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.
Birthday Wishes and Remembrances
MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO, I came to the Wildflower Center with some limited knowledge of Lady Bird Johnson’s environmental legacy. My first task as editor changed that – as I pulled together a commemorative magazine issue of 20 years of the Wildflower Center that also wished Mrs. Johnson a happy 90th birthday.
That Fall 2002 magazine told stories about a passionate, smart, ahead-of-her time first lady in an administration that became the most active in the field of conservation since the first Roosevelt administration in the early 1900s. I learned about actions such as how Mrs. Johnson had answered mail sent in protest to the construction of two dams in the Grand Canyon. “In doing so,” we published, “Lady Bird lent legitimacy to the protest through the prestige of her office by sending empathetic personal responses to the many letters received.”
I learned how after leaving Washington she accepted a position on the National Park Service’s advisory board and initiated an annual competition among Texas’ highway districts to encourage them to use native plants and wildflowers along Texas highways.
During the crash course that was that first magazine issue and the years that followed, I learned how Lady Bird Johnson did far more than beautify our nation’s capital and work to have passed the historic legislation – the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. Her influential hand played a role in the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and many additions to the National Park system.
This year has been another time to reflect on our founder’s accomplishments and legacy as we approach what would have been her 100th birthday. Each magazine issue has included a centennial page (this issue, page 8). A traveling exhibit about Mrs. Johnson – made possible by a gift from Margaret McDermott – will tour the country. Affiliate gardens held special events – such as the Native Plant Center in New York, which rededicated its Lady Bird Johnson Demonstration Garden. And finally, in December the U.S. Postal Service will issue the new Lady Bird Johnson stamp – making Mrs. Johnson the fifth first lady to have a stamp created in her honor.
This winter we celebrate Lady Bird Johnson’s centennial birthday on December 22. We thank her for standing up and speaking out as America’s environmental first lady – and for creating the place so special to us all: the Wildflower Center.