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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

March 2013

Tried and True on the Island

Azaleas With a Repeat Bloom Be a Butterfly Godmother Growing Hardy Camellias Tour ‘Entertaining’ Gardens

Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle... Do You Have A Sanctuary Where You Can Bask In The Beauty That Nature Has To Offer? If Not, Why Not? Here’s Why You Need To Contact Swan’s Water Gardens Today!


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. Located on 2 acres in southern Johnson Co. is where you’ll find Swan’s Water Gardens. Where we live and breathe the “Water Garden Lifestyle” everyday. It’s where we specialize in backyard living and helping our clients do the same by creating beautiful Water Gardens in their backyards. Nowhere will you find anyone more passionate about Water Gardens than the professionals at Swan’s Water Gardens. Something you’ll discover as soon as you pass through the entrance arbor into our gardens and leave the outside world behind. As you begin your journey through the gardens you’ll be delighted with just how quickly the stress of the outside world leaves your body and a true sense of calm sets in. There’s just something magical about the sound of water in nature.


ere’s why you should have Swan’s Water Gardens build your water garden paradise in your backyard. First, we’ve been building and maintaining Water Gardens for over 18 years now. Over those 18 years our pond building techniques have been honed to perfection through years of hard work and fine tuning. Although our ponds appear as though anyone could duplicate them, nothing could be further from the truth. 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. Not only will you marvel at the precision of the excavation of your pond but you’ll be amazed at how well your finished water garden actually blends into your existing landscape. Once the excavation is complete the true artistry of the building process begins. It’s also where our secrets to (building ponds that don’t leak) are revealed and the reason we stand behind our water gardens with a written five year guarantee. The longest guarantee in the industry.


ake your plans to create a Water Garden paradise in your backyard. My promise to you is that we’ll be here to help you every step of the way if you’re a do-it-yourselfer or you can let our experienced crew build a “Water Garden Paradise” for you. We carry everything you need for your Water Gardens. Pumps, liners, underlayment, filtration systems, hose, fish, aquatic plants, lilies, lotus and garden accessories. We invite you to make your plans today to see the many changes and additions we’ve made here at Swan’s Water Gardens over the winter. We’re especially excited about our “Village of Illusion” where we built a façade creating an old time village atmosphere around our Water Gardens. So make your plans to 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.

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HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY PLANT BULBS: (remember, grow different varieties in different containers)


If you plant bulbs upside down or sideways, you’re asking them to waste time & energy. Examine your bulbs for room remnants at the base – the end goes down.

2. FILL YOUR POT PART WAY WITH SOIL MIX Enough so bulbs placed upright on this layer with their tops 1” below the rim of the pot. Make sure to check the bloom dates of the bulbs you are planting.

3. SPACE BULBS SO THAT THEY’RE GENTLY TOUCHING OR NO MORE THAN 1/2” APART Press the base of the bulbs into the soil to keep them standing straight. Place any larger bulbs at the center of the group.


Use a mix that’s well drained but still holds some moisture. A soil mix with starter fertilizer is adequate, or you can mix in a small amount of bulb fertilizer while planting.


Set at a trickle until the soil is fully moistened. Some spring-blooming bulbs require a special chilling period before they’ll grow & bloom.

TIPS FOR GREAT RESULTS: + get the most color out of your planted space by planting bulbs or perennials with various bloom times + mass plantings of one color together make the biggest impact + when the blooms are gone allow the foliage of the bulbs to yellow & dieback on its own before removing it, this is important to allow the plant to continue making food for the bulb’s next season




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The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Let’s Stretch

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Alan Branhagen Erin Busenhart Tracy Flowers Diane & Doc Gover Lenora Larson Terry Blair Michel Dennis Patton Rodney St. John Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

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Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 31. 4


mong the copious benefits of this career, some are more celebrated than others. There’s going to work in pajamas, and having no stress about a bad hair day. Gardening isn’t just for weekends or late summer evenings — anytime is fine. Reduced fuel consumption, which is good for the planet and our checkbook balance. Oh, and let’s not forget the handsome co-worker! But I digress. If forced to pick the top five perks of my job, having a flexible schedule would be high on the list. Whether it’s gardening, shopping, laundry, workouts or hair appointments, my daily docket can be as malleable, or as rigid, as I like. Work hard when work is required, and the remaining time is mine to utilize as desired. Having that kind of flexibility has afforded opportunities to stretch mentally and physically. I read and research more, exploring new topics, whether in books, magazines, and the web, or in person with local garden center professionals. And I’m challenging myself physically, attempting new activities, and pushing the envelope of previously held personal fitness standards.

