The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pick away; it’s bluebonnet time

By Susan Tallant/editor-in-chief

It’s the perfect time to gas up the tank, grab a camera and head to the hills. But don’t forget the guidebook of bluebonnet hot spots and a pair of garden gloves.

Wait a minute … it’s illegal to pick a bluebonnet in Texas, right?

Nope. Pick away. Laws address damaging property and impeding traffic, but not picking our state flower.

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Web site advises to pick a few flowers, but don’t dig up clumps of them and don’t drive a vehicle into the midst of them. DPS also reminds us that Mother Nature and other fellow Texans have spread wildflower seeds along highways so everyone can enjoy the spring beauties.

Did you ever wonder just how many seedlings are scattered? Me either. But I was amazed to learn, from an article by Simon Romero in The New York Times, that 5.6 billion individual seeds equaling 33,000 pounds are strewn along 79,000 miles of Texas roadsides each year.

And this year the roadside flora is “better than average,” according to the Texas Department of Transportation, who has even provided a wildflower information line, 800-452-9292, to keep everyone up-to-date.

“ The wildflowers are in full bloom across most of Texas and currently the best showing can be found within the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio triangle,” the TxDOT robotic phone voice said last week.

Need a map? The TxDOT Web site, www.dot.state.tx.us, has a wildflower link with maps to help locate the best floral areas.

To keep everyone safe (and limit tickets) while hunting blooms, Texas DPS offers tips on its Web site, www.txdps.state.tx.us. A few rules of thumb: be careful when slowing down to enjoy the view, the driver behind you is going 80 mph while text messaging; use your turn signal and don’t pull over in an extremely busy area, rubberneckers cause traffic jams and traffic jams cause road rage.

Also, park on the same side of the road and don’t run across the freeway; again, drivers are texting out there. Obey the signs of private property owners because Texans own guns. Check the ground before plopping the little ones down; Texas has snakes and fire ants.

So enjoy the road trip and enjoy the blooms; just don’t forget the rules and best of all, don’t forget a vase.

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