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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

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
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
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
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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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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Rahway, NJ
Plants for shade in New Jersey
hi ,i live in rahway nj and i was wondering what are good plant and shrubs to plant for this area. we are doing all new landscaping and we have alot of shade areas. we like the ornamental grasses but ...
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Cranford, NJ
Identity of purple-leafed plant in formal garden in Quebec City
I saw a plant in a formal garden in Quebec City that was low growing with purple leaves and clusters of deep purple pods/seeds about the size of grapes.
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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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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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Brooklyn, NY
Smarty Plants on air purification
What plant purifies the air?
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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
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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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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