SPRING AWAKENING

OUT WITH THE OLD; IN WITH THE BLUE! HERE’S TO THE RE­JU­VE­NAT­ING POWER OF THE BLUEBONNET.

Austin Way - - FULL FRONTAL - BY KATHY BLACK­WELL

For­get Punx­sutawney Phil and his silly shadow. In Austin, it’s the bluebonnet, in all of its del­i­cate, in­digo glory, that an­nounces spring’s ar­rival.

The of­fi­cial state flower of Texas is our sym­bol of re­newal. Our first sighting of those blue blos­soms is a rea­son to re­joice—no mat­ter how gloomy our win­ter. We take to so­cial me­dia and tell the world, and soon our trav­els on those Texas high­ways be­gin to re­sem­ble drives along the coast as we pass by seas of blue—fields of dreams for miles, it seems.

It’s Texas tra­di­tion to risk our lives tak­ing the an­nual photo of our kids among the blue­bon­nets, or we could lose Lone Star cred­i­bil­ity. So when we see the per­fect spot, we pull over no mat­ter how nar­row the shoul­der, hus­tle the fam­ily out of the car, and snap away. After all, the flow­ers some­time dis­ap­pear al­most as sud­denly as they ar­rive, so we have to take our shots while we can. This year, how­ever, we should have some time. The rain­fall of the past few months in­di­cates a strong sea­son. For con­fir­ma­tion, we turned to the place that hon­ors the legacy of the pa­tron saint of Texas wild­flow­ers, Lady Bird John­son.

“If we con­tinue to get reg­u­lar rains through April, we will be in great shape,” says An­drea DeLong-Amaya, di­rec­tor of hor­ti­cul­ture for the Lady Bird John­son Wild­flower Cen­ter. “We’ll have the long­est bloom pe­riod if we get good rains and mild tem­per­a­tures.” Get those cam­eras, phones, and hash­tags ready.

Mood in­digo: The state’s first bluebonnet sight­ings were re­ported in late Jan­uary in West Texas, which bodes well for the Hill Coun­try wild­flower sea­son.

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