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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Questions From Near You

Trabuco Canyon, CA
Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California
I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and we just lost an old Sycamore in our horse arena. I would like to replace it with some thing that is fast growing, and will be able to withstand life around horses, o...
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Lake Forest, CA
Small to medium drought-tolerant trees for Southern California
I am looking for drought tolerant trees to line one side of our 70 foot driveway. We live in Southern California. Currently, we have queen palms, but I would like something more native or drought to...
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Laguna Hills, CA
Ground cover for Orange County, California
What ground cover do you suggest for an Orange Co., CA, backyard with a steep slope in 3-4 hours of sun? Needs to grow fast to beat the weeds. Something pretty would be nice! Thanks
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Arcilla, CA
What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
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irvine, CA
Evergreen trees for a Southern California yard
Hello I live in Irvine, CA and I am looking for a tree for our front yard. We recently planted oaks but they did not survive the clay soil. Our landscaper wants to replace them with oaks or with ...
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Irvine , CA
Getting a senna to fill out from Irvine CA
I have a Senna of some kind, started from a seed by a friend. I got it as a small,six in high) seedling. After two years it is now blooming beautifully, but is a single thin stem 4 feet tall with ve...
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Laguna Niguel, CA
Evergreen tree for Southern California coast
I need a tree that is evergreen, non invasive roots that is not messy that can be kept at around 20 feet. We are at the edge of the thermal layer from the ocean. Thanks.
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Corona, CA
Low maintenance ground cover for pool area in Corona CA
Hi, I have this slope in my backyard that goes up to the neighbors yard. I'm looking for a low maintenance ground cover type plant that will stop erosion and won't cause a mess for my pool which is...
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Corona, CA
Transplanting Indian Paintbrush in Corona CA
I have a very mature Indian Paintbrush Plant that was becoming too large for the area I had originally planted it in, so I transplanted it to an area much more suited for its size. I reviewed the que...
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San Clemente, CA
Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trim...
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Anaheim Hills, CA
Flowering vine for trellis behind fountain in Anaheim Hills CA
We are looking for a flowering vine to plant on a trellis surrounding a water fountain. The fountain splashes leaving the soil constantly wet. We have tried numerous vines, but they all die due to t...
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Villa Park, CA
Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
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Santa Ana, CA
Looking for seeds or plant of Fendlera wrightii
How I can get a plant or a seed of Fendlera Wrightii, Texas native bush.
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Santa Ana, CA
Hedge to cover chain link fence
Hi, I would like to hide 250 feet of 6' tall chain link fence on a western facing, sloped, very rocky soiled back yard I had to use a jack hammer to dig the holes. Esthetically I would like to be abl...
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Santa Ana, CA
What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
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Orange, CA
Plant identification of a potted vine in California
Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It ...
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Orange, CA
Bioswale in Orange CA
Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for plants for a bio-swale in Southern California. Do you have any suggestions for plants that do well in water but can also can handle long dry summers?
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Norco, CA
Plants resistant to Verticillium wilt in Norco CA
I'm looking for small trees, flowering shrubs & vines that are resistant to verticillium wilt. Fragrance would be a plus. Thank you so much!
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Norco, CA
Looking for plants for a privacy hedge, besides Ficus nitida, in Norco CA.
I am looking to plant a hedge for privacy along my property line. We have horses so I need to make sure that what I plant is not toxic. Would Ficus nitida 'Little Gem' be a good choice? I...
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Wildomar, CA
Red spots on white flower of Anemopsis californica
Do you know what the red spots are on the white flower of the California native, Anemopsis californica? Is it a fungus, insect, or just physiological?
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Costa Mesa, CA
Tree with tap root for small area
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe somet...
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