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March /April 2013



8Earth Day ways to honor

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Greenability pages are now 100-percent recycled!


ith our 2013 Earth Day issue, we proudly announce our latest move toward a more sustainably published magazine. Our inside pages are now printed on Cascades Rolland Enviro 100 Satin, a paper that is recycled with 100-percent, post-consumer fiber. It’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for responsible use of forest resources, and manufactured using biogas energy created from decomposing landfill waste that is transported by pipeline to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) certification means it is processed without the chlorine that is commonly used to make paper whiter. Our cover returns to New Leaf Reincarnation paper that is being manufactured once again with FSC certification and 60-percent, post-consumer content. Comparing our paper choices to virgin paper, we’ll save 20 trees, 18,521 gallons of water, 28.9 million BTUs of energy, 2,278 pounds of solid waste and 5,978 pounds of greenhouse gases with each issue. This move has been in the works for some time, spurred by the closing of our paper manufacturer and delayed by the frustration of finding few choices in high recycled-content papers. It’s not that 30-percent recycled paper is a bad choice, but it didn’t feel like a good move for Greenability when we had 60-percent recycled content before the mill closed. Last year, we won a national Green America Better Paper Project award for those efforts, and we didn’t want to regress on sustainability. Many thanks go to our Shaughnessy paper representative, Marie Langdon, for helping us maneuver the paper maze and make a paper choice that is our greenest ever. In this issue, you’ll find many ways to honor Earth Day in Kansas City and Lawrence. From long-time, annual events like EarthWalk and the Prairie Village Earth Fair to a newer Zeleny Arts and Crafts Fair of

eco-artists, there are events for the ambitious and ideas for quieter observations. As you prepare for spring planting, take a look at our special section on Thriving in Drought. We consulted Alan Branhagen, director of horticulture at Powell Gardens, on his recommendations for our gardens. He suggests several varieties of native trees, shrubs, flowers and ground covers that bloomed and flourished in last season’s dry, hot weather. We also feature great information on where you can find natives in public gardens and which local garden centers sell them. Our college interns helped with this section and share their insight after working last summer in the native garden surrounding our offices at Posty Cards. Our Greenability Challenge story comes to us from customers of Habitat ReStore who designed and built an incredible backyard greenhouse using reclaimed lumber and windows from ReStore. Every gardener will want one. While you’re thinking about spring, consider teaming up with a local farmer to get fresh, farm food through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. For a set seasonal price, you’ll get a weekly bag of locally grown food and the fun of meeting the farmer who grew it. And finally, we extend our thanks to The Kansas City Star for nominating Greenability for the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award. We appreciate everyone who supports Greenability and its efforts to tell Kansas City’s green stories.

Julie Koppen Publisher

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WRITERS Alan Branhagen Dani Hurst Brown

Julie Koppen


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CONTENTS March/April 2013


11 35 36

8 ways to honor Earth Day Sign up for local food all season Eat Local! (& Organic) Expos


4 37

Thriving in Drought

15 21 23 25 29 33

Grow drought-resistant native plants Find native plants in public gardens 10 reasons to grow native Overcome objections and obstacles Greenability interns spend a summer in the garden Where can you buy native plants?

From the Publisher Greenability Directory


Couple salvages doors to craft a greenhouse







Couple salvages doors to craft a greenhouse

The Hatley family built a greenhouse using repurposed building materials from Habitat ReStore.


ithin a day of dreaming up an idea for building a greenhouse from old windows, Malia Hatley scored 17 used windows for $10 each from Habitat ReStore, and a project was born. “I always started growing my plants from seed, and every spring our kitchen was taken over with trays of seedlings,” said Hatley. “But they never got enough light, so I started thinking about building a greenhouse.”


Greenability Greenability

Greenability Challenge

With the help of her 12-year-old son, Mason, Hatley determined that the greenhouse windows all needed to be the same size. The ReStore windows were salvaged from the same house, so they were identical two-foot by six-foot, double-paned, woodsashed windows. Hatley needed 16, but bought an extra one as a backup. She then enlisted the help of her husband, Jason, who works as a project manager at Sprint, to transform her finds into a greenhouse in their Overland Park backyard. Over part of a spring break and a few more weekends, he constructed the 10-foot by 12foot building that includes a propane heater for cold spring nights and two louvered windows that can be opened for air circulation on warm days. Once she got started, Malia took it as a personal challenge to see how much of the project could be sourced from used materials at ReStore and other places. “Most everything in the greenhouse had a prior life,” Hatley said. “That was our goal.” At the Habitat ReStore in Waldo, the Hatleys found wire and glass that could be made into shelving. They bought an 11-foot by 18-inch slab of granite that made a perfect bench top, old wood flooring for a tabletop and a shower base that was incorporated into a table. They also found a sink and faucet, a door, hinges and hardware. On Craigslist they found used glass blocks and Plexiglas sheets that could be used for the roof. The tin on the front door came from an old hotel in Wichita and other parts were found at estate sales and thrift stores. They bought new pressure-treated wood for the framing and hired a local contractor to grade the site and put down gravel, which allows the water used in the greenhouse to filter back into the ground. The entire project cost about $1,500, including the site grading.

Donate, buy or repurpose at Habitat ReStore Habitat ReStore accepts new and used building materials, appliances and furniture at its two retail locations and at area Lowe’s stores on scheduled Saturdays. Donated items must be reusable for home improvements, structurally sound, functional and cosmetically appealing. For instance, ReStore will accept an older functioning kitchen appliance in white, black or stainless, but not one that is avocado green. Items that are accepted and then available for resale include: ■

APPLIANCES: stove, oven, washer, dryer, trash compactor, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, microwave, garbage disposal, water heater, HVAC unit.

BATHROOM FIXTURES: tub, jet tub, towel bar, sink, faucet, wall cabinet, handicap support items, mirror, shower unit, toilet.

BUILDING MATERIALS: brick, glass block, door, electrical supplies, fencing, fireplace accessories, hardware, insulation, landscape supplies, lighting, lumber, paint, plumbing supplies, roofing, sheetrock, siding, sink, tools, trim, wallpaper, windows.

FLOORING: carpet, laminate, tile, vinyl, wood.

FURNITURE: bed frame, bookcase, chair, couch, dresser, table.

KITCHEN: cabinet, countertops, sink, door hinges and pulls.

For a complete list of accepted items, new arrivals and the Lowe’s drop-off site schedule, visit or call 816-231-6889. The retail store locations are: 4701 Deramus Ave. Kansas City, MO

303 W. 79th St. Kansas City, MO

Jason Hatley built a 10-foot by 12-foot backyard greenhouse using 16 identical used windows from Habitat ReStore.


Greenability Challenge

Malia Hatley (left) initiated the building of the family greenhouse with the help of her husband Jason, and children Ellie, 10, and Mason, 12.


Greenability Greenability

Last spring, Malia planted flats of tomatoes, flowers, herbs and lettuce seeds. She grafted heirloom tomatoes to a rootstock, something she would not have tried in her kitchen. She was able to transplant her healthy seedlings of basil, parsley, dill, zucchini, Benary’s giant zinnias, bachelor’s buttons and four-o’clocks into her garden. “I chose unusual varieties of everything,” she said. “I don’t want to grow anything from seed that you can easily get in flats at the garden center.” Hatley is a regular ReStore shopper. She’s bought windows before for art projects, including a window on which she mounted a poster of Rocky Mountain National Park for her husband’s windowless office. She’s found crown molding, a sink, light fixtures and smaller “parts” for other projects in her 1950’s ranch-style house. For her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop project, she recently purchased stair balusters for them to use as posts for making birdbaths. She found bowls at a thrift store and plumbing parts at a hardware store, and the 17 girls painted and assembled them into their custom birdbaths. “I’m always looking at how can I reuse something, or what can I make from something I’ve found,” Hatley said. “I’d rather reuse and give an item a second life than buy something new.” Habitat KC ReStore focuses on keeping usable building materials and furniture out of landfills, with the financial proceeds supporting Habitat for Humanity Kansas City’s mission of building affordable housing.