When was the last time you had a good stretch? How long has it been since you accepted a challenge or learned something new? Has your gardening knowledge and experience expanded? From creating a container garden to learning native wildflowers on a woodland walk, early spring is a lovely time to start your garden stretch. Have you considered joining a garden club? Now that’s a group activity loaded with likeminded gardeners passionate about gardening. The Upcoming Events section (starting on page 26) lists the meeting dates and times of many local clubs and societies. Just imagine the inspiration. When it comes to gardening, it seems I’m always learning something. Since I’ve only been a Midwest gardener for 17 years, I’m quite certain there’s plenty more to learn. While putting this issue together, I discovered plenty of occasions to do just that.

For starters, there’s a class at Powell Gardens in April titled “Rockwall Garden Techniques.” We have a rock wall in our landscape where I could apply those techniques. Handsome co-worker and I have discussed “doing” something, but never really latched onto an idea. Combine that class knowledge with Leah Berg’s feature article this month (“Tried and True on the Island”) highlighting plants that thrive in similar conditions. I’m inspired to finally do something with that rock wall. As you read through these pages, we hope the articles and events within stir you to stretch. This spring, gather your garden friends and urge the same for them. As Oliver Wendell Holmes so eloquently pointed out, once you stretch your mind, you will be forever changed. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue March 2013 • Vol. 18 No. 3 The Bird Brain ......................... 6 Ask the Experts ........................ 8 Be a Butterfly Godmother ......... 10 Azaleas Repeat Bloom ............. 12 KCGC Spring Luncheon ........... 13 Growing Hardy Camellias ........ 14 Tried and True on the Island ...... 16 Start Lawn, Tree Care Now ...... 18 Time to Repot or Not ............... 19 Gardeners Connect Program .... 21 Rose Report ............................ 21

about the cover ...

Entertaining Gardens ............... 22 Secluded Serenity .................... 24 Garden Calendar .................... 25 Upcoming Events ..................... 26 JoCo Extension Classes ........... 28 Hotlines ................................. 28 Weather ................................. 29 Powell Garden Events ............. 30 Subscribe ............................... 31 Industry News ........................ 31 Professional’s Corner ................ 31

The Island Garden at Powell Gardens is one of the most challenging sites to grow plants. Read about resilient selections grown there, and that might be suitable for your challenging garden, starting on page 16. (Photo courtesy of Powell Gardens.)



The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Healthy Yards Expo promotes green lawn and garden practices


et the real dirt on growing green Saturday, March 23 at the Fourth Annual Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo, a lawn and garden event that aims to help citizens make greener choices in their yards and homes. This free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Civic Center, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. The expo focuses on Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities (KHYC), a program developed by Kansas State University Research and Extension. KHYC helps homeowners make wise choices on environmentally conscious lawn and garden care techniques. Johnson County K-State Extension is teaming with Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee to present the event. “The Expo promotes green practices and provides education so that people can help do their part for clean water,” said Dennis Patton, horticulture agent for Johnson County Extension. “What you put on your lawn and garden can end up in our backyard creeks. This water can move into our rivers, and ultimately in our drinking water.”

dens, courtesy of Johnson County Stormwater Management. * Visit with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners and local plant societies. They’ll offer expert advice on gardening and plant cultivation. * Listen to informative speakers on topics such as composting, water conservation, vegetable gardening and sustainability. * Participate in free, fun and educational activities for children.

The Healthy Yards Expo will highlight products, tips and tools that meet the program’s criteria, helping Johnson County residents become “greener” in their lawn and garden care. Expo features The expo is a great place to get new ideas from experts. It’s a one-stop learning event on green ideas, products and services. New this year is an expanded area for kids. The popular StoneLion Puppet Theatre will present “It’s a Jungle Out There” at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Other hands-on activities will be available to help teach children

about the importance of ecology and the environment. “A lot of times it’s the children that spur parents to make changes,” Patton said. “By exposing kids to healthy practices, we hope to influence not only current behaviors but also plant the seed for change in future generations.” Visitors to the Expo can: * Enter to win door prizes for rain barrels or a compost bin. * The first 100 visitors will receive a free tree seedling, courtesy of Overland Park. * The first 300 visitors will receive an assortment of native plants to try in their home gar-

Free soil tests This year will be an opportunity for Johnson County residents to get one free soil test per Johnson County address, complements of Johnson County Stormwater Management and Johnson County Extension. It is important to know the nutrient levels in order to grow healthy plants and protect the water quality in our local streams and lakes. Go to soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample, and bring your sample to the Expo to get your free soil test. (One per Johnson County household.) For more information on the Healthy Yards Expo, visit this website or call 913-715-7000.

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The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions

Doc & Diane Gover


s spring ushers in new energy to your backyard, it is time to begin preparing for the new and returning diners and nesters. Birds are busy singing their hearts out; establishing territories, looking for mates, gathering nesting materials and looking for food supplies. What does all of this mean for you as a gardener? It indicates that you have created a wonderful habitat, consisting of food, water, shelter and housing, that is enticing to your feathered friends.

