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 Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?
February 06, 2008 - New to South Texas & we decided to plant bluebonnets around our house. The seeds were planted in late spring & we were delighted to watch them start their initial growth-cycle. They ultimately produc...
view the full question and answer

wildflowers with interesting seed heads for winter interest
January 09, 2015 - I am looking to establish a wildflower meadow this year, and I want to include wildflowers that have interesting seed heads for winter interest. What would be your recommendation? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Fragrant native plant to plant on rock wall in New York
May 28, 2007 - HELLO THERE, I LIVE IN CENTRAL NY. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SUGGEST A PLANT FOR THIS ROCK WALL ON THE SIDE OF MY HOME. IT IS A NATURAL ROCK WALL, SO BEAUTIFUL!! THE ROCK IS FLAT, ACTUALLY THE AREA...
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of bluebonnet seeds under water and white bluebonnets
April 30, 2007 - I was trying to find out more about the hardiness of bluebonnets. We own a lot on Lake Travis near Spicewood Texas. As you are probably aware, the lake was very low this spring due to a drought that ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming back wildflower beds in Cody Wyoming
February 20, 2011 - I live in Cody Wyoming and I have some wildflower beds in front of my house that didn't get trimmed back this summer...they look like swamp plants now, super nasty. Should I trim them now?
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