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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Questions From Near You

Center, TX
Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
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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
Source for Crushed Limestone Used at the Wildflower Center
Dear Mr. Smarty plants, Do you know where I can find the pulverized limestone that you have at the entrance around the front of the building? It's right around where you have Clematis texensi...
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Austin, TX
What fertlilizer for live oaks under drought conditions?
In your June 7 answer about helping live oaks survive the drought, you state that additional fertilization may help as well. What kind of fertilizer to you recommend and how should it be applied? Th...
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Austin, TX
What fertilizer can make potted plants flower in Austin, TX?
I have a Lantana and esmarelda planted in large pots. They froze last winter but have both come back strong except they do not bloom even though I have fertilized. Is there something special I need ...
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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
Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
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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
Native Species List for Ponca OK
I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
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Austin, TX
Non-native textile bamboo for Austin?
I was looking for a non-invasive bamboo to plant as a privacy screen in central Austin. Would bambusa textilis (weavers bamboo) be an ok solution since it is a clumping bamboo instead of running?
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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
Something eating milkweed leaves in Austin
I have some milk weed plants, and have noticed in the last few weeks that something is eating the leaves on them. The flowers are fine and no other plant appears to be bothered. I thought perhaps it w...
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Austin, TX
Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
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Austin, TX
Possibility of hydrophobic soil in Austin, TX.
I believe I have an area in my garden with “hydrophobic soil”: no matter how much or how slowly I water, it just beads up and rolls off and the soil beneath remains cement dry and powdery. In my readi...
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Austin, TX
Non-native Tradescantia spathacea in Austin
Can a moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) plant be planted in a landscape setting with part sun of up to six hours in this texas heat?
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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
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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Austin, TX
Locating non-native Bradford pear tree in Austin
Where can I find a Bradford pear tree in Austin, TX?
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Austin, TX
Lavender near Austin TX
Are there places to view blooming lavender near Austin in July 2011?
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Austin, TX
Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
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Austin, TX
Peak time for bluebonnets to bloom in 2009
Any idea when we can look for the bluebonnets to appear in 2009? Trying to have a reunion and want to see bluebonnets for the out of staters!!
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