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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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Questions From Near You

Brooklyn, NY
Failure to thrive of potted blue-green cypress
I received a small 14" potted blue-green cypress for Christmas 2007. Kept it in a bright window, not direct sun. It was doing great until two weeks ago when it started turning brown from the center. ...
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Brooklyn, NY
Tree for little sun and clay soil in Brooklyn
I need help choosing a specimen shrub or small tree for difficult city conditions. Its a tricky sun exposure only getting about two hours of direct sun at the hottest time of day with clay soil and in...
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Brooklyn, NY
Wildflowers for NY that bloom in the first season
Hi, I'm looking for native annuals that germinate the same season they're planted. There are many northeast native annuals but most of them require a season of frost to germinate the following sprin...
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Brooklyn, NY
Native plants for a New York, NY apartment?
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What are some native Mid-Atlantic/New England plants that can be grown well indoors? I live in an apartment in New York City and have recently realised that the plants I'v...
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Brooklyn, NY
Smarty Plants on air purification
What plant purifies the air?
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Brooklyn, NY
Vine for trellis in Brooklyn, New York
Hello, I am looking for a native vine to grow on a trellis in a large container. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and the area is in part shade. Thank you.
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Brooklyn, NY
Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
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Brooklyn, NY
Rhododendrons for afternoon sun
Thanks for your suggestion that I plant rhodedenrons in my Brooklyn garden. In fact, the only bushes I've planted in the past that have survived are rhodedenrons so your definitely right! Here's my...
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Brooklyn, NY
Problems with non-native parsley from Brooklyn NY
Had beautiful flat leaf parsley plants recently turn yellow & die. Found black armadillo like bugs bored throughout the roots. Now they're spreading. How do I kill them without contaminating the pla...
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Brooklyn, NY
Japanese maple in New York
I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
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Brooklyn, NY
Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain a...
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Brooklyn, NY
Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
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Brooklyn, NY
Fast-growing vine for shade in Brooklyn
I am looking for a flowering vine that is fast growing and will be able to flower this season if I plant it within next couple weeks (in June) here in Brooklyn. I want something that will grow up a pi...
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Brooklyn, NY
Invasive, non-native Eragrostis cilianensis, stink grass
I am writing a children's book for Darby Creek Publishing about smelly plants and animals. I have read that Eragrostis cilianensis is one of the few bad-smelling grasses. Would the purpose of the o...
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Brooklyn, NY
Green roof in New York City
Hi, I am interested in planting native plants on green roofs in New York City. I am wondering how deep your soil is on the center's native plant green roof and if it is irrigated, or was it ever irr...
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New York , NY
Large-scale container garden for New York City
I am a community volunteer in NYC who is trying to help a non-profit set up two large container gardens (about 3 feet high by 4 feet long by 2 or so feet wide). The problem is that they want natives,...
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New York, NY
drought-resistant turf grasses for New York City
Hi - I work at the Smithsonian in New York City and we have a very large lawn that is frequently used in the summer for programming. It gets very beat up. I read an article in teh New York Times about...
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New York, NY
Plants for a Vacant Lot in the Big Apple
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have recently gone in to restore a vacant plot in Harlem. This soil is varied, but mostly rubble, old slag, some sand in one area, old fill- pH 7-8.5. We dug a small tren...
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New York, NY
Deer-resistant screening tree/shrub
Can you recommend a deer resistant screening tree/shrub? We would like to use privet but are not sure which variety or if the deer will really stay off it, we've had conflicting views! We live on th...
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New York, NY
Care for indoor Lemon Cypress
How do I care for an indoor Lemon Cypress tree?
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New York, NY
Trumpet Vine Dropping Buds
My trumpet vine is dropping its buds before flowering. This happened last year as well. Do you know what is causing this and what I can do to prevent it?
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