En Español

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

Friday - February 17, 2012

From: Takoma Park, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Healthy native plants supporting local economy from Tacoma Park MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am collecting information on how healthy native plant communities can support the local economy. Do you think the Texas bluebonnets are a good example of this in Texas? For example, do you know many tourists come to Texas each spring to enjoy the display of bluebonnets and other native wildflowers there? Any information you have is appreciated,

ANSWER:

Economics is a little out of our field. Of course, Texans all are proud of our deserts, mountains, wide open spaces, pleasant towns and varied plant life. At the same time, many of the tourists visiting various sites are Texans themselves. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is not only happy to welcome tourists from all over the world, but is known for its botanical gardens displaying plants native to Central Texas, especially in their bloom times.

In our opinion, the cultivation and promotion of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively is our most important mission. Native plants that are already accustomed to the environment of an area by centuries of experience will consume less in water (important in a state now struggling with drought), chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides) that can be harmful to the environment and continue to absorb carbon into the soil, manufacture oxygen that is essential to life and support pollinators, wildlife and agriculture. In that respect, our message is important to any area in North America, which is our area of concern. Putting a per-person dollar value on that is quite beyond our mathematical skills.

In short, tourists won't readily go, nor will people be anxious to move to and live, in areas where there is a shortage of safe drinking water, chemicals in the soil leaching into our aquifers, hydrocarbons in the air and non-native invasive plants making previously pristine areas useless. Mr. Smarty Plants' job (loosely speaking, as we are nearly all volunteers) is to educate anyone we can get to listen to us on that mission. We are gardeners, although some of us (not this member of the Team) are highly educated in the field, but we all are on the same page in terms of protecting and, when possible, improving our environment. In the long run, doing this in Texas,or anywhere else, can have a tremendous positive impact on a local economy.

If you feel it would help you in your research, we can refer you to some websites that will give you more precise information on what we do.

Why Native Plants?

Wildflower Center Chronology

Wildflower Days

Carbon Footprint

Nature Tourism in the Lone Star State

We realize that we have told you more about what the Wildflower Center does than how many tourists we attract or what economic advantages we provide. Protecting the environment does not have a price.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower to succeed bluebonnets
April 08, 2008 - I am looking for a "partner" plant for bluebonnets? What perennial plant doesn't really "appear" until after April? What I want is a sea of bluebonnets in March and April but when they go dorm...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Helianthus annuus
March 22, 2005 - I am doing an Earth Fair project on the Helianthus annuus. I would like to know if you possibly had any information on this subject. Some of the things I would like to know are: How big does it get? ...
view the full question and answer

Predictin bloom time for Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella)
April 04, 2006 - Is there any way to predict when the Indian Blankets will bloom this year? I live in Dallas, and last year they were in peak bloom at Twelve Hills Nature Center (also in Dallas) around the 21st of Ma...
view the full question and answer

Flowering annuals for Dallas TX
March 26, 2009 - 1. What Non-wildflower flowers (flowers that WILL bloom first year/within first 2-3 months after plant seeds)are recommended for Dallas, TX area that could tolerate part-shade, part-sun area? 2. What...
view the full question and answer

Identity of maroon flower taking over bluebonnets
April 14, 2008 - there is a maroon colored flowering weed at my ranch in Oakwood Texas. It is taking over the bluebonnets and indian paint brushes. Can you tell me what it is and how to get rid of it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center