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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

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

Pleasanton, CA
Ornamental tree recommendation for California
We live in Pleasanton, California and wish to plant an ornamental tree in our front yard. The tree will receive full sun, and the climate can get quite hot in the summer. A Japanese Maple would be th...
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Pleasanton, CA
Privacy Trees for Pleasanton, CA
I was looking for some fast growing trees for my backyard that backs up to Valley Ave in Pleasanton, Ca. The city just cut down 4 Redwoods behind me and there is so much noise from the traffic now Ca...
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Pleasanton, CA
Care for Monardella undulata var. frutescens from Pleasanton CA
Inquiry about care of the plant Monardella undulata var frutescens "Jokerst." Full Sun? Soil? etc Thanks, Smarty!
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Livermore, CA
Vines for trellis in Livermore, CA
I am looking for a native vine for a northern California location. It's Livermore California with a climate intermediate between the SF Bay and the Central Valley. Some frost in the winter. Maybe 10 ...
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Livermore, CA
Interested in a mini food forest
I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
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Livermore, CA
Native trees for Alameda County, California
I looking for trees native to my area to plant on my property. I am located in Livermore CA.
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Livermore, CA
Pruning of tree poppy from Livermore CA
We have a Dendromecon rigida which has been in place for about 10 years and is doing fine. But the older growth gets dry, brown and crinkly, while the newer growth is bright and lush. I would like t...
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Livermore, CA
Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
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San Ramon, CA
Trees for pool area in San Ramon, California
We live in San Ramon. We are remodeling our pool and are looking for a tree that will be 15 feet from a pool. We just removed a pine tree. We have now lost our privacy and see the neighbor's back f...
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San Ramon, CA
Flowers for days on end in California
What are some plants or flowers that I can grow "all-year" in California?
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San Ramon, CA
Problems with non-native gardenias in San Ramon, CA
I have a Gardenia tree planted in my front yard that gets shade and sun. It is dropping leaves and the leaves that are left are yellow. I had been watering it every day, but decreased that to every ot...
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San Ramon, CA
Suckers on non-native Mayten tree
We have a Meyten tree that has lots of suckers coming up from the roots. We would like to keep the tree, but if we can't find a way to control the suckers, we are considering taking it out. Any sugg...
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Milpitas, CA
Non-native Vanda plants in the Philippines
My brother lives in the Philippines and he's asking for help regarding his Vanda Plants. His Vandas are outdoors, east side of house, gets morning sun only. He waters everyday because it dries up ...
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Walnut Creek , CA
Propagation of indoor plants for school project
I have an assignment for school that requires that I get two indoor plants. One has to grow in water and one has to grow in soil. Each plant needs to grow at a fast pace, and at about the same pace....
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Walnut Creek, CA
Decline of non-native Star Jasmine in California
We just had 2 trachelospermum jasminoides planted in a redwood planter box about a month ago. We can't figure out if we are watering too much or too little but some leaves are turning yellow and the...
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Walnut Creek CA, CA
Can Gulf Muhly grow in California from Walnut Creek CA
I live in Walnut Creek, California, and recently learned about Muhlenbergia capillaris. It's a beautiful grass. Would this native do well here?
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Sunnyvale, CA
Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
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Mountain View, CA
Identification of night blooming Cereus
My Grandmother used to have a plant she called Nightly Series, that bloomed only at night. Can you help me find out where to buy one?
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Santa Clara, CA
Replacing junipers on slope with wildlife garden
Gradual replacement of Juniper with natives? We have a 10 foot deep slope with less than a 45 degree angle that is all covered with old, overgrown Juniper. It does not appear to serve any purpose ...
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Santa Clara, CA
Purple wildflowers near Lake Tahoe
I have been tasked with a challenge to find the plant that is "dark purple wild flowers at Lake Tahoe and are a magnificent thing to see in the fall. Interestingly, these wild mountain lake flowers w...
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Palo Alto, CA
Damage to non-native Japanese maple
I have a medium sized branch of a dwarf outdoor Japanese maple partially (about 70%) broken off. How can I fix it? What chemical/plant hormone/material can I use to initiate regrowth of the broken par...
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