April showers might bring May flowers, but tulips, poppies and pansies are already in bloom here this month. Skip the florist bouquet and embrace the season’s offerings by exploring North Texas nature. From planting to picking to painting, there are plenty of ways for your flower education to bloom this spring.
Create a Bouquet
Take a flower-picking excursion to Texas Tulips, a family-operated farm in Pilot Point bursting with over 90 varieties of bulbs. The farm traces its roots to the Netherlands, where the owners mastered the production of early-blooming bulbs before moving the company to Texas. When you arrive, grab a basket and let your flower children loose to wander endless rows of red impression, Texas flame and pretty princess tulips. After your kiddos make their selections, the farm staff wraps the tulips in paper and submerges the stems in gel to keep the flowers fresh for the commute — or while you enjoy a meal at the on-site picnic tables. The farm is open for picking end of February through mid-April.
Cost: Entrance fee, $5 (free for children 1 and younger); flower-picking, $2.50 per stem
Bloom and Grow
Get your hands dirty by adopting a plot at Harvest Community Garden, a joint venture of Redeemer Covenant Church and Community Gardens of Carrollton that supplies veggies for local food banks. Flowers are a vital part of the operation, as they attract the pollinators needed to produce a good crop. To get involved, commit to a plot or half-plot you’ll oversee for a year, grab some tools from the garden shed and plant vegetables, edible flowers such as nasturtiums and squash blossoms and flowering herbs such as dill and fennel. If a full year of gardening is more than your tiny cultivators can handle, bring your brood any Saturday morning to harvest veggies and plant flowers along the perimeter of the garden. News alert: The garden plans to double in size with the addition of 12 beds (now 24 total) in the next month or two.
Cost: $20 for a 4-by-10-foot plot; $40 for a 4-by-20-foot plot
Where: 1518 E. Frankford Road, Carrollton; 972/466-0054
Dig in at WestWind Church Community Garden, where you and your family adopt a plot to grow flowers and produce. The public garden unites green thumbs and good hearts to cultivate veggies to donate to local food banks. Flowers are a vital part of the operation, as they attract the pollinators needed for a good crop—xenias, marigolds and pansies are garden favorites. To get involved, commit to a plot you’ll oversee for a year, purchase seeds or transplants and get shoveling (it’s BYO seeds and garden tools). The goal is to donate half the food you grow—you get to keep the other half. You can tend to your sprouts on your own schedule, but plan on devoting several Saturdays a year to community work days. Reward your hardworking gardeners with a trip to the nearby butterfly garden; March offers the first sights of the fluttering creatures, and the garden is filled with beautiful perennials. Call to get started.
Cost: $20 for a 4-by-4-foot plot; $25 for a 4-by-8-foot plot; $35 for a 4-by-16-foot plot
Where: 1300 Sarah Brooks Drive, Keller; 817/428-6775
Get your hands dirty at Common Ground Community Garden of Flower Mound, where you and your kiddos can learn how to grow flowers and produce. Hosted by Church of the Resurrection, the organic garden supplies veggies for an emergency food pantry in Lewisville and monthly meals for the homeless in Denton. Flowers are a huge part of the equation, as flowers attract pollinators to the garden — the more pollinators, the more produce. Pollinator-friendly flowers are planted throughout the 1,200-square-foot garden, and there’s a bed reserved just for flowers. Take your crew on the first Saturday of each month (the next volunteer day is April 7 from 10am–noon) to water plants in the green house, plant seeds and cross other tasks off the weekly to-do list. Visit the gray shed for kid-sized garden tools, and if the kiddos dig it, ask about adopting a plot.
Where: 2801 Morriss Road, Flower Mound; 972/355-0111
Stop to Smell the Roses (and other blooms too)
Make a trip (or two) to the Dallas Arboretum for this year’s Dallas Blooms festival. The largest floral festival in the Southwest is always a must-see, and the “Life’s A Picnic” theme makes this year’s festival a sight for sore eyes. See 500,000 vibrant blooms including daffodils, tulips and poppies daily. The six weeks of Dallas Blooms includes cooking and tasting classes, live music and entertainment, children’s activities, wine and beer pairings, and more until April 7.
Cost: Events are free with admission: adults, $17; ages 3–12, $12; ages 2 and younger, free; Children’s Adventure Garden, additional $3 per person for the combo. Admission is free for members. Daytime parking is $9 online or $15 at Dallas Arboretum.
Where: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas; 214/515-6615
Make a trip to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to see the flourishing pansies, daffodils and other springtime blooms in the Fuller Garden (it’s the most vibrant garden in March). Kiddos love running around and playing in the gazebo, and benches provide plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the beauty of the garden. Before you go, visit the website to download the Walk About, Talk About guide, which includes games, items to look for and a map to lead you and your little ones during your visit. As you get your family flower fix, use the guide to help the kids measure flower petal lengths, search for blooming wisteria and learn all about pollinators. 8173324441
Cost: Free general admission unless visiting the Japanese Garden, adults, $7; ages 4-12, $4; ages 3 and under, free
Where: 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/392-5510
Stroll through Texas Discovery Gardens to see about a thousand blooming plant—the later in March you go, the more blossoms you’ll see. For the best blooms (and butterflies) visit the Butterfly Garden, where the flowers are labeled, so kiddos learn to identify the plants while watching fluttering pollinators in action. And don’t miss the daily noon butterfly release in the Butterfly House and Insectarium.
Cost: Garden admission: adults, $10; ages 3–11, $5; ages 2 and younger, free. Visit on Tuesday for pay-what-you-wish admission.
Where: 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas; 214/428-7476