I moved to Austin, Texas from Seattle, Washington right before Christmas, on the very tail end of 2010. The week I arrived, it snowed.
Although snow in Texas is a rare phenomenon, there are regular features that I now look forward to - in particular, the bloom of the Texas wildflowers in early spring.
One of my favorites things about living in the Northwest was the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, every April. I loved watching the brightly colored flowers pop open for a few short weeks each spring. My annual tradition was to drive an hour north to walk through the fields and bask in the magnificence of these incredible flowers. I knew I would miss this, so when I discovered Texas wildflowers, I was ecstatic!
Texas wildflowers, like tulips, come in a variety of colors. But unlike tulips, wildflowers have many different species with whimsical names like bluebonnets, paintbrushes and winecups. Each flower blooms for a week or two. Then another type of wildflower blooms. And just like that, by late May, they are gone, like fairydust on the landscape for another year.
You can see the wildflowers in their full glory along the side of the highway and by taking day trips just outside Austin.
A few weeks ago I drove out to Marble Falls and saw many people taking photos with their children and dogs in the fields. There is even a wonderful museum - the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, in South Austin, definitely worth a visit (also where I saw my first rattlesnake!).
While I sometimes miss the majesty of Seattle's tulips and remember them with wistful nostalgia, the opportunity to enjoy Texas' wildflowers takes the sting out of that loss.
If you haven't experienced the glorious Texas wildflowers it's worth a visit in April. Just another amazing feature of the good life in Central Texas!
Share your wildflower stories below. I'll save the rattlesnake story for another time.