Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CAN RAIN SAVE THE BLUEBONNETS?

Spring will certainly come to Texas this year but I think it will be a little different from the last few years. Sparse rainfall at the end of the year will mean fewer wildflowers in the fields. Or should I say fewer of our beloved Texas bluebonnets( Lupinus texensis). All is not lost because some wild flowers thrive on the lack of rainfall and competition from native grasses which will not grow so tall. It will be their spot in the limelight. 

You can see by looking at these photographs of our patch last year that the bluebonnet can dominate. Where enough moisture is found one seed will grow to be a plant 3 feet in diameter. I have one or two of those inside my garden where soils are deeper. 

I walked up to the top of our property yesterday and saw that there will not be one flower there this year. The ground is hard and dry and the seeds which germinated earlier in the year are shriveled and stunted. Even so some are trying to produce a diminutive flower. 

Even the possibility of rain this weekend, the first in months, will do little to bring them on. What a good job that nature makes sure that not all seeds germinate at the same time. Under the dry grass will be others waiting for the fall rains. Their tough seeds coats may just have taken a little longer to wear to the point where water can penetrate. Good old mother nature.
So who will be in the fields this spring. Members of the sunflower family, Engelmann's daisy will be there along with pink Missouri primrose. Ah, yes, I grew that primrose in St Louis. It was so well mannered but here in my Texas garden it wants to take over. 

I actually bought seeds! I am forever pulling out, keeping it under control so that it will only grace the garden  with a beautiful clump or two. Now if only it would grow out on the septic field I could just imagine it............ 


7 comments:

  1. Gosh, I think it is all stunning, even if the primrose is trying to take over.

    Wishing you some rain from CA.

    Katie

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  2. Would love to give you some of the rain we have here in IL. You could give us some of your dryness and the balance would be perfect!

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  3. Are you using the Lupins as green manure?

    The first time I saw fields of them grown for fertilizer, I was completely bowled over. It seemed such a wonderful way of improving the soil. Much more picturesque than clover.
    I am not sure if my vast numbers of white lupins would be equally beneficial.
    jo

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  4. My bluebonnets look just like that this year too, unless they happen to be in a bed near other plants that are getting watered. They'll be back but it's hard on us central Texans to miss even one year of our beloved bluebonnets

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  5. That's so sad. Texas without Bluebonnets...But I must say that I now associate Texas with the Primroses, as that was what I first noticed as my plane set down in Austin last year.

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  6. Jenny, if you yank out any more pink primrose, I'd be glad to rescue it from the compost heap. I've been trying to find some for sale, but no luck.

    I spread lots and lots of wildflower and bluebonnet seeds over my back lawn last fall, and I haven't had any germinate either. Maybe next year.

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  7. Your Bluebonnets were gorgeous when they were in their prime.

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