Greenability Challenge

ReStore accepts new and used material donations from individuals, retailers and contractors, and then sells those materials back to the general public at discounted prices. ReStore also offers deconstruction services to provide an environmentally sound alternative to demolition. Homeowners pay for the service, but receive tax benefits for their donation of salvaged building materials, cabinetry and appliances. At the end of 2012, Habitat KC ReStore had raised more than $4 million for Habitat for Humanity to build homes in the urban core of Jackson County, MO, and diverted more than 25,000 tons of building materials from the Kansas City waste stream. For the Hatley family’s creative repurposing efforts, they won a local Habitat ReStore contest in October, and their project took first place nationally in the ReUse People 2012 ReUse Contest in November. The contests were designed to showcase innovative projects built predominantly from used materials. The family received a $1,000 Habitat ReStore gift certificate – a perfect prize for Malia, who is already dreaming up new projects. “We never tire of seeing how creative our customers are, and it energizes us to keep supplying them with more and more material,” said Brian Alferman, ReStore’s executive director. “Without people willing to use these items in their projects, our efforts wouldn’t mean a thing. It legitimizes the concept that there’s life – sometimes gorgeous – remaining after a material’s first go-round.”


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Green Holidays


ways to honor Earth Day By Dani Hurst Brown

StoneLion Puppet Theatre has scheduled a month of Earth Day events featuring its oversized puppets and Earth-friendly performances.


here are many ways to celebrate Earth Day locally. The official day is April 22, but in Kansas City and Lawrence, Earth Day events begin in March and extend through April. Enjoy!

1 Mingle with mammoth marionettes

Follow the oversized StoneLion Puppet Theatre puppet carnival to several Earth Day events around the city this year. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6, catch the Puppets for the Planet Festival at St. Mark Child and Family Development Center, 2008 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO. This free event celebrates the planet while teaching visitors about the environment. On April 20, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., be sure to stop by the Earth Day Festival of Puppets at the City Market, 20 E. 5th St., Kansas City, MO. A puppet stage show begins at 1 p.m., with wandering puppets and carnival side shows



throughout the day. And finally, on April 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., don’t miss the Earth Day celebration at the Lakeside Nature Center, 4701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, MO. Enjoy puppet shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as nature walks, live animal presentations and art projects for the kids. When all the Earth Day events are over, enjoy the Mother’s Day for Mother Earth Giant Puppet Pageant, May 12 on the south lawn of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO. This free festival runs from 1 to 4 p.m., with a giant puppet show at 2 p.m. Visit for details.

2 Support local eco-artists

Join those creative souls who really dig local, handmade and eco-friendly wares, and check out the Second Annual Zeleny Arts and Crafts Fair, March 30 in Parkville, MO. Zeleny – which means “green” in Czech – is a gathering of eco-conscious artists, organizations and customers coming together to celebrate creative sustainability. A variety of local artists and vendors will be selling everything from handmade soaps, candles and jewelry to clothing and original artwork. The fair in Parkville will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Heartland Presbyterian Center, 16965 Missouri 45, Parkville, MO. There will also be a Zeleny Fair in Springfield, MO, April 5-6. All the proceeds from booth, table and chair fees from both events will support the Heartland Presbyterian Center and the Graydon Springs Outdoor Legacy in Ozark, MO. For more information, visit

3 Be part of the “village”

April 13 marks the 12th Annual Prairie Village Earth Fair. This year, the Prairie Village Environmental/Recycling Committee is teaming up with Shawnee Mission East High School’s Environmental Science Club to support a sustainable theme of “It takes a village.” The event will include live music, a used book sale, a variety of exhibitors and vendors, and a display of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Kids (and adults) of all ages can get up-close and personal with tortoises, snakes, owls and other animals. This free event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Shawnee Mission East High School, 7500 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS. For more information, visit

5 Recycle and repurpose at City Market

If Earth Day inspires you to responsibly recycle your electronics, head down to the “Get Your Green On” event April 20 at The City Market, 20 E. 5th St., Kansas City, MO. From 9 2 p.m., The City Market and The Surplus Exchange are joining forces to make recycling electronics easy. The thrifty at heart can browse the Community Yard Sale in the Market Square and save a few items from the landfill. Be sure to stop by the weekly farmers market and peruse the local fare. The yard sale and farmers market will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a list of recyclable electronics, visit

6 Party with the Jayhawk Environs

If you’re in Lawrence, KS, on April 20, do not miss the city’s 13th Annual Earth Day Celebration. The festivities begin with an 11 a.m. parade hosted by the University of Kansas Environs that starts at Watson Park, 7th and Tennessee streets, and ends at South Park, 11th and Massachusetts streets. After the parade, South Park becomes a hub of Earth Day activities, featuring informational booths, food vendors and live music. Additionally, the “April Showers to Water Towers” water festival, sponsored by the City of Lawrence Storm Water Division, will be held in South Park, with educational activities about watersheds, erosion, water conservation and other water-quality issues. The Lawrence Transit System will offer free rides throughout the day to highlight the benefits and convenience of public transportation. For more information, visit

4 Take a walk for the planet

Those looking for a more active way to celebrate Earth Day can make the three-mile trek along the Riverfront Heritage Trail in the 16th annual EarthWalk April 20, hosted by Bridging the Gap. Even EarthWalk veterans will enjoy this new walk along the Missouri River. Start at City Market Park in the River Market (3rd and Main Streets) and end in City Market Square (via 3rd and Walnut Streets.) The walk is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted, and ambitious fund-raisers can win prizes for larger amounts. Registration for the walk begins at 8 a.m., and the walk is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Check for more details.

The 13th Annual Lawrence Earth Day Celebration begins with an 11 a.m. parade hosted by the University of Kansas Environs.


7 Observe Earth Hour

You don’t always have to do something or go somewhere to show your support for the planet. For a truly low-impact celebration, join participants around the world in observing Earth Hour by turning off your lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. March 23. Last year, more than 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories switched off their lights, sending a powerful message for action to save the planet. To learn more about the Earth Hour or simply to get inspired, visit

the cooking demo at 2 p.m., which will show participants how to use seasonal ingredients. There will also be a raffle for a free rain barrel and a tree-seedling giveaway. For more information, visit

8 Pal around at Powell Gardens

Find your green thumb in the Heartland Harvest Garden at the Powell Gardens Earth Day celebration April 20 at 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO. Learn from the pros about composting food and yard waste and collecting water in a rain barrel workshop, and explore great ideas for upcycled crafts and garden projects at a workshop in the Missouri Barn. Don’t miss

The Harvest Heartland Garden will demonstrate cooking with local food as part of a day of activities April 20 at Powell Gardens.

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Thriving in Photo by Valerie Kutchko


Thriving in

Pawpaw trees can grow up to 20 feet in sun or shade, and produce tasty fruits and colorful foliage in autumn.

Grow drought-defying native plants Story and photography by Alan Branhagen


ansas City area gardeners and their plants suffered through the driest and hottest weather on record last summer. On the heels of four drastic dry spells and two of the wettest seasons ever in the past 10 years, I often wonder how some species of mature plants ever got started and how new plantings will survive if this is our weather future. Our answer lies among native plants that have survived these extremes through their millennia of life here, without us gardeners. It’s time more than ever to embrace them to make our gardens more sustainable. Here I offer some advice gleaned from growing natives at Powell Gardens and in my personal garden.



