Brilliant color at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas

Share this!
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2018)

I came to Texas this spring largely so I could drive around and admire wildflowers, so it made sense to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – both for the flowers and in tribute to the woman who made the fields of flowers that resulted from roadside “beautification” a national priority.

While there are flowers everywhere at the Wildflower Center, including the parking lot, the central courtyard is a good place to start a visit, as this is where the Visitor’s Center, café, and other facilities – including a viewing tower – are located.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

There are pretty test gardens amid research facilities designed to mimic an old-fashioned farm.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Mostly there are just lots and lots of flowers, a theme that continues in the Texas demonstration gardens.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

The gardens here display plantings from a variety of Texas ecosystems. They include a range of plants, from coneflowers to cacti to a few still-blooming bluebonnets.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

There are also a variety of trails with varying levels of landscaping. The most landscaped of them is the trail that wraps around the gardens behind the major buildings and leads to the family garden.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

From here the Savanna Meadow Trail leads through a mix of open meadows and wooded areas. Although the shaded areas have few flowers, the meadows are awash with color.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Of course, if that isn’t enough color for you, there are plenty of other trails. Our favorite was the Restoration Research Trail because it was simply ablaze with color when we visited.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo  Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Much of the wild color comes from thick patches of blanket flowers, but there are also a surprising number of prickly pear cactus and other plants in bloom.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower research center Austin Texas - Explo

It was absolutely stunning and I suspect it is stunning in different ways in every season.

Operated by the University of Texas in Austin, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was founded by the former First Lady along with actress Helen Hayes in 1982 in order to protect and preserve native plants and natural landscapes. Today the Wildflower Center displays 650 native Texas plants and supports continuing research on native plants and habitat. The gardens are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday.

While Mrs. Johnson was most famous for supporting highway billboard bans and wildflower plantings, she was interested in a much broader range of environmental and anti-poverty initiatives. However, it was that interest in roadside beautification through native wildflower plantings that lead to many of the roadside wildflower displays seen today.

Want even more flowers? Check out Floral Friday Fotos for great floral images from around the world.

A glorious pink cactus

All Texas Hill Country posts

Share this!

9 thoughts on “Brilliant color at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas”

  1. I was just there this last Monday. Beautiful place; wildflowers were spectacular. Great photos. Our visit to TX was a soggy one. We did manage to get out and about some in between downpours and flooded roads.

    1. Oh, my. I’ve been thinking how glad I am that we went when we did and could drive anywhere and not worry about flooded roads. I’ll be eager to see your pictures (I haven’t missed them, have I?) and see what it looks like a month after I was there. I’m guessing you also found all sorts of really cool buildings and took wonderful pictures of them! Now you have an excuse to return. . .

  2. Fantastic shots in this amazing place, which I would love to visit (with camera in hand!).
    Thank you for joining us at Floral Friday Fotos, hope to see you contributing again soon.

Your turn!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.