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The Kansas City

GARDENER A M o nt hly Guide to Suc ce ssful G arde n ing

July 2012

A Fresh Look at Rose-of-Sharon

Patrick’s Picks: Garden Blogs Help for the tired container Why Butterflies are Beautiful Brown Spots in Your Lawn

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

Open Saturday and Sunday During the Water Garden Pond Tour July 7 & 8.

The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Pros of non-fussy garden

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Erin Busenhart Barbara Fairchild Clarke Fry Diane & Doc Gover Kylo Heller Lenora Larson Terry Blair Michel Patrick Muir Dennis Patton Diane Swan Brent Tucker Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone/Fax: 913-648-4728


he garden is especially handsome now. The Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’ starts that were planted early have now become a bright band of color at the front edge of the garden. The blooming daylilies (names of which escape me) that return year after year are a parade of varying colors and heights. And Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ has been nonstop with its spears of blue. Look deeper into the garden and you’ll see the yellow Yarrow blooms pop up behind the liriope border, and the white and pink veined Caladiums standout in front of the boxwood. At the front door, there’s the tropical hibiscus that never fails to show it’s coral blooms daily. I’m continually impressed. All of this and so much more happens in the garden, in spite of my neglect. Yes, that’s right ... neglect. Admittedly, I have been less than attentive to my garden these days, compared to previous years. The season began like gang busters, with me tending to all of the garden duties ... cleaning out the beds, hard pruning the

boxwood, fertilizing and watering. Then, as spring was underway and July 28 (the date for the WIN FOR KC Triathlon) kept getting closer and closer, I traded my gardening time for training time. Instead of watering, I’ve been swimming. Instead of weeding, I’ve been running. Instead of pruning, I’ve been biking. Now when I look beyond all that gorgeousness in the garden, I notice all of the needed chores. There’s sucker growth on the crab-apple tree. The weeds are as tall as the shrubs. The containers on the deck need a dose of fertilizer. The hydrangea need pruning ... and I’m just getting started. Thankfully we don’t have a fussy garden. Other than the new intersectional peony added Mother’s Day, much of what’s planted is more than two seasons

For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at

In this issue

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

July 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 7

Join us and fellow gardeners. Become a fan.

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 31. July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

GN Plains coreopsis ................ 4 Ask the Experts ....................... 6 Patrick’s Picks: Garden Blogs .... 8 Help for containers .................. 12 The Bird Brain ......................... 14 Rose Report ............................ 15 Rose-of-Sharon ........................ 16 Brown Spots in Lawn ............... 18 Why Butterflies are Beautiful ..... 20 Soil Test Nitrogen .................... 21

old and well established. Watering is important, of course. But if I don’t get to the pruning this season, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll catch up with it when the time is appropriate. Plus a requirement for selection in the Cavanaugh garden is low maintenance. I don’t mind feeding and watering when needed. Beyond that, you, little plant (shrub or tree) are on your own. As the chore list gets longer in my head, I promise myself that July 29 is the action date. That is, of course, I’m able to function the day after my first triathlon. Until then, I’ll do what I can to keep up with essential maintenance and leave the rest for another day. I’ll see you in the garden!

Negative Space ...................... 22 Passionflower vine ................... 23 Garden Calendar .................... 25 Upcoming Events ..................... 26 Powell Garden Events .............. 26 Weather ................................. 28 Hotlines .................................. 28 Bugs Wanted Alive .................. 29 Water Garden Ideas Galore ..... 30 Professional’s Corner ................ 31


about the cover ...

With a trademarked name like Lil’ Kim™ hinting at a compact size only 3-4’ tall and wide, even restricted spaces may welcome a Rose-of-Sharon like this one with white flowers and red “eyes” in the centers. Leah Berg shares other varieties of this longblooming, easy-to-grow shrub starting on page 16. (Photo courtesy

23 3

Barbara Fairchild


heery, jaunty, sunny, happy, perky, vibrant, buoyant— pick one, any one and you have a fitting description of plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria). This cheerful plant has found its way to nearly every state and province in North America. It is, however, native only west of the Mississippi River and more specifically the Great Plains. The actual native range of plains coreopsis is obscured by its spread along corridors such as railroads and highways. A good guess is that its origi-

nal range included the southern Great Plains, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. In Missouri native populations are scattered throughout the state, with more of them being in the southern tier of counties. Its natural habitats include sand prairies, rocky glades, areas along railroads, roadsides and waste areas where soil is barren. This gives an insight to the plant’s ability to tolerate clay soil, dry soil and drought. It’s likely, however, that its colorful blossoms attract more attention than its toughness. In Missouri, the flowers typically are a brilliant, sunny yellow tinted with brick-red toward the center. The plant begins blooming in early summer and continues blooming through autumn—creating a wave

May 19 - OctOber 7, 2012 Fairy houses and forts to inspire, amuse and ignite an interest in exploring the great outdoors, all at Kansas city’s botanical garden. It’s a garden adventure you won’t want to miss!

Funded in part by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency

816.697.2600 | 4

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation.

Grow Native! Plant Profile Plains Coreopsis

of yellow flowers all summer long. In other parts of North America, you may find plains coreopsis with petals that are completely red or completely yellow or red speckled with yellow. Plains coreopsis is one of the plants identified by the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06. Plants identified during this journey were sent to the Bernard McMahon and Landreth nurseries in Philadelphia, with the charge the nurseries make the seed or plants available to the American public. Given the wide distribution of the plant today, it seems they did their job well. Before Lewis and Clark crossed the prairies, Native Americans were using the plant to make a hot beverage. Later, early settlers were said to use the plant in mattresses to repel bedbugs and fleas. The plant also has been used to dye fabric in colors that range from brick red to dark red to tomato red to orange, bright yellow, golden brown, gold, orange and yellow. Today it is used in landscape beautification projects along roadways, in prairie plantings and in naturalized wildflower gardens. It’s successful in these venues because it reseeds freely. In fact, in some areas, it reseeds so prolifically, it sometimes is considered a weed. However its many desirable attributes make it a wonderful addition to landscapes. For instance, if you

have problems with deer, Plains coreopsis is deer resistant. If you like to create floral arrangements, it is a great cut flower. If you like to create habitat for pollinators, it proves nectar and pollen for butterflies, bees and wasps. If you have poor, dry soil, Plains coreopsis will provide color and cover—it overwinters as a round, low growing group of leaves. It performs best in full sun and dry to medium moisture. Deadheading is recommended to prolong the blooming period. The scientific name Coreopsis comes from the Greek for bug and refers to the seeds, which when dried are flat and resemble a bug. The common name tickseed also is derived from this attribute. Other common names include calliopsis, golden coreopsis and annual coreopsis. Tinctoria refers to the colorful appearance of the blooms and is often given to plants used for staining or dyeing purposes. Whatever it is called, Plains coreopsis adds a vibrant vibe to a landscape. To learn more about Missouri native plants, go to www. and click on Plant Info. To find vendors who supply native plants, click on Buyers Guide. Barbara Fairchild is the communications specialist for Grow Native, a program of Missouri Department of Conservation. The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

Water Gardens 2012 Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City presents the 19th Annual Water Garden Tour.

Saturday, July 7 • Sunday, July 8 9am - 5pm Rain or Shine Bus tours available. Contact Connie Halastik 816-419-3245 •

Buy early to plan your personal driving tour of 50 plus gardens in Greater Kansas City and nearby communities. There are a variety of private gardens and Water Garden Society constructed educational water gardens for schools and nature centers. Tickets are $10 per person (ages 14 and older). A tour book with maps, driving directions, and host written descriptions of the gardens are included. Proceeds benefit construction of educational and restorative water gardens and other educational programs in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Contributing Sponsor: House of Rocks

Tickets available NOW at the following locations: at all Hen House Markets, all Westlake Hardware stores, and all Grass Pads Bannister Garden Center, Kansas City, MO Brothers Fish, Kansas City, MO Colonial Nursery, Blue Springs, MO Creekside Market, Raymore, MO Earl May Garden Center, Shawnee, KS Family Center, Harrisonville, MO Family Tree Nursery, Shawnee, KS Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park, KS

Family Tree Nursery, Liberty, MO Heartland Nursery, Kansas City, MO Homestead Nursery, Leavenworth, KS House of Rocks, Kansas City, KS Kansas City Pond & Water Gardening, KCMO Planters Seed Co., Kansas City, MO Randy’s Lakeview Nursery, Lee’s Summit, MO Roberts Nursery, Blue Springs, MO

Rosehill Gardens, Martin City, MO Soil Service Garden Ctr & Nursery, Kansas City, MO State Farm/Sue Franks, Raytown, MO Suburban Lawn and Garden, Leawood, KS Suburban Lawn and Garden, Kansas City, MO Suburban Lawn and Garden, Lenexa, KS Swan’s Water Gardening, Spring Hill, KS Union Station, Kansas City, MO

For tour info: 816-861-3449.

Van Liew’s, Kansas City, MO Waldo Grain Company, Kansas City, MO Water’s Edge, Lawrence, KS Wild Bird Center, Independence, MO

Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City

Purchase tickets July 7 & 8 during tour hours only at the following: 1. Linwood, KS … 23375 Guthrie Rd 2. Bonner Springs, KS … 615 Lakewood Rd **3. Kansas City, KS … 504 N 75th St 4. Kansas City, KS … 1322 N 90th St 5. Kansas City, KS … 3706 N 87th St 6. Parkville, MO … 13312 N W 76th St *7. Kansas City, MO … 6270 N W 136th St 8. Liberty, MO … 9708 Lancaster Rd 9. Liberty, MO … 407 N La Frenz Rd 10. Liberty, MO … 836 Scott Dr 11. Gladstone, MO … 206 N E 76th Terr **12. Kansas City, MO … 7128 N Hickory 13. Riverside, MO … 4529 N W Apache Dr 14. Kansas City, MO … 5125 N E San Rafael Dr 15. Kansas City, MO … 3923 Sunrise Dr

16. Kansas City, MO … 3922 St John Ave 17. Kansas City, MO … 1911 E 23rd St 18. Sugar Creek, MO … 10836 Scarritt Ave 19. Kansas City, MO … 4600 Vermont 20. Kansas City, MO … 4535 Ridgeway Ave 21. Independence, MO … 14300 E 32nd 22. Blue Springs, MO … 1915 N W Fawn Dr 23. Grain Valley, MO … 514 Lakeview Dr 24. Blue Springs, MO … 8201 Jasper Bell Rd *25. Lee’s Summit, MO … 9722 S Windsor Dr 26. Lee’s Summit … 1709 N E Woodland Shore Ct 27. Lee’s Summit, MO … 125 S E Nottingham Ct 28. Pleasant Hill, MO … 1200 Buckeye Ln 29. Lee’s Summit, MO … 804 N E Orchadr Dr 30. Kansas City, MO … 9719 Walnut Woods Dr

