En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Tuesday - November 27, 2007

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Mrs. Johnsons favorite flower
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recall the the Black-eyed Susan was Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flower, is that true? Did she have other favorites?

ANSWER:

That is a really tough question to answer, and the answer probably depends on who you ask. From what those at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who knew her personally can tell you, she liked them all. In 1972, 35 years before her death on July 11, 2007, she told an interviewer that her favorite flowers were Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (showy prairie gentian), also known as the bluebell, Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel), or Indian Blanket, and Castilleja foliolosa (Texas Indian paintbrush) . The general consensus around the Wildflower Center is that her favorite was the bluebell (yes, the same one that the "little creamery in Brenham" is named after). If you watched the television presentations on the services held in the Gallery at the Center, you will know that there were bouquets incorporating the bluebell, which fortuitously happened to be in bloom in the Center itself. In the large portrait of Mrs. Johnson behind the desk in the Gallery, she is sitting in a field of Indian Blanket. But we have seen other pictures of her in a field of Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), which indicates she loved them, too. And not just the native plants with showy flowers, she loved the little grasses and the big live oak trees, the plants others called "weeds" along the highways that bloomed from roots in asphalt and survived determined mowing. Perhaps the flowers were just the most visible symbol of what she cared about most, which was Nature, and the preservation of a natural environment.

When the architects for the present Wildflower Center were having their first planning meetings for the construction of the Center asked Mrs. Johnson what she wanted it to look like, she said "I want it to look as though God put it there." And her beloved flowers, too.


Lupinus texensis

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Gaillardia pulchella

Castilleja foliolosa

Rudbeckia hirta

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Attracting butterflies in Tennessee
July 03, 2009 - What flowers and plants do the caterpillars in Tennessee eat? And do you know what butterflies live in Tipton Co. Tennessee?
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
April 19, 2007 - Are pink bluebonnets still considered very rare? I discovered several growing amongst normal blues on the National Instruments corporate campus here in Austin. I wasn't sure if the Wildflower Cente...
view the full question and answer

Perennial native wildflowers in Delaware
July 14, 2007 - I'd like to plant some perennial wildflowers around a fresh water pond near the beach in southern Delaware. Do you have some suggestions for native species that will grow in full sun? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in memorial garden in cemetery
April 11, 2008 - When is the peak time to scatter bluebonnet seeds? I have a loved one that recently died, and she requested that her body be cremated. She would like her ashes to be mixed with bluebonnet seeds and ...
view the full question and answer

Project involving wildflower seeds for Earth Day
March 01, 2009 - Hello, I am trying to find a relatively quick and easy project involving wildflower seeds for an Earth Day Celebration. We have roughly 1,000 kids come through. In the past I have done wildflower se...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center