April 16, 2021
I kept hearing that bluebonnets were a bit of a no-show in Central Texas this year due to a dry fall and winter, not because of the February freeze. Friends who’d gone west into the Hill Country looking for denim-blue fields came back disappointed, and my own excursion south of San Antonio in early April turned up more yellow, pinks, and whites than our famous blues.
Then I heard Washington County, east of Austin, was putting on a good bluebonnet show. My mom and I took off on a second wildflower safari on Tuesday, cruising the back roads around Round Top and Brenham. Right away we found several good fields of blue. Hooray, my spring ritual is complete!
Here are my favorite images from a pleasant day of flower peeping. Skies were sullen, and it was sticky and warm, but bluebonnets lift your spirit no matter the weather.
Pink evening primrose plays hide-and-seek with a cluster of bluebonnets amid tall grasses.
A little wider for context
What is a Texas scene without a longhorn?
Along one quiet lane it was just us and a few cows lounging in the bluebonnets.
Brings to mind memories of odalisque paintings in art history class.
There were a few sweet calves too, just as placid as their mamas.
I follow a place called Rancho Pillow on Instagram, and I decided to do a drive-by.
A field of orangey red Indian paintbrush echoed the orange trim of dark-wood buildings.
A perfect match!
Rancho Pillow is a 20-acre rentable compound that hosts events like Feasts in the Field. One day I’d love to attend.
The tiny hamlet of Round Top, famous for its twice-a-year antiques market, is a ghost town on a Tuesday. The charming shops and restaurants in the town square are only open Wednesday through Sunday. But we stopped anyway to stretch our legs and admire a giant roadrunner sculpture.
The place is so adorably rustic and set up for a party that I immediately was kicking myself for never having spent much time in Round Top before. An omission I must rectify post-covid.
An old motel sign and bench for sale at an antiques shop
Even the motel is a log cabin.
Mmm, a pie shop
Eat. Pie. Love. Or Eat pie. Love?
Pi gets math lovers involved.
Back on the bluebonnet hunt
From Round Top we drove the back roads to Brenham, about an hour and a half east of Austin, and spotted this lovely field of bluebonnets in front of a white farmhouse.
What a pretty front-yard view.
Bluebonnets abounded in electric-green fields.
The Antique Rose Emporium
You can’t end a trip to Brenham without stopping at The Antique Rose Emporium. The nursery was stocked with dozens and dozens of roses and a good mix of annuals and perennials, and we did a little plant shopping, of course. But I was really there for the display gardens, where pink poppies were stealing the show.
The children’s garden always makes me smile.
Like every other garden in Texas, they’d sustained some damage from the February freeze, but mostly it was lush and green, roses were blooming — and cannas, as seen above — and annual flowers were unfazed.
I followed the yellow brick road under a fragrant wisteria arbor.
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
On the road again
After that it was time to head home. I’m grateful for two opportunities to see Texas wildflowers this year. There’s still time to see bluebonnets if you go this weekend and ramble the back roads of Washington County.
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