Randalls Island Park Alliance

Wildness and Beauty

In What's in Bloom on May 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

By Dianne Crary

First ladies are often overshadowed by their Presidential husbands.  And some of these women are forgotten.

Lady Bird Johnson will not be overlooked.  Her passion for beautifying and appreciating the landscape of America has inspired many of us.

This year is the Centennial celebration of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth.  As First Lady, her enduring legacy was as an environmentalist for the preservation of our native wildflowers in a field or along a road.

The Highway Beautification Act was adopted due to her advocacy.  She was especially fond of the Texas bluebonnets, but enjoyed all native wildflowers.  She and Helen Hayes dedicated the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982, which later was renamed the Lady Bird Wildflower Center in 1998.

Unlike some of her predecessors, she did not redecorate the White House, but she did leave a special addition to the dinner table.  Lady Bird acquired a china dinner service with the designs of wildflowers from all 50 states.

Randall’s Island is creating two Native Wildflower Meadows.  One near the freshwater wetlands and one at the Hell Gate.  Both meadows were begun in 2008.  I have working in the meadow at Hell Gate.  On Friday, after packing up my tools, I took a look around.  I observed Centaurea Montana (Mountian Bluet), Cheiranthus allionii (Siberian wallflower) and Lecucanthemum vulgare (Oxeye Daisy).  More are on their way.

A vase of wildflowers by Dianne

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