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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

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

Nashua, NH
Failure of non-native mock orange to bloom
We have a mature mock orange shrub that is very healthy but has not bloomed at all. What can we do?
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windham, NH
Propagating a Magnolia tree from a twig cutting in New Hampshire.
I have a twig cutting from a rare magnolia tree I found on a farm in central New Hampshire. The tree seems to be at least one hundred years old. It was in full bloom in late August and I was told by t...
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Lowell, MA
Why won't my Campsis cultivar flower in Lowell MA
I bought a Campsis trumpet vine cultivar in 2006 and planted near my fence in my yard hoping to cover the fence with the vine. Well 4 seasons later the vine has grown about 5 ft. in area but has yet ...
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Groton, MA
Blue wildflowers for Massachusetts meadow garden
I am restoring a 1980's era barn in Massachusetts. To celebrate the roll-out of the restored barn, I would like to plant wildflowers in the hayfield next to the barn (aprox. 3 acres). I would like ...
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Salem, NH
Plant identification
I have a plant or weed that is a five leaf leave and it is greenish-red and shinny. I have been searching the internet and can't seem to find what it is. It is spread throughout my back yard an...
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Lawerence, MA
Should non-native Royal Empress tree be planted in Lawrence MA?
I am researching the Royal Empress Tree because I want to plant one in my yard in Massachusetts. I wanted to know if the Royal Empress will have rapid reproduction and bring more Empress trees to the ...
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Manchester, NH
Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
I am looking to put up a living privacy wall in my yard. My husband and I just bought a house in Derry, NH, and have a rather large backyard (approx. 1 acre), which seems to get continuous sun. We h...
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Manchester, NH
Varmints disturbing plants in NH
I planted herbs and perennials, then put paper down and bark. At first an animal just disturbed the paper around the plants, exposing it. Today two plants are dug up and are completely gone. No sig...
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Billerica, MA
Idendification of plants with white cotton ball flowers
A few months ago I found a small plant with a white cotton ball type flower on it. It had red spots. It was on the bank of the Nashua river. I had never seen this before, and I am having a hard time ...
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Billerica, MA
Cutting costs on purchase of plants in Boston
I spend OVER $600 per season on annuals for my gardens here in the Boston area each year. I wonder if there is any place you are aware that I can buy discounted plants? I grow the typical geraniums, m...
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Andover, MA
Native plants to preserve soil on river bank
I live in eastern Massachusetts. We have a small stream in our backyard and a woodland area on the other side. Japanese Knotweed is pretty well established on the opposite bank of the stream from our ...
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Andover, MA
Plant identification in Andover MA
I live in MA. I have found a tree that produces an avocado like fruit with a round grooved pit. There are several of these trees in the fields where I walk and the ground is littered with these fruits...
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Harvard , MA
Ground cover for Massachusetts
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We are trying to kill poison ivy in shaded areas bordering our driveway and want to plant something quickly to replace it. There are many tall trees in this area, mainly pi...
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Haverhill, MA
Vine to cover fence from Haverhill MA
Hello, I'm looking for a fast growing vine to cover a chain link fence. The area is sunny half of the day. I have 2 small children so I don't want something that attracts bees or could be dangerous ...
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Fitchburg, MA
Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
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Fitchburg, MA
Dutchman's pipe vine dying in Fitchburg ME
I have 2 dutchmans pipe vines they have been growing for over 20 years. Now all of a sudden the foliage is wilting and dying. The other one is completely fine. What would cause this?
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Burlington, MA
Groundcover for erosion control
I have a sloped area in my back yard where we need to plant some erosion control plants. The area is above a large (100 foot long x 4 foot tall) stone wall and another smaller wall of natural stone. ...
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Burlington, MA
Dwarf native plants for shade in Burlington, MA
Hi, I removed all of the evergreen shrubs in front of my house in Zone 6. It is in full shade all summer but has some sun during the spring because of a huge beech tree in front yard. there is 2 8'...
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Leominster, MA
Source of seeds for helianthus salicifolius (Willowleaf sunflower)
Where can I purchase seeds for helianthus salicifolius?
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N. Reading, MA
Grasses for hillside in N. Reading MA
I am seeking a grass for a steep, sunny slope in the NE.
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Woburn, MA
Why are Virginia strawberries native to Massachusetts?
Thank you for your answer regarding Virginia wild strawberries. I thought they were only native to Virginia and that Virginia fragaria duchesne is the accepted name for them. Why do strawberries of Ne...
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