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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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Texas madrone trimmings for a wedding
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Austin, TX
Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
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Austin, TX
Decline of Japanese ferns in Austin
I've enjoyed beautiful Japanese ferns in my shaded garden for about ten years. They are looking spent and straggly, despite fish emulsion, compost,and lots of mulch and soaker hose watering in the s...
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Austin, TX
Ants in outdoor plants in Austin
Live in Austin. The problem is THIS. Ants have invaded our outside potted plants- mandevilla, begonia , lemon tree and violas. The colonies are devouring the roots it appears. Please give suggestions ...
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Austin, TX
Looking for a good cultivar of Prunus mexicana.
Has anyone come up with a good cultivar of Prunus Mexicana? As in, one selected from the wild? Or a hybrid with a European plum? I'd like one in my yard (I have also wanted a good Purple Leaf Plum, b...
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Austin, TX
Favorite Wildflower
Dear Green Guru - What are your favorite wildflowers? Signed Curious
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Austin, TX
Root barriers for invasive plant roots from neighbor in Austin
My neighbor's invasive plantings are invading my yard. He has Chinese parasol, China berry, Japanese honeysuckle, privets, ligustrums and native Mustang grape vines planted so closely together they ...
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Austin, TX
Is Ruellia deer resistant
Is Ruellia deer resistant? I have white Ruellia, 18 -20 inches tall.
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Austin, TX
Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
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Austin, TX
Why are small leaf pieces aligned on top of exposed root?
Hi. An oak tree in my yard has one of its exposed roots covered in hundreds of small pieces of leaves. The pieces follow exactly the shape of the root above the surface. What insect would do this and...
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Austin, TX
Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is gr...
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Austin, TX
Bulging trunks on post oak
I have a huge post oak with a codominant trunk that is bulging between the two main trunks. The bulging is causing the trunks to spread apart, so one of the trunks is getting much too close to the ho...
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Austin, TX
Soapberry suckers in Austin
Western Soapberry. Cut it down many months ago. Now I have baby trees all over the lawn. Are these the berries or are they coming from roots even though some sprouts are quite a distance away. I pul...
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austin, TX
Newly planted Burford Holly doing poorly in Austin, TX.
About a month ago I bought dwarf burford holly. Now they have slowly started getting brown leaves that eventually fall off. Some of the plants have white spots on the ends. I usually check my plant...
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Austin, TX
Invasiveness of wild petunia in Austin
Is the wild petunia in the data base as invasive/aggressive as the more common ruellia? In other words, will it pop up everywhere? Ruellia nudiflora (Engelm. & Gray) Urban Common wild petunia, Vi...
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Austin, TX
Large-scale wildflower maintenance
We purchased the Texas/Oklahoma wildseed mix from your shop last year and planted them this past fall. The wildflowers came up beautifully, but at the beginning of June, after flowering just one time...
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Austin, TX
Ground cover for slippery slope
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a ground cover for a slippery slope. Do you have any suggestions?
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Caring for non-native African violet
How do you care for the African violet?
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Gardening books for Austin and Central Texas
Hi, I'm looking for a book for my wife. She is a beginning gardener here in Austin. Do you know of an ideal book or two that covers vegetable gardening and gardening in general in Austin/Central Tex...
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Where can I find a Bradford pear tree in Austin, TX?
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I have a small field (about 1/2 acre) where I would like to grow bluebonnets and perhaps some other wildflowers for added color. Do bluebonnets need to be fertilized? Should I water them? How can I...
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