Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
From the Editor
Happy Anniversary Wildflower Magazine
Since it was on December 22, 1982, that Lady Bird Johnson founded the National Wildflower Research Center with Helen Hayes, winter is a time of celebration for the Wildflower Center. It is Mrs. Johnson’s birthday, and she always described the Center’s founding as a “dream come true.”
The Center’s first hire as botanist and site manager was Dr. Kathryn Kennedy (now the executive director of the Center for Plant Conservation at the Missouri Botanical Garden). She once told Native Plants magazine, “What the Wildflower Center was able to do because of Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hayes was raise the public consciousness about wildflowers and native plants.”
Early on they understood that publishing helped them play a part in doing so. This winter we also celebrate the establishment of the Wildflower Center’s membership publication, which entered its 25th year this fall.
The first issue of a four-page newsletter named Wildflower was published in spring 1984. Printed in one color, it was modestly executed but rich in both significance and potential. Its content focused on important environmental issues of the day, and the Center’s inspirational founder had a voice in many of the issues.
Not only did the newsletter evolve from few pages to many, one color to four colors, simple paper to glossy (though even from the beginning it was always printed on recycled paper), it inspired or at least witnessed other publishing endeavors by the Wildflower Center.
In 1988, a research journal bearing the same name as the Center’s newsletter began publication. The peer-reviewed journal boasted scientific writings by Wildflower Center staff and contributing authors from other research institutions. And in 1989, the Wildflower Handbook, a guide to landscaping with native plants in the United States, was co-published by the Wildflower Center and Texas Monthly Press.
Throughout the years and its many iterations, the Center’s flagship publication received many national awards. One – a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications – recognized it as the best nonprofit newsletter in 1990. Other accolades later poured in during 2002 when the then-named Native Plants underwent a significant visual transformation. That change garnered its creators another Clarion Award for being the most-improved internal publication and a prestigious Folio: Magazine Ozzie Design Award for best redesign of a nonprofit magazine.
But awards were never and still aren’t what drive the magazine’s leadership nor contributors. Much has changed since 1984 – in the world, at the Wildflower Center, and in the way native plants are acknowledged and perceived. We, however, still see the magazine as one of the best ways to raise the public consciousness across Texas and America about native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.
Happy 25th anniversary Wildflower! — Christina Kosta Procopiou, Editor