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.
WHEN I ARRIVE EACH MORNING at the Wildflower Center, I usually spend a few a minutes walking around the gardens and speaking to staff and volunteers who are already hard at work. But in the last few weeks, the distance between the parking lot and my office keeps getting longer. The gardens are just too beautiful and interesting to rush through. And they are drawing the crowds that we didn't see last spring. So much depends on the weather, but I'm optimistic that our visitation (and corresponding revenue) may get back to 2010 levels.
We are thankful for spring rains and good weather and much, much more. Before our Centennial Gala, Luci Johnson announced the $1 million lead gift for the Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin Family Garden. When she announced it, she said: "Mother's dream was that the Wildflower Center would inspire future generations to care for and take care of the environment. By providing this gift, Ian and I have the chance of a lifetime to help Mother's dream come true, just as she did for so many of ours."
As you might remember, noted landscape architect W. Gary Smith designed a 4.5-acre children's garden as part of the master plan he created for the Wildflower Center in 2005. Now, thanks to this generous gift from Luci Johnson and her husband, Ian Turpin, we are counting down to the ground-breaking. We now have more than $2.52 million in gifts and pledges, more than two-thirds of the amount we need to start construction.
We are grateful for other significant gifts from Carolyn and Jack Long, the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, the Hobby Family Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the Still Water Foundation, the Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust, Susan Conway and Jack Howell, and a number of other families and individuals.
One of my favorite things to do is watch children having fun at the Wildflower Center, whether they come on school tours or with their parents. I can only imagine how much they'll love this whimsical garden, with its secret spirals, giant bird nests, garden grotto caves, tree canopy walk, metamorphosis maze and other fabulous features.
As they climb and run and play, they will be connecting with nature and the outdoors and developing an enthusiasm for the natural world that they will carry throughout their lives. This may be the Wildflower Center's most important achievement.
As the dream of a family garden approaches reality, we've realized another dream — the 16-acre celebration of Texas trees that was also part of the master plan. The Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum was opened to the public in May. With its swings and picnic tables, pavilion, plant collections, exhibits and specimen trees, the arboretum is a place for family gatherings, nature education or just peaceful wandering.
We are so grateful to Mollie Steves Zachry of San Antonio, a friend of Lady Bird Johnson, a conscientious steward of the land and a generous supporter of the Wildflower Center, for the gift that made the arboretum possible.
We hope that you also, our wonderful members and supporters, will consider making a special gift to honor our co-founder, Lady Bird Johnson, in this centennial celebration of her birth.— Susan K. Rieff, Executive Director