Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tales of the Traveling Totes # 7 ~ Day Tripping in the Wildflowers

Welcome to Tales of the Traveling Totes #7

A beautiful gift package from my Traveling Tote Secret Pal

Debbie @ Mountain Breaths and Miss Aurora.

Miss Merri Mac and I want to thank Debbie and Miss Aurora for a beautiful gift package that arrived last month.  Debbie @ Mountain Breaths and her husband like to vacation in the Keys.  Just look at these delightful gifts!  The exquisite cheese board was hand crafted by Clinton Pottery in Clinton, New York.
   Look for an upcoming post on a Key West dinner.

Laurie King ~ Katie Clooney ~ Katharine

The past few months Miss Merri Mac

and I had the occasion to meet up with some 

very special ladies from Blogland.

If you don't know these bloggers, you should!

Laurie King, author of the Mary Russell series,

further entertains @ Mary Russell Holmes.

Katie ClooneyPreppy Empty Nester, will keep you in 

stitches as she shares her life as an empty nester.   A real charmer, 

I was thrilled to meet Katie while she was in Austin to visit her dad.

KatharineTartan Terrace, is a fellow Texan, a fan of all things 

tartan, and has children here in Austin.  It's a win/win for me!

It's the best when blog friends get to meet in person, 

and listen to this ~ ~ ~

 author and blogger Susan Branch is coming to Austin.

Susan (and Joe) will be in Austin on June 18th @ Bookpeople

signing her latest book,  ISLE OF DREAMS.

Fun reads ~ all three!

You can bet Miss Merri Mac and I will be there!

A Texas Spring = Wildflowers

~ Come along for a little Day Tripping in the Wildflowers ~

Texas is known for its fields of iconic

bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, but from March to June

 when Mother Nature gives us a wet spring as she did this year, 

one can see carpets of other brilliant colors that stretch

along the roadsides of much of the huge state of Texas.

Miss Merri Mac and I decided to take 

you to a very special place;

a place where we could show you the 

abundance and diversity of the

beautiful blooms that grow wild across our state.

Welcome to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Grab your sun hat and come along

as we walk the trails and take in the beauty

that is blooming this time of year.

"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 generations in waiting the quiet joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood."   Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson,

former First Lady of our Country, 

perhaps planted the most important seed of all: 

the importance of preserving and promoting our native land.

Click here to read more about 

Mrs. Johnson's environmental legacy.

Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes 

joined forces in 1982 to found the 

National Wildflower Research Center.

In 1995 the Center was moved to 

its present 43 acre site and became the

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Since 2006, the Center is now a research and educational 

arm of the University of Texas at Austin.

The Wildflower Center is one of my favorite retreats,

a place of native plants, wildflower meadows, and woodlands.

For me it is a place of meditation,

where my spirit thrives and my heart fills with joy.

The Wildflower Center's mission is:

"to conserve, restore, and create healthy landscapes."

While wildflowers paint a beautiful landscape,

they are also important habitats for 

birds, butterflies, insects, and native wildlife.

They help preserve our soil, and because

they are native to specific locals, they conserve water.

 The Center offers a data base of 8,573

native plants in North America.

One can search both scientific or common names.

Click here to access the Native Plant Database.

I readily admit that I can not name each of the wildflowers,

but fortunately the Center provides detailed 

markers with complete information.

I took the beginner quiz for Central Texas Wildflowers

and was proud that I correctly identified all 12 of the photos.

You can test your wildflower knowledge here.

With names like 

~ Evening Primrose ~ Winecup ~ 

~ Texas Yellowstar ~

~ Indian Paintbrush ~ Mexican Hat ~ Indian Blanket ~

~ Sundrops ~ Blackfoot Daisy ~

 What's not to love about

learning these common names?

After we walked the trails, we climbed

up to the top of the tower for a magnificent 360 view.

While at the Wildflower Center, one will see 

workers tending the gardens, leading tours, 

and working in various research areas.

The Wildflower Center could not exist without the generous

support of these volunteers who help out each day.

If you want a bite to eat or a refreshing drink, 

we can just pop into 

Wildflower Cafe.  

We can dine within the cafe at tables with 

these adorable hand painted chairs, 

or alfresco on shaded patios.

Lady Bird Johnson

died on July 11,2007 at the age of 94.

What an amazing legacy she left to all of us.

Miss Merri Mac and I hope this post inspires you  

to appreciate the beauty and value of the  

wildflowers that grow in your region.

To Visit Previous Miss Merri Mac Adventures
Just click on number links below. 
#1#2#3#4#5 , #6 and also
herehere, and here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Also Joining


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Bonjour,

    Une publication champêtre pleine de charme... Le bonheur avec une grand B se lit sur vos visages... Je viens de passer un très agréable moment en votre compagnie. Merci !!

