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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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Paw Paw, IL
Information about invasive Paulownia tree
What genus and species and family is this Royal Paulownia tree I hear about? Is it Elm? Linden? Dogwood? Is it a weed? thank you
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Rochelle, IL
Climbing Vine for Illinois That is Non-Toxic to Dogs
I am looking for a climbing vine hardy in Illinois (zone 5) that it non-toxic to dogs. Can you help?
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Rochelle, IL
Planting time for native yucca seeds
When and how do you plant yucca plant seeds and or/pods ? I took them off of the stalks when I cut the stalks today .
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DeKalb, IL
Identification of Wood from Frying Pan Ranch Near Amarillo, TX (possibly Cholla)
I'm doing research for a museum exhibition and have been told the "holey" piece of wood from The Frying Pan Ranch near Amarillo Texas is "chollya" but I can find no information. Can you help?
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Chana, IL
Nightflowering plants native to Northern Illinois
Looking for any/all info on night flowering plants that are native to Northern Illinois.
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Peru, IL
Identification of bushes with red berries in Tennessee
I was recently traveling thru Clarksville, TN and saw these bushes (at the shopping mall) that had clusters of small red berries on them. They were not a Holly that I know of. The leaves were not th...
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Dixon, IL
Smarty Plants on seed sources
I'm trying to find a source to buy seed or plants of rose gentian (Sabatia angularis). Do you know a source for seed or plants?
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Dixon, IL
Plants for erosion control along creek that often floods
What would be good ground cover to plant along the bank of a storm creek and the river it runs into? Previous owner killed all the poison oak and garlic mustard all over the yard, but whatever he trie...
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Oregon, IL
Plants for wetlands in Illinois
I have a home that is just above a wetlands in Northern Illinois. It is on a river and the wetlands go from bone dry to under 3 feet of water. The shoreline is beginning to erode where there are no tr...
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Oswego, IL
Trees for creek side in Illinois
I have a creek that runs along my back yard, and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on water loving trees to grow next to it. The creek gets sun all day and is located in zone 5. (so...
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Aurora, IL
Science Fair Question
Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I'm working on a project for the science fair and I need to find a plant that can survive in all climates in order for my experiment to work. What plant should I use? I hope ...
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Aurora, IL
Plants for Bioswale in Illinois
I have a 300ft by 15 ft bioswale in Aurora, Illinois. What plants would be best used? Is there a percentage of each plant to take into consideration?
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Rockford, IL, IL
Native plants for wildlife gardening in Illinois
I live in Rockford, Illinois. Where/How can I find information on native flowers, plants, trees, grasses and animals, and other things I can plant on our property (about an acre) to provide a home fo...
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Rock Falls, IL
Drought and pollution resistant flowers for Rock Falls, IL
I am looking for hearty flowers for our city planters that are both resistant to drought and auto emissions. We are located in northern Illinois. Planting is done in May.
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Polo, IL
Trouble with Redbud in Illinois
I have a red bud bush, we live in northern Illinois, it is shedding its bark. Is this normal or is the bush dying?
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St Charles, IL
Hardy plants for a narrow yard in Illinois
I have an area in my yard that is approx 35 feet by 5 feet that is shaded on the east by a 4 ft fence and on the west by the house and above by trees. It slopes off to the neighbors yard (so doesn't ...
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Hampshire, IL
Overwintering Yucca Seedlings in Illinois
I have many yucca seedlings I started this year. My question is what do I need to do with them to overwinter here in Northern Illinois and when do I plant them in the ground for best chances of survi...
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Hampshire, IL
Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
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Pingree Grove, IL
Transplanting a blue spruce from Pingee Grove IL
Transplant 18" Blue spruce from 5 gal. bucket to ground.
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Rockford, IL
Trimming native Yucca filamentosa for winter in Illinois
I live in northern IL and I have approximately 5 yucca plants, Adams needle, my question is do I need to trim them down for winter for best growth the next year?
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Rockford,, IL
Shrub for shade in Rockford IL
I live in Rockford, IL and would like to know what kind of bush to plant in pretty much, full shade. I would prefer to stay away from evergreens due to allergies. Thanks.
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