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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

Cherry Hill , NJ
Mystery plant in New Jersey
We are trying to find the name of a shrub, growing in Southern New Jersey. with red berries that grow in a group much like lilac or oak leaf hydrangea. It is "feathery", not dense. A neighbor dug u...
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Collingswood, NJ
Shrubby options for a bird lover in New Jersey
Could you please recommend a native shrub to NJ that grows to about 3-4 feet, is very low maintenance, does well in afternoon sun and is also something the birds will like? Thank you.
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Haddonfield, NJ
Beautyberries not poisonous to cats and dogs from Haddonfield NJ
Are beauty berry plants poisonous to cats/dogs? Would like to use branches w/berries and leaves as indoor decorations.
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Is crape myrtle deer resistant
Is Crape Myrtle deer resistant?
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Audubon, NJ
Roots in foundation of home in Audubon NJ
I live in an old house (almost 90 years old), and within the past year I have noticed in one area the concrete basement floor breaking. Today I finally made time to investigate. In these old houses ...
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Moorestown, NJ
Information on creating and maintaining a meadow
Would you please share information about creating and maintaining a meadow?
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Moorestown, NJ
ID of plant from florist in Moorestown NJ
I recently purchased a cut stem from the local florist for an autumn flower arrangement. The leaves are very, very small and bamboo-like in looks. They are not oval and are 1/8 inches long. The bra...
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Mt Laurel, NJ
Small trees for NJ shore
Hello! What's a good native shrub or small tree to feature in my front yard in Brigantine, NJ, on the Jersey shore. Sunny site, dry, sandy soil. The yard is very small. I'm trying to design a l...
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Voorhees, NJ
Buds disappearing from magnolia in New Jersey
I live in New Jersey.I planted my 5.gal Vulcan magnolia in December. It came with 4 big buds and 3 small buds.I planted in good location where it gets lots of sun. The tree is well settled and looked ...
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Glendora, NJ
Seeds native to New Jersey from Glendora NJ
My sister is getting married and would like to send out native wildflower seeds to the guests in her save the dates. We want these seeds to be NJ native seeds, but we are actually having some trouble ...
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Philadelphia, PA
Best time to plant wetland plants in NY
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants - I'm working on a fresh water, shoreline wetland creation project in New York State. I've created two zones of native wetland plantings, an emergent shallow marsh zone ...
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Philadelphia, PA
Problems with Blackeyed Susans in Philadelphia
For 8 years I successfully grew Black Eyed Susans in a fairly large area in my garden. For the last two years,almost immediately upon pushing through the ground they develop black spots and then appe...
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Philadelphia, PA
Care of non-native, hybrid petunias
I have a beautiful Petunia Tiny Tunia Violet plant which has been flowering nicely (in sun and shade environment). Suddenly, a few days ago, it began to look like it's dying--stalks all dried out. Is...
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Philadelphia, PA
Water seepage problems in basement in Philadelphia
I am interested in stopping/limiting water seepage into my basement by placing water absorbing ground plants along one or both sides. The grass we planted when home was new in July 2007 has taken on o...
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Philadelphia, PA
Care of native black-eyed susans after blooming
What is the best way to take care of black-eyed susans once they have lost their blooms? Am I supposed to cut them down to the base, or just let them die out naturally. Also, they all have a white re...
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Philadelphia, PA
Identifying tiny plant from Philadelphia PA
I would like help identifying a tiny plant. I tried using using the plant identification page, but I don't know enough about this plant and plant terminology to use it. I would like to send you som...
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Philadelphia, PA
Wildflowers for a slope in PA
I've got a steep southeast-facing slope near the house that is mostly overrun with day lilies. It gets plenty of morning sun. I've had some luck with goldenrod and New England aster along the steps ...
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Philadelphia, PA
Lists of edible plants in region of Pennsylvania for school project
Please Help! I'm a grade four teacher in Philadelphia. My students and I are assigned a theme project that involves listing edible plants that grow in our region. Can you recommend a web site(s)...
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Philadelphia, PA
Smarty Plants on temperature
Mr.Smarty Plants, I am a student at Hill Freedman Middle school and I have a science fair coming up. I really need a answer to this question "What effect does temperature have on the growth of plants...
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Philadelphia, PA
Trimming of Aster ericoides in Philadelphia
Should I cut back my Aster ericoides, ‘schneegitter’ in the spring?
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Philadelphia, PA
Copper beech
Hi, I work for a youth camp in southeastern Pennsylvania. The property for the camp was purchased from a farmer in 1958. The farmer was a collecter of unusual trees and one of the trees on our prop...
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