Q. I don’t see as many birds as I used to. What’s happening? A. Three factors may be at work. First, bird populations naturally fluctuate over time. Second, local bird populations change with changing land uses. A meadow or corn field converted to houses, driveways and lawns will no longer support certain bird species that entertain open areas, such as meadowlarks and bluebirds. Third, human activity is changing our bird life. Blue Jays, robins, chickadees, finches and others that thrive in suburban yards are doing fine. Thrushes, vireos and warblers, which require woodland habitat, are struggling. Be sure to nurture your backyard habitat. Be patient, you will eventually see a notable difference in your visitors.

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Q. Should I continue feeding as spring arrives? A. Spring officially arrives on March 20th but this should not signal the end of bird feeding season. The truth is that during the spring and summer, birds have a hard time finding natural sources of food. What natural supplies were available during the cold months have been depleted. If you leave your feeders up you will be able to enjoy the young birds learning from Mom and Dad how to maneuver your feeders. You’ll be all smiles and truly making a difference. Q. House Wrens return to my yard every year. Tell me more about their behavior. A. House Wrens are quite the characters! Mr. Wren builds multiple nests and he lets the female choose the one she prefers. She then arranges the nest so it’s just perfect. After they mate, the male may try to attract another female to occupy one of the other nests he’s built. Then the male will divide his time trying to help raise multiple families at once. The males are most successful at this in habitats that are rich in resources. Q. When should a nest box be cleaned out? A. Nesting boxes should have been cleaned out in the fall. If you weren’t able to clean them out

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Q. Is there anything that we can do to prevent wasps from nesting in our next box? A. You can prevent wasps and bees from establishing themselves by applying a thin layer of soap (use bar soap) onto the inside surface of the roof. This will create a slippery surface between the insects and the roof of the box.

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers is tough and durable reaching about 60 feet tall and wide. This tree is available at local garden centers and would be a great selection for the landscape.

Dennis Patton RETURN OF AMERICAN ELM TREE Question: I remember growing up on a street that had many large American elms lining the street. That was before Dutch elm disease wiped them all out. The shape of the American elm was wonderful. I have heard that there are varieties of this tree back on the market. Is this too good to be true or can we plant American elms for the future? Answer: Researchers spent years attempting to breed a Dutch elm disease resistant tree. After many failures the U.S. National Arboretum has released what is being promoted as a Dutch elm disease resistant variety as it has passed every screening. The variety is ‘Valley Forge,’ what a fitting name for an American elm tree. ‘Valley Forge’ has all the beloved attributes of American elm with the arching, vase shape that lined many community streets. The tree

SEEDS FOR SEEDLESS WATERMELON Question: So how do they get a seedless watermelon? If the plant produces no seeds how to they get the seed? Answer: This is a really good question. We have genetic scientists in white lab coats to thank for this modern convenience. The good news, when making a fruit salad there is no need to remove the seeds. Unfortunately generations of kids will not experience spitting watermelon seeds at a family picnic. Seedless watermelons are self-sterile hybrids. They do have immature seeds that never fully develop. That is why you may notice a few white soft seeds. Seedless watermelon production is all about genetics. The normal chromosome number in most living organisms, including people, is diploid. That one set comes from mom and other from dad. Seedless watermelon seeds are produced by crossing a normal diploid watermelon with one that has been changed genetically. This transformation is normally accom-

plished by a chemical treatment which creates a tetraploid, or four sets of chromosomes. The seeds from this cross are triploid with three sets of chromosomes rendering them sterile. These sterile seeds are planted which results in seedless melons. Not only are the seeds sterile but so are the flowers of a seedless watermelon plant, so growers must also plant with seeded melons for the pollination or no seedless fruits would set. It is genetic manipulation and labor which creates the higher cost for a seedless watermelon. EMERALD ARBORVITAE NEED WATER Question: My Emerald Arborvitae burned up in last summer’s heat. I was wondering

whether I should give this plant another try. Answer: This is a very good question but difficult to make the call. Here is my take on this plant. I would only recommend that you replant this species if you are committed to watering throughout its life. Emerald Arborvitae has a very shallow root system and will never be drought tolerant in our climate. The dry roots were the main issues. Trees that were properly watered did show some sunburn but for the most part recovered while those that did not get water are on their way to becoming compost. The problem is we have very few plants that are narrow and upright. The only other more drought tolerant plant that fits this location is ‘Taylor’ Juniper. It is a

