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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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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Questions From Near You

Braintree, MA
Plant identification
I have a plant that I always thought was poison ivy. This spring however I saw an unusual flower on several of these plants. Three leaves and the flower almost looks like a wilted calla lily, but is a...
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Braintree, MA
Transplanting non-native mimosas in Braintree MA
I want to transplant some baby mimosa trees. Have tried in past and they just die.
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Weymouth, MA
Native evergreen for privacy shield in Weymouth, MA
I am trying to find a good native evergreen tree that I can plant in a hedgerow to block noise and light coming from our neighbors property. We would need something that would grow tall because our h...
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rockland, MA
Looking for a tall ornamental grass native to Massachusetts.
I am looking for a tall (4-8 ft) ornamental grass, native to Massachusetts/ New England. It needs to be tolerant of moist to wet soil, and preferably colorful. Thanks for your help.
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Stoughton, MA
Possible medicinal uses of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
I recently read an article about the healing properties of Spanish Moss. It mentioned reducing bad cholesterol in the human body. What exactly are the properties in this plant that are good for you, ...
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Dorchester, MA
Smarty Plants on Tamarisk
Where can I buy Tamarisk, and will it survive in Massachusetts? I've seen it in Provincetown, on Cape Cod.
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Abington, MA
Perennial for cemetery plot in Massachusetts
What perennial would work well in a cemetery plot that has very dry sun?
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Brockton, MA
Groundcover for Massachusetts campus
Our campus is converting to more sustainable landscaping practices, and in the process we are planting native plants and removing lawn. Thus we would like to replace the lawn, and some invasive groun...
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South Boston , MA
Planter boxes on a roof deck in Boston MA
What will grow in planter boxes on a roof deck in Boston ma? We are planning to make our own planters to sit on the framing "outside" our deck rail. We have 4 ft from the rail to the edge of the ho...
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Cohasset, MA
Gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides propagation
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, if that is your real name, How long, if at all, will I need to stratify my gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides seeds to have them come up this summer?
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Boston, MA
Definition of what constitutes a native plant
Hello, I am doing research concerning "native plants" for the Northeast. I am "befuddled" as I am finding conflicting definitions for what constitutes a native plant. Do you have a good definiti...
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Boston, MA
Parasitic paintbrush
Many years ago I tried to grow some paintbrush seedlings with some seeds you sent me and found it difficult. Based on pictures in the literature I noticed that paintbrushes do not seem to affect their...
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Boston, MA
Groundcovers for a slope in MA
We live in Eastern MA. We have a hill behind our house that was previously mulched. Slope is 45 degrees in direct sun, clay soil. We have another hill by the road side that is partially shaded with ...
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Boston, MA
Native Plants for New England
Can you assist me in finding more information on flowers and plants in Massachusetts and New England?
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Boston, MA
Native vine to cover chain link fence in Massachusetts
I have a chain link fence I don't want to bother taking down, any suggestions on a clinging vine that will rapidly attach itself to the links and eventually cover it with a green "blanket"? thanks
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Boston, MA
Prickly vine for fire escape in Boston
I live in Boston area and would like to plant a prickly vine that will grow on my fire escape. What do you recommend?
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boston, MA
Percentage of worlds flowers of each color
What percentage of the world's flowers are blue? red? white? yellow?
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Boston, MA
Identifcation of strange orange growth on shrubs
I have found a strange orange ball shape with softer spikes about 1-2 in. growing from it on my shrubs, they grow around the branch. I believe they are Yews. I have never seen them before but now ther...
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Boston, MA
Groundcover for Boston MA
We have a small back yard that gets great sun in spring before the leaves are fully back on the tall trees surrounding the perimeter, and then a lot of shade in summer. We have weird patchy grass and ...
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Boston, MA
Sources for native plants wholesale in Boston, MA
My professor and I are looking for a list of native plant wholesale nurseries in the Boston, MA region.
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Cambridge, MA
Groundcover for area with impact from rain from roof
The small garden on the side of my townhouse gets some hard rainfall during every storm. We've found ways of redirecting and using much of the rainfall (gutter and downspout to rain barrel, permeable...
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