    Gros bisous ♡

  2. What an amazing legacy Lady Bird Johnson left for all to enjoy. How fortunate for you that the wildflower center is nearby so you can visit often. I would be thrilled to take a daily trail walk there! How exciting that you got to meet such wonderful bloggers, and you know that I enthusiastically await you meeting Susan Branch. I am almost done with her latest book Isle of Dreams. I sure hope she will write another book!

  3. The wild flowers are so beautiful, what a gift from the first lady! I am so envious of you meeting Susan Branch - I am waiting for Isle of Dreams to come into my bookstore! Deb sent such a lovely gift from her winter getaway - lucky you! I love reading about all the travels and so happy we are TT friends!!

  4. Dear Sarah... I am honored to be a part of your post today. Your photos of the flowers are breathtaking! I am listening to Clint Hill's book, Five Presidents, and he was a big fan of Lady Bird's. He says that she was very warm and one smart cookie. I hope that you have a wonderful week.

  5. How fun that you and Miss Merri Mac were able to meet some fellow bloggers, Sarah! That's always so exciting!! Your gifts from Debbie are so thoughtful for you and your chef. I look forward to seeing some recipes for your Key West dinner. How wonderful that Susan Branch is coming to Austin. I'm sure you and Miss Merri Mac will be there to greet here (wish I lived closer so I could be there, too). The Wildflower Center looks like a serene and peaceful spot, and a place that I would also love to visit. Sitting on those beautifully painted chairs and having a meal in the cafe, would be a treat in itself!

  6. Oh Sarah, I have always wanted to visit the wildflower park that was created by Lady Bird Johnson. Not only Texas, but Alabama has beautiful wildflowers planted for all to enjoy along the freeways and highways, mostly in the spring. When I see them here and in other states I say a little thank you to Lady Bird. What a legacy! Your photos are fabulous and what a great place for a day trip.
    Miss Courtney Childs sends regards to Miss Merri Mac…...

  7. A beautiful post!

    I love all the words atthe LBJ gardens..the way they are written..what they say..etc..And meeting Susan Branch:)

    And Debbie's thoughtfulness..and all the blooms!
    I have loved meeting blog friends..gardenbuddies actually..
    Pretty pretty post!

  8. Sarah, I'm so happy Lady Bird left us this legacy in flowers. Not only did it create a beauty mark for Texas, but it prompted wildflowers all over the country, along interstates, a welcome sight among all the concrete, and a testament to their hardiness! As for you, the garden is a place that soothes my spirit. and makes me happy. I can get lost in what others consider pointless work in the garden (I noticed that gal's knee brace, lol).
    Debbie knows your sweet tooth well, and chose wisely!
    Katie visited my blog and I look forward to 'meeting' her. Who doesn't love a witty writer?! Thank you for the introductions to your friends. Happy June!

  9. This is such a fun post! Miss Merri Mac is beautiful and her travels are enviable. :)

    The Lady Bird Wildflower Center is on my list. My dad is a Master Gardener and lives near Austin. He has spent a lot of time there. Thanks for all of these amazing pictures.

  10. Hi Sarah, I was just telling Rita that the Wildflower Center is on my list of must-see places! I admire Lady Bird so much for her dedication to the cause of preserving wildflowers and their environments. I can't wait to see the center and I can certainly understand the peace you find there. Your photos are beautiful. I took the quiz and I only knew half of the Texas flowers, but I did get all the CT and MA ones correct! All the years of hiking here certainly helped. Susan Branch sometimes makes appearances locally as she lives on Martha's Vineyard sometimes, but I have never been free to see her. I have her books from the 80s when she first started and I continue to collect them and actually enjoy cooking her recipes. Our Christmas coffee cake is from her book and my family insists on it every year. So nice that you were able to meet some fellow bloggers. I hope to do the same soon. I've enjoyed your Traveling Tote post Sarah, and I'm looking forward to hearing more of your adventures! Linda

  11. Sarah, following you and Miss Merri Mac is always a fun adventure!! Keep them coming!! :)

  12. It looks like you and Miss Merri Mac have been quite busy. I love all the beautiful flower photos.

  13. I have wanted to see the Texas wildflowers forever. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures. One day I will get to come to antique in the spring and see for myself. Dianne

  14. What a wonderful legacy. I remember planting a wildflower area in the early 1970's in her name here in Illinois. Such beautiful pictures and so many gorgeous flowers. Ours won't be blooming here in Illinois for a couple of weeks yet, though the daisies are out and wild onions. Thanks for the lovely post.

  15. Miss Merri Mac makes me smile. And all of your gorgeous pictures of flowers. I've always enjoyed the bluebonnets you have there in Texas.

    Many hugs,


  16. Dearest Sarah,
    Wow, that all sounds like a dream! Your photos are gorgeous in representing the best time of the year for wildflowers in Texas.
    What a fun thing to meet with blogger friends indeed; I've had that pleasure myself and always look forward to such an event.
    Lovely series of Miss Merri Mac and thanks for sharing!

