Blooming bluebonnets mark the start of gardening season

Photo By: Chelsea Edwards

WACO, Texas (KWTX) On the highways and in fields, Central Texas is covered in blue and white.

"It's just great after winter and you've been cooped up inside, to be able to come out and enjoy the beautiful flowers," says Molly Howard.

She is snapping the first spring photos of her six-month-old daughter at Whitehall Park in Woodway and says it's a family tradition to come out and take pictures every year.

Like many, she is also taking advantage of the early blooms the 2018 season brings.

"With our cool nights and warm sunny days, they'll continue to increase," says Dr. Shane McLellan of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

"Mother Nature's made them to where they open up, spread out over time, and they'll continue to open up through probably the end of May."

The county extension agent says this is also not a typical gardening season for the area.

"It's a lot of variances just from the cold weather this past fall being extremely dry- through the winter months, fall months- going into a pretty dry spring," he says.

Recent rainfalls may have helped, but he also says it’s best to do a soil test now to determine the amount of nutrients your garden needs.

And using coffee grounds as fertilizer or mulch could have an added bonus.

"Some pests like them, some don't, but most pests that a homeowner will be worried about- coffee grounds will keep them away," says Dr. McLellan.

Speaking of pests, he adds that people should be on the lookout while snapping pictures in bluebonnet fields because snakes like the rocky soil where those flowers grow.

These are welcome tips for a phone photographer and new gardener like Howard.

"My son and I planted some watermelons and zucchini, so we'll see if they'll come up this year," she says.

In the meantime, they'll simply have to harvest great pictures.

RELATED: Be sure to enter the Annual KWTX Bluebonnet Contest for a chance to win a camera!