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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

Aubrey, TX
Rhizobium Source for Bluebonnets
Trying to find a source for rhizobium for bluebonnets.
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Krugerville, TX
Making a pollinator garden
Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
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Pilot Point, TX
Grasses for shady areas
I would like to know which grasses would grow in mostly shady part of the house.
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Pilot Point, TX
Evergreen perennials for a pond bank in Texas
We want evergreen perennial plants for the banks of our small pond. The banks are eroding and we need to help keep them strong. We have ducks in the pond and lots of turtles. We would love something ...
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Pilot Point, TX
Smarty Plants on chile pequin
I cannot find plants or seeds for the chile pequin (birds eye chile) plant. Do you have any or know of any business or person from whom I may purchase them?
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Little Elm, TX
Identity of yellow thistle-like plant
Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I see this flower along the road but I can't seem to find it on your website. It looks like a yellow thistle and it is a panicle and a head. It is about a foot tall. Do you kn...
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Little Elm, TX
Five-eight foot hedge for north Texas
I am looking to find a fairly large (preferably flowering) shrub / hedge to go along 100 feet of fence. The plants will be facing Northeast, but will be for the most part under the branches of crape m...
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Denton, TX
Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
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Denton, TX
Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
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Denton, TX
Texas ash tree splitting in Denton TX
I have a Texas ash tree that's splitting in its center and need some info re cable tie or other techniques to fuse the crotch together. I have temporarily placed two bands of plastic cable ties just...
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Denton, TX
Wildflowers for floodplain near Denton, TX
Hello, I am a member of my HOA board and am researching the possibility of filling in our floodplains with wildflowers. Currently the floodplains are grass only and span a few acres. Our goal is to t...
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Denton, TX
Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
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Denton, TX
Fragrant Texas wildflowers
Hello! I am researching native Texas wildflowers and I am looking specifically for flowers with a pleasing aroma. Is there anyone who has made a list that includes how the flowers smell? Do you kno...
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Denton, TX
Problems with non-native impatiens in Denton, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, 4 weeks ago I planted a shady bed (2'x10') with impatiens for the third year in-a-row. Previously, the plants thrived & bloomed till November. Three weeks ago, something ...
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Denton, TX
Post-bloom period care for Pink evening primrose
Hello, I live in Denton, TX. I introduced pink evening primrose as a ground cover to a xeriscaped section of my property a few years ago. I have pretty much left it alone and let it do its thing an...
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Denton, TX
germinating Gulf coast penstemon and purple coneflower
I'm interested in propagating gulf coast penstemon (penstemon tenuis) from seed. Do I have to mascerate the 'berries' to remove the pulp from the seed, and do I have to stratify the seed to get th...
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Denton, TX
Plants to disguise plastic rainbarrels in dry shade
What plants would you recommend to disguise blue plastic rainbarrels in dry shade?
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Denton, TX
Mrs. Johnsons favorite flower
I recall the the Black-eyed Susan was Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flower, is that true? Did she have other favorites?
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Denton, TX
Live oak leaves yellowing from Denton TX
In autumn of 2010 I planted 10 live oaks about 6 to 7 ft. tall. I have see that during the month of Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012 they are showing some yellow leaves. What can I do to help them?
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Denton, TX
Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
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Denton, TX
Transplanting Turks Cap, when and how
Mr. Smarty Pants - We have an enormous healthy Turk's Cap - not the lily, but the one with red flowers(Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii) It has also produced a new plant nearby. Please tell us how...
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