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Best short drives from DFW to see bluebonnets, more spring flowers

Dallas Blooms, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, has a new addition this year: life-size bronze sculptures of notable people in history, including William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and George Washington, pictured.
Dallas Blooms, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, has a new addition this year: life-size bronze sculptures of notable people in history, including William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and George Washington, pictured. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Winter showers have certainly brought spring flowers to Texas. Across the state, bluebonnets, azaleas, dogwoods — and even tulips — are starting to grace fields and roadways in spectacular fashion.

There’s no better time to spend a Saturday in the car, taking in the scenery, than spring. You don’t have to drive far to see gorgeous color. Whether you’ve got a weekend to spare, or just a few hours, here are several places to get up close with the flowers of the season.

Though you’re almost guaranteed to see flowers in March and April, most attractions suggest visiting their websites or calling ahead to check whether blooms will be at their peak when you arrive.

Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum

Just down Interstate 30 from Fort Worth, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, you’ll find the largest floral festival in the Southwest, Dallas Blooms. This year’s festival, which runs through April 10 and is themed “The Artistry in Nature,” showcases a vast expanse of spring flowers, with 500,000 total blooms — tulips, azaleas, cherry blossoms, pansies, daffodils, hyacinths and more.

New this year are life-size bronze sculptures of notable people in history, including William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Claude Monet, which are placed throughout the garden. Check the website for special events, concerts and tours.

Details: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, 214-515-6615, www.dallasarboretum.org. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. $15 ages 13-65, $12 for seniors, $10 children 3-12, free for children 2 and under; $15 parking.

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails

Through the month of April, the city of Ennis showcases 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails that offer some of the finest views of the Texas state flower — it is the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas,” after all. Just head to the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau and pick up a map, or download one on its website. Visit the website for more information on guided tours and the city’s famous bluebonnet festival.

Note that the Ennis Garden Club says it currently is still too early for significant blooms; estimated peak time is about the second week of April for the Ennis area, the club says.

Details: Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 E. Ennis Ave., Ennis, 972-878-4748, www.visitennis.org. Open in April: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Nacogdoches Azalea Trail

Nacogdoches bills itself as the garden capital of the state and home of Texas’ largest azalea gardens. The 25 miles of drivable routes all launch at the city’s visitor center and are broken into three trails: the Southern Indica Trail, the Evergreen Azalea Trail and the Fashion Azalea Trail.

Stretch your legs at the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, which is open daily from dawn to dusk and features more than 550 varieties of the plant. The garden is located on the west side of University Drive between Starr Avenue and East College Street. Parking is available behind the Johnson Coliseum, (accessible from University Drive) and is marked with an “azalea garden parking” sign.

Details: Nacogdoches visitor center, 200 E. Main St., Nacogdoches, 888-653-3788, www.azaleas.visitnacogdoches.org. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Wildseed Farms

In the heart of the Hill Country is Wildseed Farms, a seed cultivator and wildflower farm just outside of Fredericksburg. When you stop by the Wildflower Market Center, you can enjoy walking trails while watching the farming in real-time. You can also stop by the biergarten to grab a beverage to enjoy while you browse.

Details: Wildseed Farms, 100 Legacy Drive, Fredericksburg, 800-848-0078, www.wildseedfarms.com. Open daily 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Davey Dogwood Park

In Palestine, Davy Dogwood Park is the place to see the famous trees in bloom this spring. The park offers more than 200 acres of roads and trails to meander. Take a picnic, or check the Texas Dogwood Trails website for information on activities happening on weekends this spring. Be sure to check the bloom-watch blog to make sure you’ll get the most of the experience.

Details: Davey Dogwood Park, 900 N. Link St., Palestine, www.texasdogwoodtrails.com, www.dogwoodbloomwatch.blogspot.com. Open daily from dusk until dawn.

Avinger, Hughes Springs, Linden Wildflower Trail

The triangle formed by these three Texas towns makes for some scenic driving. Start in any one of the cities and make your way around — Texas runs from Hughes Springs to Linden, Texas 155 runs between Linden and Avinger, and Texas 49 is the go-between from Avinger to Hughes Springs. The 45-mile route is sure to impress.

If you want to get a better look at the towns themselves, plan around each one’s wildflower festival. Avinger and Linden celebrate with a slate of activities April 23, and Hughes Springs is hosting a 5K on April 18.

Details: www.avingertxchamber.org/Wildflower_Days_Festival.php, http://www.hughesspringstxusa.com/wildflower-trails.html, www.lindenwildflowertrails.net

Texas Tulips

The stunning rows of rainbow-colored tulips in Pilot Point are relatively new to the Texas landscape, but they’re making a big impact. The fields open in early April, when visitors are welcome to roam 80 acres of blooms, snapping photos, picking tulips and basking in the beauty.

Details: Texas Tulips, 10656 Farm Road 2931, Pilot Point, 940-230-6512, www.texas-tulips.com. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m.daily. $2.50, children up to 16 free on weekdays.