COLLEGE STATION, TX — The crowning jewel of Texas is here. For at least the next two weeks, plenty of bluebonnets will be popping up all across the Brazos Valley. Families will be dressing up and heading out to the countryside for their annual bluebonnet photo sessions.
Skip Richter, a horticulturist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agency, said the flowers are already showing off their vibrant colors.
" Driving down to Navasota, the roadsides along the way have had some really good bluebonnets," he commented. "Of course, as you go down towards Brenham, Chappell Hill, and that area, that’s always good bluebonnet viewing.”
Texas A&M horticulture professor Dr. Mike Arnold is director of the campus teaching Gardens. At the Gardens, visitors can see the famous ‘maroon’ bluebonnets bred into existence by Texas A&M scientists. But to enjoy the many varieties of naturally occurring bluebonnets, Dr. Arnold suggested checking along public roads."
"They’re not in places being managed for pasture, for grass, because the grass competes with the bluebonnets," Arnold shared with 25 News. "Bluebonnets like well-drained conditions. If you ever watch, they’re usually on the crests or the sides of the hills, because they like a nice well-drained soil, and they don’t like wet spots.”
Dr. Arnold and Richter both predicted the bluebonnets will be here to stay for at least the next ten days. Arnold suggested they may start to disappear shortly after the Easter holidays, while Richter estimated they could remain through the middle of April. When visiting a bluebonnet crop, Richter and Arnold noted that it’s important to enjoy the wildflowers safely and legally.
"The thing we encourage people to do when you find a beautiful patch is to try to find your way into, where you don’t actually stomp trails into what will be someone else’s photo setting," Richter said.
These experts indicated that picking a couple of flowers for oneself shouldn’t be harmful to the overall bluebonnet population. But for those who want to promote future bluebonnet growth, Arnold recommended planting bluebonnets in personal gardens. Seeds can often be purchased at local retailers, and a good crop will benefit from planting during the right time of year, following an appropriate mowing schedule.
"Typically we like to plant bluebonnets early enough that they can germinate and get a little bit of establishment before we get into winter," Arnold said. "So most of our region in Central Texas would be anywhere from about late September to early October. [Those] would be good times to plant."
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