Look up to shade trees Shade trees are a critical component of a sustainable landscape, as they cool the air temperature beneath them. Positioned just to the southwest of a structure, they block the hot afternoon sun, which translates into reduced indoor cooling costs. Oaks were the dominant shade tree here before human settlement, and they remain the best choice. I recommend post, bur and chinkapin oaks, but since post oak is nigh impossible to procure and bur oak has golf-ball-sized acorns, I will focus on chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii). Chinkapin oaks graced the bluffs of the Kansas City region when the Lewis & Clark expedition passed through on their historic journey. Yes, they wrote about these trees, whose acorns are the lowest in tannins and thus the most edible to Native Americans. Chinkapin oaks are true shade trees, easily reaching 50 feet in height. This oak can be transplanted quite easily and grows fast, often with a spring and summer flush of growth, once established. Old trees have character. Each one is a living sculpture that gets more unique with age, like a fine wine. This oak has nice burnt orange to red fall foliage color and is one of the top plants for wildlife, especially supportive of beneficial insects and birds.

Choose evergreen windbreaks Evergreens are necessary in our midwestern climate for a sustainable landscape, as they buffer our winter winds. When properly located as a windbreak to the northwest corner of a structure, they reduce its heat loss and lower heating bills and energy consumption. Only one native species of evergreen tree was found locally at the time of settlement: the eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). Wild red cedar is underappreciated, but really is the best conifer to shrug off all that our climate can dish out. Many do not like the fact that it turns an orange-green in winter, but I find that so in tune with our local winter color palate. It is a tree that is either male or female, and that makes a difference to the tree’s ornamental character. Female trees produce cones that look like blue berries. A female tree studded

Top: Wild hyacinth blooms in spring and goes dormant through the summer. It comes back every year. Photo: Linda Williams. Bottom: Blue indigo is a hardy perennial that pulls doubleduty. It produces vibrant blue flowers in late spring and fixes nitrogen on its roots, which helps build soil health.

in blue fruit in autumn can be very beautiful and a blessing to hungry wildlife as a winter larder. The fruits are edible, but only about one out of a thousand trees has a sweet berry, and all follow with a gin aftertaste (yes, juniper is the flavoring to gin).


Male trees are studded with orange pollen cones in winter that discharge pollen in the winds of spring. You can plant only female trees and still expect fruit because there are so many male trees around.

Plant a PawPaw or Possumhaw Small trees are also a necessary component of a well-designed landscape, as they provide just the right “human scale” to a garden. Those tolerant of shade can be utilized beneath large shade trees. I recommend native pawpaw (Asimina triloba), which was welldescribed locally during the historic Lewis & Clark expedition. It produced a favorite fruit for them to eat when they passed by in fall on their return trip. Pawpaw can grow in sun or shade. It grows about 20 feet tall and tends to sucker into a multi-trunked thicket — the infamous “pawpaw patch.” You need two different seedlings or varieties to set fruit, as they are not self-fertile. The trees have beautiful large leaves that give a tropical feel to a garden, as they are the lone temperate member of the tropical custard apple family. The maroon flowers in spring are very interesting, but the fruit in early fall (usually September) is their finest achievement and quite a delicious treat. You don’t see them at grocery stores because they do not ship well and have no shelf life. However, the fruit’s contents freeze well. The tree’s last hurrah is its unique autumn color that changes from almost white-yellow to golden yellow. Possumhaw, or deciduous holly (Ilex decidua), is another small tree that flowered and fruited spectacularly again this year, despite the drought and heat. Like all hollies, it is male or female, and female trees are simply spectacular in late fall into winter as they are cloaked in brilliant red and orange-red berries. This brilliant warm color in the often bleak winter landscape is as spectacular as any flowering tree, and lasts for months. Possumhaw has small white flowers in spring that may not be noticed by us, but are Top: Chinkapin oaks can reach up to 50 feet in height, and are known to support wildlife, particularly beneficial birds and insects. Bottom: Little bluestem is a short perennial grass that turns rich shades of reddish brown beginning in the fall and lasting throughout the entire winter.

relished by pollinators and honeybees, making a real fine honey. Possumhaw also grows in all soil types from wet to dry, but flowers and fruits best in full sun to partial shade.

Don’t snub shrubs Evergreen shrubs are another necessary component of a beautiful landscape. They provide year-round screening and



Eastern red cedars make an ideal windbreak, and if planted on the northwest corner of a structure, can decrease heating bills and energy consumption.

interest, but on a smaller scale than trees. Switchcane

on them as a refreshing summertime candy. In fall, fragrant

(Arundinaria gigantea) is our only regionally native evergreen

sumac is ablaze with shades of bright red and is simply

shrub, and it is also our only native bamboo. This grass

stunning. It grows 5 to 8 feet tall and much wider, though it is

creeps underground to form a thicket of vertical stems that

easily trimmed to a desired size.

usually top out in the 5- to 8-foot range locally. It survived last summer without any extra water. You can actually cut the

Wind vines around the garden

stems to any height, and they stay there. Switchcane does

Vines are the contortionists of a great landscape, because

not have overly invasive stems like other bamboos and is

they can be made to fit any tight or unique situation. I

easily headed off where you don’t want it. If you are lucky

recommend our native grapes (Vitis spp.). Powell Gardens has

and it flowers, the seeds are an edible grain, and it does not

all four local species growing wild, because they are usually

die off like other bamboos after flowering. I find it the perfect

planted by birds dropping seeds. They can grow very rampant

evergreen screen for the edge of a property, and my winter

and get huge over time. Just like cultivated grapes, they

birds certainly agree with it as a safe haven and comfy shelter

produced their best crop of grapes last summer. I want local

in wintertime.

sustainable gardeners to include them, but just remember

Deciduous shrubs provide seasonal color and wintertime

that they can grow up into the canopy or engulf a young tree.

branching structure in the garden. One local native that is

They need to be considered as a green façade for cooling

tough as nails and is underappreciated is fragrant sumac

urban buildings, like what is being done in Japan. Pruning

(Rhus aromatica). It has subtle yellow flowers in early spring,

is a necessity when they are grown upon smaller structures.

but they are tiny and less showy than brazen forsythia.

Wild grapes are underappreciated for their fragrant flowers

Its flowers are the first nectar for many beneficial insects,

in mid-spring on two varieties — riverbank (V. riparia) and fox

including honeybees and several butterflies. (Forsythias can’t

grapes (V. vulpina). Gray grapes (V. cinerea) and summer

do that). It can be male or female, with the female plants

grapes (V. aestivalis) bloom at the summer solstice. The fruit

producing bright red, fuzzy fruit in mid-summer that are not

are simply delicious in late fall and make great preserves and

only gorgeous against its verdant green leaves, but also rich

juices, but all parts from the leaves to the seeds are edible.

in vitamin C, with a refreshing tartness. They make a cool tea

They also harbor some of our most unique beneficial insects,

or additive to overly sweet fruits, though I just like to suck

and birds relish their fruit.


Try Blue Indigo

Find flowers for shade

For a tenacious perennial in the garden, I can think of nothing

For shady sites, my favorite drought-tolerant perennial is

better than our native blue indigo (Baptisia australis). This is

columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). It shows off beautiful red,

one long-lived plant, with stunning blue flowers in late spring.

dangling flowers in late spring that are rich in nectar — the

The ensuing fruit are green pods that turn black when ripe and

sweet treat is at the end of each flower’s spur, reachable

actually add beauty to the late fall and wintertime perennial

only by the long bill of its pollinator, the hummingbird, or by

border. They do tend to naturally snap off in winter — its nature

children who have learned to suck on it from the flower.

is to be “tumbleweed” to disperse its seeds. This plant also helps build soil with deep, coarse roots that also fix nitrogen.

Bring a little prairie home Since we are in a region where prairie once was king, I also have to include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), an herbaceous perennial grass. It is relatively short, topping out

The plant prefers rocky soil or the edges of paths and pavement and has delicate leaves the rest of the season. A pretty whorl of leaves stays evergreen through the winter. Columbine is not very long-lived, so it is always wise to let it self-sow so you continually have drifts of this beauty.

