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The Kansas City

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

September 2012


resilient and beautiful

Turf Recovery Container Vegetable Garden Hot Topic: Water Wise Gardening Dog Days of Summer and Cicadas

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 Spring Hill, KS 66083 913-592-2143

Act Now... Call Us Today and Start Living In Paradise Right In Your Very Own Backyard!

The Kansas City

editor’s notes


Course Correction

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Betsy Betros Alan Branhagen Erin Busenhart Barbara Fairchild Diane & Doc Gover Lenora Larson Terry Blair Michel Peter Orwig Dennis Patton Diane Swan Brent Tucker Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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


ormally I steer clear of popular topics and headline news here, especially bad news, knowing full well redundancy is rampant in the media. Plus, I believe my purpose is to give something of myself, something thought provoking, something deeper than the ‘topic of the day.’ The topic of drought, however, is one that touches all of us one way or another. Whether you’re a home gardener or a green industry professional, this situation is no doubt having a negative effect. I can only imagine the hardships that the independent retailers, growers and others like them are forced to endure due to this persistent drought. As a home gardener, I can only speak to the challenges I’ve experienced this season, which pale in comparison. From a cost perspective, I don’t dare tally up the annuals that I finally gave up to the compost bin, because the plant and I just couldn’t keep up. There were many others that I diligently watered and fertilized in hopes there would be blooms. In doing so, I spent more money on water than the actual value of the plant. (And don’t get me started on how much of that valuable resource we waste.)

For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 31.

transformation that occurs ... with or without my help. I have come to realize my lack of presence in the garden. Lately I’ve become so caught up in the mundane chores of keeping the garden alive and flourishing, that I’ve lost sight of the simple joy of gardening. I trust this is just a momentary lapse, a bit of cloudy vision that occurs with dry eyes. A good soaking from an overnight rain shower will wash away that bad attitude and clear my head. Until then (who knows when the rain will come), this change in perspective must be a deliberate course correction. I will be more mindful of and be more present in my cherished gardening time. If you need a little support and course correction, gather your garden friends to reignite your gardening joy. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

Become a fan. Post a picture. Ask a question. Give advice. Join us!

Annuals are the least of my worries and thankfully, there’s no turf to maintain. However, the landscape is full of perennials, shrubs and trees that do need care. Suffice to say, we spent many days moving the hose around the landscape. This summer the kitchen timer was used more to keep track of watering than it was for cooking. Recently, though, I read musings from a gardener who described the garden as ever-changing, a place of continual growth and inspiration. The garden is never the same two days in a row. Plants live and flourish. Plants also decline and die. Certainly there are factors that influence one way or another. But realistically, the weather factor is beyond our control. And for Midwest gardeners, we should know that by now. Undoubtedly the time, energy and money we put into caring for our garden is effective, if not for the plant, then for our mind, body and soul. But I haven’t given much thought to the evolution of my garden, to recognize the ongoing

September 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 9 Ask the Experts ......................... 4 Fall Season Water Garden ......... 7 Container Vegetable Garden ...... 8 The Bird Brain .......................... 9 Turf Recovery ............................ 10 GN Broomsedge bluestem ......... 12 Water Wise Gardening ............. 14 Grasses ................................... 16 Caterpillars .............................. 20 Rose Report .............................. 21

about the cover ...

Dog Days and Cidadas ............. 22 KCCG Fall Festival ................... 23 Surviving the Summer of 2012 ... 24 Garden Calendar ..................... 25 Upcoming Events ...................... 26 Powell Garden Events ............... 28 Hotlines .................................. 29 Arts for Kids ............................ 30 Subscribe ................................ 31 Professional’s Corner ................. 31

Feather reed grass (Calmagrostis acutiflora) ‘Karl Foerster’ catches afternoon sunlight beside a beautiful low stone wall. Learn more about grasses beginning on page 16. Photo credit to Michael Cavanaugh.

September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


20 3

Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

SHOULD I FERTILIZE LAWN AND TREES DURING THIS DRY PATTERN? Question: I have this gut feeling that the drought conditions we had this summer are going to continue into the fall. So here is my question, should I go ahead and fertilize my lawn or young trees? Answer: You know, I tend to agree with you. I think we will be stuck in this hot, dry pattern for a while. Of course putting that in

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Trade in your old, worn or broken feeder and get ...

20% off any new feeder. Usable feeders will be donated to schools, libraries, parks and assisted living homes.

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Boxwood is best pruned in the spring just after the flush of growth. It can also be done in the fall starting in mid-October. trees are highly stressed from the summer then I would probably withhold fertilizing this fall. Keep in mind that young trees should head into winter with good soil moisture so deeply watering would be recommended. CAN I PRUNE BOXWOOD IN FALL? Question: My boxwood hedge got away from me this year due to the early spring growth and then hot summer conditions. Can I prune this fall?

Water’s Edge

Dennis Patton

writing pretty much ensures a cold wet fall with my luck! Fertilizing stresses plants and is not recommended as it encourages growth that oftentimes the plant is not prepared to support. As for the lawn, if you have been watering and the turf is growing, then yes, I would recommend that you continue with the normal fall fertilization. On the other hand, if the grass is still in a summer dormancy or the hot, dry conditions continue then I would hold off on fertilizing. The fertilizer needs to move into the soil to even become available to the plants and that requires water. As for the young trees, the same holds true. If you are watering, or natural rainfall returns, then I would go ahead and fertilize in October or November. But if the

Answer: Boxwood is best pruned in the spring just after the flush of growth. It can also be done in the fall starting in mid-October. Avoid pruning in September as new growth may be initiated which will not have time to harden off before winter and it could be killed. Boxwood is a pretty forgiving plant when it comes to pruning. Avoid pruning deeply as it does not recover well if cut back into the so-called dead zone. That means there should always be green leaves remaining after pruning. It

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is recommended to avoid pruning during the heat of summer as removal of the growth can result in a burning of the newly exposed foliage. WHEN TO PLANT NEW GRASS SEED Question: Like most people my lawn is toast after the hot, dry summer. When is the best time to plant new grass seed? I hear spring and fall. Answer: The best time to plant a bluegrass or tall fescue is lawn is very late August through midSeptember. In a normal (of course what is normal) year during this period of time we have warm soil conditions, sunny days and cooler nights. These conditions combine for quick germination and establishment. Also, weed, insect and disease problems are lower at this time of year. Seeding later into September, or even early October can be done but often the results are less than successful as the young stand may not establish before the cooler late fall conditions arrive. With any seeding operation be sure to properly prepare the soil by verti-cutting. And of course, it is no time to take a vacation as the new seed will need timely, daily watering to keep the seedbed moist. Let’s hope fall seeding is more successful than last year as the hot September and dry conditions yielded poor results. GARDENING APPS Question: I got an iPad for my birthday and just love it. I was wondering if there were any good

gardening apps that you would recommend. Answer: I have also just recently joined the iPad revolution and have been experimenting with gardening related apps. At this point I would have to say the ones I have checked out are just so-so. The main problem I find is that they are not as localized as I would like. Talking with other gardeners some like reading gardening magazine apps and several of our favorite have simplified apps which can be downloaded. I have played around with Leafsnap which is for tree identification. The problem is trees from all over show up. iScape is a tool for landscaping. You can upload a picture of your home and place icons which represent plants and hardscaping. This is helpful but you still need to know plant materials to make it all fit, but at least you get a feel for size and shapes for a nice setting. The best app for most is the electronic version of Michael Dirr’s, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. This is not a free app and is written at a college textbook level. But for the true plant geek this is our bible. Enjoy and have fun as the garden and tech worlds meet. For me holding a device is not like getting your hands in the dirt. But the apps are fun to play around with on hot or cold days. 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.

Experience local farms during the 8th Annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour

Visit Farmers in Northeast Kansas as They Share Their Stories and Products During the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, October 6-7


he eighth annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 6 and 7. The tour began in 2005 to celebrate the diversity and availability of locally-grown food and products in Northeast Kansas. The 23 participating farms produce an astounding variety of items, including fruits, vegetables, beef, cheese, wine, flowers, pumpkins, pork, honey, flour, fiber and dairy products. Special activities include petting animals, hay rides, walking tours, chef demonstrations and opportunities to sample and purchase farm-fresh foods. The Tour has something for everyone, whether you are looking for educational tours, wine tastings or children’s games. Demonstrations offered include

pressing cider, chocolate making, fiber spinning, cheese making and more. In addition to several specialty crop farms and specialty livestock producers, five new farms have been added as tour stops this year. The cost is $10 per vehicle to all the farms for the weekend. Tickets for the tour may be purchased at The Merc, 901 Iowa St.; Lawrence Visitors Center, 402 N. Second St.; K-State Research and Extension - Douglas County, 2110 Harper St.; Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market; on our website or at any participating farm. For more information, a map or to buy tickets, visit www. or visit the tour’s Facebook page.

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GARDEN CENTER Stop by for our

FALL VENDOR SHOWCASE Sept. 15 from 10am-2pm expert advice, prizes, discounts & more! Vendor Showcase includes: Organic Lawn Care • Water Gardening Plant Selection • Outdoor Equipment & Much Much More!


cientists, teachers, students and the public will gather at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens on September 29 for a day of science, education, community and fun. The 300-acre Arboretum is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Kansas City, with eight natural ecosystems, botanical gardens and a wide variety of trees and shrubs native to the area. Participants can choose six of the following twelve areas for study: birds, bats, trees, flowers, insects, solar observation, land snails/slugs, reptiles/amphibians, spiders, mushrooms, butterflies/ moths, and game calling. Each 50-minute class is led by an expert in the field and is limited to 25. A outstanding roster of instructors includes Curtis J. Schmidt from the Sternberg Museum of Natural History; Joe Arruda from Pittsburg State University; David Young of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City; published insect and butterfly experts Betsy Betros and Lenora Larson; Sherry Kay of the Mycological Association; naturalist Mike Stoakes; career forester Ken Myers; expert game caller Steve Letcher; Hank Guarisco of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History; and Dennis Patton, Johnson County Extension Agent. Register online at www.opabg. org. The cost is $25 per person, limited to adults and kids 13 years


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and older. Ages 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (who also registers online). The event is held rain or shine. You may pre-register for lunch or bring your own. The Arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway at 179th and Antioch. You can find more details at or email event organizer Dan Johnson at gdj102356@

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Walkways • Patios • Terraces • Waterfalls Retaining Walls • Flower Beds Rock Gardens • Vegetable Garden Prep

