A Visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin TX

More than 650 species of native plants are showcased at the Center;

When we pulled into the parking lot yesterday, my husband Mike, although trying to mask his feelings, looked like he was getting ready to be poked in the eye by a sharp stick. In other words, looking at flowers and gardens is not his “thing.”  I, on the other hand, practically sprang from the car in anticipation. I was excited to visit the center I’ve read about over many years; I remember a TV commercial from when I was young: Lady Bird talked about our native plants and need to preserve them. So yesterday I was looking forward to seeing and learning about native plants of the Southwest, a group of plants far outside my norm.

The Center impressed me on two levels: (1) the garden layouts. The Center is laid out with meandering trails

Anticipation: A window or opening in a fence or wall allows air flow, but better yet, it lets you catch a glimpse of what is just around a corner.

(woodland, savannah meadow, restoration research and more) as well as vistas, vignettes and formal gardens. It’s broken down into theme gardens (think butterfly, white, medicinal and many more. . .), showcases a variety of pools, ponds and streams (Hill Country stream), and offers up some lovely design inspiration, no matter where you live. (2) the flowers, shrubs and trees: Think about it — almost 650 species of Texas native plants all in one well arranged, easily accessible place. Texas native plants can be quietly colored, but so many were bright, cheery and large! I love a good succulent (e.g., cactus), but I learned about so many more varieties that thrive in Texas and other areas of our U.S. Southwest; the Center makes it easy to learn about our U.S. natives through the clear and frequent signage. Well done!

Let me share some of the layouts I loved with you. Let me know what you think!

Think outside the box: The galvanized animal troughs used as planters are practical, decorative and a 'surprise.'

Share a bit of yourself: Stage some unexpected 'features' in and around the plants; here it's barbed wire and animal bone artifacts. What says 'you'? Use it!

Add some water and reflected sky: A water feature, a pond, fountain, or birdbath, reflects light and attracts beneficial critters to your yard.

This little fellow and his friends were in and around a few of the Center's water features.

Hardscape: Design your paths and patios using stone native to your area; it looks more natural and is less costly too.

Plan small spaces: It's easier to execute a smaller garden (that's part of a well-planned whole) than undertake one huge project. Small bites!



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One Response to A Visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin TX

  1. Kim says:

    have fun! Looks like your having a great trip!

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