No tickets available at locations in red. July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

31. Lee’s Summit … 2329 S W Feather Ridge Rd 32. Raymore, MO … 201 W Royal St 33. Raymore, MO … 1300 Lee Ln *34. Belton, MO … 209 W 175th St *35. Spring Hill, KS … 20001 S Padbury Ln 36. Olathe, KS … 15021 S Blackfoot Dr 37. Olathe, KS … 12297 S Clinton St 38. Lenexa, KS … 15415 W 94th St *39. Lenexa, KS … 13706 W 82nd Terr 40. Shawnee, KS … 13905 West 75th Ct * **41. Shawnee, KS … 7501 Hauser St 42. Lenexa, KS … 13802 W 78th St 43. Lenexa, KS … 7728 Constance **44. Kansas City, KS … 6650 Oak Grove Rd 45. Merriam, KS … 5845 Perry Ln

* Sponsored ponds

46. Overland Park, KS … 9802 England Dr 47. Overland Park, KS … 10167 Larmar 48. Overland Park, KS … 10140 Roe Ave 49. Leawood, KS … 12401 Pelman 50. Leawood, KS … 3640 Ironwoods Ct 51. Kansas City, MO … 730 E 122 Pl 52. Kansas City, MO … 11600 Summit St 53. Kansas City, MO … 5 E Bridlespur Dr 54. Leawood, KS … 2315 W 103th St **55. Kansas City, MO … 5408 Central St 56. Kansas City, MO … 6700 Zoo Dr **57. Kansas City, MO … 4954 Marsh Ave 58. Raytown, MO … 7504 Crescent Dr *59. Kansas City, MO … 5829 Marion Ave

** T-shirts sold at these locations. 5

Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton WILL PLANTED CHERRY PIT GROW INTO A TREE Question: My friend has a tart cherry tree. I enjoy picking the ripe cherries and eating the fruit full of wonderful flavor. I saved a few of the pits and I want to know if I can plant these for a cherry tree in my yard? Answer: Yes you can but I would not recommend it for several reasons. The main issue is that seeds do not always come true to the parent so you may not get

a quality fruit in return for your effort. When planting a fruit tree it is always best to purchase a nice tree of a named variety for our climate. Tart cherries are one of the easiest fruits to grow as in most years they will not require any pesticide sprays and you will still get a great crop. There are three recommended tart cherries for our area, North Star, Meteor, and Montmorency. Cherries need full sun and a well drained soil for best growth. Spring is the ideal time to plant and expect your first nice harvest in about three years. Enjoy. We had cherry trees growing up on the farm and I can still taste the goodness of a homegrown cherry pie. Once you experience that taste, the canned stuff always comes up short.

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TIME TO DIVIDE IRIS Question: This spring my iris flowered the best in years. Some of the clumps are getting a little big for the space. When is the best time to divide iris? Answer: The best time to divide iris is when we least want to get outside and that is midJuly through mid-August. At that time of the year the iris rhizomes are in summer dormancy and will weather the transplanting. In fall when it cools down they develop roots and build energy for next year’s flowering. Keep in mind that you will have more iris starts than you know what to do with. Yes, it is okay to throw some away.

Also, most of the old rhizome can be discarded. A healthy rhizome division is the fan of leaves and the piece of the root attached. Any part of the rhizome past the first bump or knuckle is old and should be discarded. Best of luck and I am hoping for a nice summer as I have several clumps to tackle. HOLLYHOCK FOLIAR DISEASE Question: I have grown hollyhocks for a number of years; in fact the seeds came from my grandmother’s house. Every year the foliage gets reddish spots all over. This spring was the worst

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is proper placement. Place the hollyhocks in the back of the bed where other foliage covers up the infected leaves. The disease is at its worst when the plants are in flower. The infected leaves can be cut off and disposed of. Unfortunately this is an airborne disease so it will return in the future. Bottom line—look at the pretty flowers on the stock and overlook the ugly foliage below.

ever. What is this problem and how do I get rid of it? Answer: Your hollyhock is suffering from a foliar disease called rust. Rust development favors a warmer and moister spring. All the early lush growth was no match for our ideal spring conditions for development. Here is the good news/bad news. Rust does not kill the plants; it just makes them look bad. Fungicide sprays are possible but achieving control is next to impossible as spring rains wash off the residue and new growth appears leaving the foliage susceptible. The best route in handling this problem

GRASS VS BIRDS Question: I like to feed the birds but the fallen waste and compaction from all the little bird feet make growing grass under the feeder almost impossible. Do you have any solutions for keeping the grass around the feeders? Answer: There is no easy solution as this is a side effect of your hobby. My recommendation is don’t fight it. Instead of attempting to grow grass either leave a ring of bare soil around the feeder for ground feeding birds to nibble or place a mulch ring around the feeder. Personally I think the joy of birds darting to and from the feeder is much more enjoyable than another patch of grass.

KING TUT OVERWINTER OPTIONS Question: Based on your recommendation I have fallen for King Tut Papyrus. I use it in beds and pots. Its green tufted heads are an eye-catcher and all my friends always ask what it is. In order to save a little money can I overwinter it indoors? Answer: King Tut always finds a home in my garden and it fits perfectly in a wet area in one of the Extension Master Gardener demonstration gardens. I have known people that have done this but it is not easy. Papyrus is a very high light intensive plant so it will take a direct south or west window. Keep in mind you are just attempting to have it survive so be prepared for a pretty ugly plant by spring. My recommendation is just buy a new one. Here is a thought, skip a lunch out and you have the cost of a new plant. On the other hand, what do you have to lose, so give it try? REMOVE GRASS PATCH Question: I have a small patch of zoysia or Bermuda grass that showed up in my lawn. How do I

go about getting rid of this patch in time to overseed this fall? Answer: You asked this question at the right time as zoysia or Bermuda is best controlled starting in late July or early August. Start by treating the patch with kindness—water and get it off and growing. Once it is greened up and growing, spray it with the glyphosate products such as Roundup. Wait a week or so and then hit any green areas again. By late August the patch should be dead and gone just in time for fall seeding. The key to success is to make sure the grass is actively growing, as a dormant grass will be harder to control as it will not uptake the chemical. Another option for small patches is to either rent a sod cutter to remove the infested areas or hand remove the weedy grass. If you are like most they will opt for the chemical treatment. 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.



JulyKCG_July_final.indd 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener 1

7 5/29/12 9:19 AM

Patrick’s Picks: Garden Blogs for Summer Reading can’t travel far from home, garden blogs allow me to see the world from my desk. I’ve been blogging for four years now, so I’d like to share with you some of my favorites.

Patrick Muir


ell it’s early July and we might be paying for our incredibly mild winter with a horrific summer of heat and humidity. The major task this time of year is of course watering. So on those 100 plus degree weather days, my prescription for you is to keep up the watering and discover some truly creative garden blogs for your summer reading. Blog is short for web log or I like to think of it as a journal a person shares with the world. As a quadriplegic gardener who

Red Dirt Ramblings My favorite blog has to be Red Dirt Ramblings out of Oklahoma written by Dee Nash who has red hair to match her blog name. Just like Texas gardeners right now, she’s been struggling with the ravages of drought. She’s in love with roses and at last count has over 90 bushes and what’s remarkable is she doesn’t spray any chemicals. But she’s into much more besides roses. As a free-lance writer, you can expect a high quality blog alive with Dee’s personality.

Wiggle the Mosquitoes Away!

Cold Climate Gardening Kathy Purdy writes a blog from the southern tier of New York. Her gardening bug didn’t bite hard until she found herself on 15 acres. She’s in USDA Zone 4 so a lot of her content is relevant. Check this one out because it’s one of the most trafficked blogs on the web. Look for in-depth book reviews that are second to none. Veggie Gardener The powerhouse vegetable gardening blog is written by Tee Riddle of Virginia and is ranked by many as the best vegetable gar-

dening blog on the web. I’m a big fan for his ability to teach anyone how to grow their own food while enhancing the abilities of seasoned gardeners. And he takes your questions for his personal responses. Be sure to get Tee Riddle’s free e-book 101 Tips for Growing Amazing Organic Vegetables. Rhone Street Garden You may wonder why I’m including a Pacific Northwest blog for a Midwest relevant roundup but the truth this is a blog full of eye candy for your soul. I think this is the most beautiful blog out there by far. Scott Weber crafts gorgeous

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July Tip:


Do you know how much water you apply with each watering? You should. Frequent, shallow watering encourages shallow rooting. Instead, water deeply, less often, and know how much you water. The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

images and insightful writing into beautiful layouts to create this stunning blog. Garden Rant Four garden writers from different corners of the USA come together at Garden Rant. I think the New York Times put it best when they described Garden Rant as “where gardeners mouth off with the zeal of sports radio barkers”. With some of horticulture’s all-stars as contributors, Garden Rant could easily replace your paid-for garden magazines. Have you noticed Horticulture magazine is turning into a glorified pamphlet due to blogs of this quality?

Kansas City’s botanical garden, crafts a beautiful blog tempting you to visit the Garden by showing off vignettes from the grounds. You’ll find yourself asking your local nursery if they have this plant in stock after Alan’s inspirational images and prose. And to be most helpful, his writing details the precise location you will find that setting at Powell. This is also the easiest to set up a subscription.

A Way To Garden While we’re on the subject of professional all-stars, Margaret Roach has led a fascinating life. In 2007 at a very young age she says, she left her dream job as editorial director of all magazines, books and internet at Martha Stewart Inc. to “retire” to 2.3 acres bordering on the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The blog is engaging and you’ll just have to subscribe after you have seen it. Look for the cartoon series Doodles from Andre for some high quality garden humor. And now here are two that are closer to home you might enjoy:

Patrick’s Garden For the last three years my blog has documented my transition from my prior home to Trinity Nursing and Rehab in Merriam, Kan., at the age of only 46. At Trinity I have 13 window boxes amongst large planters on the front patios and I have been creating new gardens and planting trees. This year, I’ll be scouring Kansas City to find interesting people and gardens to write about. See the How to Subscribe tab at the top of the page for details. So while the heat dictates only early morning and evenings watering, embrace garden blogging and join our community. I challenge you to start your own blog and comment to your hearts delight. Share what you’ve learned. You’ll find yourself developing friendships with gardeners all over the world.

