The communications office of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin provides media with timely, accurate information about the Wildflower Center. Below are recent press releases related to Center events and to staff expertise on conservation practices, native plant gardening, nature education, and native plant resources and research findings. For more information or photos beyond those on the newsroom site, please contact:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas�" Above average rainfall in Central Texas could mean good things for wildflower displays and the many wildflower enthusiasts that enjoy them each spring.
“Wildflowers typically do well in El Nino years,” said Mark Simmons, ecologist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
El Nino events are defined as a major warming of the equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean, usually occurring every 3 to 7 years, and are characterized by shifts in “normal” weather patterns.
Wildflowers could be expected to start blooming in early March, since rainfall throughout the fall and winter months is a key factor in the healthy establishment of many early spring wildflowers. The icy weather this winter should not affect the spring displays because wildflowers are very resistant to cold and freezing conditions. However, with the increased wet conditions, bluebonnets can sometimes suffer from fungal infection. They typically thrive in well drained areas along slopes and in places like Marble Falls and Burnet, TX, where the soil has high granite content.
The downside of the rainfall, Simmons said, is that invasive species also do well in these conditions and can push native wildflowers out.
Invasive species are defined as non-native or alien to the local ecosystem and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm.
Gardeners are encouraged to plant non-invasive plants in their own yard to prevent their spread into natural areas. They should use invasive-free seed mixes and weed-free soil and mulch mix. To learn more about preventing the spread of invasives and protecting native wildflowers and other native plants visit www.beplantwise.org.
To learn more about the important benefits and beauty of native wildflower, visitors will enjoy the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at 4801 La Crosse, Austin, TX, where bluebonnets and a wide variety of wildflowers will be in spectacular bloom. On the grounds, visitors can capture wonderful bluebonnet photos at six different photo opportunity spots�"no need to trample the flowers or brave heavily-trafficked highways for that perfect shot. The Wildflower Center will also offer a variety of wildflower inspired events throughout the spring season.
Expect to see early spring bloomers such as: bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, winecups, Blackfoot daisy, Drummond phlox and giant spiderwort. For more information on these and other wildflowers, visit www.wildflower.org and click on Explore Plants.