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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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Monday - July 25, 2011

From: Lenoir, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Need suggestions for landscaping along a creek in Lenoir, NC
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Lenoir, NC and would like to landscape my creek bank that is about 90 feet long and is 200 feet from my house. I thought about evergeen bushes maybe rhododendron; some grasses; a few trees and and ferns. The creek only exceeds its bank only once a year.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to introduce you to our Native Plant Database, that you can use to help  select the plants for your landscaping project . It contains the names of 7,188 species of native plants from which to choose.

Let’s start by using the Recommended Species List in the Database. After clicking on the link above, scroll down to the Recommended Species List box and click on the View Recommended Species page. Next, click on North Carolina on the map, and you will get a list 135 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in North Carolina. This is more information than you need, so let’s eliminate some of the names for now. You mentioned perhaps planting bushes, so lets see what’s available. Go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the window and make the following selections: select North Carolina under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration. Check Sun under Light Requirement and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to seven. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has the plant’s characteristics, growth requirements, and photos. This information can help you select plants suitable for your location.

You can come up with other lists (e.g. grasses, trees, ferns) by changing your choices under habit and duration. Make selections for light requirements and soil moisture based on your local conditions.

Since Mr. Smarty Plants is not sure about the growing conditions where you are planning this project (ie sun or shade, type of soil, etc.), he is reluctant to make specific suggestions for plants. He would recommend that you contact the folks at the Caldwell County Office of NC Cooperative Extension, and/or enlist the services of a landscape architect for help with plant selection and landscape design.

 

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