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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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Questions From Near You

Austin, TX
Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
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Austin, TX
Need a native pine tree for Austin, TX.
Is there a native pine tree that you would recommend for the Austin, Texas area? We're considering the Colorado pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) or the Papershell pinyon (Pinus remota)? Would either of the...
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Austin, TX
Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
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Austin, TX
Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
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Austin, TX
Rose care for Austin
I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
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Austin, TX
Water eroding corner in Austin
I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
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Austin, TX
Pecan leaves falling of the trees in Austin, TX.
Why are the pecan tree leaves turning black, sappy and falling off the trees, in great quantities? This has happened since the recent rains, all through the Allandale area.
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Austin, TX
Lily plants being chewed from Austin
Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?
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Austin, TX
Something dripping from red oak in Austin
There is a large red oak outside my apartment. The leaves are shiny and covered with what appears to be oil. The ground underneath is coated with this also. When I parked under the tree my car beca...
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Austin, TX
Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
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Austin, TX
Difference between class notes and size notes on website
I enjoy using the native plant database in planning my flower beds. However, I don't know the difference between Class notes and size notes. Can you help me out?
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Austin, TX
Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?
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Austin, TX
Has Texas Black Persimmon been crossed with non-native persimmons from Austin
Hi. I just found a Texas Black Persimmon in my neighborhood. The fruit is olive green and then black, then it explodes into a black slurry of seeds and syrup. The color is so strong I find myself wond...
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Austin, TX
Problems with Cedar Elm in Austin, TX.
Our Cedar Elm has yellowing very dry leaves and something is eating the topmost leaves leaving holes and obviously chewed off leaf segments. Could this be two different things? Aphids and bacteria or ...
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Austin, TX
Availability of Heliotropium angiospermum from Austin
I have admired the Wildflower Center's Heliotropium angiospermum (Scorpian's Tail) for the great number of butterflies it attracts. I would really love to purchase one on these plants, but don't se...
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Austin, TX
Identity of very tall plants in Austin, TX
I have these huge tall plants. They don't seem to want to bloom and they are shading out my other natives. They get very tall. 10 feet or so. What is it?
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Austin, TX
Potting soil mixture at Wildflower Center from Austin
What potting soil mixture does the Wildflower Center use in its greenhouses for the native plants grown for the Austin Native Plant sales? Is the pH adjusted to match the alkaline soils in this area? ...
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Austin, TX
Caterpillars on Mountain Laurel from Austin
My 1-yr old mountain laurel has been decimated by small yellow and black catepillars. It recovered a bit and pushed out some fresh new growth, and more came and decimated that too. Are these caterpi...
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austin, TX
Red beebalm in Austin, TX.
Dear Mr.Smarty Plants - I purchased a bee balm plant from my favorite Austin nursery - Natural Gardner, and so was accessing your site for growing suggestions. My bee balm is red, and I didn't see a...
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Austin, TX
Growing Crossvine on a Wrought Iron Fence in Austin
I would like to plant crossvine along a wrought iron fence. Will it damage the fence or the stucco posts?
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Austin, TX
Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
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