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The Kansas City

GARDENER A M o n thly Guide t o Suc ce ssful G arde n ing

May 2012

Attracting Flying Flowers

The Grand Magnolia A Landscape With Flavor Year of the Geranium 2012 All-America Selections

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


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. A place 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 helping 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.


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. You can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility your water garden provides without worry!


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 • 913-592-2143

The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Betsy Betros Alan Branhagen Erin Busenhart Tom DePaepe Barbara Fairchild Diane & Doc Gover Brian Habjan Cerise Harris Kylo Heller Kathy Hoggard Lenora Larson Matt Nelson Dennis Patton Diane Swan 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 Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 47. May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


Prize or Participate

hen I was a young girl, I remember wanting to participate in athletics. Not the highly-competitive-professional-grade style of athletics. Just the P.E.-class, neighborhood-kidrecreational type. So whether it was kickball, tennis, volleyball, basketball or softball, I wanted to be in the game. Suffice to say, life took me down a different path, and that unfulfilled athletic desire has laid dormant within for many years. Fast-forward to late summer 2009. I was searching for a new personal workout challenge, and found CrossFit (Bootcamp Fitness KC). I realized then that the athlete inside me was still awaiting a reveal. Participation in Coach Rut’s program has not yet made this 50-plus menopausal woman a prize-winning athlete. (I joke that I am a late bloomer and am the geriatric rep of the class.) In fact, I cried from pain and embarrassment for the first three weeks. But oddly enough, and as I have gained strength and stamina, that athlete has awakened within me. Fast-forward again, this time to winter 2011. Thoughts of holidays and 5Ks are dancing in my head.

My desire to challenge my internal athlete paired with no longer wanting to be an observer on the sidelines, I sign up for an April 5K race, and the WIN for KC Triathlon in July. I’ll spare you the race details. I’ll simply say that I did finish, and that 60% of the race participants were faster than me. A disappointing reality. And then I remembered the reason I signed up ... participation! I knew I wasn’t medal worthy. Judging by the winning times, I now know more training is needed. Most importantly, I was in the game and I will race again. The same thing happens in the garden. I plan for and plant showstoppers in hopes of growing an award-winning garden. But sadly I make an error in selection, planting the wrong plant in the wrong place. A little more “training” would have saved me a little money and little embarrassment.

Has that happened to you? Have you started a garden or planting bed or container only to be disappointed in the results? Believe me when I say, it has happened to all gardeners. We all have suffered with our selection mistakes, poor quality plant material, over watering and under watering. And the consequences are painfully obvious. I’m not a stellar athlete, nor am I an award-winning gardener. What I AM is a participant. I no longer look at magazines and wish that were my garden. I no longer stand on the sidelines wishing I were in that race. I participate ... not for the prize, but for the fulfillment of being in the game and in the garden. There’s no prize for that. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue May 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 5 Vegetables & Volunteers ........... 4 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 A Landscape With Flavor ......... 8 Powell Gardens events ............. 10 The Bird Brain ......................... 12 Your Future in Shrubs ............... 13 Northland Garden Tour ............ 14 The Grand Magnolia ............... 16 Bagworms .............................. 19 Year of the Geranium .............. 20 GN: Prickly Pear Cactus ........... 22 Attract Flying Flowers ............... 24

about the cover ...

Growing Under Trees ............... 26 Soil Test Interpretations ............. 27 Plantaholic Frolic ..................... 28 All-America Selections .............. 30 Rose Report ............................. 33 Plants for Algae Control ........... 34 Johnson County Garden Tour .... 36 Pollinators Up Close ................ 38 Garden Calendar .................... 39 Upcoming Events ..................... 40 Hotlines .................................. 44 Professional’s Corner ................ 47

Tigers and Hummingbirds love Agastache’s mid-summer nectar. Learn how to attract these and other flying flowers to your garden starting on page 24.


22 3

Vegetables and Volunteers By Brian T. Habjan


n environmentally friendly, sustainable agricultural operation that gives back to the community. Those are just three benefits of a program being run at the United States Penitentiary Leavenworth minimum security camp. The four-year-old program is teaching inmates skills that they can hopefully take with them and use towards getting a productive job once leaving the institution, while helping feed those in need in the community. By law, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons cannot use federal money for community programs. So this program relies on donations to fund its operations. A list of seeds and supplies needed are provided to the community coordinator, Brian T. Habjan, who works with Sister Jane Albert Mehrens, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and outreach coordinator for the Alliance Against Family Violence, to convert donations of money into seed. Those seeds and gardening

equipment are donated to the prison inmate program to run the garden operations. The operation makes use of 17 acres. Nineteen full-time inmates and up to 50 part-time harvest helper inmates to grow produce using organic methods whenever possible. The inmates harvest rain water from the roof of the institution to use for irrigation. They operate a vermiculture operation, a.k.a. “The Worm Farm” to recycle food waste from

     

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the kitchen and convert the waste into “Black Gold” to be used for fertilizer. The 19 full-time inmates are enrolled in a Department of Labor apprenticeship program in Horticulture. Inmates completing the 4000 hour program can receive a certificate to use once they are released from prison to help them find employment. Last year, the produce operation produced just over 210,000 pounds of food that was distributed to Good Shepherd Food bank in Tonganoxie, Kan., The Salvation Army in Leavenworth, Alliance Against Family Violence and many other spots in Leavenworth like the low income and senior housing complexes. By volunteer driver sign in sheets, 8,694 families with 21,823 people received the free food. In addition to the normal drop off spots, the program donated food to the relief efforts in Joplin after the tornado, and food to the St. Joseph area after last summer’s flood. “The program is marvelous and well needed. It’s needed

even more now than it has been in the past because needs are greater, food cost is higher and people are not making more money. There are lots of drop off places where people in need can go and get it without lots of hassle, and the food is extremely healthful. I just think it’s wonderful,” says Sister Jane. The program has two basic rules they follow for distribution and one focus. Rules are the produce must be given away for free, and cannot be sold, and they don’t discriminate on who gets the produce. They strive to get it to those most in need, but do not turn anyone away who wants food. Brian Habjan, active gardener and Leavenworth County Extension board member, is the volunteer community coordinator for the USP Leavenworth prison garden project. To learn more about the program or donate time or money, contact Brian Habjan at 913-7582822, or

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton MISSED ROSE PRUNING DATE Question: The warm winter and early spring made all my plants pop at once and I never got around to pruning my roses. Due to the mild winter there was no dieback. I even started to notice the flower buds in late March and hated to cut them off. So what do I do now? Answer: That is a really good question and in hindsight we should have been pruning our roses March 15 instead of April 15. My advice is to just enjoy your roses and leave the major pruning to next year. Of

course go ahead and prune out the deadwood, crossing and rubbing canes or any limbs that are a hazard. My plan is to deadhead the bushes a little more harsh to help control the size and keep in bounds. This way we can enjoy the early spring blooms and still maintain a nicely shaped plant. Next year get back on the yearly pruning schedule. Keep in mind having larger plants will really not harm the bushes and they will have plenty of energy with all the foliage to make stored food. The good news is that we are always better off safe than sorry. By that I mean remember the April freeze of 2007 when the roses were in full leaf and the temperatures dropped into the teens and many bushes died? At least this year they are alive and vigorous. Our weather patterns are so unpredictable it is hard to know what to do.

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ing spring. Moving iris other times often sets the plant back which often results in no flowering the following spring. SULFUR AVAILABILITY Question: I had my vegetable garden soil tested this spring and my pH level was 7.6. The recommendation was to apply sulfur to lower at the rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. I have a 2,000 square foot garden so needed 40 pounds. I went to several garden centers to purchase the sulfur. To my surprise they did not have the sulfur in large quantities instead they tried to sell me 5 pound bags of dusting sulfur with information about diseases. What’s up? Answer: This is a very good question. Garden centers should stock larger quantities of sulfur and most do not. We do hundreds of soil tests each year and I probably recommend the use of sulfur

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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

10 times more than lime. You can walk into just about any garden center and lime is out in plain sight but no sulfur. Our local soils tend to be on the higher side of the pH range and sulfur is needed while lime is for raising pH soils which we rarely see. Many carry what is referred to as dusting sulfur for organic disease control which really is not made for pH corrections. Sulfur for pH changes should be pelletized to make spreading easier. Please ask the garden center to start stocking larger quantities of sulfur so it is easier to find. Also, never, ever apply lime to our local soils as you could be compounding the problem with high pH soils. Here is an example of a local lawn care service applying a yearly application of lime to a lawn and now the pH is 8.0, almost two points higher than recommended. Now this homeowner will be paying again for pH adjustments for yearly sulfur applications because of the firm’s lack of knowledge about local soil pH. They assumed because she had mature oak trees the level was low and just guessed about pH instead of soil testing, which is the only way to determine the level. Bottom line — never purchase lime in the KC area unless a quality soil test indicates the need. COMPOST ACTIVATORS Question: I started composting and have seen compost activators on the market. Is this a product I need to apply? Answer: Not really. Compost starters or activators are basically just a diluted fertilizer which acts as the “green” in the mix. They are mainly provided for convenience but the same effect can be achieved by adding a handful or two of a general all-purpose garden fertilizer to the mix.

Home composting often fails for two basic reasons. One is the mix is too dry for composting to work. The pile must feel like a moist sponge so water must be added during dry periods. The second is we mostly have the dry brown materials and few of the nitrogen richer greens. The addition of the fertilizer acts like a green. The combination of water and a food source drive the micro-organisms which break down the debris. Don’t worry about the microbes, if you build it they will come. NO WORRIES WITH SUNFLOWER SEEDS Question: I read where sunflower seeds have a compound that can inhibit plant growth. I fed the birds this winter in an area where I plant annuals. Should I be worried about planting in this spot? Answer: While there are compounds in sunflowers seed hulls which inhibit growth I would not worry. Reduce this concern by picking up excess hulls lying on the ground. Tilling the soil prior to planting will disperse the material, all but eliminating its properties. Rainfall and irrigation will leach the compound from the soil also. Another tip to overcome this concern is to feed only hulled sunflower seeds. The seed or chips have less amounts of the compound so no concern. They are also less messy but of course may cost a little more. I would enjoy the birds and worry less about this problem. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.


Plant an extra row

pring is here and gardeners across our region are planting fresh fruits and vegetables, which they will enjoy throughout the spring and summer. Harvesters—The Community Food Network encourages all local gardeners to plant an extra row and donate the fresh produce to Harvesters’ Plant A Row for the Hungry program. Gardeners are encouraged to plant fruits and vegetables that keep well, including beets, carrots, green beans, onions, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Produce can be dropped off at Harvesters or at participating garden centers throughout the metro. Harvesters will pick up the donated produce at the garden centers and distribute it to the food pantries, kitchens and shelters in Harvesters’ network, which is feeding 66,000 people

each week. 2012 drop-off sites are: Family Tree Nursery • 830 West Liberty Dr, Liberty, MO; and 8424 Farley, Overland Park, KS; and 7036 Nieman Rd, Shawnee, KS Heartland Nursery • 10300 View High Dr, Kansas City, MO Kansas City Community Garden • 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO Soil Service Nursery • 7125 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO Suburban Lawn and Garden • 10501 Roe Ave, Overland Park, KS Harvesters—The Community Food Network • 3801 Topping, Kansas City, MO For more information about the Plant A Row for the Hungry program visit www.harvesters. org and click on Give Food.

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May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


A Landscape With Flavor

Leah Berg


uring an annual field trip in early June, we stop in front of a small tree with small fruit resembling blueberries. Rarely does anyone in the group know what it is (photo #1). “Go ahead, try it!” The students look skeptical until I eat several to prove it is safe, then some get curious enough to taste it and affirm “yes, that’s sweet...” I time our visit so we can sample this ripe fruit on one of our weekly field trips. Two public places and two private homes we visit include one of the slightly different species or cultivars of serviceberry (or juneberry).

Timing may prove tricky since the unusually warm 2012 spring caused flowering weeks ahead of schedule. Hopefully, birds and other visitors don’t get all the fruit before our class trip! Look for Amelanchier hybrids at garden centers, usually small clump tree forms. Like Missouri native Amelanchier arborea, 5-petaled white flowers appear in early spring before leafing out. Fall foliage turns nicely reddishorange. Site in morning sun/afternoon shade to minimize drought stress. Compact shrubby cultivar Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Regent’ matures to about 4-5’ tall by 3-4’ wide. Allow a natural shape rather than tightly clipped, just trim lightly with hand-pruners if needed. Ripe fruit is so tender it’s not likely to store well, so enjoy it fresh. With an abundant crop from several shrubs, try making pie, jams or jellies.

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For a gardener’s trompe l’oeil joke, I planted this in my yard with several true blueberries in a different spot. I’ll point out the serviceberry first to visitors and ask, “Want to taste it? What do you think it is?” Blueberries ripen later and prefer acidified, moist, well-draining soil (like azaleas and hydrangeas) so they get a raised bed of amended soil plus some fertilizer like Miracid ® periodically. Serviceberry usually grows fine in ordinary soil, making a good companion to existing landscape shrubs like yews, junipers, boxwood, butterfly bush, and others with no fertilizer needed. Keep it from overhanging sidewalks or patios as ripe fruit drops during rainstorms and stains surfaces temporarily. When space doesn’t permit including many traditional fruit

trees or shrubs, consider adding just one of this small tree or shrub and enjoy its changing seasonal stages as an ornamental with a tasty bonus for a couple weeks. After hearing many tour visitors to the Heartland Harvest Gardens at Powell Gardens ask, “What’s that?” about a certain pretty climbing vine (photo #2), I decided to include it at home for the fun of stumping visitors. Look for it at the Powell Gardens plant sale the first weekend in May. Look for Basella rubra ‘Red Stem’ if ordering seed. Commonly called Malabar spinach (or climbing spinach, or Ceylon spinach), the KC Community Gardens offers it in the Beanstalk specialty seeds section. Highly ornamental and easy to grow in our hot summers, this annual vine is NOT true spinach. Plant this tropical heat-lover in May by a fence or trellis to climb.

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3 Last year it climbed out of a container and into a small tree in my yard in southwest-facing heat tolerating some shade as well as full sun. True spinach won’t climb and prefers cool temperatures. Young shiny Malabar spinach leaves resemble spinach in looks and mild taste, and may be stirfried or eaten raw as salad greens or nibbled right off the vine. Visitors also noticed this climber at the 18Broadway demonstration gardens downtown, south of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. (See DST Systems employees tend the gardens as volunteers, donating produce to Harvesters. The site was on the Cultivate Kansas City urban farms tour last June. Unfortunately June visitors missed the attractive purple and white flowers and seeds that develop in later summer. This year I have a trellis set up for Malabar spinach to climb behind my ‘Regent’ serviceberry!

Considering my options for fooling visitors and sense of humor, to complete the edible landscape vignette I’m leaning towards a trifecta of sweet potatoes. I’ll include plain green but highly productive ‘Beauregard’ in the ground nearby, with some of the newer compact ornamental ‘Sweet Caroline’ or ‘Illusions’ series in containers. Watch for occasional pale purple to pink sweet potato flowers, trumpet-shaped like their morning glory cousins. (Compare Ipomea batatas with I. purpurea.) Vigorous cultivar ‘Marguerite’ probably won’t fool anyone. It’s been popular for years. I like the way H & R Block’s corporate office off Blue Parkway dresses their front entry with this chartreuse sweet potato skirt around the entry foundation, perfectly complementing their logo’s background color (photo # 3). Each of these plants and more will be studied in our 8 week, 3 credit hour classes this summer. “Deciduous Trees and Shrubs” takes 6 local field trips plus some classroom time Mon./Wed. evenings at the MCC-Longview campus beginning June 2. A unique “Special Topics in Horticulture” class taught by Mary Roduner of the Kansas City Community Gardens begins June 3, Tues./Thurs. evenings with practical labs at the Beanstalk. For more information about Grounds & Turf management classes, call (816) 672-2364. Leah Berg is a landscape designer with a conservation emphasis. She teaches at MCC-Longview and is also the Agribusiness/Grounds and Turf Management department coordinator. Contact her at 816353-7170.

See Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens with Heartland Peony Society


he Heartland Peony Society is sponsoring a two-day trip to Omaha June 2-3. Trip highlights include a visit to Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s botanical garden and Muhall’s, an exceptional nursery. A relatively new garden, Lauritzen was started in 1995 on a site of natural woods and rolling terraces on a bluff just west of the Missouri River. New garden areas have been added nearly every year under the direction of Spencer Crews. Many Kansas City Gardeners remember Crews from his days here helping launch Powell Gardens. Before that, he worked at The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Since 1996 he’s been Executive Director at Lauritzen. Also, the American Peony Society is holding their annual convention in Omaha that same weekend, and a visit to their breathtaking cut flower exhibit is

planned. It’s a rare opportunity to see dozens of peonies, displayed at their peak form. Seeing these in person is a perfect way to refine your list of future peonies for your garden. Finally, there will be time to explore Old Market, Omaha’s historic downtown shopping/dining/entertainment district as well as Omaha’s surprising sculpture parks. The Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park is a series of 120 large, realistic bronze sculptures that winds along five city blocks. The HPS trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden last year was sold out. Stops at nurseries produced a bus baggage area filled with plants. A similar experience is expected for this trip to Omaha. Cost for the trip is $119, double occupancy. For additional information and reservations, contact HPS president Mike Moore at 913-783-4554.

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May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


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An Enchanting Garden Adventure at Powell Gardens


American Institute of Architects, the Prairie Gateway Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Kansas City Art Institute, and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

isitors to Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, will discover a magical world of childhood fantasies come true during Fairy Houses & Forts: An Enchanting Garden Adventure open May 19 through Oct. 7. May is also the month for a huge plant sale and a Mother’s Day weekend so full of possibilities that it’s perfect for any family. Admission is $10/adults, $9/seniors, and $4/ children 5-12. Fairy Houses & Forts: An Enchanting Garden Adventure 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 19 to Oct. 7 This summer blockbuster will include seven large-scale fairy houses and fanciful forts to inspire, amuse and ignite an interest in exploring the great outdoors, along with whimsical garden displays and an indoor display of small-

scale fairy gardens and houses. Selected through a competition among architects, artists and landscape architects, the winning largescale entries showcase the region’s creativity and talent. The exhibition is endorsed by the Kansas City Chapter of the

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Opening Celebrations Preview Party: 6-10 p.m. May 18 Be among the first to see the exhibit, meet the artists and enjoy an enchanting evening in the Gardens! The party includes bon fires with S’More supplies, a guest appearance by woodland faeries, make-and-take crafts and more. For full details visit Opening Day: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 19 Storyteller extraordinaire Dawnna Morris shares tales of Fancy Nancy and friends from 10

to 11:30 a.m. Also look for special performances by the faeries of the woodland! Spring Plant Sale 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 5-6 During the first weekend of May you’ll find serious gardeners shopping Powell Gardens’ only plant sale of the year. Select from a wide range of perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables, trees, shrubs, seeds and some of Powell Gardens’ own best performers. A members-only preview sale and reception with a cash bar will take place 5-7 p.m. May 4; reservations are requested at 816697-2600 x209. Bonsai Society Weekend 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 12-13 The Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City will display their trees and plants at the Visitor Education

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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Center this weekend. A slideshow will be presented each day (1:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday) including the origins of this “living” art, the design process with examples and general horticultural procedures. Members will be on hand to answer questions. Mother’s Day Brunch and Music 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 13 Make the day extra special with a reservations-only brunch at Café Thyme and a live outdoor concert by Brookside Brass from 1 to 3 p.m. Or bring your own food — picnics are allowed in the performance area on this day. Brunch includes Garden admission; for menu, prices and reservations, call 816-697-2600 x209 or see (Café Thyme will not be available for walk-in business during this event.) Missouri Barn Dinner Series Delicious Flavors Inspired by the Heartland Harvest Garden Be among the first to experience Powell Gardens’ new Barn Dinner Series, kicking off May 27 with guest chef Linda Duerr of the River Club in Kansas City. The series continues on June 17 with Chef Renee Kelly and concludes August 26 with Chef Michael Foust. The May event begins at 6 p.m. and includes the following menu served under the open-air Missouri Barn: Cocktail Reception: Rhubarb basil cocktail and canapés First Course: Chilled sweet pea and mint soup with lobster, crab and grilled zucchini cake, garnished with truffled mascarpone Entrée: Bourbon-glazed BBQ short ribs of beef with southern braised mustard greens, pickled turnips, and kohlrabi slaw Dessert: Strawberry  shortcake with nasturtium biscuits and lemon cream Tickets are $75 per person and include a cocktail before dinner and wine pairings with each course. Prepaid reservations required: 816697-2600 x209. New in the Heartland Harvest Garden Ever wished you had someone to tell you a bit more about what you see in the Heartland Harvest Garden or to share growing tips you can use at home? This season

May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

you’ll find new ways to learn with every visit! Harvest Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier shares tips, tricks and techniques for growing your own food at 1 p.m. every Wednesday during her “Watch Your Dinner Grow!” series. These walk-through workshops will highlight seasonal vegetables and

are included with regular Garden admission. No reservations required: just meet at the Missouri Barn. Barbara also offers “Fresh Bites,” seasonal demonstrations covering everything from edibles to upcycling. Friday sessions are at 1 p.m.; Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Her schedule for May:

* May 4-5: Rhapsody in Greens (fresh salads with herbal vinegars, oils and homemade dressings) * May 11-12: Riots of Color (making salad mixes) * May 18-19: Flower butter (fresh butter embedded with edible flowers) * May 25-26--Dressing in the Garden (fresh salad dressings)

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answers your backyard birding questions

Doc & Diane Gover


ackyard birds fill us with wonder and keep us guessing about their habits and routines. The more that we learn the more there is to appreciate. Q. The weather has been so mild. Is there really a compelling reason to leave my bird feeders up? A. It is so important to leave feeders filled through the spring because it is the most stressful time in the life of a bird. Especially this year, with the mild winter, all of the food in Mother Nature

has been depleted because we had no snow or ice cover. In the spring all birds are establishing territories, looking for a mate, building nests, laying eggs, incubating eggs, feeding and protecting young all the while trying to find food for themselves. It’s a hard life and you can make such a positive impact by having your feeders filled with high calorie seed, suet dough with calcium added, mealworms, nectar and bird baths filled with fresh water. The thank you that you receive is beautiful color and melodious song filling your yard. It doesn’t get much better than that! Q. How often should I clean my birdfeeders?

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A. Clean and disinfect seed feeders regularly (every four weeks). Use one part bleach to ten parts water OR a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Make enough cleaning solution to immerse an empty feeder completely for two to three minutes. Then clean with a soft bristle, long-handled bottle brush, rinse well and allow to air dry. Refill with fresh seed and place in the yard. Q. Please list some birds that are easily attracted to birdhouses. A. The following birds are attracted to man-made housing: Eastern Screech Owl, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Tree Swallow, Purple Martin, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird and more. Some housing needs are very specific. Be sure to ask questions when purchasing a birdhouse. It is very helpful if you have identified

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Q. Why are bug eating birds so important in the environment? A. Bug-eaters are our friends. Spraying pesticides in your yard to control bug populations is not a part of the natural cycle of gardening. Encourage a bird friendly yard and the bugs are naturally taken care of by the bug hunting machines (birds). A few examples: • A house wren can feed 500 spiders and caterpillars to its nestlings during a single afternoon • A chimney swift can devour 1,000 flying insects in a single day • A Baltimore Oriole can eat as many as 17 hairy caterpillars in a minute • Even the world’s smallest birds – Hummingbirds – are helpers in the garden. They eat beetles, ants, aphids, gnats and mosquitoes. We enjoy bringing people and nature together. If you have any questions please 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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Your Future in Shrubs By Kathy Hoggard


ell me if this sounds familiar. Your first love was eye candy: cyclamen, fuschias, begonias. Big, bold, brassy annuals that required a zillionaire’s budget to look like much. And then you had to buy them again next season. This led you right down the path to perennials. Yes indeed, perennials were the answer. Plant ’em once and they are yours forever. Or was it that you became theirs forever? Theirs in indentured servitude, obligated to deadhead, dig and divide, wage the unending battle to protect the delicate from the robust. And if you didn’t join the battle, your lovely perennial border, full of color and variety, became a curious patch consisting solely of white gooseneck loosestrife and yellow black-eyed Susans. If this is your story, then get out the newspaper and compost, give that rogue perennial bed the lasagna treatment and get yourself

ready to plant a shrub border! Take comfort that you are not alone. In fact, so many Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City have gone down this path with you that we decided to add a selection of gallon size shrubs to our annual plant sale in 2012. We carefully selected this group of hardy shrubs for the Kansas City climate and soil. We are bringing them up to size in our greenhouse right now and supplies will be dependent on good work and good luck. The selection includes Caryopteris clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’ to give your new shrub border a bright spot of yellow/ chartreuse foliage with blue flowers. Or you can select Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’ for fuzzy green leaves outlined in white. The caryopteris will be right at home in full to part sun with two very reliable hydrangeas. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’ has 8-inch long white flower clusters that turn

rosy with age. If you’ve admired the sun-loving hydrangeas at the Kauffman Garden, ‘Unique’ is the variety that Duane Hoover planted in full sun at the southeast corner of the garden. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Flemygea’ SNOW QUEEN is an outstanding variety of oakleaf hydrangea. Its beautiful white flowers take on a reddish burgundy in the fall and the exfoliating bark

of its orange/brown branches provides dramatic winter interest. Now that your juices are flowing in the shrub direction, I bet you have the perfect deep shady spot that needs four seasons of interest without four seasons of maintenance. How about a grouping of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’? This uber-reliable selection blooms on new wood and tolerates heavy pruning. Its large snowball white blossoms turn lime green with age and stand tall until heavy snow or spring pruning take them down. Start your shrub border with us at the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City plant sale, Saturday, May 12, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or until sold out, at the Bass Pro Shops, corner of I-70 and Hwy 291. Come early for best selection. Kathy Hoggard is a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener.





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Standard Vegetables

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May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener Westlake_KCG_4-13.indd 1


4/13/12 4:11 PM

2012 Garden Tour A Day of Wine and Roses


he Northland Garden Club will sponsor the 12th annual garden tour Sunday, June 3. Because of the scope of the gardens this year, the tour hours have been extended. Tour begins at 12:00 and ends at 6:00. Maps are available on line, or with tickets. Cost is $10 per person and can be purchased at Family Tree Nursery, in Liberty, Full Features Nursery in Smithville or at any of the homes on the day of the tour. Make the winery your last stop for complimentary refreshments. For further information check the website at www. or call Dee West at 816-455-4013. Spectacular Hilltop View Garden (Paul & Stacey Bailey) 8910 NE 91 Terr. With a spectacular view of downtown Kansas City, this garden was designed and created by the

Bailey homeowner, with the help of some very heavy equipment. Stone steps lead you up a steep hill landscaped with shrubs, perennials and annuals. The garden provides privacy for the homeowners so they can enjoy their lovely terrace, perfect for entertaining or relaxing.

Lathrop Romancing the Stone Garden (Bob & Gretchen Lathrop) 8901 Lewis Ave. Stone steps lead from outdoor garden room to garden room, a romantic stone based arbor with swing, a stone sun dial and cascading stone path, just a few of the ways this master gardener has added structural elements to her garden to provide interest and intimacy as well as a backdrop for a wide range of colorful shrubs, flowers and trees selected for their hardiness in this area.

Old-fashioned Country Garden (Al & Sandy Turner) 11617 NE 118 Terr. UN D E R A Picture yourself sipping lemonade from a front porch view of UN D E R A 50 year old peonies, lunching on the poolside patio surrounded by old-fashioned annual and perenG ARDEN P ART Y & R ARE P LANT A UCTIO N nial pots or rocking a spell while enjoying the herbs and annuals in G ARDEN P ART Y & R ARE P LANT A UCTION the back door garden. This garden to support children’s education at Powell Gardens

5 p.m. Sunday June 10

will take you back in time while you stroll around the acre plus lawn and beds. Artist Garden (Wayne & Marie Hurd) 1515 S. Lafrenz If you love Little and Lewis’ garden in Seattle, you will really be inspired by the concrete art and design of this rural garden. An oriental inspired fence provides the backdrop for a zen-like side garden. Concrete cast patio stones lead you through the garden to a hilltop gazebo. This gardener could be termed a ‘garden collector’ with the wide variety of plants, most grown from seeds. Belvoir Winery 1325 Odd Fellows Rd. Stop and refresh. Enjoy a selfguided tour of the historic building (formerly Odd Fellows) or stick around for the guided tour on the hour while sipping a cold soft drink.

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Turner The first floor has been refurbished for special events. Each room is furnished with European antiques and provides a history of the buildings and their use. Check out the other events they offer daily, including Sunday, stroll the spacious grounds and vineyards or relax in the courtyard. The Northland Garden Club will provide arrangements by members in each room. English Manor Garden (Paul & Dianne Ferrell) 819 Kingridge Roses, roses, roses. An entire front yard of roses. The minute you




arrive at this garden, you know serious gardeners live here. Boxwood paths lead you to the backyard where this homeowner re-graded the land to create his perfect landscape. Classic pillars and pagodas define areas for relaxing or watching the waterfall. Historic Collector’s Garden (John & Kim Amick) 11600 Plattsburg Rd. This nearly 7 acre garden is filled with Clay County history. Originally the Moberly Homestead, it was turned into the “Private Gardens”. There the second owners grew flowers for Trapp Florists as well as species they collected for their own use. Later the area was subdivided into what it is today. Besides a Federally protected wet



land, you will see a cistern turned into a Koi pond, a Chicken coop turned into a garden house, solar powered electric fences, 3 completely enclosed secret gardens and


a host of raised beds, bittersweet fences, hosta beds, collection of intersectional peonies, specimen trees and enclosed pool bordered by David Austin Roses.


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May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


The Grand Magnolia Alan Branhagen


outhern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is probably the world’s most popular evergreen ornamental tree. It is grown worldwide wherever it is hardy for its lustrous foliage and simply stunning 8-12” fragrant white flowers. The tree was originally found only in the American Southeast from southeastern North Carolina to Florida and west to East Texas. Now it can be seen growing on its own well north of that and in sheltered gardens as far north as Boston, Pittsburgh and Kansas City; as well as on the West Coast. The tree is hardy enough to thrive in sheltered Kansas City gardens throughout the metro. It adds a bit of southern charm to a garden

and really seems appropriate for urban gardens. The tree has some drawbacks including very dense shade all year and hungry surface roots. Growing anything beneath a southern magnolia tree is nigh impossible. It’s really best to leave their skirt of lower branches: this shades the trunk which can suffer from winter sunscald but also keeps a continual structure of limbs that provide support during one of our infamous ice storms. It is also a place to rake the ever-falling leathery leaves and create a beneficial mulch. The couple of winters, prior to this last mild one were colder than most recent winters and some trees experienced leaf burn but all quickly recovered in spring. Plant this tree out of windswept locations and winter-shaded sites are also beneficial as sunshine can burn the leaves on a cold winter’s day when temperatures below zero are followed by bright sun kills leaf

Bracken’s Brown Beauty in flower tissues from the rapid temperature change. They are often planted in our zone close to buildings for a more sheltered location and are actually espaliered against warm south-facing walls in England so they get enough heat to survive. Not to worry as roots of magnolias are coarse and don’t seek water; I saw them listed by the insurance industry as least damaging tree to building foundations. Our summer heat makes Southern Magnolias thrive! They are very drought tolerant once established and prefer well-drained soil and full sun to light shade. They grow fast and a small tree can readily grow 3 feet (or more!) per season. Southern Magnolias become huge shade trees from the Missouri bootheel southward but are sort of bonsai by our colder winters. I often wonder if we are being cruel to them by planting them as a mature tree rarely grows more than 30 feet tall here and 100 feet tall in the Deep South – though trees around Kansas City are now approaching 50 feet tall!

