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.
THIRTY JUST MAY BE THE NEW 20 – if you take Wildflower magazine, for example. Launched as a newsletter after the National Wildflower Research Center's founding in 1982, this issue marks the start of Wildflower ’s 30th year. Judging by this issue – which introduces winners of the magazine’s fourth-annual photography contest operated completely online – the magazine seems younger than ever.
Wildflower began as a four-page, one-color newsletter when a tiny staff at the Center’s first location in East Austin knew they needed to communicate with a growing membership. Lady Bird Johnson would pen letters to an undoubtedly adoring membership herself, and the publication drew upon information from its national clearinghouse of articles and fact sheets to profile wildflowers and native plants.
Even when small, it’s obvious the publication was produced with care out of respect for its necessity in helping the Center tell its evolving story. This care was honored in 1990 when Wildflower won the Clarion Award, a national award from the Association for Women in Communications, as the best nonprofit newsletter. Wildflower newsletter then saw the Center through the biggest event in its history: a move to a new location in southwest Austin. More change came when the National Wildflower Research Center was officially renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1998.
As the Center grew and changed, so did the membership publication. That same year and under executive director Robert Breunig’s leadership, Wildflower was transformed from a newsletter to a magazine and renamed Native Plants. The magazine then had 32 pages within which to tell stories about its Landscape Restoration Program founded in 1999 and Plant Conservation program in 2001.
In 2002, the Center celebrated its 20th anniversary, opened its Ann and O.J. Weber Butterfly Garden, and I became the magazine’s editor. Over the nearly 12 years that followed, Native Plants took back the name Wildflower and continued to be an essential part of communicating with you, the Center’s members.
Those of us involved in making this magazine followed two simple rules: make each one better than the last and make sure we have our facts straight. We think that Wildflower is as important as Mrs. Johnson and a tiny Center staff thought it was 30 years ago. And we hope you join us in thinking it’s better than ever.
– CHRISTINA KOSTA PROCOPIOU