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In bloom: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers all colors of rainbow

By Trysta Eakin
April 2, 2011 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.


Want to go?

Where: 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin

Upcoming events:

Through May 31 - Wildflower Days

April 1 - Nature Nights: Wildflowers & Pollinators

April 8-10 - Spring Plant & Garden Festival

May 7- Gardens on Tour

May 13 - Wildflower Gala & Silent Art Auction

More information: www.wildflower.org

Go LocalHassfield's PicksWildflower Events

DeWitt County is the place to be for local wildflower action. With more than 1,000 species growing there, it's no wonder it has been dubbed the Wildflower Capital of Texas.

The DeWitt County Wildflower Association even has ties with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center through the former First Lady herself. Johnson visited DeWitt County on a few occasions, browsing the gardens and yearly display, said Margaret Conrad, a member of the Wildflower Association.

"She came, I think, five or six times," she said. "The first time, she came with her entourage, something like 30 cars with Secret Service and her personal assistants; it was the only time we really made a big to-do about it."

After that, Johnson would stop by, sometimes unannounced, to look at the flowers and take a drive through the country with members of the association, Conrad said.

"She was as gracious, warm and friendly as she seemed on TV ... she wasn't pretentious at all. And she knew every botanical name and recognized every flower. It was amazing."

Although the DeWitt County Wildflower Association is scaling back its involvement in this year's seasonal festivities, its director Myrna Hassfield said you will still see them out cataloging the colorful weeds, tracking their locations and maintaining the association's gardens.

Favorite wildflower: Bluebonnet

Recommended touring locale: Loop hitting Cuero (U.S. 87), Westhoff, Cheapside and Lindenau.

Place of interest: DeWitt County Museum - tour maps and wildflower photo display will be available throughout the season

5K Run: Run or walk through the lanes and byways of DeWitt County, populated with numerous varieties.

Cycling Tour: With a choice of five different distances to cycle, this tour will take you on an invigorating and colorful journey.

Group tours: This three-hour tour will take you all over the countryside, ensuring prime wildflower spying and can be arranged through the chamber.

For more information, visit www.dewittwildflowers.org, or www.cuero.org.

"Once in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed."

- Lord Alfred Tennyson

The roadsides and fields of the Golden Crescent are already beginning their yearly transformation of color as Indian paintbrushes, bluebonnets and black-eyed Susans dot the once winter-barren landscape.

One man's weed is another man's wildflower. And what better place to learn about that than the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

In roughly a two-hour drive, a majestic outdoor excursion lay ahead, with flower tours and trail walks, all while learning more about the plants native to Texas and North America.

Along with gardening know-how, visitors can discover conservation information, attend events such as the Wildflower Gala in May, and take pictures of the beautiful gardens that span out across the center.

The following flowers, found on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center slide library, will give you an idea of what you can expect in Texas.

Texas bluebonnet (photo credit: Norman G. Flaigg)

Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Scientific name: Lupinus texensis

Other common names: Bluebonnet, Texas lupine, buffalo clover, wolf-flower

Amelia's Sand Verbena (photo credit: Mrs. W.D. Bransford)

Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four-O'clock Family)

Scientific name: Abronia ameliae

Other common names: Amelia's sand-verbena, heart's delight, sand verbena

Prairie Wattle (photo credit: David K. Northington)

Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Scientific name: Acacia angustissima

Other common names: Prairie acacia, fern acacia, whiteball acacia

Peonia (photo credit: Steven Schwartzman)

Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Scientific name: Acourtia runcinata

Other common names: Featherleaf desertpeony

Scarlet Buckeye (photo credit: Steven Schwartzman)

Family: Hippocastanaceae (Horse-Chestnut Family)

Scientific name: Aesculus pavia var. pavia

Other common names: Red buckeye, southern buckeye, firecracker plant

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