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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

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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Thursday - April 19, 2007

From: binghamton, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I am a displaced Austinite - As of last week now living in upstate New York (Binghamton). As I was leaving town - a friend presented me with a pound bag of bluebonnet seeds. A thoughtful gift - but I am a bit of a brown thumber. I'd love to foster a crop of them in my, somewhat sunny - except for those darn tall trees:), yard. I haven't got a clue how to get them started - or when to plant them (I wouldn't think April would work - although it is supposed to snow today!). My Mom, a real big help on the matter, said that I needed to score the seeds to get them going. Is that fact or fiction, and what does that require....? Quite frankly, life was easier when I just had to hop in car and drive down MoPac. Lupine clueless in Binghamton!

ANSWER:

Hmmm...you have put Mr. Smarty Plants in a bit of a bind. Each region of the country has its own unique flora and bluebonnets are a unique part of the Central Texas flora. It is highly unlikely you would be successful growing them in New York's cold clime even if you were to sow the seed at the right time of year (which is in early Fall) and score the seed (fact not fiction).

Have you considered doing some research on plants native to your area by visiting our Native Plant Database and selecting New York from the combination search. I think you will find some excellent wildflowers native to your area like Castilleja coccinea (scarlet Indian paintbrush), Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone), Trillium erectum (red trillium), and Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium).

Here are some bluebonnet pictures to tide you over while you explore the New York wildflowers.


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

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