Gary Regner Photography

2019 TEXAS WILDFLOWER AND BLUEBONNET SIGHTINGS REPORT


RATING SYSTEM

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WILDFLOWER VIEWING GUIDE

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>April 5, 2019 – Hill Country Fails to Impress

On Thursday April 4, I traveled over 300 miles through the Hill Country in search of wildflowers to photograph. Unfortunately, expectations for a bountiful season do not appear to be coming true. There are many wildflowers (bluebonnets, paintbrush and others) lining many of the roads, but fields of flowers were not as common, and I saw no areas that come close to the blooms seen this year south of San Antonio in the Poteet area and Atascosa county. Blooms in the Hill Country beyond the fence-lines were not yet at peak, and there were some areas that might improve IF we get appreciable rain very soon, AND temperatures remain moderate and not like the high of 94 I experienced during my trip. I by no means covered all major roads, so there may be areas that are really good, but I’ve not seen them or heard about them from others. Here is a summary of my route:

  • * Hwy 29 from Georgetown to Liberty Hill – scattered wildflowers along the road, the only fields with any wildflowers were closer to Georgetown and consisted of verbena - Rating 1
  • * Hwy 29 from Liberty Hill to Burnet – wildflowers along the roads only, bluebonnets and paintbrush, light coverage - Rating 1-2
  • * Hwy 29 from Burnet to FM 1431 – roadside bluebonnets and paintbrush, average at best, occasionally extending into fields but with only light coverage - Rating 1-2
  • * Hwy 29 from FM 1431 to Llano – roadside bluebonnets, paintbrush and other assorted wildflowers that at times extend into fields beyond the fence-line, but with only light to moderate coverage - Rating 1-3
  • * Hwy 71 from Llano to Fredonia – roadside wildflowers especially paintbrush, mainly on the south portion near Llano, including some fields lightly to moderately covered in paintbrush; fewer and fewer wildflowers as you head west - Rating 1-3
  • * FM 386 from Fredonia to Mason – only scattered wildflowers along the road, very poor - Rating 0
  • * US 87 from Mason to FM 783 – roadside wildflowers that range from average to above average in spots; spotted a few fields with moderate coverage of bluebonnets - Rating 2-3
  • * FM 783 from US 87 to Doss – one of the best routes I saw, moderate to heavy coverage along the road, and some fields with light to moderate coverage of bluebonnets - Rating 2-4
  • * FM 648 from Doss to US 87 – some areas of verbena closer to Doss, then few wildflowers after that - Rating 0-1
  • * US 87 from FM 648 north to FM 152 – light to moderate roadside wildflowers including bluebonnets, downy paintbrush and others sometimes extending to fields with mainly light coverage, but moderate in a few areas - Rating 1-3
  • * FM 152 from US 87 to Llano – for a scenic drive, this was the best I saw; much of this route had moderate to heavy roadside coverage of bluebonnets and paintbrush and in many areas wildflowers extended beyond the fence-line into fields with light to moderate coverage of mainly bluebonnets. Closer to Llano (2-3 miles) there were some areas of heavily covered fields with bluebonnets, but very few areas were it would be safe to stop. Still these did not come close to what was seen in south Texas this year. - Rating 2-4

>March 25, 2019 – Wildflower Super-bloom in Poteet Area

South Texas
Predictions for an above average wildflower season have come true. The area south of San Antonio around Poteet is experiencing a well above average season the likes of have not been seen since 2010. Paintbrush are especially prolific this year, with countless acres covered in solid orange. Many large fields of Sandy-land bluebonnets are blooming as well, and to a lesser extent there is abundant groundsel, phlox and prickly poppies. On almost any road in this area you will find large fields of wildflowers. Flowers appear to already be at or just past peak, so get out there now if you want to see them at their best.

