New Family Garden Set to Open at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Reading over the press materials for the about to be opened Luci and Ian Family Garden (a new venture for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin), I was struck by how much sounded like the kind of fantasy garden created by a children's book author,

"A maze made of native shrubs, giant tree stumps for kids to climb on, giant bird nests made from native grape vines, a grotto with caves and a waterfall, a lawn designed with native turf, a creek with dinosaur footprints and water activities," are just some of the promised windfalls.

On Sunday, May 4, the 4.5 acre garden named after lead donors Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, and her husband Ian Turpin, will open, offering "more than a dozen interactive and educational features made of natural materials such as Nature's Spiral, a mosaic-inlaid limestone wall that illustrates the spiral shapes found in nature," according to press materials.

The 4.5-acre Family Garden is the only native plant garden developed for families in Central Texas, according to the wildflower center.

"The Wildflower Center is on the cutting edge of sustainability," says Luci Baines Johnson. "Our hope is that the Family Garden will be a place where families go to play and discover the wonder and importance of nature."

"There is nothing like this garden in Texas on many levels," says Susan Rieff, executive director of the Wildflower Center. "The Luci and Ian Family Garden will offer children a safe environment for exploring the natural world that we hope will instill a sense of wonder and excitement."

Landscape architect and artist W. Gary Smith working with the architecture firm TBG Partners, designed the garden which is supposed to provide an example of "eco-friendly landscaping."

More than 200 people donated to the project, including Lynda Johnson Robb.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is located at 4801 La Crosse Avenue in Austin.

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