Upon leaving Belgium and moving to Central Texas, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the city we chose as our new home was also known as the Red Poppy Capital. Not only are red poppies stunning, but they also hold significant meaning. After WWI devastated much of Europe, these red blooms spouted from the destruction and flourished. They became the symbol to remember lives lost during the war and remain hopeful for a peaceful future.
Now how did these blooms from Belgium end up in Georgetown, Texas?!
Well, the story goes…
A young soldier at war sent his mother poppy seeds from Flanders Field in Belgium. His mother then planted those seeds in her front yard and they began to grow wild. The townspeople, seeing their beauty, began to cultivate the poppies in their own yards, and soon it became a 70-year-old tradition. Georgetown is so proud of its red poppies, that the visitor center gives seeds out for residents to plant. In April, they celebrate with an annual Red Poppy Festival.
Being my first spring in Texas, I was looking forward to both the poppies and the festival. The flowers can bloom as early as March and last until May. Due to the warm weather, they came early this year, and I went from spotting one or two in early March to witnessing entire yards in bloom by April! This spring, I’ve spent my days walking through the neighborhood, scoping out the best poppy spots, and capturing as many of these beauts as I can find. So, follow me because I’ve got the best walking tour around!
PSA: Old Town is a residential area, so please be respectful while wandering and photographing, especially if in front of someone’s yard.
*At the end of this blog post, you will find a Google Map with the locations pinned and a few bonus spots!*
First Stop: VFW Park
The tour starts at VFW Park, where you can easily leave your car in the large parking lot and begin exploring. At the corner of the park, you will find two robust fields of poppies that you can begin to get creative with.
Second Stop: 2nd and Walnut St.
Here you will find a wild poppy patch sitting on a tiny hill facing the street. About 2 hours before sunset, the sun dips through the trees making lighting just right.
Third Stop: Fifth St. between S Myrtle and S Elm
If you walk up Walnut Street, turn right on 4th St. and left on Elm, there is a gorgeous field of poppies perfectly framed by lush trees. It’s as if it was meant for a photographer to come along and get that perfect shot. An hour before sunset, you will be able to capture the light flare down the road and it’s just dreamy!
Fourth Stop: 500 – 598 S Elm St
There are multiple poppy spots along this road, but my favorite backdrop is at the white house with the little blue bench. The owner, Bill, said his intention was for families to take photos here and set up the bench for that exact purpose. If you happen to be there when he is home, he may even invite you inside the gate to get a closer look at his magnificent poppy field!
Fifth Stop: 313 E Eighth St
Covered with poppies, the front yard of this historic yellow home is the quaintest spot in G’town. I literally felt like I was an “extra” on the set of Little House on the Prairie. While we were shooting, the owner came out and offered for us to come on his front sidewalk to get better angles. Through this experience, I’ve learned that my neighbors love sharing the joy that the red poppies bring, so don’t be shy to say, “Hi!”
Last Stop: Gus’s Drugs at 1201-1299 S Walnut St
On the side of Gus’s Drug store, a large mural was commissioned by the owners to honor Georgetown. Designed by a local artist, Sarah Blankenship, and painted by members of the community, it’s an ideal spot for a final photo op!
I hope you will enjoy this Red Poppy Tour in Georgetown, Texas! As you follow along, please take the time to wander off the path I’ve laid out, as you will surely find gems of your own! Below you will find a Google Map with the stops pinned and a few bonuses included!
Until next time,