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

GARDENERS AND GLOBAL WARMING Question: The topic of global warming has quietly popped back up in the political debate. What do you think will be the result of these changes for gardeners in the Kansas City area? Answer: I will attempt to keep this answer out of the political debate and short to the point. I think everyone can agree that the climate is changing. The political part of climate change is what is the cause, man or nature? With that being said, this is what I have been taught about the effects of climate change on local gardeners. Over the next 50 to 100 years the temperatures will continue to rise. How much is still in debate. The most noticeable change will be in winter lows, as they will continue to increase. Summer temperatures will also increase. Local weather patterns will swing more to the extremes. By that I mean we will see more intense storms. Yearly rainfall totals may not change all that much but what is expected is the prolonged rainy periods followed by prolonged drought. Simply put, we will go from one extreme to the other. Because rain events will be heavi-

er and less frequent the overall effect along with the increasing temperatures will be more periods of drought. For gardeners this is not good news as that means what we call harsh growing conditions will only become harsher. WHEN TO APPLY CRABGRASS CONTROL Question: When should I be applying crabgrass control to my lawn? Answer: Crabgrass controls work by preventing the establishment of the germinating seed in the spring. Based on that, it is best to apply the so called crabgrass preventers prior to germination. In a normal spring, crabgrass starts to grow sometime in early May. Last year with the very early spring the seeds started to pop about a month early. At this time who knows what spring will bring. But based on long-term weather patterns and how the herbicides work I would say the ideal time to apply would be somewhere between April 1 and April 15. Just as important as timing is proper application. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions. Many crabgrass applications fail because they were not watered into the soil. Most labels require the product be watered into the soil within 24 hours of application. 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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Easy Care Roses and How to Grow Your Best Roses


Sat., March 23

he Kansas City Rose Society in partnership with the Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation will be hosting a program Saturday, March 23rd from 10 am to noon at The Loose Park Garden Center, located in Loose Park just east of the Rose Garden. Judy Penner, Director and Rosarian of Loose Park will speak on Easy care Roses and How to Grow your Best Roses in 2013. We will also go into the garden and show how to cut back your roses for spring. If you have ever wanted to grow roses but thought they were too difficult, come to this program to find out just how easy growing roses can be in K.C. There will be members of the Kansas City Rose Society that are eager to help you with rose questions and concerns and of course refreshments will be provided.


great plant but many people dislike Juniper and it is more expensive to plant. Over the last few years ‘Emerald’ has flooded the market creating a bargain at the garden centers. So they may be worth giving another try. But don’t skimp on the water as they will never be drought tolerant.

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Be a Butterfly Godmother

How to Convert Your Yard into a Butterfly Garden

Lenora Larson


ost gardeners enjoy the fluttering of butterflies and would welcome even more of these flying flowers. However, few of us have the space or time to add another garden. No problem! In fact, you should not build a separate space – butterflies won’t stay there anyway. No, you convert your entire yard into a butterfly garden by meeting a few simple requirements:

• NO INSECTICIDES (butterflies are insects) • Areas of full sun • Nectar-rich flowers from March to November • Cat Foods (caterpillar host plants) Not just Pretty Flowers Readers of The Kansas City Gardener already have flowers, but are they the right ones? Many hybrids are sterile and therefore have no nectar; they are as useless as plastic flowers. Fortunately, even hybrids of the aptly named Butterfly Bush (Buddleia species and cultivars) provide nectar in mid-summer. Use open-pollinated perennials or old-fashioned self-

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Photos by Lenora Larson.

What Is A Butterfly Garden? “A butterfly garden provides the resources to sustain resident breeding populations of native butterflies” -- NABA (North American Butterfly Association)

Plant violets in shady spots to feed the caterpillars of the spectacular Great Spangled Fritillary. See the darling Clearwing Bumblebee Moth? Its caterpillars eat honeysuckle leaves. sowing annuals for additional nectar from March to November. Assuming that you already have masses of nectar-rich flowers, adding more flowers will not increase the number of individuals or species of butterflies. Butterfly gardeners serve nectar to migrants and lonely bachelors, but they know that the secret to success is feeding the children, the caterpillars. Adult butterflies do not eat; they don’t even have mouths! And most adults live less than ten days. Caterpillars do all the eating and dine only on specific plants. You choose which butterflies grace your garden by which caterpillar food plants you insert among your ornamentals.

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Matching Plants to Butterflies How do you know which plant hosts which butterfly? The best resource for identifying visitors and selecting cat foods is A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Area, authored by fellow KCG writer, Betsy Betros. The Internet also abounds with information. Just enter the name of the butterfly plus “caterpillar” into the search box. Then Google the listed host plants to decide which one will look good and prosper in your garden. Extension Master Gardeners recite the mantra: “right place, right plant”. This explains why a small

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Spring Plant Exchange

Giant Swallowtail, left, caterpillars eat the leaves of the garden herb, rue. A Carpenter Bee shares nectar from Common Milkweed, a cat food for the Monarch.