The Powell Gardens Blog powellgardens.blogspot. com Alan Branhagen, the Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens,

Patrick Muir is a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener and garden blogger. You can reach him at or at

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Get Ready! The 149th Annual Platte County Fair Runs July 18-21!


he 149th Annual Platte County Fair opens July 18 on the fairgrounds at exit 18 or 20 off Missouri’s I-29. A huge carnival, queen contest, petting zoo, fiddle and talent showcases, 4-H exhibits, demolition derbies, Mud-a-Thon, arts and crafts and a melodrama await fairgoers. There will be food vendors, nightly musical entertainment, jugglers, and horse and mule shows, too – all for just $10 daily admission. Children 12 and under are free admission every day.

Opening night Season tickets at the gate will be $30. The entertainment gets underway at 5 p.m. July 18-20. On July 21 the fun starts at 9 a.m. and goes on through the night. The carnival starts at 6 p.m. July 18-20 and on July 21 it runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight. For a full schedule of the events and activities at the fair and locations for pre-season ticket sales visit Follow the fair on Facebook! To contact the fair call (816) 431-FAIR.

Come see where the stars are born! please join us at the

KSU Research Center

Field Trials & Open House Saturday, July 28, 8AM-3PM 35230 W 135 Street, Olathe, KS $5 admission All-American Vegetable & Flower Selections Turf, Vegetable & Flower Trials Guided Tours Educational Sessions

Aquascapes Patio Pond Kits 24” Square Kit $229.95 • 32” Round and Square Kits $299.95 Comes with: Bubble Tablets, Ultimate Water Conditioner 32oz., Aquascapes Container Filter PLUS $15.00 in FREE plants. Great for deck or patios!

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816-842-5012 • • 1557 Swift Ave., NKC, MO July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Overland Park 8424 Farley 913.642.6503

Shawnee 7036 Nieman 913.631.6121

Liberty 830 W Liberty Dr 816.781.0001


Grow Native! program Takes Root with Missouri Prairie Foundation Don’t miss acclaimed author Doug Tallamy on August 30, followed by a Grow Native! “transplanting” ceremony.


Grow Native! members to look at options for moving the program to another home. After looking at a variety of options, the team decided MPF would be an ideal fit for the program. “We are extremely pleased the Missouri Prairie Foundation is the new home of this wonderful program,” said Mike Huffman, Outreach and Education Division Chief, for Missouri Department of Conservation. “The Missouri Prairie Foundation has, for nearly 50 years, been conserving native landscapes and promoting native plants. It’s a great fit.” The missions of the Grow Native! program and the Missouri Prairie Foundation are similar. Both are dedicated to educating the public about native plants and the benefits of using them in

en years ago, purple coneflowers, prairie grasses and other colorful and hearty native plants were less common in landscaping than they are today. A decade of work of by the Grow Native! program, however, has increased the use of natives in the state dramatically. This summer, the successful native plant awareness program reaches another milestone: it has a new home with the Missouri Prairie Foundation beginning July 1. In 2002, the Missouri departments of Conservation and Agriculture began Grow Native! to promote the use of native Missouri plants in landscapes. Being part of governmental agencies placed constraints on the program so Missouri Department of Conservation assembled a team of

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small landscapes as well as larger landscapes and preserving existing native landscapes. The Missouri Prairie Foundation was begun in 1966 by a group of citizens concerned with the loss of native prairie. Since then the nonprofit organization has protected more than 3,000 acres of prairie, has a membership of 1,400, supports prairie research, and has an active outreach program, including publication of the Missouri Prairie Journal, workshops, prairie and glade tours, and grassland wildlife advocacy activities. “The Missouri Prairie Foundation leadership is pleased to take Grow Native! under its wing,” said Foundation president Stan Parrish. “We are a hands-on organization with numerous volunteers who are enthusiastic about protecting original landscapes and about native plant gardening. We’re eager to get started.” Many features of the Grow Native! program will remain the same: the website ( is being redesigned with a fresh look, but retains its popular, native plant database, buyer’s guide, and native landscaping guides. The Landscaping with Missouri

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in Mind workshops will continue in various parts of the state, the annual Grow Native! membership meeting will continue to help green industry professionals with the latest trends in native landscaping, and many other membership benefits will continue to be offered to Grow Native! members. Some new initiatives are planned as well: the Missouri Prairie Foundation plans to engage in more outreach with various entities, including counties and municipalities, to organize Grow Native! plant sales, and to support more native plant landscaping projects. A brief ceremony “transplanting” Grow Native! to the Missouri Prairie Foundation is planned for August 30 at the Native Plant Outdoor Laboratory on the Lincoln University campus in Jefferson City, and will follow the ticketed “Bringing Nature Home” lecture by author Doug Tallamy, organized by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. For more information about the August 30 event, Grow Native! or the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit, call 888-843-6739, or send a message to

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Call Christopher • 913-706-1085 References Available • Free Estimate The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

KCRS Rose Show Winners


he Kansas City Rose Society’s 2012 Rose Show attracted 352 entries from 23 exhibitors. It was held on June 2 in the Loose Park Garden Center, Kansas City, Mo. The Queen of the show was Moonstone shown by Glenn and Carolyn Hodges. The King was Bles Bridges shown by Ed and Betsy Holland, who also provided the Princess—a St. Patrick. The Queen Miniature/Miniflora rose was Conundrum shown by the Hodges team; the King and Princess were Kitty Hawk and

Minnie Pearl, respectively, shown by the Hollands. In two new categories, Cindy Duke won the award for a Novice Entry and Daniella McCasland won the ribbon for Youth Entry. The overall sweepstakes winners were the Hollands with 53 blue ribbons. Donna Kitterman claimed 43 blue ribbons and Glenn and Carolyn Hodges took home 29 blue ribbons. Trophies will be awarded at the Society’s Annual Picnic scheduled for August 7.

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Princess of the Show is a yellow St. Patrick Rose grown by Ed and Betsy Holland.

Queen of the Show is a White Moonstone Rose grown by Glenn and Carolyn Hodges.

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Help for the sick and tired container (and gardener) let it wilt – (really, I promise) it’s just saying, “Hey, you there, I’m ready for a drink now!”

Erin Busenhart


t’s hot, it’s dry, and it seems as if bugs are taking over every plant in the city – what is a poor gardener to do? Well, before you throw the pots off the balcony for good try some of these tips and tricks for great looking summer pots. CHECK YOUR WATER My first question when presented with an ailing plant is “How often are you watering it?” followed closely with “How much?” Most of us kill with love. Let things really dry out and then give everything a good soak – and it’s okay to

KEEP FEEDING You have to keep fertilizing your plants – they need food to make flowers. Use a slow-release pellet fertilizer once a month and supplement with a shot of acid every couple weeks through the heat of the summer. We have very alkaline water in KC and after daily doses of this the nice, neutral pH of our containers gets too high for many plants to perform well. Oh, and no potting soil has enough fertilizer in it to feed your plants all season (maybe in Michigan… or Holland?). Sprinkle in some food each month! REFRESH THE CONTAINER Don’t be afraid to pull out what’s not working and plop in

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Sun Coleus (left) and Ornamental Pepper (right) are plants able to withstand a brutal Midwest summer. something new. We buy a $5 bedding plant in March and expect it to look fabulous through October – that’s a long season for any plant. Trust me – you won’t hurt it’s feelings – pop out the Lobelia and pop in a Purslane! TIME FOR A TRIM You can’t go 6 months without a haircut (okay, you could, but for a tidier appearance…) and neither should your plants. These things need pinching! July is the ideal time to whack some things back – they’ll flush right back out. Really – they like it – think of it as a day at the spa! SPRAY FOR BUGS The bugs are already out of control this season and are only going to get worse. Keep a good eye out for insect damage before they destroy your plants. Eight is a great all-purpose insecticide that works

on most things. I am never without a bottle to hook up to my hose! Be the “Hostess with the Mostest” and spray before guests arrive to kill pesky mosquitoes. And there are plants that do better than others in our brutal summers. Here’s my list of summerproof, “you have to really try to kill these” plants. Croton Sun Coleus Ixora Dipladenia Purple Heart Begonia Canna Diamond Frost Euphorbia Serena Angelonia Ornamental Pepper Purslane 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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Sunflower Artfest 2012 July 13-14-15


unflowers will be in bloom at our annual Sunflower ArtFest 2012! The fine artwork of area artists are combined with fields of sunflowers in a rural setting at The Barn at Kill Creek Farm (formerly Zimmermans Kill Creek Farm) located at 9200 Kill Creek Road in De Soto, Kansas. This free event will be open Friday, July 13, from 6pm-9pm; Saturday, July 14, from 10am-8pm; and Sunday, July 15, noon-5pm. Donations will be taken to help rebuild The Barn at Kill Creek Farm, which was destroyed in May 2010 by a tornado. Nine varieties of sunflowers will be available for you to pick–grown by the De Soto Rotary Club, with all proceeds going to Rotary International’s PolioPlus Program. Enjoy our Sunflower Art Exhibit, featuring 16+ Artists who creatively portray “sunflowers” in a variety of medias. Michelle Wade’s “Close-up of a Sunflower,” is featured as our 2012 Sunflower Artfest Collector Poster. (2011 and 2010 Posters will also be available for purchase.) Our Art Show will also feature 19+ Artists with their own booths– painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry and more. There will be artwork from local settings, as well as throughout Kansas and across the country. There will be children’s crafts by the Pioneer 4H group, a basket-weaving demonstration, and a special Creative Writing Contest

with Fairy Gourd Houses from Pendleton Farms. Food will also be available for purchase, benefiting our De Soto High School Band. You’ll also enjoy live entertainment featuring fine musicians. For performance details: or facebook: Sunflower Artfest. De Soto is truly a rural community that works together! Sunflower Artfest information: Dick Stine at, or Rose Burgweger at Rotary Sunflower information: Darrel Zimmerman (913-2094446); Sunflowers will be available throughout the month of July and during the “Fresh Promises Farmer’s Market” on Wednesdays (4pm-6:30pm). The Barn at Kill Creek Farm Association: Lori Murdock at



he July meeting of the Johnson County Rose Society will be a great opportunity for members and guests to spend an evening learning all about rose growing and care. The meeting will feature the Consulting Rosarians who will answer questions and lead a discussion from members and guests about all aspects of rose growing and care. You can even bring plant clippings and/or pictures of problems you would like the Rosarians to diagnose. This is your chance to get expert advice and learn rose-growing tips from others in the group. The meeting will be held Thursday, July 12, at 7:00 pm at the Prairie Village Community

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Center, 7720 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS. 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 will be provided. For more information about the meetings, programs, and other activities of the Johnson County Rose Society, or for membership details, please visit their website at http:/www. You can also visit them on Facebook at



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The Bird Brain Nature Journaling

