Hill Country bluebonnets late, shorter, but still a 'sight to see'

HORIZON OF BLUE — Hues of early Texas bluebonnet blooms sway vividly against a spring blue sky, as early morning sunshine rays stretch across the fringes of Fredericksburg on March 25. Experts predict this year’s crop of Texas’ state flower will be a “sight to see,” although shorter and late to show. —Standard-Radio Post/Lisa Treiber-Walter

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

They may be a little shorter than usual and late to the party, but this year’s bluebonnets are nevertheless promising to be an eye-popping sight with their famous fields of blue.

Cooler than usual weather this past winter has delayed the wildflower season here, but already some patches of blooms are beginning to crop up on side lots, in cemeteries, in pastures and here and there, showing wildflower lovers glimpses of the start of spring.

“The reason the bluebonnets are going to be shorter/smaller this year is the lack of moisture we’ve had,” said Kathy Lyles, president of the Fredericksburg chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

“Bluebonnet seeds sprout in the fall and spend the winter as small rosettes,” Lyles said. “With spring rains, each plant can get as large as a dinner plate, but this year they did not have the rain, so they are considerably smaller.”

Some of the smaller bluebonnets, a bundle even the size of a quarter, are shriveling from the lack of precipitation and may not even survive the bloom.

Still, she said, there will be plenty of good shows for fans of the state flower to see, once the season gets into fuller swing.

Hot spots around Gillespie County that are known as good viewing locations year after year include Wildseed Farms (between Fredericksburg and Stonewall off U.S. Highway 290 East,) the famed Willow City Loop (off Texas Highway 16 North between Fredericksburg and Llano) and even a batch of blue near the camping area in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park.

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