Southern Magnolia makes a good wildlife plant as its evergreen foliage provides shelter for birds in the winter. The flowers are rich in nectar and pollen for beneficial and pollinating insects. The fruit are cone-like and mature pink to red in fall; finally exposing bright redcoated seeds on stretchy threads that mockingbirds relish. We have found several self-sown seedling trees around Powell Gardens so reports that the seedlings aren’t freeze tolerant are false. Maybe this ancient tree is reclaiming old range as it is known from 20 million year old fossils found in present day Idaho. It is still wise to plant a proven northern source or hardier cultivars like ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ which is available at local nurseries and earned Plant of Merit status. BBB has smaller leaves and flowers than typical and maintains a dense, pyramidal form with gorgeous velvety brown “indumentum” on the leaf undersides. ‘DD Blanchard’ is another “brown-backed” leaf form which has actually done even better

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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Union Hill Garden Tour

‘DD Blanchard’

‘Twenty-four Below’

at Powell Gardens. DD has more normal sized flowers and a good uniform pyramidal form too. New on the market is ‘Kay Parris’ which is a daughter to BBB but with an even more compact size and proven hardiness through zone 6. At Powell Gardens the cultivar ‘Victoria’ (from Victoria, British Columbia) has shown the best hardiness but receives the most winter shade. It is usually just available mailorder from nurseries that specialize in magnolias including Greer Gardens & Gossler Farms in Oregon and Rare Find and Fairweather Gardens in New Jersey. The cultivar ‘Edith Bouge’ has also done extremely well for us and has a more open, sympodial (tiered) growth habit with huge flowers. It is also available at many local nurseries. Two other named cultivars are also thriving in Powell Gardens’ nationally renowned magnolia collection: ‘Poconos’ and ‘Twenty-four Below’ both selected for hardiness.

So plant a Southern Magnolia for a bit of Southern charm for your garden. Know their drawbacks and only plant one if you have the right location. They make ideal additions to Evening and White gardens or other areas you enjoy being outdoors. Their peak bloom is usually late May through June but flowers are sporadic and each only lasts three days from bud to fully open – always beautiful in a rose bowl vase. After sundown the flowers glow and the lustrous leaves reflect any ambient or moonlight. They benefit wildlife and nature in the garden so are an environmentally sound choice. I can’t imagine a late spring evening without the allure of them in my garden – certainly one of the most beautiful evergreen trees you can grow here. Alan Branhagen is Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. See his blog at

The 17th Annual Union Hill Garden Tour will be Sunday, June 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Walk through over a dozen residential and community gardens. This is one of Kansas City’s most unique garden tours in a historic Victorian neighborhood, just south of Crown Center. Free parking is available in KCPT lots at 31st Street and Grand Avenue. Admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors (over age 60). Kids under 12 are free. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the historic Union Cemetery. Plants will be available for purchase along the tour. Admission includes free backyard BBQ lunch at the Velvet Dog: Burgers, chips, drink specials, and entertainment. For more information, please go to or find us on Facebook under “Union Hill Garden Tour”.

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KC Cactus & Succulent Group Hosts Mid-States Conference


xpand your gardening horizons this summer at the Biennial Mid-States Cactus & Succulent Conference, June 21–24. Presented by the Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society, this three-day event features a huge sale, which will be open to the public on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, with vendors from around the country selling plants, pottery and books. Registered attendees will enjoy a judged plant show, a photography show and, on Saturday night, there will be a banquet with a rare plant auction benefitting the local club as well as conservation efforts. But the main attraction will be an amazing lineup of world-class speakers some of which include: * Panayoti Kelaidis, from the Denver Botanical Garden, who brings two talks tailored for gardeners intrigued by the beauty and form

of hardy cactus and succulents for cold-climate gardens. Kansas City gardeners will be especially interested in his presentation “Some stellar new ways to highlight hardy succulents in your garden (Lessons from Denver).” For those who seek out the unusual and unique in their garden, Panayoti’s presentation “Hardy South Africans” offers an overview of the hundreds of wonderful new South African plants that have come into cultivation in recent decades, especially the showy Mesembryanthemums, but also hardy Euphorbia, Othonna, Anacampseros and more! * The North Cape is described as an arid landscape dotted with haphazard rock piles – sounds like a desolate and barren area – but speaker Doug Dawson takes us on a two-part journey to prove otherwise. “South Africa: Noord-Kaap

cinating presentation. Also on the agenda, enjoy Woody’s “40 Years of Field Work Around the World: USA, Mexico, South America, Africa, Namibia, Yemen, Socotra, etc.”

Part I & II” introduces the miraculous plant life that’s adapted to this harsh area. * Rob Wallace teaches in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. If you’ve never heard Rob speak you owe it to yourself to attend one of his lectures. Not only does Rob have a marvelous sense of humor but he also makes plant biology one of the most fascinating subjects you’ve ever heard. No kidding! Don’t miss his talks, “An Overview of the Cactus Family: Diversity and Classification” and “Succulent Sex 101: An up-close and personal view of Flowers, Fruits, Seeds, and Seedlings.” You won’t believe how interesting scientific botany can be. * Travel with Woody Minnich as he details “The Great Southwest: 40 years of field work in the seven states: CA, CO, AZ, NM, NV, TX, UT.” True cacti only grow in the Americas and Woody’s knowledge of these plants makes for a fas-

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* “Stranded on a Desert Island” gives us a look at the island of Bonaire with Dan Mahr. Bonaire is truly a desert island, covered with cacti, agaves, and other succulents. Considering the very small size of the island, the diversity and numbers of succulents is very high. Bonaire, located in the southern Caribbean just offshore from Venezuela, is politically part of the Netherlands (along with neighboring Aruba and Curacao). This presentation will cover the history and natural history of the succulents on the island. Dan will also give us a tour of the “Succulents of the Kaokoveld.” Kaokoveld is a wild and desolate area with a dry climate and rocky soils. It has one of the lowest human population densities in all of Africa. It is a land of ruggedly beautiful scenery, with diverse topography and is the home to many types of succulents. The conference runs from June 21–June 24 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 19677 E. Jackson Dr., Independence, Mo. Full registration, which includes all the events, including the banquet, is only $105. Registrations are also available for single days. Details and registration information are available at or contact Eva at 816-444-9321.


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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Bagworms defoliate evergreens in short order


Tom DePaepe

pring has been great for our landscapes. Summer’s heat and humidity has yet to descend, and almost everything is green, healthy and in top form. When things are going so great, the last thing a homeowner wants to see when looking out the window are long, spindly bags hanging off his or her trees. Bagworms are perhaps one of the most common tree pests, and one of the most recognizable by homeowners. These pests are frequently found on evergreen trees; arborvitae, cedars, junipers and other ornamental evergreens are some of their favorites. However, bagworms aren’t too picky, and will feed on deciduous trees as well. In fact, bagworms have been recorded on 128 different plant species in the United States. Evergreen bagworms are more concentrated in the Midwest, though they can be found from New England to Texas. Bagworms construct their eponymous homes in the caterpil-

lar stage. They then drag their bags wherever they go, similar to a snail’s shell. These bags are primarily for protection from their natural enemies, as they tend to blend in with the tree itself. (Oftentimes, homeowners mistake older bagworms for pine cones.) In the early stages of life, the bags are small and relatively difficult to detect. This is the best time to control the pest, as once the bags are large and readily visible; the pests are more difficult to manage. If you had bagworms last year, it is a safe bet they will be back again this year, so develop a plant protection plan early. Small infestations of bagworms can be controlled by handpicking in late spring, before the caterpillars hatch. Larger infestations can be controlled with plant protection products applied early in the bagworm’s lifecycle, usually between June and July. Your local garden center likely has a product that will work to manage bagworms. You must treat while the worms are feeding and partially out of their bags. Carefully monitor the plants and treat again if necessary. Our relatively mild winter may have some effect on bagworm populations this spring. It is possible bagworms will emerge sooner, or

that populations will be abnormally high. Vigilance will be necessary to protect your landscape plants. Why treat your trees at all? Bagworms do real damage to your trees through their feeding, which usually begins in late May or early June. Initially, damage is slight because the bagworms are small. As they grow, it is not uncommon for populations of bagworms to defoliate a tree quickly. Evergreen trees are slow-growers, so they sustain more permanent damage from bagworm feeding. Several years of repeated infestations may kill even large, established evergreens. There is one generation of bagworms per year. The good news is that these pests aren’t great travelers; most new infestations likely arise by

planting already infested nursery stock, or are spread by wildlife. It is important to carefully inspect new plants for the presence of bagworms prior to purchasing your plant material. In general, in landscapes it is easy to overlook small signs of trouble, such as browning needles or leaves. However, pests such as bagworms can do serious damage in short order, so it is important to investigate anything that seems “off” with your trees. Oftentimes, a little prevention will go a long way. Tom DePaepe is an ISA Certified Arborist (#MW-4838A) and consulting arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913381-1505.


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Year of the Geranium

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ew plants offer such variation in flower color, growth habit, leaf pattern, and scent. Lush growing geraniums, popular mainstays in containers for indoor and outdoor culture, also thrive in borders and beds by themselves, or mixed in with other annuals. In fact, these versatile plants are perfect for any spot that calls for a splash of sparkling color throughout the season. The bedding plants gardeners plant out in late spring and bring inside in autumn are commonly known as geraniums; but geraniums they are not. They are pelargoniums. True geraniums are the cranesbills, hardy North American and European herbaceous perennials. Pelargoniums are semi-tender or tender plants mostly from South Africa. Both the Pelargonium and the Geranium belong to the family of Geraniaceae.


Types of Geraniums: Common or Zonal Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) Deriving its name from the “zoned” leaf markings, zonals thrive in both containers and in the landscape, and they require minimum care. Most commonly available in single or double-flowered types,

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the upright, mounding, typically 1 to 2 foot tall plants have blossoms that range from white, to salmon, pink, orange, magenta, lavender and red, to numerous flashy variations of bi-colored blossoms. Within this group are “stellars” with thin, spiky star-shaped petals and leaves; unusual tulipflowered types and pompon rosebuds. There are dwarfs less than 10” tall like the profusely blooming “deacons,” and miniatures less than 6 inches tall. Fancy-leaved zonal geraniums produce leaves in shades varying from very pale, yellowish green to dark green to a dark band containing reddish pigment. The differences in the extent that the three colors overlap create a plethora of plants all with different patterns of colored leaves. Regal and Angel Geraniums (Pelargonium domesticum) – The Regals, also known as Martha Washington geraniums, are bushy

plants with large blossoms, single or double flowers in dramatic colors and patterns. Regals tend to be spring blooming, requiring cool nighttime temperatures to bud. Angels are smaller versions of Regals developed for their dazzling blooms which look somewhat like pansies. Scented-Leaf Geranium (Pelargonium domesticum) – Scented-leaf geraniums are heirloom plants grown for their pleasing fragrance, unusual foliage, delicate flowers, essential oil and culinary use. The scent, created by oils in the leaves, is released when the leaves are rubbed or bruised. The fragrance may remind you of roses, lemons, cloves, nutmeg, pine, peppermint, apple, pineapple, chocolate, coconut and all kinds of other indescribably spicy fragrances. Ivy-Leaf Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) – Plants with long stems full of sculptured,


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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Water geraniums regularly if there is no rain, preferably early in the day to allow leaves and flowers to dry before nightfall, to help prevent disease.

ivy shaped leaves and gracefully trailing habits, they are immensely popular for hanging baskets, window boxes and containers. Flowering abundantly throughout the summer, they have smaller, looser flower umbels of single, semi-double or double blossoms in shades of deep maroon, red or pink. Purchasing Potted Plants When shopping for geraniums, choose plants based on their color and size. Look for healthy leaves, with no discolored spots above or underneath, fairly compact growth with no straggly stems that indicate it was grown in poor light, and no obvious pests. Choose plants with some flowers that are just opening, so that you can see the color of the blossoms. Ivy geraniums are naturals for hanging baskets and window boxes. Flowers borne in small clusters come in a range of colors from the subtle white and mauve to the strident shades of pink and red.

A riot of color in the spring, they continue the show through summer into fall. Geraniums as Bedding Plants Geraniums are popular garden plants because of their long-lasting flower displays, even under adverse weather conditions. Plants currently available are seed grown, providing a longer display of color that lasts well into fall. They look good in a bed all by themselves, mixed in with other annuals, or wherever there is a need for a splash of vibrant color. Warm weather plants, geraniums should not be planted outdoors until all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed. For maximum bloom, plant them where they’ll get at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily and space the plants 8 - 12 inches apart. Geraniums need good air circulation, but should be protected from strong winds which can break their brittle branches. Geraniums should be planted in moisture retentive, but well

drained good garden soils, at the same level as they were growing in pots. Mulch, where possible to reduce soil temperature extremes and weed growth. Promptly deadhead spent flowering stems to promote additional flowering. Pinch stems to prevent legginess and promote bushiness. They are heavy feeders. For best results, mix a granular fertilizer (5-10-5) in the soil before planting, switching to a balanced, water-soluble (10-10-10) one, to be applied every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season.

Growing Geraniums in Containers Popular mainstays for containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, geraniums are well-behaved, low-maintenance, high-performance, sultry garden divas. They mix beautifully with annuals such as lobelia, vinca vine, petunias and verbena, making them attractive additions on decks, patios, porches and balconies. Container Growing Tips Use a container with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil, which can cause root rot. Use good quality soil-less potting mix (not dirt), and position the container in full sun. Water thoroughly, allow to dry out before watering again. Do not use a saucer under the container unless filled with pebbles. Fertilize every 2 weeks with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Source: National Garden Bureau

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Grow Native! Plant Profile Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus

Barbara Fairchild


eautiful yellow flowers, a low, spreading growth pattern—what’s not to love about eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifus)? Well, maybe it’s those nasty little spines that jab delicate skin like a sharp splinter unless special care is taken. The prickly feature of this succulent is fascinating. You may already know the large, paddleshaped green parts are thickened stems—I thought they were

leaves. These stems have tiny, soft bumps (areoles) out of which grow clusters of spines that are not easily detachable. Smaller, easily detachable, hair-like bristles (glochids) also grow out of the areoles. The spines, it seems, are vestigial leaves and, along with the glochids, serve as protection for the cactus — an important self-defense adaption of this plant to desert ecology. In Missouri, prickly pear typically is found in dry, sandy soil on glades, rocky open hillsides, valleys and roadsides — most often in south and central Missouri. Its continental range is from Massachusetts to Montana, south to Florida and west to Texas. Its showy, yellow flowers — threeto four-inches across — begin

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to bloom in May and continue into June on a sprawling plant that is about six inches tall. Two Opuntia species are native to Missouri. Opuntia macrorhiza is similar to O. humifusa, but much less common—occurring only in the extreme southwestern corner of the state. Some speculate the species may not be distinct from one another, but most botanists continue to separate them. Prickly pear blossoms attract a host of bees who come for nectar and leave with a coating of pollen. Its egg-shaped fruit and tan seeds are devoured by wild turkeys, skunks and ground squirrels. Fruits and stems are eaten by rabbits, deer and coyotes. Turtles also eat the fruits.

