En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - December 24, 2013

From: Lakewood, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Native Backyard for Lakewood OH
Answered by: Brigid and Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I would like to do away with the lawn in my backyard in favor of native plants that would require minimal maintenance, including flowering plants that would encourage pollinators.

ANSWER:

  That’s a great idea! Mr Smarty Plants did that years ago and the maintenance really is minimal, although we have flowers near year around that we need to go out and admire!

  After that though – Your statement is a really broad question, so I’m going to point you to a bunch of resources that will be a good starting point for your project.

  The Wildflower Center has at least three different areas where you can find appropriate information. For specific parts of your project, there is a good list of “How-to” articles with directions.  Mr Smarty Plants has also answered a few questions from Ohio and/or on establishing a native garden. Here is a sample discussion on Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH.  You can find even more by searching Mr Smarty Plants archives for either Ohio, or a topic of interest  [I often just read this for enjoyment!].  Finally – The Official best way to locate good Ohio natives and/or wildflowers that will prosper in your garden is the Wildflower Centers list of Recommended Species for Ohio.  

  Of course, you don’t need to just use our resources.  For more local advice and help, you may want to contact the Native Plant Society of NE Ohio,  and possibly the Ohio State University Extension office.  I also found a list of Wildflowers in the US Wildflowers Database of Wildflowers in Ohio. 

  When I make a list of recommended wildflowers, I generally consider that if an attractive plant is in both databases – Then it is very likely to be a good choice.  Here are a few that fit that criterion!
And don’t forget some shrubs or small trees!
 

From the Image Gallery


American bellflower
Campanulastrum americanum

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Dense blazing star
Liatris spicata

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Green-headed coneflower
Rudbeckia laciniata

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

Common elderberry
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Blackhaw
Viburnum prunifolium

More Shrubs Questions

Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
July 31, 2014 - Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shru...
view the full question and answer

Planting Suggestions for a Lake Home in Wayne County, MO
April 03, 2014 - We have a lake home in Wayne County, MO at Lake Wappapello. The soil is very rocky. We recently cleared an area around our home of assorted dead trees, some cedars and what seemed like tons of vines. ...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native gardenias in Southampton Ontario
July 31, 2012 - I purchased 3 gardenias this year for the garden. Now I'm told that I can't leave them out all year round here in mid/western Ontario. Is this true, and if so, how do I keep them over the winter i...
view the full question and answer

Sumac Leaves Turning Red
November 22, 2013 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently planted a flowering sumac bush. Is it normal for that plant to get fall leaf-color? About a week after planting it, the temp reached the mid-30s, and after that, I ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center