Before lovers co-opted the custom, mortal enemies would exchange bouquets of roses and lilies before duels to symbolize the blood and lilies that were about to be spilt. Find a flower that enflames your own passions with today's Groupon: for $8, you get two admission tickets to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (up to a $16 value).
Cofounded by the former first lady in 1982, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center strives to increase sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes through education and preservation. Because plants are too proud to ask for help from lawyers, doctors, and talent agents, the Wildflower Center takes it upon itself to protect and propagate the native plants and flowers of Hill Country and the greater south and west in Texas. Stroll one of the wildflower center's four trails among summer blooms such as the indian mallow, the demure coastal sand verbena, and the ornery-yet-soft prickly prairie acacia. Visit one of the center's nature-art exhibits, including Vibrant Blooms and Aqueous Matter, or stroll over to the café, gift shop, or castle-like observation tower. With new knowledge and appreciation of each blossom's aesthetic and ecological role, visitors might even be inspired to return their own gardens to their native splendor and finally evict all those invasive piranha plants blocking their warp pipes.
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.