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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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Poulsbo, WA
Strawberry tree with yellowing leaves.
Just to add to your statistics, I live in Poulsbo, Washington, very near to Tacoma, Washington. My strawberry tree also has yellowing leaves with some black spots. I will take your advice with the iro...
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Indianola, WA
Problems with peonies in Indianola, WA
My 5 year old peony plant didn't come up. I thought it was dead so I dug it up. I found a clump of thick roots. I separated them, and then realized these were probably the bulbs. It is the middle...
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Kingston, WA
Native grasses for erosion control in the state of Washington
Which native grasses do you suggest for maximum erosion control in my area?
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Eldorado Hills, CA
Fast-growing, evergreen, non-invasive root tree for El Dorado CA
We need to plant a FAST-growing, non-deciduous TREE with a non-invasive root system. Where can we buy one?
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Mountlake Terrace, WA
Leaves turning brown on geum in Mountlake Terrace WA
Assuming a geum is North American . . . mine are turning brown unlike any time before. They get watered occasionally and then dry out. Is there something special I should be doing for geums? They get ...
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lynnwood, WA
Kinnikinnick for a green roof
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
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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
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
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
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
Is Devilsclub related to Gunnera?
Is Devil's Club related to Gunnera?
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Seattle, WA
Maintenance policy for Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
Greetings, I am a volunteer at the University of Washingtonís 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
Local native plant for grave marker in Washington
Dear wildflower expert, Our friendís 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
Propagation of poinsettias
How do I grow poinsettias from seed pods?
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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
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
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
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
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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