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The Kansas City

GARDENER A M o n thly Guide t o S u cc essfu l G a rdenin g

March 2012

Bright and Beautiful New Annuals for 2012

Heirloom Annuals Miniature Hosta Dogwoods are fine garden trees Memory Gardens Soil Test Interpretations


Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle... Do You Have A Boring Backyard And In Search of a Backyard Paradise? If So, Here’s Why You Need To Contact Swan’s Water Gardens Today!

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ere’s why you should have Swan’s Water Gardens build your water garden paradise in your backyard.

Located on 2 acres in southern Johnson Co. is where you’ll find Swan’s Water Gardens. Where we live and breathe the “Water Garden Lifestyle” everyday.

First, we’ve been building and maintaining Water Gardens for over 17 years now. Over those 17 years our pond building techniques have been honed to perfection through years of hard work and fine tuning.

It’s where we specialize in backyard living and help others do the same by creating beautiful water gardens in their backyards.

Although our ponds appear as though anyone could duplicate them, nothing could be further from the truth.

Nowhere will you find anyone more dedicated to creating paradise in your backyard with water gardens than Swan’s Water Gardens.

In reality our ponds are built to exacting standards by experienced pond builders, under the watchful eye and direction of veteran pond builder Kevin Swan.

ome with us on an exciting journey and discover the ultimate Water Garden destination. A place where you can experience first hand what “Living In Paradise” is really like.

Learn the proven ways we use everyday in caring for and maintaining our water gardens. Water Gardens built correctly are much less maintenance than the same amount of grass and they’re so much more exciting. Has anyone ever invited you to sit and enjoy the grass in their backyard. Sounds exciting doesn’t it. But wait till you see their reaction when they see a water garden in your backyard! There’s just something magical about the sound of water in nature. Calm sets in and nature takes over.

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Not only will you marvel at the precision of the excavation of your pond but you’ll be amazed at how well your finished water garden actually blends into your existing landscape. Once the excavation is complete the true artistry of the building process begins. It’s also where our secrets to building ponds that don’t leak are revealed and the reason we stand behind our water gardens with a written five year guarantee. The longest guarantee in the industry.

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ake your plans to visit Swan’s Water Gardens in 2012.

You’ll see water features you can build for as little as $295.00 for small patios or courtyards. We also have many more display gardens ranging in price from $2,500.00 up to $40,000.00 for more elaborate features built by Swan’s Water Gardens. We also have many exciting events scheduled for 2012 so be sure to watch for them in the upcoming issues of The Kansas City Gardener. Remember, we carry everything you need for your Water Gardens. Pumps, liners, underlayment, filtration systems, hose, fish, aquatic plants, lilies, lotus and garden accessories. Come shop in paradise with the pond professionals at Swan’s Water Gardens. Where we don’t just sell you products like the internet companies do, we actually show you how they work in our water gardens.

Swan’s Water Gardens 20001 S. Padbury Lane, Spring Hill, KS 66083 Mon-Fri 9am-6pm • Sat 9am-4pm

www.swanswatergardens.com • 913-592-2143


The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Dream Big

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Matthew Archer Leah Berg Alan Branhagen Nancy Buley Mike DeRee Paula Diaz Barbara Fairchild Diane & Doc Gover Kylo Heller Lenora Larson Ken O’Dell Peter Orwig Dennis Patton Diane Swan Brent Tucker Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone/Fax: 913-648-4728 For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at cavsgarden@kc.rr.com. Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at editorcavsgarden@kc.rr.com.

Like us on Facebook and join the conversation.

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 35. March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban

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here’s a drawing pinned to the bulletin board in my office. Created by our 16-year-old daughter, it’s a rendering of the Eiffel Tower, with two simple words written on the outer edge — DREAM BIG. You see, it’s her longtime dream to visit this famous landmark, eat croissants at a sidewalk cafe, and mingle with local Parisians. When the kids were young, we traveled to Minnesota to experience a favorite fishing lake with family. On the way, we stopped near Sac City, Iowa, to visit with dear family friends, Phyllis and Richie Davis on their farm. We were met with generous Midwest hospitality, and since we were farm first-timers, they were pleased to give us the grand tour. Struck by the expanse of farmland and impressive operations, what caught my attention most that day was Phyllis’ flower garden. I connected with and was in awe of her ability to carve out a personal plot to lovingly culti-

vate beauty. Time has clouded my memory of specific plants in bloom that day. What I clearly remember is the inspiration that moved me to dream big about my garden. Since then, my garden dreams have been quite diverse, even unreasonable at times, and reality comes crashing to wake me. In reality, I live in a heavily shaded community where 8 hours of consistent sunlight in my garden is nearly impossible. That is unless I want to take down a tree or two. And I’m not the kind of gardener that would dismantle an otherwise healthy tree for the sake of gaining more sunlight in my garden. With that said, I realize that my big garden dreams will likely remain big beautiful dreams. It’s unlikely that I’ll have a large field

of wildflowers or endless rows of tree peonies in bloom. Our lot is not conducive for a pond with fish or flowering lotus. And it will be next to impossible to have bushels of summer tomatoes to share with friends. Instead, I will focus on what is possible in my garden. A massive display of blooming tulips in spring is possible. I can plant just enough herbs, peppers and tomatoes in a patch of sunlight to produce summer goodness. Mostly, I hope to inspire another gardener the way Phyllis inspired me. I will always dare to dream of what’s possible ... if not where I’m planted today, then maybe in another garden I’ve yet to know. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue March 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 3 GCA March Program ............... 4 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Heirloom Annuals .................... 8 Plant a Pawpaw ...................... 10 Scalp lawn to revitalize ............ 11 Four Season Water Garden ...... 12 Synergistic Veggie Garden ....... 14 Beware of Mulch Volcanoes ..... 15 The Bird Brain ......................... 16 Miniature Hosta ...................... 17 Bright and Beautiful New Annuals for 2012 ............ 18

about the cover ...

Memory Gardens .................... 20 Dogwoods .............................. 22 Powell Gardens Events ............. 23 Soil Test Interpretations ............. 24 GN: Water canna ................... 26 Repotting Houseplants .............. 27 Rose Report ............................. 28 Garden Calendar .................... 29 Upcoming Events ..................... 30 Hotlines .................................. 32 Healthy Yard Expo ................... 34 Professional’s Corner ................ 35

‘Cool Wave’ pansies are trailing pansies intended to open the season to the color starved and winter blues gardener. See more new annuals starting on page 18.

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17 3


GCA PRESENTS

‘Life on the Edge’ with Kelly Norris

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he Garden Center Association of Greater Kansas City presents a program on Saturday, March 17, by author and horticultural expert Kelly Norris about “Life on the Edge — Tough Plants for Tough Places.” The free program is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the auditorium at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. There will be coffee and refreshments available the half hour before this program. The Missouri Department of Conservation has agreed to schedule the Lewis and Clark Room for the GCA to offer refreshments before the program and to offer a soup luncheon after. The soup luncheon planned after the “Life on the Edge” program is co-sponsored by the GCA and the Greater Kansas City Iris Society. During the luncheon, Norris plans to talk about his new Timber Press

book that is expected to be available in May. The title: “A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts.” He plans to talk about

Please register online at www. gardencenterassociation.org or send a check and names for reservations to: March 17 Gardeners Connect/GCA luncheon, 6911 NW

‘Life on the Edge — Tough Plants for Tough Places’ will be delivered on March 17 by Kelly Norris, horticultural expert, breeder, plantsman and author. writing the book, while sharing a few tidbits and some readings on the future of bearded irises. “A Guide to Bearded Irises,” offers an overview of bearded irises describing how to grow them, use them in the garden, choose the best plants, and how to breed new irises. The cost for the luncheon is $5, to cover the cost of the meal.

Blair Road, Parkville, MO 64152. Everyone is welcome, but remember the MDC does not want money to be exchanged at the Discovery Center. For a young man, Norris is becoming an old friend of the GCA. In 2010, Norris presented a GCA program about practical garden design. Norris is a horticulturist, plant breeder and plantsman who hails from Bedford, Iowa. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University. He manages Rainbow Iris Farm, a seven-acre nursery owned by his family, co-edits the Bulletin of the American Iris Society and serves in several leadership capacities throughout the horticulture industry. He has a master’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University. Norris has explored wild areas of southern and central Texas, the Ozarks, the Black Hills and all over the Midwest in search of new plants for gardens. For his “Life on the

Edge” free GCA program, Norris plans to draw from his explorations to talk about plants that live in edge habitats and plants that live at the edge of distributions where they have developed adaptations to a variety of conditions. The edge where they have adapted might well match the edge areas of our gardens. The Garden Center Association of Greater Kansas City is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring members of our community to become more complete gardeners. In addition to a series of free gardening programs open to anyone, the Garden Center Association funds children’s programming, trips to gardening destinations, plant and bulb sales and educational classes at the Loose Park Garden Center. For more information, go to www.gardencenterassociation.org.

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FREE PANSIES Stop in for a FREE 31/2 inch potted pansy.

Our way to welcome Spring! Valid March 2012.

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Pink Home Run Rose ®

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New Plants from Proven Winners® ColorChoice®: Pink Home Run®, ‘Miss Ruby’, Blue Chiffon™, Double Take™ ‘Pink Storm’, Let’s Dance® Big Easy. Whether you like hot pink or true blue, Proven Winners has the new plants your garden needs to look great. If you like pink, check out Pink Home Run®; it blooms for months without deadheading or spraying. Double Take™ ‘Pink Storm’ looks more like a rose or a camellia than a quince, and is thornless! And ‘Miss Ruby’ has the most intense color seen on a butterfly bush. Blues fans, check out the new Blue Chiffon™ hibiscus, a true blue Rose of Sharon with loads of flowers every summer. Can’t make up your mind? Try Let’s Dance® Big Easy. It has the largest flowers seen on any reblooming hydrangea, and the blooms range from pink to purple-blue depending on your soil. Add some easy color to your garden this year with new plants from Proven Winners® ColorChoice®. Get timely tips and garden advice. Search ColorChoice on Facebook and [Friend us].

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March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Let’s Dance Big Easy ®

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton MILDEW RESISTANT ZINNIAS Question: I love growing zinnias in the garden as they are wonderful for summer color but also great for cutting. My problem is the same as others and that is mildew destroys the look of the plant. Do you have any suggestions for more mildew resistant zinnias? Answer: Zinnias are a great annual for the garden. I remember my grandmother growing them in her garden. I also have memories of them in my own garden as a

kid and exhibiting at the 4-H fair. But I had the same problem, nice flowers, and bad foliage with the mildew. Keep in mind no zinnia is resistant but some have a very low susceptibility to the problem. K-State at their Olathe research center conducts annual flower trials and zinnias are a commonly tested plant. Here are a few varieties great for the cutting garden to give a try. My favorite for cutting is a series of colors called Benary’s Giant. Unfortunately they are not common in transplant but seeds can be found online or through mail order sources. These have large flowers and are tall plants, 3 feet or so. The long stems make them great for cutting and they come in a range of colors. My second favorite cutting zinnia is a series called ‘Oklahoma’ which also has a number of colors.

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These have smaller flowers but on tall plants which makes ideal for cutting. My gut hunch is you are growing the older varieties such as ‘State Fair’ or ‘Dahlia’ which are fairly susceptible to mildew. When I have grown Benary’s and ‘Oklahoma’ in my garden mildew sets in very late in the season just before frost. GNATS AROUND HOUSEPLANTS Question: I keep noticing tiny little gnat-like insects flying around a couple of my houseplants. These seem to be worse when I move the foliage. What is this problem and how do I get rid of them? Answer: The gnats you are seeing are called fungus gnats. These small 1/8-inch dark colored insects are reproducing in the soil. The larvae feed on decaying organic matter in the soil and a little on

plant roots. Their adult stage is the gnats you see. Although there is no one best way to rid the plant of the gnats there are a series of control strategies. Fungus gnats prefer moist soil conditions. The first step is to reduce watering. Do not water the plant until at least the top 3 inches are dry. Yes this may mean that the plants start to wilt. Remove any excess water in the bottom saucer. Repotting may help but be sure to remove as much of the old soil as possible. Lastly, insecticide soil drenches may be effective. Just spraying the leaf area does not solve the problem but may reduce the number of adults that can mate and reproduce. Control is best achieved through a combination of efforts. EARLY MAY TOO SOON TO PLANT VINCA Question: Vinca is a staple in my garden but this year I am hosting a graduation party for my son and would like to get them planted early before the party. The problem is I often cannot find vinca until mid-May. Why can’t I find it earlier so I can get this task out of the way before the extended family hits town? Answer: This is a very good question with a simple answer. Vinca loves warms soils and if it is planted too early in the season when the soils are cool and moist the plant develops root rot and

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either dies or just sits there and hardly grows. The growers also have this same problem growing the plants in the greenhouse. If it is cold and overcast outside it is more difficult to produce. The growers like to start the plants later and then start shipping when local soils have warmed. I have found that oftentimes when shipped early vinca is setting on the garden store shelves and it is cool that the transplants have very poor root systems. As gardeners we should all realize it is all about the roots as a compromised root system will yield poor top growth. Vinca does best in our area planted in mid-May or later once the soils have warmed. Here is another option for you although it will require two plantings. Plant a spring crop of pansies, calendulas, kale and osteospermum in mid to late March. They will be in their prime by the party and then can be removed for your summer planting of the vinca.

Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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CRABGRASS CONTROL Question: I have done some dormant seeding and hoping for the best but the dry winter has been working against me. In the hope that I get a stand of grass what are my options for crabgrass control this spring? Answer: I am glad you are asking this question as you do have options. The first would be the product Siduron or Tupersan. This

control crabgrass that has already germinated and not quite yet established. Some labels for this product indicate that it can be safely applied two weeks after fescue and bluegrass germinates. This should be well ahead of the crabgrass germination that normally kicks in late April or early May. I personally used this last year after winter

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CARROT GROWING TIPS Question: What’s the secret to growing long tender carrots like you see in the store? Answer: It’s no secret, move to an area that has deep sandy to loamy soils. Our heavy clay makes long carrots difficult to grow. The result can be short, stumpy carrots with several fingers where the tap root has hit a hard spot in the soil. If your heart is set on long carrots then get busy preparing the soil. Raised beds work best with enriched soil heavy on the organic matter so that the developing carrot can move deep into the soil without the forces of the soil working against them. The other option is to give up the idea of these pristine store bought carrots and grow shorter types. The following varieties are recommended by K-State Extension, ‘Gold King,’ ‘Gold Pak,’ ‘Red Cored Chantenay,’ ‘Royal Chantenay,’ ’Scarlet Nantes’ and ‘Tendersweet.’

crabgrass control has been on the market nearly forever but is now getting harder to find. It can be applied before germination of the grass seed. The problem is its short length of control but is better than nothing at all. The second option is a newer product, Dithiopyr or Dimension. This long lasting crabgrass control is unique as it can

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Alan Branhagen

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’m not old fashioned but I sure do appreciate some of the finer things from long ago. As Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, I always guide staff to display the best plants from whenever they were popular in the garden: whether that was yesterday, today or the trials for tomorrow. Heirloom annuals are regaining popularity for many reasons from the popularity of “retro” to the fact that most heirloom flowers are nectar rich and fit with today’s environmental ethic and of course, they are not trademarked, patented or otherwise more expensive. Their names are so fun too! Not from word-smithing trends or popular foods but from more down

to earth language. Do you want a bloom-a-thon this, mocha that or a ketchup and mustard rose? No, I find Kiss-me-over-the-GardenGate, Love lies Bleeding, ‘Legion of Honor’ poppy and ‘Granny’s Bouquet’ zinnias more descriptive. Everyone remembers different things from their childhood and I remember the plants around me. My grandparents, parents and neighbors didn’t spend much time tending the garden but they sure had some wonderful flowers. In other words, the plants that were theirs and there were not wilting lavenders! Colorful annuals had to be self-sowing, have seed easily saved or survive the winter as “slips” in a window. My favorites were my mom’s Balsams (Impatiens balsamina), the neighbors to east’s old fashioned “climbing” petunias (their evening fragrance a magnet for sphinx moths a young naturalist sought), and the neighbors to the west’s menagerie of open pollinated French marigolds (Tagetes patula)

Welcome Spring to Your Garden! All winter long, the days tempted us with spring-like weather! How will you greet spring in your garden? What can a little digging in the dirt do for the life within you?

Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ is a selfsower in my home garden.

‘Grandpa Ott’ Morning Glory seeds were lovingly saved year after year.

in yellows to orange and burnt reds (abuzz with hoards of butterflies) from summer until frost. Both the petunias and the marigolds were in beds the entire length of their driveways! I remember Bells of Ireland self-sowing in a gravelly bed on the east side of our house, Four-O’Clocks, Mourning Glories, “Moonflower” Daturas, Cleome, and Zinnias too. I’m glad to have appreciative Kansas City gardener friends who feel the same. Powell Gardens’ volunteer and local 80-something farmer and gardener Wilbur Kephart just restored me with some Old Fashioned Climbing Petunia seeds while fellow Kansas City Gardener writer and friend Lenora Larson just restocked me with Balsams

and Datura. I look forward to planting these pass-along heirloom annuals to my current garden and bring back childhood memories, attract neat creatures, and remind me of good friends. I have been saving seed of French marigolds and have a nice self-sowing strain of gold-orange ones that bring me flower power and butterflies to my front walk. Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana mutabilis), Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea) and native American Bellflower (Campanula americana) are other self-sowers that grace my home. Most heirloom annuals do need bare soil to self-sow or otherwise they will find their way into such bare places, often along paths and stepping stones. At Powell Gardens

Feel the soft, cool earth… Watch seedlings break through the soil…

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Reap the harvest of an early spring veggie garden… Enjoy the cheer of some early spring flowers… Breathe in the fresh country air…

Please visit us at our booth at the Kansas City Home Show at Bartle Hall March 23-25

It all starts at every gardener’s paradise – Arnold’s Greenhouse!

We will have lots of “Early Season” Specials at fantastic Prices! Available ONLY at the show! Pumps, Filters, Uv’s, Aquariums and many great buys! We will also be handing out information on our new online store!

Call your friends, pack a picnic lunch, and come spend an enjoyable day in the country! 1430 Hwy. 58 S.E., LeRoy, KS 66857

620-964-2463 or 2423

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Only 1-1/2 hours from Southwest Kansas City I-35 to US 75, South 23 miles to K-58, East 1-1/2 miles (Located 4-1/2 miles West of LeRoy, KS on Hwy 58) Please note, our portion of Hwy 58 was named Hwy 57 prior to 2005.

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Photos by Alan Branhagen.

Heirloom Annuals

Our store carries a complete line of pond supplies, liner, fishes and large selection of aquatic plants Savio, Pondmaster, Microbelift, Tetra, PondGard & more Specializing in Imported Japanese Koi & Fancy Goldfishes Full line of aquatic plants; lilies, lotuses & marginals Check our website and Facebook for more information.

816-842-5012 • pondskc.com • 1557 Swift Ave., KCMO The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Bugs) at Powell Gardens 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 14

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Native Palafoxia self-sows in the cracks along the Living Wall.

Helenium with Euphorbia marginata and Verbena bonariensis.

some self-sowers that Horticulturist Anne Wildeboors saves or edits to allowable masses around the Visitor Center include Love Lies Bleeding (Polygonum orientale), Flowering Tobaccos (Nicotiana sylvestris) and Castor Beans (Ricinus communis). Anne also mentioned Tassel Flower (Emilia javanica), Jewelsof-Opar (Talinum paniculatum), Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea quamoclit) all of which she exclaimed: “I’d rather have than weeds!” In the Island Garden Senior Gardener Caitlin Bailey lets native Palafoxia (Palafoxia callosa) self-sow in cracks along the Living Wall while billowing clouds of Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) seedlings from several varieties self-sow and show some wild floral combinations of white, shades of pink and even some tie-dyed pink and white in the beds between the water garden pools. Jennifer Bolyard, our Senior Gardener in the Perennial Garden lets Verbena bonariensis (bonariensis means Buenos Aires as this plant is from Argentina)

self-sow along with native Snowon-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) which is actually native to the Great Plains and should be called Snow-on-the-prairie! Start your own tradition and garden with self-sowing and heirloom annuals. Besides those I have received as pass-along-plants, I do plan to purchase many other favorites too which are available at local stores from Planter’s Seed to Powell Gardens’ Perennial Gifts and Spring Plant Sale. Great catalogs for such seeds include: Select Seeds, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers, and Baker Creek. Seed Savers actually got its start from co-founder Diane Ott Whealey’s ‘Grandpa Ott’ morning glories whose seeds were brought from Germany to Iowa and lovingly saved year after year, generation to generation. Alan Branhagen is Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. See his blog at www.powellgardens.blogspot.com.

Come see what’s blooming in Lawrence ... We have everything you need from Azaleas to Zinnias.

hrough presentation and guided walk, Barb will teach you how to identify the good ones from the bad, identifying the most common invasive species as well as beneficial critters that protect your garden. Discover environmentally friendly methods to disrupt the life cycle of garden pests. Learn strategies to attract beneficial pest-predators to do the recon-

naissance work for you. Weather permitting the class will include a guided walk through the Heartland Harvest Garden in search of insects. $19/ person, $14/Members. Registration required by April 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online and see pictures of projects at http:// shop.powellgardens.org and follow the CLASSES link.

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Plant a Pawpaw for cats and zebras Zone Envy Gardeners frequently long for the lushness of tropical zone 10. Both butterfly and tree bring that tropical elegance to our zone six climate. The adult Zebras have vertical black and white stripes with proportionally the longest tails in the Swallowtail family. The males glide along 3 to 4 feet above the ground, intently searching for love. Pawpaws demonstrate their tropical heritage with large glossy leaves and dramatic purple flowers. All of the other members of its family, Annonaceae or Custard Tree, live in the tropics. The mangosize fruits continue the tropical connection with texture reminiscent of papaya and banana flavor. Even if Pawpaws were not a caterpillar food, they are eminently garden worthy for their beauty and fruit.

Lenora Larson

A

pril is the time to look for Pawpaw Trees (Asimina triloba) because their large dark purple flowers bloom on naked branches before the leaves unfurl. Which pollinators are attracted by the meat-like color and musty fetid odor? That would be flies, not our more fastidious butterflies or bees. But the odor is so faint that I cut branches of Pawpaw flowers to bring spring into my home. If you don’t find a nearby Pawpaw Tree that is a serious situation that should be rectified because Pawpaws are the obligate host of the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus. It’s a simple rule: no Pawpaws, UNIQUE GARDEN ART METAL ART • FOLK ART CHAINSAW CARVINGS

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Photos by Lenora Larson.

no Zebras. The shy, night-feeding caterpillar can eat the leaves of no other plant.

Pawpaw flowers About Pawpaws If you remember the children’s song, ‘way down yonder in the Pawpaw patch’, you already know how they grow. These 15 to 20’ trees self-seed to form Pawpaw patches in the deciduous understory of many bottomlands in Eastern United States. Their wide range, extending from Southern New England, across to Minnesota and south to the Gulf States and Florida, may have been helped by Native Americans, who relished the delicious fruit. Obviously, the Pawpaw is a remarkably adaptable tree, able to withstand -20˚ winter temperatures and the humid heat of the tropics. It grows in wet river loam and clay, but can also withstand periods of drought once established. Pawpaws are a good choice if you are infested with deer. Even starving deer are not tempted because the leaves contain highly toxic acetogenins. The zebra caterpillar avoids being a bird’s dinner by storing these poisonous molecules its little body. Sources Trees can be purchased from mail-order nurseries that abound on the Internet. If you start from

Zebra Swallowtail munching on a Pawpaw leaf. seed, the huge seeds should be kept moist and planted outdoors in the fall to over-winter for spring germination. Young trees will not survive direct sunlight, but an older tree can be a magnificent specimen in full-sun if kept well-watered. Fruit starts to form after five years, but only if you have multiple trees. Pawpaws do not self-pollinate and a near neighbor of a different cultivar produces the best fruit. Taste of the Tropics Many attempts have been made to commercialize Pawpaw’s large, tasty fruit, but they must ripen on the tree, making mass-market harvesting, shipping and storing impossible. My patch of mature Pawpaws, started from seed twenty years ago, always hang heavy with yellow-green fruits in September. My anticipation is thwarted by Rocky Raccoon who snatches them in the night just as I am starting to think about Pawpaw custards and sorbet. Maybe this year, I’ll beat him to my taste of the tropics. MICO Extension Master Gardener and Kansas Native Plant Society member, Lenora Larson gardens and hosts butterflies in the cruel winds and clay soil of Paola, Kansas.

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Scalp lawn to revitalize for spring fertilizer made for Bermuda grass, and water thoroughly. BENEFITS OF SCALPING The benefits of scalping are obvious when your grass is green throughout the summer, but it is interesting to understand why this process is so beneficial. All lawns have some thatch; a thin layer of organic matter that can actually aid in water absorption and protect your lawn from extreme temperatures and excessive wear. Why all the fuss about thatch, then? If the thatch level increases beyond a thin layer, the grass roots will begin to grow into this layer. The water holding capacity of soil is much higher than the thatch, consequently, the grass plants will dry out quickly except under constant irrigation. Dead patches will develop; these spots will begin to feel “spongy.”

Peter Orwig

D

o you have a zoysiagrass lawn? The key to a lush, weed free lawn all summer long may be the result of a practice thought to be a little unorthodox. Scalping your lawn at the beginning of the new growing season in spring can result in a lush and revitalized looking yard.

SCALP AND FERTILIZE When scalping your Zoysiagrass (or Bermudagrass) lawn, remember to wait until all danger of frost has past. Obviously, it is impossible to know exactly when it is safe; however erring on the safe side REMOVE THATCH will be your best bet. Normally, Removing dead leaf blades and these lawns are safe to scalp around other debris will reduce shading April 15. Scalping warm-season of the emerging plants, enabling grasses essentially means removing sunlight to reach this new growth. all of the brown, dead tissue. To This emergence of new growth scalp, start with a medium height will allow for a lush and thicker on your mower, and then go over lawn that should aid in the preventhe lawn again until you have taken tion of many weeds throughout the off as much of the brown tissue as summer months. The removal of possible. Bag or rake off clippings thatch means warmer spring soil and remove them from the lawn. temperatures and a quicker green up After you have scalped your lawn, during the spring season. Scalping remember to fertilize with nitrogen warm-season lawn every year KCG_AD.final.pdf 1 2/10/12 5:24 your PM

COMING SOON TO A

To scalp, start with a medium height on your mower, and then go over the lawn again until you have taken off as much of the brown tissue as possible. to keep thatch levels in check will not only result in a nicer looking lawn, but it will allow pre-emergent treatments to work more effectively. Make sure the thatch build up postscalping is less than 1/4” thick; this is the ‘sweet spot’ for thatch. Many homeowners in Kansas City love the look and feel of Zoysiagrass. When taken care of properly, zoysiagrass is a beautiful alternative to fescues and bluegrasses. Scalping these lawns is the first step to getting the most out of this often misunderstood grass. Most people think scalping is only necessary for Zoysiagrass lawns; however, many of the same positives can be found when mowing bluegrasses and fescues short early in the season. If you are the proud owner of a cool-season lawn in a slightly cooler Midwest climate do not be afraid of an

early-spring scalp as well. Here, the goal is to remove just the brown leaf tips. Removing these tips will help your lawn to really pop in the spring. Be sure to bag your clippings after this mowing. Later in the season, it is not necessary to bag clippings, as they return many important nutrients to the lawn. Mulching grass clippings (leaving them on the lawn after you mow) does not contribute to thatch, due to the quick decomposition of this organic matter. Whether you have a warm-season, zoysiagrass lawn or a more common bluegrass or fescue, properly scalping your lawn early in the season will make for a beautiful yard all year round. Peter Orwig is the staff agronomist for Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-381-1505.

NEAR YOU.

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Quality Plants for Dedicated Gardeners

March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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The Four Seasons Water Garden — Spring Diane Swan

W

hat a strange winter. I can’t remember having Fall go straight to Spring with just a slight sprinkling of Winter days… just enough to remind us it was supposed to be winter. Not that I am complaining, in fact it is great except for it being so dry outside. On spring’s arrival, water gardens start waking up to touches of greenery on the marginal plants; the water hawthorns and bog beans burst with new leaves and small white flower clusters. The fish come to the surface to greet you once again.