• • • • • •

Common names for prickly pear include beaver tail—a reference to its flat, two-to-six-inch-long pads— and devil’s tongue, a reference to those prickly glochids. Another common name is Indian fig, likely a reference to its juicy, edible red fruit. The scientific name, Opuntia, is a reference to the ancient Greek city of Opus. Humifusa is Latin for “spread out over the ground” and refers to the plant’s sprawling growth habit. Close to 300 species of Opuntia have been identified—104 of them in Mexico and the others found in North America, Central America and South America. Various parts of these species are commonly eaten—except in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that com-

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mercial production of species used as food is more than twice that of strawberries, avocados, or apricots. The pads, called nopales, are a popular vegetable in Mexico and Central America, where they usually are cooked. They also can be eaten raw and are said to taste like green beans. As the fruit matures, it changes from green to reddishyellow, red maroon or brownishred. Called tuna, the fruit is twothree-inches long and its ruby red pulp is said to taste a little like watermelon. Native Americans used peeled pads on wounds, applied juice to warts and drank pad tea for lung ailments. Dried seeds were crushed or ground into flour and used in soup as a thickener. Prickly pear cactus is a unique addition to a flower garden. It prefers full sun to partial shade and thrives in sandy or well-drained soil. Its low growth make it perfect at the front of a flower bed that might include prairie plants such as prairie coreopsis, Ohio spiderwort, butterfly weed, purple prairie clover and Bush’s poppy mallow. It also works well in rock gardens and containers. If you use

it as an ornamental plant be aware that the pads deflate over winter and the plant may appear to be dead. These wrinkly, sad-looking pads, however, will plump up in spring adding a green glow to the garden. You also should know the plant is extremely easy to propagate. Push pads into soil or just lay them on soil and they will root. When handling the pads, remember, spines are easy to avoid, but watch out for the glochids—they are barbed and treacherous, so wear gloves. And here is a final note for using prickly pear in a landscape. In 1961, Cuba had its troops plant an eightmile strip of Optuntia cactus along a fence surrounding Guantanamo Bay. Dubbed the “Cactus Curtain,” it was a deterrent to Cubans trying to escape from Cuba to seek refuge in the United States. Is there anyone you want to deter? To learn more about Missouri native plants, go to Barbara Fairchild is the communications specialist for Grow Native, a program of Missouri Department of Conservation.

Northland Garden Club presents



he 2012 Beautiful Madness Flower Show will again be held at the NKC Public Library on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The library is located at 2251 Howell North Kansas City, MO. This year our Judge and Floral Designer will be Rita Mcfarland. The theme is Cottage Gardens. The show is free and open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to enter arrangements and specimens in the following categories. This year’s theme is Cottage Gardens. There are five Floral Design categories and three Specimen categories. * Petite and Precious: This Lilliputian design should have a Cottage Garden flavor. While being no taller than 6” and no wider 8”, including the container. * Collector’s charm: Gather up fresh flowers from your garden

and combine with things that have a special meaning to you. * Branching Out: Will it be Curly Willow, Birch Branches or something from your favorite shrub that you will choose to be the main focus of this design? * Arts Alive: Create your own garden, by using potted plants and a picture frame. * Green and Gorgeous: Everyone will be ‘Green with Envy’ with your design of green flowers and/or foliage. The three Specimen categories are The Perfect Bloom, The Best Leaf and the Showiest Shrub. Entries may be checked in from 9:30-10:30. Judging is from 10:30-12:00. The entries will be on display from 12:30-2:00. There will be a floral demonstration from 12:30-1:00. For more information, call Marla Galetti at 816-587-1556 or go to our Website at

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Growing in South KC Metro for 11 blooming years. May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


Photos by Lenora Larson.

Above left: Even though they are hybrids, the ‘Profusion’ Zinnias are nectar-rich, as this Common Orange Sulfur can testify. Above middle: An Eastern Tailed Blue nectars on the flower of the native Lead Plant, a host plant for the Silver-spotted Skipper’s caterpillar. Above right: Tiger Swallowtail on native Verbena canadensis, an early March bloomer.

Above left: A female Monarch lays her eggs on the Tropical Milkweed, as well as sipping its delectable nectar. Above right: A Red Spotted Purple enjoying the Butterfly Bush’s nectar. Below left: A Silvery Checkerspot enjoying the Butterfly Weed’s nectar. Below right: An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on native Phlox, an early summer bloomer. Top next page: A male Monarch on its way to Mexico nectaring on Sedum in October.


The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Attracting Flying Flowers to your Yard Lenora Larson


umans and butterflies agree: flowers belong in every garden. Many species of adult butterflies appreciate a refreshing sip of nectar as they search for love and their caterpillar’s food plant. And in the spring and fall, migrating butterflies absolutely need nectar as the power drink to fuel their journey. Although caterpillar food plants are far more powerful attractants, flowers are the focus for many homeowners. These gardeners function as saloon-keepers, providing adult beverages to lonely spinster and bachelor butterflies. The following information will help butterfly pub owners maximize their nectar-bar patronage. HOW BUTTERFLIES CHOOSE FLOWERS Flowers co-evolved with insects in a perfect symbiotic relationship. Flowers entice passing insects with fragrance, color and shape. Then they reward the visitor with nectar and pollen to ensure frequent repeat business. Pollen grains stick to the busy insects’ bodies and fertilize the next flower. This is a winning strategy for flowers, insects and appreciative gardeners. Although they can sip nectar from many species of flowers, butterflies are highly discriminating. Favorites will attract swarms of butterflies, while other flowers, perhaps even more beautiful and May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

fragrant to humans, will have no visitors. Butterflies choose flowers by their color, shape, and, to a lesser extent, fragrance. Butterflies’ complex eyes detect a much broader light spectrum than human eyes, including ultraviolet and polarized light. While the caterpillar food plants should be scattered throughout the garden, flowers are most beckoning when they are planted together in large masses. Butterflies seem to prefer mauves and yellows. My garden blooms almost entirely in shades of mauve with non-hybrid Butterfly Bushes and the lavenderpink of native phlox, verbena, bee balm, coneflowers, etc. FLOWERS TO AVOID Not all flowers offer equal opportunities for nectar-loving butterflies. Be very cautious about hybrids, which are bred for humongous blossoms on dwarfed plants. Fertility is a frequent casualty, which means the flower has no nectar to attract pollinators. For instance, Knock-out Roses and tetraploid Marigolds are useless to butterflies. Avoid any plant that advertises itself as sterile or “no dead-heading”. You might as well stick plastic flowers in your garden. Flowers must provide a platform to accommodate the butterflies’ feet which do the “tasting”. Flat blossoms like Coneflowers,

Zinnias and Mexican Sunflowers form ideal landing strips. Some of our most beautiful and fragrant flowers are physically incompatible with butterflies’ relatively short tongues. The nectar of large tubular flowers like Lilies, Angel’s Trumpets (Datura) and Moon Flower (Ipomeas) is inaccessible without an 8 inch tongue like the Hummingbird Moth. CHOOSING NECTAR FLOWERS Once we enter the world of oldfashioned, open-pollinated flowers, the list of nectar flowers is long and familiar: Zinnias, Sunflowers, Milkweeds, Asters, Cosmos, Sages, etc. But which is the best? Research has identified the factors that influence a pollinator’s choice of nectar flowers: • How plentiful is the quantity of nectar? • Does the nectar have a relatively high concentration of sugars? • How quickly are the nectaries re-filled? • Is the nectar easily accessed? And the winner is … Butterfly Bush! Buddleia davidii is a perfectly named magnet for butterflies and many other pollinators during July and August. Another highvalue nectar source, our native Butterfly Weed, blooms in June. This orange-flowered beauty does

double duty since it is a milkweed that serves as a caterpillar food plant for Monarch caterpillars. Because butterflies cruise your yard from March to November, you need a variety of blooms to span the nine months. The table below provides examples. SUMMARY You can attract the largest number and variety of butterflies to your nectar-bar by following these simple guidelines: • NO INSECTICIDES! Do not invite patrons and then poison them!! • Sun-drenched garden: both butterflies and nectar rich flowers are sun lovers. • Serve a variety of “drinks” from March through November • Plant flowers in large masses, blocks of colors, to provide visual cues With a dependable supply of standard beverages on tap, your butterfly pub will attract the beautiful flying flowers and provide sustenance to other pollinators. 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.




Dandelions Butterfly  Bush  &  Butterfly  Weed   Asters   Rose  Verbena   Angelonia     Goldenrod   Ninebark    (Physocarpus)   Mexican  Sunflower  (Tithonia)   Joe  Pie  Weed  &  Boneset   Bee  Balms   Zinnias   Sunflowers,  esp.  Bur  Marigold   Tropical  Milkweed  and  Catmint  (Nepeta  species)  bloom  all  three  seasons  (Gotta  have!)      


Growing Under Trees By Cerise Harris


veryone loves the shade from large trees in yards but the empty space beneath the canopy is often unsightly. However, growing attractive plants under them is a challenge. The trees soak up the moisture in the ground, tree roots are often shallow and can be damaged by digging around them, and very little sun gets to the plants under trees. Pruning lower limbs will help with this problem. To succeed in planting, one needs to know the species of the trees and the shade that it offers. For example, maple trees have a very dense shade and walnut trees have a substance called juglone that makes plant selections difficult. Most trees have dappled shade and a few offer direct sunlight for some part of the day. After determining the kind of tree involved, study the root system. Chances for success are greater if the trees are well established, being in the ground for at least 3-5 years. The next step is to clear the area of unwanted vegetation. Leave an area one foot wide from the base of the trunk free of plants. When digging, roots that are 1/2 inch or more in diameter can be pushed aside carefully or plan to dig the hole a little farther away. Small feeder roots can be cut to make room for the plant. If the roots are substantial or to give extra growing

Hosta grows well in the shade.

Liriope is easy to establish and grows in deep shade.

power for the plant, try leaving it in the pot, inserting it into the ground all the way up to the top. Hostas, for example, can grow like this for four or more years. When the plant outgrows the pot, simply put it in a larger container. Ground covers are easy plants to establish. English ivy, vinca and liriope grow in deep shade. Ajuga, lamium and even quaking oats do better in dappled shade. Any of the bulbs that bloom in the spring do well in any kind of shade as their energy is stored in the bulb itself. Perennials such as hellebores, hostas, ferns, Japanese pachysan-

dra, anemone nemorosa, cyclamen, Solomon’s seals, English bluebells and Rue anemones can spread easily. Any of the native plants that occur in shade will grow fine as they are used to competing with roots in their natural surroundings. Plants that do well in dappled shade are bleeding hearts, Iris staetidissima (stinking iris), Japanese hokonechloa macre aureola or other Japanese grasses, astilbes, Dutchman’s Breeches, wood poppies, Toad lilies, ligularia, lungwort and, at the edge of the canopy, shrubs such as azalea and rhododendron.



There are many annuals that will tolerate some shade. Old standards such as caladiums, coleus, begonias and impatiens add a lot of color. Remember that trees are the premier plant material in the yard. No one wants to lose a tree by disturbing the roots. But with care in planting and care in choosing the right plants, mulching around the plants, and careful watering to start the plants out well, the bare area under the trees can be very attractive. Cerise Harris is a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener.



The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Soil Test Interpretations – Sodium and Soluble Salts

Kylo Heller


n the past two months we have discussed soil test analyses for organic matter and pH. This time we will talk about the sodium and soluble salt content. Both can be important parameters for a gardener to be aware of. Obviously, sodium refers specifically to the presence of sodium in the soil. “Soluble salt” is a general way of referring to calcium, magnesium, sodium, and many other salt forming ions that are dissolved in the water that is present in the soil (a.k.a. soil solution). All garden soils will have soluble salt in the soil solution, what a gardener needs to make sure of is that the soluble salt content is not too high. A high concentration of soluble salts in the soil will inhibit the plant’s ability to intake water. Naturally, if the plant cannot get water it is going to have a hard time surviving. High sodium soils will not only impact plant uptake of water, but will significantly degrade the structure of the soil. The poor soil structure results in a

drastically decreased rate of water infiltration into the soil. Most native soils in the Kansas City area will not have high sodium or soluble salt levels, because the rainfall is sufficient enough to leach soluble salts down the soil profile, preventing them from accumulating. However, even in this area, sodium and/or soluble salts can be a problem in soils that don’t drain well, or have received poor quality compost or other amendments high in sodium or soluble salts. Similarly to the pH analysis, the sodium and soluble salt content is typically measured by combining one part soil with one part distilled water which is reported on the soil test as “ 1:1” or by combing the soil with just enough water to saturate the sample, which is reported as “sat. paste extract”. The soluble salt content is actually determined by measuring the electrical conductivity of the solution. The greater the concentration of salts in the soil, the greater the solution’s ability to conduct an electrical current. Because the soluble salt content is measured by electrical conductivity, it is often referred to as the “EC”. Analysis values are typically given in units of “mmhos/cm.” Don’t worry about understanding what that unit is. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you understand what it is measuring. Sodium is typi-

cally evaluated by looking at the Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR), which is a way of looking at the sodium content relative to calcium and magnesium. Any soils textbook will give you specific criteria defining “saline” (high soluble salt), “sodic” (high sodium), and saline/ sodic (high sodium and soluble salt) soils. However, most gardens will be significantly impacted long before the soils would reach any of those definitions. Different plants are more tolerant of high EC than others, and some soils (e.g. clay soils) are more impacted by high sodium than others. So, it’s not necessarily a one size fits all evaluation, but in general, I like to see the EC (sat. paste extract) below

1.0 mmhos/cm and the SAR (sat. paste extract) below 3. Correcting high soluble salts requires large quantities of water to leach the salts out of the root zone. Correcting high sodium requires the addition of calcium, usually as gypsum, followed by leaching with water. If you think you might have high levels of either you should ask your local extension agent or other expert for help determining if there is a problem, and if so, developing a plan to correct it. 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.

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Gardeners Connect presents


program and exotic plant sale and auction called the Plantaholic Frolic is planned for May 5 in the Garden Center building in Loose Park. This event is sponsored by Gardeners Connect, the newly renamed Garden Center Association of Greater Kansas City. Diana Reeck, owner of Collector’s Nursery in Battle Ground, Wash., is planning to give a program on “Epimediums and Friends.” After the talk there will be a live auction of select plants. There also will be a silent auction and a general plant sale. The Loose Park Garden Center offers an intimate venue for the program, auction and sale. Tickets to be part of the limited audience cost $15, of which $5 will come back to the ticket holder as Plantaholic Frolic bucks to spend on purchases that day. The program starts at 9 a.m., and the auction

Condition Soil & Increase Drainage

is scheduled to start right after the program. The plant sale will include plants from Collector’s Nursery and also from Bluebird Nursery, clematis from Brushwood Nursery, carnivorous plants from Courting Frogs Nursery, ferns from Fancy Fronds Nursery, hellebores from Pine Knot Farms and other horticultural treasure troves. Each of the plants in the sale and auction will be of very limited supply. When you buy yours, it isn’t likely a neighbor will have one. The Plantaholic Frolic is open to GCA members only. Purchase tickets online at or mail a note and check to GCA Plantaholic Frolic; 6911 NW Blair Road; Parkville, MO 64152.When the hall is full, no one else will be allowed to join in the fun.

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Plantaholic Frolic

Diana Reeck, owner of Collector’s Nursery in Battle Ground, Wash., plans to talk about Epimediums and Friends. Reeck is an avid plant explorer, and her adventures have taken her throughout the Pacific Northwest and three times to China under the sponsorship of the Kunming Botanical Garden in Yunnan Province. Those of us who attended Terra Nova nursery co-founder Dan Heims’ presentation at the 2012 Garden Symposium banquet may remember a picture of Diana that Heims included. In fact, Terra Nova has introduced a campanula that Diana found, which is sold under the cultivar name of ‘Samantha.’ Another of her plants marketed by Terra Nova is corydalis ‘Blue Panda.’ Her nursery focuses on shadeloving plants, and epimediums are a specialty. Certainly there will be a selection of them at the Plantaholic

Frolic and also some other spectacular plants including hardy gingers, toad lilies, giant and tiny polygonatums, Mukdenia ‘Crimson Fans’ and more. Epimeidums are some of the most charming, easy going plants that you can plant in shade. Panicles of small delicate flowers with elongated spurs dangle like little columbines above the emerging foliage in spring. The flowers can be yellow, white, pinkish-lavender, orange, or red/white, often with contrasting colors of petals and sepals. There are spreading forms with evergreen leaves that turn bronzy or reddish in winter, and deciduous, clumping forms with a pleasing apricot-yellow fall color. Hardy and long lived, they have the distinct advantage of being able to compete with roots of nearby trees and shrubs. Epimediums will grow in considerable shade but tolerate sun with sufficient spring watering. Epimediums are native to temperate woodland situations. While there are species in Europe, Japan, Korea and the Caucasus region, most come from the mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in China. Diana is a multifaceted person. In addition to her love of botany and horticulture, she is working on a line of botanically related greeting cards and bookmarks. Also, music and piano playing occupy much her time, and she can’t get enough of lovin’ to boogie and playin’ the blues.