Dig in the bulbs

at usually no more than 3 or 4 feet. It is a clump-forming,

Flowering bulbs are another mainstay of a garden, yet we

warm-season grass, greening up only after the weather is

often think of them as exotic tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

warm. It loves our hot, sunny summers, but is at its best in the

There are a few natives, including wild hyacinth (Camassia

fall, when it turns rich shades of reddish brown. It is certainly

scilloides). It is perfectly suited here, comes back year after

our most colorful grass for fall color, and it lasts throughout

year, and self-sows into ever increasing drifts of its soft blue

the entire winter.

spikes of flowers in spring. Its bulbs are edible, too. The


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foliage emerges in spring, and it soon flowers. Then it has the sense to go dormant through the summer. It’s a wise plant in our climate!

Let annuals self-seed Annuals are a popular component of any garden, adding season-long color. What else can bloom itself to death in a single year? Native palafoxia (Palafoxia calosa) does just that, but it self-sows on its own to repeat the performance without replanting. Its explosion of dainty pink flowers is somewhat like cool-living baby’s breath, but its flowers thrive in heat and drought. Palafoxia blooms in late summer into fall in a large mounded plant that is usually 2 or 3 feet in diameter.

Alan Branhagen is the director of horticulture at Powell Gardens (, which is located just east of Kansas City past Lone Jack, MO.

Palafoxia is a self-sowing annual with pink flowers that bloom in late summer into fall, and mix well here with aromatic aster.


Thriving in

A monarch caterpillar finds its way on to a butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary.

Enjoy native plants in public gardens By Valerie Kutchko Photography by Linda Williams


f you are considering adding native plants to your garden this year, there are several public places in and around Kansas City where you can take a look before deciding which plants might work best for you. Native plants are the best option for our unpredictable climate. They are drought-resistant, perennial or self-seeding (returning each year without replanting), require minimal care once established, and are beautiful in the garden. Listed here are a few gardens that are open to the public. Most are free, but some may have an entrance fee.

Top: The prairie at Jerry Smith Park is loaded with big bluestem, Indian grass and goldenrod. Bottom: Prairie blazing star and rattlesnake master bloom on a prairie remnant at Powell Gardens.



18th Street and Broadway Kansas City, MO Developed and owned by DST Systems, this garden includes edible and native plants, a rain garden and a renewableenergy demonstration project. It is located on a block in Kansas City’s Crossroads District, with the purpose of educating people on how to build and plant a rain garden at home.

Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center 4750 Troost Ave. Kansas City, MO

Located just north of Brush Creek, the Discovery Center maintains 10 acres of public gardens that include a variety of native plants for sun, shade and wetlands.

Blackhoof Park

9053 Monticello Road Lenexa, KS This 80-acre preserve includes native plantings in forest, prairie, streams and wetlands. It includes Lake Lenexa.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road Blue Springs, MO

An interactive nature center provides information on the native plantings in more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, fields and ponds.

Cave Springs

8701 E. Gregory Blvd. Kansas City, MO The 39-acre urban nature area with hiking trails features natural caves and a wildlife habitat pond, and is located along the historic Santa Fe Trail.

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains 177 W. Hickory St. Hesston, KS

A prairie garden is a showcase for native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees that are intermingled with carefully selected adaptable plants.

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area 13101 Ranson Road Lees Summit, MO

The area has 12 man-made lakes as well as woodlands, native grasses and shrubs, and crop fields that are maintained year-round to support wildlife.

Jerry Smith Park

139th and Prospect Ave. Kansas City, MO The park is an important part of the Centennial Boulevard System, which continuously links 43 miles of Kansas City’s boulevards and parkways. A third of the park’s 360 acres is a restored native prairie.

Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary 407 N. La Frenz Road Liberty, MO

This non-profit nature preserve includes four miles of trails.

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens 8909 W. 179th St. Overland Park, KS

The arboretum features a wide variety of trees and shrubs native to the Kansas City area.

Powell Gardens

1609 NW 50 Highway Kingsville, MO Kansas City’s botanical garden features the Byron Shutz Nature Trail, an Island Garden of water plants, a meadow of native prairie grasses and flowers and an edible garden in the Heartland Harvest Garden.

Prairie Garden Trust

8945 County Road 431 New Bloomfield, MO Since 1986, more than 50 types of native grasses and flowers have been planted to convert an old fescue field into prairie. Controlled fires every few years keep trees from invading. In early spring, Indian paintbrush carpets patches of the prairie, followed by the yellow of coneflowers and the purple of blazing star.

Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

Shawnee Mission Park

4800 Rockhill Road Kansas City, MO

7900 Renner Road Shawnee, KS

Intensely planted beds feature artfully arranged local and exotic botanicals, including natives and some varieties not found anywhere else in the Midwest.

A 1,250-acre park is home to a scenic lake and 11-mile Mill Creek Streamway Trail, which takes visitors along oak-hickory forests and upland native prairies.




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Native and non-native root comparison chart Thriving in

10 reasons to grow native plants Common Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius

Spirea Spiracea sp. Daylillies Hemerocallis sp.

Prairie Dropseed Sporobolus heterolepsis

Perennial Fountain Grass Pennisetum alopecuroides

Fescue Turf Festuca sp.

Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia fulgida

Buffalo Grass Buchloe dactyloides



By Molly Mahon


Root depth measured in feet

Root depth measured in feet

This simple chart of native and non-native plants and their roots illustrates how a native plant has a better chance of survival with a deep root system that can pull in more water and tap a deeper water table in times of drought. Illustration provided by Mid-America Regional Council.

n the heels of a drought summer, many gardeners will be looking at native plants that are better adapted to our range of climates. With an appropriate location and the right native plant for that spot, growing native can be rewarding for you and the environment. We consulted the Missouri Department of Conservation and, a website of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and found eight convincing reasons to grow native plants in our region. Feet


1. Conserve water Once they are established, native plants require less water than non-native annuals. Natives are better adapted to environmental conditions, which in the Midwest can swing from below zero to above 100-degree temperatures and include the water extremes of drought and flooding. With their deeper root systems, natives can handle both dry and wet condition extremes, saving water and money. Many natives have root systems that extend up to 15 feet deep.

2. Crowd out invasive plants Growing native plants can help fight the invasion of potentially threatening non-native species. However, some non-native plants work well with native plants. Both can be used to create a sustainable landscape.



3. Resist disease and pests Natives are naturally more resistant to local pests due to years of exposure. They have evolved to thrive in the existing soil and don’t require fertilizer, which pollutes water and is harmful to humans and animals.

4. Require less maintenance Natives require very little maintenance once established, which saves both time and money. They don’t require regular attention or chemical maintenance like exotic or nonindigenous plants. However, until they reach their full height and width (up to three years), native gardens will require weeding and some watering in dry conditions. Once the garden matures, the native plants will block out many weeds, making maintenance easier.

5. Ensure biodiversity

8. Attract pollinators

A garden of native varieties ensures survival of relationships between native plants and organisms. Using native plants encourages the survival of the local ecosystem and decreases habitat destruction. Leaves bud, flowers bloom and fruit ripens at times when native wildlife needs them.

Native plants attract birds, bees and other area wildlife for pollination. In return, the plants provide food and shelter.

9. Discourage deer grazing

Native plants can better withstand adverse weather conditions because they have adapted to regional weather. They have better survival rates in droughts, freezing weather and excessive moisture. Non-natives have shorter root systems, while natives have more extensive systems, allowing them to absorb excess water on the surface or utilize water from deeper in the soil.

Many native plants are also deer-resistant. Deer rely on their sense of smell to determine whether an area is safe and if plants are desirable to eat. For example, plants with aromatic foliage such as wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and roundleaved groundsel (Senecio obovatus) deter deer. Some plants repel deer because of their coarse, rough, hairy or spiny textures. This group includes rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa). A deer-resistant garden includes a high percentage of these types of plants.

