En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Information on Mrs. Johnsons efforts in highway beautification

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - January 11, 2006

From: Takoma Park, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Information on Mrs. Johnsons efforts in highway beautification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Perhaps you can help. I am trying to unearth a little history of Lady Bird and her involvement in the beautification of our highways, especially as it relates to using native plants. This is for a proposal I am writing to support development of native plant materials for use along Maryland roadsides. I am rather surprised that there is nothing specific about this topic on the web. There are several references to the Highway Beautification Act, but only as it pertains to billboards. I recall reading a quote once where she had said something to the effect of she wanted a road in Texas to look like it was in Texas, and a road in some other place to look like it was in some other place - sorry my memory fails me. I would love to have that quote. Ms. Johnson really motivates people, and I think this information could help us here in Maryland. Can you provide us any information? Thanks.

ANSWER:

I found a passage in Mrs. Johnson's book "Wildflowers Across America" that sounds a little like what you are looking for. It is from the Foreword, p. 11:

"...my life has taken me to many areas of the United States. I think of walking down a quiet land in Martha's Vineyard, bordered by tangles of pink wild roses, with a cloud of daisylike white blossoms frosting the meadows, or strolling a forest path beside a crystal stream in the Callaway Gardens of Georgia and being stopped still by a heady blaze of wild orange-red azaleas against the forest's emerald green. In New Mexico in September, I saw golden aspen climbing the hillsides and wild purple asters dotting the roadsides. I have always been a natural tourist; Lyndon used to say I kept "one foot in the middle of the big road." Wherever I go in America, I like it when the land speaks its own language in its own regional accent."

One of the chapters in the book, "The Beautification Movement and Highway Legislation", gives a brief history in Mrs. Johnson's own words. The full citation for the book is: Lady Bird Johnson and Carlton B. Lees. 1993. Wildflowers Across America. New York: Artabras. It is probably available at your local library, and it is definitely available for sale in Wild Ideas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center store.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Hymenocallis caroliniana and Hymenocallis liriosme Differences
October 09, 2013 - A couple of years ago a neighbor gave me three huge bulbs of a type unknown to her. They fit the description of a spider lily. In attempts to identify it I found Hymenocallis liriosme and Hymenocallis...
view the full question and answer

Annual flowers for fall planting in San Antonio
June 22, 2010 - What are some recommended annual flowers for fall planting in a small garden in San Antonio? Also any help on planting and cultivating would be appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Flowering plants for shady garden in Bastrop
July 02, 2010 - We live in Bastrop, 8 miles west of the Historical district. We have a small flower garden in a shady spot around 25 feet from the back patio of our home. We'd like to find out what native plants, f...
view the full question and answer

Viewing of Texas native wildflowers
February 04, 2008 - Can you provide a general listing of when various Texas native wildflowers are in bloom? Also helpful would be a list of areas where these wildflowers could be photographed in their native growing ar...
view the full question and answer

Plants for Maine
June 06, 2005 - Hi there, I am looking for types of wildflowers that might be growing in Maine late july that would be okay to pick (would rather not pick endangered species, etc.). Any leads would be great. Also if ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center