We are always inspired by people who dedicate their energies to preserving and protecting nature. President Lyndon Johnson’s wife, forever and affectionately known as “Lady Bird”, began conservation efforts very early in her life in Texas, culminating in the creation of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin in 1982.
She used her public platform as First Lady to “introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants”.
The day we visited the Center was chilly but beautiful.
Because of the season, there were very few flowers in bloom for our visit.
But, thankfully for us, there is more to the Center than just flowers.
Lady Bird, and the Center, were into “Sustainable Landscapes” before sustainable landscapes was a catchword. The Center is a model for green roofs as well as water conservation, a must in arid Texas.
LB travelled all over the country during her husband’s term in office and until the end of her life in 2007. She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for her work in beautifying our nations highways with wildflowers.
Behind the Center, on 279 acres, is a showcase for her beloved Texas landscape. Gravel walks and numerous informational plaques explain how this place is kept in harmony with nature.
The Texas environment was shaped by frequent wildfires. Now, those fires are suppressed, allowing forest to develop and overwhelm the native savannah. Livestock grazing and farming increase damage to the countryside. The Center showed us Texas as it used to be (in many places, it still is).
There are resources at the Center and online for those who want to create a more natural landscape in their own backyard.
We went away with some good ideas for when we get back home.