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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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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
Cutting back non-native oleanders affected by freeze in Austin
After the last hard freeze makes my oleanders look dead. Can I cut them down to the ground this time of year?
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Austin, TX
Locating free tumbled glass for mulch in Austin
Do you know where tumbled glass can be obtained for free in Austin? You've used it as a mulch at the Center. Someone in one of my Native U classes mentioned that it can be gotten free somewhere in ...
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Austin, TX
Wildflowers for wedding mid-spring in Austin, TX
My fiancé and I are both native Texans, and we are looking to have a beautiful yet simple wedding on March 31, 2007. We would love to use TX wildflowers. Our colors are white, orange, and blue. Wo...
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Austin, TX
Possibility of symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper
Is there a symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper? We have a small ashe juniper sapling and a small cedar elm sapling growing near each other (actually, we planted the juniper 2 yea...
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Austin, TX
Dietes bicolor(Bicolor Iris) winter-hardiness in Austin
I have many bi-color irises (dietes bicolor), the freeze in Austin turned them brown. Can I trim them back without harming the plants? If trimming is acceptable, can you give me tips?
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Austin, TX
Possible woodpecker damage in Monterrey Oaks
I live in NW Austin and have two Monterey Oak trees, each about 30 - 45 gal in size. They both were planted approximately 9 months ago. Both trees seem to have some cracking bark on the trunk along w...
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Austin, TX
Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) and the freeze in Austin
I just wanted to say that your answer in today's Austin American-Statesman about recent freeze damage to Anacacho orchid trees was right on for ours as well. We're in north central Austin and all t...
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Austin, TX
Non-native Dietes bicolor leaves brown after freeze in Austin
I live in Austin, and my butterfly iris (Dietes bicolor) that I've had for the last 6 years are all turning brown after the most recent freeze. Should I cut them back, with the thought being they wo...
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Austin, TX
Low-growing grass for steep hill in Austin
I'm looking for a low-growing grass for a steep hill in my backyard. My issues are it can't be mowed because the hill is too steep, it can't be trimmed with a weed eater because it's a very large...
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Austin, TX
Source for Bigelow oak in Austin
Hi folks! I noticed on my last visit to the Wildflower Center that you now have a shrub white oak/Bigelow oak which I think is new (maybe I was just seeing it for the first time). I absolutely love ...
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Austin, TX
Getting rid of giant ragweed in Austin
How can I get rid of a large field of giant ragweed? Part of the site is a steep slope, which is difficult to mow. I want to encourage native grasses but they are crowded out by the ragweed.
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Austin, TX
Student project on non-native bush snap beans
I am doing a science project for school that involves bush snap beans. For my research I am required to have at least one interview with a professional on plants. I was hoping that you would be able ...
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Austin, TX
Frost damage to Mexican palm and non-native Sago palm in Austin
I have frost damage to the leaves on my mexican palm tree which is about 12 feet high. Can I cut back all of the damaged leaves and what month? Also, Sago palms have some frost damage on the upper...
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Austin, TX
Native grass for caliche soil in Austin
I am interested in using native grasses in part of my lawn per the recent article on these from the Wildflower Center. The problem is I live W. of Austin where there is very little top soil and calic...
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Austin, TX
Evergreen hedge for screen in Austin
We are looking for a tall, fast growing, drought tolerant, evergreen hedge to run along our ~200' back property line in West Lake, west of Austin, TX. This is at the bottom of a slope, and runs th...
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Austin, TX
Availability of orchids native to Austin, TX area
Hi Mr. Smarty plants, I'm looking for orchids native to the Austin Texas area. I'd like to incorporate them into my pond and waterfall garden. Can you give me some names. I'd also like to know ...
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Austin, TX
Identification of plants emerging from "wildflower mix" of seeds
I planted a "wildflower mix" a couple months ago, and now I have a bunch of plants growing that I'm not sure what they are. Some of them are starting to make buds, and I've been looking on the in...
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Austin, TX
Instructions on rainwater harvesting
Do you have any information on the construction of domestic rain fall catch tanks and water distribution systems? We are currently in a drought-stricken area of Texas and are very interested in constr...
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Austin, TX
Possible damage by invasive, non-native earthworms in compost
I received a worm bin (vermicomposter) for Christmas. The instructions that came with the bin say to use the red wiggler worm (Eisenia foetida) and that it is okay if some of the worms go into your g...
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Austin, TX
Texas Bluebonnets: The Peak o' the Season
Hi. Question about bluebonnet blooming in the Austin, Texas area. I've read that early April is usually the prime time, but that weather can bump that around. We had a very wet fall. Now we are havin...
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