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To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
Easter will officially arrive on April 11, but nobody told the Texas wildflowers. They've been singing alleluias for days already.
On an April 1-4 trip from Fort Worth to Wimberley we saw lots of bluebonnets, but more in North Central Texas than in the Hill country, which was unexpected. The Fort Worth/Dallas area has had a very mild winter, but still, it was odd to see the bluebonnets already out in the metroplex, but not blooming much yet around Austin.
Still, there were bluebonnets enough running up hills and swooping down shallow valleys to satisfy our color-hungry souls. Indian paintbrushes broke up the intense blues of the lupines with their spikes of reddish-orange and coreopsis carpeted roadsides in bright yellow.
The pink evening primrose [buttercup] peeked shyly out in several places along I-35 and I think I spied the deep pink of a few wine cups. Spiderwort and spider lilies were raising their spiky heads too. I didn't see any Indian Blanket, but a friend told me he had seen some north of Austin.
Wild poppies in crimson red are blooming in some vacant lots and along some highways around town, along with purple verbena. There's one lot along I-30 between Arlington and Fort Worth that is covered with so much crimson clover it's almost a traffic hazard.
Jim Wright's father once told him it should be illegal to sell real estate in Texas in April and in October, because it constitutes false advertising. Around here, April is the kindest month, filled with all these beautiful wildflowers, plus cool nights and days in the high 60s. Texans savor it like a rare wine, because we know we won't see its like again until we've suffered through the heat of May, June, July, August and September. But by October, things have cooled off enough so being outside doesn't hurt. The Maximillian Sunflowers and the Mexican Heather bloom and once again, we all remember why we love Texas.
Katie Sherrod is a well-known Texas journalist, for years one of the most popular featured columnists in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Today Katie is an independent television producer, writer and editor. She lives in Fort Worth, TX.
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