After seeing the LBJ Ranch, I visited Wildseeds, the largest wildflower farm in the United States. Acres and acres of lovely flowers -- and a lot of schlock to buy in the store. But I loved seeing those colorful fields and then browsing in the shop for seeds appropriate for my growing Zone. There are trial gardens with walking trails. One of the most interesting sights is the Butterfly Haus, where you can see thousands of Texas butterflies.
The Wildseed catalogue encourages visitors to come during the first two weeks of April for the spring Wildflower Celebration, because that is when the bluebonnets bloom and everywhere you look, the roadsides and countryside are dotted with flowers. I missed that season, since I arrived a month late, but I was told that the drought hadn't been kind to the blooms.
Actually, there is quite a nice cafe at Wildseeds called the Brew-Bonnet Biergarten, and you're encouraged to grab your sandwich and sweet tea and wander. They carried a lot of Texas specialties, including peach ice cream (Fredericksburg is the peach capital), local wines, and other goodies.
Open daily from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
For those who cannot visit, the catalogue is vast and enchanting.
I chose to see Wildseed Farms for three reasons: 1) It's a huge area that you see if you come to Fredericksburg from the East on 290. 2) There was a pamphlet for it at our hotel. 3) I saw the website on the Fredericksburg visitors site.
Since my aunt and I went at wildflower season we were so excited to see bluebonnets because the area didn't have much of them around in other places. However, the wildflower farm couldn't grow many themselves. (I'm sorry but isn't that their job?)
There were plenty of people around when we arrived in the afternoon. After a hike from the parking lot we explored the indoor stores. I looked for some souvenirs but couldn't find many. Ok, I couldn't find anything...and for ME, that's a big surprise. They have some patio things that I would have liked but the prices were quite high and I knew I could have found them for cheaper in my less-touristy town. One seperate store had a fun squirrel-free birdfeeder but it was like $80! (Yea...)
After doing some shopping we went into the eating area and got some chips and bbq sandwiches. In this area there are jellied goods, a wine bar, and a snack bar. The snack bar offers a few sandwich choices (changes daily), sodas, beer and chips. They charged a quarter for their refills on soda. (That's so unnecessay and just leaves a bad taste in people's mouths...no pun.) After eating and shopping in the food section my aunt did some wine tasting but I wasn't in the mood.
We then went outside in this pavillion area where a band was playing but not too much else was going on. There weren't as many people as I thought there would be sitting out on a late afternoon but they were probably down the road on Main Street in the biergartens...
My aunt and I chose not to pay $8 to go into the tent, I mean...butterfly garden. We hadn't seen any at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center so we didn't think to pay more money to see nothin. So we decided to walk out and see the flowers. The area is in the middle of some really flat land so the breeze was really picking up and we were getting pretty cold. (Bring a jacket!)
There was a walking area of red flowers and some bluebonnets that kids were screaming and running around in so we stayed clear. However, kids would probably have fun there. After we took a few pictures we went back to the Main St Fredericksburg and did some shopping.
Wildseed Farms isn't a bad experience...the pieces just didn't add up for our trip.
Favorite Part: Open Everyday...can't beat that...9:30am-6:00pm
This is a great place to spend a morning or a day! Inside the magnificent barn you will find seeds of all kinds and lots of gardening things. Wander outside to the gardens to see beautiful foxglove, roses, and other garden plants.
Pioneer flour had a chuckwagon set up with biscuits being made with Pioneer Flour, which is made in San Antonio. They also had local jellies to sample with the biscuits. We could smell the mesquite wood burning under the Dutch ovens, cooking the biscuits and bubbling coffee, which was also offered with the biscuit snack.
This is not a place to hurry. They have a gourmet shop with wonderful dips and chips but they also have a small sandwich shop. For $5 we had a huge chicken salad sandwich, a bag of chips and a large Coke. We split all of this.
We also visited the Butterfly Garden while we were there.
The Wildseed Farm is known for its beautiful wildflowers, but it has other attractions, too. There are pretty gardens, walking trails, a live butterfly exhibit (pictures 1 & 3) even a friendly cat who expertly surveys its territory near the floral displays (picture 4).
Colorful pumpkins and squash, brilliant hues of mums and varied shades of green herbs were sitting in neat bunches on shelves or the stone terrace.
The gift shop is packed with wonderful things, especially since the Christmas season is coming upon us. I was able to select three holiday gifts to pass onto friends from this bountiful shop.
Although nearly all of the wildflowers were finished blooming when we visited, a wide field beyond the main complex surely will be bursting with floral "jewels" when the growing season returns (page 5). Just imagine--80 acres are set aside for planting!
Hours are daily from 9:30 am-6:00 pm; (Winter hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm). The Brew-Bonnet Birgarten offers cold beverages, Texas wines, snacks for nibbling and peach ice cream.