7. Cleanse the environment

10. Bring year-round beauty

With less need for fertilizers and pesticides, native plants improve water and soil quality. Natives allow water to soak in when it rains, replenishing the water table and diverting water runoff. They also provide a habitat for pollinators.

Native wildflowers, trees, shrubs and flowering vines offer a wide range of colors, textures and forms for creating seasonal gardens. Grasses and sedges provide interesting flowers and seed heads in fall colors. Many shrubs and trees have berries into the winter. Choosing a wide assortment of plants ensures seasonal interest.

6. Tolerate weather extremes

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Thriving in Overcome objections and obstacles By Jared Cole Photography by Valerie Kutchko


ative plants offer a variety of benefits, including adding beauty to residential and commercial landscapes. But they can pose challenges. Consider these five common objections and obstacles and how to overcome them for a beautiful native garden.

1. It’s a weedy mess. To some people, there is beauty in a mess. Still, using native plants doesn’t have to be untidy. While a prairie or forest may appear to be uncontrolled clutter, your yard needn’t be a wild area to achieve the benefits of using native species. Keep native plantings tidy and simple by using fewer species. “One of the biggest things we’ve learned is to put a grouping of five natives together so maintenance makes sense,” said Lisa Treese, formerly a landscape architect with Vireo and now senior landscape architect at the Kansas City, MO Water Services Department.

Cardinal flower blooms in the native garden at Posty Cards just east of downtown Kansas City.



Treese explained that most people have difficulty distinguishing between grass and wildflower species at

or humanizing the plantings by adding benches or other human-friendly features.

various life cycles of the plants. However, by simplifying plantings, people can learn what to pull out and what to leave in to keep the area well-maintained.

3. Maintenance looks confusing. Deciding to plant natives is the easy part. Maintenance is

Another key to avoiding a messy appearance involves

not necessarily more difficult than traditional yard plantings,

selecting plants that have different blooming cycles, to

but native species have different needs. Understanding the

optimize color. Some gardeners like to put up a yard sign

native plants is an important piece in achieving their long-

that signals their intentional native garden.

term benefits.

If you have a rain garden that you don’t mind looking untidy, but your neighbors do, use more “accepted” plants to border the rain garden, like hostas, daylilies or Shasta daisies.

“It’s not dig a hole, plant a tree or shrub, roll out the turf, turn on your sprinklers and you’re done,” said Turnbull. The first two to three years of establishing natives is critical to their long-term success. Although native plants develop

2. City weed ordinances prohibit them. Many municipal codes are fairly generic and leave ample room for interpretation of the definition of a weed – which can sometimes prompt neighbors to complain.

deep roots that allow them to survive drought better than many shallow-rooted plants, new plantings of natives may need to be watered. For example, at Posty Cards, a 3,000-square-foot rain garden planted in 2011 was watered during the summer

“All of our code enforcement is based on complaints and

drought of 2012. While it may seem strange to water a rain

observations,” said Laura Turnbull, project planner with the

garden, it was believed that the plants were not established

city of Lenexa.

enough to survive without care. Once established, mature

Getting a citation from your municipality may have more to do with neighbor relations than locally outlawed species. Groups like Wild Ones and the Missouri Prairie Foundation offer advice on how to help native plantings fit the aesthetic of your neighborhood, even with cynical neighbors.

blue flag iris and New England asters are expected to survive with only occasional weeding. “Over the long-term, natives will not need as much babying,” said Treese. If you hire a crew to install or maintain your plants, select

“You won’t convince anyone by being arrogant or self-

one that has experience with native plants. Ask about their

righteous. My grandmother always told me you can catch

maintenance plan and what specific needs major plantings

more flies with honey than vinegar,” said Bret Rappaport,


past president of the non-profit organization Wild Ones.

If you plant native yourself, ask an expert about the best

Rappaport advises using borders, advertising that the

maintenance plan for the plants you select. Knowing a

plants are intentional, starting with one project at a time,

species’ needs can help you figure out what and when you

Plant native tree seedlings Start your own native tree grove with inexpensive seedlings from the Missouri Department of Conservation. The department grows native tree and shrub seedlings and offers them for sale to the public through the George O. White State Forest Nursery near Licking, MO. This year’s selections include 14 oak species, seven evergreens, black walnut, pecan, tulip poplar, bald cypress, black cherry, persimmon, pawpaw, dogwood, holly, hazelnut, plum, ninebark, witch hazel, mulberry and other varieties. Seedlings are 1 to 3 years old. Specific bundles are available for conservation areas, wildlife habitat, wild edibles, nut-producing, wetland areas and quail cover. The bare-root trees and shrubs must be ordered by April 30 in minimum bundles of 10. However, some species will sell out before then. Pricing ranges from 16 cents to $1.60 each, depending on the species, size and quantity. To order, look for the Seedling Order Form at


need to mow, prune, weed or water. Local plant centers that carry natives are good places to start, and there are also online resources like Grow Native’s Plant Picker and Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder that carry information about native plant care.

4. There aren’t natives for my location. From full shade to full sun, there are native plants adapted to local niches. Understanding the site and selecting the most appropriate plant is the most essential step in a successful native planting. “There is not really a single plant that can work in any situation. Each area should be tackled individually,” said Treese. When matching plants to a site, major variables to consider are soil type, soil drainage, and sun exposure. A major killer of native plants is selecting the wrong plant for a site. Native plants have needs, like any other type of plant, that must be met in order for them to survive and thrive, including room for their extensive root systems to grow. Many native plants work well in areas of full sun and partial shade because they have adapted to live in native prairies and woodlands of the region. One of the trickiest places to find natives is a shaded area, because many forest understory natives bloom quickly in the spring and then die back or lay dormant until the next spring. While shade is a challenge for many popular natives, golden ragwort will bloom even in shade, and wild ginger is a hardy native ground cover that thrives in full shade. Soil drainage and type should also influence native plant selection.

Prairie blazing star and black-eyed Susan are native perennials that thrive in hot, sunny weather. Black-eyed Susan will bloom prolifically throughout the summer. The purple stalks of prairie blazing star flower in July and August.

Native plants, such as cardinal flower, that are naturally found on stream banks or in wetlands, may need access to water or wet soils. In a dry summer, they may not survive out of their habitat without extra watering. In contrast, butterfly milkweed, a popular native,

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requires good drainage, and it often fails when its roots

nitrogen and may grow too big for their physical structures

are too wet.

to support. Sunflowers are common examples of natives that

Even traditional home plantings, like a shrub on the side of a house, can be of local origin. Some native plants fit “traditional” roles. Virginia sweetspire is one species that

grow so tall in a yard that they fall over. Past challenges may also have to do with timing and expectations.

can be planted in place of non-native barberry and fits nicely

“I think most people who have bad experiences with

on the sides of a house or other areas where the ground

native plants are comparing perennial natives to annual

needs to be covered. Ninebark is a native bush that can be

non-natives,” said Lance Jessee, vice-president of the local

used instead of spirea in borders and hedges, and grows

chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society.

tall enough to provide privacy. Prairie dropseed can replace perennial fountain grass.

At a garden center, many plants that people select are annuals which will bloom for the growing season, and then die when the weather turns cold. In contrast, many native

5. After a bad experience, why try again?

perennials will not bloom the first year, but will come back

Like all plantings, natives can struggle or die for several

and bloom year after year. Native annuals provide showiness

reasons, such as the site and species selection and

in the first year, but will have to be replanted the next year or

maintenance issues already mentioned.

have to reseed themselves. Starting from seed can take even

Another reason natives can fail when bringing them to a

longer. Remember, establishing native plants takes time; it

yard is that the soils have often been fertilized heavily for turf

may be two to three years before you achieve many of the

grasses or vegetables. Most natives do not need the excess

proposed benefits, including blooms.

