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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

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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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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Schaumburg, IL
Looking for cover
I live iin Schaumburg, IL and have a difficult spot (extreme sun and heat in summer (South Side of house). I'm looking for a very short ground cover - < or + to 6 inchees. Does Arabis hirsuta fit t...
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Schaumburg, IL
Ideas for first-time gardener in Chicago
I am a first time gardener, so I know very little about planting. I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Can you give me some flower ideas that I can plant that are easy to maintain? I don't ...
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Schaumburg, IL
Best pine tree for northern Illinois
I live in Schaumburg,IL. What would be the best type of pine tree to plant?
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Hoffman Estates, IL
Grass for detention pond in Illinois
Hi, please advise regarding grass for bottom of detention pond. I have pond with drawdown time 4 days, what grass could survive being underwater 4 days, and not die? Thank you.
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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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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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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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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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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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Elmhurst, IL
Non-blooming or fruiting Oregon grape holly in Elmhurst IL
I have an Oregon grape holly bush that has never bloomed and has never had fruit. I have had the bush for at least 6 years, it is approximately 5 ft tall. Have had no problems, just no flowers/fruit....
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Elmhurst, IL
Need to replace a Silver Maple in Illinois.
My father recently had a tornado take out a 50 year old silver maple. He is looking to replace it, but he is looking for something with interesting summer color; as he put it not "green." I am try...
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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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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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Bartlett, IL
Identification of wildflower in Illinois
I have a similar question to the one asking about the blue/lilac wildflower in Illinois. Every year here in IL a blue, stragly, petal-ed flower/weed blooms - particularly along the edge of curbs alon...
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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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Lombard, IL
Identifcation of flower in a bouquet
My boyfriend bought a bouquet and I'd like to know the name of the kind of green flower that looks like a mum but the petals look like rich, full grass or like a tall shag carpet. It has a stem with ...
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Bellwood, IL
Bugs on Arizona Cypress in Bellwood IL
I live in Illinois and have an Arizona Cypress that looks like it is dying but I notice today it has bugs inside its cone. Can you tell me why and what can I do?
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