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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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Thursday - March 17, 2005

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native Hill Country grasses, flowers for April garden show
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I will be a first ever (!) exhibitor in my garden club's garden show this April 7. Our theme is The Passion of Texas - my specific category is The Hill Country. Help!!! All materials I use must be alive and cannot be dried. My placement in the house is a sideboard which measures 73" x 24". My idea is to use an old metal pig trough (nice and rusty) as my container which I would like to fill with Hill Country grasses, flowers and branches. I would like this arrangement to be graceful, natural and lyrical - and be an appropriate reflection of that beautiful part of our state. I think it would work to go low and wide with the arrangement. What would you suggest I use that would be: 1. Available and at its best the first week of April? 2. Available and could survive shipment? 3. Not obscenely expensive? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

ANSWER:

You should be able to find exactly what you need by going to the Hill Country Horticulture part of the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center web page and performing an advanced search. For instance, if you pick "April" from Bloom Characteristics and "Grass/Grasslike" from Growth Form for your search, you will find that purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea) is one of the eight grasses that meets your search criteria. You can also add a choice for "Bloom Color" under Bloom Characteristics and "Light", "Water", and "Soil" under Growing Conditions.

By selecting "Texas" in the "Nurseries" database in the National Suppliers Directory you can find native plant nurseries in your area to contact to determine the availability and cost of your chosen plants.

 

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