“Most people are on the world, not in it.” ~John Muir

Doc & Diane Gover


h! The summer sun! Through the warmer months of the year there are about 6 hours more of light each day than in winter. More daylight means more hours to enjoy, relax and observe your surroundings. We encourage you to build a record of your outdoor experiences that will bring you pleasure and serve as a scrap-

book of your adventures, whether in your own backyard, a park or on vacation. Nature journaling is a recording of the natural happenings that you see everyday; there are no boundaries. Remember no two people see events exactly alike. Nature journals are as personal as each of us; unique and individual. Just be yourself! The objective of this process is to experience wildlife by being a silent observer. There are no right or wrong ways to keep a nature journal and you will not be graded. {grin} There is no cost to journaling. The only supplies needed are a piece of paper, a clipboard, a pencil

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and a folder to keep your papers organized. Keep entries simple; be sure to log the date, time, location and weather conditions of your observations. Name your subject (bird, butterfly, frog, tree, leaf, etc). Give a brief description of your observation, a simple sketch or a rubbing and a thought or two running through your mind or maybe even a poem. You are creating a book that you will be proud to leave for others to enjoy and learn from. Nature journals can be fun at any age; young, old and anywhere in between. It is a simple way to connect with your children or grandchildren and to reflect upon experiences after you have had time to process them. We sometimes find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by daily

demands of family, work and other obligations. Time spent in the nurturing embrace of nature (with your journal) will bring a sense of balance to your life and will help to put other worries and cares into perspective. Remember, your journal does not have to be “perfect”. It’s OK if you have crossed out words and unfinished drawings, if your journal doesn’t have some imperfections, you may want to consider how much you are self-censoring your writing and drawing. Don’t let neatness get in the way of the experience of journaling. With a subject as diverse as all outdoors, nature journals lend themselves to a wide range of expression. Go outside with your nature journal and pencil in hand, take a deep breath, slow down, get quiet and become absorbed in what you see, hear and smell. Begin recording your observations in whatever way you feel comfortable – just begin. You’ll be glad you did! Focus. Observe. Record. Reflect. Happy Journaling. 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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July Rose Report Charles Anctil


embers of the Clay County (Missouri) Rose Society take roses to the nursing homes in the area. Mini arrangements for each patient, large arrangements for the dinner tables, etc. One of the members took a rose to one of the patients sitting by himself. As he took the rose he raised his head and smiled. According to the nurses, this was the first time anyone had gotten a reaction from this patient since being admitted. Could this be God’s love through roses?! July can be hot and dry as you well know, so do not be afraid to water deeply. Do not be afraid to mulch either. Mulching 3”-4” deep will keep the temperature cooler which will give you pretty good blooms during July and August. So far this has been a rough year with “powdery mildew” and “black spot”, so do not get upset. Plenty of aphids, a few spotted cucumber beetles, thrips on the white blooms, and a few leaf-miner signs. Now that the first set of blooms is almost over, you can start thinking about building up the energy

in your plants again. This year I started feeding mine again in early June. Roses do not care what type of food they get. You can use granules, liquid, through the roots or foliar feed. Any fertilizer you use will work. Make sure you water deeply after applications. Continue spraying for diseases. Make sure to spray the underneath part of the leaves as best you can and the ground around the plants. Rotate your fungicides. You might add Miracle Gro for acid loving plants to lower the PH of the water which will make your chemicals work even better. I know I have said this before, but we all need to be reminded every so often; a rose bush is a living thing! As with all living things it is constantly hungry and thirsty! Food, air, and water; from these simple compounds the bush builds the complex substances that become the canes, leaves, and blooms. It’s not that complicated to have success. Just keep a calendar to keep track of what you do and when. 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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Growing and caring for roses is not complicated. Just keep a calendar to keep track of what you do and when.

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Photo courtesy Photo courtesy

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Mature seeds of Rose-of-Sharon

Swallowtail on Rose-of-Sharon Photo courtesy


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Okra flower The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

A Fresh Look at Rose-of-Sharon Leah Berg


beautiful threesome dressed in hues of blue-purple caught my eye by the Heartland Harvest Garden greenhouse at Powell Gardens in early June. It wasn’t visitors walking by, but a group of plants worthy of copying. It reminded me how well we can create small landscape surprises by combining old-fashioned plants with unexpected partners. At the base of Rose-of-Sharon ‘Blue Bird’ I rubbed fragrant lavender flower spikes by the right side. To the left, dark blue-violet berries of Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolia) made another interesting layer below the ultimate blue that day – the sky. Do you recognize Rose-ofSharon when not flowering? Varieties of this long-blooming, easy-to-grow shrub have brightened landscapes for so many generations it’s easily taken for granted. If you feel it’s “too ordinary” or “too big” look at some newer varieties and think how they fit our demands for months of colorful flowers with very little care needed. With a trademarked name like Lil’ Kim™ hinting at a compact size only 3-4’ tall and wide, even restricted spaces may welcome a Rose-of-Sharon like this one with white flowers and red “eyes” in the centers. But anyone needing privacy screening ASAP should consider the many affordable varieties that do grow 6-10’ tall and wide. July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Rather than a solid green wall of upright conifers, combine ornamental grasses and Rose-of-Sharon with fewer evergreens near busy streets, sunny property lines or to screen patios and decks. Adding shorter shrubs, perennials and annuals gives a nice layered look with the mostly erect stems spraying showy flowers above. Deer usually leave them alone, as they do related hollyhocks, perennial hibiscus and malva, and their popular tropical cousins. Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects visit Hibiscus syriacus regularly throughout the long flowering season from late spring til frost. Blooming vigorously in sun to half-day of sun, the edible flower petals decorate salads nicely but don’t last long as cut flowers – typically each bloom lasts just 1-2 days. Dried flowers help flavor herbal tea and various recipes. Try making old-fashioned flower dolls for a fairy garden and serve hibiscus tea and cookies. Notice how okra flowers resemble these hibiscus relatives, attractive as landscape surprises. Certain cultivars don’t produce the vigorous seedlings older forms did notoriously – like those constantly invading my yard from my neighbor’s original plants. Though ‘Blue Bird’ seedlings may prove pesky, the color delights those of us who love all shades of blue. Try more recently introduced sterile varieties like Azurri Blue™ and double flowering Blue Chiffon™ which won’t create excessive seedlings.

Three others in the series: White Chiffon™, Lavender Chiffon™ and China Chiffon™ with a hint of pink should appeal to anyone fond of double flowers. The unique variegated foliage of Sugar Tip™ combines with double light pink flowers. Also sterile, it originated as a sport mutation from an Independence, Mo. breeder’s seedling in 2001. Sharon Gerlt selected this one and propagated it with softwood cuttings. Now it’s a Proven Winners® brand featured for sale at many independent area nurseries. Another variegated Hibiscus syriacus ‘Pupureus Variegatus’ has dark red flowers which don’t open fully, almost like miniature carnation buds. Jan and Wayne Vinyard love this slow-growing specimen placed near their big Norway spruce. An older series introduced by the National Arboretum features dark green foliage and Greek goddess names: ‘Aphrodite’ (pink w/ red eyes), ‘Helene’ (white w/red eyes), ‘Minerva’ (lavender-pink w/ red eyes) and all-white ‘Diana.’ ‘Diana’is a favorite of the Vinyards and our friend Alan Branhagen for evening white-themed gardens. The flowers stay open at night and reflect moonlight well. Look for ‘Diana’ just outside the Kauffman Memorial Gardens north wall near the blue spruce. Duane Hoover loves its all-summer blooming record and has left it “pretty much unpruned” compared to heavily pruning 3 other varieties within the gardens inside. Though naturally vase-shaped multi-stem shrubs, we may prune

these to a single stem to create a small tree form or even espalier them. Duane’s training ‘Lady Stanley’ to display a fountain-like effect under the pergola. He enjoys watching finches eating the seeds through winter enough to offset the chore of pulling some ‘Blue Bird’ seedlings. Susan Mertz of Loma Vista Nursery has two long-lasting unknown varieties in her yard that don’t reseed and provide great privacy screening “with no work at all!” Though not much bothered by pests or disease, watch for possible leaf spots, Japanese beetles, blight, rust, aphids, scale, whiteflies, or canker. Especially if rainfall continues low, do some preventive maintenance by watering and visually inspecting established as well as new plants. Pruning does stimulate new growth, so consider trimming before leaving for vacation in August. If fall and winter stay dry, supplement infrequent rains with monthly water. Heat-tolerant and mostly drought-resistant, Rose-of-Sharon make great “starter shrubs” for homeowners for another reason. They bloom on new wood (on this season’s growth), so a wife might forgive a husband who goes too fast and far with his trimmers. 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. 17

Brown Spots in Your Lawn: Get to the Root of the Problem By Clarke Fry


here is nothing more frustrating than putting hard work, money, and time into your lawn only to be rewarded with brown spots taking over the property. Part of the problem results from the fact that there are many potential reasons for your yard to lose its beautiful green color. Below is a short list of the common problems that may turn your lawn from emerald to auburn in the blink of an eye. Drought The most common and well known reason for brown spots appearing in your lawn, especially in the Midwest, is drought conditions. When temperatures are consistently reaching the 90’s in the heat of the summer and we haven’t received a drop of rain for two weeks, it is inevitable that some

discoloration will appear. There are still steps homeowners can take to help prevent your lawn from drying out too quickly. In the summer, your lawn needs about 1.5-2 inches of water per week to stay actively growing and healthy. The frequency and amount of water you give your lawn should depend on the temperature. When temperatures are in the 80’s, water every 3- 5 days and when the thermostat hits 90, increase the frequency to every 1-3 days. In addition, setting your sprinkler system for the early morning hours will ensure the most efficient use of water. Do not water before 4 am or after 4 pm. Brown Patch Unfortunately, the brown areas on your turf are not always the result of drought stress. Brown Patch is a fungus that can attack your

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lawn and sometimes your best efforts to reduce the area can actually aid the fungus in its reproduction. Brown patch appears in your lawn as irregular brownish “patches” and can appear much like a lawn lacking water. Homeowners, be aware that watering late in the day can actually create a moist humid environment that actually allows the fungus to spread even quicker! Once again, watering in the early morning should help your grass thrive and hopefully cause the effects of the brown patch to diminish. Grubs Some lawn care problems cannot be solved with proper watering. Grubs are another culprit that results in large, irregular brown spots appearing in your lawn. One of the tell tale signs that grubs have infiltrated your property is brown spots that pull up like a carpet. This is a result of the grubs devouring the plant’s root system. Have no fear, grubs are still a curable problem. Grub controls exist that provide little risk to the environment while effectively knocking out the grub larvae population on your property. Thatch Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that builds up between the green matter and the soil surface. This thick layer provides a sanctuary for pests and disease and creates an environment into which the turfgrass roots will eventually grow. Thatch dries out much more quickly than soil; therefore, the grass will become brown and sometimes die. Dethatching and core aeration are both options to manage thatch and restore your lawn to its beautiful green color.

