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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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Milwaukee, WI
Smarty Plants on Oleanders
I have 3 Nerium Oleanders. In the winter they come indoors, and are under grow lights. They are in big pots. We just put them outside on patio, and they don't look good. They still have green tips ...
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Milwaukee, WI
Getting milkweed seeds into seed mixes from Milwaukee WI
My husband and I are concerned about the Monarch butterfly migration and have started an effort to get milkweed planted along some bike trails here in Wisconsin. This made me think of Ladybird Johnso...
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Milwaukee, WI
Butternut blossom time from Milwaukee WI
When does the butternut tree blossom?
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Milwaukee, WI
Problems for plants growing over closed loop field of geothermal system
We would like to install a geothermal heating/cooling system on our Wisconsin property. Are there any environmental problems with the heat that is put back in the earth from a geothermal system? We ...
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Milwaukee, WI
Plants for a shady garden in Wisconsin
I have a shady garden in southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and am interested in introducing more native plants of all sizes and heights, hopefully with lovely flowers. I would love to know what you ...
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Milwaukee, WI
Native flowers and ground cover for damp, shady area in Wisconsin
I would like to plant some flowers and ground cover in the front of my yard near my home. This spot is usually damp and nearly always shaded. Any suggestions? Also I'm looking for blue flowering pla...
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Greenfield, WI
Unproductive Blackberries in Greenfield, Wisconsin
dI planted 3 Blackberry bushes and 4 Red Raspberry bushes 4 years ago. This would be the 3rd year for productivity. My Raspberry bushes are dual bearing and started producing fall of the same year we ...
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Elm Grove, WI
Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
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Brookfield, WI
Plant Identification
We live near Milwaukee Wisconsin. This summer a 5' plant grew by itself in the middle of my flower bed. It has elongated oval green leaves, but its the flowers that are exceptional. They are long,...
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Muskego, WI
Evergreens for privacy screen in WI
We'd like to add privacy to our backyard with evergreen trees. The problem with this area is it very wet and the ground is soft and mushy until the dry summer conditions. We've rocklined the the a...
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Waukesha, WI
Transplant shock in Chestnut Oak in Waukesha WI
Bought and had nursery install a 4" diameter, 16' tall chestnut oak. Watered it as instructed-every 2nd or third day-hose stream size of my pinky for 45-60 minutes. It was planted in July. Just l...
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West Bend, WI
Plants causing skin irritation in West Bend WI
Is there a list of plants that cause blistering in this area? I have a friend who gets it bad every year-I find no evidence of cow parsnip or poison ivy---thanks.
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Burlington, WI
Identification of non-native Viburnum lantana
Could you tell me what this plant is? I have no idea! Vib Iantana Mohican - this is all the info. I have, other than it can grow in the mid-west.
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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
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
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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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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Sullivan, WI
Catalpa and maple with dying branches in Wisconsin
We have a northern catalpa in our front yard. It's been there for about three years now and is probably 25' high. This year it appeared to be doing great. It flowered and then all of sudden last ...
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Rubicon, WI
Edible wild plants in Montana
Where can I find information about wild edible plants in Montana?
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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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