Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Tuesday - November 27, 2007

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Mrs. Johnsons favorite flower
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recall the the Black-eyed Susan was Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flower, is that true? Did she have other favorites?

ANSWER:

That is a really tough question to answer, and the answer probably depends on who you ask. From what those at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who knew her personally can tell you, she liked them all. In 1972, 35 years before her death on July 11, 2007, she told an interviewer that her favorite flowers were Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (showy prairie gentian), also known as the bluebell, Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel), or Indian Blanket, and Castilleja foliolosa (Texas Indian paintbrush) . The general consensus around the Wildflower Center is that her favorite was the bluebell (yes, the same one that the "little creamery in Brenham" is named after). If you watched the television presentations on the services held in the Gallery at the Center, you will know that there were bouquets incorporating the bluebell, which fortuitously happened to be in bloom in the Center itself. In the large portrait of Mrs. Johnson behind the desk in the Gallery, she is sitting in a field of Indian Blanket. But we have seen other pictures of her in a field of Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), which indicates she loved them, too. And not just the native plants with showy flowers, she loved the little grasses and the big live oak trees, the plants others called "weeds" along the highways that bloomed from roots in asphalt and survived determined mowing. Perhaps the flowers were just the most visible symbol of what she cared about most, which was Nature, and the preservation of a natural environment.

When the architects for the present Wildflower Center were having their first planning meetings for the construction of the Center asked Mrs. Johnson what she wanted it to look like, she said "I want it to look as though God put it there." And her beloved flowers, too.


Lupinus texensis

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Gaillardia pulchella

Castilleja foliolosa

Rudbeckia hirta

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Perennial herbs and woody species for North Texas
February 17, 2009 - I have recently moved to North Texas. It would be helpful to know some hardy perennial flowers to plant. Also what types of shrubs and trees that do well in the area. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Fertilizing hayfield with wildflowers in Brenham TX
September 20, 2010 - I have property near Brenham, TX that produces wild bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers each year. I would like to fertilize the pastures to help with hay production (the grass is ha...
view the full question and answer

Silphium Perfoliatum Seeds
October 06, 2014 - I am trying to identify which part of the seedhead is the actual seed of the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It is hard to find images. Some show the outer, larger, flat part of the seedhead which ...
view the full question and answer

Year-round wildflower display in Mississippi
June 14, 2007 - I live in central Mississippi and I'm interested in transforming a 2,000 sq. ft. turf area of my yard into a showy wildflower exhibit that will bloom from now(July) until winter and even possibly thr...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.