Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!
HOME
EDITOR'S BLOG
FEATURE ARTICLES
GET STARTED

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit http://www.lorman.com/training/CaliforniaGreenSolutions for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

Lady Bird Looked Beyond Beautification to Preservation

Ladybird Johnson was an innovator in designing environmentally sustainable landscapes.

Find green business solutions
tulips, dafodil By New York News
Thursday, July 19, 2007
By ADRIAN HIGGINS

As we reflect on the legacy of Lady Bird Johnson's life and works, we should know that her embrace of the American landscape was not only about planting pansies in city parks or removing billboards from our highways.

Beautification was a term Johnson disliked, even though it has been indelibly linked to her public persona as the first lady who lobbied for a prettier world. The word itself is, ironically, ungainly. What's worse, it trivializes what she was trying to do.

Yes, she helped organize the facelift of much of Washington's civic spaces through mass plantings of spring bulbs and flowering trees and shrubs; vestiges of that floral blitzkrieg linger even as other major U.S. cities today have far outpaced Washington in their commitment to greening. Yes, she helped push landmark environmental legislation, notably the Highway Beautification Act. But instead of defining her career, these measures merely were a foretaste of what would come, even if most of us were not looking.

When her husband left office in 1969 and she resumed her life in Texas, Johnson began to tie together the strands of her determination to open our nation's eyes to nature with the creation of something much bigger and more enduring.

In 1982, marking her 70th birthday, the former first lady and the actress Helen Hayes, a longtime friend, founded the National Wildflower Research Center out of a small house and plot on the east side of Austin. The aim was to promote the protection and preservation of wildflowers -- or, more accurately, indigenous plants of every stripe -- along with the ecosystems in which they thrived. Johnson knew that native grasses, perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees differ by state and climate, and thus lent each region its distinguishing look, fragrance and feel. She understood, too, that we needed to protect these many plants and their diverse habitats before they were plowed under or paved over.

In 1995, the center was moved to a 43-acre site 20 miles away in southwest Austin. With successive additions of adjoining land, it has become a 279-acre mecca for people wanting to understand how native plant landscapes can be beautiful, diverse and kind to the environment. It is also a research facility, where methods for sustainable horticulture are put to the test.

Renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1997, the center fell under the aegis of her alma mater, the University of Texas in 2006. It includes an online native plant information network, listing and describing more than 7,200 species of native plants ( www.wildflower.org).

The center today embodies the green ethos and concern for a fragile planet that now pervades all of our landscape-making, from home gardening to countryside conservation. These have become widely shared mainstream goals, but when Lady Bird Johnson got this rolling, hers was a voice in the wilderness.

The wildflower center is working with the American Society of Landscape Architects and the U.S. Botanic Garden in developing standards and guidelines for certifying sustainable green landscapes in the same way that buildings now are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The program is aimed at large landscape projects such as public parks, highway plantings and office parks, said Susan Rieff, executive director of the wildflower center. "It's a very big effort. We are also in the beginning stages of using native plants on green roofs. Most of the research on green roofs has been done in other climates."

The wildflower center is also working to develop a Web-based carbon footprint calculator that would aid in designing environmentally sustainable landscapes. "For example," Rieff said, "we are finding that in many cases [meadow] grasses may be more effective in sequestering carbon than forests. All this research is taking and building on Mrs. Johnson's vision for a more sustainable, healthy environment."

When the former first lady started the center, she called it her "forever project," the director said. Advancing age and infirmities reduced her direct involvement in the center in recent years, but she "has been completely devoted to the wildflower center and visited here as recently as a month ago," Rieff said. Johnson, 94, died July 11, 2007 at her Austin home.

"She really understood that the way to reach people was to show them and to teach them to love and help the native plants around them," Rieff said.

Something far beyond beautification.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
Submit
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| Beautification | conservation | landscape |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
BONUS DOWNLOAD (PDF)
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

SUBSCRIBE HERE
Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center

INSTANT GREEN POLL

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe
RECENT ARTICLES
SITE NAVIGATION
ABOUT US

Related Articles

Urban Farming in LA

Sustainable Communities Require Organic Change

How to Design and Plant a Rain Garden

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Governance
Management
Manufacturing
Operations
Facilities
Transportation
Finance
Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here

ABOUT CALIFORNIA GREEN SOLUTIONS

We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |