Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Wow, three weeks in the Caribbean and when I get home, Spring has arrived. Our whole yard exploded in green and in blossoms. Trees that were still bare with buds just beginning to show are now fully leafed out. Fortunately we had someone tend to the yard while we were gone and she kept it mowed and trimmed. Otherwise we would have come home to a jungle.

The same is true throughout the Texas Hill Country. After almost two years of severe drought, there was enough rain this winter to bring back our sentimental favorite, the Texas bluebonnet. My sisters informed me as soon as I got home that, if I was going to see how beautiful the bluebonnets are this year, I had better get myself out there this week. The blooms were at their peak and in some places, were beginning to fade. So even though my suitcases are still not unpacked and the laundry hasn't even been started, Scott and I packed up a picnic lunch and both dogs yesterday and started driving northwest. 

Our route took us toward Johnson City and Marble Falls before we turned off on RR 1323 toward Willow City and the famous-for-its-wildflowers Willow City loop. It is very hard to photograph on the loop because it is a private road with no shoulders and signs posted by the owners to stay on the road. I tried a couple of shots, but didn't have much luck. 

From Willow City we traveled on to Llano and had our picnic at a park under the Llano River bridge.

The dogs were not thrilled to be tethered too far away to beg easily for lunch, but this was a very nice spot for a picnic. 

It is so good to see the rivers flowing again after almost every one in the hill country was dry or nearly dry during the drought.

After lunch we took RR 2323 out of Llano toward Prairie Mountain. On this quiet road we had much better luck stopping to take photos.

It is a rite of passage in Texas to have your photo taken in the bluebonnets as often as possible. Dogs have that right, too.

Indian Paintbrush


Agarita in barbed wire. Can't get much more Texas than that.
 I love it when you can see blue along the road, as far as the eye can see.

Soon we reached the little community of Prairie Mountain. The school there was once the school, church and community center for the neighboring German farmers and their families. It is now a historical site, complete with marker. On weekends, volunteers at the school are happy to tell you about the history of the community. They told my sisters that they had never seen the proliferation of white prickly poppy like they have this year. 

I agree, the prickly poppy is everywhere; I've never seen it like this. As a biology student, I have to guess that the drought and extreme heat of the past summer must have triggered some dormant seeds. Whenever I think of prickly poppy, I think of my college days at Texas State University. (It was Southwest Texas State University then.) There was a lab instructor in the Biology department named Ruth Cressen. The subject of her master thesis was the white prickly poppy. Let's just be kind and say Ruth knew everything there was to know about this flower and would share her knowledge with you. To this day I cannot see prickly poppy without thinking of her. Ruth, if you're out there, please tell me why we have such an abundant crop this year.

We left Prairie Mountain and headed back home, down Hwy. 71 to Hwy. 281, Johnson City, Dripping Springs and Wimberley. Since it is always a little warmer here than in the counties we visited today, our flowers are mostly gone or past their peak, except for the ever-present yellow composites and the humble prairie verbena.

The verbena is also thicker than usual this year, especially in my front yard. Since it looks so pretty, I am not going to mow for a while, at least until the verbena fades. At least that's the excuse I'm giving. I won't even think about the yard until I get my suitcases unpacked, laundry done and photos of the Caribbean uploaded. Stay tuned for at least a couple of blogs and photos about that trip. Until then, stay safe and enjoy the beautiful weather. It will be too hot too soon. 

Thanks for stopping by.



  1. Beautiful, Annette! I've missed you, and I can't wait to see the photos from your trip.

  2. Beautiful! About a week before you wrote this, I traveled from Lubbock to Denton on hwy 114, and I thought the flowers were plentiful there. (They were, just not like the hill country.)