  • * FM 476 west of Poteet – many fields of paintbrush and bluebonnets, often mixed with groundsel, phlox and prickly poppies – Rating 4-5
  • * FM 2504 west of Poteet – again large fields of bluebonnets and paintbrush and other wildflowers mixed in – Rating 4-5
  • * FM 1333, FM 2146 – much the same, large fields of bluebonnets and paintbrush with other wildflowers mixed in – Rating 4-5

Central Texas
Roadsides have been blooming with bluebonnets for some time now, but they are now thicker and appear at peak. In addition, blooms are starting to pop in vacant lots, fields and pastures in the Austin area; they are still early in bloom and will probably peak in 7-10 days. Much cooler weather is headed to central Texas this weekend with the possibility of rain. Cool temperatures and continued rainfall will extend the bloom. Some years have seen bluebonnets bloom all the way into May when conditions are just right. No widespread blooms have yet been reported from the Hill Country except for roadside blooms, but that should be changing in the near future with warm sunny days.

>March 21, 2019 – Spring Arrives in South Central Texas with a BANG!

    Wednesday was the Spring Equinox marking the first day of spring and mother nature is celebrating in south central Texas with a magnificent wildflower display. The bloom this year is near the level of the super-bloom that occurred in 2010. Sandy-land bluebonnets, phlox, paintbrush, groundsel, and prickly poppies are the predominant species. Best areas I've seen so far are around La Vernia, Sutherland Springs, Floresville and Poteet.
  • FM 467 – many lots covered in thick paintbrush, bluebonnets, groundsel and phlox
  • US 87 South of La Vernia – many massive fields of mixed wildflowers, predominantly bluebonnets
  • FM 539 – nice displays along this road, but the largest field from past years has been plowed under
  • FM 1470 – large fields of paintbrush and bluebonnets

>March 19, 2019 - Big Bend / Hill Country / South Texas

Big Bend
I spent 4 nights and 3 full days in Big Bend National Park 3/13-3/17. The Big Bend bluebonnets (aka Chisos bluebonnet) are still blooming, however, after being in bloom for nearly a month, the vast majority are becoming very tall and scraggly while many others are drying up or have gone to seed. Still decent for viewing, however, they are no longer very photo worthy. Be aware that they are difficult to see in full sun when away from the road, they seem to blend into the background; they are easier to spot during early morning or late afternoon, or when the sky is overcast. The greatest concentrations of bluebonnets are in the southwest portion of the park along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive south of Mule Ears Viewpoint to Castolon, or along River Road West about 7-8 miles east of the beginning of the road near the Tuff Canyon Overlook. Be warned that if attempting River Road West, you will need at least a high clearance vehicle, preferably 4WD. The road is very rocky and sandy in places, and I turned around at mile 9 fearing damage to my SUV. In other areas of the park, the bluebonnets mainly just line the paved roads. West facing slopes in general around Cerro Castellan are in better condition than east facing slopes. If you want to see the bluebonnets, go now, your time is running out.
Other species in bloom include long-spine prickly pear, Torrey yucca, ocotillo, creosote bush, brown-flowered cacti, bicolored mustard, verbena, paleface rosemallow, bladderpod, dogweed, desert marigold, blackfoot daisy, nicollet, and many others.
The road between Persimmon Gap and Panther Junction did not have many wildflowers on 3/13 except for roadside bluebonnets, but by 3/17 much of the desert floor was covered in little yellow and white flowers, and many Torrey yucca where also in bloom.
Yet to bloom where other species of prickly pear, pitaya cacti and dog cholla, but they were often covered in numerous buds that should open in the coming weeks.
Hill Country
On the way back through the Hill Country on 3/17 I spotted several large fields of purple verbena near Junction, and Hwy 29 between Mason and Llano is lined with long stretches of thick bluebonnets. I only spotted one field that was starting to bloom about half way between Mason and Llano. By the time I got to Llano the sun had set, so I could not see conditions after that.
South Texas
Numerous reports are coming in that an above average season is occurring south and southeast of San Antonio near Poteet, and also around La Vernia and Sutherland Springs. Visit the Texas Wildflower Report for details.

