'Average, but beautiful'
SPECIAL REPORT: Texas Wildflower Center says spring colors will be well worth a look!
A lack of rainfall in the fall and winter likely will mean a less vibrant spring wildflower show, but Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center experts say it will be still be beautiful. Expect bluebonnets en masse by late March. Texas Wildflower Center photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Texas wildflower season is about to bloom, and while experts say 2022 may not be a showstopper, there’s still plenty of reasons to get outside and see the state’s iconic flowers.
But with soaring gas prices — regular-grade gas was averaging $3.95 a gallon at 4 p.m. — many Temple residents may enjoy the blooms close to home this year rather than taking traditional wildflower excursions through Central Texas and the Hill Country.
“Central Texas residents won’t have to go far — I’m expecting a nice display of wildflowers in that area,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.
“Displays will likely be average because of less rain this past fall and winter, but average is still beautiful.”
DeLong-Amaya said Texas bluebonnets, spiderworts, wild onions, phlox and blanketflowers will likely follow typical bloom patterns.
“There may be a few early blooms here and there, but these flowers should show up en masse in late March,” she said. “It’s possible the blooms could be stronger later in the spring.”
According to DeLong-Amaya, the intensity of wildflower season is heavily influenced by fall and winter rains.
“Though the state’s native plants are adapted to withstand a certain amount of drought, lack of rain impacts the energy they have to develop showy blooms,” she said.
According to David Bonnett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, most of the state is experiencing severe to extreme drought. Temple, he said, is on the bubble but leaning toward severe.
DeLong-Amaya said annuals — plants that live only one year — generally have shallow roots and may be sparser in the most drought-affected areas, but deeper rooted perennials such as sundrops and wild daisies should still bring plenty of color to Central Texas.
“These flowers don’t get the same fanfare as bluebonnets, but they’re equally beautiful,” she said.
Last spring, many wildflowers varieties never bloomed because of the extreme winter storm. Wildflower Center experts, however, are predicting a comeback.
“I’m excited for the mountain laurels,” DeLong-Amaya said. “They were completely fried by the winter storm last February. I’ve noticed a good crop of flower buds coming on, and I’m optimistic they’ll have a lot of pent-up energy and really get going in March. Maybe we’ll appreciate them more because we didn’t see them last year.”
A field of firewheels bloom in this file photo from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The Center released its annual wildflower forecast today.
SHARE THOSE PHOTOS!
The colors will be popping up in the next couple weeks, and Our Town Temple invites you to share your photographs! Please send your best shots to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Include your name, when you took the photo and the location. Also, if you see a great stand of flowers, let us know so we can pass the word and save folks a little gas money.