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

A Four Seasons Water Garden…Fall If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before. ~ Mitchell Burgess (From TV series Northern Exposure, Thanksgiving, 1992)

Diane Swan


ormally this time of year we would be looking forward to the brilliant array of oranges, yellows, reds and purples that dot the landscape everywhere you turn. Unfortunately the long dry summer may reduce the fall color show. Many trees started dropping their leaves early this year due to the lack of rain. Fortunately with Fall comes cooling temperatures and the desire to once again go outside and enjoy your yard. A chance to get out to refresh and cleanup after the summer heat. But for those of us with water gardens we are extra lucky, as we always have a bright, refreshing spot to turn to in our yard, regardless how bad any of the plants in the landscapes look. The Lilies have been blooming their heads off. The tropicals lilies have been holding their heads way above water level with their huge

5-7” blooms. The deep purples, rich fushias and rainbow shades of the greens are truly awe inspiring. The hardy lilies seem to be having a contest with the tropicals. Some of their blooms have been 5-6” in diameter, especially some of the Colorado Peaches. Twice now there has been seven blooms all open at the same time on two different yellow lilies. They are truly showing off. The brand new Hardy lily ‘Wanvisa’ with its dark mottled leaves, has even joined the contest with four blooms open on the same day. But as in every fall season there will come a time in late Fall when even the colors of the water garden fade. At that time you will want to start to deadhead your plants as needed and get your water garden ready for winter. Consider covering your pond with a leaf net to keep falling leaves out. These decaying leaves on the bottom of your pond can give off harmful gases for your fish if the gases are trapped under the ice. An aerator is a great way to add oxygen year round and keeps an airhole in the ice during the winter. The health of your fish is aided by

bringing the oxygen down to the bottom of the pond where they like to hang out. The beneficial bacteria, that keeps our water crystal clear, also needs this oxygen to grow and colonize. In the late Fall you can start using the Autumn Prep which is a cold-water bacteria. If you don’t have a water garden, you can add this spot of color to your back yard with beautiful blooming water lilies in a pond. Fall is a great time to install a water garden. 1. The weather will start cooling down. 2. The ground is settled for the season. 3. You can give your hardy aquatic plants a head start. Fall

gives them a chance to take hold and flourish and be ready to greet you in spring. 4. Your Fall water garden will have a chance to establish its ecosystem before spring. 5. You can enjoy the transition from Fall to Winter. 6. Winter will bring with it ever-changing dimensions as you experience the sparkling ice sculptures that are created. Why stare at a yard of burnt up grass when you can have the enjoyment of color and movement with a water garden, waterfalls and stream. Kevin and Diane Swan own Swan’s Water Gardens, a full service water garden center. You may contact them at 913-592-2143

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September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


Grow vegetables in a container tasty, nutritious and convenient

Erin Busenhart


s the hot days of summer finally give way to the cooler days of autumn why not get rid of those sunburnt annuals and grow nutritious food instead. It’s not too late and with the right plants you can harvest fresh and tasty produce through the fall season! Not able to rip out the sod and plant the vegetable garden of your dreams? Start a container vegetable garden – it’s super easy!

Selecting the right container For a veggie combo pot, it’s easiest to start with a large container, at least 18 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that clay and ceramic pots can crack outside in cold weather. But also remember you can always tuck lettuce, spinach or chard in small pots or in with other ornamentals. And make sure that you utilize the entire container by growing root crops with aboveground veggies; think onions and lettuce; carrots and spinach.

an effective way to make your own instant backyard salad bowl.

Location, location, location All edible crops require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight but would prefer more for the best production. Not sure if you get that much? Add casters to the bottom of your container – an inexpensive way to

For plants that can stand several frosts, down to 20 degrees: • Broccoli • Cabbage • Carrots • Cauliflower • Kale • Turnips

Run Fast.

5K Run/Walk | 3.25 Mile Trail Trek

Saturday, September 8

Savor the sights and sounds of nature on this course that meanders around Kansas City’s botanical garden! The race starts and finishes in front of Powell Gardens’ Visitor Education Center with lakeside views along the route.

Eat Slow. Eating slow is all about the pleasures of eating well and relishing the freshest foods of the season. After the race, visit the Heartland Harvest Garden where slow food rules! Don’t miss this sampling smorgasbord!

Veggies to try These vegetables can stand a light frost: • Beets • Lettuce • Mustard • Onions • Peas • Radish • Shallots • Spinach • Swiss Chard

Peas growing up a trellis with different types of leaf lettuce, spinach and mustard and pansies and Lobelia. wheel your plant around to receive the most sun. Choosing your Plants Seeds require frequent watering to germinate, so keep seeds separate from plants or start seeds in shallow containers earlier in a window or outside and transplant into a mixed container. With the shorter season, up and growing starts are

And don’t forget to add in Pansies for color and herbs that can handle some cooler temps like Thyme, Mint, Parsley and Rosemary. Erin Busenhart is seasonal color designer at Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park, Kan. You may reach her at 913-642-6503.

Name Brand, Quality Approved. 816.697.2600 Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is located 30 miles east of Kansas City on U.S. Highway 50. Admission for non-race participants is $10/adults, $9/seniors and $4/children ages 5-12.

Register online at


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The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions

Doc & Diane Gover


ith fall arriving, so are changes within the wildlife community. There will be an endless supply of surprises and lessons right in your own backyard. Be sure to take some time out of your day to watch for them. You never know who might be your next visitor. Q. Do all birds migrate? A. NO. Migration is defined as seasonal movement from south to north in the spring from the wintering grounds and north to south in the fall from breeding grounds. Migrators are generally fruit and bug eaters that follow food sources. Some of our migratory birds include hummingbirds, orioles, tanagers, buntings and more. Q. I have noticed that when birds come through my yard in small flocks I hear lots of cheeping that isn’t their regular song. Are these birds actually talking to each other? A. The cheeping that you describe is a chorus of short, single, high-pitched notes uttered at

intervals by each member of the flock. These calls make locating the birds extremely difficult for predators – and bird watchers – but allow the birds to keep track of flock mates without having to actually watch for each other. The birds can move together in the same direction while they keep their eyes open for danger and for food. Q. Bluebirds have raised three broods in the nest box in my yard. I cleaned out the first two nests right after they fledged. Should I just leave the last nest in the house for them to use in the winter? A. Please clean out the old nest as it will harbor mites. As cold weather arrives, the box will become a roost and provide insulation to cavity nesting birds that are in your yard. Q. When should I take down my hummingbird feeders? A. We are asked this question many times each fall. Bird watchers worry that by providing sugar water in the fall, they will cause hummingbirds to linger at their feeders rather than migrate when they should. Hummingbirds have a strong instinct to migrate in response to decreasing hours of daylight. Be sure to have nectar available thru late October for any straggling migrants that might be passing through your yard.

Q. We enjoy watching and feeding goldfinches and have been puzzled by the quick color change of their feathers from brilliant yellow to olive. Do they actually shed the bright yellow feathers and grow the olive drab ones? How does this happen? A. Goldfinches are in the Kansas City Area year round, so it is fun to watch for their color change. Nearly all birds experience some molting (shedding). Some are dramatic. The American Goldfinch completely changes its feathers twice a year with the male becoming a bright yellow in early spring and a dull, drab, olive color in the fall. Be sure to offer Nyjer or Finch Mix in your yard year round.

Come see us if you have questions; our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kan. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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Turf Recovery get your turf back on track

Peter Orwig


s I drive around town, I can’t help but notice all of the struggling lawns. With just over 2 inches of rain since the beginning of June, it is no wonder that turfgrass has taken a beating.

(Lawns need at least 1 inch of water every three weeks to keep grass plants from dying.) Adding to dry conditions, July was the hottest month on record for the contiguous United States since forecasters started keeping records in 1895. Given these circumstances, as temperatures begin to drop in the coming weeks, it is important to thoroughly water your lawn to determine if the grass has survived. Apply enough water to penetrate

the root zone 6-12” below ground. After 2-4 weeks of cooler temperatures and adequate precipitation, your lawn should green up. Don’t delay this watering for too long; similar conditions in prior years have resulted in the loss of many home lawns. If your lawn doesn’t bounce back, you will need to overseed this fall to replace dead grass. Even if your grass survived, it will need extra care this fall to help it recover and thrive next spring. Water. Lawns need at least two inches of water per week when temperatures are in the 90s or hotter, unless you have allowed the grass to go dormant. As it starts to cool down, you can back watering down to 1.5 inches per week. Properly watering throughout fall’s recovery process will help restore your lawn.

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Fertilize. This fall, fertilize the lawn to restore nutrients. You will actually want to fertilize twice. Once in early to mid-fall and again in late-fall to early winter. The first feeding will revive the lawn. The second will help the lawn store up carbohydrates for the winter and spring ahead.

Seed. As I mentioned, most lawns in our area will have some dead or thin spots coming out of the drought. Fall is the best time to repair these areas by overseeding. Most years, it is safe to begin seeding around Labor Day. I recommend the following seeding steps: 1. Measure area to be seeded. 2. Water the lawn thoroughly to establish a base layer of moisture. 3. Buy the seed* you will need either: > 10 lbs Improved Turf-Type Tall Fescue / 1000 square feet; or, > 3 lbs Bluegrass / 1000 square feet 4. Mow lawn at lowest setting. 5. Flag all sprinkler heads and valve boxes. 6. Put down starter fertilizer. Examples: 13-13-13 or 10-20-10. Use 5-10 lbs/1000 sq. ft. 7. Apply seed evenly with a cyclone-type spreader. 8. Rent a verticutter and verticut twice AFTER SEEDING. (This will work the seed into the soil.) Set verticutter to cut grooves 1/4 inch deep. 9. Start watering right away. Soak lawn thoroughly the first

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Disease & Insect Control Pruning • Removal • Consulting Mark Young MW-103B

Thoroughly water your lawn to determine if the grass has survived. Apply enough water to penetrate the root zone 6-12” below ground. day. Water daily for 3 weeks; keep continually moist. * Your seed should be free of any weed seeds. Check the label; there should be 0% listed next to “weed seed” and 0% listed beside “other crop.” When planning your seeding, be sure to consider watering needs. Diligent watering is necessary the entire month following the seed date. (Digital water timers will change you life!) Failing to water is the number one reason seed fails. Dormant Lawns. Because of this summer’s drought conditions, many homeowners may have decided to let their lawns go dormant. It is important to note that newly sodded or seeded lawns should not be allowed to go dormant, as they are not well enough established to survive drought conditions. Now that we have that out of the way, there are some guidelines to letting your

lawn go dormant. Dormant lawns MUST be watered to keep the crown of the grass plant hydrated. You should apply at least 1 inch of water every 3 weeks for as long as drought continues. Use a rain gage or an empty, flat-sided can to monitor rainfall, and be sure you water enough to put down 1 inch of water after taking into account precipitation. If properly cared for, lawns will green up with cooler temperatures and more precipitation. If you notice bare or thin spots, spot seed to restore turf. Congratulations! We are all very nearly at the end of one of the hottest, driest summers we’ve experienced in quite some time. Our lawns and landscapes have taken a beating, but with a little extra attention this fall, we will be able to get our turf back on track.

