Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

From: Williamston, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Planning a park along a railroad track in Williamston, SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a railroad track in Williamston, and we are cleaning up the park. Removing trees, planting flowers,shrubs. The track is on high ground and the Fire Dept. has burnt off the weeds. What kind of flowers could we plant on this large hill that would cover it and come back every year? It would be beautiful to do something for this because you can see it clearly from the park and the road. And it there an organization that could help with the seeds?

ANSWER:

That sounds like a wonderful project, part reclamation and part new parkland. We'd like to suggest a meadow garden, with native plants that will be low maintenance and adapted to your region. In our How-To Articles we have an excellent piece on Meadow Gardening which we urge you to read. An important point made in that article is that just sprinkling seeds is not the whole answer. We are going to go to Recommended Species for South Carolina and give you a list of recommended herbaceous plants (herbs), and shrubs. We also will list some grasses that should work well there. Some of the suggested plants will be annual but self-seeding, and some perennial, so there will be return and increase of coverage every year. By using some evergreen shrubs and grasses that hold their place virtually year-round, you can develop an area that is never without some color and interest. When you look at the lists, click on the Latin name, which is a link to take you to a page of information, including propagation, whether it's evergreen, annual or perennial, etc.

In terms of help with the seeds, here is a list of Native Plant Suppliers in your area which provide seed. If you mean financial help with purchasing the seeds, we don't know of any national organization that does this sort of thing, although there may be some. However, you could probably get help locally by contacting garden clubs, nearby landowners, maybe even the owner of the railroad tracks. You might also contact the Native Plant Society of South Carolina, which may have some contacts on organizations with funds for that sort of project.

Suggested Grass and Grass-like Plants for South Carolina

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnets and paintbrushes for Florida
September 13, 2008 - Will bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes grow in the Florida panhandle?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower gardening for Henderson Co. TX
August 10, 2009 - We purchased some of the Lady Bird's Legacy Wild Flower Mix and the Hummers and Singers to plant on Ranch in East Texas, Henderson County, that has Sandy Loam Soil. We would like to plant the seeds i...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a water collection pit in Bronson, FL
August 22, 2013 - I live near Gainesville, FL in a low rural area with many cypress swamps around & bought this 5 acres 2 years ago. About 15 years ago a pit was dug on my 5 acres to give the rainwater somewhere to go...
view the full question and answer

Sowing additional wildflower and grass seeds on steep hillside
January 30, 2006 - Mr. Smarty, we recently moved to Hot Springs, AR. We have about a 1000 sf hillside area too steep to plant with shrubs etc. We had wildflower seeds scattered last May in this area and the flowers we...
view the full question and answer

Earliest spring wildflower from Richardson TX
September 29, 2009 - What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom in North Texas?"
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.