Get Involved
About Us
Our Members
Lynn Lowrey: 1917-1997.
Lynn Lowrey was a pioneer in the use of native and rare plants in the landscape. In his youth in Louisiana he and his mother ordered plants through catalogues and planted them around the house. Lowrey supplemented their planting adventures by ranging through the woods behind the house, selecting an appropriate candidate for transplanting and hauling it to the residence. He graduated with a degree in agriculture from Louisiana State University in 1940 and served four years in the U.S. Army during WWII. He started his own nursery in the late 1950s, stocking his inventory mainly with native species. His extensive travels throughout Texas, the southeastern U.S. and southern Mexico gave him a wealth of knowledge that he generously shared with many people as well as being a mentor to many gardeners, nurserymen, and landscape designers. Mike Anderson of Anderson Nursery and Lowrey's son-in-law said Lowrey gave him his start in the native plant business. "I wasn't interested in plants, particularly native plants," said Anderson, "I just wanted a job." (This was in 1978.) Typical of Lowrey's generosity, a pattern that was to repeat with others receiving work, Lowrey gave Anderson a job.

Anderson experienced first-hand Lowrey's deep conviction about native plants. His excitement was contagious -- even infectious as Anderson described it. "He really got me interested. He was so consumed, so excited about it that he builds an interest that would be hard to find anywhere else."

He spent his lifetime collecting and propagating plants for numerous Texas nurseries, including over 600 Camptotheca acuminata trees for cancer research. In the 1960s native azaleas and maples were his priority; in the early 1970s he gathered Texas pistach trees from Pistach Canyon; and in the 1980s he led field trips into Mexico where myrosperma trees and various Mexican oaks were zealously checked for seed. According to a fellow botanist, "His field trips were not for the weak of heart!" He was nominated to receive an honorary life membership in the Native Plant Society of Texas. In recent years he became increasingly interested in medicinal plants and worked to help researchers investigating these plants. His associates remember him as "a gentleman on a plant crusade right up to the end, one whose consuming interest in plants never dimmed."

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston