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?


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
1 rating

Monday - July 21, 2008

Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.


Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) is very hardy and also can grow very tall, up to 90 feet. However, it can also be kept pruned into a very thick evergreen hedge. University of Connecticut lists several cultivars of interest, including dwarf ones.

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) is another candidate. It also has a number of cultivars to choose from listed by University of Connecticut and Ohio State University.

The final suggestion for an evergreen hedge is Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) with smaller cultivars listed by Ohio State University and University of Connecticut.

You can find plants that are commercially available and suitable for landscaping in Michigan, by choosing the state from the map on our Recommended Species page. When you have the list of over 150 species, you can use the Narrow Your Search option to choose the characteristics you want under Habit (general appearace), Light requirement and Soil moisture. Here are a few species that will do well in full sun and sandy, dry soil:

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Helianthus strumosus (paleleaf woodland sunflower)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

Tsuga canadensis

Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Helianthus strumosus

Lupinus perennis

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Amorpha canescens



More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower gardening in Leander , TX
September 02, 2009 - I live in Leander, Texas. I bought a couple of seed mixes last fall, and had wonderful wildflowers growing all along our fences, all spring and into the first part of the summer before it got way too ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of over-watering of Asclepias tuberosa
August 05, 2005 - Another question about butterfly weeds, the leaves on one of my plants are turning a yellow-red color and the blossoms seem to be dying (drying up) before they can bloom. It is right in the same area...
view the full question and answer

Native Texas Plants for SC
June 22, 2015 - I just visited your beautiful facility for the first time and loved it! I'm planning to move to Charleston, SC and would love to replicate some of the wildflower and walkway areas I saw. Would the fo...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Viability of seeds that have not come up
December 06, 2005 - I planted some wildflower seeds per instructions and they are not coming up. Should they? or will they come up in spring?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center