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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Murphysboro, IL
Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
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Cobden, IL
Tolerance of rosa setigera of acidic soil from Cobden IL
How tolerant is Rosa setigera of acid soil? I would like to plant it in my (very large) garden but the loess soil has a pH of 4.5. Thank you.
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Benton, IL
Looking for shrubs to plant in Southern Illinois.
Hi. I am in Southern Illinois. I'm needing small shrubs for a south facing area. It's a 14ft. long by 2ft. wide area. Although it's facing south, it's not real sunny. A huge tree and swing is...
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lenzburg, IL
Larvae swimming in water with plant cutting
When you take a cutting from a plant and put it in water and bring it in your home a couple of days later you notice larvae swimming around, what is that?
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Red Bud, IL
Instructions for pictures from Red Bud IL
Mr. Smarty Plants, I followed your instructions on how to submit pictures for you to identify "If you would like to know what the plant is that came up, Mr. Smarty Plants loves to identify plan...
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Bloomsdale, MO
Plant ID from Bloomsdale MO
I have found a plant growing on the side of the road in a weedy area, looks like a poker flower, the plant has Red/orange seed pods growing to a point. no flowers right now. grows on a stem very much...
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Charleston, MO
Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
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Paducah, KY
Need to Stabilize River Bank in Kentucky
My home borders the Ohio River. I have lost a great deal of soil to the river. I am looking for plants with tight root systems that are water tolerant to protect my shoreline. Thanks
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Belleville, IL
Plant identification
Can you identify a plant in a shady part of our yard. I have a pictrure I would like to send and I don't see a way to do that here. Can you provide that assistance? Perhaps a direct email address so ...
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Crystal City, MO
Growing non-native Knockout roses and golden euonymus together from Crystal City MO
Can you plant knock out roses and golden euonymus together?
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Troy, IL
Short edging evergreen for IL
I am planning on planting a short (height at maturity less than 1 foot) evergreen (and if possible flowering) shrub to border the walkway to my house. Can you give me some suggestions? The soil is mos...
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Arnold, MO
Low-maintenance grass for retention pond
I would like to know what would be a low-growing grass to put down for a water retention pond. We have clay and rocky soil. The incline of the sides of the retention pond are about 20 feet with gra...
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Saint Louis County, MO
Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
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St. Louis, MO
Small evergreen native shrubs for apartment garden in shade in St. Louis
I live in an apartment in St. Louis, MO, and have a small patch of rocky soil in the stairwell that I would like to plant with a native or natives. The area is entirely shaded, but all the natives I...
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St. Louis, MO
Disease of eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana)
I have multiple Eastern Red Cedars spaced in my woods which are sick and dying. Some were transplanted years ago, others are volunteers, all are less than 4 ft tall. The foliage turns brown in vario...
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St. Louis, MO
Where to find azaleas in St. Louis
Where can I find reasonably priced Azalea shrubs in St. Louis in the red, orange color that are inexpensive? Precise enough? LOL
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St. Louis, MO
Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
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St. Louis, MO
Transplanting azalea sprouts in St Louis MO
I have an azalea bush that I cut back severely 2 years ago and unwittingly started 3 or 4 new bushes when some limbs grew back along the ground and created their own roots. I'd like to separate them...
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St. Louis, MO
Proposal of marriage to Mr. Smarty Plants
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Will you marry me? Garden bliss hangs in the balance.
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Saint Louis, MO
Identity of bulbs from digging in an anthole
I was digging in an ant hole and it collapsed and as I dug it out, I found around 50 white bulbs that did not have a smell or roots. They resembled onion bulbs. I have a picture of these and they are...
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Saint Louis, MO
Consequences of leaving geranium in dark room
What would happen to a geranium plant that was left to grow in a dark room for many days?
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