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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

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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Wednesday - July 16, 2008

From: Peoria, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants to hide utility boxes
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergreens behind the boxes and something in front. Looking for a couple perennials and an alternative to ornamental grass?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is assuming you want herbaceous plants rather woody (shrubs or trees), or at least small shrubs.  If so, here are a few with attractive flowers:

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Euphorbia corollata (flowering spurge)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

You can find more possibilities for commercially available landscaping plants for Illinois by visiting our Recommended Species page and selecting 'Illinois' from the map there. 


Asclepias tuberosa

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Echinacea purpurea

Euphorbia corollata

Hypericum prolificum

Monarda fistulosa
 

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