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03 March . 2020

A visual guide to Sweetwater’s wildflowers

Each spring, residents and visitors of Sweetwater are treated to a brilliant display of spring wildflowers throughout the community.

Wildflowers grow naturally amid more than 700 acres of parks, trails and natural open spaces at Sweetwater, thanks to the initial seeding efforts and ongoing nurturing. Sweetwater’s wildflowers also benefit from birds and another animals, which spread the seeds naturally.

With a 10 acres for wildflowers to spread out on, The Sweetwater Club is one of the best places to see these native beauties. One of Sweetwater’s newest parks, Hilltop Park in Madrone Ridge, was seeded with wildflowers last fall. It might take another year for these wildflowers to get established, but once they do, the height of this park should make for an amazing display.

A walk or drive along Sweetwater’s main thoroughfare, Pedernales Summit Parkway, is also a springtime treat. Here, Sweetwater helps Mother Nature along by reseeding the wildflowers and following careful maintenance procedures.

To help you get ready for spring, here are photos and brief descriptions of some of the most common varieties of wildflowers you can see in Sweetwater.

Bluebonnet. The state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet is everyone’s favorite, and it is the most widely seeded wildflower in Sweetwater. Part of the genus Lupinus, bluebonnets got their name from the shape of their petals, which resemble the bonnets worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun.

Indian paintbrush. Texans love this orange beauty almost as much as bluebonnets, and the two species look incredible blooming together. Perhaps that’s because blue and orange are complementary colors, making each other appear brighter. Also known as prairie-fire, Indian paintbrush has edible flowers, said to offer the same health benefits as garlic when eaten in moderation. Roots and green parts, however, can be potentially toxic.

Indian blanket. Frequently found along roadsides, Indian blankets stand out like showy Fourth of July pinwheels at the top of slender stalks, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The petals radiate red rays tipped in bright yellow. Prized for its tolerance of heat and dryness, the Indian blanket is the state flower of our northern neighbor, Oklahoma.

Buttercup. This showy wildflower is also known as the pink evening primrose. In northern parts of the state, it is true to its name, opening only in the evenings. In our area, however, the flowers open in the morning, so we can enjoy them all day. The seeds attract birds, especially finches.

Coreopsis. At Sweetwater, we enjoy a mixture of coreopsis, which attracts birds and butterflies with profuse blooms in a wide range of yellow shades. Worldwide, there are at least 80 different species of coreopsis, and about half of them are native to North America. Coreopsis is a member of the aster, or daisy, family.

For anyone wanting to enjoy wildflowers on their own property, the best months to sow seeds are October and November, says Austin-based Ecosystems Landscape Services, which helps to maintain common areas throughout Sweetwater. Mixes of native wildflower seeds can be found at local nurseries such as Garden-Ville in Bee Cave, as well as at home improvement stores.

Once you see the wildflowers growing, do not mow the area until the blooms have faded and the plants have dispersed their seeds for next year’s crop. Once established, native wildflowers need little or no extra watering or fertilization, making them very sustainable addition to the landscape.  

See more wildflowers and landscapes at Sweetwater.