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

Sunday - March 01, 2009

From: Norman, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Project involving wildflower seeds for Earth Day
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I am trying to find a relatively quick and easy project involving wildflower seeds for an Earth Day Celebration. We have roughly 1,000 kids come through. In the past I have done wildflower seed balls, but would like to try something new this year. Several people said that their wildflower balls never grew wildflowers. Is there anything I can do to increase germination?

ANSWER:

For our own information, we checked and found that Earth Day this year is April 22, 2009. This website earthday.net has an excellent presentation on Earth Day 2009: The Green Generation which might give you some ideas or lead you to some projects for your group. We did some searching on the Internet for other quick projects for kids, but most of them require more intense adult volunteer supervision and more time to complete than you might have available.

Even though you would like to try something different, we still think the seedball is an ideal kid project-every kid loves to make mudballs. Our  How-To Article, How to Make Seed Balls, has been recently revised and might have some better information for you. In terms of the seeds from the mudballs never germinating, how do you know they didn't? As Fall rains (when we have them) come along, the mud ball begins to disintegrate and the seeds blend into the surrounding soil. Some wildflower seeds may lie in the ground dormant for years, waiting for the right conditions to germinate, and then pop up.  This is a very good point to make with the young people you work with-this is not instant gratification but a process involving time, patience, some water, some sunshine and a little luck. In particular, note the paragraph at the end about using only seeds native to the area in which the mudballs will be used. We are going to list a few wildflowers native to Oklahoma that you might consider for your project. These all propagate easily from seed and, since they are native, they will require less fertilizer, water and maintenance.

Callirhoe alcaeoides (light poppymallow)

Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Coreopsis grandiflora (largeflower tickseed)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Dracopis amplexicaulis (clasping coneflower)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower)

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa (bigfruit evening-primrose)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)


Callirhoe alcaeoides

Castilleja indivisa

Callirhoe involucrata

Coreopsis grandiflora

Coreopsis tinctoria

Dracopis amplexicaulis

Gaillardia pulchella

Helianthus maximiliani

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa

Ratibida columnifera

Viola pedata


 

 

 

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Yellow and purple wildflowers for a wedding in Burgettstown PA
August 10, 2010 - I'm not sure exactly what I am looking for and I'm sorry if its too much to ask but....I want to have a fun relaxed wedding next June or July time. I can't find wildflowers that would bloom during...
view the full question and answer

Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides
August 10, 2006 - Greetings from Alabama, We would like to "roundup" approx 2 A and plant some wildflower (s) that would TAKE OVER. We have 20 A and over half is in mixed woods. Pine, oak, sweetgum, and ???. Do y...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for wedding mid-spring in Austin, TX
November 10, 2006 - My fiancÚ and I are both native Texans, and we are looking to have a beautiful yet simple wedding on March 31, 2007. We would love to use TX wildflowers. Our colors are white, orange, and blue. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Native plant bibliography
March 20, 2004 - What book do you recommend for identifying the native plants and wildflowers of my region?
view the full question and answer

Resources for a green roof project from Wayne PA
April 14, 2013 - Hello! I am researching a project to create a native wildflower/ turf mix for a green roof. I would ideally like to grow it as a sod mat, and then install it in rolls. I am currently working as an i...
view the full question and answer

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