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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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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.

Questions From Near You

Pikeville, KY
Arrows and Hunting Dogs in Kentucky
Mr. Smarty Plants--Is it normal for our arrowwood viburnum to give off a musky odour in the late fall? The smell reminds me of a wet hunting dog.
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Jenkins, KY
Plant identification for vine in Kentucky
Need to know the name of a plant. It grows in Eastern KY, south WVA and West VA. It grows alone riverbanks and creeks. It is a weed, in the spring it has a white bloom and bees work it like crazy. ...
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Leburn, KY
Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
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Jeffrey, WV
Why is Mr. Smarty Plants website so useless?
Why is your site so useless?
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Bristol, TN
Questions about Catalpa bignonioides
We have a yard that is about 3/4 of an acre, and we have gotten rid of about 3/4 of the lawn and replaced it with native plantings. I am looking for a native tree to replace a tree that we had to rem...
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Bristol, TN
Need something to compete with Virginia wild rye in Bristol, TN.
I have been working for 4 years to convert a large area of sunny lawn (150' x 40') to a native woodland planting, using native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. Although I used seeds of a variety ...
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Bristol, TN
Choosing the right Coreopsis species for Tennessee
I live in Bristol Tennessee and have replaced most of my lawn with native plants. I have been trying to learn more about the Coreopsis genus. In TN, we have C. auriculata, grandiflora, lanceolata, m...
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Kingsport, TN
Support for Climbing Hydrangea
This past spring I planted a large climbing hydrangea at the base of a walnut tree which we have had to cut down this fall. The plant was very happy there and I'd like to keep it where it is but don...
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Kingsport, TN
Plants to replace poison ivy in Kingsport TN
Am in the process of killing off poison ivy that is growing vigorously. What do you recommend to plant in its place. I don't want to leave area open to other invasive plants. (Yes, poison ivy is a...
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Ashalnd, KY
Non-native Coleus canina, animal detererrent
I had purchased a plant about 4 years ago at Lowes that I planted in my flower gardens that was a pet deterrent. I cannot remember the name of that plant now? I have spoke to Lowes and others and I am...
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Eidson, TN
Trees blooming white in East Tennessee in April
What kind of tree is blooming now, 4\6\10 in the mountains of east TN. They have white blooms?
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Ironton, OH
Identification of vine in Ohio
We were in our school's back yard and we found a vine that has green leaves and has a purple stem and we were just trying to figure out what is was? Can you help us out with that!
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Nitro, WV
Tree with orange flower blooming in August in West Virginia
There is a tree with an orange flower in West Virginia. The orange is at the top of the tree and it blooms in August. I've searched your sight but cannot find it. Thanks!
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Charleston, WV
Decline in willow tree in West Virginia
I planted a willow tree about three years ago and it was progressing just beautifully with full leaves this spring in a nice green color. We staked it back about three weeks so it would grow straight...
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Charleston, WV
Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Charleston, WV.
Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in zone 6 and an looking for an evergreen privacy type hedge that grows no taller than 10'-12'. I am not interested in any boxwood type of hedge. The evergreens would be ...
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Charleston, WV
Erosion control in Charleston WV
I live in Charleston, WV and just purchased a home that has a hill side out back that has some erosion occurring. I was wondering what would be the best ground cover to plant in my area to control the...
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Charleston, WV
Pruning a mock orange in Charleston WV
How far back and when do I prune a "Mock Orange" in order to get it to bloom?
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Charleston, WV
Plant Identification
I found a purple berry-like plant in my back yard. It has no leaves, and it is about 5 or 6 inches tall. Do you know what it is called?
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charleston, WV
Silphium Perfoliatum Seeds
I am trying to identify which part of the seedhead is the actual seed of the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It is hard to find images. Some show the outer, larger, flat part of the seedhead which ...
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Princeton, WV
Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
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Johnson City, TN
Native flowers for a wedding in June in Tennessee
I am planning a June 6th wedding on our farm. The wedding is in our backyard. I have lots of containers and several beds. Our daughter wants pink, purple, white and blue flowers. I have a greenhouse...
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