After climbing Mount Bonnell, we were looking for somewhere else to explore outside of downtown Austin to enjoy the beautiful Texas sunshine. Even though it was February and I knew there wouldn’t be much blooming, we headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Located 10 miles southwest of Downtown Austin, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is the state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas.
First Lady Lady Bird Johnson opened the gardens in 1982 as a way to showcase and protect native Texas flora. The wildflower center has five distinct zones: the central gardens, the family garden (top), the Texas Arboretum, the Savanna Meadow (below), and the hill country trails. Even though we visited in February and there weren’t a ton of flowers in bloom, there was green to be seen.
The hill country trails are a unique area of the wildflower center with 70 acres set aside to study prescribed fires and how they affect the growth of native plants. There are about a mile of trails in this section that give visitors an up close look at fire and land management.
The Texas Arboretum features 16 acres of native Texas trees. A mile long path takes visitors through the arboretum to see the variety of maples, oaks, and more. One of the most unique features of the arboretum is the Hall of Texas Heroes which features offspring of some of Texas’ most historically significant trees. Trees on display include the Battle Oaks, Heart O’ Texas Oak, and the Matrimonial Oak. These trees grew from acorns harvested by Arboretum staff from the famous trees and planted on the grounds of the Wildflower Center.
If you are planning a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, visit their website (wildflower.org) ahead of time to discover what is in bloom and get a lay of the land.
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