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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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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
Removing suckers from Escarpment oak in Austin
I have a small but mature grove of Escarpment Live Oak in my back yard. Five years ago we removed the St. Augustine grass that grew under these oaks and since then root suckers have begun to grow aro...
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Austin, TX
Need evergreen privacy screen for Austin, Texas
I need an evergreen privacy screen. I live in southern Travis County and have a 450 ft property line that has a view to about 10 -12 neighbors back yards. I need something that won't be nibbled by ...
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austin, TX
Variegated leaves on Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)
I grew some mexican buckeyes from seed last year and one of them has variegated leaves. I haven't seen this before- have I just not looked at enough mexican buckeyes up close or is this an uncommon f...
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Austin, TX
Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the pl...
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AUSTIN, TX
Native trees for cemetery plot in Karnes County, TX
I'm looking for a tree for a cemetery plot in Karnes County at Pana Maria. There will be someone to regularly water it. I understand live oak and pecan are native to the area. I assume these would...
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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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Austin, TX
Spring blooming Acacia farnsiana in Austin
I've been seeing a large shrub, possibly tree, around Austin this spring - and it is covered is small ball-like orangish-yellow blooms - very tightly covered in these blooms. From the car, it looks ...
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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
Alternatives to invasive, non-native Vinca minor as ground cover
I live in Central Austin. I want to plant a large area of Vinca minor since it is fast growing and offers attractive ground cover. I assume it requires little care with the rain being sufficient for i...
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Austin, TX
How to search the Wildflower Center website
How the heck do I find a list of local native low-growing plants that are shade tolerant on this web site? The search functions don't seem to be specific enough. I searched specifying Texas, subshr...
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Austin, TX
Native plants for north facing shaded bed in Austin
I have a northfacing house in central Austin. I dug a large bed along the front that gets almost full shade. What native plants will thrive in that space?
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Austin, TX
Plant identification
There is a vine that grows at my child's daycare that has been taunting me day and night, because I have no idea what it is and I typically have no problems identifying plants. Description: Vine- L...
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Austin, TX
Being over run by sugar hackberry saplings in Austin, TX.
I have recently bought a house that has a woefully neglected yard. The sugar hackberry had saplings everywhere, and I paid to have them removed, but to no avail. My real concern is the saplings growin...
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Austin, TX
What to do with a sickly American elm in Austin, Texas
I have an American elm that is about 6 feet tall in my yard. It is has not grown quickly this year--as compared to another American Elm that I have in another spot that is about 3 feet tall and has m...
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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
What is considered mid-winter in Austin, TX
This question was submitted, but I am unsure of the dates the answer is indicating. When is mid-winter? Question: When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in ...
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Austin, TX
Where to test for Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Austin, Texas
It appears that the American elm trees in my backyard may have Bacterial Leaf scorch. Where can I have this confirmed?
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Austin, TX
Propagation and transplanting of Vernonia lindheimeri
I have located a wooly ironweed plant and have taken some seeds to start. This is the only ironweed I have seen. Any suggestions on how to start the seed? Also, if development of the property appea...
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Austin, TX
Invasive nature of non-native Zoysia japonica grass
I have been reading up on Zoysia grass and I am curious about its invasive nature. Is there a good way to keep it from going into my neighbors' yards? I was thinking about using some edging material...
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austin, TX
Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
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