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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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Saturday - April 19, 2008

From: High Wycombe, England
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Trailing perennial plants for High Wycombe, England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello Mr Smarty Plants, I would like to know what trailing plants are also perennial, preferably flowering ones but that also look pretty when not in flower? My kitchen looks out onto a five foot high wall as my garden is quite steep and I would like to trail some plants down the wall to give a nicer view from the window.

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, we may not be able to give you much help there. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, in Austin, Texas, is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America. That means that information in our Native Plant Database would be about plants that are non-native to England, where you live. Regardless of the venue, we strongly recommend that plants native to the area be used. Native plants are already adapted to the soils, weather and moisture in the area; therefore, they will require less fertilizer, water and maintenance. In addition, non-native plants can be become invasive in an environment where they have no natural enemies or competition with other aggressive plants.

We are flattered, however, that you came to us for help with your garden, and will try to find some websites that can more efficiently answer your questions. First, we found this site from Plantlife International on non-native, invasive plants in England. There are a number of other weblinks in that site that you might be interested in following for specific information. Next, there is a website, Appendix on native plants, from the Lingfield Nature Preserves which also has additional links. We couldn't find a Mr. Smarty Plants for England, but we would like to refer you to the website home page for Kew Gardens, or the Royal Botanic Gardens. We have a particular interest in Kew because, as you know, that is the repository of the Millennium Seed Bank. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is an active participant in the Seed Bank, gathering, identifying and cleaning thousands of seeds native to Texas and surrounding areas and transmitting them to Kew for storage. Follow some of the links on their website and see if you can find a list of native plants that would do well in your area.

 

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