Dethatching is a process that can be destructive to the lawn because roots tear out easily, and overseeding is sometimes required afterwards. This procedure is used to remove thatch when the existing level is greater than 1/4 inch. Core aerification is a widely accepted practice and involves using an aerifying machine that will pull up small soil cores to the surface that are left there to act like topdressing. Aerification will not remove thatch. Dull Blades, Debris, Pets There could be a variety of reasons your lawn has faded, and some of them could take some time to identify. Dull mower blades for example can result in a brown lawn due to the shredding of the tips to your grass and allowing them to dry out rapidly. Other potential problems are buried debris, such as rocks, bricks or lumber. This debris doesn’t allow the plants root system to properly develop and affects its health. Finally, make sure to train your pet to use the mulch as its restroom. Pet urine can sometimes affect the color of your lawn and this is an easy step to take in prevention. Take some time and pay attention to what your lawn is telling you. While the results of these problems are a brown lawn, there will be slight differences and these are the key to curing your landscape. Clarke Fry is the Marketing Intern at Ryan Lawn and Tree, on the web at The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

Apply Now for Extension Master Gardener Program


f you enjoy gardening and working with others and sharing your growing passion then the Extension Master Gardener program may be just the opportunity for you. Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Extension Master Gardener (EMG) training program. EMG volunteers get involved in a variety of projects including maintaining demonstration gardens, staffing a gardening hotline and giving presentations through the speakers’ bureau. Youth programs are also another avenue for volunteer participation. The deadline for application is July 16 for Johnson County. Training sessions will begin September 11 and run each Tuesday through November 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All classes will be conducted at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension

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Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 1500 in Olathe. There is a $125 administration fee for those accepted into the class. Class members must be Johnson County residents. An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, June 19 at 10 a.m. for anyone wanting more information about the Johnson County Extension Master Gardener program before they apply. Dennis Patton, Johnson County Extension Horticulture Agent will be on hand to take questions and discuss the Extension Master Gardener program. The EMG program, sponsored by Extension is designed to teach area gardeners about horticulture and give them the opportunity to share their knowledge through various gardening-related volunteer projects. Applicants who are selected for the EMG program

will receive intensive horticulturerelated training. In return, newlytrained recruits will be required to volunteer a minimum of time each year. In Johnson County we require 40 hours of service during their first year after training and at least that many in subsequent years in order to maintain EMG certification. On average, a typical Johnson

County EMG donates more than 115 hours of service yearly. K-State Research and Extension began their Master Gardener pilot program in Johnson County 31 years ago. In 2011, Extension Master Gardeners volunteered more than 39,000 total hours to the Johnson County community. Gardeners who join the program bring many different experience levels and interests to the program. If you are a novice gardener, do not let the title of Extension Master Gardener intimidate you. Your love of gardening and passion for sharing your garden experience is the basis for success. If you are interested in applying for the program, or would like more information, please contact Johnson County Extension at (913) 715-7000 or visit www.johnson. and click on the Master Gardener link for details.


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ike sunbeams brought to life, beautiful butterflies flutter through your garden. Beauty may be its own excuse for being, but why is there such a multitude of colors and patterns, unique to each species? Lepidoptera: The Scalywinged Ones Butterflies live their lives by visual cues, but they see very different colors and patterns than we do since their more acute vision includes the ultra-violet spectrum and polarized light. Pigmented scales, arranged like the shingles on a roof, cover the wings of butterflies and moths to create the

messages. The scale less wing patches of “clearwing” moths and butterflies are completely transparent. Geriatric and battle-weary butterflies lack the brilliance of a newly emerged adult as the scales are worn off by the vicissitudes of lepidopteran life. Each individual scale is about half the width of a human hair. The pigments are from plants that are eaten by the very hungry caterpillar and used in its own defense as well as stored in its body for the chrysalis and adult. However, not all colors are pigments. The structure of some of the scales creates a prism-like effect. Just as droplets of water act as prisms, refracting sunlight to create rainbows, some scales refract the sunlight into iridescent, shimmering blues, greens and violets. Butterflies truly are flying rainbows! Why Such Brilliance? Pigments and prisms explain the mechanism of the brilliant colors, but to what purpose? First, since

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Why Are Butterflies So Beautiful?

Left: This Painted Lady embodies colorful survival strategies with black wing scales to harvest solar energy and an orange and black pattern to mimic the poisonous Monarch. Right: When our Painted Lady closes her wings, the undersides are camouflaged as a dead leaf. butterflies are cold-blooded insects, they rely on the heat of the sun to jump start their metabolism each day. Black wing scales contain the pigment melanin and function as highly-efficient solar panels to collect energy. Man-made solar collectors are only 24% efficient at capturing the sun’s energy. Can we learn from the butterfly? Engineers are studying Black Swallowtails because their black scales absorb sunlight at almost 100% efficiency! Adult butterflies focus on reproduction and because they live only a few days, there is no time to be wasted chasing after the wrong partner. Butterflies have very sophisticated eyesight so the wing colors and patterns form the basis of species recognition. Many species are also “sexually dimorphic”, i.e., the males and females look different. The drab night-flying moths are more dependent on smell and release pheromones to find each other. Don’t Eat Me! The world is full of hungry birds and other predators, eager to devour the butterfly’s yummy body. Color is a primary strategy

to avoid being eaten. For instance, the underside of the wing may be camouflaged as a dead leaf to fool the gourmands. At the other extreme, many butterflies flaunt glorious colors that warn potential diners, “You don’t want a bite of me!” Their caterpillars have eaten poisonous plants and sequestered the toxic molecules within their bodies. Both caterpillars and adults advertise their toxicity by exhibiting brilliant colors. This strategy is so effective, that many non-poisonous butterflies mimic the color pattern of a poisonous species to take advantage of this protection. Energy, Sex and Survival Butterflies do not wear their colors for our pleasure, but we certainly are the beneficiaries of their colorful survival strategies! 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, Kan. Contact her at lenora.longlips@

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Soil Test Interpretations: Nitrogen

Kylo Heller


e continue to talk about the significance and meaning of common soil test parameters. This month we will address nitrogen. Nitrogen (N) is one of the three macronutrients needed by plants, and is probably the most talked about in general. Once in the plant one of the primary functions of N is amino acid and protein formation. Another key role of N in plants is as a building block of chlorophyll, which is the absorber of light energy for photosynthesis. Therefore, adequate N is associated with good protein levels in fruit and/or seeds and nice looking dark green foliage. Nitrogen deficiency is often exhibited as stunted plants with yellow looking leaves. There are many different forms of nitrogen in the soil, many sources from which it can be added, and many avenues for it to be lost. There are two basic forms in the soil, organic and inorganic. The inorganic form can be present as several different compounds. Nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) are two of the most common compounds, and are the two that the plant can utilize. Organic N is pres-

• • • • • •

ent as proteins, amino acids, and many other complex compounds. Most organic N is associated with the soil organic matter. Through a microbial process called mineralization, organic N is converted to NH4+ at which point it is available for plant use. Most of the NH4+ will undergo further microbial processes converting it to NO3-, if not first used by the plant or lost/bound by other soil activities/organisms. NO3- can be lost from the soil via physical, chemical, and microbial processes. To judge the inorganic nitrogen level, soil is typically only analyzed for the NO3- content. This is valuable information for the immediate growing season. However, because NO3- is used in large volume by plants and can be subject to so many losses, this information will usually not remain accurate for more than a few months. For most garden soils, sampled six inches deep, a soil test NO3- level less than 25 parts per million (ppm) is considered low, and would indicate the need for more nitrogen. How much nitrogen is needed depends on what you are growing. The best thing to do is ask your soil test laboratory for fertilizer recommendations for specific plants. However, in many cases they may not be able to provide a recommendation for the specific plant you are growing. In these cases it is best to consult your local extension agent or other expert. It is important to note that applying too much nitrogen can

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available, you can make an estimate based on the soil organic matter analysis. In general, in our area you can estimate that for every one percent OM the soil will release about 0.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. While this organic pool is not readily available for plant use, it must be converted to an inorganic form first, it is also not readily lost like the inorganic forms. So, as most gardeners will tell you, building the organic matter levels in your soil can provide long term nitrogen benefits for your plants.

often cause excessive vegetative growth, which in some situations (e.g. vegetable gardens) may not be desirable. To determine the amount of organic nitrogen that could be

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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Negative Space in the Garden By Terry Blair Michel


s an artist my work focuses on color and pattern, which translates well to my garden. As I developed my once barren yard, I have used my favorite colors of red-violet and yellow green (in their pale or duller color versions as well as their most intense) as the basis for most of my plant choices – both floral and foliage. These colors create the consistency needed throughout my yard, but since they are complementary colors, their use can become overwhelming, especially when used as intense color or the adjacent to each other in a bed. As I created more beds in the yard, I thought carefully about positive and negative space. Using intense color or complementary colors next to each other in beds would be the positive space. Too much activity and color brightness in an artwork can be overstimulating to the viewer. While

my artwork can be is chaotic at times, the best pieces always have rest areas or negative space. In the garden this can be created in several ways. One way is to use larger areas of the same color plant. Grass is an example. A swath of bluegrass or fescue would be relaxing in a yard, directing the visitor through the beds. However, grass used as the main plant in a yard can be boring. There needs to be a balance. As an example: in my front yard on each side of the entry sidewalk and driveway, near the street are a ‘Goldmound’ Spirea fronted by pink creeping phlox in the spring and ‘Purple Emperor’ Sedum in the fall, and backed by ‘Husker Red’ and ‘Dark Towers’ Penstemon. These small beds create a warm welcome to the yard. The color combination is repeated further in the yard by a Bloodgood Japanese maple, ‘Red Carpet’ Sedum,

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Golden Mop False Cypress, and both red-violet and yellow-green coleus. But when I began thinking of filling in the west section of my front yard with more beds, I realized I needed a calmer entry to my house – negative space – especially since I will be painting the house a dull yellow-green with a red-violet door and window boxes soon. Too much of a favored color combination is still too much. Last year I planted ‘Blue Rug’ Junipers along the street to stand up to the baking sun in summer and salt in winter. I will plant lavender near the entry for their lovely scent.

