In Lady Bird Johnson’s own words…

On nature


“Every living person and thing responds to beauty. We all thirst for it. We receive strength and renewal by seeing stirring and satisfying sites.” 1966


“My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth. I wanted future generations to be able to savor what I had all my life.” 2002


“Every man has a thirst to leave his footprints on untrammeled sand. I hope it will always be so and that we will always provide it. It has been said that wilderness is the miracle that man can tear apart but cannot reassemble… At every beach, there are new shells to find, new dunes to paint.” 1968


On the environment


“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.” 1967


“My personal hope:  that Americans will intensify their commitment to conservation in the time ahead. For we have only begun. The challenge is found on the large scale of curing pollution in all its forms, and on the small scale of brightening corners of blight.” 1965


“We still have time to walk back in our past, still have time to preserve our heritage with guidance for the future generations. While we continue to explore new frontiers in space, we must exert more effort to make the world we live in a better and more attractive place to work, to play, and to raise our families.” 1965


“Too often we have bartered away not only the land, but the very air and water. Too often we have sacrificed human values to commercial values under the bright guise of progress. And in our unconcern, we have let a crisis gather which threatens health and even life itself…. Today, environmental questions are matters for architects and laymen alike. They are questions, literally, of life and death. Can we have a building boom and beauty too? Must progress inevitably mean a shabbier environment? Must success spoil nature’s bounty? Insistently and with growing volume, citizens demand that we turn our building to a sensible, human purpose. They are asking, literally, for a breath of fresh air.” 1968


“Once a woodland glade bows to the bulldozer, it is lost forever. An aroused citizenry is the greatest safeguard. Do not underestimate the power of your own ability to sound the cry” to the editor or the city father’s.” 1966


“There is much the government can do and should do to improve the environment. But even more important is the individual who plants a tree or cleans a corner of neglect. For it is the individual who himself benefits, and also protects a heritage of beauty for his children and future generations.” 1968


On beautification


“Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas. To me … beautification means our total concern for the physical and human quality we pass on to our children and the future.” 1967


“I know that the nature we are concerned with ultimately is human nature. That is the point of the beautification movement, and that finally is the point of architecture. Winston Churchill said, ‘First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us.’ The same is true of our highways, our parks, our public buildings, the environment we create. They shape us. “ 1968


“I am one of millions of Americans who are both troubled and hopeful about the physical settings of life in our country. As you know my concern has been expressed in an effort called beautification. I think you also know what lies beneath that rather inadequate word. For beautification is far more than a matter of cosmetics. For me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the man-made world into harmony; to bring order, usefulness – delight – to our whole environment, and that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping.” 1968


On regional identity


“I have always been a natural tourist. Lyndon used to say I kept ‘one foot in the middle of the big road.’ Wherever I go in America, I like it when the land speaks its own language in its own regional accent.” 1993


“I want us to know our world.   If I lived in North Georgia on up through the Appalachians, I would be just as crazy about the mountain laurel as I am about [Texas] bluebonnets.” 2001


On The University of Texas at Austin


“What did the university mean to me, a student from a small town in deep East Texas? It seemed then and it still seems now that all of the doors of the universe suddenly swung open to me. Here I discovered that college is only the beginning of learning. That one new horizon only opens the door to still another.”  1966


On founding the Wildflower Center in 1982


“My special cause, the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land – to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas and thus help pass on to generation in waiting the quiet joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood.” 1990


“Always on the back of my mind was, ‘Gee, I wish the wildflowers of this wonderful state had a champion. I wish I thought the same fields of bluebonnets and primrose and Indian paint brush and phlox and coreopsis are going to be here for my grandchildren and their children and on down.’ And so that began the Wildflower Center and the concentration on native indigenous plants.” 2001


“The whole purpose of the thing was to spread an interest in the wildflowers of the region: what would grow best with the least work. You just have a better chance if you’re using natives and wild things. They’re easier to grow if the Lord put them there in the first place, and they’re hardy and can survive.” 2001