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Editor’s Letter: Misadventures in wildflower photography

Photographs by Emily Roberts Stone, Executive Editor.

A field of bluebonnets at sunset.

On an overcast spring morning five years ago, with our 1-month-old baby in tow, my husband and I headed out on a singular mission. My mom was in town for the weekend, and we were determined to get that perfect “child among the bluebonnets” picture that was my daughter’s Texas birthright.

It being late March, we didn’t expect to have much trouble finding a bountiful patch of blooms. We struck out at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center—its bluebonnets wouldn’t come in until a little later in the spring, one of the volunteers explained.

Faced with a darkening sky threatening to pour down its wrath on us at any moment and an increasingly hungry newborn on the verge of a meltdown, we knew we needed to act fast. So we settled on a small patch of bluebonnets near the entrance to Memorial Park. As it started to sprinkle, we managed to get a shot that now hangs in a place of honor in our home—our cherubic daughter, red-faced and wailing, as I hold her, laughing, because what else can you do when perfectly laid plans go awry?

Emily and her 1-month-old baby in bluebonnets in 2013.

To provide our readers with a smoother spring photo experience, we’ve included a list of four “guaranteed photo op spots” in our feature, “Wildflower Wanderlust”. While we can’t promise that your children or grandchildren will cooperate, we can assure you that these sites will overflow with the best of the season’s bounty.

We’re also excited to bring you our annual Wildflower Issue a month earlier than usual, so you can head out on your desired road trip at the season’s first bloom. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, early spring plants should start to flower by the end of February or early March. Now, whether you’ll be met with clear skies is another matter altogether.

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