April showers bring May flowers, as the old saying goes. This year, however, it looks like Mother Nature is getting a little eager about those flowers. Here in Texas, bluebonnets have made an early appearance. Bluebonnets are the state flower, and a beloved part of the Texas landscape. We're quite accustomed to seeing them blanket the fields and highway embankments each year, but not usually until March or April.
John Nova Lomax has been recording bluebonnet blooms for years. He wrote a piece about it for Texas Monthly when he noticed the first one popping up on Feb. 8. Lomax interviewed Andrea DeLong-Amaya, who is the director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Lomax lives in Houston, where bluebonnets don't usually crop up in February. However, DeLong-Amaya made it clear that the state flower pops up at different times around Texas.
In response to reports of the blue flower being spotted in the Big Bend region she had this to say: "That's not as uncommon. Their bluebonnets tend to be earlier than ours. I often think of February as their peak season, because I've been to Big Bend in March, and they are kind of wrapping things up, whereas ours are full swing in April. So that doesn't sound atypical to me."
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Lomax wondered if it was possibly due to climate change. DeLong-Amaya conceded that we've had some record-breaking heat this year. She stated though, that we'll probably get some more cold snaps before winter is through. "Trying to predict the winter--I am not going to do that--," she stated, "But chances are, we're going to have another cold snap."
Now, I know this is Texas and all, but regardless of what the groundhog says or how high the thermometer climbs, it's still technically winter here until the Spring Equinox on Mar. 20. I, for one, am hoping that the bluebonnets showing up early doesn't mean they'll go to seed early. Perhaps we'll just have an usually long blooming season this year.