Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers

Last weekend I took a drive along the Shenandoah River to see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) as they were in full glorious bloom. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, the river was high – it was a magnificent day. And…it reminded me that I had this book, Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers, set aside to tell you about!

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I loved reading this children’s story about Lady Bird Johnson and I hope, that even though this story is not new, you might think about picking it up and sharing it with your little ones this spring/summer.

Simply put, we learn about the early life of the former First Lady, a very formative time in her life that would set the stage for her life long love of nature and flowers, in particular. When she arrived in Washington with her husband she was unhappy to see the dirty streets and weedy shores of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers there and she was concerned about the children and their families growing up beside them – what kind of lives did they have without grass, trees and flowers? And so began her beautification project – first at home and then the Congress passed the Highway Beautification Act. This would mean that the nation’s highways would be cleaned up and native wildflowers would be planted.

Returning from Washington, retiring from political life did not mean the end of Lady Bird’s advocacy for nature though. At age 70, she helped to establish the National Wildflower Research Center in Austin, Texas. Today, it serves as a living laboratory and scientists come from all over the United States to conduct research at the facilities here. You can visit too! They have amazing resources online, which you can have a loot at here!

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Portrait of Lady Bird Johnson in the Texas Hill Country, taken May 10, 1990. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The back of the book contains some great resource material as well as a “Can you find these wildflowers?” which is a great way for children to see how many of the 12 flowers they can find in the books – don’t worry, the answers are included.

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