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?


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

Sunday - July 14, 2013

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Laws, Pollinators, Wildlife Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer bluebonnets, galliardia, yellow coneflowers, mexican hats, sunflowers, prairie primrose, cornflowers, rein orchids, Englemann's daisy, horsemint, one milkweed, and at least 5 flowers I have not yet identified. I did pull up and bag the few wild mustards that came up. I am working to pull up yellow thistle and wild carrot, too. Our neighborhood has one member who regularly contacts code enforcement to keep us all in line, so I have received my annual notice of violation with 7 days to mow, as have the owners of a delightful meadow of Texas dandelions. His complaints generally arrive about 5-15 days before the seeds are fully mature. I monitor my prairie meadow at least 2 times daily and am noticing honeybees and numerous varieties of butterflies and dragonflies. There is a low spot that collects water for prolonged periods of time as we are the 2nd lowest lot through which at least 4 acres drain. Native grasses abound where the wildflowers are - buffalo grass and others. Where I have already mowed, I have dallis grass emerging (ugh). As I monitor from year to year, it seems to me that as the weather warms and the flowers fade and go to seed (some of which I gather and donate to our landfill manager), the pollinators are prepared for seasonal changes. Is there any hope or assistance in protecting those creatures important to our survival until the meadow has fully faded and can be mowed without destroying their habitat? I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.


We are sorry. Much as we agree with you, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has no legislative nor enforcement power to help you in any way. We have been asked for help in this regard many times, and here is a recent Smarty Plants reply that will pretty well tell you all we know about this. As a matter of fact, as a non-member of your neighborhood, we would probably be told to "get lost" and not in quite so friendly terms. We are glad that there are people out there like you who have the understanding and foresight to understand what we should be doing. We hope you will keep plugging on.


More Pollinators Questions

Butterfly information on Wildflower.org
March 23, 2015 - Why are butterflies like the "canaries in the coal mine" -- or, what plants best help butterflies? I know the answers, but I don't see the info on your web site. You have a feature under native p...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator plants for Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
June 09, 2008 - How close do a male and female common winterberry need to be to produce berries. We bought a male and female last year and attracted cedar wax wings. Amazing show. We just bought two more females a...
view the full question and answer

Cultivars off native plants attracting pollinators from Fairfax VA
March 25, 2011 - When trying to create a native garden/habitat- should you avoid using cultivars of the native plant? Nurseries around us keep trying to tell us that using a cultivar of the native plant we actually wa...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly egg kit from Spring Hill FL
October 27, 2011 - Could you please tell me all native plant(s) I can buy for my Sons Painted Lady Butterfly kit (eggs are going to hatch soon)and I don't know what to buy for the baby caterpillars to eat. I contacted ...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center