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

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Stroh, IN
Looking for the identification of spice or cinnamon bush
My grandmother had a flowering bush that had little yellow flowers on it and smelled like cinnamon to me. She called it a spice bush. Could you help me name that bush?
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Kendallville, IN
Non-native mint invading flower beds in Kendallville IN
A few years back we were given two sprouts of something referred to as peppermint tea. We planted in our flower bed and now it has taken over. It seems to start slow in the spring but doesn't take lo...
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Angola, IN
Poisonous cherries from trees in Angola, IN
Are there any poisonous cherries from trees in Indiana?
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Lagrange, IN
Fall Planting Colorado Blue Spruce in Indiana.
I live in Northern Indiana, and I want to plant a couple of Colorado Blue Spruces that are 3-6 feet in height and Balled and Burlapped. Is it okay to plant them this time of year?
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Auburn, IN
Determining distance of trees from paving in NE Indiana
I'd like to plant 3 types of trees (Catalpa speciosa- Northern Catalpa; Juglans cinerea - Tulip Tree; and Acer saccharum - Sugar Maple) next to sidewalks and driveways, but need to know if they have ...
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Three Rivers, MI
Plant identification in Michigan
We are trying to identify a plant in our yard. It is seven inches tall in May, grows to about knee high, has red leaves, flowers in late June, early July. The flower is light pink. It is a perennia...
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Three Rivers, MI
Watering Houseplants with Soapy Water
I accidentally watered my house plants with a container that had a some dishsoap in it. Will they be okay? One of the plants is a 20yr old cactus, with small roots.
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Fort Wayne, IN
Will a Honeysuckle Shrub Damage a House Foundation?
I'm thinking about buying a honeysuckle bush. I would like to plant it close to my house. Can the roots of this bush cause any damage to the foundation to the house?
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Hillsdale, MI
Identification of thorny plant in Michigan
i live in southern michigan and have a thorny plant with oval leaves growing in my flower beds. this used to be a grassy area how did it get there. i live on the edge of town. what plants in my area h...
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Elkhart, IN
Texas Sage in Indiana
I was living in Texas and now I have moved to Indiana. I would love to have some Texas Sage here. is it possible?
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Elkhart, IN
Culture of Polytaenia nuttallii, Prairie Parsley
Polytaenia nuttallii is listed at the Wildflower Center as a biennial. PLANTS database lists it as a perennial. Please clear this up if you can. If I plant this at home with tomato plants will it...
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Elkhart, IN
Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?
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Elkhart, IN
Colorful plants for window boxes in Indiana
I want to find plants with lots of color that will fill two window boxes and trail out of the boxes and look full and nice throughout the summer. I live in Northern Indiana and the window faces south...
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Warsaw, IN
Native wildflowers for Northern Indiana
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was wondering how I could find out w...
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Roanoke, IN
Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
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Monroeville, IN
Grasses in Allen County, Indiana
Do you have images of Northeast Allen County, Indiana grass specimens with i.d.? I am a student teacher and am putting together a nature hunt list for my students. Thank-you,
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PORTAGE, MI
Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?
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Edwardsburg, MI
Non-native fountain grass for Edwardsburg MI
I purchased a purple fountain grass by a vendor @ the Plymouth, IN blueberry festival. He told me that it is a perennial. I live in Edwardsburg, MI and I keep reading that in my area, they are consi...
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Edwardsburg, MI
Plant identification
My brother in law just bought a parcel of land that is bespeckled with shrubs we cannot identify. The land is located in south west Michigan. It is zoned agricultural. Due to the fact that it is ea...
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Edwardsburg, MI
Smarty Plants on wisteria
A friend has a wisteria bush in his yard that was planted around 1950 by his mother. It has yellow blossoms. He has been told many times by people passing by (they stop to look at the plant) that the...
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Battle Creek, MI
Orange/yellow fungus on a dead oak
I have a large dead oak tree which has an orange/yellow fungus growing at the base and also high on a spot where a branch had broken off. I've read a couple of things from the internet about this fun...
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