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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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Sunday - July 24, 2016

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding
Title: Sequence of Seeding Wildflowers and Grasses in Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

In the How To article on meadow gardening, it recommends that a good chunk of your garden (50%-80%) should be native grasses. The kind mentioned in that article are typically warm season grasses. In what order should I plant - wildflowers in the fall and then grasses in the spring; grasses in the spring and then wildflowers in the fall; or both of them, either in fall or spring?

ANSWER:

The Texas Department of Transportation has a good information sheet on seeding wildflowers on their website. They say "By and large, most Texas wildflowers should be planted in late summer or early fall, especially bluebonnets."

Also, the Wildflowers in Bloom website maintained by Dan Lineberger and Jerry Parsons has a lot of good tips about growing wildflowers that they have obtained from Wildseed Farms.

For information about seeding native grasses, take a look at the Native Prairies Association of Texas website where they have a page from their Tallgrass Restoration Manual. While most of their information is for large scale restoration, they do discuss the four prairie grasses and explain how to make seedballs - a fun way to seed.

They say ... Once the seedballs are dry, throw out by hand at the restoration site.  The clay will protect the precious seed until rain arrives, then the seedball will melt and the seed will germinate.  The clay will also keep the seed in place if the rain turns into a ‘gully-washer’.

So the timing of sowing your grasses is not as critical as with the wildflowers.

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Big bluestem
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Little bluestem
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