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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

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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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
Hardiness of bluebonnet seeds under water and white bluebonnets
I was trying to find out more about the hardiness of bluebonnets. We own a lot on Lake Travis near Spicewood Texas. As you are probably aware, the lake was very low this spring due to a drought that ...
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Austin, TX
Deer Resistant part shade plants for Austin:
What evergreen shrubs would you recommend for a partly-shaded area, next to a wall, which can be trimmed to keep their shape and height (for symmetry)..this is for a front gate to a community, so we n...
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Austin, TX
Austin Shade Plants for Pots
I live in a condo in Austin Texas so I don't have any flower beds or yard space. I would like to put a few large pots of plants and flowers on my front patio but it's mostly shaded during the day. W...
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austin, TX
Large tree and smaller specimen tree for Austin, Texas
We are in the process of removing two Silver Maples in our front yard planted by the previous owner of our house. We live close to the Wildflower Center and have very shallow soil on top of rock. We...
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Austin, TX
Viability of non-native Royal Poinciana in Austin
My question is about the tree called Royal Poinciana that grows so well in the Rio Grande Valley. I realise it isn't a native but hope you have an opinion about its chances of survival in Austin. ...
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Austin, TX
Time to plant echinacea seeds in Austin
When should I plant echinacea seeds in Austin?
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Austin, TX
Source for Signs at the Wildflower Center
Hello. Where can we buy the black, metallic plant identification tags used at the Wildflower Center? Thanks in advance.
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Austin, TX
Does Texas Thistle have any scent from Austin
Does the Texas Thistle have any particular aroma. We are doing a report, and cannot find the answer to this question anywhere. We have also driven all around local Austin, and cannot find any on the...
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Austin, TX
Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?
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Austin, TX
Best time to plant wildflowers
I am in charge of the construction of a 3-4 mile nature trail around our organization's property and was wondering, 'when is it best to plant wildflowers?
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Austin, TX
Difficult lawn redo in Austin, TX area.
In Oak Hill section of Austin and our 2 year old house had St Augustine dumped atop the raped soil. After the drought of 09 it is all dead. We have most of our large yard native but need grass aroun...
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Austin, TX
Which is best-Oklahoma Redbud or Texas Redbud in Austin?
I live in Northwest Austin and would like to plant a small redbud tree in my front yard. My yard gets full sun. Which is better - the Texas redbud or the Oklahoma redbud?
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Austin, TX
Planting time for black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
When is the best time to plant Black-eyed Susan seeds in Central Texas?
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Austin, TX
Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
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Austin, TX
Late emergence of passiflora incarnata hybrid in Austin
Two years ago I planted in my clay soil garden a variation on native passiflora incarnata; the passiflora Elizabeth (a cross between passiflora incarnata and passiflora phoenicia)because I hoped it pr...
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Austin, TX
Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these condi...
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Austin, TX
When to prune Texas betony (Stachys coccinea)
I bought Texas Betony plants several years ago at Wildflower Days. They are thriving, but a bit leggy. Somewhere I read that they should be cut back several times during the year. Now I can't find...
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