Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center swings springtime into full bloom


Vivi Lopez-Stern

The landscape of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a lengthy stretch of nature and sky with twisting trails that lead through charming structures, and endless varieties of plants.

Vivi Lopez-Stern, Staff Writer

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center located in the serenity of South Austin draws a diverse crowd. From nature enthusiasts to photographers, the Wildflower Center has a wide variety of native plants and picturesque landscapes to offer enjoyment for even those who know nothing about the great outdoors.

Walking into this peaceful sanctuary can invoke mindfulness in even the most busy of people. The sweet perfume of red, blue, and yellow blossoms fills the air, along with the rhythmic sound of trickling water running into a pond. This space is truly a hidden gem and the perfect place to escape from the constant hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was founded by Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hayes in 1982. Both of these women were incredibly important and influential figures in their time. Helen Hayes was a very prominent actress being one of nine people who have won Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and Tony awards. Meanwhile, Lady Bird Johnson was First Lady of the United States and is known for her emphasis and encouragement regarding the importance of environmentalism.

The Wildflower Center was created to put into action the restorative properties of native plants. The goal was to provide a way for people to gain a better understanding of the role native plants play in cultivating a sustainable and healthy environment, and therefore build deeper connections with the world around them. I find this connection important considering the urgent state of the climate, and the ability of spaces like these to contribute to maintaining livable environments which provide for humans, animals, and plants alike. 

Because of motivations such as these, the Wildflower Center is able to serve a wide variety of necessities. For example, they nurture around 900 different species of native plants to Texas, these plants nurture an ecosystem home to over 1800 insect species, 148 species of birds, and 15 species of mammals. They also carry out extensive research including land management, and strive for sustainability through the use of irrigation systems, solar power, and local materials.

Through the importance put around amplifying their mission, and educating the public about nurturing these spaces, the Wildflower Center has a significant impact on preserving the Austin community. In addition, they conduct plant sales and provide volunteer opportunities to ensure that the public can actively take part in supporting this cause. For those reasons, I would encourage paying a visit to this multipurpose space to assure that the services carried out by this center are able to continue growing.

My favorite part of my visit was having the opportunity to draw my attention to the beauty that is inherent in nature. Whether it be a view of an endless green field speckled with vibrant blooms, or even just observing the complexity of a seemingly simple bluebonnet; a break from technology and time to really observe your surroundings allows for such a fulfilling and eye-opening experience.

Additionally, I believe that the benefits of nature are immeasurable. As soon as I stepped foot into the abundant trees I could feel my stress level decrease. I found a sense of peace and quiet that wasn’t isolating but rather grounding. And, I was able to be more mindful and form deeper connections with what was around me. I also found that I was able to be a lot more productive when I returned home, feeling restored.

With the continuous growth of Austin, it becomes harder to find places outside of the busy city like this. Even though I was able to enjoy the comforting sound of birds chirping in trees, it was difficult to ignore the background noise of cars rushing down the highway, and buildings just visible in the distance. I wish it were possible for places like the Wildflower Center to truly be away from the constant rush of society, and the looming threat of construction. 

For those reasons I feel as though it is even more important for the Austin community to support the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, through visiting or volunteering. This way, the legacy and purpose of these influential women can be preserved and passed onto future generations in the hopes that they will recognize the necessity of taking care of natural spaces like these.

Finally, I would highly recommend that anyone wanting to immerse themselves in breathtaking scenery, or just to take a break from the everyday rush to pay a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In doing so, they have the opportunity to improve their mental and physical state and have an impact on something much larger than themself.