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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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Tuesday - September 01, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant
Title: Straw that broke the camel's back.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I keep forgetting which day I am supposed to water and my St. Augustine lawn has turned into the neighborhood eyesore. Where can I go to learn more about this drought tolerant "native plant" gardening I'm hearing so much about?

ANSWER:

Dear St. Augustine,

Today is your lucky day. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center partners with the University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes in an informal education program designed to teach adults about the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. In the fall series of classes, students will learn about the benefits of native plants in a fun and interactive environment at the Wildflower Center's beautiful facility in south Austin.

The Fall Series of native plant gardening classes starts September 19th and includes:

Native Garden Design - Proper design will help ensure a successful native plant garden.

Native Plants I & II - Choosing the right native plants for your garden is both art and science. In this class you will learn about common and botanical names, basic garden ecology, plant requirements, and how to create a planting plan.

Installation - This class covers site preparation, irrigation, best planting times and techniques, and mulches and mulch application.

Maintenance - Topics will include selecting the right tools for the job, watering guidelines and water conservation, fertilizers, soil additives, mulches, pruning, trimming, mowing, grooming, cold and heat protection, gardening hazards and gardener's health.

Pests 101 - This class will introduce you to native plant diseases, garden pests, insects and weeds.

Registration for Go Native U is arranged through the University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes. Sign up for all six courses in the Native Plant Gardening sequence and receive a 10% discount on your registration. Call 512.471.9683 for the discount. 

 

 

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Help with native plants suffering from drought and heat
September 03, 2006 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, HELP!!! I live on Lake Travis outside Austin and we planted our yard this spring with lots of wonderful native plants. Now most of them look like they are dying (in particu...
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Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
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Drought resistance of non-native Abelia from Austin
March 14, 2013 - Are abelias drought resistant? I have a spot that is sunny from early morning till about 2-2:30 in the afternoon. Is this enough sun?
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Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
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Deer resistant native plants for Eagle Scout project in Urbandale IA
April 27, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My son is planning his Eagle Scout Project doing some landscaping for the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. The facility has asked him to use only plants native to Iowa. Can you su...
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