George Eib Chuck Brasher

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Grow Native! Plant Profile

Barbara Fairchild


f you were asked to make a list of grasses found in prairies, what would be on it? My guess is many lists would include only big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass and maybe switch grass. That, however, is only a partial listing of prairie grasses and doesn’t include what may be the most widespread of all prairie grasses—broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus). Its native range extended from Florida to Texas and Mexico, reached up to Massachusetts and covered most Midwestern states.

Today it is found as far north as Canada and has been introduced into California and Hawaii. Broomsedge is an opportunist, quickly populating disturbed ground such as rights of way, abandoned fields, thin woods and overgrazed pastures. It is a generalist that is not picky about soil type (although it does best in loose, sandy sites with low fertility). In fact, a stand of broomsedge often indicates soil with low phosphorus. Landowners, it seems, have love-hate relationship with broomsedge—depending on location. Its opportunistic trait often put cattle ranchers on the “hate” side of a relationship with broomsedge. Young, tender broomsedge makes palatable forage for livestock in early spring. When it’s more mature livestock reject it for more desirable grasses.



Without careful management, pastures can be overgrazed, which allows broomsedge to spread and out compete the more desirable grasses. On the “love” side of the relationship are golf course managers who like the fact the grass establishes quickly without much water, fertilizer or maintenance, making it a cost-saving choice for perimeter areas. Back on the “hate” side are environmentalists in Hawaii, where the plant was introduced (likely inadvertently) in 1932. There, it is considered noxious because it invades native plant communities and alters fire and hydrology regimes. Its natural growth pat-

tern is out of sync with the local climate and it is dormant during the Hawaiian rainy season, leaving slopes it has colonized vulnerable to erosion. “Love” is felt half way around the globe, where naturalists in the eastern United States call broomsedge an important and widespread constituent of eastern American fields and say it is incredibly vital to many species of wildlife. Its importance, they say, ranges from food and forage to shelter and nest material. They add that it is highly ornamental in the fall because of its silvery, shiny seeds that are hairy and wind-dispersed. “The foliage becomes a delightful coppery color


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that stands out over non-native lawn grasses like Bermuda and fescue,” they note. Broomsedge also has been introduced into Australia—in a round about way. The grass was used as packing material to protect bottles of American whiskey being shipped there. The practice protected the whiskey and launched the grass in Australia. One of its common names came into being at the same time—whiskey grass. In addition to broomsedge bluestem, other common names include broomsage, yellowsedge bluestem, beard grass, broom straw and Virginia bluestem. Despite the use of sedge in common names, the plant is not a member of the sedge family—it is a grass. Broom as part of the common name is a reference to the use of the grass to make brooms. Early settlers gathered bundles of the mature, ribbon-like leaves and tied them together to make cleaning tools. The scientific name is from the Greek andros, which means man, and pogo, which means beard. Thus bearded man—a reference to the plant’s hairy spikelets that do indeed resemble a beard. Swedish

botanist Carolus Linnaeus named the species and gave it the name virginicus (from Virginia)—a reference to the Virginia territory that was the source of the specimen in his collection. While the merits of broomsedge can be debated, it does belong on a list of prairie grasses. With a mature height of two to four feet, it is the larval host for the cobweb and zabulon skippers, its seeds are eat by the field sparrow, junco and chipping sparrow, its foliage and down from its seeds are used in nest construction and it makes cover for the bobwhite quail. Here are two more broomsedge qualities that can be used in a debate. The plant has allelopathic chemicals that adversely other plants growing in the area. When the plant matures, its leaves turn straw yellow. Cherokee capitalized on this feature by using the plant to make yellow dye—think Easter egg dye. To learn more about native plants, visit Barbara Fairchild gardens in central Missouri, and writes for the Missouri Prairie Foundation.






visit for store locations near you September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


Alan Branhagen


rought is gripping more than 60% of the United States by late summer 2012 and Kansas City is experiencing its worst hot and dry summer since the dust bowl. My first thought is that of thanks to all those who stayed through the dust bowl and planted windbreaks, hedgerows and shade trees. Thanks to those farmers that began conservation practices to hold soil. Can you imagine what this summer would be like if all those trees were not planted and agricultural practices had not changed? I was reminded of that when I drove into Kansas City one hot day and my car thermometer said 106F degrees on the

freeway but dropped to 98F when I entered the urban forest. Now it is our turn to NOT give up and continue planting and replacing trees and garden with the wise use of water in mind. We need to continue to plant trees and those that tolerate more heat and drought. Established oaks and hickories are faring amazingly well through this drought and most oaks even put on a second growth spurt by midsummer. Hmmm. They were the original dominant upland trees in the region when the settlers arrived: they grew here, on their own without any care at all. Most oaks are more challenging for nurseries to produce and transplant but they are worth the added up-front expense. They will save you in the long run big time! Their acorns and nuts may be an added nuisance for a spell in the fall but a bounty for wildlife and the web of life. Embrace it. It is the time for all gardeners to welcome locally native plants

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Left: Hardy Hibiscus like this native Rose Mallow growing along the lake edge on the Island Garden need access to constant moisture to look their best but are tolerant of heat and drought. Right: Naturalistic perennial border in Powell Gardens’ Perennial Garden.

Left: Crape Myrtles are among the most heat and drought tolerant plants and are not native. Right: Bur Oak second growth flush. and more natural gardening styles that are more ecologically sound and thus conserve resources. That’s not to say you can’t grow some natives in a formal way or setting or not grow non-invasive exotics! This year has been so challenging that even the local native plants are going dormant and looking shabby but they will survive and return when the rains come. I can’t say the same about many exotics or natives from more benevolent climates. Some exotic plants are weathering

this drought just fine too. It does come back to “right plant, right place” in other words, where you plant them in your garden or landscape. The High Country Gardens (from dry Santa Fe, NM) catalog has my favorite diagram and information regarding selecting and locating plants for a garden. They title it “Watering Efficiently! Planning and Design with Water Use Zones.” Zone one is the oasis zone immediately around your

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home where one should locate any plants that may have more water requirements. Water captured from roof areas, driveways, walkways and other hardscape is most easily done there. Do you have rain barrels and rain gardens? Install them. The garden hose is handy too! My favorite, more water demanding plants are in this zone, and in our soils, this has the added benefit of protecting your foundation from shrink and swell if you keep it hydrated. I also recommend soaker hoses to water much more efficiently. Examples of choices for your personal oasis would be container plants that may need watering daily in the heat of summer, more water demanding small trees like sweetbay magnolia, Japanese maples and flowering dogwood, shrubs like hydrangeas, butterflybush and azaleas; and perennials like ferns, cardinalflower and hardy hibiscus. Obviously this is where you should grow plants that like moist conditions and regular watering. Zone two is the transition zone or middle part of your property where watering is a bit more challenging and more drought-tolerant plants should be planted that will require less watering during a drought. It’s a bit more challenging to describe plants with good tolerance to dryness but not of extreme drought like we are now having. Without a bit of occasional supplemental watering in times like now, these plants suffer and decline. Examples include evergreens like yews and holly, small trees like ornamental magnolias, fringetrees and seven

sons; shrubs like Koreanspice and most other viburnums and perennials like garden phlox, obedient plant, and most coneflowers. Zone three is the xeric zone for your property’s boundaries and other out-of-the-way areas where watering is challenging. Here you should only plant the most droughttolerant of plants that require little or no supplemental watering. For evergreens this means junipers, boxwood, nandina and yuccas; small trees like redbuds, crabapples and deciduous “possumhaw” holly; shrub roses, most lilacs, crape myrtles, rose-of-sharon and natives like leadplant and New Jersey tea; perennials including daylilies, hosta (in shade!), our native woodland wildflowers that have sense to go dormant now, Russian sage, and native glade plants like Missouri primrose and purple poppy-mallows. So gardeners don’t give up! Get out to your local nursery NOW (September may be the MOST ideal month to plant in Greater Kansas City – or as soon as the heat breaks) and replace what was lost. Choose plants wisely and locate them in your garden or landscape in appropriate locations. In another 70 years there may still be those who remember this extreme heat and drought and they will enjoy the shade and green landscape we left as a legacy. Alan Branhagen is Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. See his blog at

Before fall Seeding ... ask for these products at your favorite retailer!

We recommend an application of enviroMax mixed with envirolife (2 to 1 ratio) be used 7 to 10 days before verticutting and seeding. The ground will become softer, as pore space is added to the soil profile. This will make your job in verticutting a much easier task. You will prepare the soil to properly absorb water and nutrients, and the microorganisms in envirolife will begin to flourish throughout the soil profile. We have found by spraying PlantMaster over the seeds germination rate increases and germination time shortens. after the seed germinates, the grass will be able to grow longer roots, due to the fact that enviroMax has created pore space.

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2012 Fall Plant Sale


Sept 27-29

re you starting to think about filling in those bare spots in your garden with plants that can take the heat next summer? Then the Miami County Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale will be just what the doctor ordered. The sale will be held September 27-29 at the Miami County Extension office in Paola, KS, in the Extension Master Gardeners parking lot. The sale features an impressive selection of hosta, including miniatures, and many native plants—coneflowers, buckeye, Kansas blazing star, plants for butterflies, and native grasses. From other parts of the world there will be mimosa, golden caryopteris, redwood trees, honeysuckle vines, ornamental grasses and crape myrtle— including some named varieties

developed at the U.S. National Arboretum. Plants are selected for their suitability to our warming climate, and are grown in Miami County. Proceeds of the sale go toward fulfilling the Master Gardeners’ mission of providing the public with research-based horticultural information primarily through public programs, the garden hotline, consultations, newspaper articles, demonstrations and trial gardens. Expert gardeners will be on hand to assist shoppers on Thursday from noon to 5, Friday from 8 to 5, and Saturday from 8 to noon. Paola is 15 minutes south of Olathe on 169 Highway. The Extension office is located near the intersection of Wea Street and Hospital Drive. Enter the grounds from the Wea Street entrance.

