North Texas Daily

Local bluebonnets no-show as spring treks on

Local bluebonnets no-show as spring treks on

Local bluebonnets no-show as spring treks on
April 27
23:31 2015

Sarah Lagro / Staff Writer

Historian Jack Maguire said it best: “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland.”

Fields of bluebonnets have already sprung up in popular areas such as Muleshoe Bend and Ennis, home of the state’s official bluebonnet trail. This has left some residents of Denton wondering why there are little to no bluebonnets within city limits.

“It’s very disappointing,” interdisciplinary studies sophomore Jon Hernandez said. “Denton is such a special city in Texas and I feel like bluebonnets are necessary to give towns a Texan vibe.”

In 1901, the Texas Legislature adopted the bluebonnet as the state flower. The plant was dubbed “bluebonnet” because of its resemblance to a sunbonnet, worn by women at the time. There are five known species of the flower that are native to the state and can be found from north central Texas all the way to Mexico.

Tim Meador, co-owner of Meador Nursery in Denton, said bluebonnets are very popular during the spring.

“People always ask about bluebonnets,” Meador said. “They’re perfect for photos and for showing Texas pride.”

The bluebonnet then spread even further throughout Texas due to the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, advocated by first lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson.

The Texas Department of Transportation oversees the state’s Wildflower Program, and each year about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed is purchased and planted along Texas highways.

TxDOT said promoting the growth of native species cuts the cost of labor and is a natural benefit for the Texas environment.

As of late, these native flowers are sparse within city limits, most likely due to the widening of Interstate 35. Construction on the interstate is not expected to be completed until mid-2017 at the earliest, according to TxDOT.

Despite the lack of flowers along the highways, there are still some bluebonnets to be seen around the city and county.

Patches and fields of bluebonnets have been spotted in Flower Mound, Pilot Point and Argyle. The intersection of West University Drive and Ector Street boasts a small patch as well as the area between the UNT Music Building and McConnell Tower.

“I think it adds a nice touch to campus,” philosophy senior Preston Slateon said. “It gives UNT a traditional characteristic while keeping a modern look.”

Slateon also said citizens of Denton should be encouraged to plant their own bluebonnets to make up for the lack of wildflowers. Anyone can purchase bluebonnet seeds from retailers like Wal-Mart, he said.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center said to plant bluebonnets in the fall, no later than mid-November, and to give the flowers at least two years to germinate and grow.

The most common attraction for the bluebonnets is the picture-taking potential. TxDOT said in order to keep the flowers around, people should be careful not to trample the blossoms and avoid picking them.

Hernandez said he hopes the City of Denton will take action and plant bluebonnets themselves.

“The Square would be perfect,” Hernandez said. “It’s a popular place and it would send the right message to tourists. Denton is already great, but bluebonnets would give us another Texas quality.”

Featured Image: Blue bonnets cover a field on the side of I-20 in Cedar Hill, Texas. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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