Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center

Perhaps we are becoming addicted to wildflowers (but there are worse bad habits, you know!). Stop #6 today in our Rosenberger Summer Tour of 2013 was the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center in Austin, Texas.

Some of you are old enough to remember that the cultivation and encouragement of native plants and wildflowers was the passion and project of Lady Bird, the wife of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson. 

  Her passion has been translated into this magnificent center of 279 acres which features about 650 species of Texas native plants.

 The design and architecture of the center is reminiscent of the various stages of Texas history.  Here in the central patio the textured sandstone walkway echoes the era of Spanish missions in the state's early history.  The patio surrounds a beautiful deep, continually bubbling spring.  The buildings are constructed to conserve resources, especially water.

Walking paths throughout the center and out through the surrounding prairies lead the visitor past beds of native plants found in various areas of the state.

Hillsides are covered with the colors of familiar blooms such as bluebonnets and purple winecups.

 Plaques such as this identify many of the plants and their habitat.  Education is one of the goals of the center and several groups of schoolchildren were enjoying a field trip there today as we visited.  

 Another of the goals of the center is plant research.  This new type of grass is one of their research results.  Habiturf is a type of grass that grows thick, crowding out sand burrs and is soft to the touch of bare feet.  It grows well in east, central, north and west Texas.  Unfortunately, it is not recommended for the southern area of the Lone Star State.

These two little turtles, sunning themselves on a rock at the pond near the entrance, bid us a fond goodbye as we left the Center.
Stay tuned for Stop # 7.