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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

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

Wasco, CA
Altering the flowering time of Phacelia tanacetifolia
I have been using Phacelia tanacetifolia as a forage plant in a 1 acre and 6 acre enclosure to mass rear the Blue Orchard Bee,(BOB), Osmia lignaria for use as a managed pollinator of almonds in Califo...
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Bakersfield , CA
Low sedge for lawn in Bakersfield, CA
We have a small area for a lawn, but would like to get away from a traditional "lawn". Can you recommend a sedge grass that would act like a lawn (not much foot traffic)that can be mowed once in a w...
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Bakersfield, CA
Non-native vines poisonous from Bakersfield CA
Are pink bower vines and stars and stripes mandevilla toxic to dogs?
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EXETER, CA
Plants to keep children out of yard
I WANT TO PLANT SOMETHING ALONG A FENCE LINE TO KEEP CHILDREN OUT OF OUR YARD. NEEDS TO GROW FAST BUT NOT POISONOUS
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Visalia, CA
Fruit in the compost bin
I have a compost bin and I use the pulp from fruits and vegetables as one of the ingredients in my compost pile. We juice everyday so will all this pulp be too potent for new seedlings?
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Tehachapi, CA
Smarty Plants on Jimsonweed
White flowers that are seen a lot along hwy 58 east towards Tehachapi; they look like "angel's trumpet" but not sure... they are big, white and have dark green leaves and cluster in a bush..any ideas?
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Fowler, CA
Vine non-toxic to alpacas and dogs from Fowler CA
We have alpacas and would like to plant a flowering vine on a backyard fence that adjoins the pasture. We live in Central California so we have many hot days during the summer and would like a plan...
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Paso Robles, CA
Replacement for running bamboo in California
We currently have running bamboo planted next to the side our house facing West, which has provided wonderful shade in front of two large windows. However, because it is running bamboo we are afraid i...
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Nipomo, CA
Is Purple Hopseed poisonous to dogs?
Is the Purple Hopseed plant safe for dogs? We would like to plant a hedge of the purple hopseed at my parents home. They are elderly and have a small (8lb.) dog that they just love so much..I would ...
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Arroyo Grande, CA
Pruning of Grape Kool Aid Plant in California
I have a Grape Kool Aid plant and was told it would grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but it is well over that and I need to know if I can prune it and if so how?
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San Luis Obispo, CA
Vine for trellis in California
What type of climbing flower/plant would grow best on a trellis in an alcove that receives morning sun from a south eastern direction? I live in San Luis Obispo, CA. I have had good luck with jasmine ...
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San Luis Obispo, CA
Finding pictures in the Image Gallery from San Luis Obispo CA
How can I select a picture when I don't know the photographer or anything else, just the name of the plant?
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San Luis Obispo, CA
Is the California Poppy posionous to dogs?
Can you tell me if the wild orange-colored California poppy is poisonous to dogs? They grow like weeds in my yard. Thanks.
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San Luis Obispo, CA
Native, non-invasive vines for wall cover in California
I live on the Central Coast in California. I have a stucco garage wall, which receives full sun, and faces West. I would like to plant a climbing vine to cover the wall, and was considering a clim...
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Grover Beach, CA
Identification of yellow fruit with many fingers
This is a yellow lemon smelling fruit with many fingers. Yellow in color. Looks like an octopus.
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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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Shell Beach, CA
Over-trimmed junipers in Shell Beach CA
Help! My husband decided to "trim" the juniper bushes that are in front of our house that create a great private front yard. I guess he cut back into the dead wood and now nothing is regrowing. It'...
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Unknown city, CA
Are red berries of modesto ash toxic to dogs
Are the red berries that come off the modesto ash tree poisonous to dogs if they eat them?
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San Diego, CA
A suggestion for a native small tree for San Diego
Another good suggestion for a native small tree for San Diego - Garrya veatchii - Southern Silktassle. It's really gorgeous!
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Fresno, CA
Smarty Plants on spines
What do you call part of a plant that is needle-like or has spikes or bristles?
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Fresno, CA
Plants for vertical cliff in Pismo, CA
Need help with erosion control on an 80' steep to vertical, top-soil, south facing cliff, Pismo CA (central coast) area. Terracing not an option. Prefer native, colorful plants that will give the bes...
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