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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

Kingsley, MI
Rooting house plants
Hello Mr SP: I've had Philodendron house plants (many) for years now, because they're easy to grow & that's about my style. Years ago I tried to grow a new plant from a cutting off of one, but it...
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Ellison Bay, WI
Native flowers for Door County, Wisconsin
We recently were required to put in a new septic system on our vacation property in Door County, WI. This left us with a clearing on our wooded lot where the septic field is now located. The installer...
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Covington, MI
Mystery shrub in Michigan
I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan and noticed a shrub in the woods that has large clusters of small red, what I would call berries on it. Can you give me some n...
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Sturgeon Bay, WI
Wilting of Mountain Ash in Wisconsin
What type of disease would cause a Mountain Ash to entirely wilt? The bark on bottom of tree is opening up and is spongy feeling. No sign of any disease until last month and it quickly wilted with b...
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Engadine, MI
Spots on bark of Mountain Ash from Engadine MI
I have a mountain ash that is about 5 years old & have just noticed white, patchy, scaly looking spots on the bark. Is this something to be concerned about???
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Sugar Camp,Rhinelander, WI
Willows native to Wisconsin
I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
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Maple City, MI
Deer-resistant shrubs for Michigan
I live in deer country. I'm looking for shrubs that are attractive to birds but not to deer. Our soil is sandy. I have a part sun, part-shade situation. I live in zone 6, two miles east of Lake Michi...
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Shawano, WI
Information about Rose Twisted-Stalk
Dear Mr.(?) Smarty Plants- I LOVE your name! I cannot find the plant I'm looking to identify in your collection. I saw it in a wildflower book as: Rose Twisted-Stalk. Sprin...
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Rhinelander, WI
Plants for a shady hillside in WI
I would like to know what kind of plants I could plant on a northern exposure hillside to stop erosion. At the bottom of the hill is a lake. Also would putting rocks from the area as natural retaining...
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Traverse City, MI
Care for non-native hybrid hydrangea from Traverse City, MI
We just planted some new Hydrangea (Summer Beauty) that we bought at a local nursery. The plants are about 3' tall with blooms on the stalks. The blooms appear to be top-heavy as most all the stalks ...
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Elk Rapids, MI
Ground cover for roadside in Elk Rapids MI
Elk Rapids, MI (Lake Michigan, East Grand Traverse Bay) Greetings – We are looking for a native ground cover that will cover an area along a roadside, about 100 feet from the Lake Michigan shorelin...
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Kewadin, MI
Deer resistant low-lying plants for Michigan
I want to create a bed of low lying plants (under 4 ft.)in the front of my cottage. The soil is completely sandy and gets eastern sun in the AM. There are many deer in the area.
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Black Creek, WI
Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
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Grawn, MI
Invasive Indian paintbrushes in Grawn MI
I have lots of Indian paintbrushes crowding my lawn and taking over the grass..what kills it without killing the grass?
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Woodruff, WI
Fall blooming native Texas wildflowers
Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm a writer working on a historical set in TX in 1821 in the fall. My characters travel from the piney woods in east TX to the South Plain around San Antonio in Sept and e...
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Saint Ignace, MI
Availability of Michigan Holly berries in Northern Michigan
I live in Northern Michigan, and am new in the wreath making business. Last year I found Michigan Holly berries and used them for my wreaths. They have the most beautiful berries I have ever seen, a...
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Rapid City, MI
Invasive, non-native Cirsium arvense in Michigan
I have identified that I have growing abundantly "Canada Thistle";the noxious and invasive. I know this to be true because where it grows nothing else grows; not even the native weeds. I want to get...
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TWO RIVERS, WI
Locating toxic, non-native, invasive Castor Bean seeds
Where do I find castor bean seeds? Thank you.
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Little Chute, WI
Native trees or shrubs for containers on roof in Wisconsin
Looking for native trees/shrubs to be planted in containers on a flat roof w/south-southeast exposure. Gets pretty warm in the summer and pretty cold in the winter. How big would the container have to...
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Manistee, MI
Effectiveness of house plants for removing household air pollution
I have heard that there is a combination of house plants that will increase the oxgyen in your home. Could you please tell me the names of these plants? I think there are a group of four of them. ...
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Appleton, WI
Effect on taste of honey from pollen gathered by honeybees in Appleton WI
in the flower box.. We are planting perennial or self-planting annuals on our fields and open areas to feed honey bees for our apiary. We found a source and then lost it telling what effect these wil...
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