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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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Questions From Near You

Washington, DC
Butterfly plants for Washington DC area
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am a teacher working with very young students to establish a wildlife garden. We received a donated butterfly bush of a smallish cultivar, but wondering if there is a native...
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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
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
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
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
Smarty Plants on invasive and exotic plant species
Where can I go to learn more about invasive and exotic plant species?
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Washington, DC
Native alternative for liriope
I am looking for native alternatives to liriope for use in sun to part shade, moderate moisture planting beds. Would prefer evergreen options.
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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
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
Source for Carex blanda in Washington DC
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, After reading your recommendations, Carex blanda seems to be a suitable evergreen native plant for a small pond island planter I am making for our small backyard turtle pond....
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Washington, DC
Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
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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
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
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
Smarty Plants on Invasive Plants
How many plants are invasive?
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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
Smarty Plants on Invasive Plants
How bad are invasive species?
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Washington, DC
Plants associated with Acer rubrum (Red maple)
What plants are commonly associated with Acer rubrum in its natural habitat?
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Washington, DC
What is pulling Indian Grass out of a park in Washington DC?
We are renovating a park in Washington, DC on the waterfront. We have planted Sorghastrum Nutans (Indian Grass). During the evening/overnight something is pulling the plants from the ground. It is onl...
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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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Washington, DC
Smarty Plants Exotic Species
What Makes an Exotic Species Invasive? (When is a Guest a Pest?)
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