Would you like to have this lovely Black Swallowtail right, residing in your garden? Just plant her caterpillar’s sun-loving food plants: rue, dill, fennel or parsley.

space designated as “the butterfly garden” doesn’t work very well. Some cat food plants may like the spot you’ve chosen, but many will perish in a spot that was too sunny, too shady, too wet or too dry. For instance, you have a shaded, moist area in your backyard. A milkweed (Monarch cat food) would quickly die, but a Paw-Paw, cat food for the Zebra Swallowtail, would thrive. Or plant a patch of Violets, cat food for several species of Fritillaries. Perhaps you have a sunny garden with Rudbeckia and Coreopsis. To host Sulphur butterflies, you could insert yellowflowered members of the pea family like the garden-worthy natives, Wild Senna and Partridge Pea. Your herb garden probably already has cat foods for the Black

Swallowtail: rue, parsley, dill and fennel. Butterfly Gardening, the “Field of Dreams” Plant it and they will come. Adding cat foods to your flowers and ornamentals easily converts your space into a butterfly garden. If you wish to become certified and display an attractive sign, visit for the guidelines and forms. Butterflies and other pollinators will thank you. MICO Extension Master Gardener and Kansas Native Plant Society member, Lenora Larson gardens and hosts butterflies in the cruel winds and clay soil of Paola, Kansas. Contact her at lenora.

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Sat., April 27

o you have an especially green thumb? Is your garden growing out of control? Do you have more plants than you want or would you just like to trade some of your variety for another? Then you need to attend Gladstone’s Spring Plant Exchange. Started in 2004 by Gladstone Parks & Recreation and City Gardener, Beth Houlihan, the plant exchange has grown each year and is a wonderful way to share your wealth with fellow gardeners. So, load those extra perennials into the trunk and meet us

at the large shelter house at Oak Grove Park, 76th & N. Troost to trade with other gardeners and make some new friends in the process. Please mark your plants with their names if at all possible. The exchange will take place on Saturday, April 27th from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. There is no registration required and the event costs nothing except a little of your time and the rewards will be great! If you need additional information, please call Gladstone Parks and Recreation at (816) 423-4091.

The Kansas City Rose Society in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a program Sat, March 23,10 AM to Noon. The topic is “Easy Care Roses & How To Grow Your Best Roses in 2013. ” Judy Penner, Park ideas on the best roses to plant in the Heartland. Earth Right products are applied in theLaura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden in Jacob L. Loose Memorial Park.

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hile planning this year’s garden, think about including new, repeat blooming azaleas. I know Kansas City lies on the edge of azalea country but for those gardeners like me it just wouldn’t be spring without azalea flowers. Azaleas are one of the most popular floral displays at Powell Gardens and remain the most popular shrub in the United States. Azaleas have long been synonymous with spring but new hybrids have extended their bloom time to include repeat-flowering in summer and especially fall. One such group of hybrids by Buddy Lee of Alabama are aptly named Encore® azaleas are now widely available.

Encore® Azaleas have long fascinated me. First of all I was not sure I would like a celebrated ephemeral flower one savors in springtime to become ubiquitous. My feelings are like how the Japanese look at the fleeting flowers of their beloved cherry trees and make time to experience them. The cherry blossom’s beauty comes from their short existence which they use as a metaphor for our own short lives. Secondly, these new azaleas were hybridized in the South using a late blooming species from nearly tropical Taiwan to achieve the repeat blooming. These new azaleas surely wouldn’t be hardy. Well thanks to gardeners that are ever trying plants and pushing the boundaries, we continue to learn about a plant’s hardiness. Some of the new Encore® azaleas are crosses with hardy azalea cultivars and it turns out that they got the hardiness gene! Currently, 12 cultivars of Encore® azaleas have

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Azaleas with a Repeat Bloom

Autumn Lilac

Autumn Sunburst

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Amethyst

proven hardy through zone 6 (on the old hardiness zone map). In 2011, Flowerwood Nursery donated the first 10 hardy cultivars to Powell Gardens for trial. Three plants of each of the varieties are now planted at Powell Gardens along the walk between the Rock & Waterfall Garden and the Perennial Garden. Every plant has survived despite our historic droughts. Yes, they have required extra watering and they are sheltered under the shade of maturing Baldcypress trees. They bloomed a

lot their first summer and fall and had good bloom last spring. This year they had more limited summertime bloom but it appears they have better repeat bloom with a light shearing after flowering. After experiencing these azaleas in 2011, I did plant a few of them in my own garden and currently have 5 of the varieties at home too. Autumn Amethyst™ is my favorite and also one of the hardiest. It has vivacious bright amethyst pink flowers and can have a real nice fall repeat until freeze