Welcome Fall in Your Garden with Vibrant Hues! a Trees and shrubs~ Come see what shrubs and trees are known for their fabulous fall color and berries! a Fall vegetable transplants and seeds~ Have you ever planted a fall veggie garden? Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Radishes, Lettuce, Spinach, & more can be grown in a fall garden! a The area’s best selection of home grown perennials! a Holland bulbs~ plant tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs now for a splash of color in the spring! Bulbs will be available shortly after Labor Day. The following Kansas-grown fall plants will be available by mid September: a Winter hardy pansies in vibrant and pastel hues! a Fall mums and asters in all colors! a Cool flowering cabbage, kale, ornamental grasses, and other plants that feature the colors of fall! 1430 Hwy. 58 S.E., LeRoy, KS 66857

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












The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012




Grasses resilient and beautiful 13

Leah Berg


orticulture professionals and homeowners alike rely on inexpensive ornamental grasses for great texture, color and movement in our windy landscapes. They survive drought well thanks to fibrous roots much deeper than turf grasses. We may still plant containergrown perennial grasses into late September. Water well and mulch them around Thanksgiving for winter protection. But don’t push your luck; wait until spring to divide established grasses. On slopes difficult to mow like the Kauffman Performing Arts Center (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’), and the S-E side of the I-435 & State Line intersection (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’) they minimize maintenance and stimulate us visually! Filling a raised bed by a Kansas City Art Institute building on Oak, north of 44th, are northern sea oats (Chasmantium latifolium). Their moderate height and interesting texture make a great contrast to three metal sculpture panels on the red brick wall. One of the few grasses growing equally well in shade or sun, they look nice in urban settings like this or more natural settings – but they re-seed aggressively. Try them in more dry locations where you can ATTEMPT pulling young plants regularly, or let them take over a space where other species failed.

Nearby, feather reed grass (Calmagrostis acutiflora) ‘Karl Foerster’ catches afternoon sunlight beside a beautiful low stone wall (see cover). In August, I visited with Crystal Broadus-Waldram, horticulture supervisor of the Kansas City Zoo grounds. My former student (MCC-Longview Grounds & Turf Management program graduate) and I compared notes about suffering plants vs. those doing well despite drought stress. As the zoo staff prioritizes which trees and shrubs and herbaceous plants to water, they don’t have to worry about the many resilient ornamental grasses on the grounds. Once well-established, they rarely need special attention. (But please do water them regularly the first year planted!) Look for native little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) with shrubs along the zoo train tracks near the polar bear exhibit. The blue-green color turns reddishorange in fall. Its moderate height and width makes it ideal for use in public and private landscapes. Crystal included dramatic annual Pennisetum purpureum Vertigo® in three locations this year. It handled the heat and contributed to a lush, tropical look with partners like cannas, elephant ears, hardy banana, papyrus, and zinnias. Anne Wildeboor at Powell Gardens also used Vertigo® to anchor the striking “Tunnel Bed” with a path edged by basil ‘Boxwood’ and sweet potato vine Sweet Caroline Raven™. Annual ruby grass ‘Pink Champagne’ (Melinis nerviglumis), about 1-2’ tall, has been another great favorite with visitors. Some varieties really are “new and improved” but sometimes we

September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

like our “tried and true” favorites best, like ‘Karl Foerster’ for its reliability, predictable form (columnar), moderate height and width (4’ by 2-3’), and beautiful flowers. Newer variegated Calamagrostis cultivars seem much less vigorous. Combined with dwarf fountain grass and native prairie dropseed in parking islands at the Raytown HyVee, these truly low-maintenance grasses soften harsh hightraffic hardscapes without any supplemental watering. The beds do have shredded bark mulch, helping conserve scant moisture. Devin Wetzel, manager of Legacy Park in Lee’s Summit says dwarf fountain grass (Pennisteum alopcuroides ‘Hameln’) stands out in his home landscape as well as throughout the city’s parks. Though this classic variety is compact (about 2’ tall and wide), others like ‘Little Bunny’ make even shorter mounds. Names matter … for example, when people say they want PAMPAS GRASS. Typically called “hardy pampas grass” or ravenna grass here, clumps of Saccharum ravennae provide good privacy screening and catch attention with large feathery flower plumes. However, it’s not true pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) which won’t survive our winters. Using incorrect names may result in filling orders for landscape plans with the wrong plants, making for unhappy customers. By using the right plant names including cultivar names, we get the right details about the growing habits of each species and variety. If shopping for Zebra grass, carefully read the tag’s projected height. Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ grows 6-8’ tall and nearly as wide. Often I’ve recommended ‘Strictus’ (a.k.a. ‘Porcupine’) for

its more erect form, but same striking horizontal yellow bands across the green blades. More compact ‘Little Zebra’ received many votes for favorite ornamental grass the last few years at the K-State field research station in Olathe. Similar ‘Little Dot’ in my yard measures 3.5’ tall and wide. ( OrnamentalGrasses.html) These make great backdrops for masses of golden-yellow flowers like coreopsis, black-eyed susans or fall mums. Flame grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurascens’) provides a warm amber-red fall backdrop for purple mums or asters. Don’t just ask for a variegated grass ... M. ‘Variegatus’ features a more cascading form with wider green and white blades than vase-like M. ‘Morning Light’ or bolder M. ‘Cabaret’. (See all these and more in the Powell Gardens Perennial Garden.) Though awarded the 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year award, variegated Japanese forest grass Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ isn’t well-suited to sunny hot summers. Few local people can brag about a good specimen. Think “small, medium, large or extra-large” to size grasses best for your landscape’s layered-look style. They dress up formally or dress down informally as needed! Try identifying the grasses pictured; check your answers with the key on page 18. 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. To consult privately, contact her at 816-353-7170. 17

Gardens at Sunset fundraising event for Kansas City Community Gardens


ansas City Community Gardens is proud to announce its first annual “Gardens at Sunset” fundraising event. On Saturday, September 15 from 5:30-8pm, The Beanstalk Children’s Garden (6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132) will be open for guests while they enjoy appetizers and cocktails during the twilight hours. Shades of Jade will serenade guests with great jazz music and a silent auction will offer a variety of garden and food items for patrons to bid on. This highly enjoyable evening will be packed with a variety of different food experts from the Kansas City area. We are excited to have Chef Martin Woods, of Yia Yia’s restaurant,

partner up with authors Judith Fertig and Karen Adler to feature their new grilling cookbook, “The Gardener and the Grill’. Brooke Salvaggio of Urbavore Farms/BADSEED market will be on hand to offer expert advice and share her experiences as an urban vegetable grower. We are also pleased to have Danny O’Neill of the Roasterie be our honorary event chair – the Roasterie’s airstream will be at the event offering guests fresh coffee. Tickets can be purchased at www.thegardensatsunset. com. Tickets are on sale for $85. When purchasing your tickets, you can also reserve an autographed copy of “The Gardener and the Grill’ with a portion of the book sale proceeds benefiting KCCG.

Grasses Key (from page 17)

Come see our fantastic selection of

Mums • Trees • Shrubs Kale • Pansies • Roses

10860 W. 271 St. Louisburg, KS 66053


Hwy 69 to Louisburg, right on Hwy 68 for 3/4 mi., right on Spring Valley Rd. 1 mi., right on 271st 1/4 mi.

9 to 5 Mon.-Sat. • 11 to 3 Sun.

1) Dwarf fountain grass 2) Northern sea oats 3) Ruby grass ‘Pink Champagne’ 4) Pennisetum Vertigo® 5) True pampas grass 6) So-called “hardy pampas grass” 7) Maiden grass ‘Variegatus’ 8 & 13) Switchgrass ‘Shenandoah’ 9) Zebra grass 10) Little bluestem 11) Flame grass 12) Feather reed grass ‘Karl Foerster’

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Join a Garden Club

Brent Tucker


here are many plant clubs here in the Kansas City metro that meet  periodically with programs on culture, new plant varieties, pruning techniques, and so on. Their members are enthusiastic about the plants they grow and are quite willing to teach the diverse aspects of your new hobby, and listen to your stories of mishaps and triumphs. Whether your special interest is in home gardening, roses, cacti or African violets there is a club for you. I know a couple of members of the  Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City that are very generous with their knowledge and are always willing to answer my questions. Here you can learn to how train your bonsai tree or repot it.  The Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society is a club where you can learn about growing and caring for these plants in pots or even in your landscape with perennial varieties.  The Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City is another club where you can get tips on growing beautiful orchid flowers. Lastly, two clubs that I’m personally involved with that I’m

always anxiously waiting for the next meeting is the Mid America Begonia Society and the Heart of America Gesneriad Society. Two groups of wonderfully learned people ecstatic about teaching others about Begonias and the wide family of Gesneriads that  includes African violets.  An advantage of our local clubs is the shows and sales presented throughout the year. This is an opportunity for members to show off their hard work, and where you can pick up new plants to grow. For instance, the Begonia and Gesneriad clubs are holding  an annual joint show and sale this month, and the Orchid Society will be hosting an expo and sale in October. Becoming a member of one of these clubs grants you access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise. To find out more about particular club meetings or to contact them for information, check the ‘Club Meetings’ section of the ‘Upcoming Garden Events’ in this publication. Although I’ve mentioned only a few, there are many other clubs in our area waiting to hear from you. 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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The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

Time to Learn


From Beekeeping to Sauerkraut Register for these classes at Powell Gardens by calling Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 x209, or register online at and follow the LEARNING link. Beekeeping 301: Seasonal Management, noon-5 p.m. Saturday, September 15 Learn how to inspect the hive, about hive maintenance, how to check for food stores, how to feed bees in the winter and spring build-up feeding and medication. This session will also provide you the beekeeper with “what-doI-do” information, while you learn the ins and outs of the fall honey harvest, the importance of journal entries and the proper set up of the hive in the apiary. $24/adult, $19/Members. Registration required by Sept. 12. A Prairie in Your Front Yard, 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, September 29 Learn all the steps, from planning and soil preparation to planting and maintenance. A prairie in your front yard is not difficult to create. A slide presentation will show native grasses and flowers that you can use for yearround interest. $19/adult, $15/Members. Registration required by Sept. 24. Mulch-Displayers Anonymous, 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, October 13 Free yourself and your landscape of the overuse of mulch, mulch volcanoes, etc. Learn how to create a environmentally sound garden of plants that are fruitful. $19/adult, $12/Members. Registration required by Oct. 8. The Cultured Cabbage: Making Sauerkraut, 1-4- p.m. Sunday, October 14 Learn the art of assembling a basic sauerkraut by participating in this hands-on experience. Bring your own cutting board and knife and be prepared to cut up your own cabbage, begin the fermentation process and actively partake in the step-by-step procedures. Make two quarts of ‘kraut’ to take home. $35/adult, $29/Members. Registration required by Oct. 8.

