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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you open to the general public?
Yes! The majority of our visitors are horticultural professionals or home gardeners who have no affiliation with the University of Washington.

Do you answer questions over the telephone? By email?
Both! Contact us either way through Plant Answer Line, our quick reference service for gardeners. The library staff will be happy to let you know what information we have in the library on your topic and give answers and referrals whenever possible.

Are you part of the University of Washington Libraries system?
No. We are independent of UW Libraries with our own catalog and lending policies.

Can I check out materials?
Anyone can sign up to borrow books and videos from our Lending Collection. A simple registration procedure is required the first time. All other materials are for library use.

Are you associated with the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden?
No, but Betty Miller was responsible for the founding of both the garden and the library that bear her name and they both receive support from the Miller Charitable Foundation. Visit the Miller Garden website to learn about this wonderful organization.

Do you want donations of books and magazines?
The Miller Library gratefully accepts donations of books and magazines throughout the year, except during the months of March and April. Much of the collection is made up of gift materials. All donated material is reviewed according to the same selection criteria applied to purchased material. If your donation is not needed for the library collection, it will be sold in a used book sale with the proceeds going to the library’s book acquisition budget.

Do you have meeting space?
Yes. The Miller Library has a program room that is available for public use when not in use for library programs. You can reserve the room here.

Can I donate a book in memory of someone?
Yes. All gift books will be processed with a memorial bookplate, if desired. You may contact us at 206-543-0415 for more information.

Do you have nursery and seed catalogs?
Yes, we have hundreds of current mail order catalogs from the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on Pacific Northwest nurseries.

Where can I buy Northwest native plants? …water garden plants? …or any particular plant?
The Miller Library’s Guide to Sources for Plants will help. You can also ask the Plant Answer Line.

Can you identify a plant over the phone? …a plant brought into the library? …a mushroom?
Positive I.D. over the phone is difficult. The Hyde Herbarium at UWBG typically has a staff member available for making identifications. The library staff can also recommend a number of books for this purpose. Or look at our recommended Web Resources for Plant Identification and Selection. For mushrooms, we recommend you contact the Puget Sound Mycological Society.

My plant is sick. If I bring it into the library, can you tell me what’s wrong?
We recommend you contact the Master Gardener Clinic or send the Master Gardeners a message at the E-Clinic. The library staff will help you find and use books from our reference collection on pests and diseases. You can also look at our recommended Web Resources for Plant Care and Problem Solving.

Do you give referrals to pruners? …garden designers? …someone to weed my garden?
We can refer you to the appropriate professional organization for the service you need but we cannot refer you to individuals or companies. Contact us through Plant Answer Line or look at our Web Resources for Organizations and Plant Societies.

When is the Arboretum Plant Sale? …the Bainbridge in Bloom Garden Tour?
Our Garden Tours and Plant Sales calendar has a comprehensive list of upcoming plant sales and garden tours in the region.