Both of these plants are soft bluegreen, one dark and one lighter, and a calm, cool contrast to my hot combinations. I decided to fill the space between these two areas with Artemisia and a mass of ‘Elijah Blue’ fescue. While these are all closely related in color, they each have distinctive leaf shapes and heights, creating different textures from front to back, and therefore, interesting areas to view up close while still being a relaxing negative space. Terry Blair Michel is a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener.

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Tropical Plant Profile:

Brent Tucker


started growing passionflowers years ago because of their intriguing flowers and foliage. The flowers are exotic, quite different than any other plant flower that gardeners are familiar with. Most passionflowers are considered tropical vines in our area, but there are two species that are native to Missouri, Passiflora incarnata, and P. lutea. Thankfully, several varieties are available at local independent garden centers that are easily grown in containers. Locally you can find ‘Lady Margaret’, a nice burgundy color, x Belotii that has large mauve flowers, ‘Lavender Lady’ as the name implies – lavender flowers, a white and blue flowered species named caerulea, and a second species, vitifolia, with vibrant red flowers. All of these varieties will bloom through summer with proper care. Passionflower vine can be grown and flowered in containers during the summer. Once purchased, repot your new vine in a container two to four inches larger than its current pot. Make sure it has adequate drain holes. A good, free draining potting mix for containers is an ideal growing medium, and a slow

release food can be added to the soil. Otherwise, at regular intervals apply an evenly balanced water soluble food in the spring for good foliar growth and a bloom boosting food in summer for flower production. Remember that your vine will need a support to grow upon. They will grow on fences or arbors, but a store bought trellis can be used as well. I like to make my own out of bamboo stakes. Place your passionflower in 6 or more hours of direct sun and water only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Shoot for a moderately moist soil since a too soggy soil will cause root rot. A too dry plant, on the other hand, can drop its flowers. During the summer keep an eye out for pests like spider mites, scale, and mealy bug. Spray your plants when pests are found. Always follow the label instructions. In fall plants should be brought indoors before frost usually in late September to October. Trim back if needed, remove dead leaves and stems, and spray for insects before bringing indoors. I place mine in an East window, but any window with sun or even a plant light can be used to keep your vine happy in winter. Water your plant a little less frequently and feed only if your vine is actively growing. Also, keep watch for pests and treat when needed. Don’t be surprised if you get some flowers during

Photo by Brent Tucker.


the winter, which is a welcome sight! Passionflowers can be potted into larger pots in subsequent years or root trimmed periodically if the vine gets too big to handle. If you grow passionflowers only for one season or for years I think

you’ll find them quite easy to grow and a joy to flower. Brent Tucker has been growing exotic plants for twenty plus years, specializing in orchids, ferns and begonias. You may contact him at

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Annual K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center Field Day July 28


o you wonder how K-State Research and Extension develops its list of recommended grass, flowers or vegetable varieties? University research conducted right here in Olathe helps to determine what grows best in our area’s landscapes. The K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center’s Field Day is the public’s opportunity to peek behind the scenes on Saturday, July 28, from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving success. Admission is $5 per person, which includes bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations. The Center conducts research in turfgrass, high tunnel fruit and

vegetable production and annual flowers. Field Day visitors have the opportunity to speak with university professors heading up the research and Johnson County Extension Master Gardener volunteers. New This Year This year’s Field Day will showcase the following research: • Grass versus Trees – it’s a war for survival. Learn how to grow better turf in the shade or when to give up and switch to ground covers. • Ground Cover trials – numerous shady ground covers are under observation. See which ones are making the cut after the horrible summer 2011.


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Thousands of Annuals Blanket the Fields The flower plant trials are popular with thousands of colorful annuals. Companies from around the world submit their newest developments. The research trials show which flowers can withstand the Kansas City climate. The trials illustrate that not all varieties are created equal. Visitors can learn which varieties to purchase to achieve success, and can save money by avoiding duds.

• Container Garden trials – Over 300 new plants for patio planters and front porch use. Performance in a planter is much different than in the ground. See which flowers are best for pots and which ones are best planted in the ground. • Vegetable research – see the latest in commercial production from high tunnels to the new and trendy grafted tomatoes. • Echinacea – 50+ varieties in a rainbow of colors. Find out which ones thrive and which ones aren’t worth the money. • Plant clinic – bring your ailing plant samples and get your questions answered.

Free soil tests Johnson County residents can bring their soil and get one free soil test, complements of Stormwater Management. A soil test determines the nutrients in the soil. It is important to know the nutrient levels to grow healthy plants. Go to www.johnson.ksu. edu/soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample. At least two cups of dry soil are needed for a proper test. The Research Center is located at 35230 West 135th Street, Olathe, Kansas. The entrance is approximately nine miles west of Highway 7 on 135th Street. Admission is $5 at the gate. Lunch will be available for purchase during the event. For details and additional information about the event, feel free to call (913) 715-7000, or visit www.


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The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012


garden calendar n LAWNS

• Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3 to 3 1/2 inches. • Mow zoysia at 1 1/2 inches. • Fertilize zoysia to encourage summer growth with a high nitrogen fertilizer. • Let grass clippings fall to return nutrients to the soil. • Be on the lookout for summer diseases such as brown patch, treat areas where it has been a problem. • Sharpen mower blades. • Replace lawn mower air filter and change lawn mower oil per owner’s manual. • Prepare to control perennial grassy weeds such as zoysia, fescue and nimblewill. • Take a soil test to prepare for fall lawn renovation. • Water deeply and less often for deep roots and a healthy lawn.


• Remove faded flowers from annuals to stimulate more flowers for late summer color. • Deadhead perennials to prevent seeding and encourage plant growth. • Replenish mulch layers. • Cut fresh bouquets for enjoyment. • Lightly fertilize annuals. • Dig, divide and replant crowded irises. • Fertilize roses for fall blossoms. • Fertilize and water container gardens.

• Complete the final pinching of chrysanthemum tips for bushier plants.


• Water newly planted shrubs and young trees (planted within the last three to five years) during dry weather. • Keep plants mulched to conserve moisture and cool roots. • Remove sucker growth from the base of trees and along branches. • Prune diseased, dead or hazardous limbs.


• Harvest fruits of your labor and enjoy. • Control weed growth to preserve water and nutrients. • Fertilize vegetables to encourage plant development. • Watch for foliar disease development on lower tomato leaves and treat with a fungicide. • Prepare for fall gardening. Plant potatoes, broccoli and other fall crops. • Spray sweet corn to control corn earworms as silks emerge. • Be on the lookout for pests in the garden and control. • Remove old raspberry canes after harvest.


• Keep compost pile moist for fast processing and turn occasionally. • Take photographs of the garden to document success and for future planning.

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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Fairy Houses and Forts Has Visitors Flying to Powell Gardens

uly is the time for several popular events at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, where the Fairy Houses and Forts exhibit is providing a bonus of big family fun. Explore the seven forts and fairy houses and the activities that go with them for the price of regular admission: $10/adults, $9/seniors and $4/children 5-12. Details are at

These Drop-In Activities (included with regular admission)

Edible Forts and Discovery Station, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 7 & 8 Fairies use just about everything to make their forts, even yummy treats. Join us as we make forts outof edible materials, that can be enjoyed as a snack later. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fairy Finger Print Art Discovery Station, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 21 Fairies are very unique creature, as unique as your finger print. Come out an make your own fairy artwork to take home. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Storytelling, 11 a.m. -2 p.m. July 28 & 29 Enjoy tales of fairy adventures and more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enchanted: A Magical Evening in the Gardens, 6- 10 p.m. July 13 Experience a enchanting evening in the Gardens, with games put on by Radio Disney, take home crafts, and a lantern-lit self-guided tour of the Forts and Fairy Houses exhibit. Make your reservation at Kids’ Club, 10-11 a.m. July 14 Powell Gardens monthly Kids Club runs through October, and is specifically for children ages of 5-12. Each Kids’ Club meeting features a guided tour and a behind the scenes tours to give guests an up close look at the Gardens and all the things living in it. For the July meeting, members will be touring the Forts and Fairy Houses exhibit, and then making a fort of their own to take home. For more information go to .

July in the Heartland Harvest Garden

Fresh Bites Series Come out to the Heartland Harvest Garden for demos covering upcycling and growing edibles. The sessions meet in the Missouri Barn and are great for visitors of all ages. Go to www.powellgardens. org for more information. Garden Chef Series Sample delicious food created by local chefs and culinary experts at 2 p.m. every Sunday in the Heartland Harvest Garden. * July 1: Bonnie Brown, Thailand Restaurant * July 8: Richard W. McPeake, author and BBQ Instructor * July 15: Amanda Powell, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza * July 29: Jasper Mirabile, Jasper’s Restaurant A Taste of Amigoni, 6-8 p.m. Sunday, July 22 The Vineyard is the perfect place to savor the best of local wines. On July 22, Powell Gardens kicks off a new wine tasting series with a Taste of Amigoni, featuring a trio of wines from Amigoni Urban Winery of Kansas City. The evening includes three wines, light appetizers by Chef Michael Foust and the chance to enjoy the Heartland Harvest Garden in the evening light. Tickets are $30 or $25 for members of Powell Gardens. For more information visit 26

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

Club Meetings Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Jul 15, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Jul 9, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City MO. Members meeting. Guests are always welcome. Come join us and make a gardening friend! 816-941-2445. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Jul 11, 12pm-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Foraging for Wild Plants. Presented by Elizabeth Cutting. Registration required. 816-822-1515. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, Jul 21, 9am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Jul 12, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Everything you ever wanted to ask about growing roses. The meeting will feature the Consulting Rosarians who will answer questions and lead a discussion from members and guests about all aspects of rose growing and care. You can even bring plant clippings and/or pictures of problems you would like the Rosarians to diagnose. This is your chance to get expert advice and learn rose-growing tips from others in the group. All JCRS meetings are free and open to the general public. Refreshments will be provided. For more information about the meetings, programs, and membership details, go to Also on Facebook at Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Jul 15, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Jul 2 and 23, 9am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Jul 10, 6:30pm, 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 July focus herbs are Mint and Bergamot. In addition to our topic herbs, we will be discussing Teaching Kids About Herbs, and 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 10. For information and monthly newsletter email Lawrence Herb Study Group Thurs, Jul 12, 7pm; at the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd, Lawrence, KS. An informal group meeting monthly in Lawrence to study herbs. We will learn about the aspects of each herb: culinary uses, aromatherapy application, medicinal properties, historical lore, growing and crafting. This group is open to anyone wanting to learn more about the herbs grown in the garden and in the wild. $2 fee to cover costs. To sign up and receive updates email or join our Facebook page (search Good Earth Herbs). Lenexa Field and Garden Club Tues, Jul 10, 7-8pm; at Kauffman Memorial Gardens, 4800 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO. Members only guided tour.; 913-541-1465. Olathe Garden and Civic Club Tues, Jul 17, 10am; at Long Lips Farm, 27995 Plum Creek Road, Paola, KS. A tour and program. Meet at the East Gate Parking Lot (located at 1229 E Santa Fe, Olathe) at 10am and carpool to the Farm. The program will be Butterfly Gardening and will enhance knowledge about attracting and feeding butterflies and their caterpillar stage of life. Public welcome. Contact Lila at 913-764-2494 or Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Aug 13, 7pm; at Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Speaker Aletha Simon: “Flowers and Stories they Tell”. Aletha Simon has been a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener since 1997. She enjoys giving talks on Art and Gardening topics. She spends the last 35 years of her non-gardening time as a Docent for the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art giving tours to both adults and school groups. Her garden was featured on the 1998 Garden Tour as the “Four-Season Garden”. St Joseph Herb Gardeners Thurs, Jul 5, 6:30pm; at FCS Financial building. Aroma Therapy with Hilda The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

