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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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Thursday - February 21, 2013

From: Hillsboro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Book about Texas native bulbs from Hillsboro TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi! I'm looking for a book about Texas native bulbs.

ANSWER:

We could not find such a book, and suspect this is because there are not enough of them to fill a book.

Solas Gardens: Texas native bulbs. You have to scroll down slightly to find this list. Here are the ones of that list that are in our Native Plant Database:

Allium canadense (Meadow garlic)

Hymenocallis liriosme (Spider lily)

Nemastylis geminiflora (Prairie celestials)

Manfreda maculosa (False aloe)

Herbertia lahue (Prairie nymph)

Oxalis drummondii (Drummond's woodsorrel)

Schoenocaulon texanum (Green lily)

You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant. Scroll down to the bottom of that page. You can click on the link to USDA Plant Profiles for that plant and click on Texas (which should be green, indicating the plant does grow natively in Texas) and you will see the counties in which it grows natively. Still at the bottom of the webpage, click on the link to Google, for more information and pictures of that plant.

Now, go to Soul of the Garden: Texas Tough Bulbs by Tom Spencer, Austin radio and television personality and champion of native plants. From that article:

"Every autumn, Texas gardeners go Dutch, trooping to area nurseries to indulge their passion for spring flowering bulbs, the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths of bulb catalog fantasies. These imported beauties are the stuff of dreams, however. In our climate they are often a shortlived and expensive nightmare. You can do all of the recommended song-and-dance routines (wooden shoes or not) but these little Dutch boys rarely survive from one year to the next.

For most of the past three decades I have resisted buying bulbs because they rarely live up to my childhood memories. I grew up in the northeast where most of these plants have no problem naturalizing and becoming a dependable part of the gardener’s arsenal of perennials. Here in Texas we are told to refrigerate them until Christmas, build special well-drained beds, sprinkle fairy dust, and click our heels together three times—only to watch them croak in the first spring heat wave or rot during a winter monsoon. If they actually do survive, many varieties fail to re-bloom, so most folks just use them as expensive annuals that provide a short burst of color."

So, we don't promise that his article features all Texas natives, but they probably will survive in Texas, and that's really what you are looking for, isn't it?

 

From the Image Gallery


Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Texas spiderlily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Prairie celestials
Nemastylis geminiflora

False aloe
Manfreda maculosa

Prairie nymph
Herbertia lahue

Drummond's wood-sorrel
Oxalis drummondii

Green lily
Schoenocaulon texanum

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