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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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Kelso, WA
How to get rid of devils club (Oplopanax horridus)
please tell me how to get rid of devils club!!!
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Kalama , WA
Comment on poisonous sweet pea plant from Kalama WA
No question, comment only. I am aware of the story of Christopher McCandless (Call of the Wild)and the belief that he was poisoned by ingesting part of the sweet pea plant; however I am curious what ...
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Castle Rock, WA
Plants for pavilion over fountain in Washington State
I have a tall fountain in a 7 foot square which is surrounded by pavers. Inside the 7' square there is about a 2' mulched soil bed around the center fountain and an iron type pavilion that goes up h...
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Toutle , WA
Can you identify a funny looking bulb that I bought at the grocery store? Probably not..
I looked through your data base and did not find what I was looking for. I bought this funny looking bulb at a grocery store. It looked like a giant shriveled spider when i bought them. Due to lack of...
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Vancouver, WA
Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
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Vancouver, WA
Purple bellshaped flowers in Washington state
on Larch mountain, in the state of Washington, I saw purple, bell shaped flowers growing on a stalk. what are they?
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Banks, OR
Want to know the name of a string looking moss in OR.
I want to know the name of a string looking moss or Licha that grows on pine trees? Thought was old mans whiskers, but this search brings up a flower; not what I am looking for. I found some in Glacie...
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chehalis, WA
Identity of a plant with opposite leaves in Washington
My friend just bought a house and in the front yard are some bushes. I don't have a picture, but they are only 1-2 feet tall now. They have these unusual stems, throughout the entire bush. They are v...
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Centralia, WA
Plant identification of purple flower in Washington state
I need help. I am a 10 year old girl who just happens to have a brother. He has a deep purple flower with small, oval shaped petals. We would like to know what it is. We planted it in a garden thing a...
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Hillsboro, OR
Why are my lemon Cyprees trees turning Black?
I have 3 lemon Cypress plants - all are about 6 feet tall. One of them has started turning black on one side - like it's been burnt. The inside of the plant is also turning black. I assume something ...
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Hillsboro, OR
Brown dead spots on arborvitae in Hillsboro OR
Hello. I live in Hillsboro, OR and have several mature arborvitae as a privacy screen in my backyard. They are on our side of a black chainlink fence separating our yard from a drainage area maintaine...
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Portlandia, OR
Plants native to Hudson River
What plants grow along/in the Hudson River?
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Portland, OR
Alleotrophic effects of caffeine found in Ilex species
I'm doing research for my biology class on the alleotrophic effects of caffeine. I'm planning to use Ilex vomitoria as the caffeine-producing plant. As the control I want to use another non-c...
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Portland, OR
Rubber (latex) in Balloon plant (Asclepias physocarpa)
I need milkweed leaves that contain rubber. The common milkweed species Asclepias syriaca has rubber in it. Do the milkweed of Balloon plant milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa) contain rubber?
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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
Flower with spike of yellow flowers with hairy purple filaments
Fuzzy purple stamens! I can't find this plant identified anywhere. Blooms abt 1" or a little more across. 5 yellow petals, 5 sepals, & 5 stamens with yellow anthers, & the filaments are covered wi...
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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
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
A nice-looking, fast-growing privacy hedge for Oregon
Would you please suggest a fast growing option to create a privacy hedge? I need to get my husband off the boxwoods he is touting.. The ideal solution would grow to 8 feet high, look interesting all y...
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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
Nativity of Bidens frondosa from Portland OR
Is Bidens frondosa (Beggar's Tick) native to North America or is it introduced? If introduced, is it considered invasive?
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