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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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Port Austin, MI
Madrones in Michigan?
Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".
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Harrisville, MI
Planting under Walnut Trees in Harrisville, MI.
I have 2 50+ yr old Black Walnut trees in Northern Michigan (zone 4). I am planting a new bed (raised of course) and was considering adding a hydrangea. I am curious if this will thrive due to the jug...
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Mikado, MI
Possible identification of Physocarpus opulifolius
Can you please tell me what kind of tree has a maple leaf and a white snowball flower?The young and very small tree was already here when i bought my home,it stands only 7 feet tall with a 2 inch t...
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Rose City, MI
Identification of poisonous shrub native to Michigan
This is found throughout the northern portion of the LP and in the UP. It grows to 3' as a shrub. It's leaves twigs and flowers ARE POISONOUS! It blooms in the Spring and can be found in the sun and...
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Saginaw, MI
Identification of Cercis canadensis or Cornus florida
I have what I think is a dogwood tree of some sort but I'm not sure. I wondered if I sent you a picture you could identify it. So far no one has. It's different because of its branches. They are red...
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Saginaw, MI
Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
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Alpena, MI
Inadvisability of introducing American Beautyberry to Michigan
I recently brought back to Michigan from Florida 2 young beauty berry plants. I currently have them in a pot inside my home. They are growing quite well, and show a hearty appearance. What are th...
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Gladwin, MI
Plants for a pond bank in Gladwin MI
Our acre-size pond bank is sloped and high maintenance--needs mowed. We have lots of deer. We would like to plant a low-lying ground cover to eliminate mowing the bank--any suggestions?
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Beaverton , MI
Transplanting a Dutchman's pipe in Beaverton MI
When can I transplant a full grown dutchmans pipe plant? It is growing along side of the house and it needs a bigger place to grow. This is June and the plant is in full bloom full of pipes, but need...
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Midland, MI
Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
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Sarnia, ON
Plants for a sloped pond bank in SW Ontario
I'm looking for native (Southwestern Ontario, Canada) plants to slow erosion and provide a nice appearance on a mildly steep, 20 foot bank leading to a large pond. The bank faces west. And, are tree...
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Sarnia, ON
Pruning Bittersweet Vine
I am interested in learning how to prune my American bittersweet. The vine has enjoyed it's second summer in my backyard. I would like learn how to prune it, not only for size, but to help keep the...
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Flushing, MI
Fertilizing a Mature Mountain Ash
What kind of fertilizer should I use on a mountain ash tree that is 25 years old (or more)?
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Grand Blanc, MI
Screen and shade for pool in Michigan
We recently moved to a new home that has a pool. There is no shade nor privacy. What types of trees, plants would you recommend for our small backyard?
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Grand Blanc, MI
Identification of non-native wildflower
I am a painter and I need your help. When I was in Pecatonica, Illinois recently I saw a very beautiful blue colored wildflower. I was amazed by its beauty but didn't have a camera with me to take a ...
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Oxford, MI
Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
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Oxford, MI
Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
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Oxford, MI
Invasive spreading weed in Michigan that looks like a small pine tree
I have an invasive spreading weed in my gardens. It has black root system, comes up looking like a small pine tree. The green breaks off when you try to pull it.
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Ortonville, MI
Identification of plant responsible for thorns in dogs' fur
Do you know of a plant or bush that has very small, very thin triangle shaped thorn? My dogs have been coming in with these in their fur and I want to get rid of the plant/bush they are coming from.
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Romeo, MI
Deer Damage to Pencil Holly in Michigan
I have 5 sky pencil holly bushes that are about 3 feet tall each..they don't grow very fast. I was looking forward to them reaching the 7 feet mark one day, as they are going to serve as a screen be...
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Southampton, ON
Non-native gardenias in Southampton Ontario
I purchased 3 gardenias this year for the garden. Now I'm told that I can't leave them out all year round here in mid/western Ontario. Is this true, and if so, how do I keep them over the winter i...
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