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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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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Allison Park, PA
Deer-resistant plants for a steep hillside in Allison Park PA
What do you recommend for a steep hillside, mostly shade and acidic? The deer have eaten everything except the weeds.
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Saxonburg , PA
Planting a meadow garden in Pennsylvania
I live in Saxonburg PA near Pittsburgh PA. I want to put a meadow garden in my back yard. We are building a home so there is no established yard yet just trees and weeds. Where do I start . What...
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Butler, PA
Low Groundcovers for Pennsylvania
Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a low growing grass or ground cover for an area that is between my neighbors horse fence and mine it is about 2 feet wide 30 ft long. It is impossible to mow and ...
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Butler, PA
First to Bloom in Western PA
What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom in Butler, PA?
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Butler, PA
Non-toxic, non-invasive native flowers for horses
Hi I have a couple areas in and bordering horse pastures that I would like to plant with native flowers. I can find lists of toxic flowers but not non toxic native ones. Id like non -toxic non-invas...
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Butler, PA
Privacy screen shrubs for Butler PA
Here is what I want in a bush: native to Western Pa.(Southern Butler County), appropriate for a horse pasture,fast growing, not too aggressive (I will mow around it regularly and can prune occasionall...
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Tarentum , PA
Indoor lantana tree dropping leaves
I purchased a lantana tree,a lantana hybrid that is only tolerant to 32 degrees. We are zone 5 so I brought it indoors and it only gets the morning sun, and 85%of the leaves have fallen off. The leav...
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Moon Twp, PA
Plants to hold a slope in Western PA
We have a hillside that keeps moving/sliding due to lack of vegetation. What kind of ground covering can we plant to help maintain and stabilize the hillside? If you need to know the climate here, we...
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Freeport, PA
When the bluebonnets bloom
Can you tell me when the bluebonnets are in bloom?
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Freeport, PA
Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
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Pittsburgh , PA
Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA
I have a similar question to one from SC. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We have a steep slope behind a newly built in pool. What type of plants can I put on the hillside to hold the soil. It gets a ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plants for erosion control in Pittsburgh, PA
I have a terraced high side lot(front of house). I currently have Yuccas growing, but they are too invasive. Can you suggest plants, shrubs, or ground covers that are not as invasive and will still ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. Wha...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
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pittsburgh, PA
Planting for parrots
I have 2 parrots, a sun conure and a nanday conure, and I would like to find some plants to put in their aviary room that are safe for parrots. Can you help me with this question?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plant identification
My son has some kind of plants, weeds, or ground cover in his yard that smell like spicy meat. When the wind blows the right way it smells like he's been grilling kolbasi on his deck/in his house. ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Source for a soapberry in Pittsburgh PA
Flower box Where can I buy a soapberry tree in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Propagating trees in Pennsylvania
I have been wanting to plant trees at our family camp for quite a few years now to help provide food for the wildlife during in preparation for the cold winters. As a college student, however, both f...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Leaves on maple turning red in June in Pittsburgh PA
We live in PA and have a medium sized maple tree in our back yard. It is not a red maple. This year, in June, the very top of the tree's foliage turned bright red. This bright red started at the t...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Deer resistant plants for campground in West Virginia
We spend the summers at a campground as permanent campers. We fix up our sites to be a pleasure to spend our time smelling and see the wild life come and perch around the area. We would like to know...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? I...
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