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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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Questions From Near You

Natick, MA
Will a gift of bluebonnet seeds grow in Massachusetts?
I recently received a gift of bluebonnet seeds and would like to know if they are suitable to grow in Massachusetts. We live in Zone 5. If so, would they be considered an annual due to our hard winter...
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Newton, MA
Plant identification
I have had a plant for 37 years! It is a vine with leaves that grow in groups of three and they typically have 5 points. The leaves are dark green and shiny. I would love to know what this old friend ...
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Newton, MA
Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
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Newton, MA
Preserving endangered plants in Massachusetts
I've recently visited the national registry of threatened or endangered plants for my Massachusetts home, with a hope of : 1. Identifying rare, threatened or endangered species in my state. 2. fi...
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Medway, MA
Pruning tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Thank you for your answer regarding when my tulip tree will flower. I also understand it can/will grow to over 100 feet so should we be pruning it a certain way to keep it contained? thank you
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Medway, MA
Do all tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower?
Do all tulip trees flower? We planted a baby one about 5 years ago and its grown considerably however it has never flowered. Is that normal? Thank you!
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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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Marlborough, MA
What eats American holly bushes in winter?
I live in Marlborough, MA and I was shoveling snow on January 19th and noticed how beautiful my Holly bush was covered in red berries against the new fallen snow. My husband said to me this morning (...
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Marlborough, MA
Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple ...
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Belmont, MA
Identification of all-white small plants growing in the woods in Belmont, MA.
I have just seen a group of completely ALL-WHITE small plants growing in the woods. They have 4-8in. stalks with a kind of bell-shaped flower growing at the top. There is no green anywhere on this pla...
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Lexington, MA
Distinguishing native Celastrus scandens from non-native C. Orbiculatus from Lexington MA
Dear Mr. Plants, I maintain a wildflower garden with the Lexington Field and Garden Club in Lexington, Massachusetts. Every year, I pull up sprouts of Celastris orbiulatis. I want to plan...
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Lexington, MA
How to get rid of invasive vine
We moved into our very old (300+ year house) several years ago and I am slowly getting round to cleaning up and replanting flower beds. When I cleared the space to grow clematis along a fence in the b...
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Arlington, MA
Height of tree to block sun on deck in Arlington MA
I am trying to figure out how tall a tree I should buy in order to make sure to block out the sun on my deck
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Arlington, MA
Native invasives question from Arlington MA
When I searched your website for creepers in Massachusetts, I found the following recommendations: Campsis radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. But in response to a reader's question, you called...
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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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Cambridge, MA
Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
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Cambridge, MA
Source for native Orobanche plant seeds for research
I'm looking for native Orobanche plant seeds for a research project, but have had no luck so far. We've been able to locate lots of sources for the noxious weed Orobanche (from Europe), but none for...
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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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Medford, MA
Native trees for Medford MA
Two quick questions. 1) what trees would grow happily along the banks of the Mystic River in Medford, MA? 2) Would it be o.k. to plant weeping willows? Are they indigenous to the area? I'm not a pur...
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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
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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