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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

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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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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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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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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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
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
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
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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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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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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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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Woodstock, IL
Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Crystal Lake, IL
Types of Eragrostis lovegrasses that will survive in Northern Wisconsin
I am interested in plains lovegrass, and know that it primarily grows in southern climates. Do you think it could thrive in northern Wisconsin if it is planted in a protected area? Could it survive ...
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