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San Antonio

Weary Of 2019's Wet Winter? Your Reward Is The Early Return Of Bluebonnet Beauty

Nature may punish with wet winters but it can also reward with spring beauty.

The cold, wet dreariness of recent weeks around San Antonio is leading to an early bloom of bluebonnets, the official flower of Texas.

Also, before this wet winter, Texas also recorded the rainiest September-October ever, the National Weather Service reported.
 
Native bluebonnets can be found along many Texas highways, especially since the 1930s when highway crews began seeding them around the state, according to state historical officials.
 
But perhaps nowhere do they bloom in bigger numbers than in the Hill Country. The town of Burnet, at Highways 281 and 29, bills itself as the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas and is home of the annual Bluebonnet Festival.
 
Burnet Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Winkler explained how the rains changed the bluebonnet's schedule.
 
"It looks to be a little bit earlier than normal. Historically, the peak is mid-April," she said. "That's why we have the Bluebonnet Festival on the second Saturday. But now it looks like, you know, little bit earlier than that, and that happens often times. But starting at the end of March is what we are predicting right now."
 
A few rogue bluebonnets, fooled by warm temperatures, can already be seen along some roads.
 
Winkler said residents of San Antonio and Austin who want to see the flowery seas of blue should drive down roads connecting Burnet to Llano to Fredericksburg and back around to Marble Falls.

Highway 29 between Burnet and Llano and Park Road 4, between Burnet and Marble Falls, are also recommended routes for road trips, Winkler said. 

The Burnet Bluebonnet Festival runs from April 12th through the 15th and attracts 30-thousand visitors. It includes parades, live music, a car show, arts and crafts and a wienie dog race.
 
She said a couple of seven and eight feet tall metal bluebonnets in downtown Burnet mark a popular gathering spot during the festival.
 
“The biggest photo op there is,” Winkler said. “You know there’s a line in front of those, getting their pictures in front of our big metal sculptures of bluebonnets.”
 
The Texas State Historical Association reports the state made the bluebonnet its official flower in 1901. Native Americans thought the flowers were a gift from their god.
 
State history officials report bluebonnets can also be found in Mexico and are known by other names, including buffalo clover, wolf flower, and in Spanish, el conejo -- “the rabbit.”
 
The name bluebonnet comes from the fact it resembles a sunbonnet, according to historians.
 
It's not illegal to pick them or lay in them for a photograph, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, except inside state parks.

The DPS said if people wish to take a photo amidst flower patches along highways, they should make sure their car is safely out of traffic and that they are not on private property when they strike a pose.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.