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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Lawrenceburg, TN
Plants around swimming pool
What kind of plants can I plant around my swimming pool and will not be harmed by the chemicals of the pool?
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Minor Hill, TN
Identification of a vine in Tennessee
I have a beautiful vine with clusters approximately 70 feet All the way up a tree in a heavily wooded area. It seems to be evergreen or semi- evergreen. Can you help identify?
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Giles County, TN
Plant identification of vine in Tennessee
I have this vine that grows in my backyard and on the vine there are green balls about half the size of a hedge apple and inside balls are a bunch of seeds. The deer love to eat these. Do you know wha...
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Culleoka, TN
Juniper-apple rust galls
I have Red Cedar trees in my yard. I have just noticed something that looks like a reddish brown squid-like bloom about the size of a small orange. Is this normal or is it a fungus?
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Wayne County, TN
Plants for green roofs in Wayne County TN
Are any of the plants recommended for green roofs more subject to fire during drought conditions? Our application will be on a rustic wood cabin, thus the importance of safety from fire.
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Killen, AL
Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
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Columbia, TN
Small tree for yard in Columbia TN
I have a somewhat small yard but the construction workers put a water and sewer drain in the middle of my yard. The sewer main is located on the far side of my property my width of yard is 60 feet wid...
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Columbia, TN
Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
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Lewisburg, TN
Plant identification
I have a 50 ft tree in my front forest apartment in Lewisburg, TN garden, that is blooming white cluster flowers. They are slightly fragrant. I thought Carolina silverbell but they have NO yellow stam...
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Florence, AL
Plant called Jesus in a Manger from Florence AL
Where can I find a plant called "Jesus in a Manger"?
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Centerville, TN
Plant identification
My daughter is working on a wildflower collection for her Biology class, we have found a flower, that, for appearances sake, is identified in books as Selfheal. This flower is taller than pictures we...
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Spring Hill, TN
Source for dwarf red mulberry from Spring Hill TN
Hello: Where can I buy a dwarf red mulberry tree in the USA? Thanks
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Fayetteville, TN
Controlling seeding of non- native, invasive Paulownia from Fayetteville TN
My husband planted a Paulownia tree against my advice about eight years ago. This summer it has huge seed pods. How do I keep the seeds from invading the wooded area of our property?
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Bon Aqua , TN
Need Plant Identification from Bon Aqua, Tennessee?
By a creek, I found a plant that I have never seen in my life. It has a tall stalk and has leaves like a weed or grass, and the flower looks like a pine tree. The plant looks like a mix of a grass, a...
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Austin, TX
Problems with non-native privet in Austin
My 2 privet shrubs/bushes facing the east in a shady area seem to be have less leaves and dead flowers, while across a walk way that 1 privet shrub/bush has lots of green leaves with lots of dying flo...
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Savannah, TN
Identification of plant from Tennessee
I was trying to find the identity of a plant my Grandmother grew around her house in West Tennessee. It was a nonflowering plant, about 12-24 in tall, had thornless leaves similar in shape to holly l...
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Huntsville, AL
Effects of concrete patio poured around tulip poplar tree
We have a beautiful tulip poplar tree in our back yard that we wanted to be the focal point of our patio. We had seen pictures of patios with trees incorporated in patios leaving two to three feet of...
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Huntsville, AL
TIF 419 Bermudagrass vs. Zoysia
I'm currently faced with the decision to sod my yard with TIF 419 or Zoysia. Zoysia is double the price so my knee jerk reaction is to go with Bermuda. Proponents of Zoysia claim it requires less m...
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Huntsville, AL
Distinguishing American from Chinese beautyberry from Huntsville AL
How can I tell American beautyberry from Chinese beautyberry when trying to purchase strictly native plants?
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Franklin, TN
Bluebonnets and wildflowers for Nashville TN
I have several packets individually of both bluebonnets and of wildflowers, and want to plant them on 2 hills that we have around our home. We live near Nashville, and aren't even sure if the bluebo...
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Franklin, TN
Tree near a patio in Tennessee
What type of tree would you plant near a patio (new home and yard) that gets afternoon sun? Thanks
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