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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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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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topicquestion
Controlling erosion with grasses in Dallas, TX
October 19, 2013
After consulting with several geological engineers and the city of Dallas engineers - we know that our severe erosion problem can only be fixed by building a 35' foot high gabion wall about 150' in ...
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Planting times and sun for native plants from Austin
October 06, 2013
When to plant Phacelia congesta seeds? Can Maximilian sunflowers tolerate partial shade?
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Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
October 05, 2013
How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
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Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013
We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
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Plant ID from Brick, New Jersey
September 07, 2013
I live in Brick, New Jersey. I planted some wildflower seed from an assorted packet. There is a very tall, thick center stem with orange flowers. I'd like to send photo but don't know how.
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Starting Venus Flytrap From Seed
September 05, 2013
I am a high school student doing a project on the Venus flytrap and would like you to help me by answering the following questions: What are the Venus flytrap predators and prey? How to raise a Venus ...
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Changing blooming patterns on sunflowers from Kimball NE
September 05, 2013
The common sunflower seems to be very prolific some years, not so much others. Is this weather related or cyclical?
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Timing for mowing wildflower meadow
August 29, 2013
Last spring (2012) we planted a wildflower/shortgrass meadow on a caliche slope surrounding the back of our house. We terraced with rocks and spread some topsoil thinly before sowing the seed. It di...
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Removing insects from seeds
August 27, 2013
I collect and plant native seed for Blackland Prairie restoration. Have recently collected a good bit of purple prairie clover. Now small beetles are hatching out of it in pretty good numbers. What ...
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Wildflower garden for Driftwood, TX
August 20, 2013
I would like to plant wildflowers in a fairly large field on a slope. The slope is a little rocky and is located in Driftwood, TX. I have been thinking about a mixture of Bluebonnets and Indian Blank...
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Source for Texas Olive Tree from Tucson AZ
August 10, 2013
Can one start a Texas Olive Tree from the olives it produces? How can you start one. I am having difficulty finding a nursery, but do see the trees around.
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Cold stratification of Rudbeckcia maxima from Birdeye AR
August 08, 2013
How long do I cold stratify Rudbeckia maxima seeds that I wild harvested? Can I put them in the freezer instead of fridge? Do I need to make sure they are completely dry before cold strat?
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Weak flowering on rosa minutifolia from San Diego CA
July 27, 2013
Hi, I have a Rosa minutifolia and has been doing great, but when it gives flowers the petals fall too fast, only last a day or two and also the fruit never forms completely and finishes drying so I ca...
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Flowers to bloom in next 4 months from Aransas Pass, TX
July 24, 2013
Looking for seeds to put down that will bloom over the next 4 months or so in the southern gulf coast area
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Propagating Silky Sophora by seed from Elmendorf TX
July 24, 2013
I have some seed for the Sophora nutalliana. What is the best way to germinate this seed?
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Red pods on Canna Lilies from Windsor VA
July 21, 2013
What are the dark red pods on my canna lilies?
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Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
July 02, 2013
We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-...
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Standing Cypress Plants in San Antonio, TX
June 26, 2013
I purchased seeds for standing cypress 2 years ago and this spring they look beautiful. What is the best way to harvest the seeds? Also, will the current plants come back next spring or will I have to...
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Why Did Gaillardia and Aquilegia Changed Color?
June 26, 2013
Both a Gaillardia pulchella and two red columbines bloomed normally last summer, but this summer the Gaillardia's petals are all yellow and one columbine is white and the other is yellow. What caused...
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Seeding the opposite bank of a canal in Texas
June 26, 2013
We have a canal in our backyard. I thought it would be lovely to have flowers growing on the opposite bank. I could get to it to toss seeds, but not plant anything in the dirt because the ground slop...
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Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013
I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
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Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
June 20, 2013
I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a s...
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Seeding success with Penstemon cobaea from Austin
June 18, 2013
I've never had much luck in harvesting seeds from foxgloves (Penstemon cobaea, I think). Whenever I open the seed casing, the seeds inside are covered with some kind of mold. What's going on, and ho...
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Germinating Hibiscus martianus, Heartleaf hibiscus
June 11, 2013
Is there some secret to getting Heart Leaf Hibiscus to germinate from seed? I have tried several times, but have had no luck getting them to germinate.
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Germinating Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora and Machaeranthera tanacetifolia Seed
June 03, 2013
I am a graduate student at Texas Tech (UT Austin alumni), studying horticulture. I will be researching several wildflowers found in west Texas including Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora, and Macha...
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