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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

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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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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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
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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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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La Jolla, CA
Native tree for San Diego, California
I have conflicting info about the Mayten tree. Pro: recommended patio tree, medium water needs, does not drop seed or leaves. Con: broadly invasive suckers, messy drop. I am in San Diego, Californ...
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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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Placentia, CA
Source of seeds for Schisandra glabra (bay starvine)
Hi, I am looking for an herbal plant, Schisandra. It bears red berries. Please let me know where I can find/ buy this plant. Thanks.
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Fullerton, CA
Need a vine to cover a 8' cinder block wall in Fullerton, CA.
Hi- I have a 8' cinder block wall that gets full sun, and need to find either a flowering shrub that would cover, or a vine that wouldn't be to hard to manage, or would not need to use a trellis....
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Fullerton, CA
Trees for townhome backyard in Fullerton, CA
Hi, I live in a townhome with a big backyard here in Orange County. Last year, I got rid of my ficus trees that had grown too tall and big for a townhome backyard. Now, I would like to plant two tre...
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Fullerton, CA
Strong groundcover for Southern California
Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
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Fullerton, CA
Purchase of medicinal plants
Hi. I am looking to buy some medicinal plants. One of them is Galium and the other is Thymus serpillum. Please advise me of where I can find them. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your hel...
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Yorba Linda, CA
Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
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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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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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Westminster, CA
Shrub or small tree to hide walls in southern California
We have multiple issues in our back yard in 92683, and will probably need an assortment of plants to accomplish it. In a nutshell, here are the basics we were hoping to fix: 1) Ugly 5 & 6 foot block...
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Buena Park, CA
Pepper plants growing in California
Hello, I have several hot pepper plants growing in my yard. I would like to know what the pepper is called. I dry them out and grind them up to a powder and use it in many dishes. I have asked my l...
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Brea, CA
Getting rid of Aphids on Asclepias plants in Brea, CA.
I grow asclepsias or MILKWEED for the benefit of Monarchs. At times I have aphids consuming the leaves. How can I destroy the aphids without harming the Monarch eggs? Thank you very much.
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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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Cypress, CA
Can non-native Mayten tree be grown in 4 ft. container in Cypress CA
We have a mayten tree that is about ten years old, in a planter about 4 ft. wide. We were told that the roots will not be a problem--true or false? So far, no problem, but how about going forward?
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