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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

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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Wednesday - July 20, 2011

From: College Station, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.

ANSWER:

First of all, we would like for you to understand that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. The only plants we will recommend will be native to your area.

We would suggest you  begin by contacting the Texas Agrilife Extension Service for Brazos Co. to see what help they can offer you in understanding the soils you have to work with and times of the year to plant. Then, we want to direct you to a list of recommended species of plants for your area, which we believe to be the Blackland Prairies. First, read the paragraph at the top of the page and look at the color-coded Texas maps on the different ecoregions of Texas.

This will give you 265 plants that should grow in your area You can sort them to suit your purpose and the space you have by using the sidebar on the right hand side of the page. Begin by selecting Habit (herbaceous blooming flowers, trees, shrubs, etc), Duration (annual, perennial, biennial), bloom time and color, even expected height. The more detailed your selections are, of course, the more limited your selection will be, but play around with it and you should find some good lists. Click on the italicized link by each plant name and you will get our webpage on that particular plant, with pictures, Growing Conditions, Propagation and so forth. We can't give you a specific list because we don't know the actual conditions in your garden, but we will select a few examples, just to show you the kind of information you can get to guide your selection. We selected "perennial" in Duration in every case; if you want annual blooming plants, we suggest you check that.

Herbaceous blooming plant (herb) 95 possibilities: Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis) - 1-3 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow April to June, sun, part shade or shade

Shrub 23 possibilities: Dalea frutescens (Black dalea) - to 3 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms purple July to August, sun

Tree 50 possibilities: Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - 10 to 20 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms purple,pink, white March and April, sun or part shade

Grass or grasslike 34 possibilities: Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem) - 2 to 5 ft., deciduous, sun

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Black dalea
Dalea frutescens

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

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