In a flawed attempt at garden maintenance, amateurs often construct a scarebee to deter pesky pollinators from cross-contaminating precious thoroughbred plants. Experience an expertly cultivated garden with today's Groupon: for $12, you get one ticket to Gardens on Tour, presented by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin (a $25 value). The tour will be held rain or shine on Mother's Day weekend, Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Children 5 and younger are admitted for free.
Cofounded by the former first lady in 1982, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center strives to increase sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes through education and preservation. This year's exclusive garden tour will showcase five private gardens, as well as the Wildflower Center, letting flora fans take in the verdant vegetation, thriving wildlife, and distinct design of each. Marvel at creative interpretations of outdoor seating, lighting, terraces, and walkways, and notice the attractive ponds that serve as unique décor as well as foot basins for use after fire walking. Accentuated with wildflowers and native vegetation, such as live oak, Texas persimmon, and the tangy barbecue bush, the garden tour highlights impeccable exterior landscaping, architecture, and sustainable urban design.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Water trickles through a butterfly roof when it rains, flowing through a Roman-styled aqueduct to a cistern placed for harvesting rainwater. Thorn-crested agaves and evergreen succulents flourish beneath the eaves. The architecture of this rainwater harvesting system—itself a recreation of a South Texas mission garden—embodies the dual purpose of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: to preserve native plant life and promote environmental and conservation research.
Although North American native plants thrive in this region when left to their own devices, urban development, agribusiness and the introduction of invasive species have slashed their numbers, reducing wildlife habitats and disrupting the fragile ecosystem. Lady Bird Johnson founded the Wildflower Center in 1982 to preserve these native plants and natural landscapes. Native Texas wildflowers and shrubs fill its 23 public gardens and trails, which form a natural habitat for cochineal insects and red-eared slider turtles. The center's Research and Innovation team restores damaged landscapes, and the Native Plant Information Network retains an online database of more than 8,600 native species.