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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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Houston, BC
Adapting to clay soils in British Columbia
What can I use to break down the clay content in my flower bed. It has a high concentration of clay and I want to plant treat it so I can plant flowers in it.
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Courtenay, BC
Cleaning up Adams Needle yucca in Vancouver Island BC
We have Adam's needle yucca's in our the flower bed of our newly purchased home here on Vancouver Island BC. They thrive and produce impressive flowers. How do I clean them up in the spring time ...
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Union Bay, BC
Trumpet vine care
I planted a trumpet vine in the early summer of this year. It grew about 3-4 ft. and seemed healthy. It is now Oct. 25th, and I just noticed that all the leaves seem to have shrivelled up and gone b...
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Tofino, BC
Distinguishing wax myrtle from Daphne laureola in Tofino BC
I am wondering how to distinguish California Wax Myrtle from Daphne Laurel, the latter which I would prefer to eradicate from my property. If it is wax myrtle, it gets to live..
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Vancouver, BC
Consequences of overwatering plants
Explain how an error on the high side when watering would affect soil fertility management, IPM efforts?
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Vancouver, BC
Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned...
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Vancouver, BC
How was salal (Gaultheria shallon) used by the troops in WWII?
We live in Vancouver BC. My mother says that during WW2 all the kids in her school were sent out to pick salal. They picked sacks of salal which were then sent to the troops. We are trying to find ...
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Vancouver, BC
Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
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Vancouver, BC
Grouping plants according to water needs
Explain how appropriate design/grouping of plants of the same water needs would make irrigation scheduling easier?
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Vancover, BC
Propagation of skunk cabbage
Where can I purchase root stock for a start of skunk cabbage to plant? in my wetland?
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Coquitlam, BC
Advice on planting Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) in Vancouver, BC
I live in the Vancouver, BC - Pacific Northwest area and the front of our yard faces south to southwest. If I were to plant a tree other than an evergreen, would the Korean Dogwood thrive in this are...
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Burnaby, BC
Controlling Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) in British Columbia
Hello, I am emailing from the west coast of Canada, Vancouver, and I have a plant question regarding a species you have listed on your website. We have recently discovered Pontederia cordata L. Pi...
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Surrey, BC
Pacific dogwood not fruiting
We have a beautiful Pacific Dogwood in front of our balcony. In some years it has fruit (berries) but has not for the past two years. When it does, it becomes a magnet for Northern Flickers. Is the pr...
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Delta , BC
Evergreen shrub/tree for British Columbia.
What kind of hedge or trees might work to provide privacy in our lower mainland British Columbia yard/garden? We need something evergreen that is perhaps,fast growing. Our yard is not deep and our k...
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Langley, BC
Plant Identification
Hi there. I have a plant in my garden I'm trying to identify. It started out looking like a cabbage but now is huge, It has a large stalk going up the middle with purple bell looking flowers coming...
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Blaine, WA
Evergreen hedge for constant rain
We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
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Abbotsford, BC
Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
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Vernon, BC
Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how...
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Vernon, BC
Can lantana be grown in British Columbia from Vernon BC
Can I grow lantana in Vernon B.C. Canada?
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Vernon, BC
Are blue spruce (Picea pungens) poisonous?
Are blue spruce trees poisonous at all? Thank you.
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Eastsound, WA
Plants for slope on Orcas Island, WA
Hi! What a great site! Okay, I have a home on Orcas Island, WA. We live here from about June through September, but only visit once a month or so the other times of the year. We are looking for somet...
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