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2012 All-America Selections What is All-America Selections®? All-America Selections is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties then introduces only the best garden performers as AAS Winners. Who determines an AAS Winner? Independent AAS Judges determine the AAS Winners by judging and scoring the entries. The Judges score each entry from 0 to 5 points, with 5 being the highest. Judges report their scores after the growing season for that variety. Judges are located in geographically diverse areas all over the U.S. and Canada. AAS uses an independent accounting firm to calculate the average score of each entry. Only the entry with the highest average score is considered for a possible AAS Award. The AAS Judges determine which, if any, new, never-beforesold entries have proven superior qualities to be introduced as AAS Winners.

Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Olive’

Vinca ‘Jams ‘N Jellies Blackberry’

Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Pink’

What qualities do the Judges score? Judges look for significantly improved qualities such as earliness to bloom or harvest, disease or pest tolerance, novel colors or flavors, novel flower forms, total yield, length of flowering or harvest and overall performance. In the last ten years an entry needs to have at least two significantly

improved qualities to be considered by Judges for an AAS Award.

2011 trials. All season long this beauty keeps its upright habit with nicely draping leaves and dark purple/black fruit which appear in small clusters along the stems. As summer progresses, the fruits mature to red giving a beautiful contrast against the dark purple foliage and bright purple flowers. Retailers and growers can sell this multi-use ornamental as a 20” border plant, a great color splash for containers or as a cut flower in mixed bouquets.

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Why is an AAS Winner important to the home gardener? The AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties that have proven their superior garden performance in Trial Grounds across North America, thus, our tagline of “Tested Nationally and Proven Locally®”. When you purchase an AAS Winner, you know that it has been put through its paces by an independent, neutral trialing organization and has been judged by experts in their field. The AAS Winner label is like a stamp of approval. 2012 AAS Flower Winners Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Olive’ Capsicum annuum The AAS Judges said this entry was a standout, especially in the southern gardens where heat was a major presence during the

Vinca ‘Jams ‘N Jellies Blackberry’ Catharanthus rosea A stunning vinca with a most unique and exciting color that appears almost black in some settings. The novel color drew many positive comments from both judges and trial visitors. The velvety deep-purple flowers are an excellent accent plant and work beautifully in combination with other flowers that are powder blue,

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Save the Date! Cottage Gardeners of Weston (MO) Country Garden Tour 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Friday & Saturday, June 22-23, 2012

Pepper ‘Cayennetta’ F1

Watermelon ‘Faerie’ F1

bright pink, white and/or lavender. Mature plants are 12 to 16” tall making them perfect as a medium height divider. The 2-inch dark purple flowers are offset by shiny, deep green foliage creating a striking color combination.

tapered 3- to 4-inch peppers fill the well branched upright 20-inch plant. No staking is required, making it a perfect plant for container or patio gardens. Unique to this variety is good cold and heat tolerance and a dense foliage cover that protects the fruits from sun scorch. ‘Cayennetta’ is an all-around good choice no matter where you’re gardening. The great pepper-taste, heavy yield and prolific fruit set outshone all comparisons.

2012 AAS Bedding Plant Winner Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ Salvia coccinea Sister to AAS Winner Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Red’, this dwarfsized, compact plant just 15 to 20 inches tall blooms prolifically throughout the growing season. Abundant soft pink half-inch blooms fill the slender but sturdy stems. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than other pink salvias used as comparisons. And of course, the hummingbirds love pink, just as much as they do red! Commercial growers will appreciate the earliness, excellent pack performance and uniformity. 2012 AAS Vegetable Winners Pepper ‘Cayennetta’ F1 Capsicum annuum Everyone will love this excellent tasting mildly spicy pepper that is very easy to grow. Slender,

Watermelon ‘Faerie’ F1 Citrullus lanatus ‘Faerie’ is a non-traditional watermelon in that it has a creamy yellow rind with thin stripes yet still yields sweet pink-red flesh with a high sugar content and crisp texture. Home gardeners will like growing something unique in their garden and the fact that the vines are vigorous yet spread only to 11’ means it takes up less space in the garden. Each 7-8” fruit weighs only four to six pounds making it a perfect family size melon. Professional growers will appreciate the disease and insect tolerance as well as the prolific fruit set that starts early and continues throughout the season.

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eston-area country gardens will be featured on the tour this year. See what’s down those country driveways, surrounding our antebellum (and newer) homes out in the rolling hills, high above the Missouri River. You’ll see ideas you can bring home to your garden, whether it’s large or small. Proceeds will be used to beautify the Weston area, including tree plantings along new sidewalks that are making Weston a walkable town. For more information, call Marilyn at 816-640-2300.

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2012 Perennial Plant of the Year Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ Photos by Walters Gardens, Inc.


runnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ PP13859 grows 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide in a mounded form. This hardy perennial grows well in hardiness zones 3 to 8. Brunneras are treasured for their shade tolerance and early babyblue, forget-me-not like flowers. Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ has enchanting silvery leaves with green venation and a thin green margin. One common name for this perennial is heartleaf brunnera because the emerging leaf enlarges to a heart shape. Light: Plants thrive in the shade but will tolerate morning sun if the soil conditions remain moist. By midday, shade is essential, particularly in southern gardens. Soil: This perennial performs best in shady areas with good moisture retentive soils.

Uses: ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera may be used along the front of the shade border, is excellent in a container, or can be combined with other ground cover perennials such as hostas, ferns, and epimediums. The silver foliage lights up a dark garden from spring to fall.


Unique Qualities: From mid to late spring, blue, forget-me-not like blossoms are held in clusters several inches above the brilliant frosty silver leaves. The rough leaf texture makes this perennial less palatable to browsing deer. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 8

To learn more about perennials suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free, see the Perennial Plant Association website at


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(816) 525-1111 or (816) 554-DIRT 1820 NE County Park Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 11/4 mi. East of Hwy 291 on Colbern Rd, in Lee’s Summit, MO The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

May Rose Report

Charles Anctil


ere it is April 2 (when I’m writing this), and all these plants are growing and blooming already. Roses are leafed out and starting to bud. We’ve had many calls to the store asking if you should prune roses now or let them go. The choice is yours. The roses this year are so excited and happy they are almost six weeks ahead of schedule. My roses usually start blooming around the 3rd week of May, but this year, if we do not get any freezing temperatures, they could start showing off by the end of April. I have removed some of the mulch but it is still close at hand so if freezing temperatures come our way, I can recover quickly. This should be a nasty year for insects. Customers are already reporting seeing aphids, so be on the lookout. You do not have to spray everything in the yard. Just walk and spray where you see the insects. Remember this, the more you spray, the more problems you will have, because you will be killing the “good” bugs as well as the bad.

For those of you still using chemical fertilizers, remember the risk: fertilizer burn! How does this happen? Roses are made up of cells whose activity is supported by water, just like human skin and tissue. Burn occurs when water is removed or displaced from the cells. Most fertilizers use ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate as the nitrogen source, synthesizing the element found in nature. These compounds have the tendency to take up water. If the fertilizers in the soil are too concentrate, moisture is absorbed from the soil, and even the roots, thereby destroying or interfering with the moisture support system for the cells. The solution to fertilizer burn is to apply the right amounts and water deeply, then water again! One last thing; black spot and spider mites always start at the bottom of the plants so you might want to strip the foliage 6” – 8” from the ground! Works for me…..might work for you! 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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Beautification Contest

he Overland Park Chapter of The Gardeners of America is hosting a beautification contest. We wish to recognize those communities, organizations, businesses and homeowners whose green thumbs make Johnson County a beautiful place to live. There will be four divisions: 1. Communities or organizations (cities, schools, places of worship, HOA’s etc.) 2. Businesses 3. Home garden maintained by owner

4. Home garden maintained by professional landscapers First prize each division is $50 gift card. For complete rules and entry form please visit our website: www. Or call Karen at 913-677-4246. Entry deadline is May 10th. The Overland Park Chapter / TGOA is a fun group of people who like to get dirty. We meet at 7 p.m. the 2nd Monday each month at the Colonial Church 71st & Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kan. Visitors always welcome. Come grow with us!

“Everybody can find a way to make their space more beautiful.” Erin Busenhart Family Tree Nursery Overland Park Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm | Sat 9am - 6pm | Sun 10:30am - 5pm

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May is a good time to prune early flowering trees and shrubs. Later pruning removes next year’s flowers. May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Use Aquatic Plants for Algae Control Diane Swan


lgae is probably the #1 nemesis of most pond owners. The mild winter allowed string algae to grow rampant. Almost all pond owners experienced unusual algae growth, so your pond was not the only one! In defense of algae, it is Mother Nature’s way of cleaning your pond. Again with the mild winter, the leaves never got matted down or held under the snow like other years. Leaves blew around all winter and gathered in our ponds and string algae got busy cleaning up the ponds. Algae does perform beneficial functions in a pond. It processes nitrogen and carbon, and produces oxygen. They provide rooting material for other plants, provide food for snails, fish, birds, and micro-organisms, and provide a habitat for aquatic organisms. Algae’s ability to absorb nitrates and give off oxygen makes them effective filtering agents. The key in our decorative water garden is to keep algae growth to

a minimum by stealing nutrients away from the algae with the aid of aquatic plants. Keep in mind, algae is a sign of a healthy pond and ecosystem, so a little algae is not a bad thing! Your pond should be clean but not spotless like a pool, and well-planted but within reason. You don’t want your pond to look weedy or overgrown to the point you cannot see your fish swimming around. Aquatic plants can perform many of the same functions as algae, they just aren’t so prolific. Aquatic plants that grow with their roots or leaves exposed to the water, derive most of their nutrients from the water. There are ways to force your plants to work harder. 1. Instead of keeping all your marginals in pots, bare root some of the less aggressive ones and plant directly in the gravel and rocks on the edges of your pond. This forces them to take nutrients from the water instead of the soil. You can use both hardy and tropical plants to plant bare rooted and some actually grow better than confined to a pot. 2. Bare root plantings in the edges of your streams. Their root systems will help filter the water as it flows by. Watch your plants

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in the stream so they don’t get so overgrown they block the water. Creepers like forget–me-nots will grow in and out of the water and soften the hard look of the rocks along the stream and naturalizes the edges. 3. Floaters, such as water hyacinth and water lettuce, have great root systems that absorb nutrients and give a hiding place for fish. 4. Floating islands enable other plants the ability to put their roots in use the same as floaters plus they provide additional shade. 5. Lilies and Lotus provide shading for your pond which prevent the sun’s rays entering into the pond and stimulating algae growth. 6. Oxygenators are efficient users of dissolved nutrients and help provide oxygen. During the night however, they consume oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Try to keep them to a minimum so they do not take over the bottom

of the pond and use up too much of the oxygen that they produced during the day. Until your plants start growing in the spring and reach maturity, you may have to use more of your products to control algae such as, barley straw extract or Pond balance, and Beneficial bacteria for clear water but in many cases you can ease up a little on your products when the plants start taking over. Just keep in mind that in the Fall, your plants will start dying back and you will want to bump up your treatments to get ahead of the fall algae bloom caused by leaves dropping into the pond. Aquatic plants provide spectacular beauty to our ponds and help filter and clean at the same time. What a great combination! 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 Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Where’s the passion? Matt Nelson


ave you ever heard a neighbor say, “I really need some new landscaping, but I don’t want to have to do anything to maintain it.” It’s a statement heard frequently around garden centers. As the manager of a nursery, and someone who tries to keep a pulse of the local horticulture industry, I feel like I have discovered an enthusiasm gap surrounding the industry as a whole. Before I move forward, I must warn you that this theory is based strictly on my own informal research and would likely wither under the scrutiny of the scientific community. Nonetheless, I will stand by it! It seems this lack of enthusiasm for horticulture really crosses all ages, locations, and economic situations. And I blame all of us, the home gardener, the garden professional and professional gardener, for allowing our wonderful career and/or hobby to be pushed to the back burner for a better smartphone or splashier tablet. So then how does one promote gardening and horticulture in this

age of instant gratification, overscheduled days, litigious HOA’s, and the allure of Twitter? In a word: passion. We need to share with customers and neighbors and fellow community members just how rewarding gardening and landscaping can be. We need to sell our passion for horticulture to the newbie gardener, the so-called “Black Thumb” gardener and the too-busy-to-care gardener. The draw for me to horticulture as a career came from the neverending variety of plants, the ability to work with both my mind and my hands, the chance to be outdoors in all sorts of weather conditions, and the time it allowed me to think. It’s many of those things that draw people to horticulture as a hobby. Or you might be drawn to the opportunity to grow your own food, to be a steward of the environment, to beautify your property, or to teach your children. Whatever the case, the onus is on us to sell our passion. So just how do we do this? Start with this important premise: it’s all right to fail. Horticulture is often learned through trial and error and I believe that people are dissuaded to further their gardening activities when they don’t succeed. Remind them that failures are like scars; they are badges of achievement. Next, be aggressive in describing the unseen benefits of a beau-

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dirt. Heck, we can even appeal to ego and vanity. Gardening can provide even the novice with a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, and who knows, maybe even provide a couple “look at me” moments. Whatever angle we use to sell our wonderful hobby or career, we must do it with a twinkle in our eye, because it is our passion for gardening and landscaping that is going to propel it into the future. Matt Nelson is nursery manager at Rolling Meadows Garden Center.

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tiful garden or landscape. Like many beneficial insects and other critters rely on these places for food and shelter, that these gardens might offer security or privacy or even have an economic benefit or perhaps a positive environmental impact. Or maybe we could describe to the potential gardener/curious onlooker that our hobby is actually quite therapeutic and that we use gardening to clear the mind or to think about a particularly important decision. Or that there is just something rejuvenating about an afternoon spent with hands in

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Combos Make Easy WOW An awesome combo pot can hide a multitude of sins. There are some guidelines when planting up containers, because a half-dead, out-of-bloom pot doesn’t help the situation.

Erin Busenhart


love gardening. I love my yard. I love dirt, I love flowers. I even love deadheading (really, I’m serious). Here’s the situation – I have limited time. I’ve got kids and a job and a life, and I can’t be out in the garden pinching and trimming as much as I would like. So what is the busy gardener to do? I have learned a few tricks over the years – lots of mulch, plant the right plants, and never attempt to grow Lobelia. I have also learned one of the easiest ways to dress up the landscape, patio or porch, and minimize time spent on maintenance, is with large fabulous containers.

Scale Match the size of container to the space. I have seen front porches the size of a guest bedroom – little 8” pots will not even get a glance. Resist the temptation to do lots of little pots – the only person who can keep up with that watering schedule is Martha herself and that’s because she hires out help. I want you to plant less pots but make them bigger – much bigger! A bigger pot holds more soil (good for the plant) and needs watering less often (good for you). I tend to try for at least 16-18” pots and go up from there. Placement Walk around your property and identify the “bad spots”. Have a

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shrub that you don’t love – disguise it with a large pot in the landscape. Don’t love your patio? Jazz it up with a small vignette of containers. A nice model for an average-sized patio is a grouping of two pots, one larger, and then another pot across the patio. Throw a succulent bowl on the table, make up a pitcher of Margaritas, and your outdoor space is ready for a party! Foliage Embrace the foliage – love the foliage! I like to add most of my color and texture with foliage plants and then pop it with a flower that won’t quit. When you plan your containers around foliage they will ALWAYS look good – and that includes July and August! No constant deadheading, no wimpy flowers that quit blooming because

it gets too hot, no daily watering, no budworm to spray – enough said. Some great foliage plants that can tolerate Sun or Shade for season-long interest: Croton • Persian Shield • Sun Tolerant Coleus • Heucheras • Hosta • Euonymus • Sansevieria • Purple Heart • Succulents • Palms Don’t limit yourself to just typical annuals, peruse the herbs, perennials and nursery for great plants! And remember gardening is fun – don’t stress out! Plant what you love – life is too short for unattractive plants. Erin Busenhart is seasonal color designer at Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park, Kan. You may reach her at 913-642-6503.