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ust what are “Old Garden Roses?” On Thursday, September 13, the Johnson County Rose Society will present a program about Old Garden and Retro-Look Roses. John McBrien, JCRS member and ARS Rose Judge, will explain what these roses are and where they came from. He will give us some ideas about how to use them in our gardens and why they are so special. He will also tell us about more modern “look-a-likes” that have been developed to bring the charm of the old garden rose with some of the more desirable characteristics of more modern varieties. The meeting will be held at 7:00pm at the Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas. In addition to the program, members of the Rose

Society will be voting on officers for next year. Members and guests are welcome to take advantage of the “Consulting Rosarians 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 JCRS, or for membership details, please visit their website at http:/www. You can also visit them on Facebook at

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


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Caterpillars: Nature’s Perfect Fast Food

Lenora Larson


bird describes the perfect food for her babies: the morsel should be highly nutritious, easy to catch and easy to eat. Is there a food that meets these criteria? Yes, Caterpillars! 96 percent of terrestrial birds hunt the larvae of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) as the perfect spring and summer food for themselves and their nestlings. The Convenience of Caterpillars Caterpillars’ soft bodies are rich in proteins and fats without a protective exoskeleton like most insects. They have no counterattack by stinger like a bee or biting mandibles like beetles and ants. Without wings and/or long legs

Defense Tactics Many caterpillars, like the Monarch, eat poisonous plants and advertise their consequent toxicity with brilliant colors. The reverse strategy, camouflage, is common among moth caterpillars, which can also be hairy to discourage birds and other predators. Mimicry fools predators. For instance, Eastern Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars wear huge fake eyes on their thorax to mimic a snake’s face because birds are hard-wired in their DNA to fear serpents. Taking mimicry to the extreme, Giant Swallowtail and Viceroy caterpillars look like fresh bird droppings. Yuck! Caterpillars may be vulnerable, but they are not defenseless. They have evolved multiple means to avoid being eaten. The photographs illustrate some of these fascinating tactics.

Photos by Lenora Larson.

for escape, caterpillars are easily caught prey. However, they are not helpless victims.

The American Lady caterpillar is soft and silky but looks fierce and spikey in this defensive posture.

Not only does the Black Swallowtail have bright colors to warn that it tastes bad, when disturbed it raises its stinky orange horns, the osmeterium, to doubly disgust a potential diner.

With its fake eyes, the Spicebush Swallowtail fools birds into thinking that it is a snake!

Moth caterpillars, like this darling Milkweed Tussock Moth, are hairy or furry to deter predators.

This Giant Spangled Fritillary caterpillar eats violets, but it mimics the deadly toxic Pipevine Swallowtail (below) as a protection against being eaten by predators.

Giant Swallowtail caterpillars mimic a fresh, wet bird dropping!

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Rose Report


needed to use these products, so make sure to follow instructions. Let me know how they work.

Charles Anctil


rom the University of Nebraska, July 27, 2012: “Insecticides Increasing Spider Mites: Such outbreaks can be a result of the insecticide killing natural enemies or certain insecticides stimulating mite reproduction. For example, spider mites exposed to Sevin in the lab have been shown to reproduce faster than untreated populations. Sevin, some organic phosphates, and some pyrethroids apparently favor mites by increasing the levels of nitrogen in leaves. Insecticides applied during hot weather appear to have the greatest effect on mites, causing dramatic outbreaks within a few days.” Japanese Beetles At the end of July, I found 2 Japanese beetles on one of my white roses. Start paying closer attention when you are out in the flower beds. The blooms looked like they had been hit with buckshot, and both beetles were hiding between the petals. Bonide has a ready-to-use Japanese Beetle Killer, Bayer Advanced has one, and Bonide also has a concentrate you mix with water. I haven’t

Roses ready for a boost With hot temperatures and the need to increase watering from the hose, how about some alfalfa tea, fortified with Epsom Salts and some SureBloom Natural. Just follow the instructions on the labels. Insecticides Remember, apply insecticides only when insects are present – use the right material for the right insect at the right dosage. Always cool the beds and plants with water before spraying. Never spray a dry bed. Following this procedure will reduce foliage burn. Spray either early morning or late evening. I prefer late evening because of the cooler evening temperatures that will reduce possible spray burn to the foliage. When some plants need special attention, use a small pumpup sprayer or hand mister to spray a few plants. Always follow directions and use the right amount. As a precaution, I always tap the foliage with a yardstick if I think there is too much residue on the leaves. 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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Dog Days of Summer and Cicadas By Betsy Betros of the Big Dog (Canis major) constellation. There are quite a few species of cicadas, more than 160 species in North America (north of Mexico). The super noisy ones in the trees of Kansas Left: A cicada nymph. Center: Two of the cicadas in Kansas City area: Upper photo is City summer Tibicen lyricen and the lower is the Scissor Grinder (T. pruinosus). Right: Chinese Mantid are in the genus eating a Bush Cicada (Tibicen dorsatus). Tibicen which are collectively and prairie and include the very the slit. In late summer you might called the Dog Day Cicadas. The large brown, Bush Cicada or Grand notice trees with lots of small twigs ones that make the distinctive ah Western Cicada (Tibicen dorsatus) with dead leaves. The larvae either weeee-oh, ah weeee-oh, ah weeeeshown in the photo being consumed fall from the trees, or the dead oh are the Scissor Grinder (Tibicen by a huge Chinese Mantid. twigs fall to the ground and the larpruinosus). Check out this website Cicada nymphs burrow into the vae come out and dig down into the to listen to cicada songs: http:// soil and feed on roots with a piercground. Damage to trees is not ing/sucking mouth, depending on ally of any significance…so don’t meridian_cicadas/index.html the species, they live anywhere worry about it! Not all cicadas hang out in trees, from 2 to 17 years underground… With cicadas come the Cicada some are more often found in fields making them a very long lived Killer, a large wasp. The female insect!! Our dog day cicadas live captures and parasitizes a cicada underground from 3 to 5 years. The and takes it to a nest in the ground periodical cicadas are in the genus she has prepared, she lays an egg Magicicada and there are 7 species on it and the wasp larva feeds on in the U.S. These are the ones that the cicada. Cicada Killers are large come out en masse every 13 or 17 and a bit scary looking, but are not years, depending on the brood and aggressive. Leave them alone and species. Visit they will leave you alone! for lots of information on these And, one last note. Some folks fascinating cicadas. The “Kansas call cicadas locusts. Locusts are Brood” of the 17 year Cicadas will actually a type of grasshopper and emerge in 2015 in the Kansas City totally unrelated to cicadas! area…and they will make a really really loud presence then! Betsy Betros is the author of “A Adults feed on tree sap. Females Photographic Field Guide to the of the Dog Day Cicadas make slits Butterflies in the Kansas City in tree twigs and lay their eggs in Region.” Photos by Betsy Betros.


ummer without the afternoon and evening cacophony of male cicadas singing away would just not be the same! Why are they singing? They are singing for their true love! As I sit and write this column in early August, the cacophony is winding rapidly down at 8:45 pm. Stop and listen some evening. The deafening drone is rapidly replaced by fewer and fewer cicadas singing, then maybe one or two and then seemingly all at once…they have had their fill of singing and the night sounds are replaced with crickets and katydids. Oh, no, wait…a few have started up again…but again…the drone dies down. For some, the term “dog days of summer” refer to the hot, lazy days of mid to late summer. The name actually comes from the night sky! Mid to late summer are the “dog days” and if you look up in the southeast sky at night, look for the brightest star, Sirius. Sirius is part


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The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

KC COMMUNITY GARDENS CELEBRATES HARVEST Sept 8 10am-3pm Fall Festival Is Full of Free Family Fun and Hands-On Activities

Join KCPT and P. Allen Smith

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Join KCPT and award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert, P. Allen Smith on Sept. 8 for Join KCPT event and P. Allen Smith as he shares a morning at Suburban Lawnhis thoughts or on gardening, design, lifestyle and & Garden a luncheon at Webster sustainable living. House where he’ll share his thoughts Appearance & lifestyle Demonstration on gardening, design, and At Suburban Lawn and Garden sustainable living. 9 - 10:30am

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ansas City Community Gardens invites the public to its annual Fall Family Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 8. Admission is free for the family fun at the Beanstalk Children’s Garden at 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO – just north of Gregory Blvd. in Swope Park. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Beanstalk will be filled with games, demonstrations, and garden foods to sample. Children will have opportunities to win prizes, including a free book at the Kansas City Public Library’s bean-bag toss. Children can make peanut butter, plant herbs to take home, and ride horses. The day will include scavenger hunts, pumpkin games, face painting, cotton spinning and weaving, and a bug station.

• • • • • •

Lakeside Nature Center will be there with animals. Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality, will demonstrate fruit and vegetable grilling, giving away yummy samples. There’s much more! Visitors can purchase lunch and drinks. Sales of garden crafts will raise money for the Beanstalk Children’s Garden, where each summer and fall children’s tour groups and families are encouraged to see, touch, smell and taste the plants as they learn about growing a garden, eating healthy foods and identifying plants and insects. Donations are welcome. The garden paths are paved and fully wheelchair accessible. For information, call (816) 931-3877 or visit us on the Web at

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Surviving the Summer of 2012 tips from a master gardener dealing with drought


ow has your garden survived this heat and drought? Mine is doing surprisingly well, and here is how I’ve managed that. First, each spring I add lots of compost to my beds, enriching the soil content, fertilizing it, and helping retain moisture. I also mulch well, or grow hardy groundcovers under plants, shading the roots of larger plants. I choose more native plants each year, which are mostly able to sustain during hot, dry weather by putting down extremely deep roots—like six to fifteen feet! My rain garden in a swale at the back of my lot is full of plants such as Rose Turtlehead, swamp milkweed, filipendula, and little bluestem that are used to Buffalo wallows, which are alternately soaking wet in rain and hard as a rock during drought.

