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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - April 04, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Wildflowers
Title: What is wrong with the bluebonnets?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This doesn't seem to be a very good year for bluebonnets. What's up with that?

ANSWER:

Sorry 'bout that. You're absolutely right that the bluebonnets are not as spectacular as they were last year. But, think back, the year before that, they were even less impressive. The nature of native wildflowers is that they are programmed to survive. When there is rain in sufficient amounts, the seeds in the ground, some of which may have been there for years, come popping up as quickly as they can. The drive is to reproduce and to permit the species to survive. So, last year, they came up, they bloomed, and we all marvelled. Then, they seeded out, and died. And the appropriate amount of rain at the appropriate time didn't happen this year. Spoiled by last year, the wildflower lovers are sulking some this year. But those seeds are still there, still waiting. It may be next Spring, it may be two or three years, but the seeds will get the rain and germinate and we'll have another great year for bluebonnets. In the meantime, enjoy all the wildflowers that are blooming and will bloom all year. We're awful lucky to be in Texas!

 

From the Image Gallery


Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Leavenworth's eryngo
Eryngium leavenworthii

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Tahoka daisy
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Kunth's evening-primrose
Oenothera kunthiana

Annual phlox
Phlox drummondii

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium

Texas indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa

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