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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

Gurnee, IL
Groundcover for primary school in Illinois
I'm looking for a ground cover to plant on primary school grounds. It will need to be able to handle foot traffic. Is there anything that flowers and is a perennial? The area gets full sun and is b...
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Libertyville, IL
Fringe tree appropriate for Libertyville IL
I live in Libertyville Illinois and admired a fringe tree on the Biltmore Estate. Are the weather & soil conditions conducive to having a fringe tree in this area?
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Mundelein, IL
Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy t...
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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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Lake Villa, IL
Ground cover for shady slope in Illinois
Dear Mr. Smarty: I have a shady sloping area that I am trying to cover with low fast growing, perennials that will keep maintenance to the minimum and prevent erosion. Grass would be very difficul...
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Round Lake, IL
Plants for privacy in Round Lake IL
I recently purchased a house in northern Illinois that overlooks a busy walking path. The yard is 80 feet wide and currently has a 4 foot chain link fence, but I would like to add something for priva...
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Hawthorn Woods, IL
Screening plants for edge of pond in Illinois
I have a backyard pond that I am restoring, adding aeration, plants, etc. Unfortunately, there is a farmer that stores old equipment on the shore of my pond and refuses to move it. It is an eyesore....
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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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Wauconda, IL
Plant identification of vine with purple fruit
Illinois: I have a vine, red stems purple fruit with grape like clusters (sweet.hope it wasn't poisonous)What is it?
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Kenosha, WI
Replacement evergreens under power line in Wisconsin
I have to replace evergreen trees in a privacy screen due to borer damage. The screen is below power lines so the replacements cannot be tall. I would like use bird and pollinator friendly replaceme...
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Kenosha, WI
How to find out which native plants grow in your particular area
I'm doing an ecology project (prairie restoration) PLEASE RESPOND A.S.A.P MY PAPER IS DUE SOON!!!! Any native plants of Kenosha, WI?
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Kenosha, WI
New Jersey Tea shrub wilting and losing leaves
I have New Jersey Tea shrubs transplanted last spring from nursery stock (18 tall, grown local) I live in SE WI. They are planted in part shade. There has been 6" of snow on the ground for weeks now...
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Kenosha, WI
Responsibility for tree limb removal from Kenosha WI
Who is responsible for tree limb removal. Tree limbs are growing in between power wires and are also breaking about to fall. Im renting a house in Kenosha, Wi. Landlord has done nothing.
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Kenosha, WI
Plant identification
I need to identify a plant with broad leaves from a central base, no stalk, it also has a large inverted pinecone shaped central pod purplish in color. It is in heavy shade. Approx 2 ft high. Thank yo...
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Island Lake, IL
Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?
I purchased 2 obedient plants at a farmer's market in Michigan. As I was unfamiliar with this plant, the merchant told me it did well in full sun. It was just what I needed. When I got home I look...
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Johnsburg, IL
Propagating a new tree from a magnolia in Johnsburg IL
My friend would like to reroot her magnolia tree in her front yard to bring it with her to Memphis. The tree is huge and easiest to reroot if possible. Does she trim branches to root, or dry the seeds...
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McHenry, IL
Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other t...
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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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Cary, IL
Water-loving evergreen for Chicago
Is there a water loving evergreen that will do well in the Chicago weather?
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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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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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