Check out the weed ID app If you’re trying to figure out whether your garden has a desirable native plant, or an invasive weed, check out the new ID Weeds app created by the University of Missouri Extension. It has detailed information and photos of more than 400 plant species that may show up as weeds in fields, lawns or gardens in Missouri and surrounding states. Users can look up a weed by its common or scientific name, or narrow down a list of possible weeds by checking off characteristics on a drop-down menu. The app works on newer iPhones, iPads and Android devices and computers. Visit for more information.

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Thriving in Christopher Khan was one of the Greenability interns who spent a summer learning about native plants in the gardens surrounding Posty Cards, where the magazine ofďŹ ce is located.

Greenability interns spend a summer with the natives


ach summer, college students join Greenability as interns to learn about the inner workings of a local magazine. They explore writing and photography opportunities, help out at community events and learn about local environmental issues. Perhaps the most memorable part of their Greenability stint is their intern project. This past summer, Christopher Khan, Valerie Kutchko and Molly Mahon researched and wrote many of the native plant stories in this issue. As part of their project, they acquired first-hand experience digging in the dirt in the urban, native garden of Posty Cards, where Greenability offices are located.



With more than two acres of land surrounding the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified building, owner Erick Jessee was committed to growing native flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees. Water conservation was an important part of the plan, and he didn’t want the regular maintenance of a traditional lawn. A rain garden captures rain-water runoff, and native buffalo grass covers the non-garden areas. The plantings include serviceberry trees, ninebark and fragrant sumac bushes, swamp milkweed, northern sea oats, lanceleaf coreopsis, purple and orange coneflower, rose mallow, cardinal flower, great blue lobelia, prairie blazing star, little bluestem, switchgrass and prairie dropseed. Most native plants take three years to become fully established, and the Posty Cards garden was in its second year. Many of the original flowers and grasses had dropped seeds and new seedling plants were sprouting. The interns’ project was to transplant the seedlings and keep them alive through what turned out to be the hottest, driest summer on record. In addition, they researched and wrote copy for the plant identification tags that will be installed in the garden this spring. They came to the project with a range of gardening experience, and learned along the way. By summer’s end, all but one of their seedlings were survivors. Here are their reflections of a summer with the natives.

Christopher Khan Kansas State University

Before my summer internship at Greenability and native gardening project at Posty Cards, I was only somewhat confident that I could tell a plastic plant from a real one. When my mom was studying biology in college, her favorite class was parasitology. When I was young, she told me about a parasite, Naegleria fowleri, that made its home in flowers, and which would enter the brain upon being inhaled. The result would be fatal. Ever since then, I had been perfectly content to enjoy plant life from afar, and no, thank you, I would not like to stop and smell the roses. Garden plants were just decoration to me, like rocks in a rock garden, except for being technically alive and needing tedious tending (not to mention possibly being deadly). But after we transplanted native plants in the Posty Cards garden from one area to another, there were two surprises: A. I didn’t die. B. Neither did the plants. The durability of these plants was impressive. We did the transplanting on a blistering hot and sunny day, which I learned was almost the worst time to be doing it. We moved “baby” seedling

Top to bottom: Valerie Kutchko, Molly Mahon and Christopher Khan learned about native plants as they transplanted and cared for seedlings last summer in the native gardens of Posty Cards.


purple coneflowers (Echinacea), and they did just fine. They

was a bit of a pain, but it was necessary to rotate the location

survived the summer heat and drought and look like they’ll

of each plant — keeping a crop in one place can be tough on

come back this spring. What struck me was how these plants

the soil, especially if you’re talking about tomatoes.

belonged in this soil; they could handle the heat better than I

We also had another garden, full of zinnias, sunflowers,

could — and without the benefit of air conditioning! Plants are

milkweed, dill, fennel and Joe-pye weed. We planted these

much cooler than I had assumed, and when I have space for a

host and nectar plants to attract butterflies, but they also

garden of my own, I think I just might put some natives in there.

attracted curious kids from around the neighborhood. It was

And, as it turns out, I had misheard my mom in the first

great having them ask questions about the insects and plants

place. N. fowleri is a protist found in bodies of warm water and

in my backyard.

moist soils, not in flowers. It does swim up your nose and kill

Working with Greenability in the rain garden at the Posty

you, but that is extremely rare. I think my mom may have told

Cards building seemed a lot simpler than gardening at

me about it just to keep me from playing in the water. In any

home. My plants at home are a mixture of native and non-

case, I think I’ll have no problem smelling flowers anymore,

native, while the rain garden was all natives, and therefore

nor will I shy away from plants, especially natives (although I

much easier to care for. Natives don’t need a rotation cycle,

may now have some reservations about swimming).

nor do they need daily watering to thrive. It was exciting to have a new location full of new (to me,

Valerie Kutchko

anyway) plants. Sure, there were a few that Posty Cards and

University of Nebraska

my house had in common — moonflowers and black-eyed

I’ve been collecting dirt under my fingernails since I could

Susan — but there were many that I didn’t know, especially

crawl. While my mother worked in the vegetable garden, my

the grasses and shrubs. I was surprised to see that these were

sister Kelly and I pulled dandelions and dug holes in the yard.

pretty, and could fill in space quite nicely.

As I got older, I learned how to take care of the veggies. It

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On the two-acre lot, many of the natives attracted butterflies,

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among other creatures. I’m definitely going to add a few

flowers due to health problems. Since moving out of my

of them to the garden at home: purple coneflowers attract

parents’ house, I have started a potted-plant collection.

goldfinches and cardinal flowers lure hummingbirds. Not

I have a cactus, aloe vera and lucky bamboo plant. I have

only are native plants an easy way to sustain the environment,

almost killed two of the three due to lack of watering. There

they are also beautiful and attract equally gorgeous wildlife.

have been several casualties as well: lavender, a bean sprout

Now, I’m working on convincing my mother to add a few

and a hanging plant have not made it. No matter how much

more natives to the yard. Grasses might be a difficult sell, but

I think I have a green thumb, I have learned that watering my

when it is as hot and dry as this last summer, they are the ones

plants is important for their survival.

that stay green and survive. So, maybe.

Molly Mahon

Kansas City Kansas Community College

So, given my childhood gardening experiences, I truly enjoyed native plant gardening at Posty Cards. I loved getting my hands in the dirt and smelling the earthy aroma. Learning about the plants native to our region and the benefits they

When I was growing up, my mother and I planted flowers

provide was a great experience. The education I received

every year. She also had bulbs and annuals that would bloom

developed my excitement to start a native garden at my

depending on the season. We would go to the garden center,

parents’ house. Someday, I hope to have a master’s degree

and she would let me pick out the impatiens of my choice to

in sustainable business management. While I don’t yet know

plant in my small garden. I would dig the hole, pour in bone

exactly what I want to do with it, I know that knowledge

meal, and then place my flower in the ground. I watered my

of native plants will be an invaluable resource. After last

flowers, because watching them bloom and flourish always

summer’s heat wave, I know native plants will not die with

made me one proud little gardener.

minimal watering. So, I’ve decided these are the only plants

Unfortunately, my interest in gardening waned during

I will grow. I just can’t be responsible for another death of

my teenage years, and my mother spent less4:53 timePMplanting BT_AD_GRN_FINAL.qxd:Layout 1 3/26/12 Page 1 Mother Nature’s bounty!

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Thriving in

Black-eyed Susan is a native plant that blooms from June to October and attracts butteries and bees. Photo: Valerie Kutchko

Where can you buy native plants? By Christopher Khan

Many nurseries in the Kansas City metro area offer good selections of native plants. Although no nursery deals exclusively in native plants, some have special native sections, or have all of their native plants tagged. If you plan to introduce native plants into your garden, look for the Grow Native! tag on starter plants at local garden centers. Most of the native plants available at the following nurseries were grown locally by either the nursery or at local wholesale growers. Most also offer native plant seed.

