Sunday, April 15, 2012

Texas Family Bluebonnet Photos

Bluebonnets have inspired Texans for centuries

Why are bluebonnets so special?  If you're not from Texas, it may be difficult for you to understand.   The bluebonnet is the State Flower of Texas, but do all people covet the official flower of their home state in this way? Perhaps it is because we love all things Texana, and bluebonnets are definitely part of the Texana culture. According to the Texas Less Traveled website:

"Bluebonnets have been loved since man first trod the vast prairies of Texas. Native Americans (Texans) wove fascinating folk tales around them, crediting them with everything from having natural medicinal qualities to being spiritual messengers sent from the heavens. The early-day Spanish priests gathered the seeds and grew them around their missions to beautify. This practice gave rise to the myth that the padres had brought the plant from Spain, but the two predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world."

This is me and my darling HUBBY, Easter 2012.  Photo courtesy of Kimography

I found this explanation on the Life Is Just So Daily blog:

"As historian Jack Maguire so aptly wrote, "It's not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat." He goes on to affirm that "The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland."

PRINCESS poses by the bluebonnets growing in her Grandpa's field,
Easter 1985.  Photo taken with my Polariod 660 Camera.

Here in the Lone Star State, we cherish our symbols

Perhaps our fondness for this flower is derived from something deeper than history and folklore.  We may incorporate bluebonnets as part of our identity as Texans living our own personal journey.  Maybe our precious bluebonnets symbolize something about our individual Texas heritage that we love and long for. 

PRINCESS took this Polaroid photo of me, Easter 1985 

Texans love to spin a good yarn

When we see bluebonnets, many of us recall cherished memories childhood memories of family outings. Parts of the following story are true:

One day we were driving south from Dallas down Interstate 35, (or maybe it was driving west on Interstate 20 from Dallas), for a visit with some of the family.   The kids were all sitting in the back seat of the family car, a late 1960s model wide track Pontiac Catalina just like this one:

1968 Pontiac Catalina - photo from AUTOWEEK

Situated elbow-to-elbow in the back of that beautiful car, time can pass very, very slowly.   A kid can only take so much family togetherness, right? 

Greg, Brandy, and Leeanna - north Texas environmental campaign pioneers and some of my favorite tree-huggers. Polaroid 660 photo.

I got irritated at one of my siblings and hollered out from the back seat, "Mom, he touched me on the arm!" My brother protested rather indignantly,"I did not!" I continued my loud lament. "Yes, the hair on your arm touched my arm. Mom!!"  (Don't judge me.At the time it seemed quite annoying.)

BELLE's first bluebonnet photo, Mother's Day 2004, old HP camera with 1MP.

Unruffled, Mom pointed her finger toward the front seat passenger window, smiling as she spoke, "Look out there, kids.  See the bluebonnets?"  Mom's voice sounded smooth and sweet, just like honey butter.  The back seat brouhaha was snuffed out like a flame deprived of oxygen.  Problem solved.  

HUBBY with our grandson COCHISE, April 2009, 2MP cell phone camera photo  

Does this remind you of any other family stories about bluebonnets?  Please share, I do love a good story.

PRINCESS with her beautiful babies BELLE and COCHISE, April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

Whatever the reason, it is clear that we Texans do truly cherish our bluebonnets. Does your family have a tradition of taking pictures in the bluebonnets?  Feel free to share any stories and photos you have.  I will blog about them in a future post if I can. 

Our four amazing children PEPSI, PUMPKIN, PRINCE, and PRINCESS,April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

Our family has a long tradition of posing for pictures amongst the bluebonnets

Our family now has a tradition of taking individual and group photos when the bluebonnets bloom.  27 years ago I began taking photographs of my family and friends in fields of Texas bluebonnets.  I love the rich color and beauty these flowers give to my shots. Of course, the date they bloom is nearly as unpredictable as our Texas weather.  Speaking of being unpredictable, that describes our kiddos when they get together.

Nobody in our family can be serious for too long, April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

Bluebonnets are wildflowers. According to my Nanny, you have to treat them like wildflowers.  You can't baby them because they hate it and they won't grow. Of course, Nanny is my MOST trusted source on flowers and gardens.  Bluebonnet seeds look like little black rocks. You just take a handful of seeds, toss them out wherever you want them to grow, and hope for the best. Bluebonnets will bloom whenever they darn well feel like it.  They're as stubborn, independent, and wild as our beloved home state. Hey, maybe THAT'S why Texans love bluebonnets so much.  We too have a reputation of being a little stubborn, independent, and wild.

PEPSI, DIXIE, and PUMPKIN, April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

Nan had a lot of experience with bluebonnets.  The ones she planted and babied never grew.  On the other hand, the ones she tossed out into the garden bed (and I mean TOSSED not planted) never grew either.  That is, they didn't sprout for five years.  Five years!  By the time they bloomed, she had almost forgotten about them.  What do you think about that?