Now is the time to freshen up your pond. With no snow or rain to mat the leaves to the ground, they have been blowing around and getting in the ponds. If you put a leaf net on your pond in the Fall and left it on, you will have fewer leaves to contend with. There are several options to refresh your pond and get it ready for the season. The best part is that it only takes one nice warm spring day and you are done. 1. Partial cleanup: If you have a small amount of debris in the bottom of your pond, you might choose to do a partial cleanout which consists of ‘fishing’ out as much debris as you can with a net. Clean all your filters and replace with new when they start to get wimpy. Trim all your aquatic plants and divide if necessary. Check your water level and add water if needed. Jumpstart

Straight From Our Farm Stop by our Farm Outlet Store this spring. We will have special low every day pricing on select plants that we grow at our farms. locally grown • hand picked • extraordinary selection

your filtration system with beneficial bacteria. Add pond sea salt to jumpstart your fish immune system. You can add products to keep string algae under control. 2. Complete cleanup: If your pond has a lot of debris in the bottom you may want to do a complete cleanout. You’ll need a holding tank ready for your fish. Fill it with the pond’s water, add stress coat and an aerator or small pump for oxygen. Drain water and then place fish and plants in tank. Power wash and rinse out all the old water and debris from the pond. Pump out into your garden beds. It’s good fertilizer. Trim and divide plants. Clean all filters, replace if needed. Refill pond, add sea salt for the health of your fish, de-chlorinator to get all the heavy metals out of the new water, then introduce your plants and fish back into the pond. Jumpstart your pond with beneficial bacteria and products for string algae control.

Now if your pond only has a small amount of debris and you didn’t want to clean it, or if you did a partial cleanup and there is still a little remaining debris, use a spring/summer cleaner that will help break up the debris in the bottom of the pond. If there is a lot of debris in the bottom of the pond but you do not want to go through the process of cleaning up the pond or simply don’t have the time, then try a product called Sludge Away. It does a great job of getting rid of debris over time. Another option is to hire a professional pond builder for cleanup and maintenance so you don’t have to. No matter which option you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a healthier pond and fish, and lots of colorful blooms. Spring is a time of renewal for the earth and your soul. There is a certain joy you can only experience when you see the first water lily of the season burst into bloom. No matter how many times I have seen the first bloom, every year it is still truly special. “All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel it’s energy, and my spirit soars.” — Helen Hayes Kevin and Diane Swan own Swan’s Water Gardens, a full service water garden center. You may contact them at 913-592-2143.

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The One and Only HOME SHOW

he original Kansas City Home Show returns, March 23-25, to Bartle Hall. It’s been a Kansas City tradition for more than 60 years and together with the Flower, Lawn and Garden Show showcases new opportunities and choices for homeowners to get a jump on spring home and garden projects. This year’s event is sponsored by MattressFIRM and Ferguson in partnership with KC Parks & Recreation, Harvesters Community Food Network and Hen House. The Home Show and Flower, Lawn & Garden Show have been part of Kansas City since 1947 as the premier home and garden event in the area. Bartle Hall will be teeming with new home products and services, decorating, design and building demonstrations, the latest remodeling ideas, premier landscaping and special attractions such as: • HGTV Star Monica Pedersen is this year’s headline speaker on the Home Show Stage. Described by the NY Times as the “radiant, high-energy mistress of ceremonies” at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry show, Monica will present her design ideas on Saturday and Sunday. She’s a favorite on HGTV’s Designed to Sell, Bang for your Buck, Showdown and Dream Home. • Architect and innovator Sara Susanka will be a featured speaker, Friday, presenting her powerful “Not So Big” message that has become a launch pad for a new model of understanding how we inhabit our homes, our day-today lives, and, moreover, how we

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HGTV Star Monica Pedersen inhabit our planet. Susanka has authored nine best-selling books including The Not So Big House, The Not So Big Life, Not So Big Remodeling, and most recently, More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home. • A Special Made in America house will be built on site by a stellar team of HBA member businesses. The content will included 100 percent USA-made components in this state-of-the-art home. • Ferguson returns to the Spring Homes Show with an $8,000 Electrolux Appliance Package Giveaway for one lucky winner. • Kansas City, Missouri Parks & Recreation Department will create magnificent gardens with colorful flowers and plants, waterfalls, babbling brooks, trees, lush greenery, and stone. • Family favorites like Wayside Waifs, Beaks and Wings Parrots, a putting green, and dancers all will contribute to the festivities. More information and tickets will be on www.kchomeshow.com.

Calling All Purple Martins! Stop by the Wild Bird Center and start attracting this unique bird to your yard today! Wild Bird Center of Independence 4480 S. Noland Rd. Independence, MO 64055 (816) 478-9399 www.wildbird.com/independence

Largest Selection of Quality Bird Products in Jackson County!

SPEAKERS’ BUREAU Need a speaker for your church, civic group or garden club? The Johnson County Extension Speakers’ Bureau have the speakers you are looking for on just about any topic like environmentally safe lawn care, or perennial flower gardening. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information, call 913-715-7000.

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The Synergistic Veggie Garden

Matthew Archer

S

ynergy, n. The interaction of two or more agents, whose combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. Gardening forms beneficial relationships between people and nature. The art of gardening is the practiced application of planning and executing, growing and nurturing, observing and troubleshooting, cultivating and harvesting. To garden is not simply to buy, plant and abandon. The intricacies involved in raising plant life are designed to be enjoyable, relaxing, intriguing, and above all, rewarding. People were placed into a great garden, designed to dwell in peace-

ful recreation with their natural surroundings. People were given a driving spirit to dress [cultivate] and keep [protect] their local environments. Our very beginnings as a civilization are rooted in horticulture. Agriculture was driven to discover new and improved plant varieties to support ever growing populations. Consider many improved vegetable varieties that exist today due to early hybridization efforts. Our ancestors hungered for plant breeds which produced maximum yields in varying conditions. Today’s gardeners hunger for both high yields and unique crops. Many heirloom varieties are extraordinary and bizarre, yet heirlooms do not possess the breeding improvements of today’s newer hybrids. Plant vigor, climate tolerance, disease resistance, and yield can be enhanced through selective breeding. Yet, should gardeners wish to pursue heirloom crops, nature has shown us synergistic relationships helpful in garden success. Apply the following beneficial

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synergistic techniques to improve heirloom (and hybrid) fruits and vegetables. USE AND BENEFITS OF MYCORRHIZAE (Myke’s Vegetable Garden Transplant Supplement) The term “mycorrhiza” is given to the symbiotic functioning between soil-inhabiting fungi and plant root systems. Connective links between fungi and plant roots give access to sugary nutrients which benefit the fungi. The fungi multiply and spread at much faster rates than plant roots. Fungi gather moisture, minerals, and nutrients, which are passed into plant root systems in higher volumes than the plants could achieve individually. Mycorrhizae increase disease resistance in host plants by buffering root systems from soil pathogens. Many tomato growers struggle with verticillium and fusarium wilts, so inoculated resistance creates a real bonus for non-resistant heirloom types. Vegetable and fruit gardeners can achieve this mycorrhizal synergistic relationship by inoculating the root systems of transplants with Myke’s Vegetable Garden Transplant supplement. An alternative is to broadcast Worm Castings, the manure-like organic matter created by earthworm digestion. Worm Castings encourage and increase naturally occurring strands of mycorrhizae present in your garden. USE AND BENEFITS OF HUMIC ACID (Natural Guard Soil Activator) Humic acids beneficially impact plants through their effect on soil structures. Applications of Natural Guard Soil Activator will break up compacted clay and convert organic soil matter into nutrients useable by plants. By hastening the process of decomposition, soil quality improves at faster rates. Higher quality soil leads to higher yielding crops. Root systems grow better in loose soil than compact clay, leading to better plant vigor. Humic acid stimulates beneficial microbial activity by quickly releasing a useable carbon source. Microbes, in turn, continue to release bound up minerals and further decompose organic materials. In short, you have turned your garden beds into highly functioning compost piles,

Plant tomatoes near basil for improved growth and flavor. Add cilantro to make a great salsa. actively making soils more porous, nutrient rich, and moisture retentive. Seeds germinate at higher rates, seedlings establish more successfully, plants efficiently utilize higher rates of fertilizer nutrients, and bigger crop yields are realized. Here are a few recommended synergistic companion plantings: 1) ‘Three Sisters’ Native American technique – Plant Corn, Beans, and Squash on same mound. Corn provides beans with structure to vine up; Beans affix nitrogen into soil, giving nitrogen-craving Corn abundant food supply; Squash plants shade ground area, keeping humidity and soil moisture levels optimal. 2) Tomatoes ’n Herbs: Any advantage growing tomatoes in KC is welcomed. Plant near basil for improved growth and flavor. Cilantro is rumored to repel spider mites and aphids, plus makes great salsa. Horehound stimulates Tomatoes’ (and Peppers’) blooming and fruiting, while also attracting beneficial predatory insects to the garden. A few minutes of research on the Internet will yield more companion plant suggestions. Matthew Archer is the garden center President, and the fourth generation at Soil Service Garden Center - Kansas City’s One Stop Garden Shop. Contact him at 816444-3403 or MattA@soilservice. com. The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Beware of Mulch Volcanoes! By Paula Diaz

M

ore is better, right? We have all learned that phrase is not necessarily true. Chocolate lava cake is one thing where more might seem better, but in the long run is not healthy. Volcanoes made of mulch are another example. Driving around town can be agonizing for those of us who love trees. Mountains of mulch suffocating trees often catch my eye, tempting me to jump out of the car and save the trees. It is bad enough when landscapers are paid to plant a tree, mulch it again and again each year, and then re-plant the next tree when that one dies and continue the cycle. Now folks see what the pros are doing and are copying it. Tree roots need not only soil; they also need water and oxygen. The leaves use carbon dioxide, but the roots use oxygen. When mulching a tree, think healthy. Use the skinny bagel method rather than the volcano method. Mulch should never touch the bark of the tree—leave a fist width amount of space between the inner edge of the mulch and the outer edge of the tree. Spread the mulch out away from the trunk, ideally as wide as the drip line (the outer edge of the tips of the branches—where rain drips.) Usually the root system is roughly equivalent in spread to the branches; that is why the drip

mountain is bone dry. The mulch compacts over time into a tight mass which the water does not penetrate, running off the slopes away from the drip line. If you have fallen under the spell of the mulch volcano god, watch your tree for dead branches. Usually branches at the farthest reaches begin to die off first, because they are further from the roots. Put your expensive investment and beloved life-long tree friend on a diet to live a longer, more line is a good visible indicator of where roots should be found. Do not exceed four inches of mulch for depth. If a little bit of mulch helps the tree, why doesn’t a lot help it more? When mulch is piled in a volcano shape at the base of a tree, and makes contact with the bark, many things can and do go wrong. One is that contact between mulch and bark can trap moisture against the bark causing rot. Another is that pests have a great hidden area from which to attack the tree. When the mulch is deeply volcano-ed, as we so often see, the roots of the tree cannot get oxygen. We may think we’re holding in extra moisture for the roots with extra mulch, but cut into one of those volcanoes during or after rain or irrigation, and quite often you find the center of the

productive life. Care for them with skinny bagels, not lava cakes. For detailed instructions on the correct way to plant, mulch, and care for your trees, check out the website from Missouri Department of Conservation at http://mdc. mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2010/04/3790_1458.pdf. Their information is research-based and updated when research indicates changes in ideas. Paula Diaz is a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener.

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The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions that are full of fresh, high calorie foods are a welcome sight.

Doc & Diane Gover

B

ird watching is the number one spectator sport in North America. Do you ever see a bird in flight and wonder what kind of a bird it is? Welcome to birding! Most of us have the interest, just at different levels. It’s fun to watch for certain habits that help to identify birds. Q. Why are my birds most active in the morning? A. Aren’t you hungry in the morning? Birds are ravenous in the morning and get busy right away trying to find food. Your feeders

Q. I’ve been watching Chickadees in my yard. They are very “flitty” – back and forth to the feeders. Why? A. Chickadees and nuthatches are frequently seen coming to feeders, selecting a seed and flying off to hammer it open. Chickadees and Nuthatches take oil sunflower seeds selectively and decide on seeds based on weight. The birds choose the heavier and bigger seeds over the lighter seeds. This is because the heftier the seed, the higher the oil content, which gives them the most calories and fat for their efforts. Q. I know that nesting season is upon us. Should I clean out my nesting boxes?

