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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

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
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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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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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SF, CA
Pustules on geranium
I have a geranium that has developed oblong red/brown pustules/raised bumps on the undersides of the lower leaves. The foliage around the bumps is stil green but everything else has yellowed
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San Francisco, CA
Removing juniper roots from San Francisco
Topic-Juniper Tree Root Removal (agh!) Needs-3 removed yet roots remain, some growing UNDER the cement, driveway and house!!! (under growth = ~3" as far as I can determine, thus far). Question-Do I ...
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San Francisco, CA
Root growth on non-native Pittisporum Tobira from San Francisco
How do the roots grow and spread for the Pittosporum Tobira shrub? I have one that is about 20 feet tall and wonder how to care for it? Do you have a picture of how the roots grow?
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San Francisco, CA
Is there an automated image download function for the NPIN Image Gallery?
Hi, I have a database/web technical question. Do you provide an interface to retrieve photos from your website programatically? Thanks!
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San Francisco, CA
About Salvia superba
About 10 years ago, nurseries were offering a small salvia, called salvia superba or meadow sage. A few years later, "May Night" and "Blue Hill" appeared on the market similar to this first sal...
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San Francisco, CA
How to keep plants alive in a pot beside a patio waterfall.
Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a waterfall on my patio and I can't keep my plants alive in the flower pot next to waterfall. Is that beacuse of algae produced by waterfall? If so, can you please recomme...
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San Francisco, CA
Propagating Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
I am a gardener for the city of San Francisco. I am just curious about the best way to prepare an acorn from Quercus agrifolia for planting. I have heard many ideas about using sandpaper and microwavi...
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San Francisco, CA
Eliminating unwanted vine on arbor in San Francisco
There is a vine growing on our arbor, it has sickle-shaped pods and is crushing the arbor, how do we get rid of it?
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