Bell. Nominating committee selection. President: Helen Snuffer 816-279-7372

Events, Lectures & Classes July Hart’s Delight Daylilies Annual Tour Sat, Jul 7-8, 9am-1pm; at 7460 W 255th, Louisburg, KS. Daylily sale to benefit Late Bloomers garden club (tag sale with August pick-up). Garden has over 900 varieties of daylilies. 913-837-5209 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 information, 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 Pack A Pickle Tues, Jul 10, noon; at Harvester’s, 3801 Topping, Kansas City, MO. This workshop will demonstrate both a quickpickling method, as well as the steps to traditional pickling.  Learning these methods will allow you to make all types of pickles and sauerkraut. Presented by Susan Mills-Gray, University of Missouri Extension office. $20. Call Earlene at 816-931-3877 to register and pay (Class size is limited to 20 persons). Pressure Canning 101 Tues, Jul 10, 6-8:30; at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Connection Cafe. Cost is $20 per session or $80 for the entire series (5 classes). Please email for registration details. Composting Workshop Thurs, Jul 12, 7pm; at Roeland Park Community Ctr, 4820 Rosewood, Roeland Park, KS. Basic composting info will be covered, but this class is for those July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

who have been composting in the past without much success. Come and learn the ‘Five Rules of Rot’ and turn the compost pile into a garbage eating machine. One 60 minute class $8 ($9 Non-Johnson County Residents). 913-826-3160 Sunflower Artfest 2012 Fri, Jul 13, 6-9pm; Sat, Jul 14, 10am-8pm; Sun, Jul 15, noon-5pm; at The Barn At Kill Creek Farm (formerly Zimmermans Kill Creek Farm), 9212 Kill Creek Rd, De Soto, KS. Our annual Sunflower Artfest celebrating the arts with a variety of fine artwork, food, live entertainment and children’s craft area–amidst the beautiful sunflowers planted by the De Soto Rotary Club. Browse through a variety of art booths, the “Sunflower Art Exhibit,” and pick-your-own sunflowers from nine different types. Proceeds go towards Rotary International’s PolioPlus Program. Sunflowers will be available for purchase throughout the month of July and during the “Fresh Promises Farmer’s Market” on Wednesdays (4pm6:30 pm). Rotary Sunflower information: Darrel Zimmerman (913-209-4446); Sunflower Artfest information: Dick Stine via e-mail at, or Rose Burgweger at rmbgraphics@ Plant Diseases Mon, Jul 16, 6:30pm-8pm; Truman Memorial Building, 416 West Maple, Independence, MO. 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. Free. No registration needed. The 149th Annual Platte County Fair Jul 18-21, on the fairgrounds, 15730 Fairgrounds Rd, Tracy, MO 64079 at exit 18 or 20 off Missouri’s I-29. Get Ready! A huge carnival, queen contest, petting zoo, fiddle and talent showcases, 4-H exhibits, demolition derbies, Muda-Thon, truck and tractor pulling with street diesel pickups, arts and crafts and a melodrama await fairgoers. There will be food vendors, nightly musical entertainment, jugglers, and horse and mule shows, too – all for just $10 daily admission. Children 12 and under are free admission every day. Opening night season tickets at the gate will be $30. The entertainment gets underway at 5pm July 18-20.  On July 21 the fun starts at 9am and goes on through the night. The carnival starts at 6pm July 18-20 and on July 21 it runs from 1pm to 4pm  and 6pm to midnight. For a full schedule of the events and activities at the fair and locations for pre-season ticket sales visit  Follow the fair on Facebook! To contact the fair call (816) 431-FAIR. Salsas Made Easy Thurs, Jul 19, noon; at Harvester’s, 3801 Topping, Kansas City, MO. The bounty of the summer garden will be utilized in this workshop. Learn how to make a (continued on page 28)

Summer Classes: mind, body and garden To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online and see pictures of projects at www.powellgardens. org and follow the LEARNING link. The Healing Power Of Nature Workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, July 13 Learn specific techniques for gaining insights and creative problem solving through nature. Become more connected with nature in a way that will facilitate the healing process. The techniques are practical and can be applied for personal use or applied in health care facilities. Discover the healing qualities of essential oils and of common weeds, and more. Time will be spent in nature practicing what you have learned. Walking long distances is not required, but is an option. $59/person, $52/ Members (Add $10 to receive 5 CEUs). Registration required by July 11. Earth-Safe Pest Control in the Vegetable Garden, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 14 Learn how to use companion planting, trap crops and resistant crop varieties to prevent disease and pests. Discover which barriers and repellants work effortlessly and which ones are not worth your investment. Eliminate insect problems with beneficial insects, traps and lures. Your experience will include a guided tour of the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible landscape, to see these practices in action. $30/person, $24/Members. Registration required by July 11. “For Your Heart” Fitness Walks, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 21 Brisk walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Learn to maximize the benefits of walking for exercise by learning about proper posture, performing light muscleconditioning exercises, varying your pace and stretching. Powell Garden’s outdoor environment is

a unique alternative to a health club or city street, offering fresh air and a place where beautiful scenery changes weekly. All fitness levels are accommodated. $18/person, $12/Members, $4/ child ages 5-12. Registration required by July 16. Yoga is Blooming: Yoga for Gardeners, 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, July 22 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. $24/person, $18/Members. Registration required by July 16. Capturing Insects through Your Camera, 9-11 a.m. Friday, August 3 Discover what photography equipment is needed and get advice on locating insect subjects. Participants will go on a

“bug hunt” around the Gardens guided by the instructor, a published, professional photographer. At the end of class, you will see examples of what you have just experienced as well as the end result of the photographic techniques that have been practiced. Bring your own camera and a basic knowledge how to use it, or just come and see what equipment the professionals use. Binoculars will come in handy to view insects from a distance. $39/person, $29/Members. Registration required by July 30. 27

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


Weather Report

Highs and Lows Avg temp 80° Avg high temp 89° Avg low temp 71° Highest recorded temp 111° Lowest recorded temp 51° Nbr of above 70° days 31

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 13 Avg nbr of cloudy days 8

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0 Avg rainfall 3.7” Avg nbr of rainy days 9 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases

Plant Above Ground Crops: 3, 18, 19, 24-28, 31

Full Moon: July 3 Last Quarter: July 10 New Moon: July 18 First Quarter: July 26 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac


Plant Root Crops: 3-5, 8, 9

Control Plant Pests: 10, 11, 15-17

Transplant: 27-28, 31

Plant Flowers: 18, 19, 24-26

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

(continued from page 27)

jar of salsa and then take it home to enjoy! Presented by Susan Mills-Gray, University of Missouri Extension office. $20. Call Earlene at 816-931-3877 to register and pay. (Class size is limited to 20 persons) Fairy Gardening Thurs, Jul 19, 7pm; at Roeland Park Community Ctr, 4820 Rosewood, Roeland Park, KS. A fairy garden can be any size or shape ranging from sprawling gardens to a tiny flower pot. The main ingredient needed to create a fairy garden: imagination, creativity, and a pinch of time. Join the class for a fun exploration to the world of fairies and learn the secrets to creating these magical gardens. One 60 minute class $8 ($9 Non-Johnson County Residents). 913-826-3160 Cass County Fair Floraculture/ Horticulture Show Jul 19-21; at the Historic Train Depot, Pleasant Hill, MO. New this year THE BIG TOMATO contest. Winner determined by weight. BIG trophy awarded. Adults and Youth invited to enter with Viewers’ Choice plaques awarded in all 5 divisions. Entries: Jul 19, 5-8pm, Judging 8:05. Show opens to public Jul 20, 1-9pm; Jul 21, 10am-9pm. Entries pick up Jul 22, 1-2pm. Call Cindy Keesler, 816-7790995 or Bernie Zeller, 380-7801; www. Fall Gardening Fri, Jul 20, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Plant in July and August for a fall garden! Learn the details of what and when to plant for a successful fall harvest. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. Free. Call Earlene at 816-931-3877. Herb Walk Sat, Jul 21, 10am-11:30am; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, KCMO. Explore basic garden herbs by strolling through our Beanstalk Children’s Garden. Get tips on what to grow, what herbs to use fresh and how to dry them. Presented by Mary Roduner, Beanstalk Children’s Garden Coordinator. Free. Call Earlene at 816-931-3877. Pack a Pickled Product Tues, Jul 24, 6-8:30; at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Connection Cafe. Cost is $20 per session or $80 for the entire series (5 classes). Email lrouse@ to register. Annual K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center Field Day Sat, Jul 28, 8am-3pm; at the Research Center located at 35230 W 135th St,

Olathe, KS. The entrance is approximately nine miles west of Highway 7 on 135th Street. Talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving success. Admission is $5 per person at the gate, which includes bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations. Lunch will be available for purchase during the event. For information call (913) 715-7000, or visit www. . Freezing/Dehydrating Mon, Jul 30, noon; at Harvester’s, 3801 Topping, Kansas City, MO. Want to learn how to make your own fruit roll-up? Dried fruit mixes? Jerky? Freeze corn on the cob? This workshop will teach you to freeze and dehydrate foods for best flavor, color and texture. Presented by Susan Mills-Gray, University of Missouri Extension office. $20. Call Earlene at 816-931-3877 to register and pay. (Class size is limited to 20 persons)