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A. Actually, nesting boxes should have been cleaned out last fall. If you did not clean out the nest boxes in your yard and birds are not obviously nesting in them, then you still have time to clean them out. The reasoning for cleaning out nest boxes in the fall is to eliminate mites from overwintering. Also, if a new nest is constructed on top of an existing nest the chance of fledglings leaving the box early is greater because of their close proximity to the opening. Q. I would like to provide nesting material for my birds but I’m not sure what would be safe. Any suggestions? A. Place the following materials in a tray feeder, a basket or a suet cage: Pieces of string or yarn cut into 6” lengths, fine twigs (4 to 6 inches long), an old grapevine wreath, long blades of dried grass, tail or mane horsehair, human hair removed from

a comb or brush, combings from your dog, dried moss from old floral arrangements. NEVER use dryer lint! Q. Is it normal to observe 10 to 12 cardinals at my feeding station and on the ground beneath? A. During the winter months birds gather in flocks. It is much easier for a flock to find a food source. As spring arrives and territory formation begins you will see pairs of birds as opposed to flocks. Now just sit back and watch the birds welcome spring – right in your own backyard. If you have any questions, stop by the store, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kan. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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Ken O’Dell

I

became a serious miniature hosta grower about 10 years ago. Prior to that time, mini hosta were in my garden, but I had not figured out how to grow them well or where to use them. For the past several years I have grown plants for the Friends of the Arboretum plant sale at the Overland Park Arboretum in Overland Park, Kan., and mini hosta were a natural to include. On our farm in Miami County I cleared out an area of underbrush from around a lightly wooded area of walnut trees, hackberry trees, and a mix of redbud and locust trees. This first mini hosta bed was about 8’ by 12’ in an odd kidney bean shape. I raised the soil to about 10” above ground level as hosta don’t like wet feet in the winter time. This is especially true for mini hosta, as their roots do not go very deep into the ground. I added 2” of sphagnum peat moss, tilled up the soil, raked it down, spread some cotton burr compost on top, added a couple of big rocks (so my work would look like I knew what I was doing), and I planted about 15 varieties of miniature hosta. A few weeks later that mini hosta bed looked good. I just had to have more. So I started clearing out more undergrowth, added

more good soil, added sphagnum moss, tilled, placed the rocks like I thought an artist would place them and started dividing the mini hosta that were already in the bed. This new mini hosta bed was 20’ to 25’ wide and 75 feet long. It was 1500 to 1600 square feet in total area. This 1500 feet area is divided into four parts, each an odd shape. I planted a group of 15 large growing (to 28” tall) ‘Great Expectation’ Hosta in the middle of one area so the large size would make the mini hosta appear even smaller. I also have a nice 3’ wide clump of Variegated Solomon Seal in the side of one of the areas. I planted five dwarf Japanese Maple, 1 each of 5 varieties, 5 dwarf Ginkgo biloba ‘Chase Manhattan’ that are to grow only 2’ tall. Small 8” to 10” tall hosta varieties of ‘Diamond Tiara’, ‘Grand Tiara’, ‘Golden Tiara’, ‘Blonde Elf’, ‘Crown Jewel’, and ‘Gum Drop’ are planted around the borders to keep the mulch and soil from washing into the walkway, as there is a slope to the mini hosta beds. Then I filled with bed with divided mini hostas, and gathered a few other mini varieties at local retail nurseries. Most mini hosta are quite easy to grow and many of them are fast growing as they reach their mature size of 6” or less, in just a year or two if given excellent care and I work with and talk to my hosta each day. They need my companionship. A few of the mini hosta that do well for me are ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ and this is a favorite mini hosta in many gardens. ‘Pandora’s Box’ with its tiny green and white

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variegated leaves is the number one mini hosta nationwide. ‘Stiletto’, which is a low growing spreading variegated variety is easy to grow. ‘Baby Bunting’ is a must for every mini hosta garden with its small blue-green mounding leaves. ‘Cheatin Heart’ has that slightly golden, lime green color which is important to bring out the other colors in other mini hosta. ‘Dragon Tails’ is a fast filler and needs to be in every mini hosta garden and

pot. ‘Cracker Crumbs’ is another golden-yellowish-lime green color. Check out what is happening with hosta in our area by going to Kansas Hosta Facebook page. Ken O’Dell is a long time volunteer at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Overland Park, Kansas, and a long time, 30+ years lifetime member of the American Hosta Society, www. americanhostasociety.org.

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‘SUNPATIENS SPREADING CARMINE’ The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Bright and Beautiful New Annuals for 2012

Wave’pansies mentioned elsewhere, are superlative season openers, love the cool weather, and shine during the naturally incoherent weather of spring. Osteospermum are the perfect complement to pansies, so treat yourself with ‘3D’ osteos, and have your neighbors realize what a magnificent gardener you are.

ANGELONIA ‘ARCHANGEL’ SERIES

Perfectly suited to our summer weather, the new ‘Archangel’ series, including Pink, Purple, Raspberry and White, boast upright flower spikes with large florets, yet the reason this series is a leap forward in breeding is twofold; how quickly it blooms, and its tremendous branching. Angelonia ‘Archangel’; when you see it, buy it!

CALIBRACOA ‘CAN CAN ROSE STAR’ & ‘SUPERBELLS CHERRY STAR’

Calibracoa continues to capture the imagination of gardeners, and here are two more reasons why. ‘Can Can Rose Star’ boasts a white star imbedded in a deep rose blossom, offering a cacophony of color calibracoa so willingly give us. Keep in mind it’s fairly vigorous. ‘Superbells Cherry Star’ just might be the ‘new introduction of the year’. As this variety has been unveiled to the gardening media and industry, it seems everyone is extremely excited about ‘Superbells Cherry Star’. It displays a thin yellow star pattern laid into a cherry rose blossom, and the uniqueness of this flower will command immediate attention.

PANSY ‘COOL WAVE’ SERIES

‘Cool Wave’ pansies are proof of a dynamic and bold move to capitalize on the ‘Wave’ name for early season performance. ‘Cool Wave’ pansies are trailing pansies intended to open the season to the color starved and winter blues gardener, and ‘Cool Wave’ delivers on its promise. Imagine starting the spring season, with all its weather extremes, with hanging baskets and pots suited to all Mother Nature can throw at it, and doing so with ease. What I’m really excited about with March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

‘SUNPATIENS SPREADING CARMINE’ VERBENA ‘LANAI TWISTER PINK’ Photo courtesy of provenwinners.com.

this new plant is the opportunity ßto splash the porch and deck with early season color. ‘Cool Wave’ pansies are available in five colors ~ ‘Frost’, ‘Purple Wing’, Yellow’, White’ and ‘Mix’.

COLEUS ‘WASABI’

Sun loving coleus have taken center stage recently, and add another variety to the stampede of coleus introductions we’ve enjoyed. Coleus ‘Wasabi’ is a fast growing, strong, chartreuse leaf coleus that struts its stuff anywhere it’s planted. Most, if not all, of the new coleus that come to market are bred not to flower, and ‘Wasabi’ holds service. I was fortunate to trial this variety at home last summer, and it lived up to all the hype. If you love the chartreuse leaf color, plant in full sun to keep the intense color.

VERBENA ‘LANAI TWISTER PINK’

Gardeners seem to have a love/ hate relationship with verbena. Either verbena captures your heart no matter how hard it is to be successful, or you have mentally thrown them ‘under the bus’. Maybe, just maybe, ‘Lanai Twister Pink’ will appeal to both crowds. The flowers on ‘Twister Pink’ break new ground in breeding, as each floret is defined in a two

toned white/pink pattern heretofore unseen in verbenas. Culturally, verbenas crave nurturing owners, and resent being neglected. Grown well, verbenas add texture and color to many container arrangements, and ‘Twister Pink’ raises the bar for verbena, compelling the gardener to once again confront the reality of the beauty of verbena, and look deep into the soul, asking whether the effort is worth the gain.

SALVIA ‘SUMMER JEWELS’

Salvia ‘Summer Jewels’ comes to market with both accolades and pedigree. The accolade given to this variety is the ‘All America Selections’ moniker. The pedigree of this variety is its breeding has a direct link to Salvia ‘Lady in Red’, a garden favorite for many years. ‘Summer Jewels’ will be shorter in the garden than ‘Lady in Red’, and sports a deeper, richer fiery red flower, and a plethora of them.

OSTEOSPERMUM ‘3D’ SERIES

Breakthrough breeding in osteospermum heralds the new ‘3D’ osteo series, available as ‘3D Purple’, ‘3D Pink’, and ‘3D Silver’. The ‘3D’ series is the first double flowered osteos available, and as such, command a second look. Osteospermum, like the ‘Cool

‘SunPatiens’ have cemented themselves as true impatiens for the sun, and the new variety ‘SunPatiens Spreading Carmine’ will fit right in. ‘SunPatiens Spreading Carmine’ exhibits deep, iridescent rose colored blossoms over dark green foliage. Once this plant reaches maturity, be prepared to be amazed every time you gaze at the constant, overflowing mass of color happily presenting itself for all to see. Be sure to keep any ‘SunPatiens’ variety watered well, as they are thirsty plants. And kindly remember the name ‘SunPatiens’; grow in full sun for maximum pleasure.

IMPATIENS ‘PATCHWORK LAVENDER’

Another recent introduction to the market is the ‘Patchwork’ impatiens, known for their riveting bicolor blossoms, revealing a heavy star pattern in the flower. ‘Patchwork’ impatiens work well in containers and hanging baskets. ‘Patchwork’ impatiens seem to start a bit slow, though fill out nicely, and then continue the barrage of flower throughout the season. The flower size is generally larger than regular impatiens, creating an impressive show, endearing itself to any gardener willing to try them. Mike DeRee, territory sales rep for Ball Seed Company, works and gardens in Wichita, Kan. 19


Memory Gardens Leah Berg

T

his spring I’m looking forward to seeing a small but significant cluster of daffodils bloom in my yard. Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’ represents the personality of my dog, well-known by my friend Chris Conatser. He brought the bulbs to me in late November after she died. He tried to find ‘White Cheerfulness’ but so late in the season they were sold out. When we both worked at Longview Gardens, staff often helped customers choose plants for memory gardens to honor special pets and people who passed away, as well as celebrate events like births and anniversaries. After the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, we helped people cre-

In honor of my lab mix Dover (left), who died a few months ago, I planted white-blooming plants that will lighten her favorite partly shady site. A few years ago, I planted daylily ‘Happy Returns’ (right) where my dog Promise used to hunt chipmunks in the back yard. ate red, white and blue patriotic themed gardens for public places or homes. People tied yellow ribbons around oak trees and planted roses with names like ‘Veteran’s Honor’ and ‘Memorial Day’ and the old classic ‘Peace.’ Many people traditionally take peonies or other favorite flowers to decorate graves of loved ones in cemeteries for Memorial Day or anniversaries. The peonies might have grown on a relative’s prop-

erty originally, with divisions now growing in family members’ yards. But some individuals find it physically difficult to make trips to burial sites or where ashes were scattered. Consider creating an accessible memory garden at home. Even small gardens can engage all our senses and help us relax and reflect on special qualities of our loved ones. An outdoor yard site might not be available for renters or those in assisted living, so select moveable

containers for balconies or windowsills. Memorial roses have been planted for years in public gardens and bricks or plaques with engraved names added to walkways or walls. Under construction is a new memorial garden near the Chapel at Powell Gardens will include a bird bubbler fountain and a low stone wall designed for sitting and reflecting about special loved ones in a restful natural woodland setting.

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Plant Now! Benches, statues, sculptures, to plant it. The creamy white colorand fountains make special focal ing of exceptionally sweet Dover points for memory gardens. represented with white-blooming Plants with certain names plants will lighten the partly shady or characteristics or colors may site. remind us of loved ones. Dover lasted much longer than Fragrances often trigger strong anticipated after many • months of Dirt • Rock • Mulch Pavers memories associated with people special care atWall home•for her failing Retaining Flagstone and places...perhaps your grandkidneys and Wall advanced age. Stone mother’s lilacs or the marigolds or Our caring veterinarian finally herbs included in father’s vegetable said “It’s time” and came to the garden which we can smell and house to put her to sleep when taste. she could no longer get up on her Let thyme surrounding a sunown. dial or along a path represent timeOn a sunny day warm enough lessness of good memories. to be outside, we spent our last Research the traditional symhours in one of her favorite spots to bolism of flowers and herbs dating sunbathe in dry oak leaves near the to biblical or medieval times, such rose with her name. as “rosemary for remembrance.” Finally, I planted an oakleaf I moved back to my parents’ hydrangea ‘Little Honey’ along house in 1997 with two dogs recentwith the ‘Cheerfulness’ daffodils ly adopted from anall animal and your summersweet. We have youshelter. need for outdoor projects. Both pets made me laugh daily, andTopsoil Another special available. friend brought Premium Mulch and bulk delivery cheered me through stressful life stepping stones for me to add to Annuals • Perennials • Shrubs • Pond Plants transitions. the path leading to Garden Decor • Seed & Fertilizer a gray bench They spent lots of time outside bought in late spring. The bench www.lakeviewkc.com with me as I added elements that design has a reclining rabbit for the evolved into a memory garden. back and seated rabbits for the legs. The area was already anchored Positioned in this sheltered spot, by the pin oak tree planted when it reminds me of my favorite aunt my father died of cancer in 1977. who loves bunnies and dogs and In 2002, I found two roses whose urged me to adopt both dogs from 11/4 mi. East of Hwy 291 on Colbern Rd., in Lee’s Summit, MO cultivar names ‘Love’s Promise’ the shelter instead of one. and ‘Cliffs of Dover’ represented Like looking through photo the terrier “Promise” and the lab albums or scrapbooks or hearing mix “Dover” (named for the hopefavorite songs, happy memories ful WWII era song “White Cliffs included in our landscapes help of Dover”). ease grief gradually and comfort When Promise died a few years us. We remember many special ago, I planted perennials like baloccasions, and associate the four loon flower ‘Sentimental Blue’ and seasons with the broader seasons daylily ‘Happy Returns’ where he of our lives. enthusiastically hunted chipmunks in the back yard. Lambs ears placed Leah Berg is a landscape designby a sleeping dog statue remind er with a conservation emphasis. me of his soft ears and contented She teaches at MCC-Longview and naps. is also the Agribusiness/Grounds In early summer I had bought a and Turf Management department summersweet shrub Clethra ‘Vanilla coordinator. Contact her at 816Spice’ with her in mind, but waited 353-7170.

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Delightful dogwoods are fine garden trees Photos courtesy J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

D

ogwoods are celebrated in spring for their stunning displays of pink, red and white flowers. Although our North American native species (Cornus florida) is a garden favorite, it may struggle to thrive in Kansas landscapes where growing conditions are less than optimal. Several of its lesser-known cousins deliver bright spring bloom, exceptional summer foliage, fruit and fall color. They thrive in the region’s challenging climate, too. Local experts recommend three unusual dogwoods as excellent garden trees. Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Chinese Kousa Dogwood and June Snow™ Dogwood rank high among the 153 small landscape trees rated on the Great Trees for the Kansas City Region* list. All sport bright and colorful spring blooms, clean, green and disease resistant summer foliage, colorful fruit and bright fall color. Interesting bark and unique form are bonuses for the winter landscape. Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas) lights up the landscape as one of the first trees to bloom in early spring. Masses of small, sulfuryellow flowers smother its bare branches before the forsythia and daffodils bloom. These cheerful flowers are followed by dark green, glossy summer foliage that is heat and tatter-resistant. Bright red, cherry-like fruits appear among the leaves in late summer. Fruits are edible and may be used for making preserves or adding to homemade fruit juice concoctions. Fall color varies from fire engine red to mottled

Edible fruit of Cornelian Cherry Dogwood appear late summer.

Chinese Kousa Dogwood flowers last for several weeks.

