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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 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

Newfane, NY
Plant ID from New York
I have a large leaf from a plant that my grandfather has. We live in Niagara county NY. The large leaf is green and has a red stem, growing on a stalk THICK like a sunflower, now has red or black berr...
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wilson, NY
Plants to hold a slope in Northern New York
I'm looking for native (South shore, Lake Ontario) plants to slow erosion on a steep, 20 foot bank. They don't have to be decorative (although flowering plants are always nice), but they should SPRE...
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Lyndonville, NY
Container native plants for New York area
I live near Lake Ontario (zip 14098). Would like to know what to plant in window boxes that have southern exposure and are in direct sun 4-6 hrs a day
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Knowlesville, NY
Possible identification of common mullein in New York
OK I have a monster size plant, growing beside my patio, looked weedlike similar to a burdock when young, but different and interesting. So we let it grow its now about 7'2" tall grows about 2-3" ...
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Williamsville, NY
Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
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Niagara Falls, NY
Red buckeye not blooming in NY
I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
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Niagara Falls, NY
Trailing snapdragon hanging basket has flowers that are turning brown.
Trailing snapdragon hanging basket in yellow, flowers are turning brown all over the plant. Why? I water every day as told & fertilized once in 3 weeks. It was so beautiful.
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Niagara Falls, NY
Burned leaves on trumpet vine, Campsis radicans
I have a trumpet vine, it is about 10 years old and I have never had any problems with it. This year I have noticed that the leaves on some of the branches are shriveling up, like it was burned with ...
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Tonawanda, NY
Non-native, invasive Arctium minus in New York
For as long as I can remember, my family has been picking and eating a wild plant which we and other Italian families call " cardoons". I've often heard to it referred to burdock but no one knows t...
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Greenfield Center, NY
Deer resistant evergreen shrubs for Saratoga Springs, NY
Deer resistant, evergreen shrubs for Saratoga Springs, NY.
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St.Catharines, ON
Conditions for wisteria bloom on Ontario, Canada
I live in Ontario Canada, and about 4 years ago I bought a shrub which was called wisteria. I loved this bush when I visited a cousin out in British Columbia. The problem is it has no trouble growing ...
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Buffalo, NY
Viability of Taxus canadensis (Canadian yew) for Buffalo, NY
I live in Buffalo, N.Y. and am gradually naturalizing my back yard. The previous owner built a 6' fence along the western edge of the yard and planted a straight line of arborvitae, which are now abo...
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Buffalo, NY
Plant Identification
What is: square stalk perennial with bright yellow flowers at the top (mainly)? Starts growing first thing in spring, invades surrounding areas, puts out long serrated leaves along the 7-8 ft stalks....
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Buffalo, NY
Identification of shrub with pink catalpa-like flowers
Ironically, this plant is growing on a hill behind a nursery. We are all curious what it could be..I've done internet searches for 2 days. My best guess is that it's in the catalpa family, but it's...
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Buffalo, NY
Small ornamental tree in Buffalo, NY
Hi.. My family and I have recently moved from coastal North Carolina to Buffalo NY. We have chosen to live in south Buffalo and therefore have a small front yard. We are looking for the perfect tree...
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Buffalo, NY
Butterfly garden from Buffalo, NY
I'd like to replace the grass in my front yard with a native butterfly garden that will suit the larval and adult stages of butterflies in Western New York. The patch in question faces north and gets...
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West Seneca, NY
Sources for information on federally protected plants
There are plans to build an apartment complex on a beautiful parcel of land on Union Rd. in West Seneca, New York. Formerly this land was the home of Houghton College. I am wondering if ther...
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West Seneca, NY
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema sp.) blooms
My jack in the pulpit bloomed last year with the back of the spathe showing and the spadix facing away, similar to a child standing in a corner. I read on a site why this happens but now I can't find...
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West Seneca, NY
Backward blooming Jack-in-the-pulpit
why does my jack in the pulpit plant bloom backwards
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Vineland Station, ON
Inducing flowering out of season
We are currently conducting research on insect transmission of a plant virus to flowering weeds. Is there a process to trick biennials into flowering in their first year?
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Toronto, ON
Smarty Plants on seed harvesting
I am interested in learning more about harvesting native seeds. I manage a number of sites where restoration projects will involve planting, and we would like to use native seed stocks. Could you te...
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