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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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Sunday - July 12, 2009

From: Evanston, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflower Center, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Flowering native plants for Evanston IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What flowering, native plants would be suitable for a backyard garden in Evanston Illinois?

ANSWER:

Since we really don't know if you need sun or shade, how much room you have or what, allow us to introduce you to our Native Plants Database. We will give you a few examples of our suggestions, but you can find so many more and answer other questions you will think of as you look at possibilities. As we also don't know how experienced a gardener you are, we suggest you read our How-To Article that will help you get started: A Guide to Native Plant Gardening. If you would like to look at our other How-To Articles, just click on How To Articles under Explore Plants.

A good way to begin this search is to go to Recommended Species, and click on Illinois on the map. In the right-hand column, there is a Narrow Your Search section, on which you can select "herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants), "shrubs" or "trees" under Habit. You can also indicate your Light Requirements in this search. We consider "sun" to be six hours or more of sun daily, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun daily, and "shade" less than 2 hours of sun daily. For our example, we chose "herbs" and shade or part shade. When we did this, we got 72 possbilities of blooming plants for Illinois. From these, we chose four as examples. You find out all about these plants by following the plant link, and going to the webpage for each plant. Under "Growing Conditions" you will learn what kind of soil this plant does best in, how much water it needs, and sun requirements. Under "Benefits" you will find out what wildlife it attracts.

Herbaceous Flowering Plants for Evanston, IL

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - 1 to 2 ft. tall, blooms orange, yellow May to September, sun or part shade, larval host for Monarch butterfly

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - to 1 ft. tall, blooms yellow April to June, sun, part shade or shade, attracts butterflies

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - 2 to 5 ft. tall, blooms pink, purple April to September, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - 1 to 6 ft. perennial, blooms red May to October, sun, part shade or shade, attracts hummingbirds

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

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