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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 (Driftwood), TX
Propagation of Lime Prickly Ash in Austin
We found only one small what we think is Zanthoxylum fagara or Lime Prickly Ash, Colima on our 8 acres, and the deer had apparently recently broken the main stem. I quickly made 6 or 7 cuttings, dippe...
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West Lake Hills, TX
Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have los...
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West Lake Hills, TX
Native substitute for traditional Christmas tree
Could you give some recommendations for a substitute of the traditional Christmas tree used during the holiday season? The low light/humidity conditions in the home is a challenge under any circumsta...
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West Lake Hills, TX
How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
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Austin, TX
Year-round flowering in Laredo TX
I'm trying to plant a variety of native plants in my mom's garden in Laredo, TX. The thing that I find a challenge is that she wants year round flowers. Can you suggest a few native flowering plan...
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Austin, TX
Invasive common giant mustard
I have been seeing a lot of a small shrubby plants with yellow flowers all over Austin, mainly along roadsides. Back in my day the first wildflowers of Spring were the paintbrushes and the bluebonnets...
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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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Austin, TX
Evergreen shrubs for blocking car noise in Austin
I live on Bee Caves road and was wondering what is the best tree/shrub I could use to block noise from cars? I've seen evergreen mentioned, is this the right one to plant? Also, if there are existing...
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Austin, TX
Sun requirement for native turf grasses
What are the sun requirements needed for the native grass seed mix you recently released? I have a pretty well shaded back yard. Will this stuff grow well in this condition?
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Austin, TX
Privacy and noise screen in Austin
Mr. Smarty, I purchased a home and notice that my neighbors seem to hang outside their garage on the weekends and thus causing some noise. I need some major privacy from this neighbor and I was think...
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AUSTIN, TX
Native grasses as low-water option for ranch yard
We have a weekend ranch in LLano Texas and are looking for a grass to plant in the front yard. (approx 3/4 acre) The house is very small and cute but not a real big fancy house. We do have a fence aro...
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Austin, TX
Freeze-damaged Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
I have a Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) that is several years old. During this past winter, one of the freezes we had split one of the largest trunk right below the soil line. T...
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Austin, TX
Leaf color in non-native sago palms
I have two sego palms planted in my front yard. Lots of sun. The fronds have turned a lime green color instead of the dark green color. Please help...(alkaline soil)
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Austin, TX
Native Texas plants for rain gardens
I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in very shady and partial shade rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
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Austin, TX
Possible reasons for non-fruiting wild plum
My grandfather has land in Lee County with thickets of wild plum, I believe creek plum is another name. However, they never seem to produce plums while thickets nearby on the roadside less than one mi...
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Austin, TX
Protecting base of Texas Madrone tree in Austin
3 years ago, I successfully transplanted a 1-gallon Texas Madrone on the north side of an Ashe Juniper. The Madrone is thriving but the juniper, which has been a great "nurse", is dying. I am lookin...
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Austin, TX
Care of non-native Primrose jasmine
I have 4 large primrose jasmine shrubs that were transplanted about 4 years ago. They were cut back fairly harshly at that time. Since then, the centers remain very woody... no greenery... but the l...
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Austin, TX
Buffalograss as lawn replacement in Austin, TX
Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just moved into a house that has a yard full of weeds. I was planning on killing the existing ground cover and starting buffalo grass, when I came upon several articles on...
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Austin, TX
Locating native plant landscaper in Austin, TX
Help ! I have a 9 year old native landscape -- river rock areas with beds of native plants which include lantana, salvia greggii, rosemary, coreopsis, brazos penestemon , Russian sage, Jerusalem sage,...
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Austin, TX
Native turf grasses for shady lawn
I am interested in planting a native lawn using the grasses discussed on the website (2lb of buffalograss, 1½ lb of bluegrama and at least 4 oz of curly mesquite). My front yard is relatively small w...
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Austin, TX
Plant identification for Westcave Preserve
Green greetings! In the canyon at Westcave Preserve last month, I saw a plant I don't know: low, broadish leaves (with rounded edges as I recall); very tall, delicate stems with tiny white flowers sp...
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