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.
Three years ago at this very time I was busy wrapping up my first issue of Native Plants. It was a special magazine that marked the 20th anniversary of the Wildflower Center with 64 pages of coverage on its founding and progress over the years, as well as an in-depth look at Lady Bird Johnson and her lifelong love affair with nature. The issue also marked considerable change for Native Plants with the introduction of a new editor, a new commitment to a national focus, and a new look.
Twelve issues later, another fall issue marks an important anniversary in the life of the Center and organizations like it. On October 22, 1965, the Highway Beautification Act became law, heightening Americans' awareness of the environment and of roadsides in particular. This issue we look at this law's 40th anniversary, what led to it, and what other environmental progress surrounded it in the otherwise turbulent 1960s.
As I wrote the story covering the anniversary, "America the Beautiful" (page 18), I thought about how much the magazine has evolved since that 20th anniversary issue three years ago. When we switched to an interview format for our feature articles, it opened the door to ongoing partnerships with other conservation organizations and experts on native plants. My story relies upon the input of people who are among the most knowledgeable about the beautification issues of yesterday and today.
The rest of the issue does more justice to what we set out to do with that special anniversary issue three years ago. Our horticulture feature this issue, "Ripe With Possibilities" (page 12), examines native fruits. And "Healing Earth" (page 24) explores horticultural therapy and looks at how plants impact the lives of people by affecting body, mind, and spirit.
When we relaunched the magazine three years ago, we didn't yet have the columns that make the magazine what it is today. For those of you who have followed us in the past year, you'll find native plant gardening advice where you've come to expect it: within For Every Season on page 11 (focusing on crevice gardening this issue) and on page 32 with Root of the Matter (where we feature rainwater collection).
I look at the magazine and see so much progress made since that August three years back and so much yet in store. We hope that with this celebratory issue you'll be reminded of all things beautiful about the environment. - Christina K. Procopiou