New growth of June Snow Dogwood will bloom in late spring.

red-orange and tawny yellows. Exfoliating bark adds interest to the winter silhouette. Ranking #25 in order of preference among 153 small trees evaluated for landscape use, this tough and adaptable small tree is a fine choice for Midwest gardens. Growing in a low-branched rounded shape, it reaches a height of about 20 feet and a spread of 22 feet. Multi-stem forms are very attractive for landscapes where a less formal look is wanted. Chinese Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa chinensis) bursts forth with clouds of white blossoms that appear several weeks after the more commonly planted Florida dogwoods have bloomed. These late bloomers rarely suffer from the frost damage that may occur with earlierflowering varieties. Blossoms last for several weeks during a time when relatively few garden plants are in bloom. Pointed, creamywhite bracts that surround the true, button-like flower clusters form the star-shaped “flowers”. Bright reddish-orange fruits form in late summer and persist through autumn. They dangle like oversized raspberries beneath the horizontally arching branches. These attract the attention of birds

as well as gardeners. Bright color that ranges from reddish purple to orange and scarlet sparkles in the autumn landscape. Winter reveals a very attractive mottled tan and gray exfoliating bark and a distinctive horizontal branching pattern. Praised for its adaptability and tough, yet beautiful character, Kousa Dogwood was ranked #3 by local experts. It grows in a widely vaseshaped to rounded form, reaching a mature height and spread of approximately 20 x 20 feet. June Snow Dogwood (Cornus controversa ‘June Snow-JFS’) bears waves of flat-topped, creamywhite flower clusters in late spring. Composed of tiny, star-shaped flowers, they float above the deep green leaves of this fine selection of Giant Dogwood. Flowers, which appear in late May and early June, may exceed six inches in diameter. These evolve into dense clusters of tiny blue-black fruits that are soon devoured by birds. Fall color is a lovely medley of orange-yellow, red purple and purple-red tones. As June Snow™ Dogwood matures, its wide spreading branches become distinctively horizontally tiered, a characteristic that is especially appreciated in winter. Chestnut brown bark of the young-

er stems is peppered with white lenticels. It takes on a purplish cast in winter, while the bark on the trunk and older limbs becomes grey and furrowed. Fast growing and broad spreading, its horizontally tiered branches bear lush green leaves that turn to purple, red and yellow-orange in the fall. Ranking #20 among 153 small landscape trees evaluated, this unique dogwood becomes wider than tall. It matures to approximately 30 feet in height with a 40 foot spread.

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Nancy Buley, is with J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Wholesale Tree Growers, Boring, Oregon. You may reach her at 503-663-4128 or nancyb@jfschmidt.com. The Great Trees for Kansas City list is dedicated to helping residents and landscape professionals choose the best and most suitable trees for local landscapes. This monthly series highlights top performers named on the list. Find the full list, plus the names and credentials of the experts who ranked them, at http://extra. gouldevans.com/greattreesforkc.pdf. Additional descriptions and photos of these and many other fine dogwood cultivars may be found at http:// www.jfschmidt.com/dogwoods/.

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Celebrate the Coming of Spring at Powell Gardens

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arch brings a burst of color to Powell Gardens as spring bulbs and early wildflowers bloom. The Feather Your Nest conservatory exhibit closes on March 4 to make room for Orchids & Gems of the Woodland, opening March 10. Admission through March is $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children 5-12. Café Thyme reopens in March under the management of Michael Foust, executive chef and owner of The Farmhouse in Kansas City, Mo. Lunch will be available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only in March. Watch for more details at www.powellgardens.org.

home. All seeds and supplies will be provided. Register by March 2 at 816-697-2600 x209; $24/project, $17/project for members of Powell Gardens.

Orchids & Gems of the Woodland 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 10-May 13 A mix of exquisite orchids and woodland gems such as hydrangeas, azaleas, redbuds and dogwoods bring a welcome breath of spring to the conservatory. Visitors also can purchase orchids from Bird’s Botanicals throughout the exhibit. Garden admission applies: $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children 5-12 through March and $10/ adults, $9/seniors and $4/children 5-12 beginning April 1.

Winter Hike: Singing Frogs and Early Spring Bulbs 1-4 p.m. March 18 Enjoy the sounds of spring as you hike the 3.25-mile Byron Shutz Nature Trail and back through the Rock & Waterfall and Island Gardens with Alan Branhagen, Powell Gardens’ director of horticulture and master naturalist. See witch hazels blooming, early spring bulbs and some of the season’s first wildflowers. This trail is not stroller or wheelchair accessible. Register by March 12 at 816-6972600 x209; $9 or $5/members.

Starting Seeds Indoors 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. March 10 Get a jump on spring by starting seeds indoors. Learn techniques for starting annuals and some perennials. Be prepared to get your hands dirty as you sow seeds and transplant plants to take

SupertufaTM Garden Basket 1-3 p.m. March 18 Create a lightweight but sturdy garden basket out of SupertufaTM. You will make one large or two small baskets suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Bring an old basket to use as a mold or use one the instructor provides. Register by March 12 at 816-697-2600 x209; $55/project, $47/project for members of Powell Gardens.

Extension. Participants will get hands-on training on bed preparation, plant spacing, seed sowing and more. New and experienced gardeners are welcome. A lunch break will be provided. Register by March 1 at 816-697-2600 x209; $39/person, $32/members of Powell Gardens.

come. Materials will be provided. Bring a sack lunch or snack as the class will not break for lunch. Register by March 19 at 816-6972600 x209; $62/person, $54/members of Powell Gardens. Success with Vegetable Gardening 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. March 24 Learn techniques for growing a successful vegetable garden from Lala Kumar, Horticulture Specialist with the University of Missouri

Orchid Weekend at Powell Gardens 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 24-25 Bring your orchid-related questions to Powell Gardens this weekend and get advice from Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City members. Stop by the conservatory to view numerous orchids and other woodland gems, including hydrangeas, azaleas, redbuds and dogwoods. You can also shop for your own orchids from Bird’s Botanicals. Winter garden admission applies: $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children 5-12.

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Soil Test Interpretations Organic Matter

Kylo Heller

E

veryone told you to get a soil test, so you got one. Now all you have to do is figure out what it says. Soil tests are often recommended and often misunderstood. Over the next several months we will look at common soil test parameters and what they mean. First up, soil organic matter (OM). Soil OM is usually presented as a percent, and the common range in this area is one to five percent, depending on the soil type and location history. It is not unusual for areas of recent construction,

where the top soil may have been removed, to have less than one percent. Also, it would not be surprising to see greater than five percent in a garden soil that has been amended with compost for many years. There is no magic number that the organic matter should be, but in most cases, a higher % OM is favorable. For garden soils I consider less than two percent OM to be “low” organic matter. So, what does that mean? Well, let’s look at what organic matter does for us. Organic matter effects soil physically, biologically, and chemically. From a physical perspective, soil organic matter binds pieces of sand, silt, and clay to form larger aggregates. These aggregates are imperative to maintaining good soil structure. Soils with good structure have better infiltration rates, better available water holding capacity, and better internal drainage

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than those without. All of which provide a better environment for plant growth. From a biological standpoint, the organic matter is a veritable smorgasbord for beneficial bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms (a.k.a. microbes). The main building block of OM is carbon, and that carbon is food for soil microbes. As these microbes feed on the organic matter, they release nutrients that are part of the carbon compounds they devour. From a chemical standpoint, as the organic matter breaks down it releases a significant amount of macronutrients (N, P, and K). It is also the primary source for often overlooked secondary and micronutrients such as sulfur. The release of nutrients is a result of the microbial breakdown described earlier, and is called “mineralization”. Mineralization is largely impacted

by temperature and moisture, and as a result, the amount of nutrient release varies from year to year, and climate to climate. In general, in our area you can estimate that for every one percent OM the soil will release about 0.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. So, high organic matter soil can supply significant nitrogen to growing plants. However, be aware that adding large amounts of new organic amendments to the soil can result in the temporary tie-up of nitrogen in your soil. This is common with high carbon organic amendments such as wood chips. So, what to do about your soil organic matter level? One of two things. If it’s low (<2%) or near low, add some. There are many good sources of organic matter, e.g. composts, mulches, etc., all of which can do a good job. Just spread it out and till it in. If it is normal to high, don’t worry about it! In these cases you can add some periodically in order to maintain the current level, but soil organic matter levels change very slowly over time. So there is no need to worry about it changing dramatically from year to year, and no need to monitor it more often than every 3-5 years. Kylo Heller is the Owner of Nature’s Release Fertilizer. He has a degree from Kansas State University and more than 10 years of experience in soil fertility and nutrient interactions. Contact him at kheller@ natures-release.com.

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Spring Horticulture Classes March 5, Monday What Grass Should I Plant? Confused on what is the best type of lawn to grow in the area? With our ever-changing Kansas City climate, who isn’t these days? In this class we will look closely at tall fescue and bluegrass and help you discover their strengths and weaknesses for greater success in growing a thick, dense healthy lawn. Instructor: Dennis Patton, Johnson County Extension Horticulture Agent March 19, Monday Peonies – The Perfect Garden Plant A garden is not complete without a peony. Jim will share his vast knowledge of growing this old garden favorite from flower forms, to varieties and culture. You will not want to miss this class as Jim will inspire you to rediscover this garden treasure. Instructor: Jim Crist, Johnson County Extension Master Gardener April 16, Monday Hydrangeas for the Garden Hydrangeas are one of the most coveted plants to grow in the landscape as they provide bold, beautiful flowers. This class will cover the different species that can be grown in the garden. Learn how to maintain this garden gem

with success. You will walk away with a new appreciation for this plant and a better understanding of how to include hydrangeas in your landscape. Instructor: Dennis Patton, Johnson County Extension Horticulture Agent

April 24, Tuesday Welcoming Butterflies to the Garden Learn which butterflies and moths are easiest to attract to your garden using readily available plants. Space does not need to be an issue. Gardening to attract butterflies and moths is more than just feeding the winged beauties as it encompasses developing a habitat for all life stages. If you can tend a pot or two and have sunshine, you can contribute to butterfly habitat. Instructor: Jackie Goetz, Johnson County Extension Master Gardener If you’d like to attend either of these classes, please call ahead (913-715-7000) to reserve your spot. Classes are held at K-State Research and Extension, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 1500, Olathe, Kansas 66061. Fee is $10 per person per class, and can be paid when you call. Class time is 7 to 9 p.m. For more information see our web site www.johnson.ksu.edu.

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Grow Native! Plant Profile

Barbara Fairchild

Q

uestion: Which Missouri native plant has leaves larger than any other native Missouri plant? Here’s a clue: It occurs naturally only in wet soils and shallow water in the southeast corner of the state, more specifically in Ripley, Butler, Stoddard, Scott and Cape Girardeau counties. Its larger range is from Florida to Texas, with South Carolina and southeastern Missouri marking its northern range. Answer: Water canna (Thalia dealbata). Water canna is described as a bog to aquatic plant because it typically is found on the banks of

creeks and rivers, in wet ditches and along the margins of ponds. While it occurs naturally only in the southern part of the state, it is considered winter hardy in Zone 6, which (according to the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map) includes St. Louis and Kansas City. This fact has encouraged aficionados of water gardening to make it a striking addition to their gardens, where it can reach a height of 10 feet with leaves that are 20 inches long and 10 inches wide. A more common height is four to six feet. Water canna is not a true canna. Its common name comes from the resemblance of its paddle-shaped leaves to those in the canna species. Other common names are alligator flag, powdery alligator flag, powdery thalia and hardy canna. Its broad leaves are bluish green with purple edging. They form a base for branching panicles that carry violet flowers high above the

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Photos by Missouri Dept. of Conservation.

Water canna Thalia dealbata

leaves. The foliage is dusted with white powder—a feature that inserts “powdery” in some of its common names. Some gardeners describe the flower clusters as looking like iris, while others compare it with an orchid. An odd fact about the flower is its way of pollinating. If an insect enters the flower and touches the stigma it causes the staminoid or a small arm like structure to release its tension hitting the insect with pollen—sometimes trapping the insect and killing it. While its striking appearance makes it a favorite for water gardens, water canna also can serve a practical purpose when used in constructed wetlands for home septic systems. It also has wildlife benefits that include protecting fish, amphibians, insects and other aquatic life. Its foliage provides a safe haven for larvae of dragonflies as they climb from ponds to metamorphose into adults. The foliage is host to the larvae of the Brazilian skipper and other insects feed on the pollen and nectar of its flowers. For those interested in adding water canna to the landscape, here are some points to keep in mind: • While it is winter hardy to Zone 6, gardeners in that zone, should sink containers in wet mud or submerge them in up to two feet of water. Containers covered by 18-24 inches of water generally over-winter in place. • If plants are in a wetland constructed as a home septic system, do not use additional fertilizer. The nutrients in the sewage likely are sufficient to maintain acceptable growth. • If planting in an area with marginal moisture, be prepared to irrigate regularly and often.

• Water canna tolerates water depths up to 1.5 feet during the growing season and deeper water during the dormant season. • A two-foot spacing allows plants to easily fill a planting area in one growing season. • Water levels should be at about 1 to 2 inches until plant is established and should never cover the entire shoot of non-dormant plants. • During the dormant season, remove old flower stalks and dead foliage, but leave a long enough section of the leaf petiole (stalk attaching leaf blade to the stem) so the cut end remains about water level. • It prefers full sun, but tolerates partial shade. In summary, water canna is a striking plant that provides a tropical touch to a water garden, helps improve water quality and offers food and shelter to a variety of insects—it’s one to consider for use at your home. And finally, here are two factoids about water canna: 1) The genus name honors 16th century German physician and naturalist Johann Thal. 2) Thalia dealbata has its own Facebook page. For more information on Missouri native plants or to locate a native plant source, go to www.grownative.org. Barbara Fairchild is the communications specialist for Grow Native, a program of Missouri Department of Conservation. The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012

2/14/12 2:59 PM


Repotting Houseplants and Tropicals

I

like to repot in spring when I bring my plants back outside for the new growing season. Repotting into larger pots allows the plant to grow larger and healthier with more leaves and/or blooms. I don’t always repot into larger containers, however. I determine if the plant just needs a root trim and placed back into its original pot or pot it down in size if the plant seems to be struggling. Depending on the plant I determine what size of new container I need. The general rule of thumb is two to four inches larger than the diameter of the current pot. Larger diameter pots can be detrimental to the health of the plant. I always use pots with drainage holes and add more if needed or am able. Choosing the correct soil is key to good plant growth as well. I always use a quality container soil (never use garden soil or topsoil) and sometimes add amendments if needed depending on the type of plant I’m repotting. For example, if

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27


March Rose Report

Something to think about…

Charles Anctil

A

s soon as you finish pruning and cleaning up this spring, you might want to perk your plants up and get them started in the right direction. My plants have not been fed since mid-October so I will take two cups each of Bradfield and Milorganite, and work it into the soil around all the plants in my yard with a rake, not just my roses. I still like to use Milorganite and Bradfield when I uncover because it takes a while for the materials to get to the root zone. If it is dry enough, I like to

use my little Mantis Roto-Tiller to work the materials in and then soak the beds. If I remember right, I started using Fish Emulsion in 1958 and have never been without it since. Why? Simple. It wakes up the soil organisms which makes the roots very happy. Now I have Sure Bloom Natural Garden Formula to add to my Fish Emulsion. Check this out: more fish, mint oil, micronutrients from seaweed and alfalfa and good for everything in the yard. Boy what a weird winter! The canes warmed by the sunshine have already started to wake up – hope the roots are still waiting for spring. On January 30, I was watering and noticed many of the roses were already budding out as were the blueberries. Did this happen in your garden?

