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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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Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Pickering, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Best of Smarty, User Comments
Title: Gardening advice for Ontario, Canada
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

HI there. I see most of the readers are in CA, I am in Ontario Canada. I am in need of some advice on a nice flowering all year round garden for both sun/partial sun/shade garden. Some for direct sun as well that will be in planters. Love lots of bright brilliant colours. Thinking morning glories, iris, gardenia, impatiens, garden roses, tulips, daffodils. Any other suggestions and can I plant bulbs in the spring for the following spring?

ANSWER:

It sounds like you are a beginning gardener and it would take more space and time than is available here to give you a complete answer. 

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. That means that we can provide information and advice regarding plants native to the area where they are growing.  You can visit our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search selecting: Ontario/the plant type/your light and soil conditions to learn more about the plants native to Ontario.  Of the plants you are "thinking of", only morning glory and Iris versicolor (Harlequin blueflag) (not the bearded iris) are native to Ontario.

We recommend you visit (and join):

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton and The Toronto Botanical Garden

They both offer seminars and lectures and have Master Gardeners to advise you on this journey.

We also recommend you join our affiliate, the North American Native Plant Society which is based  in Toronto and attend their plant sale on Saturday, May 7th in the Markham Civic Centre.  They offer Ontario native plants and will be featuring two speakers.  They will have experienced volunteers to offer assistance.  There are also numerous garden centres in the Toronto area filled with experienced staff who are willing to help.

Check out the Evergreen.ca  native plant database for more information.

Finally, no, you must wait until fall to plant spring blooming bulbs.  Because of when they are harvested, they must undergo a winter chill in order to break dormancy and grow.

 

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