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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might 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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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!

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Questions From Near You

Hemet, CA
Spacing for a Desert Willow Tree in California
How close to a house can I plant a desert willow tree?
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Murrieta, CA
Will arctostaphylos grow in Austin, from Murrieta CA
I currently live in Murrieta, CA at 2,000 ft. We planted 800 native plants on our slopes so they were extremely drought tolerant. One of my favorites is the Arctostaphylos family that will take the fr...
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Murrieta, CA
Selection of shade tree and distance from house
I live in California in zone 8b. I have seen the lists of trees for my area. I am still not clear on what tree to select. I would like to plant a nice tall shady tree very close to my house, but I wan...
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Wildomar, CA
Red spots on white flower of Anemopsis californica
Do you know what the red spots are on the white flower of the California native, Anemopsis californica? Is it a fungus, insect, or just physiological?
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Moreno Valley , CA
Groundcovers for Moreno Valley, CA
Hi, I live in Moreno Valley, CA I have a huge flower bed area surrounding our grass I am looking for the best ground cover that will have minimal up keep.
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Yucaipa, CA
Preventing seed production in non-native chinaberry in Yucaipa CA
You were just asked about "keeping almonds from producing" I actually found your site to ask how to keep a chinaberry tree from producing its berries. I am considering renting a commercial property ...
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Temecula, CA
Problem with non-native bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides)
I live in Temecula, CA I have grown pink bower vines before with great success. I recently purchased 2 bower vines and planted them on each side of a trellis in full sun. They flower but do not grow...
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Temecula, CA
Replacement for non-native wisteria in Temecula CA
We recently moved into a house that has a Wisteria bush that has taken over the patio cover. I wish to take it out because it is so messy and looks bad when it is dormant. I am trying to figure out ...
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Temecula, CA
Vine for Shady California Apartment Patio
I have a smallish gazebo on my apartment patio. I'm looking for a delicate looking flowering vine to grow in shade in Southern California. Perennial would be wonderful but this is probably too much ...
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Temecula, CA
Water-wise plants for clay soil in southern California
My yard is clay. I'm removing turf to put in water-wise plants and bushes. I need some low growing bushes and medium height bushes that will grow in clay and that will stay green in the summer. Hopef...
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Temecula, CA
Privacy screen from Temecula CA
I live in Temecula and need a fast growing tree by our pool that is good to block neighbors house.
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Aguanga, CA
Trees native to Anza Valley California
What are the best trees to plant in Aguanga, California?
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Aguanga, CA
Determining best time to harvest deer grass seeds in California
When is the best time to harvest deer grass seeds at about 4,000 feet in southern Riverside County California??
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Aguanga, CA
Evergreen shrub/small tree for screen in southern California
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I would like to find an evergreen hedge, ~15-20' (or so) to screen a busy road (noise and visual). I'm zone 8b - 92539 (close to) - light snow in winter (to -25) and can ge...
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Aguanga, CA
Origin of sticky, smelly substance on dog in Southern California
I just took my dog out (mid August) in Aguanga, CA (high desert) and, after coming back in, noted that his feet and legs were covered in a very sticky substance that STINKS - there is some kind of pla...
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Aguanga, CA
Native plants and possible poisonous plants in Aguanga, California
I am in the process of moving to Aguanga California. I am interested in knowing what the native plants are in that area. Are they poison to animals and kids?
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Palm Springs, CA
Pollinators for Palm Springs, CA
Just moved to Palm Springs, California. Hot and dry, desert region. What bee and pollinator-friendly plants would do well with full afternoon sun?
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Palm Springs, CA
Trimming damaged leaves on agaves
Some of the leaves on my agaves are damaged. Can I cut them off? If yes, how can I prevent the wound from becoming infected? Thanks.
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Palm Springs, CA
Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
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Riverside, CA
When to plant wildflowers in California
When is the best time to plant wildflowers in California?
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Riverside, CA
Is the non-native California pepper tree (Schinus molle) toxic for horses?
Is it safe and a good idea to put a horse corral around an established California pepper tree? Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
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