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Invitation To Gardeners

Kansas City Garden Club Spring Luncheon

T Autumn Sundance

Autumn Royalty

up (December this year). Autumn Royalty™ is also a favorite and I believe was rhododendron of the year in 2012 and it sure is simply spectacular. Its flowers are fuchsia pink and enormous – we actually grew it as a container plant before we knew it was hardy because it has such wonderful summertime bloom for a container in shade. All Encore® Azaleas make great container subjects! Encore® Azaleas also come in hot colors: Autumn Sunset™ is a vivid orange-red color I added to my “red azalea dell” where it combines well with ‘Girard Hot Shot’ and ‘Stewartsonian’ azaleas also in that unique hue. The new Autumn Lily™ is the first whiteflowering Encore® Azalea that is hardy. Autumn Lilac™ is lavender that combines well with my Korean Azaleas and others cultivars with a purple hue. Obviously I have embraced these azaleas and simply enjoy their extra blooms which are still rich in nectar and visited by many pollinators. As with all azaleas, Encores need well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. I amend the soil

with peat moss or coconut fiber and fertilize the plants with Holly-tone when planting. I recommend a mulch of pine bark and planting them in a location that is at least shaded by our hot afternoon sun. I too have not lost a single plant as these varieties sure do have hybrid vigor. When purchasing an Encore® azalea do be aware that only 12 of the 29 varieties are proven hardy through our new zone 6 designation. You will have the best success with these twelve hardy cultivars: Autumn Amethyst™, Autumn Carnation™, Autumn Cheer™, Autumn Lilac™, Autumn Lily™, Autumn Royalty™, Autumn Ruby™, Autumn Sangria™, Autumn Sunburst™, Autumn Sundance™, Autumn Sunset™, and Autumn Twist™. Come visit Powell Gardens to see them all in person and visit the Encore® Azalea website at for further information. Alan Branhagen is Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. See his blog at

he public is welcome to enjoy two interesting garden programs along with a delicious lunch at the Kansas City Garden Club’s Annual Spring Luncheon. The event is May 6th, Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo. “The Celebrated, the Overlooked and the Notorious Native Flowers and Grasses of the Kansas City Area” will be the morning program presented by Mike Haddock. His recently published book, “Wild Flowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide” features a wonderfully large number of the Kansas wild flowers and grasses with excellent descriptions and photographs. President-elect of the Kansas Native Plant Society,

Mike is currently the Assistant Dean for Research, Education and Engagement at the Kansas State University Libraries, Manhattan, Kan. After lunch, Kay Schaefer, Florissant, Missouri, a Master Floral Judge/ Designer will entertain and enlighten you with “Spring Into Spring: Exhilarating, Artful Floral Designs”. Kay will take you on one of her creative floral adventures assembling dynamic designs using natural materials growing in our yards. Event tickets are $20 with a deadline of April 22nd. Make your check out to Kansas City Garden Club and mail to Kaye Vance, 4346 Lobo Court, Lee’s Summit, Mo. 64064-1418. If you have questions, call Kaye at 816-373-9073.

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Tracy Flowers


old hardy camellias could be the next big thing for the Kansas City garden. These glossy evergreen shrubs have the ability to flower in the early winter with showy blooms measuring up to three inches across. Last year, the USDA changed Kansas City’s hardiness zone from 5b to 6a, and it officially increased our chances of growing a whole new genera of plants. Camellias

were generally relegated to zones 7 and 8 but thanks to breeding efforts we now have over 30 cold tolerant varieties available that are classified as hardy to zone 6. In honor of the warmer climate, we thought that we would try our hand at growing cold hardy camellias here in Kansas City at the Kauffman Memorial Garden. We started our camellia journey by researching the best cold hardy varieties for the Kansas City area. There is a plethora of information with the International Camellia Society and we visited the outdoor camellia specimens at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Most of what we found described growing camellias in the southern United States, but there are different rules for them in Kansas City. For example, in the south

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Growing Hardy Camellias in Kansas City

‘Winter’s Joy’

‘Snow Flurry’

camellias are planted in the fall and they grow into trees while in Kansas City it is best to plant them in the spring and they will grow into medium-sized shrubs. When the research stage was over we selected the pink, purple and white varieties ‘Winter’s Joy,’ ‘Twilight Glow,’ ‘Snow Flurry’ and ‘Winter’s Snowman.’ When planting camellias in Kansas City it is important to find a site that is protected from the winter sun. The north side of a building or tree can be a great location just as long as the camellias don’t have to compete with the other plants for root moisture. Young camellias require a bit of well-drained watering while setting

their roots. Make sure to plant in a shallow hole and use a root stimulator if you can. For their first two Kansas City winters, camellias should have protection especially during extended cold periods. When their evergreen leaves get injured they have to work extra hard in the spring to replace what was damaged. You can get pretty fancy in buying protective material to cover shrubs in the winter, but the plants don’t care what you use as long as it works. Last year we repurposed some shade cloth and scavenged pine needles to create a mulchfilled tent for the camellias’ first winter. This year we are still protecting them but just mulch-

