It's that time of year again; wildflowers are blooming all over - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

It's that time of year again; wildflowers are blooming all over East Texas

SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center research associate Greg Grant walks through the newest wildflower patch along a Texas highway. (Source: KTRE Staff) SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center research associate Greg Grant walks through the newest wildflower patch along a Texas highway. (Source: KTRE Staff)
East Texas native flower, Black-Eyed Susan is a certain sign that summer isn’t far away. (Source: KTRE Staff) East Texas native flower, Black-Eyed Susan is a certain sign that summer isn’t far away. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Greg Grant and Dr David Creech (not pictured) led the project at University and Starr in Nacogdoches to help reduce mowing by grounds crews. (Source: KTRE Staff) Greg Grant and Dr David Creech (not pictured) led the project at University and Starr in Nacogdoches to help reduce mowing by grounds crews. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Weather plays a factor in so many wonders.

Many wildflowers are in full bloom along Deep East Texas roads.

Horticulturist Greg Grant is most at home in a field of flowers.

"Most people don't even know the names of our common East Texas wildflowers,” Grant, a research associate at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Native Plant Center, said.

However, Grant sure does.

“This is Monarda, sometimes called lemon mint. Bishop's Weed, actually a flower related to carrots. Black-eyed Susans. A classic, iconic East Texas wildflower."

These are just a fraction of the 5,000 species of Texas wildflowers.

They're growing in the newest wildflower patch on a Texas roadway, just east of the corner of University and Starr in Nacogdoches.

"All of these are wildflowers you would seed in the fall and bloom in the spring,” Grant said.

The most popular native wildflowers, with a few European varieties thrown in for good measure, blossomed thanks to a mild winter.

"The fact that we had fall rains and spring rains, yes, did make us have conditions here to have better wildflowers this year,” Grant said.

That was exactly what the SFA Grounds Crew hoped would happen.  

"If you can do wildflowers, you can potentially get down to mowing once a year instead of once a week,” Grant said.

The plants also attract native pollinators, something there's not enough of lately, but Grant spotted throughout his interview.

"You see a native honeybee pollinating the Galardia there,” Grant said. "There's a native butterfly."

For the same reasons, the Texas Department of Transportation buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year. Since1934, department rules delay all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons are over. Sadly, that time is approaching.

Fortunately, SFA's field of dreams will stay put as nature intended.

"Actually it's just coming into bloom,” Grant said.
Providing the third reason for wildflowers, Grant said, “And it does look pretty.”

Mowing contractors are expected to be out in full swing starting next week.

In some areas, strip mowing will enable wildflowers to keep blooming. SFA obtained its native wildflower seeds from http://www.wildseedfarms.com/home.php and https://www.facebook.com/NativeAmericanSeed. For more good information on TxDOT's wildflower program and how to plant wildflower seeds, visit this link.

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