Giant dragonfly sculpture on side of limestone water tower, Wildflower Center
Hedgehog cactus, Wildflower Center.
Lady Bird Johnson spreads seeds at the groundbreaking of the National Wildflower Research Center
The center currently functions as an Organizational Research Unit of The University of Texas at Austin. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (279 acres) is a public botanical garden on La Crosse Avenue near the Mopac Expressway, 10 miles SW of downtown Austin, Texas and just inside the edge of the distinctive Texas hill country. It is devoted entirely to native plants, with extensive plantings native to central Texas and research on native-plant landscaping in general (see Native Plant Information Network). The center also hosts changing exhibits of visual art and photography (schedule of events at Wildflower Center), including outdoor sculptures in the garden such as the dragonfly at left. The center features walking trails, formal and research plantings, educational exhibits, traditional local architecture, and sale of native plants.
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982 to protect and preserve North America's native plants and natural landscapes. Officially renamed Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1998, the mission of the center has been to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. The inscription on Lady Bird Johnson's Presidential Medal of Freedom award ends with "Her leadership transformed the American landscape and preserved its natural beauty as a national treasure."