Mayhem ensues when these three gals get together. April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

If you have bluebonnet growing experience and wisdom to share, please do! We have one acre at the back of our little homestead that borders a perennially dry creek bed.  I really want to toss some bluebonnet seeds out back there so that we can enjoy them every spring.  Yet one more reason for Texans to love their bluebonnets.  Seeing those beautiful blue blossoms peeping up from their long slumber reminds us that winter is finally over and spring has arrived.

Precious! TINKERBELL's  first bluebonnet portrait, April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

It is only a matter of time and money, right?  Whenever I have the time to buy seeds, I don't have enough money.  Whenever I have the money, I just don't have the time to get seeds.  Those things are like gold!

PEPSI and PETER with their darling firstborn TINKERBELL,  April 2011, Canon G11 Photo

Bluebonnets along Texas highways and byways

Have the Texas roadsides always been dotted with bluebonnets?  The Root, Wing, and Fenceline website tells the story this way:

My friend Silvana and her sweet children, April 2012, Smart Phone Photo.

"Summer drives didn’t always include hillsides of black-eyed Susans and big bluestem. When a stretch of state or county roadside begins to bloom in a blanket of yellow and purple, it seems so, well, natural, that you tell yourself it has always been that way."

HUBBY and I with my brother, sister-in-law, and some of their lovely family, April 2012, Canon G11 photo.

"Before the Interstate was built, most highways were bordered in brome grass, mowed as neatly as a front lawn. An unending row of advertising billboards provided color, and junkyards proliferated.  During the 1950s, Congress under President Eisenhower funded the Interstate system, basically to enhance our national defense during the Cold War with communist Russia. They didn’t realize how we would love our  Interstate highways. "

Adorable great-niece and nephew, April 2012, Canon G11 photo.

"Many people credit President Johnson’s wife Lady Bird with the idea of planting wildflowers along highways."

Nephew DR with his wife LR, April 2012, Canon G11 photo.

"However, the Texas DOT began planting bluebonnets and other wildflowers along Texas highways soon after it began in 1917.Lady Bird gave a big push toward better funding for wildflowers, and influenced the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which encouraged wildflower planting along the new Interstate system."

My brother HR, April 2012, Canon G11 photo.

"Congress also placed restrictions on billboards, after states were unable to get legislation past the Outdoor Advertising Association. By 1987 the Federal Highway Administration required a percentage of every federally-funded roadside landscaping project to include some native wildflowers and grasses."

A few bluebonnet photo tips

Well, now you know purt near everything that I do about bluebonnets.  Are you ready to start taking bluebonnet photos of your loved ones?  Here are a few tips:

  • Don't pull over on the side of the interstate highway and whip out your camera. You might cause a vehicle accident.
  • You can find a great spot on your own.  Check out some of the Texas State Parks.  A few quick phone calls will point to you a beautiful spot.  If you prefer, try a google search.  Every year people picturesque spots to show where bluebonnets are blooming.
  • Watch out for bugs and critters.  Dress appropriately.  Sandals and shoes are cute, but this is Texas.  We have all kinds of itchy stuff lurking in the our wilderness landscapes.
  •  Don't trample down all the bluebonnets!  Find your spot and gently get to it, saving as many as possible for others to photograph and enjoy.  You might see a 'nest' or spot where someone else has already knelt for pictures.  Use that same spot if you can.
  • The best tip I have is to hire a professional photographer.   I highly recommend:

Kimography, our choice in photography

The following photos are by Kimography.

Photo courtesy of Kimography

Some people won't get couple photos taken outside in the bluebonnets after they reach 'a certain age'. HUBBY and I are both 50-something.  

Photo courtesy of Kimography

Kimography did a superb job.  These portraits were all made in April 2012, within a week or so of the photos I posted above of me and HUBBY with my brother and his family.  Wow, what a difference, right?

Photo courtesy of Kimography

HUBBY's eyes are so pretty and blue.  I love the way this portrait captures their color and sparkle.

Photo courtesy of Kimography

The BEST individual picture of me since I was 20-something, no kidding!  I look at least 10 years younger than I do in the photos with my brother and his family.

Photo courtesy of Kimography

This is my favorite shot of the whole session.  Overall there were 20 proofs posted on the Kimography site for us to select from.  It was so hard to choose!

 Photo courtesy of Kimography

Our family tradition of bluebonnet photos will continue.  I certainly plan to use Kimography from now on.  How old is too old to do this type of couple photos?  I'll let you know if we ever get there.  Right now we're enjoying spending some well-deserved uninterrupted couple time together.  Here in the bluebonnet patch we felt a little younger and happier.  After 30+ years of having kids living at home, it is refreshing to have more opportunities to stop and smell the bluebonnets.  The fragrance was absolutely sublime.


  1. I absolutely love bluebonnets. They DO remind me that winter is over! I also think that having a portrait day somewhere with lots of bluebonnets blooming is just a recipe for outdoor fun. I remember a Saturday in April last year, the family went to a park and commandeered a pavilion next to a hillside blanketed in blue, and I thought to bring some kites and things, and Daddy brought some fishing poles, and we made a day of it. A very fond memory indeed.

  2. Very fond memory indeed. Flying kites, fishing, good food, all of us together.

  3. Thank you Spoken and Anonymous for your lovely comments. Yes, a lovely memory.


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