Burnet City Council members want every spare piece of dirt in the city to have a bluebonnet on it when the Bluebonnet Festival comes around each year. In 2020, that’s April 10-12.
To that end, the council allocated $10,000 in December for the purchase of bluebonnet seeds.
“Last year, unfortunately, when people called to ask, and the media wanted to know where the most bluebonnets were — where was the best place to go see them — it was not here,” said Burnet Mayor Crista Bromley, referring to the city rather than the Highland Lakes at large.
Bromley proposed that Burnet cement its nickname of Bluebonnet Capital of Texas by planting seeds.
Along with promoting bluebonnet proliferation, the city also wants to provide safer places for residents and visitors to pose for selfies among the blue blossoms.
Each year, the Texas Department of Transportation sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds across the state, mostly along Texas highways with hills, sharp turns, and fast traffic.
“By promoting areas in our parks and inside the airport, it’s a safer place for people, so they don’t have to pull off on the side of the road,” Bromley said. “They can actually go to a parking lot and get out and take pictures and have fun.”
Believe it or not, $10,000 doesn’t go far when it comes to bluebonnet seeds, said Burnet City Manager David Vaughn. The investment procured just 500 pounds of seeds.
“I can’t tell you what kind of acreage that will cover,” Vaughn said. “The instructions call for dispersing the seeds widely, but we planted them close together so they come in nice and dense.”
In previous years, the city purchased fewer seeds, but Vaughn said they appreciated the results, especially in parks and around the airport where residents and tourists have easy access for photos. He said he hopes the city will continue to sow seeds in the future.
Bromley sees planting bluebonnet seeds as an investment that keeps coming back, year after year.
“They propagate themselves, too, so many of the places we put seeds last year or the year before last will bloom again, hopefully, and will spread,” she said. “We’re building on the number of bluebonnets we have.”
For more about what grows wild in the Highland Lakes, visit the Wildflowers guide.
HOW BURNET BAGGED BLUEBONNET TITLE
Burnet officially became known as the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas” in 1981 with passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 108 of the 67th Legislature of Texas.
Some have questioned the title, especially after Ennis, a town of around 20,000 people about 30 miles southwest of Dallas, was named “Bluebonnet City” in 1997, also by state resolution.
Anyone who disputes the honor can refer to the text of SCR 108.
“It is appropriate for this legislature to call the attention of all Texas citizens to the natural beauty of this state and to the delightful beauty of Burnet and Llano counties during the bluebonnet season,” the resolution reads in part, noting the “dazzling sight of countless fields covered with a profusion of bluebonnets” that can be seen in the county.
The bill was sponsored by then-Senator Lloyd Doggett and then-Representative Stan Schlueter.