Bluebonnet Etiquette

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It’s that time of year again, when the bluebonnets start popping up on our highways and byways and people head out this way to capture that perfect photo. We usually like to be positive around here, but it turns out there are lots of don’ts when it comes to our state flower. They can be summed up pretty easily: use your common sense, be safe, and think about how you would want people to act if it was your property.

1. 2.Don't go romping through people's yards and fields to take pictures without permission. It really, really makes the locals mad when "city folks" come up and go on quarter mile hikes into their pastures to take their family's picture in the bluebonnets. It's private property, and it's just rude—and it’s trespassing. There are plenty of great photo opportunities on public land. The state makes sure of that. Or, if you know the landowner, ask permission. Don’t ever assume it’s okay to trespass on someone’s property, y’all. Yes, the flowers are pretty but trespassing is a very, very big deal.

AND FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, WHATEVER YOU DO…DON’T CROSS A FENCE! We've heard a lot of stories about tourists crossing fences. Some stories involve getting chased by bulls, some involve broken fences, and some involve animals getting loose. But every one of the stories involved trespassing…and ticked off the land owner.

2. Don't trample the bluebonnets. Try to step only in the areas between the bluebonnet plants. It might require you to do what our favorite photographer calls "the bluebonnet hop," but it will keep the plants looking great for everyone.

3. Don't pick the bluebonnets. Period. Get some seeds off the bottom of the plant instead and grow your own! Those beautiful fields of bluebonnets we all can take years to establish, and nature will take care of making sure the flowers come up again the next year if we don’t interfere too much.

For years we believed that it’s illegal to pick bluebonnets. It turns out, that’s not technically true—the laws prohibit damaging or destroying rights-of-way and government property, and of course criminal trespass is illegal (we talked about this one the other day). There are also laws about impeding traffic, so be careful if you pull over to snap a bluebonnet photo. (We seriously don’t recommend stopping on the highway, y’all, legal or not—be safe!) (see section 302)

4. Watch out for fire ants! The same kind of soil that is great for growing bluebonnets is also prime for fire ants--watch out! And watch out for snakes, too! (We’ve all seen those horrible photoshopped pictures of the rattlesnake ready to attack the poor tourists, but there’s a little bit of truth in this worry. Be safe!)

We hope y’all will drive out to our part of the world to enjoy the beauty of the bluebonnets. Make plans to shop and eat local while you’re out—let us know if you need a recommendation!

Kristi Pharaon