NATIVE PLANT SOURCES: Colonial Nursery 27610 E. Wyatt Road Blue Springs, MO 816-229-1277

Family Tree Nursery 830 W. Liberty Drive Liberty, MO 816-781-0001

Family Tree Nursery 7036 Nieman Road Shawnee, KS 913-631-6121

Family Tree Nursery 8424 Farley Overland Park, KS 913-642-6503



Heartland Nursery 10300 View High Drive Kansas City, MO 816-763-7371

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery 9814 Pleasant Hill Road Jefferson City, MO 573-496-3492

Moffett Nurseries, Inc. 6451 NE State Route 6 St. Joseph, MO 816-223-1223

Planters Seed & Spice Co. 513 Walnut Street Kansas City, MO 816-842-3651

Prairie and Wetland Center

Suburban Lawn & Garden

16245 S. 71 Hwy. Belton, MO 816-331-9738

K-7 and Prairie Star Parkway Lenexa, KS 913-897-5100

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database

Missouri Native Plant Society

Prairie Moon Nursery


Mail-order nursery 866-417-8156

To help you put the right plant in

Missouri Prairie Foundation

its place, here are several resources

Rosehill Gardens

Missouri native plant listing

that feature online native plant

311 E. 135th St. Kansas City, MO 816-941-2332

identification databases. Find plant names, identifying features, best growing habitats (like sun or shade)

University of Missouri Extension

and photos of the plant in bloom.

Soil Service Garden Center & Nursery

Some of the organizations offer plant workshops, regular member meetings

7130 Troost Ave. Kansas City, MO 816-333-3232

and garden tours and camaraderie with other native gardeners.

Grow Native!

Suburban Lawn & Garden

(3 locations) 105th and Roe Overland Park, KS 913-649-8700

Kansas Native Plant Society

Kansas Native Wildflowers and Grasses

Suburban Lawn & Garden

135th and Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 816-942-2921

Kansas State University Research and Extension

Drought-tolerant columbine likes shady spots and has striking red blooms in late spring. Photo: Alan Branhagan

Larsen & Associates  Reliable geothermal drillers specializing in residential installations



Flush & Fill

Phone: 785.841.8707 Email:


Sign up for

local food all season By Dani Hurst Brown


armers markets are a great source for locally grown produce, but those seeking a side of personal enrichment with their fruits and vegetables should consider joining a local grower’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Being a member of a CSA not only ensures you a share of the harvest throughout the season; it also connects you with other locavores and enables you to forge a relationship with the farmer or farmers growing your food. Members typically sign up for a CSA and pay their dues early in the season so the farmers know how much they need to grow that year. Paying early also helps the farmers cover early-season expenses, like seeds, soil amendments and transplants. Once a member, you will receive your share regularly throughout the season, typically on a weekly basis. A share will include anything that is part of the farm’s harvest, which can range from fruits and vegetables to meat, eggs and dairy products. Members usually pick up their share either on the farm or at a location in the city. Several farms deliver to businesses if a minimum number of employees sign up. The Growers’ Alliance CSA of 150 Good Natured Family Farms is distributed at Hen House stores around the metro. Farms offer market-style shares, which allow members to choose their own produce from what’s available, or basket-style shares, in which the food is selected and packaged by the farmer for the member. Most CSA programs run from May through October, but extended seasons are becoming more popular. By utilizing high

Fair Share Farm in Kearney, MO offers a CSA that provides 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Photo: Tom Ruggieri

tunnels and hoop houses, some farms are able to provide their members with wholesome, local food in the early spring and well into the winter months. But CSAs are not just about convenience; they are about building a sense of community. One way that Fair Share Farm, an organic CSA farm in Kearney, MO, instills this communal feeling is by requiring all members to complete work shifts at the farm. “It’s more than just growing vegetables,” says Tom Ruggieri, coowner of Fair Share Farm.“ ’Community’ is the first word in CSA. You can get to know people who come to your market table, but we get to work with our members and watch their kids grow up eating our food. We build strong connections, which makes what we do feel more meaningful.” To select a CSA, refer to the list below. Shares may be limited, so contact farms as soon as possible. An updated CSA list, farmer profiles and more CSA information is available at the Kansas City CSA Coalition website,

Farms offering CSAs in 2013 Benedict Builders Farm

Fahrmeier Farms

Fruitful Hills Farm

Knob Noster, MO 660-563-3309

Includes CSAs delivered to work locations Lexington, MO 816-289-2496

Trenton, MO 816-217-8115

Blue Door Farm Kansas City, KS 816-805-0362

Crum’s Heirlooms Bonner Springs, KS 816-304-8724



Fair Share Farm Kearney, MO 816-320-3763

Gibbs Road Community Farm Cultivate Kansas City Kansas City, KS 913-831-2444

Good Natured Family Farms CSa

Peacock Farms

Delivers to 850 corporate members at work location 816-830-3663, Christopher Shea

Higginsville, MO 660-584-2526 816-726-3405

Growers’ alliance CSa

Red Ridge Farms

More than 150 Good Natured Family Farms at local Hen House Markets

Odessa, MO 816-690-7161

Rolling Prairie Farmers alliance

Heritage acres Farm

Lawrence, KS / Overland Park, KS 785-842-5697

Fort Scott, KS 620-857-4275 620-235-9444

Root Deep Urban Farm

J-14 agricultural Enterprises Kansas City, KS 913-307-6982

Schenker Family Farms

Moon on the Meadow Lawrence, KS 785-749-1197

McCune, KS 620-632-4470

Share-life Farms Marshall, MO 660-886-3936

New Roots for Refugees Kansas City, Kansas 913-620-2080

The Herb’n Gardener

Parker Farms Natural Meats Richmond, MO 816-470-3276

Kansas City, MO 816-924-3523



ach CSA operates a little differently, so be sure to get all the information about the CSA before you sign up and commit. Then you will know what to expect. Here are some questions that anyone looking to join a CSA should ask the farmers. • Is the produce grown using organic and sustainable practices? • What is the distribution schedule and where are the distribution sites? • Is there a work share requirement? • Does your CSA include any meat, milk, poultry or eggs? • What quantity of produce can I expect to receive from week to week? • What happens if a crop fails? • Does your CSA sell extra bulk produce to members? • What is the payment schedule?

Kansas City, MO 816-842-4432

Join our family farm CSA!


Eat Local! (& Organic) Expos

f you want to meet local growers and sign up for a CSA share, plan to attend the Eat Local! (& Organic) Expos. It’s a fun way to sample and purchase local products, and learn how to preserve the bounty. Both are free events. March 30, 2013 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Shawnee Civic Center 13817 Johnson Dr., Shawnee, KS

April 6, 2013 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley (Gymnasium) 3201 Southwest Trafficway, Kansas City, MO

Test Drive The New 100% ELECTRIC


Purchase a CSA share and help ensure local farm sustainability.

Check us out on Facebook. Contact us at 816-289-2496 or to get involved today.


9600 NW Prairie View Road, KCMO




Bennett Home Improvement & Building

Johnson County Community College

Test Drive The New 100% ELECTRIC


708 NW R.D. Mize Road Blue Springs, MO 816-564-1251 cell 816-229-4711 office

Center for Sustainability 12345 College Blvd. Overland Park, KS 913-469-8500

Bennett Home Improvement installs “green” technologies that will enhance your home’s value while saving you money and protecting our environment.

Want a new “green” career? Explore JCCC’s sustainability programs and train for a career in the growing “green” industry.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES SunSource Homes Inc. 7832 Rosewood Lane Prairie Village, KS 816-783-3863 SunSource Homes offers net-zero design/build construction services, solar PV system design/installation, net-zero energy design, architectural services and sustainable remodeling.

DONATE Heartland Tree Alliance Tree Fund A program of Bridging The Gap 1427 W. 9th St., Suite 201 Kansas City, MO 816-561-1061 ext. 115 Go to to donate and help plant trees in your hometown. Choose from 18 city partners and help beautify our region.

