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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might 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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Maple Valley, WA
Erosion control plantings in Washington state
Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Washington state where there is plenty of rain so erosion is a big problem. We are t...
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Kent, WA
Datura in the state of Washington.
I have a datura species growing beneath my bird feeder. How did it get here in Western Washington?? It has the typical fragrant, tubular flowers & spiky seed pods. It has grown 3' tall & 4' wide. Am...
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Renton, WA
Native trees for property in Washington State
We bought a piece of property on Lake Wenatchee, Washington. It was cleared more than we would like and want to know what types of trees grow well there and can handle the snow. Should I wait until ...
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Auburn, WA
Information on Lansium domesticum
Where can I purchase a Lansium domesticum plant ? Will it grow here in Auburn, Wa?
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Auburn, WA
Native annuals for pollinators in King County, Washington
I live in King County, Washington State, and I have a plot in a community garden. Rather than plant food, I'd like to attract pollinators. I need to use native annuals rather than perennials as the c...
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Federal Way, WA
Companion plants for Douglas fir in Federal Way, WA
What are good companion plants for large Douglas Fir trees? we have 5 large trees in our cul-de-sac "island" and would like to plant something colorful around the trees. It's very dry, shady, and c...
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Federal Way, WA
Problems with non-native Star jasmine
My Jasmine leaves are turning red. I think it's a Star Jasmine as it get those pretty little white fragrant flowers that look like a star. What is causing this and is it something I should be conce...
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Buckley, WA
Spots on calycanthus petals from Buckley WA
Petals on calycanthus develop black spots the turn into holes. Problem appears shortly after buds open. Occurs every year. Foliage is healthy. Plant growing well and doubles or triples size every ...
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Bellevue, WA
Canadian Marine West Coast Plants
What type of plants are found in the Canadian marine west coast climate?
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Bellevue, WA
Cutting Juncus effusus back from Bellevue WA
I read your posts about Juncus effusus and just have one follow-up question. When is the best time to cut them back to the ground - before winter or early spring? I live in the Pacific NW. I recent...
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Carnation, WA
Plant identification, possibly Actaea rubra, red baneberry
I came across a plant that has leaves similar to the astillbe shrub, stands about 3 feet high, and instead of a flower spire, has a chunk of bright red berries the size of medium-sized pearls atop its...
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Puyallup, WA
Yellowing leaves on non-native Betula pendula
I live in Puyallup, Washington. I purchased and planted a weeping birch on June 21, 2008. For the first few days all seemed well and the tree seemed to be settling in to its new home. Less than e...
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Redmond, WA
Leaves shriveling on non-native Japanese maple in Redmond WA
My husband and I bought a Japanese Maple 3 years ago which we planted in an old wine barrel for our patio, along with some ivy and grass to keep the surface covered. Until recently, it has been doing ...
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Redmond, WA
My Mock Orange fails to flower in Redmond, WA.
I planted a Mock Orange shrub about 5 years ago. The first few years, it only produced leaves but no blossoms. Then, last year, it finally produced 4-5 blossoms on 2 of the branches. This year, it a...
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Seattle, WA
Large evergreens for screen in Seattle
Our building would like large evergreens to help with freeway noise (it's right across the street with a large green belt around it.) Which Northwest Evergreens would work best? We need tall and wide...
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Seattle, WA
Growing non-vascular moss as a lawn from Seattle WA
I have lots of moss in my back yard. How can I encourage it to grow over the whole yard?
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Seattle, WA
Maintenance policy for Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
Greetings, I am a volunteer at the University of Washington’s Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural library. I am currently developing a maintenance policy for our database of gardening questions and ...
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Seattle, WA
Grass for Seattle Arboretum
I am writing to you on behalf of the Arboretum at South Seattle Community College Arboretum. I am interested in Panicum virgatum Switch Grass as a plant for a very heavy clay garden in our Arboretum a...
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Seattle, WA
Root rot in trees near Lake Wenatchee State Park, WA
Lake Wenatchee State Park, WA has been closed due to root rot for a year. I own a cabin 1 mile from the State Park. I cannot find a single piece of information about whether private property near th...
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Seattle, WA
Is Devilsclub related to Gunnera?
Is Devil's Club related to Gunnera?
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Seattle, WA
Propagation of poinsettias
How do I grow poinsettias from seed pods?
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