  17. You and Miss Merri Mac have the best times! The wildflower centre looks gorgeous. Up here we are all interested in planting native species as a way of conserving water and the earth. So many plants grow together and depend on one another - the Gary Oaks and the Camas, for example. Lady Bird Johnson certainly left a wonderful legacy.

  18. You are the prettiest 'BAG LADY" I know, Sarah! LOL You & MM sure do get around, too. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of your TX wildflowers & so admire the legacy that Lady Bird left behind. I'm glad the mega rains in your area have brought something good in spite of the floods.

  19. I've been following Susan Branch on her book tour journey through her blog. She seems like an incredibly fun and kind person. From the looks of all her stops she's a sellout at all of them! The wildflower center sounds like my kind of place. I remember hearing about Lady Bird Johnson's efforts when I was much younger and thought it was a great idea. I didn't know about this center or that Helen Hayes had also been a part of this.

  20. Oh Sarah, what a beautiful trip to share, I now have new respect for wildflowers and their beauty! What a wonderful haven to visit and enjoy. Your photos look like paintings. I always love your Traveling Tote posts, and I am off to visit your author friends to see their books-

  21. I am definitely putting this Wilflower Center on our list of Things To Do next time we come West. Just unbelievably beautiful! Looks like you and the Totes are still having some fun.

  22. Miss Merri Mac has some lovely adventures and this one is one of my all time favorites.
    Just to be able to spend quality time among the wildflowers and visit the Wildflower Center would be pure joy.
    This is on my list as well.
    As of now I am looking out my window and even though it is a dewy, drippy day there are some yellow wild flowers dancing in the breeze.
    Thank you for joining us at TOHOT Sarah-wish you could join us next week at my home for our first Art Retreat:)

  23. Wow, Sarah, Miss Merri Mac and you certainly know how to travel in style. The wild flowers are gorgeous and your photos as well. Thoroughly enjoyed this post..Safe travels..Judy

  24. What a beautiful place and a beautiful post!
    Thanks for visiting at Harvest Lane Cottage!

  25. OH I love this post! So many gorgeous flowers in Texas and I love your black and white bag among the flowers! What great news that Susan Branch will be in her works! Enjoy all those wildflowers. Lady Bird truly did leave behind a beautiful legacy.

  26. Sarah,
    Miss Merri Mac knows how to travel in style, all the best places where to travel, and the best people with whom to travel. Katie Clooney's blog is such fun to read. She must be a delight in person. The black and white checks go so well with all the wildflowers and gardening tools.


  27. I grew up on a ranch in Texas but have not been back since my mother passed away. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your photos of the many flowers I haven't seen in years…thank you for bringing back nice memories of times passed.

  28. I enjoyed all the flower photos. They are gorgeous!

    xo Dianne

  29. Simply gorgeous Sarah! You know I can't resist a little Day Tripping among the Wildflowers, which is a recipe for a happy day for me! Thank you and Miss Merri Mac for taking me along...the Wildflower Center is on my list to visit if I'm ever in your neck of the woods again. I adore the handpainted blooming chairs in the cafe and if I lived in Texas, I'd have a Texas Wildflowers License Plate. :)

  30. What a lovely little tour. Your photo's are breathtaking! I love Susan Branch! Thanks for sharing.

  31. I'm from the east coast, and I just can't get over all the unique flowers out here in the Southwest. Found your blog via "Pink Saturday"...Now I'm inspired to share some of my flower finds too!

  32. Aren't we fortunate here in Texas to have this beautiful legacy from Ladybird. The gift that just keeps giving. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos at Your Inspired Design Link Party.

  33. Sarah, the traveling tote is so fun and I always enjoy seeing our Texas wildflowers! Thank you for sharing the gorgeous photos and legacy of Ladybird @Vintage Charm! Blessings, Cecilia

  34. It's always a treat seeing the wild flowers planted along the highways when traveling.
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  35. I never knew this about Lady Bird. What a wonderful legacy for your state!
    Thank you for sharing this with the readers of Dishing It & Digging It!

  36. What gorgeous wildflowers Sarah! I have seen that rum cake it looks good! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  37. Oh my gosh Sarah, this is the sweetest post. Your gifts are all so thoughtful and so much fun. Lucky you.

    I adore the wildflower day tripping. Did you know that Lady Bird Johnson has been the inspiration for our small town becoming one of the most beautifull places to photograph beautiful flowers and trees everywhere. That is Franklin, NC. The LB Johnson Ranch is in our town for boys to learn a trade. I believe it is for girls now as well. The wildflowers you shared are so gorgeous. We were in Austin just last week. Who knew.

    Happy Blue Monday. We just arrived home from vacation yesterday. Late catching up. Thank you for joining my blog party and sharing so many lovely things including the Blogger friends you met.


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