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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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Questions From Near You

Jasper, NY
Plant identification
Every spring I see these very unique white flowers that grow along the edge of wooded areas. I live in upstate NY. These flowers have some reddish tint to the stem and leaves. The blooms are all si...
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Arkport, NY
Plant identification
I have searched through all the plant identifications and can not find the one I am looking for. I live 6o miles South of Rochester, NY. In my woods, I found 2 plants, that are no where else in the ...
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Conesus, NY
Identification of plant with purple leaves and yellow flowers
I'd like to know the name of a plant that has purplish leaves and sends roots out underground to make new plants. It can be invasive. It has yellow flowers. Leaves are oval in shape. Almost looks lik...
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Canton, PA
Native plants for erosion control in sun in Canton PA
We just cleared a bank and need native plants and shrubs to grow for erosion control. Much sun. Thank you.
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Sayre, PA
Plant identification
I live in NE PA and have two plants that are growing under our pine tree. One has 2 leaves and and looks a lot like lily of the valley and the other has 6-10 leaves with white berries on the end. I wa...
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Ithaca, NY
Southwest US Winter-flowering Hummer Plants.
Are there winter-flowering plants native to the American Southwest that are used as a food source by hummingbirds? I am a scientific illustrator working on an identification guide to common North Amer...
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Ithaca, NY
Small tree to plant with high bush blueberry plants
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have four wonderful new highbush blueberry plants. I like to plant a native tree nearby to accent them, but cannot find a suitable one. I'd like a tree that is not going ...
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Bradford, PA
Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
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Williamsport, PA
Edibility of Washington Hawthorn berries from Williamsport PA
Please tell me if Washington Hawthorn berries and leaves are edible and if so, how to prepare them. Thank you!
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Williamsport, PA
Edible plants in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Hi again! Thanks for answering my one question. I have another though. Do you know of any edible plants with no nasty side effects ( like stomach aches or being nauseous) that grow in Lycoming County ...
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Colden, NY
Native alternatives for non-natives
Is there a way to search this website using an invasive plant species to get a list of native plant alternatives? ie. search Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese Silvergrass) and get the native alternative Sa...
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St. Marys, , PA
Are hollies toxic?
Can I use holly from my landscaping to decorate food at Christmas?
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Rochester , NY
Propagating a magnolia by cuttings in Rochester, NY
How can I start a magnolia snip from my already existing tree, to grow another one from it, like a starter to pass on to someone?
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Rochester, NY
Identification of plant that looks like a spider plant
Okay Mr. Smarty Pants, I have an identification for you. I have no pictures, but I've been staring at this plant for weeks trying to figure out what it is. I got it as a cutting from a friend who got...
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Rochester, NY
Vegetables for sustainable garden in Rochester NY
I have decided to start growing a small sustainable garden. Therefore I have decided to plant mostly North American native greens and vegetables. I live in upstate New York and so the plants designed ...
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Rochester, NY
Bug repelling plants from Rochester NY
I live in Western NY (zone 6?) and have a shady area where I hang my swing, but it's so buggy under the tree I can't use it! The soil is very dry, rocky. Is there a plant/shrub that I can grow the...
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Rochester, NY
Failure to bloom of 4-year-old redbud in Rochester, NY
I planted a redbud four years ago and it still hasn't flowered - it does get the lovely leaves. When I planted it it was only an 18 inch stick. How long before it will bloom or is something wrong?
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Rochester, NY
Endangered species of trillium on disturbed soil in New York
Hello, I live in Rochester New York, near a gully/ravine by woodland. Quite a gem. Anyway here's my question and concern. In the past 35 years there have been trillium in small "pockets" or sing...
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Rochester, NY
Shrubs for a fenceline in NY
Need to replace shrubs along a fence. Currently have Honeysuckle and they are very old. Would like to have something different with more color & interest during winter months. The line of shrubs are h...
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Rochester, NY
Two-leafed trilliums
Turns out our 2 leafed plant IS a trillium..I saw that another person from our town also asked about trilliums..we are happy to have them, but it is confusing when the third upper leaf is absent or ve...
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Rochester, NY
Bare feet-friendly native groundcovers for New York
We own land at elevation 1600', near Sherburn, NY. We want to walk barefoot around the tipi area, but don't want to plant grass (mowing grass). What native ground cover would be kind to bare feet ...
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