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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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Monday - October 11, 2010

From: Yakima , WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Planting
Title: Getting USDA Hardiness Zones on our website from Yakima WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Since the Internet brings people from all over the United States, why don't you include the zone in which each plant can grow and survive. Or, is that too difficult to do?

ANSWER:

Hopefully, someday we will, but for now the Native Plant Database is a work in progress, and we just haven't the time or funds to put in all the nice bells and whistles that we would like to. However, in this previous answer we laid out the way you can get your own hardiness zone. For instance, Yakima County is in south central Washington, and this USDA Hardiness Zone map of Washington State shows a very confused area there: micro-climates, mountains, who knows what? We are guessing Zone 6a.

Since you know better than we do exactly where you want to garden, you can probably come up with a better zone identification than we can. That is really the most important reason why we don't spend the resources to put a hardiness zone in every plant record, because you might be on a sunny hillside and have one micro-climate and someone else only a mile or so away might be in a low spot, where it can get noticeably cooler. Zones are a guide to what will grow in a specific area, but you also need to include the terrain, soil and rainfall where you are gardening to have a good idea of what will thrive there.

 

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