Getting Ready for Bluebonnets

This blog post is from Tom! If you want to see a little more about him, then visit our team page here.

We all love blue bonnets. Is there anything we can do to make the world a little more bluebonnet-y?

Lot’s of people have Bluebonnet flowers pop up in their yards and if yours are in a native area it’s probably time to get ready for them.  The Bluebonnets should be sprouting about now and over the next couple weeks.  Their star shaped leaves should be able to be spotted growing close to the ground.    

Before they start getting too tall to reach the mower blades you might consider cutting the taller native grass areas now and that will help the wild flowers stand taller than the native grass at their peak in late-March and April.  Also, as a disaster prevention note, if you do have wild flowers growing in your yard that you don’t want cut be sure to let us know so we can plan for them.

Planting

If you’d like to start a wild flower area in your yard for this season – it’s too late.  You’ve missed the window to spread the seeds but you can get prepared and collect the seeds from this years crop and spread them in the fall.  Seeds are available in packets at HEBs but you might also consider a trip to The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center here in Austin (www.wildflower.org) or Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg (www.wildseedfarms.com).  Both places are fun to visit, but I personally use the “covert, off-the-grid” method of gathering the seed pods on walks or harvest the pods from one area of the yard relocating some to other areas you want them.

Harvesting

Harvesting seeds is easy.  At the end of their season, roughly May/June, the bluebonnets will produce the green seed pods.  As they are maturing the seed pods turn to brown.  Their natural seed spreading mechanism is that as the pod dries out it starts to shrink and twist.  Once there is exactly enough pressure from the twisting, the seed pod explodes launching the seeds up to several feet.  Rather than scavenger the surrounding dirt for seeds that look like tiny pebbles I pick the unopened brown pods and keep them in a paper grocery bag.  Keep the bag in the garage or somewhere dry and as they do the pods will burst open and the seeds will settle at the bottom of the bag.  Easily remove the shattered pods and you have a bag of seeds left to relocate around your yard.  Early October is a great time to throw the seeds on the ground where you want them to sprout in spring.  Ideally, scratch them up a little with sandpaper and rake the planting area so they hopefully touch some soil. Sandpaper helps the seed germinate – it seems counter intuitive, but it is important. 

Lastly, if you’re our customer and you have a wildflower spot we should be aware of in the yard, remember to let us know so we can do our best to avoid shortening their fabulous little blue lives!  The last thing we need is trouble with the law for accidentally cutting the State Flower!

 

**We got the pictures from various places and we assume the owners are cool people that like to have the pictures used. If not…let us know and we will take them down 🙂