Well, well, well … it was a bit on the disappointing side, now wasn’t it? Bluebonnets were scarce, and when they did pop their little royal-blue heads above the ground, they were on the itty-bitty side and nothing like their usual stature. Texas’ need for rain was something fierce this past year, especially during the month of October, and no matter how much praying or how many rain dances Texans did, it was to no avail.
Brenham and Independence
Even our usual stand-in girls down in the Brenham-Independence area took a vacation this year. A few of them stayed home and showed up on schedule but even they weren’t too enthusiastic about this year’s performance. Old Baylor Park, which should have been resplendent in hues of royal-blue, was essentially devoid of bluebonnets. The weekend we roadtripped it to the area, we saw tons of photographers with their clients standing in empty fields.
There was one bright moment, however, when we stumbled upon a very old cemetery on a small road back behind Old Baylor Park in Independence. Sweet bluebonnets were standing amongst some really old gravestones.
Texas Hill Country
And the Texas Hill Country … completely decimated. Hardly any sightings reports sent in from the Texas Hill Country! My gosh, Mother Nature, can you cut those people a break and give them some precious rain. Mercy me! Even one of our more tenacious community members from the Texas Hill Country couldn’t find a bluebonnet field worth reporting. Thanks to all our members in the Texas Hill Country for focusing those eagle eyes of yours on the byways and highways of the Hill Country!
Never lose hope, though, my faithful ones, there were a few shining moments in an otherwise dismal season. Some of them came about because of freakish events in Texas weather and another by the serendipitus actions of man.
Ennis. Ohhh … my sweet Ennis. Those people must have been living right because they were the only ones on the receiving end of some bluebonnet love this year! In fact, Gina Rokas from the Ennis Convention & Visitors Bureau, was pretty darn close to describing it as a banner year, at times even comparing it to their 2007 season. What were the people of Ennis doing right? Well, they just happened to have been on the receiving end of some atypical winter precipitation — snow — which gave our bluebonnet babies just the nourishment they needed at just the right time.
For more Texas bluebonnet videos from Ennis, Texas, check out our YouTube channel.
The Field of Dreams — Waller, Texas
And last but not least, for the most accidental case of bluebonnet magic to have happened in the history of mankind — the Waller Field.
If you were there during its brief stay of existence, you knew you were amongst angels. Ten acres of Lupinus subcarnosus, the coastal cousin of the Central Texas bluebonnet. Yes, I said it. Ten acres! Solid! No grass, no weeds, just bluebonnets!
Now, this field was never meant to be, or at least Mother Nature never had any intentions. As they say in the Kevin Costner movie “If you build it, they will come.” And boy did they come, from all over Texas. In fact, our website stats went through the roof when this sightings report was released. It was definitely the most popular report.
For more Texas bluebonnet videos, check out our YouTube Channel.
Fortunately the day we stopped by the owner of the field was around, and being a bluebonnet lover herself, she waved us on to the property. We chatted a spell and she told us the story of how the field came to be. It’s a 10-acre piece of land that she decided to lease out to a guy to grow hay. And since he needed to get started on growing the hay, he plowed the field sometime the previous fall.
Now, this field had never produced bluebonnets before, or at least since the property owner had owned it. It was just open pasture. But as we all know, bluebonnets love to grow in disturbed soil and there can be a large seed bank in the soil that lays dormant until the right conditions. Well … plowing up the field, disturbing the soil, and getting a little rain at the right times, produced a perfect storm of bluebonnets.
You’ll notice the Waller field bluebonnets have color all the way up the stalk and not the usual white top that most people associate with the Texas Bluebonnet. That’s because these bluebonnets are Lupinus subcarnosus, a coastal cousin to the Lupinus texensis, the bluebonnet most often seen in Central Texas. It was this coastal variety of bluebonnet, L. subcarnosus, that was first chosen as the official state flower of Texas and sparked a 70 year debate that resulted in Texas having five state flowers.
Don’t plan on seeing this bluebonnet field for the 2012 season. The property owner figures she’ll either be leasing the land for hay again or will return it back to pasture. Although the future of this field might be uncertain, we can still be thankful for the blessing received in an otherwise disappointing year. Those of you who were able see such a spectacle should consider yourselves fortunate. We know we do.
But we never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, so stay tuned, and we’ll let you know whether or not the Waller Field of Dreams returns.
The 2011 bluebonnet season was the inaugural year for the Texas Bluebonnet Sightings website. It has definitely been a labor of love and we’re sure it will continue to be in the long-term future. We’ve had a great time talking with other bluebonnet lovers on our Facebook community, hunting down bluebonnets on our weekend roadtrips, and most especially, it’s been great sharing all the great pictures, videos, and information we’ve found along the way.
We want to thank everyone who contributed bluebonnet sightings on our Facebook community and via Twitter, but we especially want to thank those people who took the time to send us pictures and videos of bluebonnets they sighted along the way. Bluebonnet sightings reported to us by our friends and followers are the heart and soul of Texas Bluebonnet Sightings.
Here’s hoping for a great 2012 Bluebonnet Season! Cheers!