“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
-Lady Bird Johnson
Nature gives us an infinitely flowing fountain of beauty, and it’s a flow that we can capture and bring home anytime we crave more of it.
Lady Bird Johnson grew up in the wide-open spaces of Texas and always felt at peace in the solace of the outdoors. Her love of nature stayed with her when she became First Lady of the United States and began her first city beautification initiative in D.C. through which her organization planted millions of flowers, inspiring beautification movements across the nation. She became the first First Lady to advocate for legislation when she actively promoted the Highway Beautification Act which aimed to limit billboards along the highway systems and plant flowers along roadside areas. Thanks to Lady Bird’s influence, the bill passed, and Americans can relish the scenery of wildflowers while driving through their cities or across the country.
We are drawn to beauty around us, and whether we are conscious of it or not, beauty in nature often provides a sense of peace and solace for us, just like it did for Lady Bird Johnson. We may not always have access to open spaces or fields of flowers, but there are green spaces everywhere. Walking and driving through my neighborhood, I found myself admiring the tidy lawns and decorative gardens and front porches of my neighbors. I decided to start a small beautification project of my own and create a more aesthetic view of my home to give passers-by something prettier to see and to emphasize the sense that my house is truly a home.
My house is about 56 years old and needed substantial renovations when we first moved into it, including the neglected front yard. With the help of my mother-in-law who loves gardening, my husband did some early work on the front garden bed, planting a few things and cleaning up the shrubs. However, we since let it fall by the wayside, and it was past time to revive it.
Knowing little about outdoor plants and living in a dominantly warm area of the U.S., I began researching plants native to my state that could survive high temperatures. My mother-in-law, forever an invaluable resource, invited us to the local garden club plant sale and walked us through the endless arrays of greenery choices. I was in awe of how much I have to learn.
Back at home, my husband graciously offered to help me with my project. He trimmed the bushes, helped me pull up the 60’s throwback turf from the porch, and teamed up with me on raking leaves out of the flowerbed. We cleared the space, letting the sparse Lantana planted the previous year finally breathe and begin its delayed growth of the season.
Finally, it was time for the best part – planting my flowery finds in pots and in the ground. I skipped wearing gloves; I wanted to feel the thick soil in my hands to stimulate all my senses. I tenderly placed each plant in its new home, admiring the leaves, colors, and blooms. My knees and back protested as I laid down mulch over the flowerbed, but I felt good. Filling up my new watering can and raining water down over the garden, I felt a stronger connection to nature and life. I stood back and admired the new scenery, proud of my efforts and thankful for the time and efforts of my husband and mother-in-law. It feels gratifying to play a part in nature and to add more beauty to my realm.
It’s a good start. Over time with attention and care, the plants will grow and bloom, like the life my husband and I share together inside our home. They have already grown since I first planted them, and I love seeing their bright flowers and shades of green when passing from the comfort of home through my front door and out into the vast world beyond.
How can you play a part in nature, growth, and in nurturing your world? How can you add more beauty to it?