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‘Twilight Glow’

‘Winter’s Snowman’

ing the bases of the plants. They will only be covered if the weather reaches below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for more than three inhospitable days. With a little bit of extra care in the early stages and proper site selection cold hardy camellias can be a welcome new edition to the Kansas City landscape. A lot of credit for the development of cold hardy camellias can be traced back to plant breeder and researcher Dr. William L. Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. After two exceptionally cold winters in a row, most of the camellia species and collections were killed or severely injured. Dr. Ackerman noticed that the Camellia oleifera claimed almost no damage and had quite attractive foliage despite the cold temperatures. That sparked a breeding program that produced many cold hardy varieties like ‘Winter’s Star’

and ‘Winter’s Joy’ which we chose for our own garden. Dr. Clifford Parks in North Carolina was also a very big contributor to the world of breeding cold hardy camellias. He even has one named after him, the Camellia ‘Dr. Clifford Parks.’ We were able to order our cold hardy camellias from the Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina, which is still managed by Dr. Parks’ wife and son. Ordering from them allowed us to acquire plants directly from a family business and close to the breeding sources. Thanks to this community of camellia breeders and warmer climate conditions we can look forward to growing a new group of beautiful flowering evergreen shrubs in Kansas City.

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Tried and True on the Island Leah Berg


hile preparing my talk about xeriscaping strategies to deal with drought for the sold out annual Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City March seminar, I called one of the other featured speakers to compare notes about favorite resilient plants. Here are just a few we both value highly. Senior gardener Caitlin Bailey cares for hundreds of species on the 12 year old two acre Island Garden, one of the most interesting and challenging sites at Powell Gardens. Caitlin and dedicated volunteers cope with plants growing in water, bogs, containers and fast-draining slopes and crevices of the renowned 600 foot long dry stack wall during every extreme of Midwest weather mood swings. Full sun dominates, amplified with extra heat reflected off the sidewalks and curving wall baking the plants and their caretakers. Humidity kicks in all too soon around Kansas City where we deal with summer heat zone effects more like Georgia than Colorado where xeric alpine plants thrive. Small microclimates of limited shade are created by the Island’s pergola. Some shelter from drying winds prevailing across the lake exists in the lee of mature shrubs or the wall’s bends, but weeks of inadequate rainfall and winter dessication is as serious a concern as summer heat. As our USDA winter hardiness zone evolved from zone 5 to a warmer zone 6, some species may remain semi-evergreen or truly evergreen in certain sites. March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Candytuft’s common name doesn’t reveal a crucial detail included in the second half of its scientific name. Iberis sempervirens (7) alludes to some species native to Spain (the Iberian peninsula) that are “always green” as it is on the Island and in my yard. (The U. S. Marines’ slogan “Semper Fi” meaning “always faithful” is a quality we want in perennials!) Perennial geraniums like ‘Orion’ and ‘Brookside’ (8) perform well on the Island. My patches of long-

it’s shown here in a December photo with its bonus cold-weather red-orange hues. Deciduous species are usually safer choices than most woody needled and broadleaf evergreens in windy/sunny sites like this. Caitlin suggests native bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) (3), a semi-evergreen large broadleaf shrub. With no sidewalks near the two Island groupings, look for it in the Perennial Garden by the sidewalk leading to the lake, on the right

8 flowering ‘New Hampshire Purple’ have kept nice green foliage with reddish touches the past several winters. It needs no care other than a trim once in early spring and once in August to reinvigorate foliage growth and new flowering. Grown on the Island wall is creeping Veronica ‘Waterperry Blue’ (6), which is similar to my old favorite ‘Georgia Blue’ by my front sidewalk. I get satisfying bluelavender flower shades similar to annual lobelia, which I don’t grow successfully in our hot summers. Its semi-evergreen foliage develops a nice winter reddish glaze similar to perennial geraniums. Sedum ‘Angelina’ (4) creeps happily over level sites but looks best trailing over terraced wall edges. Sunny yellow-gold by spring,

side just before the pergola. Rub its leaves to enjoy the fragrance sometimes used in candles. Bayberry has survived over 20 years on the MCC-Longview campus, enduring constant wind and sun radiating heat from a brick building and bordering sidewalk. Sheared into hedge form as the row outgrew its narrow space, it never receives supplemental watering. Winter’s warm spells fluctuate with bitter wind chill, interfering with the uninterrupted dormancy that protects plants farther north. Caitlin mulches certain herbaceous perennials to protect their crowns and roots after their foliage dies back to the ground following hard freezes like Bluestar. Caitlin is impressed with Amsonia illustris (1) and I’ve liked my similar

