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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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Cedar Grove, NJ
Fast growing, flowering shade tree for Austin
Sister just moved to Austin Texas. She is looking for fast growing shade trees, preferably one with nice flowers. Any suggestions?
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TOTOWA, NJ
Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
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Nutley, NJ
Boom time for Texas wildflowers and best sites for viewing
I live in NJ and would like to visit Texas and see the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in bloom this spring. When do you expect the best display of flowers this year? Also, can you tell me where th...
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West Orange, NJ
Plant identification
I walk in a wooded area. There is a plant with large spade like leaves.It grow to about 4 to 6 ft. In other areas it has grown almost tree-like with green sticky nuts or seeds. I believe it had purple...
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Wayne, NJ
Hiring a landscaper in New Jersey
Soon I will be hiring a landscaper to plant a privacy line of arborvitaes with a 1' retention wall and I need some help on prices. The quote I was given, which included 48 arborvitaes (and I will ac...
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Livingston, NJ
Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
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East Hanover, NJ
Source for Dryopteris Filix-max Rhizomes in East Hanover NJ
We are in search for 100kg Dryopteris Filix-mas (Male Fern) Rhizomes to extract oil Kindly send your offer
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Fair Lawn, NJ
Smarty Plants on basketplant
I want to buy a basketplant (Callisia fragrans). Do you know where can I buy it?
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Fair Lawn, NJ
Correct spelling of Passiflora caerulea
What is correct, passiflora coerulea or caerulea ?
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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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paramus, NJ
Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
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Parsippany, NJ
Deer resistant plants for a bioswale in NJ
We live in Morris County, New Jersey, on the edge of a nature preserve, i.e., deer are a bane to everything we plant. We recently had to have a swale dug on the west end of our house to deal alleviat...
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Franklin Lakes, NJ
Eliminating dogbane from transplanted milkweed in Franklin Lakes NJ
We transplanted milkweed from the wild into our garden. Included in the clump of milkweed was dogbane. We weren't aware of how invasive dogbane is. We've has some success in digging it out but we'...
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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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Hoboken, NJ
Smarty Plants on wildflower collecting
Is wildflower collecting a good school activity?
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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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New Providence, NJ
Evergreen shrubs for New Jersey
Need suggestions for Zone 6; Up to 2-3'H compact; evergreen foundation plants; deer resistant; sunny-partial shade; clay soil conditions. Appreciate your input.
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Saddle River, NJ
Plant identification
Deer are devastating understory in our woods. We have a highly resistant shrub purchased years ago at the state arboretum plant sale. It is about 5-6' tall, somewhat wider than that, many suckers/o...
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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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NYC, NY
Need help with yucca palm in New York City, NY.
I have had my yucca palm plant for almost 10 years. The bark has started to peel off although leaves seem fine. The second smaller separate yucca plant has half its bark and trunk gone. I can't see a...
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NYC, NY
Container plants for terrace in New York City
What flowering plants would you recommend that will grow well on a 16th floor terrace ,with all day sun in NYC?
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