This might interest you. Five to six years ago, a product called Messenger came out on the market. It was derived from naturally occurring protein, harpin, that activates plant growth systems and harnesses the plants ability to defend themselves against disease and withstand other stresses. Another product now on the market, Green Guard Plant Growth Stimulator, works by stimulating a plant’s growth and defense mecha-

nisms to improve the plant’s ability to grow and protect it from stresses caused by the adverse environmental conditions. It can be used on all plants grown indoors and out. It can be used on edibles up to the day of harvest. I have used this product on roses, blueberries, black raspberries, beans, etc. I already have my supply for this year. You can get Green Guard Plant Growth Stimulator from Gardens Alive at 1-513-354-1482. Works for me – maybe this will work for you too. See you next month. Charles Anctil has been an active Rosarian since 1958, Kansas City Rose Society, ARS Judge Emeritus, ARS Master Consulting Rosarian. If you need help, call him at Moffet’s Nursery, St. Joseph, Mo., 816-2331223.

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


March

garden calendar

n LAWNS

• Spot treat for dandelions, henbit, chickweed and other weeds. Spot spraying reduces the amount of chemical used and reduces drift. • Apply crabgrass controls in late March through mid-April. • Seed thin areas in bluegrass and tall fescue lawns. • Miss fall fertilization of bluegrass and tall fescue? If so then apply nutrient with crabgrass control. • Avoid March fertilization if fall fertilizer was applied as it increases weed pressure and weakens grass reserves. • Lower mowing height about 2-inches to remove winter debris, do not scalp. • Soil test to determine fertility needs. • Tune up lawn mowers and sharpen blades for another season.

n TREES AND SHRUBS

• Prune trees, except birch and walnut which are best pruned after they leaf out. • Prune spring flowering shrubs soon after bloom. • Prune summer blooming shrubs now for good flowering. • Mulch trees and shrubs plantings up to 4 inches deep, keeping mulch away from trunks. • Fertilize trees and shrubs. • Plant new trees in the landscape. • Remove tree wraps from young trees for summer growth. • Rake and clean ground cover planting.

n FLOWERS

• Plant pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, osteospermum and other cool loving annuals. • Clean up perennial bed by cutting back foliage and removing winter mulch layer. • Prepare soil for annual planting by adding organic matter such as compost. • Fertilize gardens based on soil test needs, usually nitrogen only sources. • Take a soil test if one has not been done in the last five years. • Start seeds under lights indoors for transplanting to the garden. • Remove winter mulch from roses and prune as needed. • Cut ornamental grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground. • Time to start dividing and planting perennials in the garden.

• Fertilize spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. • Remove seed heads from spent bulbs. • Help control iris borers by destroying old foliage before new growth begins. • Mail order plants should be unwrapped, kept cool and moist until planting.

n VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

• Prepare soil for spring planting. • Soil test if needed. • Fertilize garden before planting based on soil test results as normally nitrogen only is needed. • Plant broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in late March. • Plant potatoes, peas, onions, lettuce and other salad crops. • Asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries can be planted. • Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and other warm season vegetables. • Sharpen garden tools and repair. • Apply dormant oil to fruit plantings to reduce scale and mite insects. • Make a fungicide application to control peach leaf curl before growth begins. • Prune fruit plantings, fruit trees, grapes, raspberries and blackberries. • Remove mulch from strawberries when growth begins.

n HOUSEPLANTS

• Fertilize to encourage rapid spring and summer growth. • Repot crowded plants in a 1-inch larger pot. • Shape plants by pruning and trimming. • Remove winter dust from leaves with a damp cloth or by placing in a warm shower. • Check for insects. • Start cuttings of plants.

n WATER QUALITY PROTECTION

• Keep grass clippings off the street, sweep or blow back into lawn. • Use fallen leaves as mulch or in compost, keep off the street. • Direct downspouts onto grassy areas for absorption, reducing runoff. • Sweep granular fertilizers and pesticides from hard surfaces back onto the lawn. • Prevent soil erosion, mulch bare soil areas. • Pick up pet waste.

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends environmentally-friendly gardening practices. This starts by identifying and monitoring problems. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City presents

Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see

Water Gardens 2012 19th Annual Water Garden Tour

Garden Shows

Saturday, July 7 • Sunday, July 8

Johnson County Home & Garden Show Overland Park Convention Center, Mar 2-4

9am - 5pm Rain or Shine Bus tours available.

Kansas City Flower, Lawn & Garden Show Bartle Hall, Mar 23-25

Club Meetings African Violet Club of GKC Tues, Mar 13, 5:30-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Mar 3 and 24, 9:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Mar 18, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300

Call: 913-599-9718 • 816-861-3449 www.kcwatergardens.com Proceeds benefit construction of educational and restorative water gardens and other educational programs in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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13635 Wyandotte, KCMO 30

Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 5, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Refreshments and socializing begin at 6pm. The speaker presentation begins at 6:30pm. The program will be “Ask Mr. Tomato Head”, by Brad Lucht, Gardeners of America. The answers to all (well, maybe most) of your tomato questions will be provided. Determinate vs. Indeterminate? He knows! Best tomato for a container (even a Topsy Turvy)? He knows! Best way to cut a tomato? He knows! Tell your friends and neighbors about this amazing red soothsayer! Guests are always welcome. Join us and make a gardening friend! 816-941-2445. GreaterKCGOA@gmail.com Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Mar 14, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Container Gardening presented by master gardener of GKC, Mary Wood. Registration required. Call 816-822-1515. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, Mar 17, 9:30am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 24, hospitality and registration at 9:30am, followed by a short business meeting and program beginning at 10am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St (67th & Roe) Prairie Village, KS. Coming to us from the Boston area, Leo Blanchette will be our Guest Speaker. Mr. Blanchette has been a collector of shade plants for many years. Among his favorite genera are Polygonatum, Anemonella, hardy Arisaema, Astilbe and Primula sieboldii, each of which make great companions to Hosta. Leo Blanchette is the owner, operator and propagator of Blanchette Gardens in Carlisle, Mass, which specializes in rare and unusual perennials, with most being suited for shade. We’re planning a potluck after the meeting, so bring a dish to share. There will be door prizes. Guests are welcome! Questions? Call Gwen at 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. Independence Garden Club Mon, Mar 12, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center, corner of Truman and Noland Rd, fourth floor. A class will be taught by the Kansas City Community Gardens on Raised Beds. Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served. Visit us at our web site for more information wwwindependencegardenclub.com. Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Mar 8, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Alan Stevens, PhD, will be the guest speaker, and will present an informative program designed to help you get ready to plant and care for your roses. Dr. Stevens is an Extension Specialist for Horticulture and Leader of the K-State Research Center at Olathe. He specializes in field research to discover the best plants to grow in the Kansas City climate. Bringing that expertise, Dr. Stevens will share his insights into

what types of roses will likely grow and thrive in our area. A new feature at the meetings this year will be free one-on-one consultations with American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians. Members and guests will be able to talk with a Consulting Rosarian about their specific rose-growing questions and concerns. All JCRS meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments provided. For complete program schedule or details about membership, visit our website www.rosesocietyjoco.org. Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Mar 18, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Mar 5, 10am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. “Saving Time and Money Gardening Ideas” by a panel of three garden experts, Mildred Meinke, Donna Schneck, Lela Williams. Visitors are welcome. Bring a sack lunch and join us for club furnished drinks, desserts after the meeting. Call 913-341-7555 or swanney@prukc.com Kansas City Rose Society Sat, Mar 24, 10am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. The Kansas City Rose Society is having a pruning and planting demonstration. Judy Penner, rosarian and director of Loose Park, will teach the class. For more information, www.kansascityrosesociety.org or call the Garden Center at 816-784-5300. Leawood Garden Club Tues, Mar 27, 10:30am; at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Business meeting followed by annual fund-raising auction. Bring sack lunch. Desserts and beverages are provided. Open to the public, guests are welcome. Contact 816-363-0925 or jaguyn@aol.com. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Mar 13, 7pm; at Gamber Center, 4 SE Independence Ave, Lee’s Summit, MO. You are invited to join us for a special program on “De-Bugging Your Garden,” presented by Master Gardener, Chris Veach. Refreshments are a big part of our meeting! If you have questions, call Robbie at 816-524-8757; www.leessummitgardenclub.org. Lenexa Field and Garden Club Tues, Apr 10, 7-8pm; at Lenexa Senior Building, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. “Mistakes in Your Garden” by Bob Lane. www.lenexafieldandgardenclub.org; 913-541-1465 Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Mar 10, 1:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Northland Garden Club Tues, Mar 20, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone, MO. Program: New Rose Varieties & Rose Care, Charles Anctil, KC Rosarian from Moffett Nursery, St Joseph, MO. Guests are welcome. For information contact Gretchen Lathrop, 816-781-4569. www.Northlandgardenclub.com Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tour Tues, Mar 20, 1:30pm; at 20335 S Moonlight Rd, Gardner, KS (just south of 199th & Moonlight Rd). Join us for a tour of the Flower Farm just south of Gardner, KS to see and learn about new plants for the spring or to find out how to care for that plant that doesn’t seem to thrive. Plants will be available for purchase and valuable information from experts in the field will be shared. Garden Club members will meet for lunch prior to tour. For more information, contact Lila Courtney, 913-764-2494. ShoMe African Violets Society Fri, Mar 9, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 St Joseph Herb Gardeners Thurs, Mar 1, 6:30pm; at FCS Financial Building. Gardening 101 with Fred Messner. Executive

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Committee provide refreshments. President: Helen Snuffer 816-279-7372. Sunflower Gardeners of America Tues, Mar 13, 7pm; at West Wyandotte Library, 1737 N 82nd Street, Kansas City, KS 66112. Public invited. For more info call Claudeane at 913-287-7045.

Events, Lectures & Classes March Local Artist on Display at Powell Gardens From the first of March to the end of April. Marilyn Weimer will have watercolor paintings on display. The subjects will be hummingbirds, floral and three fairy paintings. Many of the watercolor hummingbird paintings have mica flecks that become iridescent against the light reflection. The Powell Garden’s gift shop will have two of the fairy images on laminated bookmarks for sale. Also greeting cards of various hummingbird print-outs will be available. View examples at her website, www.marilynweimer.com. Selecting, Planting and Caring for Berry Plants Fri, Mar 2, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Grow your own berries right in your own backyard! Learn about the different varieties of fruit-bearing shrubs and how to care for them to produce healthy, high-yielding plants. We will focus on strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, but will discuss other fruit plants as well. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. www.kccg.org Planning and Planting your Schoolyard Garden Sat, Mar 3, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Designed for teachers or school staff who have or are planning to start a schoolyard garden, this workshop will cover basic gardening knowledge needed for planning and planting your spring and summer schoolyard gardens. Plant selection, tips for planting and garden management will all be discussed. We will also highlight ideas for fun garden activities and demonstrate garden-based lessons. Presented by MaryAnna Henggeler, KCCG Schoolyard Gardens Coordinator and Andrea Mathew, KCCG Program Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-9313877 to register. www.kccg.org The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present 11th Annual Spring Gardening Seminar Sat, Mar 3, 8:30am-3:20pm, at UMKC Student Union and Linda Hall Library, both near the Plaza. The Seminar, a partnership this year with the UMKC Garden Collective will be on Sat, with a special advanced training session on Fri evening, Mar 2, from 5:30-8:30pm. For more information, please see our website at www.mggkc.org or call MU Extension at 816-252-5051. Deadline for enrollment is Feb 24. Fruit Trees and Berry Plants Mon, Mar 5, 6:30-8pm; at Independence Health Department, 515 South Liberty, Independence, MO 64050. Fruit is a great addition to your garden! Learn what varieties are best for this area and how to plant and care for them to get a bountiful harvest. We will focus on the major fruit trees for this area (apple, peach, cherry and pear) but will also cover exotic fruit trees. Also learn about the different varieties of fruit-bearing shrubs and how to care for them to produce healthy, high-yielding plants. We will focus on strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, but will discuss other fruit plants as well. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. There is no cost to attend. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. www.kccg.org Burroughs Audubon Society Greater Kansas City Tues, Mar 6, 6:45pm; at Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, KCMO. “Native Plantings for Birds”. Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture, Powell Gardens, will describe how to use native plants to create a bird-friendly garden that “sings with our spirit of place”. Native plants offer the best sources of food, shelter and nesting habitat for local birds, and require less maintenance too! Free, open to the public. For more information call 816-795-8177 or see website www.burroughs.org. Edible Gardening Three-session class, Tues, Mar 6, 13 and 20, 6:308:30pm; presented by Garden Center Association, at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Cost: $30 (GCA members $22), includes class materials. We will cover the whole cycle from

preparing your soil to harvest and beyond. We will focus on getting a full season of edibles out of your garden whether it is a large traditional plot, containers on your deck or mixed into your borders with a wide range of edibles you may never have thought of growing yourself or thought were too hard. Bring a flash drive to first class for a copy of all materials, including PowerPoint programs. Register online on the GCA website, www.gardencenterassociation. org, or send your check made out to GCA along with a notation of which class you wish to attend to Brian Chadwick-Robinson; 6911 NW Blair Road; Parkville, MO 64152. Butterfly Gardening: Add Flying Flowers to your Garden Wed, Mar 7, 1-2:30pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Class Fee $10 per person. Are you only seeing the occasional migrating Monarch? Like all wildlife, butterflies have specific needs that must be met. This class will review butterfly biology & habitat requirements with an emphasis on garden design. From early spring to fall’s hard freeze, butterflies need nectar-rich flowers to fuel their short life of love. However, feeding their children, the caterpillars, is the secret to success. You choose your resident butterflies by choosing your caterpillar food plants. Participants will learn how to convert their already lovely landscapes to butterfly habitats. Lenora Larson, a Miami County Master Gardener, a member of KNPS & Idalia Butterfly Society, maintains a 4 acre NABA certified garden on her property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola, KS. She is a proud “science geek” a degree in microbiology, a career in molecular biology and a life-long interest in wildlife. Don’t miss this wonderful experience. Register for class by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604.

