Thursday, May 21, 2015

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 195

When we arranged a trip to Austin, Texas for a nephew’s wedding it included a little extra time to see a few things.  One of the places on the list to visit was the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  At first I wasn’t going to do this as a postcard Thursday but I did buy postcards at the gift shop, an example is shown above, hence it did become one after all.  The card is a Texas Production publication with the photo credit given as TX DOT.

The entry into the grounds

This waterfall has an entrance so children (and adults) can go behind it.  The walls of these short tunnels are decorated with primitive rock art.

Dinosaur footprints decorated the sandstone pathway by the waterfall cave.

In one area of the courtyard we found this small door leading into a children's activity room.

The central part of the park houses formal gardens, a play area for children, a gallery, gift shop, and small café, the remainder is really more like a preserve filled with countless wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and animals.  Although we did see butterflies and a few birds we did not see snakes or other animals; however, there were signs with pictures and information about the animals that live in the park.  One of the helpers in the gift shop asked if we had seen the owl nesting with three baby owlets above the entrance arch.  We had to go out and take pictures hoping we got something as the owls blended in so completely with the foliage and stone.  With over 175,000 native plants and four miles of winding trails throughout the park we visited twice and enjoyed several hours of pleasant strolling with lots of things to look at. 

Two of the three baby owls in the nest above the entryway

Much of the wildflower center is open meadow with scattered trees and a profusion of different colored flowers mixed in the grass.  The park grounds are kept as natural as possible.  We did see gardeners removing invasive plants and pruning out the deadwood.

This Live Oak was one of several in the park.  Live Oaks propagate by a series of connecting roots so there are often several trees forming a group. 

Our tour map and information brochure told us that the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, and actress Helen Hayes founded the Wildflower Center in 1982 to preserve and protect native plants and natural landscapes.  The park has evolved into a renowned garden and research institution.  Originally called the National Wildflower Research Center the name was changed in 1998 to honor Mrs. Johnson.  In 2006 it became a research unit of the University of Texas.  Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin is also named in her honor for her efforts and achievements in beautifying the city. 
We did purchase a Texas wildflower book and fold out charts for birds, trees and butterflies so some of these are identifiable.  I must have taken hundreds of photos, way too many to share but here are a few--

Bluebonnet, the Texas State flower

Evening Primrose



Indian Blanketflower 


Texas Paintbrush

 Red Yucca

Spider Milkweed with bees

Northern Mockingbird

Prairie Pleatleaf

Common Buckeye Butterfly


Black-eyed Susan

Also according to the booklet provided at the gate “the Wildflower Center is a national leader in plant conservation, sustainable landscaping, and ecology-based design.”  Quotes from Lady Bird Johnson: “Wildflowers and native plants are as much a part of our national heritage as Old Faithful or the Capitol Building.”  On a stone placed along one of the pathways had this quote: “My personal hope—that Americans will intensify their commitment to conservation.”  On a large display by the entrance to the park:  “My special cause, and the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land—to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas and thus help pass on to generations in waiting the quiet joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood.”

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