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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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Wednesday - September 24, 2008

From: Durham Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Plants for wildlife/wildflower sanctuary
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have 17 acres in our sub-development called Durham Park that we would like to convert into some kind of wildlife/wildflower sanctuary. Can you put me on the right track.

ANSWER:

One of the first things you need to do is to make an inventory of what plants your 17 acres contains, paying special attention to identifying invasive species.  For a discussion of what an invasive species is visit our How to Articles and read the  "When is a Guest a Pest?" article.  You can also visit TexasInvasives.org to read more about Texas invasives. Especially, you should look at Common Immigrants in the Texas Landscape to learn to recognize some of the most prominent offenders (e.g., Melia azedarach, chinaberry) so that you can remove them from your tract.  If you don't feel qualified to identify the plants in your area, you might contact the Houston-Galveston "Invastigators" or the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) to see if they might know someone who would help you with an inventory. An inventory will help you decide what kind of plants you need to get rid of and what plants you need to add to your area.

There are several other articles on our How to Articles page—e.g., Wildlife Gardening, Meadow Gardening—that can help you with your project.  Then, you can visit our Recommended Species page and select "East Texas" from the map there to get a list of commercially available native species for the area. Houston NPSOT also has several lists that can help you—"Native Host Plants for Southeast Texas Butterflies", "Native PlantsThat Provide a Food Source for Hummingbirds", "Trees That Attract Birds", "Native Texas Plants That Provide Food, Shelter or Nesting for Birds" and more.  You can use our Native Plant Database to see photos and read more about the recommended plants, their growing conditions and propagation.

 

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