Randy Reed Nissan

9600 NW Prairie View Road Kansas City, MO 816-459-4800


9600 NW Prairie View Road, KCM Randy Reed Nissan offers fast, friendly, simple and fair service and is now featuring the 100-percent electric Nissan Leaf.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY cfm Distributors, Inc. 1104 Union Ave. Kansas City, MO 816-842-5400 Cfm Distributors is the Midwest’s employee-owned provider of sustainable heating, cooling, and refrigeration solutions for home, office and industry.

EnergyWorks KC

816-531-7283 EnergyWorks KC provides resources to help you make smart, easy, energy-efficiency improvements to your home or business to save energy and enhance comfort.



The Hayes Company


Kansas City, MO 816-444-6352

EarthWalk Fundraiser for Bridging The Gap The Hayes Company offers Home Performance services for energy efficiency through energy audits, insulating, duct sealing, weatherization and HVAC balancing.

1427 W. 9th St., Suite 201 Kansas City, MO 816-561-1061 ext. 128

Discover the River. Sustain Kansas City. Enjoy a 3-mile walk along the Riverfront Heritage Trail April 20.

Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency (HUEE)

HUEE promotes energy efficiency through Atmos Energy, Independence Power & Light, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Kansas Gas Energy, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative and Metropolitan Energy Center.

StoneLion Puppet Theatre P.O. Box 410006 Kansas City, MO 816-221-5351 Celebrating 20 years of serving our community and the world beyond with environmental education through puppetry and community art projects.

Metropolitan Energy Center 3810 Paseo Kansas City, MO 816-531-7283




The mission of the Metropolitan Energy Center is to help create resource efficiency, environmental health and economic vitality in the Kansas City region.

First Affirmative Financial Network 913-432-4958

Missouri Gas Energy

First Affirmative Financial Network is an independent, fee-only, fiduciary investment management firm specializing in socially and environmentally responsible investing. Missouri Gas Energy offers an energy-efficiency rebate for customers who purchase a qualifying energy-efficient, tankless natural gas water heating system.

UMB Financial Corporation 1010 Grand Boulevard Kansas City, MO 816-860-7000

Small Step Energy Solutions Shawnee, KS 913-708-8004

UMB offers complete banking, asset management, health spending solutions and related financial services to personal, commercial and institutional customers nationwide.

Small Step Energy Solutions specializes in home energy auditing and green energy building consultations for both new and existing homes.

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Full Employment Council

Habitat ReStore

1740 Paseo Blvd. 816-471-2330 Kansas City, MO

4701 Deramus, Kansas City, MO 303 W. 79th St., Kansas City, MO 816-231-6889

Your Workforce Is Our Career™

The Full Employment Council, Inc. (FEC) supplies employers with a skilled workforce and job seekers with successful training in greater Kansas City.

Habitat ReStore collects quality, new and used building materials and sells them to the public at a discount. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity home building.

Greenability Job Network


The Greenability Job Network offers a free, online search service for job seekers, and a targeted, affordable place for companies to post jobs.

GREETING CARDS Posty Cards, Inc.

Hendrickson Tree Care Company 913-381-6339 (KS) 816-523-1181 (MO) Take the guesswork out of maintaining your trees by consulting an ISA Certified Arborist for all of your tree care needs.

1600 Olive Street Kansas City, MO 816-231-2323

Missouri Organic

Featuring Sustainable Sentiments® locally grown, green greeting cards. Build client and employee relationships with environmentally inspired cards for birthdays, holidays and other occasions.

7700 East 40 Highway Kansas City, MO 816-483-0908

Missouri Organic offers a convenient and affordable facility for customers to drop off green waste and purchase quality compost, topsoil and mulch.

Congratulations Zarco 66, Inc., our 2012 Agent of Change, for its dedicated efforts to bring American biofuels to traditional retail stations.

Metropolitan ENERGY CENTER

A public/private coalition that really works! We are transforming the vehicle market to create energy independence and cleaner air, and we’re doing it now. Midwest Region Alternative Fuels Project Replacing 365 polluting vehicles with clean technology. Installing electric charging stations and public-access alternative fuel stations. Total investment near $35 million. Electrify Heartland Preparing communities across Kansas and Missouri for electric vehicles. 39


Hen House Market


13 locations

Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal Service of America 800-540-8694

Hen House is locally owned, specializes in Buy Fresh Buy Local food, and offers customers a seasonal Community Supported Agriculture membership.

Sponsor-A-Highway and receive promotional signage. We take away the trash, you take all the recognition. Be seen as we clean.


3133 Merriam Lane Kansas City, KS 913-831-2518


Fahrmeier Farms

Beaver Timber provides reclaimed, recycled, restored and salvaged wood building materials for architects, builders, contractors, designers and homeowners.

9364 Mitchell Trail Lexington, MO 816-289-2496




Fahrmeier Farms sells their homegrown fruits and vegetables at the City Market, Downtown Overland Park Market and through CSA’s.

Good Natured Family Farms

Beaver Timber Inc.



Good Natured Family Farms is an alliance UY LOCA of more than 150 family farms that raise animals humanely and care for the Earth in a sustainable way.

Midwest Materials Exchange Bridging The Gap’s By-Product Synergy

1427 W. 9th St., Suite 201 Kansas City, MO 816-561-1061 ext. 115 The Midwest Materials Exchange is a free online marketplace to buy, sell or give away by-products or recyclables.

Solar Solutions TheSolar Solar Technology Technology Associate’s The Assocate’s Degree and and SolarTechnician Technician Certificate Certificate at JCCC prepares students Solar students to sit sit for for the NABCEP NABCEP entry-level exam and and provide provide the design to entry level exam fieldwork experience experience to to qualify to take take the the installer installer exam. exam. and fieldwork The coursesthat thatapply apply Theprogram’s program’sfoundation foundation is is rooted in courses totoaawider range of job opportunities in industrial wider range of job opportunities in industrial maintenance maintenance and and electrical electrical work.

Learn It. Live It. Save It. For information, call Dan Eberle at 913-469-8500, ext. 3388, or visit

Johnson County Community College 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210


RECYCLING The Surplus Exchange 518 Santa Fe Kansas City, MO 816-472-0444

Larsen & Associates, Inc. 785-841-8707 Contact: Jessica Pryor

Larsen & Associates provides geothermal installation services including loop installation, line purging and charging, pressure grouting, thermal fusion and drilling.

The Surplus Exchange responsibly recycles electronics locally and offers pickup from metro commercial locations. Visit the Tech Shop and furniture showroom.

SunSource Homes Inc.


Brightergy Solar 1617 Main Street, 3rd Floor Kansas City, MO 816-866-0555

7832 Rosewood Lane Prairie Village, KS 816-783-3863

SunSource Homes offers net-zero design/build construction services, solar PV system design/installation, net-zero energy design, architectural services and sustainable remodeling.

Brightergy is the region’s most experienced solar design, installation, financing and leasing firm with hundreds of commercial and residential installations across the Midwest.

FreeEnergy 816-461-8877 FreeEnergy is a full-service sustainability company. We design and install solar PV, solar thermal hot water and geothermal GSHP.

Natural Gas

Do you want your green business or service to be seen by environmentally conscious readers? List it in the GREENABILITY DIRECTORY. For information, contact Julie Koppen 816-931-3646 or

$ave Money ($/MMBTU) Natural Gas: $10.93 Electricity: $35.11 2013 Price Outlook On a BTU for BTU basis Natural Gas costs less than other forms of energy EIA Short Term Energy Outlook

Save the Environment

Reduce your carbon footprint by 45% with residential natural gas appliances versus electric appliances.

Locally Produced

100+ Years of gas supply right here in North America compared to buying foreign oil as a major energy source.* *US EIA and Potential Gas Committee



Fresh, Free Range Chickens & Eggs


exclusively at

March/April 2013  

March/April 2013