By Judy Henderson Prather ’73, DMin ’02
Ahh, springtime in Texas! Some people claim that Texas only has two seasons—cold and hot—but during a few glorious weeks in March and April, we get our version of spring. Some people call it simply “bluebonnet time.”
When it’s still cold and gray, the question begins to circulate, “Wonder how good they’ll be this year?” Well, I’m here to tell you, this has been a good year for bluebonnets. On a recent daytrip to Baylor’s original campus in Independence with the Baylor Institute for Learning in Retirement, the BILR folks and I oohed and aahed our way down and back, enjoying roadsides and fields from Waco to Washington County that were blanketed in blue.
According to the Texas Cooperative Extension website, bluebonnets are a source of Texas pride because the two predominant species are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world. And historian Jack Maguire wrote, “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England, and the tulip to Holland.”
Another website—TexasBob.com—explains how thousands take to the highways and byways of Texas every spring to view the splendor of Indian paintbrush, black-eyed Susans, and other wild flowers. But the main bloom they’re looking for is Lupinus texensis, the state flower of Texas.
According to Texas Bob, claims for the best place to view these springtime beauties is as much a matter of civic pride as anything else that a small town can lay claim to, and every chamber of commerce from every town of any size in the Texas Hill Country say theirs is best. But there’s only one “official” bluebonnet festival, and it’s right down the road from Baylor’s original campus at Independence.
In Washington County, at the small town of Chappell Hill, they annually host the “Bluebonnet Festival of Texas.” This year it’s scheduled for April 18-19, and you may want to check out this website: the Chappell Hill page on Texas Bob’s website.
If you just want to learn more about “Lupinus texensis” themselves, check out this website: Bluebonnet story.
And if you do go to the festival, allow time for a drive over to Independence for a view of those famous columns at Baylor’s original female campus. The park is a source of Baylor and Texas pride on any day—especially in bluebonnet time.