Texas Wildflower Drought

April 25, 2011 | 12:04 pm

We lived in Texas for four years while continuing our college educations. When moving from the Midwest to the South, I had no idea I would fall in love…with wildflowers. More specifically, the Texas bluebonnets and their sidekick the Indian paintbrush. The pair brings color to the Texas landscape with breath-taking intensity. Each spring they display beauty along the Texas highways and fields.

Their uniqueness and brightness inspire all prideful parents to plop their kids in a patch along highways and in ditches. Being a new mom, I did the same thing. This picture of my oldest daughter was taken eight years ago.

Since moving back to the Midwest, I have longed to take my girls back to have a portrait taken of them walking through a field of bluebonnets. I wanted a timeless portrait, capturing their youth and innocence forever.

I begged, pleaded and negotiated with my dear husband! I persuasively stated that this was the year for the portrait! He finally agreed, and I got busy. In a short week, I had everything planned – the photographer, location, dresses and a date. Well, I thought I had a prefect plan until I began hearing about a drought! As a result of the severe drought, the wildflowers I had been dreaming about were fading fast.

I quickly typed an email to our photographer, who was in the Netherlands on a photo shoot for two weeks. Once he returned, this was his response:

“Dee, I have been to Brenham, Hempstead, Navasota, Caldwell, Independence, College Station, Bryan, Millican, Welbourne, and I cannot find even one bluebonnet left. I wrote several of my photographer friends to see if they knew where any were, no one knew. We are in one of the worst droughts we have seen here in many many years. I guess we need to wait until next year. Let’s start a bit earlier next year. I am sorry!”

I’m sorry, too! “Darn Drought,” I quickly posted on Facebook! This drought withered up my plans and put me in a foul mood! I quickly assessed the situation and realized that waiting one more year wouldn’t be that bad.

I am a farmer’s daughter and know firsthand the effects of drought! Drought ruined only one weekend for me. A farmer’s entire livelihood is altered by drought. Every year, farmers faithfully plant their seeds, nurture with nutrients and cultivation. Then they tune into the weather forecast. Much of their success is completely out of their control: too much, too little, too hot, too cold!

Ultimately we are all affected by drought, from the farmer, to the retailer, to you the consumer. Lest I forget to mention the wildlife, whose habitat, water and food are severely limited during drought. We are all at the mercy of the weather.

Providing the drought ends this year, I’m already working on next year’s plan. I’m negotiating with our friends in Texas to water an entire field of bluebonnets for me. I wonder what that will cost…