Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Back from the land of the bluebonnets...
""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." --Historian Jack McGuire
The vast numbers of you that read my blog (and that was definitely said tongue-in-cheek!:)) may have noticed that I haven't updated it in some time. That's because I've been on vacation in Texas, visiting my family members who live in the Austin area.
It was a great time. Not only was it wonderful to be able to spend time with my parents and my siblings and their families...now my oldest son and his wife also live there. And my younger son flew down from Cedarville University for a few days as well! Of course, it was even harder to say goodbye to everyone this time.
One of the highlights of the week was enjoying the profusion of bluebonnets in full bloom almost everywhere I looked. I took some pictures of Elizabeth and my niece Katie in a field that was especially thick with the lovely little purplish-blue flowers, which are the official flower of the state of Texas. I hope they turn out OK!
Seeing the bluebonnets in such abundance made me curious about their history, so I did a little research. I found this on a Texas A & M horticulture website:
"Bluebonnets have been loved since man first trod the vast prairies of Texas. Indians wove fascinating folk tales around them. The early-day Spanish priests gathered the seeds and grew them around their missions. This practice gave rise to the myth that the padres had brought the plant from Spain, but this cannot be true since the two predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world."
And from this site: "The Texas Department of Highways, later known as Texas Department of Transportation or TxDOT, played a legendary role in the country’s highway beautification programs. They began sowing bluebonnet seed along the highways for erosion control in 1929 when Judge W.R. Ely, member of the Highway Commission, called for 'landscaped roadsides, with construction planned to retain natural beauty.' TxDOT now sows 60,000 pounds of wildflower seeds across the state each year."
Many of the links I found on the web credited former first lady Lady Bird Johnson with encouraging the growth of wildflowers in Texas. A noted environmental activist, Lady Bird founded the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982, and it was renamed in her honor in 1998. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is located in Austin.
My husband teased me about my avid fascination with the bluebonnets--but I just love them, and I'm pleased when one of my visits to Texas coincides with their gorgeous blooming.