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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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Questions From Near You

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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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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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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Bellevue, WA
Canadian Marine West Coast Plants
What type of plants are found in the Canadian marine west coast climate?
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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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Seattle, WA
Non-native acacias for Washington State
Hello! I have been unable to find any sources for the seed of Prairie Acacia, Acacia angustissima var hirta. Var angustissima, from tropical America, is in cultivation, but I think it is tender to col...
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Seattle, WA
Local native plant for grave marker in Washington
Dear wildflower expert, Our friend’s dog died, and is buried in western Washington, near the town of Monroe. My wife is from central Texas, and thought a Texas perennial would be a nice marker. ...
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Seattle, WA
Wildlife benefit of western coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis)
A neighbor and I are planting a nearby waste area. I'd like to plant things that will help any wildlife that's managed to survive, probably birds. I may be able to get Western Coneflower (Rudbeckia ...
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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
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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Seattle, WA
Why is Rhus aromatica more deer resistant from Seattle
I have a large area that I would like to cover with Rhus aromatica. My landscaper says that in his experience, Rhus typhina and glabra in this area are heavily browsed by deer. I noticed in your dat...
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Seattle, WA
Smarty Plants on Blue Cohosh
I acquired a potted plant of Blue Cohosh at a sale. My question is where can I plant it? I live in Seattle but also garden in Zone 5 at Lake Wenatchee Washington. Shade or sun? How hardy is it? ...
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Seattle, WA
Arborvitae and flower garden fighting for space in Seattle WA
Hi, I put in dozens of Arbovitae, mature evergreen trees, 4 yrs ago for privacy. They are doing well, but I was surrounding a flower garden which now appears to be suffering due to the root system of ...
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Seattle, WA
Identification of gooseberry plant
Grew up in Colorado, our yard and several near us had medium to large size deciduous shrubs that produced small (.25"-.375") red berries that were very tomato-like. Delicate with a thin skin, sligh...
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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
Evergreen oak in Washington
Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Pacific Northwest and noticed an oak tree growing near the road that was evergreen (unusual for here). I was so curious that that last time that I passed the tree,...
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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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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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