In front of that is my prairie garden, full of flowering plants such as Echinacea and Black-eyed Susan, Agastache, native grasses, Joe Pye weed, and Russian sage. Sometimes the natives die back during dry weather, only to reappear when it rains. Some of these plants reappeared this spring after being dormant for two years. Surprise! And, of course, I water. But I water only once a week, even during the hottest of the weather. I put a can at the edge of where my small round sprinkler covers, and then run water until the can is 1 – 1 1/2 inches full. By doing this, I encourage the roots of my plants to go deeper into the cooler soil. I recently added soaker hoses as well, following the directions with them as to the amount of time to accomplish the same amount of

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By watering once a week, I encourage the roots of my plants to go deeper into the cooler soil. water. If you have a water purifier, as we do, check for the by-pass valve, switching it off (usually up at a 45 degree angle) so as not to add more chemicals to your beds. I have been careful with water usage in the house by using the water that comes from our de-humidifier (about 5 gallons a day) to water potted plants, and newer plants, and by flushing the toilets less frequently (if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down.) Surprisingly my bill was much lower for the past month. I also don’t water the lawn. I’ll have a lawn-less yard eventually. But I if you cut your grass to 4”, and leave the cuttings on the ground, the grass survives the heat and drought because its roots

are cooled and shaded. My grass always recovers as soon as the rain returns. I have lost plants, but those were mostly annuals, or hybrids planted in the wrong place. Some didn’t belong in my garden at all. I’m a sucker for those beautiful lime green hybrids of any plant. I should have done a better job researching. Remember, research plants before buying, don’t believe the labels, and buy from a reputable, local nursery. Good websites to check for appropriate plants for our area are,, www.johnson. and Terry Blair Michel is a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener.

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garden calendar


• Plant new bluegrass or tall fescue lawns early in the month for best results. • Sod new lawns or dead spots for quick recovery. • Renovate bluegrass or tall fescue by verti-cutting then overseed. • Core aerate cool season turf to aid in root development and thatch breakdown. • Fertilize cool season grasses with high nitrogen sources of fertilizer. • Mow turf at 2 to 3 inches; and sharpen blade for a clean cut. • Continue to mow zoysia but do not fertilize or aerate this late in the season.


• Plant spring flowering bulbs, tulips, daffodils and others. • Dig, divide or plant peonies. • Divide perennials, especially spring bloomers. • Remove seed heads from perennials to prevent reseeding in the garden. • Plant chrysanthemums for fall color. • Dig gladiolus as foliage begins to yellow and air dry before storing for winter. • Clean up garden areas to reduce insects and disease as plants dieback for winter. • Enrich soil by adding organic matter such as peat moss or compost. • Soil test for the next growing season.


• Continue to harvest vegetables. • Pick apples and pears and store in a cool place to extend freshness. • Harvest pumpkins when flesh is completely orange; and avoid carrying by the stem.

• Harvest winter squash when rind cannot be punctured with fingernail. • Plant lettuce, spinach and radishes for fall harvest. • Remove weeds from garden plantings before going to seed. • Herbs can be dug from the garden and placed in pots for indoor use this winter. • Remove small tomatoes to increase late development of more mature fruits. • Spade or till garden plots incorporating fallen leaves or grass clippings to improve soil. • Plant garlic cloves for next year’s crop.


• Plant trees and shrubs, deciduous and evergreen. • Rake up fallen leaves and compost. • Prune broken and dead branches from trees. • Avoid pruning spring flowering shrubs to ensure spring flowers. • Handpick bagworms to reduce problem infestations next year. • Water drought stressed trees and shrubs.


• Bring plants in before temperatures drop into the 50’s. • Clean and wash before moving indoors to reduce insects. • Fertilize one last time before winter conditions arrive and growth slows. • Poinsettias can be forced for Christmas bloom by starting dark treatment of short days.


• Jump-start the compost bin by turning and adding a little garden fertilizer and wetting. • Continue to build compost piles by adding fall debris.

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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African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tue, Sep 11, 5:30-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-7845300 Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City Sat, Sep 8, 9am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sep 22-23, 1-4pm Sat, 11am-3pm Sun; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Show. 816-784-5300 Greater KC Gardeners of America Mon, Sep 10, 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 Thurs, Sep 12, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. A taste of Oil and Vinegar! Jeanne McKay from The Tasteful Olive will showcase some of the oils and vinegars from the store for pairing for salad dressing and use in baking and cooking. You will taste the oils and vinegars and also enjoy some food samples. A potluck lunch will be provided. Reservations are required. Please contact Alma Jones at 816-822-1515. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Sep 22, 9:30am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St, (67th & Roe) Prairie Village, KS. Hospitality and registration at 9:30am with business and program at 10am. Doug Beilstein, newly elected President of AHS and personal collector of over 1200 named hosta cultivars, will present the program. Doug is a member of the Fraternal Order of Seedy Fellows (FOofSF), and will show us what that outlaw group of hybridizers has been working on. There will be time to visit as we share a potluck lunch, club providing Kansas City Barbecue, drinks and table service. There will be lots of door prizes, and interesting plants for sale. Guests are always welcome! Call Gwen 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. Independence Garden Club Mon, Sep 10, 6:30pm; at St Paul’s United Methodist Church Community Garden. Annual picnic and garden tour. Visitors welcome. For more information call 3731169. Visit us at our website Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Sep 13, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Just what are “Old Garden Roses?”. a program about Old Garden and Retro-Look Roses. 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 www. Also on Facebook at Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Sep 16, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-7845300 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Sep 10, 9am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-7845300 Kansas City Rose Society Sat, Sep 22, 9am-12pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Demo. 816-784-5300 Leawood Garden Club Tues, Sep 25, 10:30am; at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Business meeting starts at 10:30am, followed by program “New Thoughts About Trees”, by Forester Larry Ryan. Bring a sack lunch. Desserts and beverages are provided. Open to the public, guests are welcome. Contact 816-363-0925 or for further information. Lenexa Field and Garden Club Tues, Sep 11, 6:30-7:30pm; at Red Cedar Gardens, 7895 W 183rd St, Aubry, KS. Fall Tabletop Garden Ideas and Fall Décor Workshop + 10% Shopping discount for the evening. $10 per person due by Aug 14. 913541-1465 Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Sep 11, 7pm; at Gamber Center, 4 SE Independence Ave, Lee’s Summit, MO. Our fall program starts with the topic of “Seed Saving 101.” Join us for this interesting talk and excellent refreshments! Visit our web site or call Robbie at 816-645-6091 with questions. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Sep 10, 6pm; at Harmon Park (Santa Fe Pavilion), W 77th Pl & Delmar St, Prairie Village, KS. Our guest speaker is Officer Matthew Boggs from the Prairie Village Police Department. Officer Boggs will be speaking on the topic: “Crime Prevention and Safety in our Neighborhood”. Meeting begins at 6pm. Sho Me African Violets Society Fri, Sep 14, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-7845300 St Joseph Herb Gardeners Thurs, Sep 6, 6pm-8pm; at 2315 Felix. Aquaponics tour at the home of Brad Grasty. Bring your lawn chair. President: Helen Snuffer 816-279-7372

The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

Events, Lectures & Classes 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 one week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. 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 one week prior to workshop. Go to or call 816-769-0259 to enroll. Landscape Design Concepts Thurs, Sep 6, 6:30pm; at Wyandotte County Extension, 1208 N 79th St (Sunflower Room), Kansas City, KS. Learn about basic landscape design considerations and principles to enhance the value of your property. Lynn Loughary, Horticulture Agent Movie Madness Fri, Sep 7, 1-8pm and Sat, Sep 8, 9am to 3pm at City Hall, 100 E Santa Fe. The Olathe Garden & Civic Club presents “Movie Madness”, a Standard Flower Show in conjunction with the 2012 Old Settlers Celebration in downtown Olathe, KS. The community flower show is free and open to the public. Submissions for the plant and vegetable categories are encouraged from the public (adults and children) with ribbons given in all categories. Join us by submissions or by viewing flower arrangements, the education table, herbs, flower and vegetable specimens. We invite members of area garden clubs to participate in our event. For more information contact Donna at 913-829-2255, Gerry at 913-8940154, or Lawn Renovation Seminar Sat, Sep 8; at Springtime Garden Center, 1601 NE Tudor Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. Learn start to finish how to rid your lawn of weeds, unsightly brown spots and bare patches and make your lawn the green lush carpet you’ve always wanted. We go over seeding, fertilizing and watering, aerating, verticutting, winterizer and more. FREE. Call ahead for details and to reserve your spot. 816-525-4226 Geocaching Tour Sat, Sep 8, 10–11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $5 per person. Come learn about geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with a hand-held global positioning system (GPS device). The basic idea is to locate containers, called geocaches, hidden outdoors, by means of latitude and longitude coordinates. Geocaching is enjoyed by families and people from all age groups who have a strong sense of community and

support for the environment. You may register for this tour by going to www.opabg. org and follow the prompts. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Basic Photography for Kids Sat, Sep 8, 1-3pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $20 per person. Class is limited to 10 children, ages 9 through 14. Children have a unique way of seeing the world. How better to capture that creativity than with a camera? This twohour workshop will focus on activities that will teach them how to take an interesting photograph. We will practice techniques such as framing, composition, lighting, and camera angle. Any type of camera can be used in this class. The first part of the class will be in the classroom, with the remainder of time spent photographing outside in the Arboretum. Class instructors are Carol Fowler and Dave Shackelford, local photographers and  members of the FOTA Photography Committee. You may register for classes by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. There will be no refunds for missed classes. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. 14th Annual Dance in the Park Sat, Sep 8, 6:30pm; at Roanoke Park, 3699 E Roanoke Dr, Kansas City, MO. An outdoor dance concert which showcases the exciting performances of a variety of the Kansas City region’s unique dance companies in the genres of Modern, Ballet, Jazz and Hip Hop, Swing, Flamenco, Belly Dance, West African, and Circus Arts. Participating dance companies include: City in Motion Dance Theater, City in Motion Children’s Dance Theater & Apprentice Company, Kacico, American Youth Ballet, Art in Motion, Alma Flamenco, Troupe Duende, MoonDrop Circus, Soundz of Africa, and Louis and Company’s The Swingsters. This FREE family-friendly event is a collaboration of neighborhoods, businesses and performers. Picnic baskets are welcome! Arrive early to participate in the free dance class at 6:30 and to get a good seat. For more information, check us out on Facebook at https:// or follow us on Twitter at Dance_InThePark. Contact: Alexis Haines, Public Relations Manager, at 816-225-6732 or Plant Usage in Landscape Design Wed, Sep 19, 7-9pm; at Raytown South Middle School, room 104. Explore the use of ornamental plants in planned landscapes, and examine their roles in functional and aesthetic design. Well-chosen plants enhance the environment and property values. Maximize your site’s potential by minimizing impulse shopping! Instructor: Leah Berg. Fee: $12. Call Raytown Community Education to enroll 816-268-7037. Garden Season Extension Fri, Sep 21, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Harvest from your garden through the fall and into the winter. This workshop will discuss season-extension techniques, such as row covers and cold frames. We will also discuss how to get your garden started earlier in the spring. Presented by Ben Sharda,

September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

(continued on page 28)

Must-See Local Dahlia Shows


he Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society will sponsor two shows in September. You are invited to visit one or both of these events. Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, in the Visitors Center of Powell Gardens. Times: Saturday approximately 11 a.m. (after judging of the blooms) until 4 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entrance to Powell Gardens is located approximately 5 miles east of Lone Jack, Mo. on Highway 50. For more information, call 913-451-3488.

Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, at Loose Park in the Garden Center Building, 5200 Pennsylvania (just west of 5200 Wornall Rd.) Kansas City, Mo. Times: Saturday approximately 1 p.m. (after judging of the blooms) until 4 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 913-451-3488. While you are visiting and appreciating the benefits of those who grow dahlias, ask about how you can become more involved in the Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society.

Properly Dispose Hazardous Products


id you find garden products that are unused, outdated, and considered hazardous while spring cleaning? If you’re cleaning out the garden shed or garage, and it’s time to dispose of old herbicides, fertilizers, stains and paints, what do you do with them? There are regional household hazardous waste collection facilities and are available for residents to safely dispose their household hazardous waste. Locations are in Kansas City, Mo., Lee’s Summit, Wyandotte County, Olathe, Johnson County, Leavenworth County, and Miami County. A list of these locations, along with directions and hours of operation, is available on the Mid-America Regional Council web site ( htm). Here’s an abbreviated list for your convenience. In Missouri: Kansas City: 4707 Deramus; 816-513-8400 Lee’s Summit: 2101 SE Hamblen Road; 816-969-1805 In Kansas: Wyandotte County: 2443 S. 88th Street; 913-573-5400 Olathe: 1420 S. Robinson; 913-971-9311 Johnson County: Mission; 913-715-6900 Leavenworth County: 24967 136th Street, Leavenworth; 913-727-2858 Miami County: 327th Street and Hospital Drive; 913-294-4117 Many of these locations operate by appointment only, so be sure to give them a call first. Thank you for properly disposing of hazardous materials and for protecting people, animals and landscapes of your community. 27

Run Fast, Eat Slow at Powell Gardens

5K Run/Walk with Rewarding Finish!


ace up your running shoes for the second annual Run Fast|Eat Slow event at Powell Gardens on Sept. 8. This 5K Run/Walk and Nature Trail Trek is a new way to experience the beauty of Powell Gardens. After the race, participants can discover delicious ways to “eat slow” with activities in the Heartland Harvest Garden. Run Fast. Eat Slow. 5K Run/Walk & Trail Trek, Sept. 8 8 a.m. Run/Walk and 9:30 a.m. Trail Trek The day begins with an early morning run/walk and optional nature trail trek. The paved course starts in front of the Visitor Education Center and includes lakeside views. Registration fee is $30, includes T-shirt, timed course and all-day access to the Gardens. Details at Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Show at Powell Gardens 9 a.m-5 p.m. Sept. 8-9 Colorful dahlias will be on display at the Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society’s fall show. Learn the many ways to use dahlias, considered to be the national flower of Mexico, in your garden design. A Taste of Amigoni 6 p.m. Sept. 9 Kansas City’s Amigoni Urban Winery specializes in small lots of handcrafted wines from its Missouri vineyards near Powell Gardens. On Sunday, Sept. 9, wine and local food lovers can enjoy the best of both in the beautiful vineyard within the Heartland Harvest Garden. The harvest garden is the nation’s largest edible landscape and includes more than 2,000 types of food plants, including numerous varieties of grapes. The Taste of Amigoni event will include a trio of Amigoni’s favorite wines, served with farmfresh appetizers by Chef Michael Foust, who operates Cafe


Thyme at Powell Gardens and The Farmhouse in Kansas City. Guests also will have a chance to meet wine maker Michael Amigoni in person. Amigoni started his winemaking business with his wife, Kerry, after their amateur wine making received a series of blue ribbons in local competitions. Tickets to the event are $30 or $25 for members and may be purchased at The price includes admission to the Gardens. The Gardens will host a second wine tasting on Oct. 6 during the annual Harvest Celebration. Scarecrows in the Garden: Call for Entries Deadline: 5 p.m. Sept. 26 Families, school classes, scouts, garden clubs, businesses and individuals are invited to enter this salute to the icon of autumn. Scarecrows will be displayed throughout the month of October. No fee is charged to enter a scarecrow, but Garden admission applies to view them. See details at or call 816-697-2600 x208. (A limited number of rebar scarecrow frames are available for loan or purchase.) Chef Demonstrations and Tastings See how chefs and culinary experts use fresh food grown in the Heartland Harvest Garden (with free samples while supplies last). Then sample what’s in season from the daily tasting station. The October schedule includes Michael Foust, The Farmhouse; Shannon Kimball, Firebug BBQ; Beth Bader, co-author of ‘The Cleaner Plate Club’ and others to be announced. See the line up at Powell Gardens is a not-for-profit botanical garden located 30 miles east of Kansas City on Highway 50. The Gardens are open daily except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Regular admission is $10/adults, $9/seniors and $5/children 5-12.

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

(continued from page 27)

KCCG Executive Director. FREE. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. Miami Co MG Fall Plant Sale Sep 27-29; at the Miami County Extension office in Paola, KS, in the Extension Master Gardeners parking lot. Expert gardeners will be on hand to help shoppers select native plants, perennials, small trees and shrubs on Thursday from noon to 5, Friday from 8 to 5, and Saturday from 8 to noon. The Extension office is located near the intersection of Wea Street and Hospital Drive. Paola is 15 minutes south of Olathe on 169 Highway. Raised Bed Gardening Fri, Sep 28, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Discover the many benefits of raised bed gardening. Learn how to construct your own raised beds and how to plant in them for maximum efficiency. Presented by Andrea Mathew, KCCG Program Director. FREE. Call Earlene Franks at 816-9313877 to register. Begonia Show and Sale Sep 28-29; at Loose Park Garden Center Building, Kansas City, MO. Mid America Begonia Society annual show and sale is being held in conjunction with the Heart of America Gesneriad Society. Friday, sales only, open noon to 4pm. Saturday show and sale open 9am to 4pm. Contact Linda 913231-1020 or Brent 816-721-2274. BioBlitz Debuts at the OP Arboretum Sat, Sep 29. Scientists, teachers, students and the public will gather at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens for a day of science, education, community and fun. Participants can choose six of the following twelve areas for study: birds, bats, trees, flowers, insects, solar observation, land snails/slugs, reptiles/amphibians, spiders, mushrooms, butterflies/moths, and game calling. Each 50-minute class is led by an expert in the field and is limited to 25. Participants register online at www. The cost is $25/person, limited to adults and kids 13 years and older. Ages 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (also registered online). You may preregister for lunch or bring your own. The event is held rain or shine. The Arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway at 179th and Antioch. More info at www. or email event organizer Dan Johnson at Fall Tree Planting Workshop Sat, Sep 29, 9–11am; at Leawood City Hall, Oak Room, 4800 Town Center Dr, Leawood, KS. Free Admission. Come join Leawood Parks Maintenance staff for an informational session on tree planting. Our certified Arborists will explain the fundamentals for successfully establishing trees in your yard and show you first hand with an on-site tree planting demonstration. Topics will include: site considerations, species selection, how to buy a tree, proper

planting procedures, and how to care for newly planted trees. Arts for Kids Sep 29-30, 11am-4pm; at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Nature crafts, hay wagon rides, puppets, animals, games, music, dance, face painting, concessions, the Overland Park Orchestra on Saturday and a special project for kids presented by the Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art on Sunday, along with a performance that day by the Heartland Ringers bell choir. Native American flute player Terry Whetstone will perform both days. Admission $6 per person age two and up. Come see the new Train Garden! The Arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway at 179th and Antioch. More info at

October Community Forum on KS Environmental Issues Thurs, Oct 4, 5:30-8:30pm; at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Hosted by Environmental Action Committee of Village Presbyterian Church. “Just the Fracks: What is Hydraulic Fracturing?” Appetizers & Exhibits by Kansas Environmental Organizations; Supper of Locally Grown Foods Catered by Blue Bird Bistro; Panelists: Rex Buchanan, Kansas Geological Survey; Marci Francisco, KS. State Senator; Paul Johnson, Kansas Rural Center; Joe Spease, WindSoHy; Moderator: James Joerke, Johnson County Dept. of Health and Environment. Advance reservations needed by Oct 1. A $20 donation is requested; $10 for students. Payable on-line at or by check payable to KNRC/Community Forum, 7301 Mission Rd, Suite 248, Prairie Village, KS 66208. Receipt of online payment or check confirms your reservation. Questions re Program: Deborah English 913-7221272 / Questions re Supper reservations: Kathy Riordan 913383-7882 / Questions re Exhibit space: Margaret Thomas Soils and Soil Amendments Fri, Oct 5, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. The condition and health of your garden’s soil is a major factor in the success of your garden. Learn how to determine your soil’s condition and how to use soil amendments to increase the harvest from your garden. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. FREE. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. www. Lake Lotawana Community Club Homes Tour 2012 Sat, Oct 6, 10am-5pm. Six houses on tour, free pontoon rides from 10am to 4pm at Marina Grog & Galley-Gate 1. Tickets $15. Call Barb for info 816-272-5048

