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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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Litchfield, IL
Plants to prevent erosion in IL
We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
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Raymond, IL
Death of mature tulip tree in Raymond IL
We have a mature tulip tree that leafed out and looked very healthy then all of the leaves turned brown and fell off. I think the tree is now dead. We live in the country and have a corn field behind ...
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Edwardsville, IL
Fungus gnats on house plant in Edwardsville IL
I recently purchased a Trailing Perennial Plant, and I am seeing a lot of gnats flying in my house. Could this be the problem?
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Edwardsville, IL
Ground cover to control hillside erosion in Illinois
I have seen some other questions regarding native plants for erosion control, but I am looking specifically for plants that will do well on a hill in partial to full shade. I am told the soil in our a...
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Edwardsville, IL
Oak leaf hydrangeas from Edwardsville IL
Hello, I live in West Central Illinois (across the river from St. Louis) and I am considering planting several Oak leaf Hydrangea's in my yard. The location where I would like to plant them is und...
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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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Pana, IL
Plants for area with occasional standing water in Illinois
..similar to the question posed by the Aurora, Illinois bioswale on 11/30/2009 - I am an architect who designed the reconstruction of a historic structure in Pana, Illinois and have an area that is ap...
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Alton, IL
Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
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Granite City , IL
Member of Taxus genus native to southern Illinois from Granite City IL
Is there a native Southern Illinois similar to Taxus baccata? I live in Granite City IL and am looking for a native plant/scrub that stays green year round about 2-3 feet tall to it helps insulate the...
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Springfield, IL
Failure of fragrance in Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus) in Illinois
I have a sweet shrub bush that I took from the root of another one. Every year it blooms but never has even a smidgen of fragrance. The bush it came from was very fragrant. Should I do something to th...
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Springfield, IL
Moving a volunteer holly from Springfield IL
When would be the very best time to move a volunteer holly? I would say it is 3 years old, it stands about 5 feet tall, shaped like a very nice tree and it keeps its leaves. Thank you. Karen
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Springfield, IL
What is composted mulch from Springfield IL
I love the look of hard wood mulch. It is my understanding that this wood mulch that is so readily available in bulk and bags is not "composted mulch". I have been told that this type of mulch pull...
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Springfield, IL
Can rose Zephirine Drouhin damage brick from Springfield IL
Can ZÉPHIRINE DROUHIN damage brick?
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Springfield, IL
Why aren't all blue spruce trees blue?
I have been looking at blue spruce trees recently and I have noticed at a couple tree farms that not all blue spruce look blue at all. Some that are listed as Co. Blue Spruce are very green. The sha...
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Florissant, MO
Shelf life of hawthorn leaves in Florissant, MO
I have a bag of hawthorn leaves that were harvested in 2007. Do you know if they're still effective? How long is the shelf life of hawthorn leaves? Thank you for your assistance.
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Florissant, MO
Germination of Passiflora incarnata seeds
I wish to purchase the Passionflower incarnata plants. I have found seeds, but they say they are very hard to start. I lost my very large vine and wish to replace it.
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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
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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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
Transplanting a redbud in August from St. Louis MO
I have a 4' tall redbud that needs to be transplanted before the end of August because of construction on our house. Can this be done without killing the tree? Can I take a cutting from the tree and ...
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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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