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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members 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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Seeding Bluebonnets in Missouri
July 07, 2016
I live in St. Louis, MO and obtained a packet of Bluebonnet seeds as well as a seedling. I read up on inoculating and scarifying the seeds, but I'm unsure as to the soil I should use. I was planning ...
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Using Horse Manure for the Garden
July 07, 2016
Can you use horse manure for decomposed matter for your flower beds, etc.?
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Problem with Adding 5 inches of Mulch and Soil Under Juniper
July 03, 2016
My landscaper added about 3" of mulch and 2" of dirt under my ashe junipers to create a planting bed. Several have turned gold/yellowish this winter including a female tree. They are still flexible an...
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Expanded Shale Availability in Austin Area
March 18, 2016
Where can you find expanded shale in bulk or bag in the Austin area?
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Growing Osage Orange in Caliche in Austin
October 23, 2015
Does Osage Orange tree grow in caliche? Do nurseries carry it?
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Oyster Shell source in Austin
September 18, 2015
Hi, I was not sure who to reach out to, but I work for Quality Seafood here in Austin, and we have several gardeners who take our old oyster shells and grind them up or put them in their gardens for ...
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Native Plants by Soil Type
June 17, 2015
Can't find an appropriate place to ask this - would love to be able to search for plants that do best in acidic soil (soil pH) another filter on the search screen. May not be there because the data...
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Failure of TX bluebonnets to thrive
May 28, 2015
We have had extraordinary luck with bluebonnets growing in our driveway of decomposed granite--until last year and this year. The bluebonnets seem to be drying up and wilting away. The ones in other a...
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Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015
I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
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Twenty year old Texas Mountain Laurel isn't blooming.
March 09, 2015
I have 20-year-old Texas Mountain Laurel in a fairly poor, clay-type soil. It hasn't bloomed very well the last couple years. Can you recommend a fertilizer to improve the blooms?
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