Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Bluebonnets and Hiking Trails

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin’s southwest includes botanical gardens, hiking trails, as well as a research center including the Restoration Research Trail. After leaving Washington DC Lady Bird Johnson worked to encourage the beautification of Texas highways.

Mrs Johnson’s passion for the environment and wildflowers eventually lead to the creation of The National Wildflower Research Center just east of Austin. The membership expanded rapidly and in 1995 the current location opened, renamed in 1998 as The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Former First Lady - Lady Bird Johnson - My special cause... at the Wildflower Center bearing her name

Lady Bird Johnson – My special cause…

 

Whenever my mom visited Austin we would go to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to see the flowers and walk some of the trails. My mom is an avid gardener and turned her entire front lawn and most of the back lawn into a gorgeous English-style garden which I refer to as Mumsy’s Garden and I photograph every time I visit Calgary. She can quote all the Latin names whereas I usually stick with simple descriptions such as  ‘pretty blue flower’ or ‘tiny pink blooms’.

 

Stacked turtles sunning on a rock in the lily pond at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Stacked turtles sunning on a rock in the lily pond

 

I love the lily pond and water feature near the entrance of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The turtles always seem to be posing for visitors – particularly the two above! The turtles are adorable.

 

When can you see bluebonnets blooming in Austin?

As of February 2019 bluebonnets started blooming at the wildflower center.

My favorite time of year to visit the Wildflower Center is in the springtime when the bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and Indian Paint Brush (Castilleja indivisa) are in bloom. Early March through mid-April these wildflowers show off their gorgeous colors.

The bluebonnets and other wildflowers bloom more profusely after plenty of rain in early spring followed by mild weather and sunshine. When there is a lack of moisture the flowers do not bloom in abundance. Big Bend National Park in west Texas is having a stellar bluebonnet season in 2019 so if you have time for a road trip you will be rewarded.

Another feast for the eyes in Austin during early spring is Zilker Botanical Garden and the Red Bud trees blooming bright pink.

 

In spring the Bluebonnets and Indian Paint Brush bloom at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Bluebonnets and Indian Paint Brush bloom in springtime in Austin TX

 

There is always something blooming at the wildflower center. It is amazing how many gorgeous flowers bloom through the brutal Texas summer heat. Mrs Johnson’s legacy lives on and Texas looks more beautiful thanks to her efforts. Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake in honor of Mrs. Johnson. You can visit President Johnson’s hometown of Johnson City west of Austin. It’s a pretty drive but try to do it mid-week when traffic is lighter. From there you can drive to Fredericksburg and hike Enchanted Rock but be sure to bring water and a sun hat.

 

Coral Honeysuckle blooming at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Coral Honeysuckle blooming at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

 

Yucca plant in bloom at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Yucca plant in bloom on the grounds of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

 

Tangerine Crossvine

When I first moved to Austin I planted a Tangerine Crossvine in a pot on my deck and it bloomed in bunches of beautiful orange trumpet shaped flowers. It’s one of the easy flowering vines to grow in Texas. The Tangerine crossvines at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are amazing.

 

Tangerine Crossvine blooming along a fence at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Tangerine Crossvine blooming along a fence at the wildflower center

 

Crossvine decorate the stonework at the entrance of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Crossvine decorate the stonework at the entrance of the Wildflower Center

 

Great Horned Owls nesting at wildflower center

Also watch for the pair of owls that have been nesting at the center for the past several years. The staff told me they had three chicks this year. I took a photo but my camera wasn’t sharp enough (or perhaps it was me!) to capture much detail but you can make out mama owl at least.

 

Mama owl at her nest at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin TX

Great Horned Owl – Mama owl on her nest at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

 

Here’s a much better photo of the Great Horned Owl by my friend @tiedyedintx

 

 

Lunch at the Cafe

When you get tired and hungry stop by the Cafe and enjoy a treat. I recommend the Hibiscus Mint tea – it is a gorgeous color and very refreshing!

 

Hummingbird sandwich and cheesecake at the Wildflower Cafe - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin TX

The Hummingbird sandwich with fruit and yummy cheesecake at the Wildflower Cafe

 


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Info

Contact information

Address: 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX
Phone Number: +1-(512)-232-0100

Hours for Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

  • 9 am – 5 pm daily
  • Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 24, 25, 31 and January 1
  • Open until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays starting March 13, 2018
  • Member Mornings: Members get special early access to the gardens at 7:30 a.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays beginning March 15, 2018

Admission Cost (as of February 2019)

  • Adults $12
  • Students (non-UT students) and seniors $10
  • Youth (age 5 – 17) $6
  • Children under 4 years old – FREE
  • UT students, faculty and staff (with ID) – FREE
  • Members – FREE

Directions to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

From downtown Austin:

  • Head West toward Guadalupe Street
  • Turn LEFT onto Guadalupe Street
  • Turn RIGHT onto Cesar Chavez Street
  • Keep left at the fork and watch for Mopac TX-1 South
  • Merge onto TX-1 South Mopac Expressway
  • Continue for 9 miles (14.5 km)
  • Turn LEFT onto La Crosse Ave
  • Turn RIGHT at the entrance to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

 

 


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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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