An extravaganza of bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers

An extravaganza of bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers

March 15, 2024

Texas bluebonnets are coloring fields and roadsides a month early this year, and they’re already at peak in certain areas. I follow Facebook page Texas Wildflower Report each spring to learn where good fields have been spotted. And so when I found myself with a free afternoon on Wednesday, I grabbed my camera, hopped in the car, and swung through downtown Austin to pick up my husband from a SXSW event. Then we drove southwest to tiny Marion and New Berlin, about 30 miles east of San Antonio, to see what we could find along the back roads.

We found a motherlode of bluebonnets in Marion.

Their sweet scent on the warm breeze made me remember other good years for wildflower safaris.

Next we spotted a few Oreo cows — Belted Galloways — grazing in a field. A furry calf was curious about us as I snapped some photos.

His mom was obviously used to the paparazzi.

More denim-blue fields appeared.

This bluebonnet road was on private property, so I just enjoyed the view from outside the fence. That’s the cardinal rule of wildflower peeping in Texas: you stay on the public right-of-way, and no traipsing through the flowers. Pick them only with your eyes. Bring them home only on your camera.

When we reached New Berlin, we found some colorful fields.

Yellow coreopsis (I think) makes the bluebonnets even bluer and the Texas paintbrush even redder.

Such a pretty combo

Horses and wildflowers — another good combo

In this excellent field, paintbrush and bluebonnets appeared in long, rolling waves.

Indian paintbrush

One more

A longer view

Wild phlox added a purple streak here and there.

Phlox, paintbrush, bluebonnets, and a few golden groundsel for good measure

Here and there, a single white prickly poppy


What a beautiful view this country home enjoys.

Golden groundsel standing tall with phlox and Indian paintbrush

More phlox and golden groundsel

Just before sunset, the sun punched a hole in the clouds and beamed down searchlight rays. It almost stole the show from the wildflowers.

What a celebration of earth and sky.

And what a perfect afternoon for wildflower watching!

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Digging Deeper

March 16: Attend the third annual Budding Out Plant Sale & Festival on 3/16 at the John Fairey Garden in Hempstead. Rare and distinctive plants from the garden’s nursery and from select plant vendors will be for sale. Additional offerings include art, ceramics, jewelry, food, music, and presentations. Admission: $5 for members, $10 for non-members, children under 12 free. Hours: 10 am to 4 pm; members get early admission at 9 am (memberships available on day of event).

March 30-31: Come see the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Show at Zilker Botanical Garden on 3/30 and 3/31, from 10 am to 5 pm. Includes a plant show with specimen cacti and succulents, handcrafted pottery, daily silent auction and hourly plant raffles, and expert advice. Admission is included with paid admission to Zilker Garden, $5 to $8 for adults, $3 to $4 for children (under 2 free).

April 6: Come out to Austin’s Mayfield Park on 4/6 for the Mayfield Park Gardening Symposium & Fundraiser, 8:30 to 11 am. This annual benefit for the park includes a raffle, plant sale, and garden speakers.

May 4: Explore “brilliant backyards, perfect pools and pergolas, and outdoor rooms and gardens” on the ATX Outdoor Living Tour on 5/4, 10 am to 3 pm. Landscape architects, designers, and builders will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for kids age 10-17.

May 11: Save the date for Austin Home’s Great Outdoors Tour on 5/11.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and around Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Garden Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come learn about gardening and design at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, authors, and gardeners a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Stay tuned for more info!

All material © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.


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