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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

94803, CA
Deciduous shade tree for Inland California dry hills
What type of tree would work well in our back yard? We're looking for a deciduous tree that doesn't grow too tall, maybe 20'. We'd like it to have spreading branches to provide shade during the su...
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El Sobrante, CA
Fast-growing drought-resistant hedge for California
We're looking for a fast growing, drought resistant shrub that will grow in clay soil and can be used for a hedge around our property.
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Rodeo, CA
Shade tolerant plant for Rodeo, California
I live in Rodeo, California and I need to know what is a good green plant I can get to place in a shady area
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Albany, CA
Source for purchase of native Salvia texana
Good morning, Do you or do you know someone who carries Salvia texana? It has been impossible for me to obtain this beautiful Native Texan. Please respond at your earliest convenience with infor...
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Berkeley, CA
Long term storam of Lupinus arboreus seeds
Hi - I was wondering what the best way to store lupine seeds (for long-term storage and maximum viability) is? I am a graduate student at Berkeley studying Lupinus arboreus. We have been storing seeds...
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Berkeley, CA
Care of poppy plants
I bought a tiny poppy grow kit at Target for 99 cents. Amazingly, they have grown into numerous large and very healthy plants, though they don't all appear to be the same species. Some have grown to ...
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Berkeley, CA
Cat deterents
I was wondering if there is such a plant that will deter cats from going in your gardens. I have a problem with them using my garden as a litter box, and had heard that there was a plant that the...
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Berkeley, CA
Evergreen tree for California screen
Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need a tree for screen and privacy. Our neighbors are building a second story. We will loose our privacy and our patio will be like a fish bowl. I will plant it about 2 fee...
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Berkeley, CA
Vine for planter box in Berkeley CA
I live in Berkeley, CA and want to plant a vine to crawl up a trellis on my deck. It gets sun most of the day. I need to use planter boxes because there is only patio below and would like something ...
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Orinda, CA
Groundcovers for California
Can you recommend native ground covers for shade area to prevent soil erosion; the area is near an old California Live Oak.
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Martinez, CA
Looking for Manzanita (Mt. Diablo variety)
Hi, We live in the Alhambra Valley area; in the country between Martinez and Lafayette/Orina. Can you tell me where I can purchase Manzanita, preferably Mt. Diablo variety if possible? I've aske...
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North of San Francisco, CA
Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed
Hello LBJ Native plants helper! This is the perfect place for me to ask a question that has been very perplexing to me. I live in Northern California and am doing research for naturalization of the te...
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Benicia, CA
Native woodland plants for Benicia, California
I am planting in raised beds around redwood trees, Japanese maples and rhododendrons in my backyard. I would like suggestions for native woodland plants to accompany my established plants. The area i...
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Oakland, CA
Problems with Thuja in Oakland CA
I have a Thuja hedge about 100' long. Part of this hedge and a well established Rhododendron have been diagnosed with Armillaria mellea that is spreading. I see the bunches of mushrooms growing eve...
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Belvedere, CA
Invasive horesetail in Belvedere CA
Can I ever get rid of horsetail? It was planted without a barrier and is now in my garden, not quite everywhere yet.
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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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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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Vallejo, CA
How to plant a gooseberry bush
Please, if somebody can help, I need to know how to plant the gooseberry bush. Thanks,
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Concord, CA
B1 for transplant shock in non-native bamboo?
I am wondering about the details as I wish to transplant some bamboo. I do not know the actual variety, as I have at least 2 types, but will take a cutting to a high end nursery.Some of this is about ...
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Concord, CA
Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I...
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