Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 04, 2010

From: Hillsdale, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Meadow planting on a shale slope with shallow soil in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Need to elaborate on my previous question which I am sure will produce a different response. We have a very large slope, near the top of a very long driveway, that is in a sunny location and comprised of shale. There is no top soil at all. Some weeds and grasses do grow in the soil, but not many. Looking for plants that will grow and spread, without watering, in this difficult environment. Would love the look of a meadow, as it is a country house and is part of the entrance.

ANSWER:

I'm afraid that we won't be able to help you much more than we already have as I can't really envision your situation. 

You say there is no soil but that grasses and weeds grow so you will have to find plants that are as tough as they are.  We recommend that you take a soil sample to your County Extension Office to have it analysed and then follow their recommendations.  You could take the list we generated for you and see if they can narrow it further for you. You may also find the article on Weeds as Soil Indicators at garden-helper.com interesting.

Once you have an idea of which plants you would like to try you will be faced with how to get them established.  Whether you choose seeds or small plants, you will have to provide some water. 

Check out our How To Article on Establishing a Wildflower Meadow to see what you are up against.  You will have to decide if you can turn this idea into a reality.

Again, we recommend you check with a local expert and follow their advice.  Good luck with your endeavor ... may all your weeds be wildflowers!

 

More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
July 01, 2005 - I've seen several recommendtions for using a Bluebonnet Inoculant when planting Bluebonnets. "For best success, we strongly suggest using Bluebonnet inoculant (to assist in fixing nitrogen into soi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Rain-lily
April 12, 2005 - What is the common lily (I think) that grows in the ditches and especially this year because of all the rain. The flower is trumpet shaped and has red stripes in the petals? Very common everywhere t...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
April 14, 2007 - Do bluebonnets, being a legume, contribute anything beneficial to the soil?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID–maybe a lupine?
February 02, 2015 - We have a strange plant growing in our flowerbed that we did not knowingly plant. It sprang up last summer and has continued to grow throughout the winter in spite of several freezes. We live just eas...
view the full question and answer

Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
December 23, 2013 - We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abund...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.