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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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Questions From Near You

Wilmette, IL
Plant identification
I live north of Chicago. I have been Gardening just about everything forever. I finally got a surprise gift from a migrating bird, squirrel or possibly my kitchen composting. Apparently from a seed gr...
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Wilmette, IL
Annabelle hydrangeas blossoms drooping to ground in Wilmette, IL
I have a row of Annabelle Hydrangeas that become very heavy and droop over the entire width of the bed. I would like to know what I can use for support so that they will stand up and allow me to plan...
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Evanston, IL
Over-trimming of native linden tree
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My huge beautiful linden tree was just way over trimmed. It is planted near the house, so they cut most of the branches on that side all the way back to the trunk. I now have...
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evanston, IL
Growing native grasses in containeers in Illinois
Hi. How well would native grasses grow in container gardens in Illinois? What soil would you suggest? Thanks.
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Evanston, IL
Flowering native plants for Evanston IL
What flowering, native plants would be suitable for a backyard garden in Evanston Illinois?
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Evanston, IL
Planting annuals around young oak in Evanston IL
is it OK to plant annuals (i.e. salvias, impatiens or dusty millers) around the base of a young oak tree (2-3 years old)?
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Evanston, IL
Illinois native grasses for shade
Hello, my grass has died in a very shady area (standard buffalo grass), and I took this as an opportunity to plant some native grass varieties. I originally thought of buffalo grass, but learned that ...
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Glenview, IL
Saving or transplanting stand of white trillium that has lost shade
We have a generous stand of white trillium that has been under the shade of a white oak for many years. Now the 100+ year old oak has died and the trilliums are in the sun. Are we in danger of losin...
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Austin, TX
Deer Resistant and Drought Tolerant Pink-Flowering Shrub for Austin, TX
Is there a pink-flowering bush that is deer resistant and drought tolerant that would do well in Austin, TX? If not pink flowering, any color of a flowering bush is fine.
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Park Ridge, IL
Non-native vines poisonous to animals from Park Ridge IL
I have a Star Jasmine and sambac Philipine Jasmine Plant . Are they poisonous to cats or dogs. I have them in the house.
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Des Plaines, IL
Vine for a trellis in Illinois
I live in Nortrhern Illinois and am trying to keep my garden as native as possible. I would like to grow something on a trellis in part sun. It looks like a regional clematis is a possibility, but d...
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Highland Park, IL
Texas bluebonnets for Illinois
Thank you Mr. Smarty Plants. I will be closely checking the variety of Texas bluebonnets that I tried to plant. For the record, I did soak them first to loosen the seed shell. I think we probably just...
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River Grove, IL
Possible ground covers under pine trees in Illinois
Have pine trees in front of house. No luck with the lawn around them....was told it's because of ground acidity. Any tips on how to get a lawn to grow there? If not, can you suggest some ground cover...
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arlington heights, IL
Fragrant foundation plants for sunny, dry area in Illinois
We need suggestions of what to plant on the south side of our house heave sun and rather dry soil. We just took out old dead bushes. Would prefer something that flowers and smells nice that would gr...
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Lake Forest, IL
Understory plants for Lake Forest IL
We have a large mostly hardwood lot in Lake County. It floods when it rains hard and remains damp most of the year due to the amount of shade and clay based top soil. Besides the hardwood trees and ...
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Chicago, IL
Plant identification
I'm not sure of county of origin. It was given to me by someone I no longer have contact with. When I initially received it I thought it was just a small potted vine of some type. I've had it a yea...
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Chicago, IL
Bluebonnet seeds north of Chicago
Hi My husband is originally from Texas - we now live north of Chicago. Last year he bought a whole bunch of Blue bonnet seeds from a company that said they would grow in our area... I planted enough ...
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chicago, IL
Hardy perennials for Chicago
I have a duplex condo in Chicago. My basement or 1st floor is at sub-sidewalk level. This "patio" faces east and gets about 4 hours sun a day. It is about 8 feet high and covers an area 15x9. I'd l...
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Chicago , IL
Planting yucca seeds in Illinois
My neighbor gave me a few pods (5) off of her Yucca plant which have lost its bloom for the year, how do I transplant them, in the ground or root them in water first?
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Chicago, IL
Plant ID from Chicago
This plant is VERY common along highways across the entire midwest, and often other parts of the country. It has a long stem with a cluster of white flowers usually only on the top of the stem. The le...
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Chicago, IL
Wildflowers for a shady spot in IL
I have a low-sun spot on the side of my house in Chicago, IL. I would really like to turn this spot into a wildflower garden. Could you suggest some native IL flowers that might work in this spot? ...
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