Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Inspires Conservation and Sustainability Lauren Johnson Sustainability & LEED

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s mission is to inspire the conservation of native plants through its research, demonstration projects, education programs, and the development of national-scale programs to promote sustainable landscapes.

Sustainable Gardens in Austin, Texas; Photo: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

About the Center

The 284-acre facility is a mix of gardens, an arboretum, managed natural areas, and wildlands between the Edwards Plateau and Texas Blackland Prairies ecoregions. It’s also home to nearly 900 species of Texas native plants that have either been cultivated or grown at the center naturally. The site also includes a diverse animal population including 1,800 insect species, 148 bird species, and 15 mammal species.

The facility includes 9 acres of cultivated gardens, the 16-acre Mollie Steves Zachary Texas Arboretum displaying more than 70 species of native Texas trees, and 76 acres of plots dedicated to long-term research on fire and land management. Additional sections of gardens include the Hill Country Trails (seventy acres devoted to land management research), Savanna Meadow (where visitors can hike and learn about karst landscapes and the Edwards Aquifer), and the Family Garden (which connects families to nature with interactive features).

Research & Sustainability

Water Treatment System; Photo: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The wildflower center operates sustainably with a 65,000-gallon rainwater storage system. The facility has an efficient low-flow landscape irrigation system, solar arrays for power generation, and the use of local materials harvested on-site and nearby. The buildings and hardscapes were constructed with locally harvested stones and the style reflects regional architecture.

In addition to planting and upkeeping their gardens, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is also part of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences and has historically supported internal and external basic and applied research. Their research focuses on using native plants to address environmental problems such as water scarcity, ecosystem health, and climate change.

One major accomplishment of their research program was the development of a new type of native turfgrass that is a resilient and water-saving alternative to commonly used turfgrasses. Their research on green roofs also led …


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