>March 9, 2019 - Big Bend Superbloom

Right now the wildflower hot-spot in Texas is in the Big Bend. Multiple reports indicate Big Bend bluebonnets are the best they've been in years, and indications are that more wildflowers are getting ready to bloom soon, especially cacti. It's a long drive for most, but might be worth it.

Not only is the Big Bend seeing a spectacular wildflower season this year, most of the desert southwest is as well. The season is well above average approaching what many call a "super bloom". Desert USA Wildflower Report

>March 3, 2019 - Spring Arrives to South and West Texas

Bluebonnets, paintbrush, phlox and other wildflowers are blooming strong in south Texas in the Valley and Corpus Christi area. Wildflowers south of San Antonio are coming along according to recent reports, and should be good in 7-10 days. In west Texas, the Big Bend bluebonnets are said to be the best in many years.

I scouted along IH35 going north from Austin to Temple, and although bluebonnets are just starting to bloom in spots, I can't recall a year where I saw so many thick patches of bluebonnet plants. It should be an impressive roadside display this year in the coming weeks.

>February 20, 2019 - Early Bloomers

Redbud and Mountain Laurel trees have begun to bloom in Central Texas signalling the beginning of spring. This is quite a bit earlier than normal. A few bluebonnets have also been spotted beginning to bloom along major roadways as well. This year may see a early peak along roadways followed by a later peak for fields and pastures that warm more slowly than roadways.

I scouted the areas south and east of San Antonio on Wednesday February 13, and conditions look the most promising since 2012. Areas visited included Devine, Natalia, Lytle, Moore, Bigfoot, Somerset and New Berlin. Wildflower seedlings were still very small, but abundant. Bottom line was it is still early, and I wouldn't expect any significant bloom for at least 3-4 weeks. In previous years this area peaked in late March and early April, but I expect this year to be several weeks earlier.

>February 12, 2019 - Spring Outlook

Conditions are looking good for a great wildflower season this year. Wildflowers are already starting to bloom along roadsides, and may be peaking much earlier than usual. Fields, especially in the Hill Country, usually peak several weeks after roadsides. Reports have been coming in from all over Texas of large numbers of bluebonnet plants, many more than seen in recent years, which is very promising. Big Bend is already reporting bluebonnets in full bloom in several areas, also much earlier than usual. Rich Olivieri has put together an excellent report on the 2019 wildflower season outlook. He put in a lot of work analyzing weather patterns and historical photos, so make sure to check it out!

>January 11, 2019 - Rain continues...

It has been very wet in much of Texas during the fall of 2018 and continuing into winter. Although there were some below average temperatures in the fall, winter has been mild. Conditions have been very promising for a great wildflower show this year. Timing will be difficult to predict; if mild conditions persist spring could come earlier than usual.

>Looking Back

Here are some images from previous wildflower seasons to get an idea of what we may expect to see this coming spring.

2014 Texas Wildflower Season:
Edge of Darkness - Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets (4/16/2014) Silver Lining - Texas Hill Country Wildflower Sunset (4/15/2014) Muleshoe Sunset - Bluebonnets at Sunset in the Texas Hill Country (4/15/2014) Bluebonnet Lake - Texas Bluebonnets in the Hill Country (4/15/2014) Bluebonnet Road - Texas Bluebonnets in the Hill Country at Sunrise(4/16/2014) Turkey Bend Sunrise - Texas Bluebonnets in the Hill Country (4/19/2014) All Alone - Texas Bluebonnets in the Hill Country at Sunrise(4/16/2014) Spring Thunderstorm - Texas Wildflowers in Guadalupe County(4/7/2014)

