Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash

After an unseasonably warm winter and the 7th warmest January on record globally, Texans are no doubt wondering what the 2023 spring bluebonnet and wildflower season will look like.

Though they typically bloom in late March and early April, some areas of Texas are already noticing pockets of the flowers earlier than expected.

Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, says it’s typical to see the first patches of flowers along highways due to the heat. Cooler areas on the outskirts of town will start to see their blooms later.

“The warm, sunny weather is what triggers how soon they bloom,” she explained. “Last year, for example, it was a little unusually cold [in Austin], so they came out a lot later than they are this year.”

San Antonio, Austin and Houston are currently experiencing the peak season for blooms. Farther north in Dallas-Fort Worth, they might have just started seeing their blooms a week prior.

“It’s like a gradient from south to north,” DeLong-Amaya says. “It’s warmer generally as you go south, so they bloom a little bit earlier.”

Out in the West Texas-Big Bend area, there’s an entirely different species of bluebonnet that blooms earlier in February and March, which isn’t necessarily dependent on the heat.

One of the biggest factors that impacts the bluebonnet season is drought. But DeLong-Amaya says there was plenty of rain when seedlings started to germinate, which was especially fortunate for Central Texas areas like Austin.

“In some years where we’ve had a very dry winter; that definitely impacts the show in spring and would reduce how many plants we would have to see and possibly how big they get.”

Though many were worried about the bluebonnets getting burned by the February 2021 freeze, the flowers escaped mostly unscathed. They were mostly in a rosette form that hugged the ground while the snowfall acted as an “insulated blanket.” DeLong-Amaya says she’s never seen a freeze kill a bluebonnet, though taller plants above the snow might occasionally see some damage.

Texans wanting to get the most out of the peak bluebonnet season should visit state and national parks toward the end of March. Delong-Amaya encourages Central Texans to visit the Wildflower Center over the next few weeks if they would like to take photos with their patch of bluebonnets. The center treats for fire ants to allow visitors to have a safe experience.

While you’re getting the perfect photo in that big patch of flowers, DeLong-Amaya does encourage fellow bluebonnet-lovers to be respectful and not trample them.

“All of the plants that get trampled are then not going to survive to set seed and replenish the next year,” she warns. “It also puts plants out of commission for bees that are pollinators.”

If you’re worried if you might be breaking a law by picking a few bluebonnets, don’t be. There are no special laws that prevent you picking the state flower. Just don't pick or destroy any plants on state or national park grounds since they have their own laws against it. Now get ready to enjoy one of Texas’ most beautiful spring features.

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This is how big San Antonio apartments get for $1,500 a month


We all know what renters dream about when they’re not thinking about the logistics of owning a home: low rent prices with the perfect amount of space. In a city like San Antonio, that’s getting harder and harder to come by.

In fact, for renters who have a budget of $1,500 a month, the average apartment size they can get in San Antonio spans about 1,010 square feet. That’s according to a new study by apartment rental marketplace RentCafe. RentCafe’s study looked at data from their sister site, Yardi Matrix, to determine the average size and price per square foot for a $1,500 monthly budget in 200 of the largest American cities.

Alamo City is No. 9 among the Texas cities with the most space for the same budget. This may not sound like a great rating, but San Antonio is significantly bigger than the rest of the most spacious top 10 — so there's more to do outside that 1,010-square-foot apartment.

The worst offender, with the smallest space for the price, is Austin. Austin renters have to make do with an average apartment size of 714 square feet, which is a nearly 300-square-foot difference in comparison to San Antonio. In Killeen, which is only 70 miles north of Austin, renters can find an average apartment size of 1,095 square feet. Austin is at the bottom of the list in the overall analysis of Texas cities.

If you head to the Houston area, Pasadena residents get an average of 1,180 square feet of space for $1,500 a month, whereas renters searching for apartments in Houston proper will only get about 997 square feet.

Renters looking to live in Fort Worth or Dallas will notice a nearly 100 square foot difference between apartments, at 909 and 805 square feet, respectively. Residents can get the most bang for their buck in the suburbs with an average apartment size well into the 900-square-foot range. Mesquite residents, by far, get the most space, at 999 square feet, whereas renters in Garland and Arlington get an average of 937 and 928 square feet for the same budget.

Elsewhere in Texas, apartments in the Rio Grande Valley have the best price per square foot in the state. McAllen residents get the most space out of any other Texas city with an average apartment size of 1,471 square feet. Renters in Brownsville, which is 60 miles east on the border, can get a similarly sized apartment that’s 1,307 square feet for the same $1,500 a month budget.

Here’s how much space you can rent for $1,500 a month in other Texas cities:

  • Amarillo – 1,318 square feet
  • El Paso – 1,222 square feet
  • Lubbock – 1,218 square feet
  • Corpus Christi – 1,126 square feet
  • Grand Prairie – 873 square feet
  • Denton – 868 square feet
  • Irving – 848 square feet
  • McKinney – 809 square feet
  • Plano – 766 square feet
  • Frisco – 740 square feet

The full report can be found on rentcafe.com.

San Antonio was a top 10 destination for movers in 2022, study says


Many Americans relocated to Texas’ Sunbelt region in 2022, but San Antonio residents may be surprised to see the city movers set as their destination. Perhaps they're also a little relieved to learn that city is Houston. However, San Antonio is still a top 10 destination for American movers, according to a the latest “Top Moving Destinations” report from Penske Truck Rental.

