Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Wildflowers of Central Texas

 The Texas Department of Transportation is to be commended for the landscaping they have done on the more than 700,00 acres of highway right of way. It was an overcast day Wednesday, but that did not matter at all, our drive on the wildflower trail (FM 390) was a wonderful experience.  We saw many bluebonnets, as well as a variety of other wildflowers as the black-eyed susan, coreopsis,  and a variety of daisies.  The Indian paintbrush could also be seen sprinkled among the bluebonnets.  There were not many of them, except for the patch which is pictured below.
Adding to the beauty of our drive were the verdant rolling hills of prairies and oak woods.  Grazing herds of cattle, goats or sheep completed the bucolic scenery.  It was also a day for us to take in a bit of Texas history.  The end point of our wildflower trail was Independence, Texas where we stopped at Old Baylor Park to see the ruins of Baylor Female Academy.  Only the original columns of the school can now be seen.  The town, founded in 1835, was once a wealthy community surrounded by cotton plantations.  It was also a Baptist stronghold, and the church began building the university in the town in 1845.  In 1886 the university moved to Waco, Texas, where it remains to this day.  Also located in Independence is the home of Sam Houston.  The house, pictured below, was built in the mid-1850s.
We returned to Brenham by late afternoon and decided to stop at Toubin city park to look at an old cistern.  We discovered, by reading interpretive signs located around that park, that the cistern played an important part in Brenham's history.  After the Civil War, in 1866, Union soldiers burned the town- the reasons why they did that are a bit too involved to get into here.  Suffice it for me to say that the town was not happy with the occupation of the Union army and tempers were running hot.  There were limited resources of water to stop the town's buildings from completely burning to the ground, so from 1867-77 the town's fathers had cisterns 7 built for public use.  John was interested in finding the park and the cistern, however, I was still on the hunt for another wildflower which is blooming now, the Indian blanket.  To our surprise, there was a patch of those same flowers near where we parked our car on a street by Toubin Park!

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