K

FREE SOIL TEST!

nowing the base fertility of the soil is important for proper plant growth. This is especially important as the time for spring gardening approaches. Soil testing is the only way to know the nutrient levels in your soil. Applying fertilizer without a current soil test is sure to cost you in either over application or under production. Through a grant provided by Johnson County Stormwater Management, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension is once again offering a limited number of free soil tests this year. The free tests are good for

a routine soil analysis which tests the pH, phosphorus and potassium levels of the soil. (This is the basic fertility test, sufficient for most homeowner lawns and gardens, and normally costs $12.) Johnson County homeowners are eligible to receive one free test per household. The test is available on a firstcome basis. Bring or mail samples to Johnson County Extension office at 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 1500, Olathe, KS 66061. To learn more, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu or call 913-715-7000.

Herbaceous Plants Three-session class Thurs, Mar 8, 15 and 22; 6:308:30pm; presented by Garden Center Association, at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. We will cover more than 60 annuals, perennials and biennials for your garden. Know how big they get, when they bloom and where to place them in your garden for best results. $30 (GCA members $22), includes class materials. Bring a flash drive to first class for a copy of all materials, including PowerPoint programs. Register online on the GCA website, www.gardencenterassociation. org, or send your check made out to GCA along with a notation of which class you wish to attend to Brian Chadwick-Robinson; 6911 NW Blair Road; Parkville, MO 64152. Vegetable Garden Basics Fri, Mar 9, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org

O

ne of the earliest garden pests, aphids feed on plant sap and spread diseases. They cluster along soft stems up to the tips. They insert a needle-like mouthpart into the plant and suck out sap. Large numbers can kill small plants. Females give live birth to baby aphids allowing populations to explode. Control using blasts of water on sturdy plants, insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Biological control for aphids includes lady beetle larvae, small wasps and flies. Only use a chemical like Sevin®, Malathion®, or pyrethrins as a last resort. Chemicals will kill the beneficial insects along with the pests and aphids become resistant to the chemical very easily.

Fertilizing, Weed Control & Watering Seminar Sat, Mar 10, 10-11:30am; at Springtime Garden Center, 1601 NE Tudor Rd (corner of Tudor and Todd George Pkwy), Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. When spring hits, don’t get caught with a brown yard. Don’t know how to make it green? Come learn the best management practices for your lawn. FREE. Door prizes! Refreshments will be provided. Ask about our other seminars for further knowledge on landscapes and gardens. 816-525-4226 Kansas Native Plant Society Meeting Sat, Mar 10, 10am-2pm; Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. FREE. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Register by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring your receipt to the class for admission. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Learn how to put “waste” to work! Sat, Mar 10, 2pm, (Weather permitting, watch our Facebook page for updates); at The Gardens at Unity Village historic Apple Barn, 150-B NE Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. Everyone’s been eating more fruits and veggies which creates LOTS of green “waste”. We are all about re-using, recycling and resourcing.This workshop covers the basics of Lasagna

Aphids

Submitted by Mary Roduner, Children’s Gardening Coordinator, Kansas City Community Gardens.



(continued on page 32)

March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Hotlines for Gardeners Extension Master Gardeners are ready to answer your gardening questions. DOUGLAS COUNTY

785-843-7058; dgemg@sunflower.com; Mon-Fri, 1-4pm

GREATER KANSAS CITY MISSOURI AREA

816-833-8733 (TREE); Mon-Fri, 9am to 3pm

JOHNSON COUNTY, KS

913-715-7050; Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm; garden.help@jocogov.org

JOHNSON COUNTY, MO

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY

913-364-5700; Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm

MIAMI COUNTY

913-294-4306; Mon-Fri, 9am-noon

PLATTE COUNTY

816-270-2141; Wed, 1-4pm

WYANDOTTE COUNTY

913-299-9300; Mon, Wed, Fri, 9am-noon and 1-4pm

Highs and Lows Avg temp 44° Avg high temp 53° Avg low temp 34° Highest recorded temp 91° Lowest recorded temp -2° Nbr of above 70° days 5

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 7 Avg nbr of cloudy days 16

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 3.6” Avg rainfall 2.5” Avg nbr of rainy days 10 Source: WeatherReports.com

From the Almanac Moon Phases Full Moon: Mar. 8 Last Quarter: Mar. 14 New Moon: Mar. 22 First Quarter: Mar. 30 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

32

places to go, things to do, people to see

(continued from page 31) Gardening which involves layering green “waste” (like fruit and veggies) with brown “waste” (like leaves and straw), resulting in a rich soil in which to grow - what else? MORE veggies! Inquiries: gardens.unity@yahoo.com or 816-769-0259. Raised Bed Gardening Mon, Mar 12, 6:30-8pm; at Roger T Sermon Center, 201 N Dodgion Ave, Independence, MO 66050 (near intersection of Noland and Truman). Discover the many benefits of raised bed gardening. Learn how to construct your own raised beds and how to plant in them for maximum efficiency. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Raised Bed Gardening Mon, Mar 12, 6-7:30pm; at Community Housing Wyandotte County, 2 South 14th St, Kansas City, KS 66102. Discover the many benefits of raised bed gardening. Learn how to construct your own raised beds and how to plant in them for maximum efficiency. Presented by Andrea Mathew, KCCG Program Director. No cost to attend. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org

660-747-3193; Wed, 9am-noon

March Weather Report

Upcoming Garden Events

Plant Above Ground Crops: 3, 4, 22, 25-27, 30, 31

Plant Root Crops: 10, 13

Control Plant Pests: 14, 15. 18-20

Transplant: 3, 4, 30, 31

Plant Flowers: 22, 25-27, 30

Nature at the Arboretum – Birding for Children Wed, Mar 14, 10–11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $5 per person. This is a class for children 9-12 years old about birding at the Arboretum; what birds live here and how they are equipped to survive. Participants will receive instruction in using binoculars and visit the Arboretum Bird Yard to observe birds in their natural habitat. Adult presence/participation required. Class limited to 12 children. Dress to go outside and wear sturdy shoes. Register for classes by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913-685-3604. Elevated Gardening: Raised Beds, Berms, and Containers Thurs, Mar 15, 7-9pm; at Raytown South Middle School, 8401 E 83rd St, room 108. Strategies for building up garden beds results in less back strain for gardeners plus improved drainage and vigorous plants. Consider several options based on your available space. Review composting and the use of rain barrels and other water-conserving techniques. Local resources discussed and handouts included. Instructor: Leah Berg. Call Raytown Community Education to enroll: 816-268-7037. Early Spring Crops Fri, Mar 16, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Give in to your spring gardening fever and get outside to plant a spring vegetable garden. Learn about selecting, planting and caring for vegetables that thrive in the cool spring weather. No cost for attending. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. www.kccg.org Gardening Spring Flower Show & Ladies Day Fri, Mar 16, 2-7:30pm; at Family Tree Nursery, 8424 Farley, Overland Park, KS. 20% off regularly priced items, display gardens, refreshments, local artists, vendors. 913-642-6503 Annual Spring Openhouse Sat, Mar 17 and Sun, Mar 18, 11am-4pm; at all three Family Tree Nursery locations – Overland Park 913642-6503, Shawnee 913-631-6121, Liberty 816-7810001. Fresh spring specials, DIY garden workshops, kids activities. ‘Singing Frogs and Spring Bulbs’ Hike Sun, Mar 18, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Hike the 3.25-mile Byron Shutz Nature Trail with Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture, naturalist and plantsman. What will you hear? Spring peepers and chorus frogs? The pair-bonding calls of the Chickadees? Sound like spring? Join us and see witch-hazels blooming, early spring bulbs and perhaps the spring’s first wildflowers like rare bisquitroot. All participants must be able to hike nearly four

miles over mulched and mowed terrains. Dress for the weather and for walking. A pair of lightweight binoculars is highly recommended. $9/adult, $5/ Members. Registration required by Mar 12. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at http://shop.powellgardens.org and follow the CLASSES link. Supertufa Garden Basket Sun, Mar 18, 1-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Using a basket as your mold, a sturdy basket-planter is very easy to make. No sculpting experience required. Using Supertufa™, which cures within 6 hours, you will take your creation home the same day. It is lightweight, strong and handles the outside environment with ease. Bring an old basket of your own or use one provided by the instructor. Dress for messy creativity. Suitable rubber gloves and all other materials will be provided. $55/project, $47/Members. Registration required by Mar 12. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at http:// shop.powellgardens.org and follow CLASSES link. Vegetable Garden Basics Mon, Mar 19, 6-7:30pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. No cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Start a Garden Club Mon, Mar 19, 6:30pm; at Merriam Christian Church, 9401 Johnson Dr, Merriam, KS (at Johnson Dr and I-35). Are you one of those dedicated gardeners who can’t meet in the daytime but have an evening available? Join us to organize a Federated Garden Club. If you are interested in helping start this club, please call Jackie Watts, Director, East Central District, 913248-8265, 913-449-9837 cell, or Debbie Roberts, Secretary, KAGC, 816-820-8428. Landscape Design and Maintenance (AGBS 106) Mar 19-May 16, Mon/Wed 5:45-8:30pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview Campus, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. The practical emphasis is on information relevant to our region, including site assessment and scale drawing of plans using a blend of regionally appropriate ornamental, edibles, and native landscaping. Many handouts supplement our great book (Landscape Design: Theory and Application by Ann Marie VanDer Zanden, IA St U) & Steven Rodie (U of NE) Instructor: Leah Berg. Fee applies. This 3 credit hour class may be taken for personal interest or by students enrolled in the Grounds and Turf Management program at Metropolitan Community College-Longview Campus. For more information, e-mail Pam.Hensley@mcckc.edu or call department coordinator Leah Berg 816-353-7170. Pest Management (AGBS 109) Mar 20-May 17, Tues/Th 6-8:50pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview Campus, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. Students study Integrated Pest Management practices and organic control methods appropriate for ornamental horticulture and turfgrass management. The Missouri State exam for Certified Pesticide Applicators License is given the final day of class. Instructor: Rusty Denes. For more information, please e-mail Pam.Hensley@ mcckc.edu or call department coordinator Leah Berg 816-353-7170. Growing Wildflowers from Seed Wed, Mar 21, 10am-noon; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $10 per person. Funds go 100% to support the Arboretum. Ken O’Dell will guide you step by step through the process of finding and tagging wildflower plants, and gathering, planting and growing their seed. You will see how to cut dry seed heads, handle them until it is time to clean the seed, and then how to clean and store the seed. Ken will provide seeds he gathered in September and October, some already cleaned for you to use in this class. You will learn what kind of soil to use, how much to water

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


the pots, and how much light the seedlings need during and after germination. You will plant different wildflower seeds with a label for each pot. Class is limited to 12 people. Register for classes by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913-685-3604. Mastering Your Lawn and Garden Sat, Mar 24, 9am-4pm; in Building 21 at Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence, KS. A Spring Fair sponsored by The Douglas County Master Gardeners and Kansas State Research and Extension. Admission FREE. Extension Master Gardeners will be on hand with information on tree planting and care, growing healthy lawns, mulch and compost, and attracting birds and butterflies. Learn how to select the right plant for the right place, choose and care for garden tools, and practice smart water management. Find out what’s new in urban and community gardening and learn to identify insects – good, bad and ugly. The Kids Korner will offer activities for the youngest gardeners, and handmade garden crafts will be sold, along with concessions and baked goods prepared by master gardeners. Edibles to Enhance Landscapes Thurs, Mar 29, 7-9pm; at Raytown South Middle School, 8401 E 83rd St, room 108. Many edibles offer both ornamental and nutritional value! They may be grown in traditional areas defined for produce, or integrated within mixed use landscapes. Learn which varieties may survive where wildlife or black walnut toxicity create challenges and some which are high risk. Local resources discussed and handouts included. Instructor: Leah Berg. Call Raytown Community Ed to enroll: 816-268-7037. Raised Bed Gardening Fri, Mar 30, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Discover the many benefits of raised bed gardening. Learn how to construct your own raised beds and how to plant in them for maximum efficiency. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop.  Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-9313877 to register. kccg.org Sho-Me African Violet Club 27th Annual Show and Sale – “Violets Down on the Farm” Sat, Mar 31, 9am-3pm and Sun, Apr 1, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. During the waning days of winter, please come enjoy the beauty of African Violets and related gesnariad plants being entered in this nationally judged show. View the plants in the Show Room, then enhance your home with member grown plants being offered in the Sales Room. This Club has experienced a tremendous increase in membership. In visiting this event, should you find yourself intrigued, you would be most welcome to attend a meeting. Free admission. 816-784-5300 Bird Chat – Welcoming The Nectar Drinkers Sat, Mar 31, 10–11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $10.00 per person. Doc & Diane Gover of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop will discuss the return of the nectar drinking birds from South America. Food offerings, feeders and problem solving will be addressed. Questions will be answered and educational handouts will be provided. Register by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring your acknowledgement receipt to the walk for admission. 913-685-3604.

