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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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Sunday - May 28, 2006

From: Omaha, NE
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of Holly the dog. I know nothing about it--whether anything would be good in the Austin climate, what is a pretty variety, etc, etc,. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

What a lovely way to honor your brother's dog! There are two member of the Family Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family) that do very well in Austin. They are Deciduous Holly or Possum Haw and Yaupon Holly. Both produce bright red berries that birds and small mammals like to eat and the Yaupon Holly is evergreen. Either of these should be easy to find at a local nursery that specializes in native plants. You can find the names of local native plant nurseries by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

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