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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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Santa Paula, CA
Supplier for non-native Norfolk Pine to East Texas
I would like to buy a Norfolk Pine Tree for my uncle who lives 90 miles east of Dallas, Texas. He saw my Norfolk Pine tree in CA which is 30 to 40 ft. tall. Where can I find a company that will ship...
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Camarillo, CA
California native vine
Hello, I am looking for a california native vine that can "cover" a wrought iron fence. I would like a vine that does not require too much care and can handle a fair amount of sun exposure.
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Ojai, CA
Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
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Ventura, CA
Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? sh...
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Ventura, CA
Bald cypress knees in leachfield from Ventura CA
Hey, I planted a seedling 20+ years ago which has turned out to be a 40'bald cypress that's now 40'. I'm a native southerner and would hate to cut it down but it's putting up knees in my septic s...
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Thousand Oaks, CA
Care of non-native house plant
I have bought a 7 foot bird of paradise indoor plant, and have a decorative pot to place it into. The plant will remain in its plastic pot, will have a liner inside decorative pot, and decorative moss...
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Simi Valley, CA
Groundcover for Southern California clay slope
I have a 30 ft. high by 96 ft. long slope with clay soil slope that I want to plant a low height ground cover. Any recommendations on what ground cover possibilities to use.
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Simi Valley, CA
Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?
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Simi Valley, CA
Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growin...
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Westlake Village, CA
What do wildflower seeds look like from Westlake Village CA
I collect seeds from my wild flower garden but can't always tell what part of the dried flower is the actual seed that will reproduce. Is there a resource that shows the seed part of flowers? Than...
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Oak Park, CA
Non-poisonous Hedge for Southern California
What is a non-poisonous (to dogs), fast-growing, evergreen plant that I can grow as a tall screening hedge for privacy? I find differing opinions on Carolina Cherry and Podocarpus gracilior. Thank you...
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Agoura, CA
Pruning of non-native chocolate mimosa
I have a one year old chocolate mimosa that has grown 2.5 feet in height. It has seven leaf stems two feet from the bottom and only three at the top canopy. The trunk is only three quarters of an inch...
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Chatsworth, CA
Need trees & shrubs for a 2.5x45 ft. planter box in Chatsworth. CA.
We recently built a pool in our backyard and need to redo all the landscaping. We have a planter that is 45 feet long and about 2.5 feet wide. We'd like to put some trees in this planter that are n...
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Valencia, CA
Can I move my Dwarf Orange tree from California to Florida?
I am moving from California to Florida and have a small dwarf orange tree. Can I bring it with me to Florida? Thanks!
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Woodland Hills, CA
Nassella tenuissima for Woodland Hills CA
Good afternoon, I wanted to purchase some already grown Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) and was wondering how often and for how long I would need to water said grass on a scheduled sprinkl...
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Woodland Hills, CA
Low maintenance, water and height lawn
We would like to replace our lawn that covers a large area of our front and back yard and is watered daily and twice a day in summertime with drought resistant plants. Mr. Smarty Plants, could you rec...
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Woodland Hills, CA
Leaves falling off a hibiscus twice a year in Woodland Hills CA
I have 8 hibiscus bushes and only 1 of them loses its leaves twice a year. Why?
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Newhall , CA
Trees with non-invasive roots or tops in Newhall CA
We would like to plant a tree with noninvasive roots near our garden wall and concrete driveway in a grassy area in the front yard facing west. This spot is very sunny in the afternoon with automatic ...
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Granada Hills, CA
Trimming back Agave havardiana
Hi.. thanks for all the great information on Agaves. We have a number of Agave Havardiana (blue) that love where we planted them. Several have gotten HUGE. So much so that they are starting to ge...
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Tarzana, , CA
Is it OK to plant Huisache in southern California?
We have a wonderful huisache growing on a very dry rocky/dusty slope. It has now sprouted babies and we are delighted because we have room for several more on this slope. I have some room on our front...
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Van Nuys, CA
Identification of spiny plant in Yucca Mesa, CA
I have a very prickly bush on my property near Yucca Mesa, CA, (high desert). 2 to 3 feet high. Branches mostly starting from the center near ground. Lots of 1 to 2 inch spines on branches. Dormant in...
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