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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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Monday - March 26, 2012

From: rye, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen Shrub for shade in Rye, New York
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Hello - I am looking for native shrubs for partial/mostly shade in Rye, New York. Evergreen, perennial and no larger than 4' in height. The bed is 68' in front of an elementary school facing south with big trees in front of it that gets sun in winter, mostly shade in summer. Soil is dryish. I prefer low maintenance.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. So, Mr. Smarty Plants is going to set off in search of plants that are native to your area of New York (Westchester County) and meet the requirements you have outlined.

A search of the native plant data base using criteria of native to New York, less than six feet in height, grows in shade or partial shade, and is evergreen, came up with good news and bad news. The bad news is the search only identified one plant. The good news? The search didn't take very long.

The plant the search identified is Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry) - this plant has conspicuous fragrant flowers and produces berries that may last into the winter.

According to the USDA, checkerberry native to Westchester County, New York.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

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