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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

Austin, TX
Information about Turk's Cap for school project
Hello, my name is Veronica. I am doing a Species Study on Turk's Cap at Clint Small Middle School in the Green Tech Academy. I would like to learn more on my Native Texas Species. I am contacting you...
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Austin, TX
Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
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Austin, TX
Identity of sunflower
I am not able to find how to post a picture to help you identify a plant on our campus. I believe the plant I am trying to identify is a rough sunflower. (Helianthus hirsutus) We have zexmenia as ...
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Austin, TX
Grasses for horses in Austin
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
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Austin, TX
Non-native, invasive Asiatic Jasmine from Austin
Is Trachelospermum asiaticum considered a native texas plant? Is there an example growing at the Center that can be viewed?
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Austin, TX
Ground cover under trees from Austin
I need ground cover plants that can tolerate leaf litter and grow under oak tree shade.
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Austin, TX
Ants and garden plants for Austin
I am needy of companion plants that compliment and work well with the Lantana, Mexican Heather , and in the new beds that I am preparing where I was thinking in part to have passion flower (though is ...
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Austin, TX
Vines for an arbor
We're building an arbor in a 9 1/2 x 12-ft area on the south side of an urban lot. It's bordered by two-story buildings on the south and west and has a tall,sparsely leaved pecan tree on its northea...
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Austin, TX
Would like fast growing evergreen trees in Austin, TX.
Hi, We're moving to Southwest Austin and would like to plant a cluster of pines (or cypress trees?) or other fast growing, large and tall evergreen trees. Any suggestions?
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Austin, TX
Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
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Austin, TX
Film growing on prickly pear from Austin
We've just xeriscaped our front & back yards. Two of the spineless prickly pear cacti have a beige film growing on the paddles. The film is now moving further up the cactus, and one of the upper pad...
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Austin, TX
Seeds of Meremia dissecta from Austin
I have a large quantity of seeds of Merremia dissecta that I acquired from plants growing in the parking lot of the San Antonio Museum of Art. (Hmmm… I wonder if it's called alamo vine because of som...
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Austin, TX
Area under live oaks from Austin
We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp...
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Austin, TX
Is straggler daisy deer resistant from Austin
Is straggler daisy (horseherb) deer resistant? We have lots of deer in our NW Hills, Austin neighborhood, and a lot of shade where not much will grow. Is that plant a good candidate for ground cover...
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Austin, TX
Suitable container plants for Austin
Hi, I see some info on native house plants, but not much. I live in an apartment that doesn't get much direct sun (maybe 2 hours a day) -- is there anything for me native-wise (Austin) if I have to h...
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Austin, TX
A method for killing nandina and ligustrum with herbicide
Is there an effective herbicide that can be painted on the stumps of Nandina and Wax-leaf ligustrum to keep them from growing back? Thanks so much!
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Austin, TX
Dirt at tree base from Austin
Hello, I recently bought a home in Austin with a live oak tree which is about eight years old. The previous owner did exactly what all the experts say NOT to do, which was to mound dirt right up agai...
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Austin, TX
Is horseherb toxic to chickens in Austin, TX?
My yard is almost completely horseherb (straggler daisy, calyptocarpus vialis) and I am hoping you can tell me if this is safe for chickens to eat? As common as it is here, there is nothing I could fi...
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Austin, TX
Butterfly plants from Austin TX
I have a butterfly garden in the front part of the house facing the south side. However it is also mostly under a few Oak trees that cast shadow over half of the front yard starting early afternoon. ...
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Austin, TX
Words of Appreciation
This is a word of sincere admiration and appreciation for the spectacular array of information you posted on liatris. I'm no botanist but a native plant gardener, fond of the beauty of orderly scient...
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Austin, TX
Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
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