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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 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

Frederick, MD
Replacement of lawn with native grasses in Maryland
I live in west central Maryland within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. My soil is heavy clay and nutrient deficient. I have/am planting native flower beds and a vegetable garden in an effort to reduce...
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Middletown, MD
Eliminating crabgrass in Middletown MO
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having trouble with my lawn, specifically with the crabgrass in it. It now covers over 1/3 of it. I started using corn gluten meal this year, with limited tangible succ...
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Burkittsville, MD
Vines to Cover Brush Pile in Maryland
We have a large brush pile on our property that we'd intended to burn, but it is big enough now that it would require the help of the fire department! I'm thinking I'd like to cover it with native ...
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Lovettsville, VA
Plants for bird garden in Virginia
I am expanding on a bird attracting garden and would like to know what plants to plant. It is a shade to partial sun area, in an approx. 9' circle, both small shrubs and flowers would be nice.
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Harpers Ferry, WV
Erosion preventing plants for West Virginia
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and I've got a hillside that's too steep to mow. I'd like to put in plants that other than weeding and regular tending, will...
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Harpers Ferry, WV
Erosion control for steep slope in West Virginia
I live in Zone 6 (Eastern Panhandle of WV). I have a rocky, claylike steep slope (30-40% grade, about 50 feet wide and 20 feet long, it sits in the afternoon sun). So I need to plant erosion-control p...
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Poolesville, MD
Native plant nursery
I want to grow wildflower starts for tough-to-grow plants for retail and commercial sale. And I prefer organic, but, jeez, one step at a time. Any guidance on the ins and outs of this business? D...
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Waterford, VA
Deer and rabbit repelling plants at nature sanctuary in Waterford VA
We have established a native pollinator garden at our nature sanctuary. Last summer deer and perhaps rabbits devastated it. Now people are proposing surrounding it with boxwood which deer don't like-...
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Laytonsville, MD
Plants to filter dust from a road in MD
I live in MD next to a dirt/gravel access road. I would like to plant something along my property line to block the clouds of dust we regularly get from cars and dirt bikes. Is there something fast ...
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Taneytown, MD
My weeping willow is not doing well - Taneytown, MD
I have a weeping willow tree. It is in a very wet place, soil gets plenty of water, but the bark on the tree is raising up and blistering up. The leaves are very sparse on it this year. I can't se...
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Shepherdstown, WV
Mites in soil of house plants
Hi there! I recently noticed tiny silver mites in the soil of my plants that I only notice after watering. These plants are indoors in on a window ledge (a dwarf palm, aloe plant and Hawaiian Scheffle...
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Gaithersburg, MD
Looking for a source for Atlantic pigeonwings (Clitoria mariana)
I hope you can help me a little. I'm trying to find a way to get Clitoria mariana (Atlantic pigeonwings) in my garden, but can't find a seed source anywhere. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks...
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Leesburg, VA
Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Late last year I planted a trumpet creeper vine to grow on my fence and attract hummingbirds. It gets full sun, is in average soil and gets adequate water. I put a few daylilli...
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hagerstown, MD
Care of non-native house plant, probably Coleus
What would cause the new leaves of a house plant to be solid green? When I bought it, the original leaves were almost like a "tie-dye" fabric (green,yellow,orange, and red).
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North Potomac, MD
Deer resistant plants for MD
My home backs to the Muddy Branch Creek parkland,which is suffering greatly from a large deer population. Many of the plants that existed in the woods when we purchased our home (1986), such as mayap...
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Westminster, MD
Should non-native invasive Wisteria be planted near well and septic system?
I was told not to plant my Wisteria vine near my septic or well because the root will get into it and cause me many problems. Is this true?
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Westminster, MD
Control of Paulownia tomentosa from Westminster MD
I have heard that there is a type of herbicide that is to be applied to slashes made in the outer layer of invasive trees such as Paulownia. This type of application is reputed to prevent the little ...
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Purcellville, VA
Plant Identification
I recently found a GIANT green seed pod around my small town in Northern Virginia. It's about 1 ft. 3 in. in diameter (15 in.) and its making me very curious as to what exactly it is. For the life of...
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Olney, MD
Endangered plants of Maryland
My high school would like to plant endangered plant species of Maryland in our wetlands, but we do not know where we can acquire these plants. Do you know of a place where we could buy endangered plan...
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Charles Town, WV
Horses exposed to toxic plants in Charles Town WV
Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a big problem on my hands! Four of my horses have gotten into something toxic, but I must find out what. I found an unusual plant that a mare chased her foal away from. It's ...
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Fairfield, PA
Non-native, invasive mimosa trees
I have a mimosa tree. The blooms on mine are very pale while I see many other trees with bright blooms. Is there anyway to change the color of the blooms? For instance, is the color due to the PH o...
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