2013 Texas Wildflower Season:
Magic Hour - Bluebonnets at Sunrise in Ellis County (4/21/2013) Engelmann's Daisies - Texas Hill Country Wildflowers in Llano County (5/4/2013) Crimson Sundown - Texas Hill Country Wildflowers in Llano County (5/11/2013) Tournesols - Wild Sunflowers at Sunset in Travis County, Texas (6/19/2013) Florid Meadow - Wildflowers at Sunset in Travis County, Texas (6/12/2013)

2012 Texas Wildflower Season:
Spring Medley - Wildflowers at Sunset in Frio County, Texas (3/14/2012) The Flowers of Floresville - Texas Wildflowers at Sunset in Wilson County, Texas (3/24/2012) Hillside Blues - Bluebonnets at Sunset in the Texas Hill Country (3/31/2012) Wildflower Fiesta - Phlox, bladderpod and bluebonnets in Guadalupe County, Texas (3/24/2012) Cerulean Jewels - Bluebonnets at sunset in the Texas Hill Country, San Saba County (3/30/2012) Alabaster and Gold - Texas Wildflowers, San Saba County (3/24/2012) Rays of the Sun - Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets in Llano County (4/8/2012) Wisps - Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets at Sunset in Llano County (4/6/2012) Llano Uplift - Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets at Sunset in Llano County (4/6/2012)

2010 Texas Wildflower Season:
Moonlight Serenade - Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets at Sunset in Atascosa County (4/6/2010) First Light - Texas Wildflowers at Sunrise in Frio County (4/9/2010) A Perfect Day- Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets at Sunset in Mason County (4/12/2010) God's Blessing - Texas Wildflowers surround a Church in Guadalupe County (4/9/2010) A Break in the Clouds - Texas Wildflowers at sunrise in Llano County (5/2/2010) Bluebonnet Creek - Texas Wildflowers, Bluebonnets line a creek in Mason County (4/25/2010) The Color of Spring - Paintbrush, phlox and prickly poppies bloom in profusion in Atascosa County (4/11/2010) Poppies - Prickly poppies and bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country (4/12/2010)

Earlier Texas Wildflower Seasons:
Here Comes the Sun - Texas Wildflowers at sunrise in Burnet County (5/30/2007) Wildflowers and Windmill - Texas Wildflowers at dusk in Mason County (5/3/2007) Evening Sun - Bluebonnets bloom on the shores of Lake Travis at sunset (4/28/2007) Pink Clouds - Sunset on late spring wildflowers in Mason county, Texas (5/12/2007) Lake Bardwell Sunset - Spring wildflowers in Ellis county, Texas (4/21/2003)
Texas Wildflowers: Postcards | Notecards | Prints | Books | Bluebonnet Seed

OTHER WILDFLOWER REPORTS


Wildflower Haven - wildflower reports, maps and other useful information
Big Bend Report - wildflower conditions from DesertUSA website
2018 Wildflower Report- previous wildflower report from 2018
2017 Wildflower Report- previous wildflower report from 2017
2016 Wildflower Report- previous wildflower report from 2016
2015 Wildflower Report- previous wildflower report from 2015
2014 Wildflower Report- previous wildflower report from 2014
2013 Wildflower Report - previous wildflower report from 2013
2012 Wildflower Report - previous wildflower report from 2012
2011 Wildflower Report - previous wildflower report from 2011
2010 Wildflower Report - previous wildflower report from 2010
2009 Wildflower Report - previous wildflower report from 2009

WILDFLOWER FIELD GUIDES

Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country - Best field guide for identifying wildflowers in the Hill Country
Wildflowers of Texas - Best field guide for state wide wildflower identification
Wildflowers of Texas Field Guide - A great pocket sized field guide, many of my pictures are included
Wildflowers of Houston and Southeast Texas - Good resource for Houston area and east Texas
Wildflowers of the Western Plains: A Field Guide - A good guide for west Texas including Big Bend
Cactus of Texas Field Guide - A great pocket sized guide to Texas cacti, includes some of my pictures

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