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20240320 Wildflowers LM 082 webWhat beautiful weather we are having. It’s time to go outdoors and enjoy our beautiful South Texas weather. Maybe it is for a game of golf or just a walk around the block, or better yet, maybe a stroll on the beach. Whatever – enjoy our beautiful Spring.

As I sit at my desk, I often longingly look out the window at my back yard just to admire the lacey, emerald green leaves on the graceful mesquite trees. The view brings back memories of my growing up in central Texas. I knew for sure when the mesquite leafed out that Spring was just around the corner.

Now, unfortunately, for those of us who live here year-round, it means that very soon our Winter Texan friends will be packing up and heading home. We will miss you terribly as you bring such a refreshing, enriching culture to us.

As you drive home, enjoy the scenic beauty of Texas when the wildflowers are beginning to poke their little heads above ground. Just a few weeks ago, I drove to Falfurrias, just a bit more than an hour north. Of course, the fields were ablaze with the earliest bloomers – the miniature yellow daisies that spring up in pastures. Hugging the roadsides were blankets of wild purple verbena.

Those of you driving toward Austin and San Antonio, or even toward Houston, may even see a few of the first bluebonnets. It’s a little early for the biggest showing, but who knows, the verbenas surprised me. Maybe you will be lucky and see some early blooming bluebonnets.

Did you know that the bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas? If you happen through Schulenburg, that town is the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. In fact, Schulenburg has a Bluebonnet Café with a Pie Happy Hour – that’s two slices for the price of one. If you are in that area around lunchtime, stop at the Oakridge Smokehouse. They have a bountiful buffet with lots of choices.

If you travel through La Grange and you like Texas style barbeque, you are in what could easily be call the Barbeque Capital of Texas. Take your pick – all of the restaurants try to do outdo each other.

This Spring should bring a bumper crop of wildflowers, especially in central Texas. While most of the state has been very dry, including the northern and western parts of the state, the central part of Texas has had plenty of rain. Heavy winter rains bring bumper crops of Spring flowers. Certainly, the Rio Grande Valley has received very little rain, but even so, the wildflowers are beginning to blossom for us.

A word of warning: If you are driving through the King Ranch area, take heed. That sign that warns there is no gas station for another 60 miles is oh so true. I foolishly decided I could make it as I get good gas mileage. Well, I made it, but only on a wing and a prayer. I thought that there must be a gas station in Sarita. There isn’t – it is five more miles to a gas station, so don’t bother to pull into Sarita if you need gas.

If you have time though, stop at Sarita anyway. It is very historical, and they have a very interesting museum. Plus, they pride themselves on the wildflowers that bloom on the courthouse lawn. It may still be a little early, but you might see some early bloomers. Look for wine cups, Mexican hats – sometimes called the Mexican fire wheel with its bright yellow and orange spirals – or perhaps even a few paint brushes.

Before you leave, check your computer, and maybe find these flowers in color – a great aid if you are not familiar with Texas wildflowers. Most of all – enjoy your Spring and stay safe. Enjoy your drive home, but please come back and spend another winter with us.

(Photo Courtesy of Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M AgriLife)