A cover of Texas Highways featuring a field of bluebonnets

Cover image by Jack Lewis

June 1975
The first bluebonnet and second wildflower cover of Texas Highways, shot by Jack Lewis, featured a hillside in Central Texas. The photo credit acknowledged “the bluebonnets have given in to the summer heat, but the tranquilizing appeal of this scene is timeless.” The cover story detailed summer blooms that could still be found across the state, including sunflowers, horsemint, and red yuccas.

Wildflowers first graced our cover in June 1974. The photo by Jack Lewis featured a field of pink evening primrose and Indian paintbrush in Round Top. The accompanying cover story, “A Texas Bouquet,” included a quote from Lady Bird Johnson, who as first lady led the effort for the passage of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. In the article, Lady Bird said of the Texas Highway Department, “Today, when it seems we are faced with one environmental crisis after another, it is refreshing to know there are those who are not only concerned, but are doing something to maintain what nature has provided.”

Her comments are echoed today by Lee Clippard, executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, who warns of the increasing environmental threats to our native plants and pollinators. “We are experiencing greater extremes in weather leading to increased pressure on our wildflowers,” Clippard says. “We have had some recent years where bluebonnets have bloomed much earlier than in the past, particularly in our warmer cities.”

Six years ago, we moved our annual wildflower issue up to March to accommodate this seasonal change. Our cover story, “In Full Bloom,” is packed with tips and recommendations for maximizing the season, along with practical do’s and don’ts we can all follow to help preserve what nature has provided for generations to come. For even more wildflower coverage, including a grower’s guide, visit texashighways.com/wildflowers.

Emily Roberts Stone
Editor in Chief

For more on our anniversary, visit texashighways.com/50



Get more Texas in your inbox

Sign up for our newsletters and never miss a moment of what’s happening around the state.