Come April, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, and many more native beauties blanket the plains, hills, highways, and even the forests of the Lone Star State. Early Native Americans wove fascinating tales around the origins of bluebonnets, and Spanish priests gathered the seeds and surrounded their missions with the vibrant blue flowers. In fact, the two predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally in no other region of the world except Texas. It’s not surprising then that five variations of bluebonnets were christened official state flowers in 1971. The ruggedly beautiful state symbol blooms all over the Texas Hill Country, and many of Central Texas’s most beloved tourist events celebrate the blue beauty. To get you ready for spring, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite bluebonnet (and/or wildflower) celebrations. All you need to do is hop in your car and go.
April 3–23: Wildflower Celebration Head seven miles east of Fredericksburg on U.S. 290 and you’ll discover more than two hundred acres of bluebonnets, red corn poppies, rocket larkspur, and other spring flowers at Wildseed Farms, the largest working wildflower farm in the United States. Explore walking trails within flowering meadows, tour a three-thousand-square-foot butterfly haus (or house) showcasing natives of Texas, and grab a snack (peach ice cream!) at the Brew Bonnet. For more information, call 800-848-0078 or go to wildseedsfarm.com.
April 7–9: Bluebonnet Festival Burnet’s tribute to the state flower features a pet parade, a bicycle tour, nightly old-fashioned dances, an air show, carnival rides, shoot outs and wild west shows, live music, food and beverage booths, and a bevy of arts and crafts. Oh, and this year’s Miss Bluebonnet will be crowned at the festival’s scholarship pageant. For more information, call 512-756-4297 or go to burnetchamber.org.
April 8 & 9: Official Bluebonnet Festival At Chappell Hill, halfway between Houston and Austin, the bluebonnet festival is known for its unique crafts. Of course, the live music, children’s activities, and food are big draws too. But die-hard flower fans will gravitate toward the wildflower experts who will be on hand to recommend prime wildflower viewing routes through the trails of Washington County. For more information, call 800-225-3695 or go to chappellhillmuseum.org.
April 8 & 9: Spring Plant Sale and Gardening Festival In south Austin, the 279 acres comprising the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center blossom wild in riotous color during the peak springtime season. The former first lady, an avid steward of nature (she led efforts to secure the passage of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which resulted in fewer roadside billboards and more fauna displayed on medians), allowed sixty acres of family-owned property to be used to establish the center in 1982. The gardens are not only beautiful to look at but also serve as models for homeowners looking to restore their own properties with native plants. At the plant sale and gardening festival, visitors will be able to purchase plants and seeds from more than three hundred species of plants. For more information, call 512-292-4100 or go to wildflower.org.
April 21–23 & 28–30: Wine and Wildflower Trail Nineteen Hill Country wineries have joined forces to host this event, which features special vineyard tours, food-and-wine pairings, and music through bluebonnet-speckled landscapes. For more information, call 866-621-9463 or go to texaswinetrail.com.