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The communications office of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin provides media with timely, accurate information about the Wildflower Center. Below are recent press releases related to Center events and to staff expertise on conservation practices, native plant gardening, nature education, and native plant resources and research findings. For more information or photos beyond those on the newsroom site, please contact:

    Media Manager
Barbra Rodriguez

February 14, 2006

New Botanicals Exhibit Opens at the Wildflower Center

An exciting exhibit of botanical paintings with a new twist opens Saturday, February 25, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and continues through April 22. New Botanicals, a series of lyrical watercolor paintings by noted artist Mary Welborn explore the value of our native flora and the important role they play in our complex ecosystem.

Ms. Welborn, whose work is included in collections at the Smithsonian Institute, the U.S. Capitol, the National First Ladies' Library and the National Museum of Women's History, wants her work to convey the enormous value of native plants as medicine, food, spiritual icons and the underpinnings of our environment. A reception for the artist will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 25.

"Obviously, plants can't speak for themselves,' she said. "This work is a humble attempt to communicate, for them, their value."

Flo Oxley, Director of Education and Plant Conservation at the Wildflower Center, said the exhibit goes beyond traditional technical botanical paintings to express a reverence and respect for the plants and their value to differing cultures.

Mary Welborn said she considered wildflowers only highway ornaments until she discovered a "small, iridescent and incredibly magic spaceship-looking plant" called an Eryngo.

"It stopped me in my tracks. Life has never been the same since that summer morning. The research for this series has been an interesting journey. The emotional appeal and the sheer beauty of our native flora combined with the overwhelming realization that these plants are the structural foundations for all our ecosystems-it had a bit of a steamroller effect on me."

The lesson of the paintings, she said, is to show us that "we can make better choices" for ourselves and our environment.

The exhibit is on display at the McDermott Learning Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day during the spring. The Wildflower Center is located at 4801 La Crosse Avenue in Austin, just off Loop 1 South (MoPac Boulevard). For information, call 292-4200. or www.wildflower.org

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