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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members 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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - June 24, 2008

From: Blaine, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Soils, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen hedge for constant rain
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 the dead ones. Need a better solution, the soil has clay a foot or two below surface. We need this for privacy and a little sound barrier wouldn't hurt. Prefer evergreen. Was even told to try bamboo, but its invasive, neighbors are noisy and a pain but wouldn't want to over take both yards with it.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants definitely wouldn't recommend using bamboo since it is not native to North America and what we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes". We do, however, have some suggestions for evergreens that should do very well in your constant rain.

Gaultheria shallon (salal) This is an understory tree that works well in landscaping in the Northwest. In full sun it stays small (1-3 feet), but in shade it will grow much taller (up to 16 feet). Here is more information from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) also grows taller in the shade. Here is more information from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry) with photos and more information from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Morella californica (syn. Myrica californica) (California wax myrtle) with photos and more information from the Washington Native Plant Society.


Gaultheria shallon

Rhododendron macrophyllum

 

 

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