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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
Trees and shrubs for South Austin
I live in South Austin about 5 miles east of LBJ Wildflower Center. Soil: about 2" apparently amended, about 2 inches black soil, then hard caliche. What trees or large shrubs would be able to sur...
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Austin, TX
Root depth of opuntia
What can you tell me about the depth of roots of the opuntia? Does it vary with different varieties or is there formula to estimate the depth according to the mature size or to the culture - garden ...
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Austin, TX
How do I get rid of Smilax bona-nox?
Hi, we live in Circle C and our home backs to an easment area which has become overrun with what some are calling wild grapevine. Recently we noticed a different vine coming up in our backyard throug...
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Austin, TX
One wax myrtle declining in Austin
I have 3 wax myrtles in a row; two are doing fine and one is looking "sad". It is thinning and when I checked a few branches they were dead, I pruned it and it was dead. I have had the trees for 7 y...
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Austin, TX
How will my Texas Mountain Laurel survive clay soil?
Mr. Smarty Pants: I live in a new neighborhood (brownfield site) in Central Austin where the developers have put fill in the yards. After not much more than 2 inches of topsoil you encounter fairl...
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Austin, TX
Holes in leaves of wax myrtle from Austin
I just purchased 4 of the 5 gallon Wax Myrtles at the last spring plant sale and after planting them, they are getting eaten by bugs leaving holes in the leaves. I can't find any of the bugs doing th...
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Austin, TX
Deer-proof native plants
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Can you recommend some Deer-proof native plants including shrubs and flowering plants?
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Austin, TX
Smell barrier around chicken pen in Austin
What are some shade to part-shade loving, aromatic plants (akin to Lavender or Jasmine) that will do well in Central TX? I'm trying to plant things around my chicken pen that'll create a smell barri...
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Austin, TX
Plants to slow water runoff in Austin
What native plants (rocky northwest Austin) will block water runoff? It seems as if something deep-rooted and densely growing would help. Grass comes to mind, but the area gets at best 2 or 3 hours of...
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Austin, TX
Problems with native palms in Austin
We had a large variety of California fan palms and blue sabal palms in our yard that were damaged during the last freeze. We found that several of them now have "spear pull," which means we could p...
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Austin, TX
Sprouts from Live Oak in Austin
I have an Escarpment Live Oak..quercus fusiformis.? I get tired of all the sprouts that come up around this tree..My yard person wants to pull them up or get a roto tiller after them..? I had been t...
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Austin, TX
Soils for Acacia greggii and Bauhinia lunarioides
What kind of soil do you recommend for anacacia tree? I was stunned by the one blooming at Center. I have had one for years and it has not been happy. I figure it must be the soil.
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Austin, TX
Non-poisonous evergreen shrub for Houston playground
I would like to know what type of small bush or shrub would be appropriate to plant in a children's playground in Houston, TX. It will be located in full sun. I would like it to retain its leaves yea...
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Austin, TX
Slow flowering wisteria
We have a young wisteria growing on the side of the house. It began to flower this year for the first time. Whereas my neighbors' wisterias all bloomed in February, ours has only begun to bloom in mi...
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Austin, TX
Oxalis drummondii as ground cover
We live in Austin, Texas. A sunny, dry swath of grass (originally St. Augustine) has been invaded by pink wood-sorrel (a large-leafed, mounding kind). I love the wood-sorrel, and would like to use it ...
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Austin, TX
Can a bur oak fit in a small space in Austin?
We recently got a one-gallon pot of Bur Oak. The area around our house has two old live oaks on the NW corner and another large live oak on the SE. There isn't much room on the SW corner for the oak ...
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Austin, TX
Finding a native plant garden designer from Austin
I was at the center today and told to contact you on the website for suggestions on who to call to hire a garden designer to come to my house,lay out a garden and select plants, etc.
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Austin, TX
Thinning of non-native rosemary
I live in NW Austin and have a very large rosemary bush that is having problems this season. We trimmed the bush in early March because the plant was getting too large for the space. It is roughly 3...
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Austin, TX
Drought tolerant Plants and moving Wax myrtles in Austin
Mr. Smarty Plants, What are the most fire resistant and drought tolerant plants for caliche soil in Austin area? I am considering relocating or removing my wax myrtle shrubs because they are ...
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Austin, TX
Native groundcovers to replace non-native St. Augustine
I live in west Travis County just south of Lake Austin. My backyard is very shady and does not drain well. I want to spend some time and effort landscaping it. I have thought about Amerishade St. A...
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Austin, TX
What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
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