August Salsa Made Easy Thurs, Aug 2, 6-8:30; at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Connection Cafe. Cost is $20 per session or $80 for the entire series (5 classes). Please email for registration details. Jams and Jellies Tues, Aug 7, 6-8:30; at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Connection Cafe. Cost is $20 per session or $80 for the entire series (5 classes). Please email for registration details. Cultured Foods Workshop Sat, Aug 11, 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). Rescheduled! 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! Freezing & Dehydration Tues, Aug 14, 6-8:30; at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Connection Cafe. Cost is $20 per session or $80 for the entire series (5 classes). Please email for registration details. Growing and Cooking with Herbs Thurs, Aug 16, 7pm; at Roeland Park Community Ctr, 4820 Rosewood, Roeland Park, KS. Growing herbs is not as hard as you think! Once you have the taste of fresh herbs. One 60 minute class The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

Open House On The Prairie Sat, Aug 18, 10am-1pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179 St, Overland Park, KS. Join our dedicated group of Prairie volunteers who have been working since 2002 to restore 160 acres of existing Arboretum land, south of Wolf Creek, into native prairie. See the native grasses, wildflowers in bloom, wildlife food plots, Prickly Pear Cactus Glade and prairie birds. This will be a walking tour with stops along the way to learn about each area of the developing prairie. Please dress for heat, sun, wind and unpredictable weather with boots (no open toe shoes or sandals) as the terrain is often uneven. Bottled water recommended. No accommodations for mobility challenged individuals or children will be available. Each tour group is limited to 12, so please call 913685-3604 to reserve a time. Tours will start every twenty minutes beginning at 10am with the last group at 1pm. Adults only, please. $5 per person. Parking will be at the Prairie “Old Home Site Entrance Gate,” 0.8 miles south of 179th St. on the west side of Antioch Rd. Follow signs at gate entrance. You may register for this tour by going to and follow the prompts. 913-685-3604. Gardeners’ Gathering – “Missouri Climate-Historical and Current Perspectives” Tues, Aug 21, 6:30pm, at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, KCMO. Presented by Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City. Lecture. Global temperatures over the past 35 years have been increasing at an alarming rate, but long-term regional temperatures indicate a different scenario in Missouri and surrounding states. Free and open to the public. Door prizes. For further information call (816) 213-5280. New Volunteer Orientation Sat, Aug 25, 9-11am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179 St, Overland Park, KS. Consider spending part of your leisure time volunteering at Overland Park’s 300-acre Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This

hidden jewel at 179th and Antioch is a great place for people to get back in touch with nature, admire the beauty of numerous flower and water gardens and become part of a wonderful volunteer experience. You can find out about volunteer opportunities such as gardening, greeters, prairie restoration, greenhouse operations, weddings, photography, birds, special events and plant sales. Free - only requirement is 30 hours per year of volunteer time. You may register by going to and follow the prompts or by calling 913-685-3604 or by emailing volunteercoordinator@

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

FREE Farmers Market ... ... began on Wednesday, June 27, and runs through the end of September. Market hours are as follows:

Wednesdays 6-7:30 p.m. Saturdays 6-8 p.m. Sundays 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. To donate produce, take it to the market stand behind the west parking lot 30 minutes prior to opening. All donations are appreciated. The market is open to those in need in the community and our church.

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 www. or call 816-769-0259 to enroll.

Please note that the market will be closed on Wednesday, July 4.

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 www.gardensatunity. org or call 816-769-0259 to enroll.

Solitary Wasps Family: Hymenoptera


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 816-7690259 to enroll.

Promote your gardening events!

Photo by Mary Roduner.

$8 ($9 Non-Johnson County Residents). 913-826-3160

hile most people fear wasps, they are a beneficial friend for your garden. Wasps like mud daubers (top), thread-waisted wasps (center and bottom) and potters wasps are solitary (not building hives or nests with many individuals). These wasps hunt in the garden pulling cabbage worms and loopers along with other insects from your vegetables and take the prey back to their nests to feed their larvae. When left alone they are docile, rarely stinging. Provide nectar producing plants like oregano, anise hyssop or dill for the adults to feed on. Use insecticides carefully since they kill the good insects along with the bad ones. Submitted by Mary Roduner, Children’s Gardening Coordinator, Kansas City Community Gardens.

Send information to: The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 E-Mail: Deadline for August issue is July 5. July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Water Garden Pond Tour… Ideas Galore! Diane Swan


ust because we cannot live in the deep recesses of the mountains or on a tropical island, does not mean that we cannot create these paradises in our very own backyard.” KC This year’s 19th Annual Water Garden Society of KC Pond Tour is a wonderful opportunity to gather great ideas. There are 50 plus gardens on the tour, held Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Throughout this two-day event you will experience the peace and tranquility that water gardens bring to a yard. You will be able to see a large variety of

what people picture as their own personal backyard paradise. Themes for a water garden paradise can range from tropical, mountainous, Japanese, Mediterranean, Kansas Prairie and so much more. As you plan your personal paradise, have the foresight to imagine the end result. Sort of like a master garden plan. The center point of the yard will be your water garden. Everything else, such as landscaping and patios revolve around the water garden. By choosing your plantings in and around the pond carefully, you can achieve the water garden theme of your choice. You could choose mountain evergreens, lush large-leafed tropical foliage, prairie grasses or many other wonderful plants to create the look you want. There is a great variety of aquatic plants that can be chosen to


Dirt • Rock • Mulch • Pavers • Retaining Wall • Flagstone • Wall Stone

Your Water Garden Headquarters! Savio

Skimmers & Waterfalls

Pond Care



Pond Chemicals, Bog Plants/Lilies

Algaecide & Bacteria Pond Liner -45ml Water Plants & Lilies Moss Rock Waterfall Stones Pond Chemicals Bog Plants Barley Straw

WE ARE ROCKIN’! (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 30

fit your garden theme. You might choose a hardy pickerel, reed, and a lily for your mountainous theme or the exotic Lotus, tropical lily, umbrella palms or papyrus for your tropical theme.

paradise you created. A proper sized pump will give you the desired flow of water and the sound you will learn to expect. Water gardens are adaptable to full-sun to full-shade situations. Any yard can accommodate a water garden. It could be a full-fledge waterfalls, stream, and large pond to a small pondless feature. Add garden accessories to enhance the theme of your water garden. For example, bears for the mountainous theme and a Buddha and pagoda for the Japanese theme. As you experience the pond tour this year, pay close attention to detail and the little things of the gardens. These are the things that will determine the outcome of your own water garden paradise theme.

Whatever plants you choose, your aquatic plants will: 1. Soften the hard look of the rocks of the water garden. 2. Help take up excess nutrients. 3. Shade the water surface. Place your water garden so it is as visible from inside of the house as it is from the patio or deck. This will enable you to enjoy your water garden theme year round regardless of the season or weather. A good low-maintenance filtration system is essential for getting full enjoyment out of your pond. The lower the amount of maintenance, the more time you will have to simply enjoy your backyard

Kevin and Diane Swan own Swan’s Water Gardens, a full service water garden center. You may contact them at 913-592-2143.

LONG, HOT JULY? EARTH RIGHT products help you beat the heat. Earth Right conditioner is in all our products. That helps plants wick water & stay cool. Fertilize smart for summer heat. Use Sure Bloom™ for turf or gardens to keep roots from burning & soil conditioned. Keep Ponds clear with Pond Stuff ™

Made In The Heartland! Contact Tobin Lawn to have Earth Right Products applied for you. Tobin Lawn (816) 765-5565 or call us for assistance near you.

Earth Right LLC Overland Park, KS (913) 492-2992

© 2012 Earth Right LLC

The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

Kansas City Community Gardens Summer Workshops

Professional’s Corner

Plant Diseases July 16, 6:30–8pm; at Truman Memorial Building, 416 W Maple, Independence, MO 64050. 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. FREE. No registration needed. Salsas made Easy July 19, noon; at Harvester’s, 3801 Topping, Kansas City, MO 64129. The bounty of the summer garden will be utilized in this workshop. Learn how to make a jar of salsa and then take it home to enjoy! $20. Call 816-931-3877 to register and pay. (Class size limited to 20.) Fall Gardening July 20, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Plant in July and August for a fall garden! Learn the details of what and when to plant for a successful fall harvest. FREE. Call Earlene to register at 816-931-3877. Herb Walk July 21, 10-11:30am; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Explore garden herbs by strolling through our Beanstalk Children’s Garden. Get tips on what to grow, what herbs to use fresh and how to dry. FREE. Call Earlene to register at 816-931-3877.

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.

July 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Kent Maughan, who has spent more than 40 years with his hands in the dirt. Name: Kent Maughan Company: Soil Service Garden Center Job Title: Store Manager Customer Service for 9 years Education: I received a BSBA in Accounting from the University of Denver, and I’m a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener, and have over 40 years with my hands in the dirt. What inspires me: I am an optomistic person who sees a glass as half full and tomorrow always holds the promise of something new and better. I appreciate this quote by Francis Meilland in Antonia Ridge’s book For Love of a Rose, “There is something about a garden at dawn, above all a rose garden, something most lovely, almost holy.” Favorite plant: As with fresh fruits and vegetables, the variety in season will top my list. However, my grandfather grew over 50 hybrid tea roses and my father grew over 60, so I grew up a rose grower. There is nothing more perfect in spring than swelling rose buds that open to show their beauty. Three of my favorites are ‘Double Delight’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and ‘Moonstone’. They tickle both my sense of sight and smell. Favorite garden destination: Enjoying roses as I do, the Rose Garden at Loose Park is a special place. Additionally, Powell Gardens offers a wonderful variety during each season of the year. What every gardener should know: Every plant is different, even within the same species or planting area. There are so many variables that effect the growth and development of each individual plant. Gardening is a continually evolving endeavor. There will be occasional failures of a plant or location. This is OK, and know this happens to the best of us. Renew, replace, move, move on. Our next growing success awaits. Outside interests: I have sung in my church choir for over 50 years and love music. I follow as many sports as I can and wish that I had a little more free time for this type of activity. Maybe next year. Little known secret: With my accounting training, I learned to plant shrubs, annuals and bulbs in a straight line. Through my master gardener training, I discovered that clumps and groupings are more interesting and effective. Contact: Soil Service Garden Center, 7130 Troost, Kansas City, Mo.; Feel free to stop in or call 816-444-3403; hours Mon.-Sat. 8am-6pm, Sun. 10am-5pm (Nursery stays open thru Summer, Garden Center closed Sundays Father’s Day thru Aug. 19) 31

SUMMER in Bloom

! t n e m p i h S New



while they last

Hibiscus Trees

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GARDEN ACCENTS Classic Statuary & Fountains Stone or Teak Benches Decorative Planters Arbors & Trellis Pots Pots Pots 135th & Wornall (816) 942-2921


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Everything you need for your own Private Oasis *sorry, not available at Lenexa location yet

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

105th & Roe (913) 649-8700

The Kansas City Gardener / July 2012

KCG 07Jul12  
KCG 07Jul12