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Common Sunflowers - May 31, 2016

Spring 2023 Early Rainfall Report

Not All Bad

I really try to avoid reporting on rainfall until after the winter rainfall in January-February, because rain in the fall, although critical, is only a partial picture of what must happen to have even an average spring wildflower season. That said, without adequate rain in the fall, there is not much hope for germination of plants. Without plants there is no hope for blooms. Nearly all of the popular annual spring wildflowers (that includes bluebonnets) in Texas will germinate from seed sometime between the end of August through the middle of November depending on the amount of rain and soil temperature. Remember that our wildflowers, although they are like super hero plants, they are still plants. They need water and warm soil temperatures for their seeds to germinate. Even the biennial and perennial plants start from seed at some point.

[Some jibber jabber about climate/weather]

Given all that, why am I reporting on the rain in the fall? Well because this is the third La Niña season in a roll.  If you follow short term climate swings (heaven forbid if I use the word change!), you know that typically a La Niña season means warmer and drier for Texas.  The key word is typical and the other key point is that La Niña is not the only climate/weather system in play.

[End of climate/weather jibber jabber]

To the point…

Just based on a very rough analysis of rainfall for September through mid-November, it does not look all bad. In fact, parts of the Hill Country, Big Bend and South Texas got normal to above normal rainfall.

Steady on...Calm down...

This does not mean we are definitely going to have an average to above season. We still need a relatively cold winter, average winter rainfall followed by a sunny but not dry early spring. We do not know yet how many seeds germinated into plants.

The catch phrase: There is hope!

Best Time to Visit Texas for the Spring Wildflower Show

Are you planning to visit Texas to view the spring wildflowers? Because Texas is so big the wildflowers bloom at different times depending the location in Texas. Generally, the bloom line will march north from deep South Texas, but it will vary depending on elevation and species of wildflower. Check out the article, "When Should I Come to See Texas Wildflowers?" for the details, including a map showing the progression of the bluebonnet bloom-line and a chart with bloom times for some of the other major wildflowers. 

Wildflower Travel eBooks

Whether you are new to the Texas Spring Wildflower show or you just need some guidance on where to go, our Texas Bluebonnet and Wildflower Routes eBooks can help.  Each one contains maps and suggested routes that have had some of the best displays in the past. There is an eBook for the following major wildflower areas in Texas:

Brenham – located northwest of Houston is unique in its Texas history and has some really nice rolling hillside displays. The historic and scenic La Bahia Road (FM 390 loop) from Burton through Independence, Texas is a must do drive anytime of the year. The Brenham eBook highlights roads like FM 390 and some “off-the-beaten” paths. 

Ennis – located just south of Dallas, the Ennis area is known for its dramatic bluebonnet displays. The local garden group goes out each year and puts up signs for the best routes. Our eBook includes the Ennis published routes with comments on what you can find along the routes along with some routes not usually listed by the garden group. The Ennis eBook also covers other areas in the region that can also produce some great displays. 

Hill Country – located northwest of San Antonio, is a favorite of landscape photographers. With majestic hills and valleys with rugged country roads, the Hill Country covered with wildflowers is a sight not to be missed. Not every year is the best, but even in an average year there are some great views to be enjoyed and photographed. The Hill Country eBook lists some special routes and highlights some of the small communities. How about a bluebonnet covered cemetery from the 1800s?

San Antonio – South/East eBook covers some of the popular counties just south and east of San Antonio, Texas. Counties like Atascosa County where you can view fields of sandyland bluebonnets, phlox or paintbrush.  If you like a variety of wildflowers with some bluebonnets thrown in, then this eBook is what you need.

All of these eBooks are free to download and evaluate. If you use them then please donate $5 for each one you download or $15 for all four.  This is our only source of income to help keep this site going.

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