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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

Sunset Valley, TX
Variation in leaves for Vitis mustangensis
Hi, I am doing a sculpture of a mustang grape vine in limestone. In seeking a good leaf image I notice that there are both roundish shaped leaves and highly divided or "fingered" shapes on your sit...
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Austin , Texas, TX
Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
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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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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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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
Fruit on Mexican olive in Austin
Does Mexican Olive set fruit in Austin? Does there need to be a male and female tree or not. How old does the plant have to be to set fruit? Mine is three years old but no olives. I need to know ...
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Austin, TX
Native plants for septic field in Austin
Do you have guidance for west Austin residents regarding landscaping a septic field with native plants?
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Austin, TX
Information about Cedar Sage from Austin
I am new to the Austin area and was wondering about cedar sage (salvia roemeriana). Is this plant considered aromatic, non-aromatic of chia? And, other than the edible flower are other parts of the ...
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Austin, TX
Ground Cover for Austin
What are some ground cover or low growing shrubs that will do well in afternoon sun only in the 78750 zip code?
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Austin, TX
Transplanting Spiderwort in Austin
I have a big patch of spiderwort that has popped up in the middle of my front lawn. Will it survive being dug up and moved to the garden?
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Austin, TX
Container plants for shade in Austin
I reside in 78739. Just moving here from So Cal (where all plants are perennials), I'm looking to create a good "Shade loving" Container for near my front door. I'm looking at 'Summer Wave' Wi...
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Austin, TX
Identification of possible edible huckleberry in Central Texas
I'm trying to identify a plant in my backyard, and in particular, I'm wondering if it's an edible huckleberry of some kind. Given all the rain Austin has had this summer, I wonder if it's not bey...
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Austin, TX
Different shades of green in Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
I have two bald cypress trees 50 feet apart, but there was very different soil in the two holes. One was a clayey soil and the other was much more the Austin limestone soil. The trees are about 2 ye...
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Austin, TX
Planting orange-flowered asclepias in Austin
I have asclepias seeds of the orange flower variety and would like to plant them. What should I do for the best success, and how long does it take for them to come up?
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Austin, TX
Cold moist stratification of Echinacea purpurea
I was looking at your info on Purple Coneflowers and it says: "Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification for two months improves germination." What is Cold-moist stratification? Thanks.
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Austin, TX
How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
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Austin, TX
Possible to grow Inland Sea Oats in Oklahoma?
Would it be possible to grow inland sea oats in Southeast Oklahoma? Is this within the range of this plant? I am asking on behalf of my cousin in OK.
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Austin, TX
Hibiscus plants being attacked by powdery mildew, or maybe mealy bugs in Austin, TX.
I have three hibiscus plants planted outside about a foot apart from each other. The one that gets most of the sunlight is the worse off of the three. However, all three of them have white powdery stu...
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Austin, TX
Tree (evergreen) to grow in area with high water table
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in central Austin, Tarrytown specifically, just blocks from the aptly named Spring Lane. (sometimes we hit water in our back yard within 2 feet of the surface.) We los...
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Austin, TX
Possible identification of native white buddlejas in Austin
I am desperately trying to identify a plant. It looks perennial, is in full sun, is about 7 ft. tall, bloomed white blossoms (similar in form to buddleia) in June, which have now changed from rose-co...
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