Paying Homage to Lady Bird

Where flowers bloom, so does hope—Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson

Anyone who loves the beauty of Texas in the springtime owes thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, who spent most of her life in efforts to beautify not only Texas, but the entire USA. One of my strongest childhood memories is of a “Keep America Beautiful” commercial from the 60s, in which Lady Bird exhorted us to, “plant a tree, a bush, or a shrub,” with her Texas twang really coming out on “shruuuub.”

These very large Hereford cows are why you drive slowly on the ranch roads. These are old bloodlines, and mighty fine specimens.

Since coming to Texas as fast as I could, about 21 years ago, I have visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center many times, and enjoyed the tributes to her there, I’ve read her biography, and I’ve tried to follow in her footsteps by taking care of native plants wherever I’ve lived, especially at the Hermits’ Rest.

This amazing mosaic is in the small exhibit area in the park.

So, when Anita and I were coming back from Fredericksburg last weekend, a stop at the Johnson family ranch was a must. I highly recommend it; there’s way more than you’d think to see, and it was rather moving to see both the place where Lyndon B. Johnson was born, and where he is buried. He really was tied to his land.

Two of the older original homesteads on the ranch.

We really enjoyed the “working farm” aspect of the site, and found out lots from the docents who work there. The old buildings are right where they have always stood, and aren’t reproductions, too!

This is snow-on-the-mountain, one of the most beautiful roadsight sights on a hot Texas summer day.

Of course, I took a lot of photos of plants and animals (lots of deer were running around, and there were longhorns, huge horned Hereford cattle, and some bison).

The large headstone with a flower on it is Lady Bird’s. The other large one is LBJ.

The most moving thing was the family cemetery, which is in a truly beautiful spot near the river, with huge oak trees and a view of a church. It really felt peaceful, and I was glad to be able to pay my respects to a woman who has inspired me my whole life. A bonus was seeing a black squirrel and some pretty whiptail lizards (none of whom would pose for pictures).

We’re thinking of going back to the area for Christmas, since there are so many parks, quaint towns, and wineries to visit in the Hill Country.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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