Spring will soon make its colorful debut at the Garden!
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” – Lady Bird Johnson
Texans have long been enamored with the wildflowers that line our highways, in large part because of Lady Bird Johnson. A shy child, she spent her days outside in the piney woods and cypress bayous of East Texas. Walking through the McNair Foundation Cypress Forest and Loblolly Forest – amidst the dragonflies and hawks, butterflies, bluebirds, turtles, fish, and even the occasional eagle! – admiring the Taxodium distichum (bald cypress), aquatic Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed), and geometric Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) along the path, I can see why she never considered herself lonely.
Another Texas woman, Dr. Eula Whitehouse, ensured that we know the names of these beautiful blooms with her popular book, Texas Flowers in Natural Colors. The contributions of women to botany over time have included the study of plant structure and cell function by Katherine Esau, the first trained botanist to receive the National Medal of Science; the diligent documentation of countless plants for scientific study by Maria Sibylla Merian; discovery and collection of hundreds of thousands of plants by Ynés Mexía, and locally by Mary Sophie Young; the study of plant genetics to develop sugarcane for India for their economic independence by Janaki Ammal; and many, many more.
We celebrate these brilliant female botanists and the many other women who, throughout history, have contributed to advancing the field of botany. As you take in the beauty of the wildflowers and other spring blooms, know that we have many pioneering women to thank for them, including mi tocaya, Lady Bird Johnson.
Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel
Read the March 2022 e-newsletter for more, including Horticulture Help concerning when to expect bluebonnets and perennial bulbs to bloom, as well as a profile of Jenna Lindley, founder of The Bloomers, the Garden’s next-generation group.