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1501 Learnard, Lawrence, KS • 785-843-2004 The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Private gardens opened for public viewing during popular Kansas City garden tour

Planned to Perfection


ix private gardens will be opened to the public during the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Public Tour, May 18 and 19. Kansas City’s premier garden tour is a biennial event, and the only opportunity to tour some of the most beautiful private gardens in Kansas City. It is a perfect weekend excursion for anyone passionate about gardening. Each garden is owned and maintained by an Extension Master Gardener. The homes are selected for their individual qualities, and represent solutions to many gardening challenges commonly found in our region. This tour is popular because the homes and gardens are not expensive estates that are professionally landscaped and maintained — but are average family homes. What makes them spectacular is the fact that the owners are passionate about gardening and have transformed average, ho-hum lots into their own personal oasis. The garden owners and Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Visitors receive information about the gardens development

Something for Everyone

Gardening by the Cape

Mediterranean Marvel

A Japanese Experience

Day of Wine and Roses

along with educational tips to take home and incorporate into their own landscapes. Photography is encouraged. This year’s six garden designs include something for everyone: Planned to Perfection — Shawnee Something for Everyone — Lenexa Gardening by the Cape — Fairway Mediterranean Marvel — Overland Park A Japanese Experience — Prairie Village Days of Wine and Roses — Leawood Back by popular demand, national hosta expert, The Hosta Guy, will be on hand at the Gardening by the Cape garden in Fairway with a large selection of unique and popular hosta varieties for sale. Hand-made concrete garden leaves will be available for purchase at the Mediterranean Marvel garden in Overland Park. A newly released book written for gardeners by gardeners’, Untangled – Straight Talk from Passionate Gardeners will be available for purchase. The hosta and concrete

leaves are extremely popular and sell out quickly. This popular event is only held every other year. Tour tickets for this springtime, rain-or-shine event are $10 prior to May 1 and $12 after. Tickets are available through Johnson County Extension,

Johnson County Hen House Market starting May 1 or any of the six gardens days of the tour. Maps and directions are provided with each ticket. To learn more, take a virtual tour, at gardentour or call 913-715-7000.

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Look at the Pollinators Up Close By Betsy Betros


s bees are nectaring on flowers, pollen is also being collected which is used to feed their larvae. Only a group of western U.S. wasps actively collect pollen to feed their larvae. Otherwise, wasps collect insects and spiders to feed their young.

Honey Bees and Bumble Bees have a concave depression on the upper part of the hind leg, surrounded by stiff hairs. They groom the pollen off their body, mix it with nectar and pack it on the pollen basket (corbicula).

While looking at the pollinators…keep an eye out for other critters on the flowers such as jumping spiders looking for a quick meal of a bug!

Wasps are not as effective pollinators as bees, but since they are avid flower feeders, pollen can still stick to the body hairs.

Other bees have pollen brushes “scopae” on their hind legs.

Leaf cutter bees collect pollen on the underside of the abdomen.

Other active flower visitors including butterflies, moths, beetles, and flies don’t intentionally collect pollen as do bees, but are great pollinators as the pollen sticks to their body and as they move from flower to flower, they accomplishment what the plant needs them to do…pollinate!

Betsy Betros is the author of “A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Region.”

Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society

Annual Spring Hosta and Shade Plant Sale May 12, 2012 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Buy Locally Grown! Specializing in Highest Quality Geraniums and Bedding Plants


Faith Lutheran Church 4805 W. 67th St. (67th & Roe), Prairie Village, KS A great collection of lovely Hostas and other Shade Perennials will be offered. Featured this year for the first time will be our free gift to every child over age 4, who is accompanied by a Parent or Guardian!

The public is welcome. Info: Gwen 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. You won’t want to miss this sale!

Also find us at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market! 913-642-5034

Open 9-6 Mon.-Fri. • Sat. 9-5 • Sun. 12-5


The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012


garden calendar n LAWNS

• Verticut or core aerate zoysia to help reduce thatch layers. • Plug or sod zoysia lawns to fill in bare areas. • Fertilize zoysia with high nitrogen fertilizer to promote green up and growth. • Mow zoysia at 1 to 2 inches. • Apply a slow release fertilizer to bluegrass and tall fescue only if watering this summer. • Delay watering lawns or water sparingly to help increase drought tolerance. • Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3 inches. • Control broadleaf weeds by spot treating.


• Plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in early May. • Seed sweet corn, cucumbers, squash and other summer vegetables. • Cultivate soil to control weed development. • Continue to mound soil around the base of potatoes for tuber development. • Harvest asparagus and rhubarb until spear or leaf size decreases. • Break off rhubarb seed stocks to encourage plant growth. • Continue fruit pest control program by applying insecticides and fungicides every week to 10 days. • Hand remove small fruit on trees when set is heavy to increase fruit size and prevent limb damage. • Water strawberries when dry for best harvest.


• Continue to plant new trees and shrubs. • Prune spring flowering shrubs after bloom. • Mulch around young plants to conserve moisture and control weed growth.

• Avoid use of string trimmers around trees and shrubs to prevent trunk damage. • Remove tree wrap products for summer. • Remove tree stakes that have been in place for one year. • Fertilize young trees to promote growth. • Prune birches and maples.


• Plant annuals. • Divide and plant perennials. • Lightly cultivate perennial beds and mulch. • Pinch back mums for a bushier plant. • Deadhead bulbs but to do not remove foliage or tie until it dies down naturally. • Plant container gardens with high quality potting mix and fertilize on a regular basis. • Start a gardener’s journal to chronicle plant and garden development. • Fertilize the garden if not already done with a balanced fertilizer.


• Move plants outside for the summer by gradually increasing exposure to sunlight. • Repot rebound plants into a 1-inch larger pot. • Fertilize to promote new growth under high summer light. • Remove built up dust on foliage by placing in shower or wiping with a soft, damp cloth. • Propagate new plants by taking cuttings and rooting. • Trim and prune leggy plants to encourage a bushier, stockier plant. • Control insects with insecticide sprays, or by wiping with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol.

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends environmentally-friendly gardening practices. This starts by identifying and monitoring problems. Cultural practices and controls are the best approach for a healthy garden. If needed, use physical, biological or chemical controls. Always consider the least toxic approach first. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Club Meetings African Violet Club of GKC Tues, May 8, 5:30-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, May 19, 9am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-784-5300

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Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, May 7, 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 “Native Plants”, by Dr. Bibie Chronwall, Greater Kansas City Master Gardener. Bring nature home with native plants: they like our hot summers and sometimes cold winters, our lean soils, and dry conditions. They use less fertilizer, support native pollinators and let you enjoy butterflies and birds. They are serenely beautiful and fit the landscape–what else can you ask? Some common and some less common species will be discussed, literature and web-sites presented along with suggestions for gardens to visit and be inspired by. Guests are always welcome. Come join us and make a gardening friend! 816-941-2445; GreaterKCGOA@ Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, May 9, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Loose Park Herb Garden, presented by Bonnie Haupt, Garden Chairperson. Registration required. Call 816-822-1515 Heart of America Gesneriad Sat, May 19, 9am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Independence Garden Club Mon, May 14, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center 4th floor, corner of Truman and Noland Rd’s. Program to be announced. We will also be selling plants at the Independence Farmers market at the corner of Main and Truman Rd’s on May 19 until 1pm. For more information call 816373-1169. Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, May 10, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. “Debugging Your Roses”. If you’re worried about bugs on your roses, then the May meeting of the Johnson County Rose Society will be one you won’t want to miss. The featured speaker for the JCRS meeting will be Dr. Ray Cloyd, PhD, K-State Extension Specialist in Entomology. Dr. Cloyd, who is a specialist in ornamental pest control and integrated pest management and co-author of The Compendium of Rose Diseases and Pests, will present a program on “De-Bugging Problems on Roses”. The presentation will focus on insect and mite pests associated with roses and how to effectively deal with them using a holistic pest management approach. Members and guests are welcome to take advantage of the “Consulting Rosarian’s Corner” during the meeting for a free individual consultation with a Consulting Rosarian about specific questions or concerns regarding all aspects of rose growing and care. All JCRS meetings are free and open to the general public. Refreshments provided. For more info, www. or Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, May 20, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300

Kansas City Rose Society Tues, May 22, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Groomer’s Training. For more information, visit our website: or call the Garden Center at 816-784-5300. Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, May 8, 7pm, at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd, Lawrence, KS. Our group meets monthly to learn about herbs. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Our May focus herbs are Lavender and Parsley. In addition to our topic herbs, we will explore Herbal Companion Planting. Plus, you never know what you’ll learn during our popular Share, Show, and Tell segment. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. No children under 12. For information and monthly newsletter email Leawood Garden Club Tues, May 22; Members Garden Tour. No meeting this month. Contact 816-363-0925 or for further information. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, May 8, 6pm; at Lee’s Summit Social Service, 4th & Douglas, Lee’s Summit, MO. Join us for one of our yearly community service projects by beautifying the grounds of the Social Service office. Bring tools, etc., and be prepared to help. If you have any extra annuals to share, that is appreciated. As always, after our work is complete, a potluck dinner will be shared by all. 816-524-8757; Lenexa Field and Garden Club Tues, May 8, 7-8pm; Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Guided tour of the Iris Garden and update on new Train Garden. www.; 913-541-1465. Northland Garden Club Tues, May 15, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone, MO. Program: “Preview of 2013 Annual Varieties” by Vaughn Fletcher, McHutchinson (Horticultural Distributor). Guests are welcome. For further information contact Gretchen Lathrop, 816-7814569. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, May 14, 7pm; at Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. The guest speaker will be: Dr. Bill Matthew MD. His topic: “Grafting”. Olathe physician over 40 years, Dr. Matthew grew up in Concordia, Kan, as the son of a Florist. He acquired the knowledge and passion to plant and grow flowers and trees at a young age. Dr. Matthew established a pecan grove on his farm in LaCygne, Kan, over 35 years ago and continues to grow and harvest pecans today. Please bring a pocketknife as each member will have the opportunity to do a graft. ShoMe African Violets Society Fri, May 11, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 St Joseph Herb Gardeners Thurs, May 3, 6pm; at Prairie Flower Basket in King City. “How to manage nursery and plant from plug’s” with Tommi Herbster. Meet at 6

The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

to carpool to King City for our 6:30 meeting. President: Helen Snuffer 816-279-7372 St Joseph Herb Gardeners Sat, May 12, 9am-2pm; at Wyatt Park. Annual Herb Sale. Bring your plants and plan to help work. President: Helen Snuffer 816-279-7372

Events, Lectures & Classes May Bannister Peony Festival The month of May; at Bannister Garden Center, 10001 E Bannister Rd, Kansas City, MO. Come in to our store to view more than 80 varieties of Peonies on display, and more than 130 varieties of Peonies in 2 gallon pots for spring sale. You may also place your order for Fall delivery. Bring your camera and family to take some of the best pictures. If you need further info let us know! 816-763-4664; Shawnee Mission Northwest’s High School Plant Sale Wed, May 2, at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, 12701 West 67th St, Shawnee, KS 66216. The last day the greenhouse will be open 3-6 pm. We have annuals, perennials, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and more. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Plant Sale Wed, May 2, 8am; at 15705 W 138th St, Olathe, KS 66062. From the corner of Brougham and 135th Street (next to Aldi’s) go south to 138th Street and turn left. Come and meet the members of Kansas’ oldest garden club; est. in 1929. Plant knowledge will be freely shared. Outdoor plants, herbs, and other garden items will be for sale. For more info contact Lila Courtney, 913764-2494, 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 Free herb demonstrations both days at 12:30. 913-685-3604 17th Annual Spring Dig Plant Sale Thurs, 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. For information call 913-281-3388. Annual Spring Fling Open House and Sale May 5 and 6; at Water’s Edge, 847 Indiana St, Lawrence, KS 66044. Join the party! We’ll be cooking up brats and dogs for lunch on Sun, May 6...bring the tads- and the old bullfrog, too! 785-841-6777 May Day Festival Sat, May 5, 9am-4pm; at Idyllwild Gardens, 1106 South Hwy 71, Savannah, MO. Plant Sale. Perennials & Shrubs 35% off. C. Jane Ceramic Arts will be there with her functional stoneware pottery. Dawn Forsberg of It Dawned on Me will have unique & tasty salsas. There will also be refurbished vintage furniture, handmade goat’s milk soap by Made With Love, 100% Soy Candles by La Ferme, and unique stamped metal jewelry from Blue Luna Designs. Sweet Wishes Cakery will be showcasing their wares and Sisters Corner with unique garden stakes. 816294-8972 or Leavenworth Master Gardeners Annual Herb and Plant Sale Sat, May 5, 8:30-11:30am, at Carroll Mansion Museum, 1128 5th Ave, Leavenworth, KS. Once again, this annual sale will feature a wide variety of popular and exciting herbs ready for planting,

May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

along with beautiful flowering hanging baskets, and locally grown plants for home landscapes. Leavenworth Master Gardeners will be available with printed recipes for using the herbs in cooking and suggestions on how to grow the herbs and plants in local gardens. Located on the grounds of historic Carroll Mansion, customers will be able to walk through the recently renovated Museum Herb Garden and shop at the Victorian Gift Shoppe. This is a very popular herb and plant sale and it is not unusual for items to sale out quickly, so come early for best selection! For more information visit our facebook page, leavenworthmastergardeners. Planting a Container Garden Sat, May 5, 10am; at Fire Lake Camp, 29580 Lone Star Rd, Paola, KS 66071. Just as stylish accessories bring a room to life, gorgeous planted containers are the finishing touch for every garden. Flower gardening in container gardens is truly a joy of mine. So whether it’s space issues as the motive...or, if you’re like me, the shear beauty of a well done container always catches your eye, we hope you find many ideas for container gardening through this hands on class. After class we will stroll through the gardens, tour Fire Lake Camp enjoy a beautiful lunch severed alfresco on our long tables created just for you by our guest chef. Lunch served at Noon. Design list, and the highest quality plants will be available for your purchase, if you would like to plant your container garden after our lunch we will assist you in planting your container. Containers, plants and soil will be available. $40 per person. Note: Our Asparagus Patch will be open for picking during your visit. Sign up or 913-544-9260. What’s New in Water Gardening Sat, May 5, 10:30am; at Water’s Edge, 847 Indiana St, Lawrence, KS 66044. Find out about recently introduced pond plants and new and improved products. Which work, which don’t and why you may or may not want them. Class is free. 785-841-6777 Iris Show Sat, May 5, noon-4pm; at the Overland Park Arboretum. The Greater Kansas City Iris Society (GKCIS) will host a judged Iris Show. All flowers will be displayed with names and type of flower. Iris will be judged and awarded ribbons and other honors as approved by the American Iris Society. The public is encouraged to bring flowers for display or for entry. All varieties for entry must be correctly named. Iris should be cut near the soil line and will be displayed in provided containers. Contact Iris Society for show entry times, information, and guidelines prior to the date of the show at 913-406-2709;  Planting & Identifying Annual & Perennial Herbs Sat, May 5, 1-3pm, at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village, just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection. Presented by The Gardens at Unity Village. $10/FREE for members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to for enrollment forms or call 816-769-0259. Water Quality and Clarity Sat, May 5, 1:30pm; at Water’s Edge, 847 Indiana St, Lawrence, KS 66044. Get the skinny on testing and treating water conditions. Make sure your pond gets started right...or back on track! We’ll review pond planting and stocking guidelines for balancing a low maintenance garden pond. Class is free. 785-841-6777 Bird Walk — Learn, Listen & Identify Wed, May 9, 9am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $5.00 per person – 10 people max. Join Laura & John Bosnak, our bird specialists, as they take you on a walk through the Arboretum sharing their wealth of knowledge about birds and how to identify them by their songs and calls. John and Laura have traveled extensively and have been involved with the Audubon and other birding organizations for many years. Dress appropriately (closed toe

(continued on page 42)

Know YOUR Missouri Certified Green Industry Star Who is a Missouri Certified Green Industry Star?

A specialized green industry professional that has been tested on basic principles / knowledge of horticulture as well as excelled in a particular specialized area of the Green Industry.

