CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The beginning of Spring means the return of the Texas State Bluebonnet flowers, but as April approaches, the bloom seems to be taking longer than usual this year.
Local experts say that the weather is to blame, and could prevent a full bloom, but there is still time for the iconic flower to shine.
"Usually, by the middle of March they are in full bloom. This year they seem to be a little bit late," said Michael Womack, Executive Director of the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.
Womack says the Bluebonnets are usually in full bloom by now, but cold weather and a lack of rain are to blame for limited growth, "Since we're in a drought this year, we don't have a whole lot of flowering. Next year, you're probably not going to see that many bluebonnets either, because there's not as many seeds out there."
Bluebonnets are the official State flower of Texas. Thanks to the efforts of former first lady and Texas native Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, the flowers can be found throughout the state.
"A lot of those were planted back from Mrs. Johnson. She wanted to beautify the state, and then later the nation, with wildflowers. So, a lot of those were plantings along roadsides that were done through TxDOT," adds Womack.
Since the flowers are native to Texas, it's become a yearly tradition to sightsee when they start to bloom. Lady Bird Johnson's work to plant and maintain those flowers has inspired others to do the same ever since. Womack shares this sentiment, "Mrs. Johnson started this, but she left a legacy, and people love these wildflowers, and they keep replanting them, and protecting them year after year."
Womack says folks can enjoy and photograph Bluebonnets all they want, as long as they do not trespass on private property to do so.
TxDOT and local organizations are also continuing Lady Bird Johnson's legacy by planting seeds along highways and around Texas. That might be needed this year, more than ever, considering the slow start to the bloom.
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