center. These flowers only open early in the morning, lasting only a single day. I hope that you desire to learn more about our native plants or the plants that are popping up around you. Take the time to enjoy and learn some or all of the names of the native wildflowers that we have here in our great state. Of course, I just briefly touched on a few of the many wonderful species that we can call our own. If you have any questions about plants or gardening, please call the McCulloch County Extension Office at 597-1295 each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a Central Texas Master Gardener Association intern will be happy to provide the answer.

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