2015 Bluebonnet Report

This weekend the kids all came for Easter.  Sally and I absolutely love it when the kids come for a whole bunch of reasons.  However, one of my favorites is my son in law Ramez Antoun’s camera.  Ramez is a dang fine amateur photographer.  Each time he comes he leaves me with a ton of outstanding photographs.  This weekend the bluebonnets of Washington County were at their peak.  He took tons of great shots of the bluebonnets and all of the other wildflowers in our yard.  I was so impressed with them that I thought I would share.


Our little house sits on a long, narrow two acre lot.  We have a ranch in front of us and one behind us.  One of the ranches has a 56 acre lake on it.  This shot is from our yard looking toward the lake.  I love the way this picture captures the swaths of bluebonnets that lead down to the lake.


All of our kids are dog lovers.  Kate and Ramez are the owners of the Yorkie in the picture above (my apologies for the ugly sweater they forced her to wear) .  Our daughter Jessie and her husband own the three labs below. The two black labs are retired guide dogs.  While Jessie was in college she and Cameron worked with a group of people that socialized and trained dogs for the seeing impaired.   They got these dogs when they were six weeks old and kept them for the first year of their lives.  They then turned them over for further training.  Finally, the wound up with a seeing impaired person who loved and depended on them for several years.  When it was time for them to retire, the foundation offered them back Jessie and her husband.  How could they refuse?


Here is a great shot of our little guest house/bed and breakfast.  I love the mural that my wife had done last year.  If you are planning a trip to Washington County, Sally and I would love to be your hosts.  Click on the link below to tour “The Nest” and/or book your stay.



Finally, bluebonnets aren’t the only wildflowers that are blooming now in Washington County.  I leave you with this great shot of an Indian Paintbrush.

This post has been shared on the HomeAcre Hop!  Stop by the hop and see what gardeners and homesteaders across the country are doing.


Signs of Spring

Right now, if you are a Zone 9 gardener, you are busy.  If you haven’t already gambled and done much of your spring planting, you will soon.  If you are not planting, you are weeding, tilling or otherwise preparing your beds and borders for all of the flowers and veggies to come.  Yes, it is definately a time of sore backs and aching muscles.

blog8 With so much to do, it is easy to overlook all of the amazing things that are happening all around us.  That is why I always make a point to walk around and observe all of the beautiful things that are beginning to make their spring show.

blog2 I love the things that produce every year with out any help from me.  My peach and plum trees are beginning to flower.  In my mind, there aren’t many things that are any prettier than the delicate pink blooms of the peach tree.

blog5 No Texas spring is complete without bluebonnets.  The winter drought is going to mean that there are fewer bluebonnets to enjoy this year.  However, one really is enough.

blog6 I absolutely love larkspur.  These self seeding annuals are as utterly dependable as my poppies and my bluebonnets.

blog1 Cherokee rose is an absolutely horrible plant.  It is full of thorns, it grows like a weed and it only blooms once.  However, this is the first “found rose” that I ever propogated.  Plus, I did it with my daughter.  So, despite all of the bad things about it, I will love it and keep it forever.

blog3 Even though I have several bulbs blooming now, I think the delicate leucojum (Snow Flakes) are my favorites.

A redbud in full bloom is a great reminder that spring really is here again

A redbud in full bloom is a great reminder that spring really is here again

By far, the biggest and showiest announcer of spring are the native Texas Redbuds.  The sight of their bright magenta blooms can bring cheer to the cloudiest day.


2012 Bluebonnet Season is Here!

Once again, I am pleased to announce that bluebonnet season is here.  Below is a pic of the first one to bloom in our yard.  It will be interesting to see how well they do this year.  Because of last years drought, I was initially afraid that it was going to be a bad year.  However, the January and February rains may have come just in time. 

Photo by Sally White

In my own yard, we have knee high foliage around the trees.  That is because we were pouring the water to those trees to keep them alive last summer and fall.  Until about a month ago I thought the bluebonnets under the trees were going to be all we got at the White House.  However, with the help of the winter rain, the rest of my yard is now covered in foliage that is about 6″ tall. 

If you live more than 100 miles north of Houston, your bluebonnets probably look like this now. Photo by Sally White

Like everything else, bluebonnets bloom at different times based on their latitude.  If you live within 50 miles of Houston, you are already seeing the highways show color.  If you live further north than that, your blooms will come in a week or two.  BTW, you want to hear an interesting horticultural fact about why bluebonnets in particular, and wildflowers in general, bloom along the highways before they do in your yard?  It’s because of the pollution produced by the cars.  One of the major components of car exhaust is ozone (chemical symbol O3).  Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas that causes plants to grow faster and bloom sooner.  That’s why blueboonets always bloom first along the road.  Now before you get too excited thinking “WOW!  This is a cool side effect of pollution”, remember ozone works on ALL plants.  Things like dandelions and ragweed will also grow faster and bloom sooner under its effects.

So, based on the bluebonnets in my yard, I am happy to announce that once again it is time to load up the family and the camera and head out into the country for some more bluebonnet pictures.  In spite of last year’s drought, the recent rains make me confident that this will be another great year for you take hundreds of pictures of your kids nestled among the big, beautiful mounds of blue that are supplied to us by the best state flower in the country!

If you want to learn more about the history and botany of bluebonnets, check out last years post at http://masterofhort.com/2011/03/bluebonnet-season-is-here/