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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

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

Bayonne, NJ
Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
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Jersey City, NJ
Care of non-native Betula pendula 'Youngii' (Young's Weeping Birch)
We planted a Young's Weeping Birch on the side of our house here in NJ a few weeks ago and it seems to be thriving. When we purchased Fred (which is what we've named our youngster), he was in a pot ...
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Staten Island , NY
Dwarf evergreen shrub for windowboxes in Staten Island , NY
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Could you recommend a dwarf evergreen shrub, not deciduous that also has pretty flowers that would thrive in a container in the northeast...area would have sun for about 4 -5...
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Staten Island , NY
Non-native and invasive bamboos from Staten Island, NY
Hi I put some black Bamboo and some bias Bamboo in a large container about 6ft by 2ft and ht 18 inches .How can I get this Bamboo to thrive ? Suggestions on types of plant food or fertilizer or ant t...
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Staten Island, NY
Dwarf, Evergreen Shrub Suggestions for Staten Island
I had two rows of bushes in the front of my house. The back row of bushes is what is commonly known as a hedge. Unfortunately due to Sandy I lost the front row of bushes. Please help me, I am in conta...
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staten island, NY
Suggestions for native perennials in Staten Island, NY
My back yard garden has a good base of evergreen shrubs and perennials all doing well in clayish soil and I am ready now to add color and texture in an area with partial sun. Can you suggest hardy...
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Staten Island, NY
Purchase of frostweed in Staten Island NY
My grandson would like to buy a frostweed plant. Can I buy this from you?
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Newark, NJ
Native habitate sunlight as opposed to artificial light
Does a plant grow best in sunlight or artificial light?
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New York, NY
Lists of medicinal plants from New York City
Do you know any resources for lists of medicinal plants native to New York? Thank you
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New York, NY
Care of non-native house plant, Pachira aquatica
Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just bought a miniature money tree. I would like to plant it on a metal like decorative pot. What advice would you give me how to prevent the plant from getting any metal re...
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New York, NY
Stick with tried and true plants for a green roof in New York
If I use Virginia creepers in a ground covered application for a green roof, how much soil should I provide depth wise?
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New York, NY
Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
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New York, NY
Alternatives to non-native and invasive Carex crus-corvi in New York
Hello. I can't seem to find carex crus-corvi (ravenfoot sedge) on any online seed/plant website. I was interested in buying seeds or plants. My last name is Corvi, and I would love to grow it. Can...
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New York, NY
Privacy screen for New York apartment balcony.
Hello, I live in an apartment in New York City with an outdoor large balcony. I would like to buy evergreens to make the space more private. Do you have any suggestions on what type of plant woul...
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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
Summer flowering small trees for NY
Request recommendations about trees for terrace. Would like flowers or color in summer; not spring. (Some of my trees are twenty five feet high.) Full sun, some wind, large containers. Please recomme...
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New York, NY
Skin care uses of sunflower seed oil
Just wondering what, if any, were the traditional uses of sunflower in skincare? I thought I read somewhere that the seeds were crushed up into an oil and used on the skin for sun protection? Is the...
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New York, NY
Native North American bulbs
I saw your list of 4 lilies native to the Northeastern United States, which was very helpful. What other bulbs are native to North America? Although I garden in Connecticut, I am interested in learn...
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New York, NY
Edible/medicinal plants in Suffolk County, NY
Which types of edible/medicinal plants are available in Suffolk County (Long Island NY)? Is there a place I can find a list with information about what they look like, where they can be found and what...
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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
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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