The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

Growing Great Garlic Fri, Oct 12, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. You can plant garlic in November for a June harvest. Learn about planting and caring for garlic so that you can harvest large, healthy bulbs. We will also discuss different garlic varieties. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. FREE. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. Advanced Landscape Design & Maintenance (AGBS 206) Oct 15-Dec 12, Mon/Wed 5:45-8:30pm The practical emphasis is on information relevant to our region, including site assessment and scale drawing of plans using a blend of regionally appropriate ornamentals, edibles, and native landscaping. Many handouts and field trips supplement our book (also used in the previous class, AGBS 106). Instructor: Leah Berg. This class meets two nights a week at the Metropolitan Community CollegeLongview campus and may be taken for 3 college credit hours or audited for personal interest. For more information, call 816-6042364 or e-mail Fees apply based on residency. Tuition may be waived if in-district and over age 65. Gardeners Gathering Tues, Oct 16, 6:30pm; at Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO. Scott Reiter speaks on “A Year in the Life of the Linda Hall Library Grounds”. For more info, call Debbie Johnson at 816-213-5280. Turfgrass Management (AGBS 135) Oct 18-Dec 13, Tues/Th 6–9pm An introduction to the basics of turfgrass management. Emphasis on plant growth, identification, and characteristics of the major cold and warm season turf grasses, plus disease and pest management. Establishment procedures, fertilizing, irrigation and mowing practices will be covered by grounds management professional

David Kriegh. No meeting first week until Thurs, Oct 18. This class meet two evenings weekly, and may be taken for 3 college credit hours or audited for personal interest. For more information, call 816-604-2364 or e-mail Fees apply based on residency. Tuition may be waived if in-district and over age 65. Hands on Flower Photography Sat, Oct 27, 9am-1pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $25 per person. Enrollment limited to 10. Want to improve your camera skills shooting beautiful garden scenes, as well as get to enjoy the beauty of the Arboretum? This class is focused on hands-on-photography instruction outside, with members of the Arboretum’s Photography Committee as the instructors. There will be plenty of chances to ask questions with both group and individual instruction. Bring your camera (film or digital and camera manual), lenses, tripod, memory cards, spare batteries and knee-pads (if desired). We will have a short lunch break after the outdoor session (bring a sack lunch or purchase one at the Arboretum) and will, as a group, review photos after lunch. Be sure to bring your card reader so the photos can be loaded onto a computer for review. You may register for classes by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. There will be no refunds for missed classes. For additional information, call 913-685-3604.

November Food Safety Begins in the Garden Thurs, Nov 1, 11:30am; at Wyandotte County Extension, 1208 N 79 St, (Sunflower Room), Kansas City, KS. Learn how to manage your compost and manure applications, irrigation, & harvest practices to minimize the risks of food-borne illness. Jennifer Smith, Douglas County Horticulture Agent.

Let us help promote your gardening events!

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 Repor t

Fax: (913) 648-4728 E-Mail: Deadline for listing in the October issue is September 5.

Avg high temp 80° Avg low temp 60° Highest recorded temp 109° Lowest recorded temp 34° Nbr of above 70° days 26

Avg nbr of clear days 12 Avg nbr of cloudy days 10

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0 Avg rainfall 4.3” Avg nbr of rainy days 9 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases

Plant Above Ground Crops: 16-19, 22, 23, 27, 28

Last Quarter: Sept. 8

Plant Root Crops:

New Moon: Sept. 15

Control Plant Pests:

First Quarter: Sept. 22 Full Moon: Sept. 29 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Avg temp 71°

Clear or Cloudy

Send the details to: The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208

Highs and Lows

1, 2, 5-7 8, 9, 12-15

Transplant: 22, 23, 27, 28

Plant Flowers: 16-19


Photo by Judy Moser.


xciting new features are in store for children 2-12 at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens’ 14th annual ARTS for KIDS. This fun-filled family event, to be held this year on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, from 11 am to 4 pm, introduces children to the wealth of creative materials that nature provides. ARTS for KIDS will again be held in the Children’s Garden, where children and adults create nature crafts, go on a hay wagon ride through the natural woodlands and fields of the Arboretum, learn about animals in their natural habitat, have their faces painted, participate in a puppet show, play games, listen to local musicians, meet Forest the Fox, and much more. Concessions will be available.

Photo by Carol Fowler.

ARTS for KIDS — Exploring the Arboretum through the Arts

The Children’s Garden is adjacent to the Arboretum’s new Train Garden, where visitors young and old can enjoy garden-scale trains, a real caboose, and a depot, slated to be complete by the end of September, which will function as a shelter house and meeting spot.

For an admission price of $6 per person age two and over, children learn to use common elements creatively. Leaves, pinecones, hedge apples and rocks, along with common household goods, are turned into small works of art for kids to take home. The

Overland Park Orchestra will perform on Saturday. On Sunday, the Heartland Ringers bell choir will perform and the Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art will present a special craft project. Native American flute player Terry Whetstone will perform both days. Bring your children or grandchildren for a wonderful day in the woods and gardens. The event is held rain or shine. If you would like to enhance your enjoyment by volunteering or sponsoring the event, please contact Phyllis Merrick at VolunteerCoordinator@opkansas. org or call the Arboretum, 913685-3604. The Arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway at 179th and Antioch. For more information on ARTS for KIDS and more, browse the Arboretum website:

If your lawn took a beating this summer, fall is the time to start repairing the damage



The key in getting a good lawn is to plant the best seed available. There is no weed seed in this blend, and it has a high germination percent.

Natural Guard Soil Activator can reduce the thatch layer, eliminating the need to thatch your lawn each year.

Proven to be the best for our area. This fescue grass blend consists only of grasses that have received the highest marks in Kansas State University testing.

Your lawn will benefit from better seedling establishment, increased root development, resistance to environmental stresses and improved soil life and texture.

FERTI•LOME NEW LAWN STARTER Designed to help grass seed and sod develop roots and mature stems before rapid growth begins. Allows sod to get established. Can be applied with grass seed or immediately after seed is sown.

A must for new lawns!

FERTILOME - THE ENVY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD Available at: Kansas City- Bannister Garden Center, Heartland Nursery, Planter’s Seed & Spice Co., Soil Service Garden Center, Northland Feed, Blue Springs- Colonial Nursery, Robert’s Nursery, Lee’s Summit- Randy’s Lakeview Nursery, Springtime Garden Center, Platte City- Jeff’s Hardware, St. Joe- Mann’s Lawn & Landscape, Smithville- Full Features Nursery, Leavenworth- Gronis Hardware, Lawrence- Clinton Parkway Nursery, Merriam- Merriam Feed, Olathe- Rolling Meadows Garden Center, Topeka- Jackson’s Greenhouse, Skinner Garden Store, Atchison- Birdie’s Backyard.

For a complete list of products & to find your local area ferti•lome retailer, visit 30

The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

Fall Plant Sale

Professional’s Corner

Thursday, September 27 — noon to 5 pm Friday, September 28 — 8 am to 5 pm Saturday, September 29 — 8 am to noon All plants pot grown and ready to plant.

Many Perennials, Large Selection of Hosta, Miniature Hosta, Crape Myrtles, Native Plants, Hydrangea, Trees, Shrubs, Native & Ornamental Grasses, and Butterfly Plants Miami County Master Gardeners 104 S. Brayman, Paola, KS

Enter from Wea St.—follow signs off Hospital Dr. Paola is 15 minutes south of Olathe on 169 Hwy.

Don’t Miss a Single Issue!

Miami County Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale 2012 Ad for KC Gardener — 4.375” wide x 5.9” deep = 1/4 page Runs in September 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.

September 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Cami Reiss – the dirt girl at Green Stem. Company: Green Stem Owner: Cami Reiss Established: May 2011 Type of operation: We envision Green Stem as a supply source for area landscape contractors and homeowners. We also want to be a source of inspiration encouraging families to enjoy the outdoors by creating beautiful outdoor living spaces. We are situated in Lee’s Summit on ten acres, seven of which are asphalt. With such a large amount of hard surface, the site is best suited for offering hardscape materials in bulk. Products and services: Whether you’re a professional landscape contractor or the weekend DIY homeowner, Green Stem has the materials you need. We specialize in a variety of bulk materials like topsoil, compost, and specialty mixes, decorative rock, lots of mulch choices, gravel, pavers, and wall block and wall stone systems in a variety of colors and textures from Midwest Block. Green Stem stocks popular sizes and colors, but you are welcome to look through our supplier’s catalog for the perfect style that fits your needs. Staffed all in the family: We are a small family business that works hard to keep it going. Tres (husband) has no official title, but really does anything needed especially fix things when they are broken. His true passion is to move dirt for our company, Reiss Earthworks. John (lifelong friend of Tres) aka “Big John” is delivery driver, loader operator, and is quite charming. Reiss (cousin) aka JustinBieber-look-alike, is a college student, loader operator, cashier, and head hose mover in the extreme heat. Cali (sister) has her hands full keeping our books straight, answering phones, and chasing Celine, her 10-month-old. Tresten, Cadi, and Trenten Elijah (the kids) are the dirt ball mascots; when they are here, you can be sure to find them with their dump trucks on the sand pile or in the barn on top of our 500 yards of dirt stored inside. Uniquely Green Stem: We take pride in our work and enjoy what we do, with a commitment to ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed.’ From your first contact with us to the end of the transaction, we are focused on your satisfaction. What do you see as new gardening trends? Growing your own food and DIY projects. If you’re looking for inspiration, see the projects we pin to our Green Stem Pinterest boards and find us on Facebook. Contact information: 221 NW Chipman Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64063. For current hours of operation, call us at 816.246.7836 or 816.246.STEM. 31

SEPTEMBER IS FOR PLANTING Fall is for Planting Color into Your Landscape

And fall color is on Sale at Suburban NOW


25% OFF

Wine & Roses WEIGELA Miss Ruby BUTTERFLY BUSH Happy Face White POTENTILLA Summer Wine NINEBARK Brilliant Red CHOKEBERRY Wintergem BOXWOOD

Shenandoah Switch Grass

as seen at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts 2 gallon reg 23.99

Sale $9.99

3-5 gallon reg 34.99

Sale 19.99


America’s Favorite Perennial

Choose from Thousands of Beautiful Fall-Flowering Hardy Mums, all grown on our own farm and ready to bring color and excitement to your garden.

alsoCool Season Annuals are in! and PERENNIALS Large 1 gallon size

Selected Varieties on as low as



GREEN is a COLOR, TOO. NOW is the time to plant GRASS SEED

lawn maintenance services 32

The Kansas City Gardener / September 2012

KCG 09Sep12  
KCG 09Sep12