The following sites offer opportunities to see summer wildflowers. Keep in mind that changes in temperature and rainfall may cause plants to bloom earlier or later than the periods listed. As botanists are fond of saying, “Plants don’t read field guides!”
Some Like It Hot: A bevy of tenacious bloomers that thrive on Texas heat
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, 512/232-0100. In late spring and early summer, buttonbush appears by the Hill Country Stream. From June through August, look for bluebells in the Butterfly Garden and elsewhere. From June through September, spot halberdleaf hibiscus in the Wetland Pond, and sunflowers and camphorweed in areas that have remained in a natural state. The same areas feature snow-on-the-prairie from August through October. Tufts of old man’s beard sometimes grace the Savanna Meadow Trail from summer through fall.
Cedar Ridge Preserve, 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy., Dallas, 972/709-7784. From June through September, you can find bluebells near the Cattail Pond on the west side of the preserve, and sunflowers and camphorweed throughout the property. Snow-on-the prairie joins or supplants them from August through October.
Fort Worth Nature Center, 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd., Fort Worth, 817/392-7410. The center features sunflowers, camphorweed, buttonbush, and bluebells from June through September. Mountain pink makes an appearance from late May through July, followed by snow-on-the-prairie in August and September.
Fredericksburg Nature Center, 432 Lady Bird Dr., 830/997-8917. From May or June through September or October, look for bluebells, sunflowers, buttonbush, and camphorweed blooming along Live Oak Creek. Mountain pink grows in drier areas along the Live Oak Wilder--ness Trail from May to July.
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Dr., 713/681-8433 or 866/510-7219. Look for sunflowers and snow-on-the-prairie blooming in the arboretum’s Demonstration Meadow in July and August. Buttonbush and halberdleaf hibiscus flower near the shore of the R.A. Vines Pond from June through September.
Sibley Nature Center, 1307 E. Wadley Ave., Midland, 432/684-6827. Check the bottom of the playa along the north edge of the property for sunflowers and camphorweed throughout the summer. Buttonbush thrives on the northeast side of the pond, along the dam. Hope for bluebells to flower in the Wildlife Garden on the east side of the Nature Center building.
San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Place, 210/207-3250. Look for sunflowers starting in June in the Wildflower Meadow, the Bird Watch area, and at the front of the Carriage House. Buttonbush blossoms by the East Texas Lake from June through September. Snow-on-the-prairie brightens the Wildflower Meadow beginning in late summer, and the tufts of old man’s beard hang on the South Texas Fence from July onward.