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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

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

Mt. Pleasant, MI
Plant identification
6 2 ft. spikes appeared in an infertile part of my garden. They have a huge quantity of very tiny ochid-like flowers, mostly white with pink tinge. I took it to the master gardeners here and no one co...
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Mt Pleasant, MI
Dogwood under a black walnut in Mt.Pleasant MI
Can I grow red or yellow twigged dogwood near a black walnut?
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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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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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Canadian Lakes, MI
Deer-resistant native plants for Michigan
I am looking for a deer-resistant ground cover for a mid-to-northern Michigan (lower peninsula), which can grow in completely sandy soil. Thanks for any advice.
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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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Paris, MI
A list of bloom times for wildflowers in Michigan
Hello, I am new to bee keeping and live in central Michigan. Can you tell me or do you know where I could find a list of the Michigan wild flower bloom times? This would be very helpful to me. Than...
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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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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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Owosso, MI
Propagation of trumpet vine
We have a trumpet vine growing in our yard and a friend wants to grow one in her yard. Can we dry the seed pod out and use it to start a plant for next spring?
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Newaygo, MI
Finding plants to thrive under white pines in Newaygo, MI
Would you please explain why plants do not grow or grow well under white pines or other evergreens? Are there any ground covers that would thrive under a white pine?
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Grant, MI
Smarty Plants on pruning Clematis
I would like to know about pruning clematis. The one I have is getting very large. Should I cut it back, and if so, in the Spring or Fall? I live in Michigan. Thank you.
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Lake Odessa, MI
Identity of a plant with yellow flowers in Michigan.
Would you know what this perennial is? The plant has a reddish colored stem, the leaves are long and narrow, approx 31/2 inches long, and 1/2 to 3/4 inch across. The buds are long approx 2 inches, a...
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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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Lansing, MI
Native plants for under a black walnut from Lansing MI
What native plants can you recommend that will grow in Michigan under a mature black walnut tree?
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Lansing, MI
Keeping deer away from non-native plants in Lansing MI
What is the real - best way to keep deer from eating my Hostas, Garden phlox and lilies? Ive tried the stinky spray and the fertilizer granules that deter, to no avail.
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Lansing, MI
Propagation of Jack in the Pulpit in Lansing MI
I just received some Jack in The Pulpit corms. Which way is up; does the pointy thing go up or down? Thank you.
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Lansing, MI
Topmost leaves on yucca are brown
I live in the Lansing, Michigan area, in the lower peninsula and have a couple yuccas whose topmost leaves are brown emerging from winter. Do I prune those, or has the plant died? Thank you.
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Lansing, MI
Need to identify a fungus in a flower garden in Lansinging, MI.
I have a fungus in my flower garden. It is white and ground hugging. It is in a moist area under a large spruce where mulch has been laid down. When I step on it , it expels a green dust. What is it a...
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Lansing, MI
Where to find non-native Thymus praecox coccineus
Do you know where in Lansing, MI I could buy the Walk On Me plants?
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Grand Rapids , MI
Can a madrone be used as a house plant from Grand Rapids MI
Can a madrone tree be used as a house plant in Michigan? It is about 10" tall in a gal pot. Can a couple of trees be planted together to become one larger house plant? it's currently in a clay mix.
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