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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Questions From Near You

Washington, DC
Chickasaw Plum suckering potential in Washington DC area
I have planted some chickasaw plums around the border of my property. My property is surrounded by a wooded area, which then opens into a golfcourse. Is there a chance that my chickasaw plums would...
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Washington, DC
Vine for Patio Wall in D.C.
I have a concrete patio wall 4 feet tall and 9 feet long in Washington, D.C. The wall runs east to west and there is a patio above it. I am looking for vines to cover it so that I would not have to lo...
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Washington, DC
Shrubs for a screen in DC
Live in Washington DC vicinity (zones: 7-8). Looking for hardy shrubs to screen a 47 foot long picket fence and provide barrier to neighbor. It is western exposure with sun light. Ideally evergreen, d...
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Washington, DC
Smarty Plants Exotic Species
What is an Exotic Species?
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Washington, DC
Smarty Plants Exotic Species
What Makes an Exotic Species Invasive? (When is a Guest a Pest?)
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Washington, DC
Replacing Nandina with natives for a schoolyard in Washington DC
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our schoolyard now has some invasive plants in the landscaping that we would like to replace with native plants. We have four clumps of Nandina planted at each pillar along a...
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Washington, DC
Broad leaved evergreens for DC
We are looking for a flowering evergreen shrub, native to the mid-Atlantic, that grows in part shade but will tolerate full sun. We have been researching rhododendrons and azaleas but are concerned a...
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Washington, DC
Need suggestions for alternatives for Crape Myrtle in Washington, DC.
What can you recommend as native alternatives to the shorter (garden-sized) crape myrtle cultivars?
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Washington, DC
Self-watering planters
I'm a big proponent of the EarthBox (tm) phenomenon - that is, so-called "self-watering" or sub-irrigation planters where a separate but connected reservoir underneath the soil in the planter is fi...
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Washington, DC
Butterfly Plants for D.C. Garden
I have one half of the side of the house face NE and the other half faces NW. The front of the house faces east. The back of the house faces west which is woody with native trees of Rock Creek Park of...
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Washington, DC
Shrubs for planting under hollies in DC
I would like shrub suggestions for planting under holly trees. I live in Washington, DC and have 2 very well-established large holly trees (2 story tall trees) in the front of our house, facing north...
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Washington, DC
Flower sucession for Washington DC
Interplanting to cover up spring ephemerals. When bulbs/spring ephemerals (camassia, bluebells, etc.) are dying back, their wilting leaves don't look so great. What can I plant to minimize the me...
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Washington, DC
Rain garden plants for DC
Please recommend deep-rooted, native, perennial plants, 1-3 feet high, for an area that is moist and gets approximately 3 hours of day of afternoon sun. During rain storms this garden is in a low area...
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Washington, DC
Ground cover for steep slope in Washington DC
We have a steep slope in our garden in Washington DC which has sun from noon to sun set. Could you please recommend some low maintenance plants which would be a good ground cover and limit erosion?
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Washington, DC
Source of seeds or plants for 5 regions of Virginia
I am a teacher and am planning a lesson about regional plants of Virginia. I would like to create a type of planter where we can plant seeds from each of the 5 regions in Virginia (Appalachian Platea...
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Washington, DC
Plants for small shady area with clay soil
Many people have space between the sidewalk and the street in front of their homes. In that space in front of our house is a growing maple that provides a lot of shade. The space is very dry, with...
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Washington, DC
Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
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Washington, DC
Low Shrubs for Under First Floor Windows in DC
I'm in search of bushes to plant under the first floor windows of an apartment building I manage. I'm interested in both deterring intruders and in making the grounds more attractive. Any suggestion...
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Washington, DC
Native plants for pots for wedding in November
Will any of the plants that are in your big plant sale be flowering in November? I am looking for plants that would do well in pots because I'd like to use them as center pieces at a wedding (in Aus...
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Washington, DC
Problems with new transplant non-native weeping willow from Washington DC
I replanted a very young BABY weeping willow tree and now it looks as if the leaves are drying up like it is dying. I know that it could also be in shock from the new transplant or it can be dying ...
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Washington, DC
plants for a green roof
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have a small, homemade green roof with a 4" medium on our sunroom, which faces south, however, a portion is partially shaded a Sweet Gum tree. Native Iris cristata, phlox...
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