Service calls are kind of nice in the springtime. It gives us the chance before summer heat sets in to breathe the fresh air, look around, and really enjoy. After all, it’s finally wildflower season! And thanks to recent heavy rains, fields, and highways are awash with brilliant color from Indian Paintbrush, Black-eyed Susan and, our favorite, Texas Bluebonnets.
No flower is more associated with the Lone Star State than the bluebonnet. The flower lines Texas highways during the spring, making for scenic drives across the state. We owe much of that grandeur to former First Lady Ladybird Johnson, who took the initiative to write checks to people who made the effort to plant wildflowers and beautify our highways.
It was back on March 7, 1901, that the Twenty-seventh Texas Legislature adopted the bluebonnet as the state flower. The flower’s popular name derives from its resemblance to a sunbonnet. It has also been called buffalo clover, wolf flower, and, in Spanish, el conejo (“the rabbit”). On March 8, 1971, the legislation was amended to include four other species of bluebonnets.
In 1933 the legislature adopted a state flower song, “Bluebonnets,” written by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett. Also in the 1930s, the Highway Department began a landscaping and beautification program and extended the flower’s range. Due largely to that agency’s efforts, (and Ladybird’s) bluebonnets now grow along most major highways throughout the state. The flower usually blooms in late March and early April and is found mostly in limestone outcroppings from north central Texas to Mexico.
Indian lore called the flower a gift from the Great Spirit. Legend has it, that the native tribes were drying due to a drought. The leaders and medicine men were told by the Great Spirit that only a show of sacrifice would bring forgiveness and rain. One little girl took her beloved cornhusk doll decorated with feathers from blue jays, and sneaking out alone, burned it in a fire. Then, she took the cooled ashes and flung them in the four directions. The following morning, the earth was lush and green, and the landscape was covered with flowers the color of those blue jay feathers. The little girl’s name was changed by her tribe to “One Who Dearly Loves Her People.”
To this day, the bluebonnet continues to be a favorite subject for artists and photographers, and at the peak of bloom, festivals featuring the flower are held in several locations. Go find a field of bluebonnets and take some selfies. It’ll make your out-of-state friends jealous, for sure!
Happy Spring from all our family at Roger’s Plumbing to yours!