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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.

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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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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!

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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

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