San Antonio only ranked No. 9 this year, which is a three-place drop from the 2021 report. But the city did outrank Austin, which came in at No. 10. Meanwhile, 2022 was Houston’s second consecutive year as the No. 1 moving destination. Dallas' rank remained the same year-over-year from the previous report at No. 7.

Penske has been reporting on the migration patterns of Americans for 13 years, using data from the U.S. cities with the most inbound one-way consumer rentals throughout the year. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 23.7 million Americans moved in 2022, which is about 4 percent more than in 2021.

In the report, Penske Senior Vice President Kevin Malloy said it’s “always exciting” to find out where the company’s customers are moving with each new release.

“We understand just how hectic the moving experience can be and pride ourselves on putting the consumer first throughout the rental experience,” he said.

Penske’s top 10 moving destinations in 2022 are:

  • No. 1 – Houston
  • No. 2 – Las Vegas
  • No. 3 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 4 – Phoenix
  • No. 5 – Atlanta
  • No. 6 – Charlotte, North Carolina
  • No. 7 – Dallas
  • No. 8 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 9 – San Antonio
  • No. 10 – Austin

With the arrival of National Moving Month in May, Penske decided to commemorate the month by releasing four specially-curated playlists on Spotify. Each playlist is under an hour and a half long, and has its own unique “vibe” to describe what it feels like to move. They also come with apt names: “Pack It Up,” “Moving on Mix,” “Forwarding Address,” and “Make This House, Home.”

The song choices are intended to “help people look forward to the journey ahead,” according to Malloy.

More information about Penske's report can be found on pensketruckrental.com.

What's brewing in San Antonio: 5 San Antonio-area breweries win at World Beer Cup, and more news

San Antonio Brewing News

Editor's Note: With a new craft beer spot popping up in San Antonio seemingly every month, we've started a new column to track all things beer in Alamo City. Here's our roundup of everything that's brewing in San Antonio.

Local breweries among World Beer Cup winners

Five San Antonio-area breweries were among winners of the World Beer Cup, which was held during the annual Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America events. All of the 2023 events took place in Nashville; More than 200 beer professionals judged World Beer Cup entries in 100-plus categories, where gold, silver and bronze medalists were named.

In the end, Freetail Brewing Co.’s "Imagine 14 Years" won a gold medal for hoppy lager. Imagine 14 Years, released as part of Freetail’s 14th anniversary celebration last fall, is a variation of the brewpub’s award-winning "Imagine a World with Beer Cellars Instead of 401ks."

Five Stones Artisan Brewery’s "Norma Jeane" was awarded a bronze medal in the fruit beer category. While "Norma Jeane" is part of Five Stones’ seasonal lineup, it has been popular with Five Stones fans since its launch. Located north of San Antonio, Five Stones marked its 10th anniversary earlier in May. “The beer has given us both grief and joy in our pursuit to get it right. Being awarded bronze at this competition blew major wind in our sails as a brewery and a family,” the folks at Five Stones said in a social media post about the award.

Three Hill Country breweries claimed World Beer Cup honors, too. Fredericksburg’s Altstadt Brewery’s hefeweizen was a gold medalist in the South German-style hefeweizen category. Blanco’s Real Ale Brewing Co.’s "Scots Gone Wild" received a gold medal in the wood- and barrel-aged sour category. Johnson City’s Pecan Street Brewing Co.’s rye lager received a bronze medal in the rye beer category.

Other distilled news and notes

Maverick Distilling in downtown San Antonio has released its limited-edition Samuel Maverick Barrel-Aged Texas Dry Gin, which was distilled in small batches using locally grown Texas ingredients. It was then aged in bourbon barrels on-site in the underground vaults of the historic Lockwood National Bank. Only 250 bottles were produced for this small-batch release, which was barreled at 120 proof and aged in No. 3 char white American oak barrels.

“With our barrel-aged Texas Dry Gin, we wanted to create a spirit that is refreshing and unique to the Lone Star State,” distillery founder Dr. Kenneth Maverick said. “Gin continues to grow in popularity as people discover that good gin doesn’t taste like bad medicine. We wanted to offer our customers another version of gin and knew that the impressive botanicals that we use for our Texas Dry Gin would evolve into something beautiful with barrel aging.”

In a May 9 media event previewing the new gin, Maverick provided an update on his facility, saying they have eliminated full kitchen service in favor of partnering with neighboring restaurants and food trucks. Distillery visitors will be able to order food for delivery onsite. Maverick Distilling is open to the public, but it is also available for private special events, from family celebrations to corporate functions. Maverick did say, however, that there are plans to expand the original craft beer offerings.

The biergarten at Faust Brewing Co. in New Braunfels is buzzing once again. Having closed their doors to the public at the outset of COVID-19, the brewery is back open with an expanded biergarten, a new food trailer serving pub grub, and improvements around the tasting room.

Additionally, Faust now has a liquor license and is able to offer spirits, and the brewery owners are promoting their ability to host special events on site. While Faust had a soft re-opening April 1, the brewery hosted the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce for a formal opening and ribbon-cutting May 18 to celebrate their revamp.