Blooms and Beautification: Lady Bird Johnson’s Texas Wildflower Legacy and Memorable Visit to Fischer & Wieser Das Peach Haus

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In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, the landscape bursts into a riot of colors every spring.The story of wildflowers and beautification efforts could not happen without Lady Bird Johnson, the former First Lady of the United States, whose passion for preserving and enhancing natural beauty left an indelible mark on the Lone Star State. In this blog, we’ll delve into the rich history of Texas wildflowers, Lady Bird Johnson’s tireless efforts, and the memorable day she visited Das Peach Haus and met with Mark Wieser. 

The Texas Wildflower Renaissance: 

Texas is blessed with a diverse ecosystem, and its wildflowers have been captivating the hearts of locals and visitors alike for generations. However, by the mid-20th century, the state’s highways were lined with billboards instead of blossoms, prompting concerns about the loss of native flora. Enter Lady Bird Johnson, who, during her tenure as First Lady from 1963 to 1969, spearheaded the Highway Beautification Act, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at preserving and restoring the natural beauty of the American landscape.

Lady Bird’s Wildflower Vision: 

A driving force behind the beautification movement, Lady Bird Johnson had a particular fondness for wildflowers. Her vision was to transform highways into corridors of color, with native plants and flowers adorning the roadsides. She believed that this effort not only enhanced the visual appeal of the landscape but also contributed to a sense of community pride and environmental stewardship. 

Das Peach Haus, A Blooming Oasis: 

Nestled in the picturesque town of Fredericksburg, Das Peach Haus is a haven for lovers of both peaches and wildflowers. Founded by Mark Wieser, this charming destination celebrates the region’s agricultural heritage and natural beauty. With its orchards, gardens, and commitment to showcasing the best of Texas, Das Peach Haus became a fitting backdrop for the meeting of two visionaries – Lady Bird Johnson and Mark Wieser. 

The Unforgettable Encounter: Lady Bird Johnson Visits Mark Wieser at Das Peach Haus 

In the late ’70s, a surprise visit from a Secret Service agent marked the beginning of an unexpected encounter with a true champion of nature and beauty. At that time, Mark  was engrossed in the task of cleaning the recently acquired, larger Peach Haus building. Covered in dust and dirt, Mark didn’t know that this ordinary day would unfold into a remarkable connection with Lady Bird Johnson. 

The original Das Peach Haus

Mark was informed by the secret service agent that Lady Bird was waiting in the car and desired to discuss the Standing Cypress flowers they had spotted along Friendship Lane. He descended from the upper floor, and as he approached the car, she graciously rolled down the window. With a genuine interest, she inquired about the flowers and whether they grew on Mark’s land. Confirming that they did, Lady Bird suggested they take a drive down Friendship to ensure we were talking about the right location. 

In the back seat of the car, Mark and Lady Bird engaged in conversation while the Secret Service meticulously relayed each movement to a secure base, ensuring her location was tracked. As they traversed Friendship Lane, she pointed out the Standing Cypress flowers and sought  permission to send a team to harvest them. Lady Bird explained her concern for these flowers, detailing their endangered status and the challenges they faced in survival, given their two-year lifecycle. 

Standing cyrpress flower

In their first year, Standing Cypresses remain small whirls, only to send up a large stalk in the second year, blossoming and producing seeds for future generations. This revelation added a layer of appreciation for these delicate blooms. Following the drive, they returned to Das Peach Haus, and a few weeks later, her signed autobiography arrived as a token of gratitude. 

Lady Bird Book
Lady bird signature

Lady Bird extended an annual invitation to join her at the ranch, where she honored highwaymen across Texas for exceptional efforts in planting wildflowers along the highways. Serving as the county judge during those years, Mark had the privilege of participating in these meaningful events, further solidifying the connection between Das Peach Haus and the enduring legacy of Lady Bird Johnson’s commitment to preserving Texas’ natural beauty. 

TX white house

Regrettably, the field where the Standing Cypresses thrived was later planted with grass, destroying their habitat. We haven’t spotted any since, but the desire to reintroduce them remains strong and this fall we will dedicate a plot next to Dietz Distillery to bring them back to the Farmstead for all visitors to enjoy. 

standing cyrpess plot

As the wildflowers blanket the Texas landscape each spring, we are reminded of Lady Bird Johnson’s dedication to preserving the beauty of our natural surroundings. The encounter at Das Peach Haus serves as a poignant chapter in the history of Texas wildflowers, a tale of two nature lovers coming together to ensure that the Lone Star State remains a tapestry of colors for generations to come. 

Texas Bluebonnets Along Highway

Check out the the Fischer & Wieser Farmstead, and see the beauty of our grounds like Lady Bird. Come visit us- and enjoy the wildflowers along the way!

Visit the farmstead 

Can’t wait to explore the farmstead?  Our doors are open Sunday 10 am-5pm, Monday – Thursday 10 am – 5:30, Friday & Saturdays 10 am – 6 pm.

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