The historic Fredericksburg, Texas, community is one of the epicenters for wildflowers, the thriving Texas wine industry and, in the summer, a peachy celebration as orchards overflow with bushels of chin-dripping fruit. In fact, days could be spent enjoying the wildflowers every spring, from the front porch of your cottage or meandering through the middle of blooming field full of them.
My first post covers the cozy lodging and historic roots of Fredericksburg after a recent visit with my photographer-husband, John Ivanko, where we experienced the sense of self-reliance and vibrant community life. From artisanal hand-crafted charcuterie with premium local meats to mom-and-pop bakeries that personally make over twenty different pies daily, the community has emerged as a food travel destination as well. The charming community is a perfect stop if you're headed to the Mother Earth News Fair held in Belton, Texas.
Wildflowers in Texas Hill Country
Want to see the biggest flower show in the country? Get your free front row seat every spring. Acres upon acres of Bluebonnets and Red Corn Poppies can be enjoyed at Wildseed Farms, the nation’s largest wildflower farm, with over 200 cultivated acres of wildflower fields at its Texas Hill Country headquarters and more than 1,000 acres in Texas total. Expect to see also see carpets of wildflowers in the medians along highways leading to Fredericksburg from both Austin and San Antonio, both about an hour and a half away in opposite directions.
“Come for the flowers, stay for the atmosphere,” laughs John Thomas, who started Wildseed Farms over 40 years ago with his wife, Marilyn. It now attracts over 300,000 visitors every year.
If you’ve ever purchased wildflower seed, it most likely came from this farm. Wildseed Farm sells direct – you’ll find a bounty of climate and habitat specific seed mixes here. It also supplies the majority of other wildflower seed operations. There is no cost to roam Wildseed Farm, with their curated gardens and educational displays on building wildflower habitat.
“My definition of wildflowers are flowers that grow without the help of man,” shares Thomas. Dedicated to stewarding the natural ecosystem in which wildflowers thrive, he cultivates a healthy pollinator population on the farm. “We have so many flowers, we need to bring in bee reinforcements,” Thomas chuckles when asked about the 30 hives he brings in annually.
“Wildflowers reflect the diversity of our country’s geography and climate,” adds Thomas. “Remember to research and plant the right seed mix that is native to and grows well where you live.”
Wildseed Farm offers mixes based on what zone you are in as well as planting advice. In general, wildflowers need full sun, at least four hours of full sunlight a day. Seeds can generally be planted in the spring or fall and need a fair amount of moisture to germinate and may need supplemental watering during that first four to six weeks.
Bicycling with Blooming Wildflowers
Beyond fields of flowers, the gently rolling topography of Texas Hill Country make it ideal for outdoor exploration. Hill Country Bicycle Works helps put you jump on a pair of wheels to ply the backroads. Owner Lisa Nye-Salladin can get you set up with a bike and personal recommendations on plotting a scenic route with a multitude of paved back-roads.
“Remember the last climb is off your bike,” offers Nye-Salladin with a smile while tapping into leg muscle before another hill climb. This rolling topography of Texas Hill Country offers an ideal way to explore the scenery on bike, one where you’ll both need to work those muscles on larger hills yet still have plenty of energy to take in the beauty, especially during the downhill coasts!
For hikers looking for a workout and panoramic photo opportunities, traipse up to the top of Enchanted Rock, the second largest granite dome in the country and take in the best birds’ eye view of the rolling hills dotted with open oak woodland and mesquite grassland.
Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.
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