The Missouri Certified Green Industry Star program objectives are:

• To raise the standards of the Green Industry’s Professional Horticulturist in the state of Missouri. • To assist the public in identifying Certified Green Industry Horticulture Professionals. • To improve performance within the profession by encouraging participation in a continuing program of professional development.

Here’s a list of Missouri Landscape & Nursery Association Certified Green Industry Star Professionals: Aaron Jung, Horticultural Impressions LLC, Platte City Alice Longfellow, Longfellow’s Garden Center Inc, Centertown Damon Doherty, Hillside Gardens & Landscaping Inc, Neosho Doug English, St. Louis Eric Lovelace, Forrest Keeling Nursery, Elsberry Henry McCormick, Carson’s Nursery, Springfield Jeff Coffey, Jeff Coffey’s Landscaping, Joplin Kim Lovelace-Young, Forrest Keeling Nursery, Elsberry Bob Call, Longfellow’s Garden Center Inc, Centertown Dave Brakhane, Pleasantview Landscaping Inc, Rocheport Ellen Barredo, Bowood Farms, St. Louis Glenn Kristek, Wickman Gardens, Springfield Janet Dueber, Longfellow’s Garden Center Inc, Centertown Kevin Sir, Bowood Farms, St. Louis Kristopher Fuller, Full Features Nursery & Landscape Center, Smithville Lynn Young, Baxter Gardens West, St. Paul Nikki Pettit, Wickman Gardens, Springfield Roland Lenzenhuber, Forest Lawn Nursery LLC, Jonesburg Steve Dorrell, Carson’s Nursery, Springfield Mark Brakhane, Pleasantview Landscaping, Inc, Rocheport Mike Curran, Summer Winds, Ellisville Rain Miljan, Hillside Gardens & Landscaping, Neosho Sheri Bohrer, Forrest Keeling Nursery, Elsberry Cynthia Collins, Hartke Nursery, St. Louis David Wehmeyer, Hillermann Nursery & Florist Inc, Washington Sandra Hillermann McDonald, Hillermann Nursery & Florist Inc, Washington Don Sherman, Hillermann Nursery and Florist Inc, Washington Anne McKinstry, McKinstry Plant Sales, Bowling Green Gregg Larsen, Gregg Larsen Landscaping Inc, Springfield Donald Walls, Hartke Nursery, Sunset Hills John Logan, Logan Landscape & Design, Joplin Joe Krygiel, Baxter Gardens West, O’Fallon Susan Ehlenbeck, Missouri Department of Agriculture

To Locate and shop with a Missouri Certified Green Industry Professional Consult our Membership Directory at

The STARS logo is next to each member who is or has a STARS member. 41


To register for the classes/events listed here, call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online and see pictures of projects at and follow the LEARNING link. Core Balance Yoga at the Gardens, 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19 Stretch, strengthen and relax all in the serene setting of Powell Gardens. Each class will take place rain or shine, but if weather permits we will practice outdoors! This class will be appropriate for all people who are relatively injury-free. Come and share in the yoga bliss, and leave relaxed, recharged and renewed! (This is the first of three sessions. Register for two sessions and the third is ? price). Each session $24/ adult, $18/Members. Registration required by May 14. Backyard Chicken Keeping, 9-11 a.m. Saturday, May 19 Learn to raise your own backyard poultry flock from “peeps” to pasture. Chickens have the amazing ability to convert kitchen scraps, bugs and grains into tasty, nutritious eggs, while ridding your yard of pests and reducing the spread of weeds. Plus, they produce a high-nitrogen fertilizer for your compost and garden. Come discover how to get started, which breeds to select, how to house your flock and how to overcome common chickenrelated problems. (Register and attend with one friend for half price!) $24/adult, $18/Members. Registration required by May 14. The Troll’s Treasure: Geocaching (Ages 8 & Up), 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 Come embark on a high-tech quest to find a Troll’s treasure trove hidden somewhere at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Gardens. Each participant will take away a special token once found. As with most troll treasures, this will be a temporary cache and will only be present on this date! Bring your own GPScapable device or smart phone or take a turn using one of our devices. Come early and explore 42

the Fairy Houses & Forts exhibit. $9/adult, $5/Members, $4/child ages 8-12. Registration required by May 14. Zen Zone Yoga: Yoga for Gardeners, 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 20 The benefits of yoga are increased when practiced outside. Connecting yoga energy with the tranquility of Powell Gardens will be an uplifting experience for all. Come practice under the guidance or an experienced teacher. (This is the first of four sessions. Register for three sessions and the fourth is ? price). Each session $24/adult, $18/Members. Registration required by May 14. Honeybee Keeping 201, noon-4 p.m. Saturday, June 2 Learn how to install bees, use a bee smoker and how to maintain the hive. Discover the proper way to inspect a hive and how to identify and treat common diseases that threaten a working hive. Beekeeper safety will be addressed. As a bonus, you will find out how to extract honey, what equipment is needed and how to store your “liquid gold.” Go beyond the basics of beekeeping in this advanced session. $24/ adult, $20/Members. Registration required by May 29. Tippy Terra Cotta Herb Planter, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 9 Tipping pots, one atop the other, appear to overflow with lush herbs. This is the perfect planter to add height to your existing garden or for the gardener with limited horizontal space. Learn the basics of container gardening and how to care for your herb planter. Plus you will make this herb planter to take home, complete with a selection of herbs. All materials and plants included. $37/project, $29/ Members. Registration required by May 29.

Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see (continued from page 41) shoes and long pants are recommended). Bug repellent and binoculars are encouraged. The walk is limited to 10 adults so you must preregister. You may register by going to www. and follow the prompts. Bring your acknowledgement receipt to the walk for admission. For information only, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Native Plant Sale at “Wings Over Weston” Birding Festival Thurs-Sat, May 10-12, 8am-3pm; at Weston Bend State Park on Hwy 45 in Weston, MO. This sale is sponsored by Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City and proceeds help support the Important Bird Areas program in Missouri, as well as other bird conservation and public nature education projects. Native plants have many advantages in your yard: they require less water and maintenance and they support a variety of birds and beneficial insects. Please come out and stock up for spring planting—just in time for Mother’s Day! For more information, see weston-bend-state-park or call 816-824-1074. Liberty Town and Country Garden Club Plant Share Fri, May 11, 8am-10am; at Rotary Plaza, corner of Gallatin and Franklin Streets, 1 block west of the Liberty Square. Garden club members will share plants from their personal gardens with the community. Area gardeners are also encouraged to bring their own divided perennials, shrubs or annuals to share. No early birds please. The plant share is an annual community service provided by the Town and Country Garden Club which has been in existence in Liberty since 1947. Santa Fe Trail Garden Club Garage/Plant Sale May 11-12, 8am-5pm Fri and 8am-noon Sat; at 10501 W 50th Place, Shawnee, KS. Come and find unbelievable treasurers in plants and other household items. Lots of plants and décor for Mother’s Day. Rain or shine sale will be held. Cash only. Kansas City Garden Club Plant Sale May 11-12, 9am-5am; at 9612 Meadow Lane, Leawood, Ks. One block West of 95th Street and Lee Blvd. Shrubs, perennials, bulbs, tropicals, annuals, trees, or houseplants. Contact 913-3415241 or 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. Raffle with over 30 wonderful prizes. Rain or shine. Come early to get the best choices. Checks, cash, and credit cards accepted. For more information, go to, or call MU Extension at 816-252-5051. Basics of Bees Sat, May 12, 10am-noon, at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village, just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection. Presented by The Gardens at Unity Village. With our beekeeper Rick Drake. $10/FREE to members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to for enrollment forms or call 816-769-0259. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Annual Sale Sat, May 12, 9am-2pm; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St, Prairie Village, KS.

A great collection of lovely Hostas and other Shade Perennials will be offered. Featured this year for the first time will be our free gift to every child over age 4, who is accompanied by a parent or guardian. The public is welcome! Info call Gwen 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. Basics of Bees Workshop Sat, May 12, 10am-noon; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). With our beekeeper Rick Drake. A beehive will be given away to one lucky attendee! $10/FREE to members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook! Insects in the Garden Fri, May 18, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Do you ever wonder whether the insects in your garden are helping or harming your plants? Learn about the common insects found in our area so that you can identify garden pests as well as the beneficial insects. We will also discuss how to control problem insects. Presented by Mary Roduner, Beanstalk Children’s Garden Coordinator. FREE. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-9313877 to register. Independence Garden Club Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 8am-1pm; at the Independence Farmers Market, corner of Main and Truman Rd’s. For more information call 816-373-1169. Visit 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. Questions: Dayna 816-356-9892. Native Wildflower Sale Sat, May 19, 9am-5pm; in the CVS parking lot at the corner of 75th St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Missouri Native Plant Society will sell extra eastern US Native plants from their own gardens, including lots of shade plants. Prices are right and often negotiable. Proceeds benefit grant program for study of native plants. Contact: Sue Hollis at or 816-561-9419. Bird Walk – Learn, Listen & Identify Sat, May 26, 8am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $5 per person – 25 people max. Join Nic Allen, a true nature enthusiast who began his birding career in his early twenties. He has been an active member of the Burroughs Audubon Society, Squaw Creek Leadership team and the Kansas Rare Birds Committee. He enjoys leading bird walks and sharing his love for the outdoors with people of all ages. Dress appropriately (closed toe shoes and long pants are recommended). Bug repellent and binoculars are encouraged. The walk is limited to 25 adults so pre-register. Register by going to and follow the prompt. For information only, 913-685-3604. Natural Insect Repellent  Sat, May 26, 1-3pm, at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village, just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection. Presented by The Gardens at Unity Village. Why not make your own? It smells terrific! $10/FREE for members. Just in time for your Memorial Day Picnic! Please

The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to for enrollment forms or call 816-769-0259 for more information or visit us on FaceBook! 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 (7 Miles East off Hwy 13 on TT Hwy). 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. Greek food and Doc’s Root Beer, and more. Evening Shade Farm’s famous Lemon Verbena Cake. The Foot Stomping Bear Creek Folk Band will provide music in a beautiful relaxing country setting. LOTS OF FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! Free Admission. 417282-6985;; Natural Insect Repellent Workshop Sat, May 26, 10-11am; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). Why not make your own? It smells terrific! $10/FREE for members. Just in time for your Memorial Day Picnic! Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook!

June Plant Diseases Fri, Jun 1, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Learn about common plant diseases and how to control them. We will discuss problems such as tomato blossom end rot, septoria leaf spot, cedar-apple rust and powdery mildew. Presented by Mary Roduner, Beanstalk Children’s Garden Coordinator. There is no cost for attending the workshop. Space is limited so please call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. 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. Presented by Northland Garden Club. For info, www. or call Dee West, 816455-4013. MO Master Naturalist Orientation Meeting Tues, Jun 5, 6:30pm, at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO. Learn about the community-based natural resource education and volunteer service organization; explanation of the mission, the training classes, the requirements and the benefits of this fun group. Contact Stacey Davis 816-759-7300 or Deciduous Trees and Shrubs (AGBS 106) Jun 6–Jul 27, Mon/Wed 5:45-8:30pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview Campus, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. Local field trips enhance studying the value & identification of regional native and ornamental plants. 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, please e-mail Pam.Hensley@ or call Leah Berg 816-353-7170. Special Topics in Horticulture (AGBS 151) Jun 7–Jul 28, Tues/Thurs 5:45-8:30pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview Campus, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. This special elective taught by Mary Roduner of the Kansas City Community Gardens offers an introduction to horticulture with field trips and projects tailored to needs and interests of students, ranging from annuals and perennials, native plants, edibles in the

May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

landscape to beneficial insects. 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, please e-mail Pam.Hensley@ or call Leah Berg 816-353-7170. The 17th Annual Union Hill Garden Tour Sun, Jun 10, 11am-4pm. Walk through over a dozen residential and community gardens. Free parking is available in KCPT lots at 31st Street and Grand Avenue. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors (over age 60). Kids under 12 are free. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the historic Union Cemetery. Plants will be available for purchase along the tour. Admission includes free backyard BBQ lunch at the Velvet Dog: Burgers, chips, drink specials, and entertainment. This is one of Kansas City’s most unique garden tours in a historic Victorian neighborhood, just south of Crown Center. For more information, please go to www.unionhill. com or find us on Facebook under “Union Hill Garden Tour”. Cruise Through the Gardens of Lakewood Tue, Jun 12, 9am-8:30pm; at the Lakewood Marina, Lee’s Summit, MO. Members of the Lakewood Garden Club will host this 17th annual event. A picnic meal and a 90 minute pontoon boat ride will take our guests to view the lovely gardens and landscapes of our lakefront community. Cost: $22. Ticket includes one picnic and one cruise. No rain date. For cruise times and reservations call Cheryl 816-373-2432 or Norma 816-350-3236. KC Cactus and Succulent Society presents the Mid-States Conference Sale and Show Jun 22-23, 9am-4pm; at The Hilton Garden Inn, 19677 E Jackson Dr, Independence MO 64057. Show and Sale open to the public. Vendors from around the country will be selling plants, books and pottery. The Mid-States Conference is open to paid registrants and features a line-up of speakers including Panayoti Kelaidis, from the Denver Botanical Garden who will be speaking on hardy cactus and succulents. For more information on the show and sale or the conference check out or contact Eva at 816-444-9321. 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. For more information, call Marilyn at 816-640-2300. Countryside Garden Tour Sat, Jun 23, 9am-4pm. The Master Gardeners of Johnson County Missouri present a Countryside Garden Tour. Explore four private country gardens in Warrensburg, Mo. These diverse gardens are beautiful and educational. One of the tour highlights is the stunning garden belonging to Barbara Fetchenhier, Powell Gardens’ Garden Interpreter, and her husband Jeff. There will also be an art exhibit by Mid-Missouri Artists and a plant sale. Tickets are $5 and available from the University of Missouri’s Johnson County Extension Office at 660-747-3193. Northland Garden Club Flower Show Sat, Jun 23; at the NKC Public Library, 2251 Howell, North Kansas City, MO. The theme of the sixth annual Flower Show of the Northland Garden club is “Cottage Gardens”. Judging will be held from 10am-12pm. The show is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to enter their arrangements in the following categories. Petite and Precious, Collected Charm, Branching Out, Art Alive and Green and Gorgeous. The specimen categories include A Perfect Bloom, Best Leaf and Showiest Shrub. Please contact Marla Galetti with any questions. 816-587-1556 St Joseph Water Garden Pond Tour Sat, Jun 23, Sun, Jun 24, both days 1-5pm. Tickets $7 each for adults. Kids under 12 free

(continued on page 44)

Charity Fridays Come out Friday evenings, 5-8 p.m. to support your favorite charities. Enjoy free beverages, wine, hors d’oeuvres and music. 10% of your purchase during this 3-hour period will be donated to the honored charity of that night. Help celebrate local charities on the dates below. At Suburban Lawn & Garden, 135th & Wornall May 4 May 11 May 18 May 25

Friends of the KCMO Mounted Police Hope Faith Ministries Catholic Charities of NE Kansas Jr. League of Johnson/Wyandotte Counties

At Suburban Lawn & Garden, 105th & Roe May 4 May 11 May 18 May 25

Faith Love Hope Win Rose Brooks Center Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired

Water Gardens Tour 2012 19th Annual Water Garden Tour Come see 50 plus backyard water gardens of Water Garden Society members Saturday, July 7 • Sunday, July 8 9am - 5pm Rain or Shine Bus tours available.

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

Contributing Sponsor: House of Rocks 43

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

785-843-7058;; Mon-Fri, 1-4pm


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


913-715-7050; Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm;


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


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


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


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


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

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

(continued from page 43) with adult ticket. Large selections of water features, all styles and sizes, many new and lots of established ones. A great value and lots of fun. Tickets available at Earl May, Moffets Nursery, Mann’s, Westlake Hardware, or call 816-2327041 or 816-233-4312 for questions or tickets. Website for pictures and updates RAW Food Workshop Sat, Jun 23, 10am-noon; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). This inspirational RAW Food workshop demonstrates how you can change your food and change your life. Facilitated by Jane, Loran and Jace Van Benthusen. $10/Free for members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook! Cultured Foods Workshop Sat, Jun 30, 10am-noon; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). Come explore the benefits of Cultured Foods-facilitated by Donna Schwenk, founder of Cultured Food Life $10/ Free for members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook!



