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Groundhog Day, Texas-Style

Written by , published February 1, 2012

It may be February 1 where you are, but at the TH editorial office, we’re thinking April. We just put the March issue to bed, so to speak, and now we’re awash in wildflowers as we produce our April wildflower photo feature. Look for 16 pages of gorgeous wildflower images this year, along with a rundown of wildflower festivals and other events.

Working on the April issue always involves a flurry of prognostications: What kind of wildflower season will we have? Did the rains come at the right times? Where will readers find the best displays? Inevitably, we have to fall back on the nature of wildflowers themselves—they’re wild, meaning unpredictable and, to my way of thinking, even magical. You never know for sure what they will do, and that’s one reason we love them so. Their untamed beauty remains a constant in our increasingly homogenous, civilized world.

Daryl Whitworth, assistant director of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, stopped by the office a couple of days ago and gave us the bureau's wildflower forecast for the Hill Country. “We're predicting a bumper crop,” he said. “A lot of seeds lay dormant last year because of the drought, and the rains that came in late September and early October, as well as the recent rains, came just at the right times.”

I conducted my own wildflower survey a couple of weeks ago, on a trip from Austin to my mother’s home near Edna. I always try to make a trek south around Groundhog Day, since it seems like a good time for predicting what the wildflowers season holds. Sometimes I even spot a precocious Indian paintbrush or bluebonnet. No such luck this year, though I did see more green than I expected along the roadsides between Austin and Gonzales. As I drove on Texas 111 from Yoakum to Edna, it became drier and looked less promising. However, since my visit, that area has had a little rain, so again, you never know. Personally, I love it that way.

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