The great state of Texas is steeped in history, legends, folklore and beauty for all to enjoy. It is the largest state in the lower 48 states and could be divided into 5 states. It was originally owned by Spain who also owned Mexico at the time. When Mexico won its independence from Spain Texas became part of the Mexico territory and remained so until it fought for and won its independence in 1836. There were many battles fought along what is now called the Texas Independence Trail with the most famous being the siege at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. The battle raged on from February 23, 1836, until the final surrender on March 6, 1836. Many lives were lost during the siege. Anger and determination rose in the troops and the now-famous battle cry “Remember the Alamo” was carried with them into the next 2 battles. There was a lesser-known battle at Goliad and the ultimate battle at San Jacinto (near Houston)where General Sam Houston’s army defeated General Santa Anna’s army. The Mexicans outnumbered the Texans by more than 2 to1.
Initially, all Texas was wanting from Mexico was Statehood but as things heated up between the Mexicans and Texans the Texans realized what they genuinely wanted was their freedom to form their own Republic. As they fought battles to earn their independence a Convention was held at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, to adopt The Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. It was formally signed the next day after corrections were made to the original text.
Bluebonnets have grown wild in Texas for many years. There are 6 varieties of wild Bluebonnets in Texas. In 1901 the Texas Legislature met to adopt a state flower. Initially, they could not decide. Up for debate were the West Texas cactus, Central Texas Bluebonnet and the East Texas cotton boll. While the state flower was being debated. The Colonial Dames of America in Texas decided to take matters into their own hands. They showed up ready to persuade in favour of the Bluebonnet. They brought with them a lovely painting of Bluebonnets and placed a jar with a Bluebonnet in it at each Congressman’s desk. The room fell quiet briefly then it became a unanimous decision to name the Bluebonnet the official State flower of Texas.
During Lady Bird Johnson’s tenure as First Lady she championed conservation and beautification efforts for all the United States and for the improvement of the character of our nation’s highways. She wanted fewer advertising billboards, and roadway beautification efforts involving trash clean up and the planting of flowers and trees along the roadway. After returning to her beloved state of Texas she continued her efforts and encouraged others to plant wildflowers. The Texas Highway Department adopted her love of the wildflower, especially the Bluebonnet, and plants it in areas where they will grow best. You can see Bluebonnets growing along many of Texas’ roadways. Bluebonnets are often seeded with a mix of another popular wildflower, the Indian Paintbrush.
The Bluebonnet is in all its glory in early to mid-Spring and has a glorious but short growing season. People from all over the world have made their way to Texas to enjoy the splendor of this beautiful and unique flower. The best place to see the most abundant display of Bluebonnets is still being debated. If visiting Texas in the Spring and wanting to enjoy some of its rich history as well as it’s beautiful Bluebonnets I’d suggest a visit to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site near Brenham. There are walking tours that will educate you on the rich Texas history while enjoying the grandeur of the Bluebonnets growing all around the grounds. If in San Antonio during the growing season be sure and visit the historic Alamo, eat delicious Mexican food along the historic Riverwalk and enjoy making your own memories among the Bluebonnets. These are just a couple of the favourite places to enjoy the Bluebonnets but there are many more. If in Austin be sure to visit The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. There’s something there for every member of your family.
Texans are a warm and friendly group of people. They are sometimes frowned upon for their sense of pride and “everything is bigger in Texas” attitude. But they will always be ready to show you an enjoyable time in their great state so “come kick your boots up and enjoy yourself for a spell”.