Weather Report

Highs and Lows Avg temp 66° Avg high temp 75° Avg low temp 55° Highest recorded temp 102° Lowest recorded temp 26° Nbr of above 70° days 23

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 8 Avg nbr of cloudy days 14

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0” Avg rainfall 4.5” Avg nbr of rainy days 11 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases Full Moon: May 5 Last Quarter: May 12 New Moon: May 20 First Quarter: May 28 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac


Plant Above Ground Crops: 4, 5, 20, 24, 25, 31

Plant Root Crops: 5-7, 10, 11

Control Plant Pests: 12, 13, 16-18

Transplant: 4, 5, 31

Plant Flowers: 20, 24, 25

Garlic Workshop Sat, Jul 7, 8am-1pm; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). Come celebrate GARLIC! Harvest your own or buy pre-picked from our Market stand. Try some new ways to enjoy this healthy and tasty vegetable. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more visit us on FaceBook! Flowers in the Flint Hills Sat, Jul 7, 9am-3pm; at the Marion City Library, 101 Library St, Marion, KS. Visitors to the historic city of Marion will see two beautiful gardens at the Marion County Lake, and a peaceful

scenic landscape in town. In Florence they will visit a mercantile with a quaint garden on Main Street and then continue through on Main Street to a home south of town with a historic history, home and beautiful yard and garden. There will also be a farmer’s market and a Car Show held at the beautiful Brooker Park in Marion. Cost is $5.00. Tickets with maps must be purchased at the Marion City Library that is located in the recently renovated 1912 Santa Fe Depot which is celebrating its’ 100th anniversary this year. Refreshments will be served at the library. For more information call the Marion City Library 620-382-2442 or visit

August Tomato Workshop Sat, Aug 25, 10-11am; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). Today we honor the beautiful and colorful TOMATO - all heirloom varieties should be in abundant supply! Lou Elder will facilitate a FREE workshop on Seed Saving. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook!

September Pesto Workshop Sat, Sep 1, 10-11am; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). Get creative with PESTO – It’s not just for Basil anymore $10/Free for members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook! Scotland Workshop Sat, Sep 1, 10-11am; at our historic Apple Barn, 150B NW Colbern Rd at Unity Village (just a quarter mile west of the Colbern-Lee’s Summit Rd intersection). The magical Findhorn Gardens draw many to its mystical and sandy shores. Member Linda Chubbuck shares insights from her recent trip to Scotland. $10/Free to members. Please make reservations 1 week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. For more information, visit us on FaceBook!

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: Deadline for June issue is May 5. The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012


re you a home gardener with a project in mind, and need the advice of a green industry professional? Or, are you a trade professional looking for like-minded peers with whom you can network? Then consider the Hort NetWORK. The Hort NetWORK is a non-profit organization offering networking and educational opportunities for green industry professionals in the Kansas City area. In addition, it’s a resource for homeowners looking for professionals. Listed here are the current members. If you’d like to know more about any of these members, feel free to give them a call. Detailed information about member businesses and the Hort NetWORK is available on our Website at Service Atcheson Lawn & Landscape 1725 Northeast Rice Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64086 816.525.5296 Audrie Seeley & Co. 9300 Holmes, Kansas City, MO 64131 816.361.0011 Bartlett Hauber Landscaping 12917 2nd St., Grandview, MO 64030 816.943.8118 Belton Parks & Recreation 16400 N.E. Mullen Rd., Belton, MO 64012 816.331.0336 Bergstrom Growers Inc. 503 W. Court, Clay Center, KS 67432 785.632.5773 Bird’s Botanicals 8201 E. 23rd St., Kansas City, MO 64129 816.252.4478 Bonnie Barrett Johnson Gardens 12401 Delmar, Leawood, KS 66209 913.338.0104 Brickman Group 540 S. 12th St., Kansas City, KS 66105 913.371.2661 Cedar Hill Landscaping 9295 Cedar Creek Rd., DeSoto, KS 66018 913.636.0347 Container Creations 9165 W. 194th Terr., Bucyrus, KS 66013 913.302.7646 Creative Contours Lawn and Landscape LLC 23104 S. C Hwy., Peculiar, MO 64078 816.863.2928 Creative Outdoor Spaces 7135 Cherokee Dr., Prairie Village, KS 66208 913.432.1577 Down to Earth Gardening 2507 W. 98th St., Shawnee Mission, KS 66206 913.341.7502 Dr. Grow 9804 Pembroke Ln., Leawood, KS 66206 913.381.6325 Earth Expressions, Inc. 15502 Beverly Ct., Overland Park, KS 66223 913.238.4937 Embassy Landscape Group 6105 N.W. River Park Dr., Riverside, MO 64150 816.436.4194 Essential Extras, Inc. Box 16942, Kansas City, MO 64133 816.923.5865

May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Fears Design 6919 Rene Ct., Shawnee, KS 66216 913.927.2453

Nick’s Greenleaf Gardens 13315 E. 147th St., Kansas City, MO 64149 816.322.1614

Grow With Us Distribution Services LLC P.O. Box 23274, Overland Park, KS 66283 913.685.1569

Gardens by Design, Inc. 4708 Fontana, Roeland Park, KS 66205 913.831.0185

NiteLites of Kansas City Outdoor Lighting P.O. Box 24083, Overland Park, KS 66283 913.871.1299

Hermes Nursery 2000 W. 47th St., Shawnee Mission, KS 66218 913.441.2400

Gloria’s Gardening 9721 Lee Blvd., Leawood, KS 66206 913.381.3147

Paradise Nursery, Inc. 5901 N.E. 96th St., Kansas City, MO 64156 816.407.7888

Home Nursery Inc. 100 Nursery Rd., Albers, IL 62215 816.436.0212

Green Spectrum Marketing, LLC 9209 W. 145th Pl., Overland Park, KS 66221 913.406.4770

Pat Friesen & Company, LLC 9636 Meadow Ln., Leawood, KS 66206 913.341.1211

Hydrotech 11430 Carter, Overland Park, KS 66210 913.345.8222

Greenleaf Garden Services P.O. Box 7527, Shawnee Mission, KS 66207 816.916.5171

Red Cedar Gardens 7895 W. 183rd St., Stilwell, KS 66085 913.897.2286

Loma Vista Nursery 12905 W. 143rd St., Olathe, KS 66062 913.897.7010

Heinen Landscape & Irrigation P.O. Box 1617, Mission, KS 66222 913.432.5011

Red Oak Landscaping, LLC 20978 Floyd St., Bucyrus, KS 66013 913.533.2217

National Nursery Products – KC 4502 W. 63rd Terr., Prairie Village, KS 66208 913.362.0503

Hermes Landscaping 13030 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66215 913.888.2400

Richard Clayton Barrett, ASLA 7128 Nall Ave., Overland Park, KS 66208 913.362.1200

Plantright, LLC 30050 W. 135th St., Olathe, KS 66061 913.284.5650

Hittle Landscape Architects P.O. Box 83, Manhattan, KS 66505 785.539.7772

Simply Green Lawn Sprinklers, Inc. 4301 N.W. Gateway, Kansas City, MO 64150 816.746.6818

Hix and Son Aquatics 2305 W. 96th St., Leawood, KS 66206 913.441.2400

Soil Service Nursery 7125 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64131 816.333.3232

House of Rocks, Inc. 1725 Merriam Ln., Kansas City, KS 66106 913.432.5990

StoneRidge Outdoor 19309 K 68 Hwy., Paola, KS 66071 913.963.3723

It’s My Nature 9629 Lee Blvd., Leawood, KS 66206 913.269.6941

Sturgis Materials 550 S. Packard St., Kansas City, KS 66105 913.371.7757

Karen Lyman Fine Gardening 9828 Sagamore Rd., Leawood, KS 66206 913.648.2787

Suburban Lawn and Garden Inc. 135th & Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64148 816.942.2921

Landworks, Inc. 9317 Woodend Rd., Edwardsville, KS 66111 913.422.9300

Summit Lawn & Landscape 12020 Grandview Rd., Grandview, MO 64030 816.215.3106

Lawn and Landscape Solutions 7001 W. 76th St., Overland Park, KS 66204 913.238.9318

Sweetbay 5009 W. 70th St., Prairie Village, KS 66208 913.486.5438

McCarter Landscape Lighting 11829 W. 138th St., Overland Park, KS 66221 913.634.3948

Turf Design, Inc. 25775 W. 103rd St., Olathe, KS 66061 913.764.6531

Metamorphosis Landscape Design, LLC 11730 E. 71st Ct., Kansas City, MO 64133 816.309.9383

Water’s Edge 847 Indiana, Lawrence, KS 66044 785.841.6777

Nancy’s Mighty Mouse Land & Stone ‘Scaping 3732 Jefferson St., Kansas City, MO 64111 913.515.5543


Next To Nature Landscape 11785 Conley, Overland Park, KS 66283 913.207.7237

Educational Gardeners Connect/Garden Center Association 6911 N.W. Blair Rd., Parkville, MO 64152 913.302.4234 K-State Research and Extension 3601 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Ctr, Manhattan, KS 66506 785.532.3504 Kauffman Memorial Garden 4800 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110 816.932.1200 Metropolitan Community College-Longview 500 S.W. Longview Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64081 816.353.7170 Missouri Dept. of Agriculture/Plant Industries 608 S.E. Florence Ave., Lee’s Summit, MO 64063 816.524.2197 National Green Centre P.O. Box 411747, Kansas City, MO 64141 888.233.1876 Overland Park Arboretum 8909 W. 179th St., Bucyrus, KS 66013 913.685.3604 Powell Gardens 1609 N.W. US Hwy. 50, Kingsville, MO 64061 816.697.2600 The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 913.648.4728

Applied Ecological Services, Inc. 1269 N. 222nd Rd., Baldwin City, KS 66006 785.594.2245


Industry News:


Landscape Makeover by Local Team

atrick Vogt has come a long way since he started mowing lawns as a teenager. Today, he operates a lawn and landscape company called By The Blade, which recently participated in a fundraising event for the Kansas City Symphony. The 43rd Annual Symphony Showhouse is an annual “home makeover,” combining the talents of interior and outdoor designers from around the Metro. About 15,000 people pay to tour the finished product every year, with proceeds going to the KC Symphony Alliance. By The Blade’s Head Landscaper Bryant Schmidt spent over 150 hours creating a concept for the Showhouse. The company also donated $35,000 in materials to complete the front yard, including trees, shrubs, rock, mulch and perennials. The theme for the landscape was “French Country Manor,” because the owners had previous-

See the 43rd Annual Symphony Showhouse makeover at 47 W. 53rd Street in Kansas City through May 20. ly lived in France. Large, mature trees provided an excellent starting point for a shade garden, which Vogt says does not receive any sunlight. Lush evergreen and foliage were planted alongside vibrant, naturally coordinated blooms. Many of the existing shrubs were transplanted to different areas of the landscape to cut cost. Seasonal pot plantings were added for enhanced color.

But perhaps most important, Vogt says, was allowing the yard to complement the home’s architecture. “The house is stone and very square. Previously, you had square flower beds, which didn’t add much movement. So we redid everything to make it rounded instead,” he explains. The beds were edged in stone and filled with dark-dyed mulch to compliment the home’s classical architecture.

As a last touch, outdoor lighting was installed to add a soft illumination to the ambiance of the landscape. The Showhouse is located at 47 W. 53rd Street and open for tours through May 20. For more information or tickets, visit www. For more information about By The Blade Lawn and Landscaping, visit

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The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

Properly Dispose Hazardous Products


id you find garden products that are unused, outdated, and considered hazardous while spring cleaning? If you’re cleaning out the garden shed or garage, and it’s time to dispose of old herbicides, fertilizers, stains and paints, what do you do with them? There are regional household hazardous waste collection facilities and are available for residents to safely dispose their household hazardous waste. Locations are in Kansas City, Mo., Lee’s Summit, Wyandotte County, Olathe, Johnson County, Leavenworth County, and Miami County. A list of these locations, along with directions and hours of operation, is available on the Mid-America Regional Council web site ( htm). Here’s an abbreviated list for your convenience.

Professional’s Corner

In Missouri: Kansas City: 4707 Deramus; 816-513-8400 Lee’s Summit: 2101 SE Hamblen Road; 816-969-1805 In Kansas: Wyandotte County: 2443 S. 88th Street; 913-573-5400 Olathe: 1420 S. Robinson; 913-971-9311 Johnson County: Mission; 913-715-6900 Leavenworth County: 24967 136th Street, Leavenworth; 913-727-2858 Miami County: 327th Street and Hospital Drive; 913-294-4117 Many of these locations operate by appointment only, so be sure to give them a call first. Thank you for properly disposing of hazardous materials and for protecting people, animals and landscapes of your community.

Don’t Miss a Single Issue! The Ka nsa s City

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.

May 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Jim Gardner has been with Family Tree Nursery for most of his 33 years in the nursery industry. Name: Jim Gardner Company: Family Tree Nursery Job title: Store Manager Liberty location. Background: I attended William Jewell Collage in Liberty with a football scholarship and a desire to learn about business, pursuing a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in management. At the same time, to help pay for school, I started working at Miller’s Nursery in Parkville. I tried my hand in the entrepreneur realm and decided I was better as a part of a team of passionate horticulturalists than I was alone, and became a part of the Family Tree family. As a trial for my own self growth as a manager I left Family Tree for a time and managed for a national nursery company. After rejoining Family Tree Nursery, I became the Store Manager at the Liberty Location. I feel as though I have come home. Describe a typical day: A typical day is to come in, smile, give George Pollard, who has been there since the beginning of time, a hard time, and start answering questions and guiding people to the right solutions. I do love my job. Favorite time of year: For me, it’s June. That is the time when spring, with all of its hustle and bustle has subsided and I can go back to the joy of building relationships with my customers again, because they are my friends as well. It is also the time when our store gets its spot in the lights, and we put together a Garden Party. Middle of June, everything in its prime, it is a blast. This year we are going for a Hawaiian Luau theme. How much fun! Favorite garden destination: I probably should say some place in the list of great destinations in Kansas City. Honestly though, my favorite place to go is the Family Tree growing facility at Wolcott, where we grow the majority of our fabulous plant material. I have the privilege to walk through acres of the finest plant material you would ever get to lay your eyes upon. What every gardener should know: First year it sleeps, Second year it creeps … Third year it leaps. Be patient with your new trees and shrubs. The most important part of any plant is the root. Take care of that by proper preparation and you will be successful. Little known secret: When you are figuring out landscape or a flower bed, look at the area backwards with a mirror and you will see the balance and where you need to make changes because everything is different. Also, remember to plant in odd numbers, threes, fives. Landscapes are more eye appealing with those groupings. Contact information: 830 W. Liberty Dr., Liberty, MO 64068; Hrs: 9am-7pm Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm Sat, 10:30am-5pm Sun; 816-7810001; website: 47


SUBURBAN LAWN & GARDEN, with acres of fresh, locally grown

flowers, plants, shrubs and trees,many on SALE now.


on the Biggest trees at our 135th & Wornall nursery and New location at K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy. Many large trees are on sale up to 50% off and all come with Suburban’s exclusive 2-year guarantee. Selected shrubs are also up to 50 % off.

Spring Flowering Cherry

A fountain of beauty each spring. These delicate & graceful ornamentals make a lovely addition to any yard. Choose Double Weeping, Canada Red Select or Snow Fountain -many on sale now at our 135th & Wornall and K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy locations.


Arriving Daily from our own greenhouses


Large Trees at

135th & Wornall, also K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy

th & Wornall 135 48

(816) 942-2921

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy (913) 897-5100

105th & Roe

The Kansas City Gardener / May 2012

(913) 649-8700

KCG 05May12  
KCG 05May12