En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Small, flowering, evergreen plants for hillside in Austin.
October 27, 2007 - I have a steep, dry hillside measuring approximately 4 feet high by six feet wide. I want to plant low growing, evergreen, flowering plants across the bed that will flower as long as possible, and thr...
view the full question and answer

Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school
August 04, 2007 - I am a Scout working on starting a wildflower meadow at an Elementary school. How should I prepare the ground and what types of seeds do well in zipcode area 76092? I would also like so add some nat...
view the full question and answer

Dandelions in bluebonnets in Bastrop TX
May 31, 2012 - I have a 20'x60' front yard area where I planted bluebonnets. It has become horrifically inundated with dandelions. How do I eradicate the dandelions while preserving the bluebonnets ? Thanks ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers native to Pennsylvania
April 02, 2008 - Please provide the names of a few wildflowers that are native to Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Wildflower gardening for Henderson Co. TX
August 10, 2009 - We purchased some of the Lady Bird's Legacy Wild Flower Mix and the Hummers and Singers to plant on Ranch in East Texas, Henderson County, that has Sandy Loam Soil. We would like to plant the seeds i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center