April Gardeners’ Gathering Tues, Apr 3, 6:30pm; at Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, KCMO. “Insects in the Vegetable Garden”; Dr. Raymond Cloyd, Professor of Entomology, Kansas State University, will teach to recognize insect and mite pests of vegetable gardens and manage them using cultural, physical, chemical and biological methods. Presented by Master Gardeners of Greater KC. Free, open to the public. Door prizes. Questions? 816-396-5541 Woodland Wildflower Walk Wed, Apr 4, 9-11am; FREE. SPACE LIMITED to 30 people; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Join our two experts as they take you on a walk through the woodlands at the Arboretum to see the vast selection of native wildflowers in bloom. Ken O’Dell specializes in growing native woodland wildflowers and prairie plants. Lynda Ochs has taught at JCCC, developing courses such as Environmental Science &

March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Natural History of Kansas. Please wear sturdy shoes as you will be walking on wood-chipped trails that can be uneven and sometimes slippery, depending on weather. Register by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. Bring your acknowledgement receipt to the walk for admission. 913-685-3604. Early Spring Crops Fri, Apr 6, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Give in to your spring gardening fever and get outside to plant a spring vegetable garden. Learn about selecting, planting and caring for vegetables that thrive in the cool spring weather. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Hands-on Rose Pruning Demonstration Sat, Apr 7, 9am-1pm; at St James Catholic Church, 3909 Harrison St, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by the Johnson County Rose Society and the Kansas City Rose Society. Consulting Rosarian Laura Dickinson and Master Consulting Rosarian Glenn Hodges will lead the demonstrations. Space is limited to 15 attendees at each session. Call Nancy Moylan (816-358-7360) to reserve your place. Wear long pants and long sleeves, and bring gloves and pruning shears. There is no charge, but a donation to the St James Rose Garden is suggested. Vegetable Garden Basics Mon, Apr 9, 6:30-8pm; at Roger T Sermon Center, 201 N Dodgion Ave, Independence, MO 66050 (near intersection of Noland and Truman). This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Tomatoes Two-session class on Apr 10 and 12, 6:30-8:30pm; presented by Garden Center Association; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. We will cover how to start your very own plants from seed including planting some to take home. We will cover transplanting, pruning and giving your plants the right support to grow on for the healthiest tomato plants. You’ll get plans to build your own tomato cages and trellises. $25 (GCA members $18), includes class materials. Bring a flash drive to first class for a copy of all materials, including PowerPoint programs. Register online on the GCA website, www.gardencenterassociation.org, or send check made out to GCA along with a notation of class you wish to attend to Brian Chadwick-Robinson; 6911 NW Blair Road; Parkville, MO 64152. “La Vie en Rose” Thurs, Apr 12, 5-7pm; at 400 E 63rd St, Kansas City. MO. The Kansas City Rose Society is Sponsoring a Spring Open House at J’adore Home & Garden. The public is invited to come shop for new Spring garden items and gifts. 10% of sales will be donated to the Kansas Rose Society, a 501 c-3 not-for-profit organization responsible for funding and maintaining the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden in Loose Park. www.kansascityrosesociety.org Growing Herbs Fri, Apr 13, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Fresh herbs are a tasty addition to your cooking. Learn the best ways to grow and preserve the most popular varieties. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Gardening for Butterflies Sat, Apr 14, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Discover what annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs are best to use in your butterfly garden. You will design your own butterfly garden with help from the instructor, a Senior Gardener and Greenhouse Grower at Powell Gardens. Bring pictures and dimensions of the area in which you would like to create a butterfly garden. You will leave with a host plant of a popular caterpillar along with your completed design! $24/person, $17/Members. Registration required by Apr 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at http://shop.powellgardens.org and follow the CLASSES link. Advanced Schoolyard Gardening Sat, Apr 14, 10:30am-noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. This workshop is for teachers and school staff with established schoolyard gardens that want

to take their garden to the next level. Learn about fun and educational garden activities, garden expansion, how to grow more challenging crops and the benefits of adding fruit to your garden.  Presented by MaryAnna Henggeler, Schoolyard Gardens Coordinator and Andrea Mathew, KCCG Program Director. There is no cost for attending the workshops. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Vegetable Garden Basics Mon, Apr 16, 6-7:30pm; at Community Housing Wyandotte County, 2 South 14th St, Kansas City, KS  66102. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners.  Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including:  site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. kccg.org Tomatoes and Peppers Fri, Apr 20, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Are you overwhelmed by the number of tomato varieties available? Are you confused about heirloom tomatoes?  Do your pepper plants not produce as many peppers as you would like? Come learn how to choose, plant and care for tomatoes and peppers. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Program Director. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-9313877 to register. kccg.org Burroughs Audubon Society Native Plant Sale Sat, Apr 21, 8am-4pm; at BAS Library and Nature Center in Fleming Park, 7300 SW West Park Rd (1 block south of Woods Chapel Rd, across from the Lake Jacomo Marina). The library also sells bird seed, feeders and other nature-related items. Native plants have many advantages in your yard: they require less water and maintenance and they support a variety of birds and beneficial insects. Best of all, your purchase is tax-free and also helps to support the Important Bird Areas program in Missouri and other conservation projects for birds and bird habitat. www.burroughs.org; 816-824-1074. Ikebana Class Apr 21 and 22, 10am-5pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Exhibit. 816-784-5300 MO Prairie Foundation’s Native Plant Sale Sat, Apr 21 and 28, 7am-1pm; at the City Market, 5th and Walnut, Kansas City, MO. The Missouri Prairie Foundation’s annual native plant sale will be held the last two Saturdays in April. A large variety of native Missouri wildflowers, grasses and some shrubs/ small trees suitable for many growing conditions— sunny, shady, wet, and dry—will be available for sale. Proceeds will benefit MPF and will help protect Missouri prairies. Contact: Doris at 816-779-6708. Integrated Pest Management Fri, Apr 27, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Using chemicals to control insects and diseases should be your last resort. This workshop will help you to develop multi-faceted strategies to control pests and diseases. Learn about crop rotation, disease resistance, maintenance techniques and more for a healthier garden. No cost to attend. Space limited. Call 816-931-3877 to register. www.kccg.org Prairie Elementary PTA Annual Plant Sale Sat, Apr 28, 8am-4pm; at Prairie Elementary School, 6700 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Mark your calendars now! Large variety of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables. More details to come.

Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Tuber Sale Apr 21 and 22, 8am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, KCMO. 816-784-5300

May Overland Park Arboretum Spring Plant Sale May 3, 4, and 5; at Overland Park Arboretum, 1/2 mile west of Highway 69 at 179th & Antioch. Preview sale and reception for Friends of the Arboretum members from 4-7pm on Thursday. Join FOTA and receive 10% member discount. Open to the public. Friday and Saturday, 9am-5pm, Enormous selection of certified organic herbs, collectors’ hostas, native plants and wildflowers, annuals and perennials. Lush combination planters and hanging baskets for Mother’s day. Plant list at www.opabg.org. 913685-3604. 17th Annual Spring Dig Plant Sale Thur, May 3, 8am-7pm; Fri, May 4, 8am-7pm; Sat, May 5, 8am-noon; at Shawnee Presbyterian Church, 6837 Nieman, Shawnee, KS. To benefit Cross-Lines Community Outreach, Inc. Sale held rain or shine. Annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets, tomatoes, hostas, and patio planters. 913-281-3388. Master Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 12, 8am-3pm, under the bigtop at Bass Pro Shops, Southwest corner of MO-291 and I-70, Independence, MO. Over 10,000 plants: vegetables, perennials, annuals, natives and garden art. Reasonable prices. Master Gardeners on-site to help with your selections. Rain or shine. Come early to get the best choices. Checks, cash, and credit cards accepted. www.mggkc.org; 816-252-5051 Citywide Seed, Plant and Bulb Exchange Sat, May 19, 9am-noon; at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO. Free event open to all area gardeners. Bring all items properly labeled and everyone just goes shopping for FREE! Please no invasives or weedy type items. It is Native Prairie Plant Day at the Center so they will be giving out seedling as well. 816-356-9892. 11th Annual “Herb Days in May Festival” May 26 and 27, 10am-5pm and 4pm Sun; at Located at Evening Shade Farms Soap House, 12790 SE Hwy TT, Osceola, MO. The festival includes: Artisan Handmade Soap & Body products, heirloom flower and vegetable plants and herbs, trees and shrubs, pottery and woodworking demonstrations, custom jewelry, metal garden art, blacksmith art, hypertufa planters, photo and fiber art. Free Admission. 417282-6985; eveningshadefarms.com

June Northland Annual Garden Tour Sun, Jun 3, 1-5pm. The tour, A Day of Wine and Roses, will feature unique and beautiful private gardens in the Liberty area with the final stop at Belvoir winery for refreshment. www.northlandgardenclub. com or 816-455-4013. Country Garden Tour Jun 22-23, 9am-4pm; presented by Cottage Gardeners of Weston, Mo. Weston-area country gardens will be featured on the tour. See what’s down those country driveways, surrounding our antebellum (and newer) homes out in the rolling hills, high above the Missouri River. 816-640-2300. Northland Garden Club Flower Show Sat, Jun 23; at the NKC Public Library, 2251 Howell in North Kansas City. The theme of the sixth annual Flower Show of the Northland Garden club is “Cottage Gardens”. Contact Marla Galetti with any questions. 816-587-1556.

Promote your gardening events! Send information to:

The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 Fax: (913) 648-4728 E-Mail: editorcavsgarden@kc.rr.com Deadline for April ssue is March 5. 33


Healthy Yards Expo promotes green lawn and garden practices

G

et the real dirt on growing green Saturday, March 31 at the Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo, a lawn and garden event that aims to help citizens make greener choices in their yards and homes. This free event will be held from 9am to 3pm at the Lenexa Conference Center, located at 11184 Lackman Road in Lenexa. The expo focuses on Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities (KHYC), a program developed by Kansas State University Research and Extension. KHYC helps homeowners make wise choices on environmentally conscious lawn and garden care techniques. Johnson County K-State Extension is teaming with Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee to present the event. “What you put on your lawn

and garden can end up in our backyard creeks, which flow into our rivers, and ultimately, that’s where our drinking water comes from,” said Heather Schmidt, water quality specialist for Johnson County Stormwater Management. “We want to promote green practices and educate people so that they can help do their part in preventing runoff pollution.” K-State’s Healthy Yards program evaluates lawns and gardens in areas from water use to wildlife habitat. The Healthy Yards Expo will highlight products, tips and tools that meet the program’s criteria, helping Johnson County residents become “greener” in their lawn and garden care.

stop learning event on green ideas, products and services. Visitors to the Expo can: • Enter to win door prizes such as a rain barrel or compost bin. Other limited quantity giveaways will be available while supplies last. • Visit with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners and local plant societies. They’ll offer expert advice on gardening and plant cultivation. • Listen to informative speakers on topics such as composting, water conservation, vegetable gardening and sustainability. • Participate in free, fun and educational activities for children.

Expo features The expo is a great place to get new ideas from experts for ecoimprovements for yards. It’s a one-

Free soil tests This year will be an opportunity for Johnson County residents to get a free soil test, complements

of Johnson County Stormwater Management and Johnson County Extension. A soil test determines the amount of nutrients in the soil, as well as the pH, or acidity of your soil. It is important to know the nutrient levels in order to grow healthy plants and protect the water quality in our local streams and lakes. Go to www.johnson.ksu.edu/ soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample, and bring your sample to the Expo to get your free soil test. If you are unable to attend the Expo, bring your soil sample during the weekday to the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension office at 11811 Sunset Drive in Olathe. (One per Johnson County household, while quantities last.) For more information on the Healthy Yard Expo, visit www. johnson.ksu.edu or call 913-7157000.

The One & Only...Celebrating 64 Years! Greater Kansas City

KANSAS CITY CONVENTION CENTER, BARTLE HALL

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 23-25, 2012 Friday: 10 am-8 pm • Saturday: 10 am-8 pm • Sunday: 10 am-6 pm www.kchba.org • 816-942-8800 or 816-733-2217 • lori@kchba.org

Get tickets now at www.ticketbud.com and search on Kansas City Home Show 34

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012


Arboretum Plant Sale May 3-5

T

he Overland Park Arboretum Spring Plant Sale starts Thursday evening, May 3, with a preview sale and reception for Friends of the Arboretum (FOTA) members from 4 to 7 p.m. You can join FOTA at any time during the sale and receive a 10% member discount. The sale is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be free herb demonstrations both days at 12:30 p.m. The 14th annual FOTA sale features an enormous selection of certified organic herbs, col-

Professional’s Corner

lectors’ hostas, native plants and wildflowers, annuals and perennials, along with lush combination planters and hanging baskets that make great Mother’s day gifts. All plants grown by local suppliers Tim Sullivan and Ken O’Dell. Master Gardeners will be available at all times to assist shoppers. Visit the FOTA website at www.opabg.org and download a complete plant list. The Overland Park Arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of Highway 69 at 179th & Antioch. 913-685-3604

Meet Leah Berg, a dedicated educator, author, and landscape designer.

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GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

For convenient mail delivery, complete the form below and send with your check for $20.00. You will receive a one-year subscription to The Kansas City Gardener. Name: Address: City, State, Zip: Phone: E-mail: Where did you pick up The Kansas City Gardener? Please enclose your check payable to The Kansas City Gardener and mail with this form to: P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 The Kansas City Gardener is published monthly Jan. through Dec.

March 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Name: Leah Berg Business: I’m an educator, freelance writer, and landscape designer. I teach and serve as the Agribusiness/Grounds and Turf Management Department coordinator at Metropolitan Community CollegeLongview, plus teach First Aid/CPR for the American Red Cross. I do private landscape consulting and garden club talks. Local history: The Longview campus celebrated its 40th anniversary a couple years ago. It wouldn’t exist if the Longview Farm estate heirs hadn’t donated the land to build it! My retired former employers and mentors Jan and Wayne Vinyard started their Longview Gardens business nearby after the greenhouse growing operation closed at Longview Farm where Wayne was the farm manager. Personal work history: I left a 15-year career in book publishing and sales in 1997 to care for a seriously ill parent, started working at Longview Gardens in 1998, and have taught classes for Raytown Community Education since 2000. I worked as a residential landscape designer for a Lee’ s Summit-based company, and taught my first class at the college in 2003, gradually taking on more responsibility there. Six years ago, I began working for the Red Cross providing workplace safety training. Education: Ohio Wesleyan University, B.A. (writing, literature, history and botany) and Raytown South High graduate. What would your students say? “I never paid much attention to trees until I took your class!” “I love all the interesting guest speakers you bring in!” What makes your work unique? My lifelong love of learning, writing and books evolved with the fun and therapeutic aspects of gardening and the seasonal challenges of landscape business. Firsthand experience with emergencies and caregiving motivated me to learn first aid and CPR well enough to teach these skills! Favorite garden destinations: Powell Gardens, where I’ve volunteered since 1999, the Kauffman Memorial Gardens, and the Beanstalk at the Kansas City Community Gardens. I’m planning my second trip to Colonial Williamsburg in May. Gardening trends? There is an ongoing interest in locally produced food, and gardens as sanctuaries from our stressful lives. Little known secret: I learned to drive on the back roads around Longview Farm. Often I sat by the fields along Longview Road and daydreamed about what life had been like during the farm’s glory days – the perfect setting for my first historical novel! Contact: Leah welcomes your inquiries by phone at 816-353-7170 or via email at LBerg7805@aol.com. 35


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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2012

KCG 03Mar12