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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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Sandy, OR
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Gresham, OR
Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxi...
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Oregon City, OR
Non-native peanutbutter tree suckering in Oregon City OR
I have a beautiful 'peanutbutter tree' in my yard. I have noted that there are plantlets coming up that appear to be attached to the main root(s) of the tree. I have been breaking them off as I don...
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Oregon City, OR
200 year old white oak with no acorns in Oregon City OR
We have a white oak tree in our yard that is about 200 yrs old. We have lived in the house for 30+ years, and have never seen an acorn. We have had it pruned by an arborist, who said it is in good...
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Colton, OR
Deer-resistant native plants for Oregon
I have 21 acres of timber property in Oregon. We are converting part of that property to residential and I would like to plant wild flowers. I want to make sure I only plants native to Oregon and wo...
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West Linn, OR
Plant with orange berries in Oregon
I have a viney type plant that hangs down over and along a rock wall at my house in Portland, that is producing an orange colored berry. What is it? Is it edible? My neighbor just tried one and he ...
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West Linn, OR
Skin irritation caused by blanket flower (Gaillardia sp.)
Could you tell me whether it is the leaves or the spent flower heads, the seed heads, that cause irritation to bare legs after walking through a field of Indian Blankets? Gallardia I believe is the La...
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Lake Oswego, OR
Viability of Juniperus ashei for making furniture
My husband uses juniper from Oregon to make beautiful furniture. Underneath the ugly bark is a wonderful wood. Is this the same Juniper as we saw all around Austin, Texas.
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Portland, OR
Grape Vines and spacing for Portland, OR
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a somewhat small south-facing yard next to my home (less than 8' wide). I would like to build a tall arbor for grapes that runs along the length of my home (about 4...
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Portland, OR
Timing for planting wildflower seeds in the Pacific Northwest
Do you think it is better to sow wildflower seeds in the Pacific NW in the Fall/early Winter or Spring?
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Portland, OR
Looking for leaves of milkweed plants for experiment
I am an undergraduate chemistry student at the University of Portland and want to perform an experiment using milkweed leaves. How would I get milkweed leaves at this time of year? Any help you can p...
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Portland, OR
Plants for wall with afternoon sun in Oregon
Portland, Or. We have a stacked cement wall about 30 feet long that receives afternoon sun from the west. we would like to plant something edible along that wall that can tolerate afternoon sun. G...
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Portland, OR
Trees for traffic buffer in Portland OR
Hi, saw the question about small space plants. On this topic, our street in Portland OR is looking for a fast growing, 20-30 ft tree that can go in a 12" wide parking strip along our road (we have ma...
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Portland, OR
Plants to tumble over a retaining wall in OR
Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the ground space above a 4 foot high, 150 foot long unattractive concrete wall that would grow over and down to cover the wall. The area is very sh...
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Portland, OR
Walnut tree root coming through basement floor in Portland, OR
I have a walnut tree root coming through my basement floor. I need advice as to what will it do to tree when I remove the root, like another root though a different part of my home. It is a large tree...
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Portland, OR
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Portland, OR
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Portland, OR
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Portland, OR
Plant ID from Chicago
When I was hiking in Portland, OR, my friend had me eat a leaf off of a trail-side plant. It tasted very much like sour apple, it was delicious. It has average-sized green leaves and in July it had no...
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Portland, OR
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Portland, OR
Leaf burn on hydrangeas
What causes my leaves to burn on my healthy hydrangeas?
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