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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

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
Groundcover to help ease erosion in shade
My house is situated on an embankment near a creek. We are looking for ground cover plants that can help ease the erosion of the embankment without being invasive for the existing trees. They must be...
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Austin, TX
Citrus trees for Austin
I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?
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Austin, TX
When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
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Austin, TX
Native evergreen for privacy screen
I want to incorporate a tree in my landscaping near my house (10-15 feet) for privacy, what are the best trees that don't shed their leaves and have nice flowers and their roots wont destroy my found...
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Austin, TX
Leaf cutter ants in potted Mexican lime tree
Hi, I'd like to add a question to the recent post about leaf-cutter ants. I have a potted mexican lime tree that has been inhabited by an ant colony for several months. They are chewing holes in th...
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Austin, TX
Place to purchase Texas Madrone tree
Where can I purchase a Texas Madrone Tree to plant in my yard?
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Austin, TX
Transplant shock for non-native Plumbago auriculata
I planted some full plumbago plants that were in containers, in a partially shaded area, they had beautiful flowers when I purchased them, but have since lost them all and the plant is looking very wi...
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Austin, TX
Insect attack on bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Something is attacking the bur oak that was planted in 2007. Insects are not on the leaves, but the edges of some leaves look chewed back. Others look brown around the edges. Do you have any idea w...
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Austin, TX
Identity of 50 ft. tree
I live in Austin and I have a tall (50-ft) tree outside my window. It's deciduous and has shiny, deep green, spear-tip, serrated leaves that vary in size from about hand- to dinner-plate size. I've ...
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Austin, TX
Instructions for sending photos for identifying plants
Mr. Plants, Does your Ask.... form allow photo attachments, so you can see the uncommon native plants that interest us. Thanx.
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Austin, TX
Deer-resistant Texas native flowers and bushes from Austin
What are some Texas native flowers and bushes that are deer resistant?
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Austin, TX
Fast growing, evergreen vine for deck
Hi, I hope you might help me select the most appropriate flowering vine for my situation. I am looking for a fast growing, mostly evergreen, and long blooming flowering vine for a large container (pro...
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Austin, TX
Fruit trees from seeds
Will fruit trees (primarily peach) produce fruit if grown from a seed?
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Austin, TX
Sides for raised gardens
I am wanting to put in raised gardens. What is the best product for the sides? Wood? If so, what kind? Thank you
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Austin , TX
Native vines to cover limestone walls in Austin
We are moving into a house in Austin that has three tiered 5'- 6' retaining walls in the back yard. They are huge and somewhat of an eye sore. We have some cool landscaping ideas to make the most ...
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Austin, TX
Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
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Austin, TX
Repairing damage to Anacacho Orchid Tree in Austin
Hi You Guys!! We have an understory Anacacho Orchid Tree in the front and my sweetie was trimming the big oak and dropped a branch down, splitting one of the large branches off the Anacacho. The wou...
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Austin, TX
Blue-green bees
Over a month ago I sent this query to the AAS Garden Editor. What a waste of time since she exhibited no knowledge and no interest. Finally, she told me to ask you about the green bees that came by in...
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Austin, TX
Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus...
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Austin, TX
Leaf-cutter ants on non-native crape myrtle
We have a problem with cutter ants. I lose my entire Crepe Myrtle tree every year. All of the pest control personnel I ask do not have a solution. Can you please suggest something to eradicate thes...
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Austin, TX
Pure white primroses (Oenothera speciosa)
Hello MS. Smarty Plants! I have wildflowers instead of grass in my backyard (mow once a year and it's spectacularly beautiful) and I noticed some pure white primroses (the rest are all pink or wi...
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