Wild and Wonderful: 4 Amazing Wildflower Drives
... plus other brilliant bursts of color around the state
By Melissa Gaskill
The world didn’t end in December with the Mayan calendar. The zombie apocalypse has yet to occur. Sure, the weather has gone all cattywampus, but nonetheless, spring will return to Texas, bringing with it the annual miracle that is our wildflowers.
To provide this issue in time for you to take advantage of wildflower season, we have to dare to predict the future. Most of the time, we do pretty well, thanks to the tenacity of nature and experts at The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and out in the field. But no one can say for certain what the conditions will be, and when, where, how many, and what kind of wildflowers will bloom. That depends on temperatures and rainfall—not just this spring, but the previous fall and even before.
“The good news is we received a little winter rain, but the bad news is that the key months of October and November were considerably drier than normal,” says Damon Waitt, senior botanist at the Wildflower Center. “The eastern half of the state was spared drought conditions to some extent. And last year’s season turned out spectacularly, even during a drought, after winter rain. I think you’ll find pockets of flowers this year due to microclimate conditions.” Rains in January and February helped the seedlings that had germinated and survived the fall, and warmth and sun in March and April will make a difference, as well.
With all that in mind, we invite you to try one, a few, or all of these suggested routes. We bet you will see some wildflowers and have a good time doing so.
Also, see: Wildflower Festivals and Spring's the Thing! (wildflowers, contests and more)
From the April 2013 issue.