En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Plant Lists Questions

Salt and flood tolerant plants for Brooklyn NY
June 20, 2013 - Hi, I am researching suitable plants for landscape architectural projects in the wake of New York City’s proposal for increased storm and climate change resilience. I am specifically looking at the ne...
view the full question and answer

Aquatic Plants for a Small Pond in Missouri
June 11, 2015 - We have a small backyard pond (4' x 5' x 2' deep) with a shelf for marginal plants, and a pump that feeds a nice little creek and waterfall into the pond. We don't really want fish, but we'd lik...
view the full question and answer

Best Asclepias for Kansas City
October 06, 2014 - I have a question about the Asclepias. I live in the Midwest, in Kansas City with hardiness zone 5b or 6. I want to know which of these plants would be good for me in a cultivated garden. It's not to...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant for Containers in Delaware
June 23, 2015 - I live on the East Coast. I have a large covered porch that only gets some afternoon sun. I have tried full sun, partial sun and shade plants, and had no luck with them thriving. Can you recommend any...
view the full question and answer

Oaks at Wildflower Center from Wimberley TX
September 05, 2012 - I know you have numerous Quercus fusiformis examples at the ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. My question is, do you also have Quercus virginiana growing there? Also, is Oak Wilt a disease that ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center