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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

Houston , TX
Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
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Houston, TX
Source for two violas for Houston
I live in Houston, TX. Can you tell me where I can buy viola rotundifolia and viola cucullata? I understand these are round-leaved yellow violet and marsh blue violet respectively. I stumbled on these...
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Houston, TX
Comparison of native turf with St. Augustine and Kentucky bluegrass
The native turf page mentions outperforming Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, and Kentucky blue, but the graphs only compare the natives to Bermudagrass. How do the native mixes stand up to St. Augustine...
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Houston, TX
Time for pruning wax myrtle in Texas
We live in Houston. Can we prune back our southern wax myrtle now?
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Houston, TX
What to do if Mexican buckeye seeds are eaten
What to do if seeds of the Mexican buckeye are eaten? I didn't know they were toxic. Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you
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Houston, TX
Native grasses for central Georgia
We've just bought a 1990 circa house in Dallas, Georgia. It sits on a .62 acre lot. One half of the lot is woods, the rest is lawn. The lawn is covered mostly with weeds and wild strawberries. ...
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Houston, TX
Plants for shaded area under pecan trees
The east side of our Houston home has a 15 foot strip overhung with pecan trees. The shade by the start of summer is so dense that grass dies pretty quickly. I'd like to keep enough grass for the k...
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Houston, TX
Will the sea water from Hurricane Ike residually affect Galveston's soil
Most of the trees on Galveston Island died following Hurricane Ike, apparently as a result of the sea water that covered the island. Will the sea water that soaked the soil have a residual effect on...
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Houston, TX
Mealybugs on non-native Lady Palm in Houston
Rather than dabbing rubbing alcohol on the leaves of an indoor lady palm infested with mealybugs,since the infestation is widespread, would spraying the palm with the rubbing alcohol be effective?
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Houston, TX
Need help selecting maple cultivars in Houston.
I live in Houston, TX and would like to plant 2 red maples in my front yard. I know there are multiple varieties planted down here, but I can't tell which one would do best. The ones that I've come ...
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Houston, TX
Native plants for container gardening in Houston
Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
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Houston, TX
Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
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Houston, TX
Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
We have a 3 year old Drummond Red Maple, between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house, that fell during Hurricane Ike. We replanted it. I recently noticed that the bark is severely cracke...
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Houston, TX
Native Hill Country grasses, flowers for April garden show
I will be a first ever (!) exhibitor in my garden club's garden show this April 7. Our theme is The Passion of Texas - my specific category is The Hill Country. Help!!! All materials I use must be al...
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Houston, TX
Identification of plant with long skinny stems and red flowers
I keep seeing around this very pretty plant that has long skinny stems and bright red flowers that are tube like and skinny too. I would love to get this plant but do not know what it is called.
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Houston, TX
Seeds to plant a short grass prairie near Houston
I want to plant a prepared area 20x40 with strong midday sun in Houston. I would like a short prairie meadow with lots of flowers. Where do I get the seeds and is this the time to plant them as I wo...
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Houston, TX
Problems with non-native Banana Shrub from Houston
My 7' beloved Banana Shrub (magnolia) has white dots on top of the leaves and nasty black stuff covering the backside of the leaves. The plant is dropping leaves. What can I do to save it? I has bee...
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Houston, TX
Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will t...
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Houston, TX
Plant identification for Beeville, TX
Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower lo...
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Houston, TX
Tall skinny plant with tubelike flowers
I already posted a question regarding a skinny plant with tiny tube like flowers and you gave me 6 possibilities unfortunately it is not one of them. I happened to see the plant again in my neighborh...
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Houston, TX
Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
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