The Wildflower Center goes all out Sunday, July 26 to honor our founder, Lady Bird Johnson, and all she has done for our nation's treasured environment. Tribute Day recognizes Mrs. Johnson’s environmental legacy and the environmental legislation that she inspired. With her influence, President Johnson’s administration enacted more than 200 environmental laws with lasting national and local impact.
Admission will be FREE for visitors. Enjoy exhibits, children’s activities and more during extended hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lunch, drinks, snacks and ice cream are available in the Wildflower Café.
Schedule of Events
- Docent-led garden tours - 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Story time - 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Little House
- Interior treasures tour – 11:30 a.m. led by docent Marie Bassett
- Paper making craft - Until 4 p.m. in the courtyard, with wildflower seeds incorporated into the paper for planting or sharing
- Discovery cart - All day. Hands-on activities in the Luci and Ian Family Garden
- Take your photo with Lady Bird - All day. Guests can bring a camera to take a photo with a life-size likeness of Mrs. Johnson
- Memorabilia display - All day. See a leaf in plexiglass that Mrs. Johnson collected during a Vermont trip with Mr. and Mrs. Laurance Rockefeller; a pair of her size 7 shoes; a First Day of Issue stamp folder from 1966 that was part of the Keep America Beautiful Campaign she championed as First Lady; personal photo albums from an Austin visit by Queen Elizabeth II, Mrs. Johnson’s 75th Jubilee in D.C. given by President and Mrs. Reagan and other events; and an 1857 book about flowers from her LBJ Ranch collection.
- Silent auction - All day. Attendees can bid in person in the Visitors Gallery on five books from the Ranch collection or from Mrs. Johnson’s library in her Austin home. The books will be in displays and were published in the 1980s or later about Texas, wildflowers or America (see below for list of books). The highest bidder for each will be contacted after Tribute Day.
- Visit The Store and obtain signed copies of Lady Bird Johnson, Deeds Not Words and Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History.
Books for the Silent Auction
- Flowers and Fruit. Colette. Edited by Robert Phelps. First Printing, 1986. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New York.
- Wildflowers for All Seasons. Vojtech and Prance. Inscribed by the artist (Vojtech) to Lady Bird Johnson. 1989 Crown Publishers, New York.
- America, I Love You. Schjatschky. Inscribed by the author to Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson. Edition Q (publisher), 1988, Berlin.
- Texas Wildflower Portraits. O’Kennon. Texas Monthly Press, n.d.
- Spirit of the Chaparral. The Valley Land Fund Wildlife Photo Contest #V. McAllen, Texas. First Printing. 2003.
Special exhibit of Mrs. Johnson memorabilia
Indoors at the Visitors Gallery, enjoy viewing:
- A leaf in plexiglas from several that were collected on a Vermont trip with Mr. and Mrs. Laurance Rockefeller. Mrs. Johnson had some made into paperweights and others into bookends to give to members of the travelling party.
- Her personal photo albums that include:
- pictures of the founding of the Wildflower Center
- the Austin visit of Queen Elizabeth II
- Mrs. Johnson’s 75th Jubilee honors given by the President and Mrs. Reagan in Washington, DC, 1988.
- A pair of Mrs. Johnson's shoes: Size 7 mules.
- First Day of Issue stamp folder for Keep America Beautiful Campaign Mrs. Johnson began as First Lady in 1966. The “Plant for a More Beautiful America” stamp was issued that year, the first of five campaign beautification stamps.
- Life Among the Flowers, 1857. A collection of poems, stories, and other writings that is an example of Mrs. Johnson’s many books at the LBJ Ranch.
- Assorted photographs
More about Lady Bird
Claudia Alta Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas on December 22, 1912. Stories say that she earned her life-long nickname when a nursemaid said she was "as purty as a lady bird." She met the then Congressional secretary Lyndon B. Johnson while he was in Austin on official business and she was studying at the University of Texas. The couple married in November of 1934.
Mrs. Johnson felt close to nature and its beauty throughout her life, from Caddo Lake near her childhood home to the well-manicured lawns of the White House. Known as the "Environmental First Lady," she spent much of her life conserving the country's landscapes.
We honor her close to the date, July 26, 1968, when President Johnson presented her with 50 pens he used to sign environmental bills inspired by her work. Because of her, we have more wildflowers along highways and fewer billboards and junkyards as a result of "Lady Bird's Bill," or The Highway Beautification Act of 1965. This law cut back on roadside advertising and required that junkyards along highways be removed or screened.
Mrs. Johnson also created the First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, planting azaleas and trees around the White House and cleaning up and replanting parks and areas all throughout the District of Columbia. She worked to control the rat infestations in the Shaw area, planted flowers in parks all over the city and prompted businesses and citizens to get involved in beautification.
Lady Bird Johnson's impact on the nation was enormous and continues today in places like the Redwood National Park, the Grand Canyon and here in Austin. Although Mrs. Johnson passed away on July 11, 2007, we continue to remember her life and contributions, because, in her own words, "The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become."