A. tabernaemontana and compact hybrid Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice.’ Valued for its beautiful foliage, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (5) fills in like fluffy silver lace around nearly any other sun-loving plant that needs a companion. For the price of a small perennial, it rapidly matures to dwarf shrub size. Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (2) and pink ‘Wild Thing’ are among many great sage varieties showcased on the Island. Cultivars in that species tend to do best in well-draining soil in the Southwest (or here in the Island’s wall holding back a hill). In heavier clay soil, I rely on salvia hybrids like ‘Blue Hill’ and ‘Caradonna’ more closely related to ‘May Night.’ Consider planting some of these favorite tough perennials from the Island Garden so deserving for use in other public places or in our individual home landscapes. Though surrounded by a lake, the limited resources of water and hours of human time available to irrigate plants between rainfalls make this public site a great model to learn from as we strive for more sustainable landscapes. By mid-March, count on seeing an amazing variety of interesting foliage and plants blooming ahead of schedule as they did last year. Instead of taking a tropical island cruise, let the cover image (taken March 27, 2012) inspire a relaxing short trip on a mild spring day to explore our own special Island at Powell Gardens. Learn more plant details on the Missouri Botanical Garden website ( Click on “Plant Finder” under the GARDENS tab. 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

Start Lawn and Tree Care Now By Rodney St. John


any homeowners don’t start thinking about their lawns and landscapes until later in the spring, when the weather is consistently warm. Once you enjoy a few nice weather weekends, you drag out the spreader and get started on the lawn of your dreams. There’s only one problem—sometimes by the time the weather is consistently warm, you are actually getting a LATE start. Crabgrass is a big problem in our area. Most lawns have it – and it is tough to control, UNLESS you put down a pre-emergent in early spring. In my lawn, I actually use pre-emergent twice, once in late February/Early March and a second time 6 weeks later. As the name suggests, pre-emergents must be on your lawn before crabgrass germinates, so if you wait to start caring for your lawn until temperatures are consistently warm, guess what has happened? Crabgrass seeds, cozy from higher soil tem-

peratures, have started to germinate and grow. Another opportunity in your lawn this spring is seeding. Typically the best time to seed is in the fall. However, with last summer’s intense drought (and not much moisture to speak of the past few months), many lawns need at least some seed. When you seed, keep in mind that soil temperatures are comparatively cooler in the spring, so grass will take longer to germinate. More importantly, new grass planted in the spring won’t have time to fully develop its root system before hot, dry summer weather arrives. As a result, extra watering will be necessary during the summer months. Finally, aerations are one of the best extras you can do for your lawn. Over time, lawns can develop a layer of living and dead grass stems, roots and crowns called thatch. If this layer exceeds 1/2 inch, it creates a barrier against the

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passage of air, water and nutrients into the soil. When a lawn is aerated, thousands of small plugs are pulled from the soil and dropped back into the turf. As this soil dissolves and breaks down, they help speed the decomposition of the thatch layer. (Leaving grass clippings on the lawn DOES NOT contribute to thatch.) You can rent an aerator at your local home and garden center. Aerators are heavy, so plan a day when a few of your neighbors can aerate their lawns, too. You can split the cost of the rental and get some help with the heavy lifting. Your trees and shrubs require care now too. Crabapples and pines often suffer from wet weather disease in the spring. Crabapples: Spring diseases lead to leaf discoloration and spot-

ting. As the disease progresses, leaves will drop from the tree. The disease is mainly aesthetic, but repeated infections may make the tree more susceptible to secondary problems throughout the year. Pines: Tip blight is a common problem associates with pines throughout the area, most commonly Scotch and Austrian pines. Tip blight causes needles at the tips of branches to brown and die. If you have any of these trees in your landscape, you may benefit from a meeting with an arborist. Visit to find a certified arborist in your area. A professional arborist should be able to walk through your landscape and identify potential problems your trees may face. Finally, the arborist should recommend treatment plans available. You should meet with an arborist before you notice any symptoms, because most treatments must be done preventatively. Don’t be deceived by the weather, lawn and tree care starts before temperatures are overly warm. Timing is critical to prevent crabgrass from invading our lawns and protect our trees from spring diseases.

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Orchid Society of Greater KC The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Time to Repot or Not

Erin Busenhart


ore than any other topic, I get questions from concerned plant owners about repotting. We are obsessed with our plants possible decline due to its lack of root space. “My plant has yellow leaves; do you think its root bound?” “The leaves are drooping; do you think it needs a bigger pot?” “The entire plant has turns brown and looks dead, should I repot it?” Okay, this one is a slight exaggeration. And without hearing any information or looking at a particular plant, odds are it does not need to be repotted. Plants actually LIKE to be a little tight in their pots – it’s cozier. It’s us, as their human caregivers that tend to freak out by the idea that they could be “root bound”. Here’s the deal … being a little root bound won’t hurt the plant. You might have to water more often, but you can actually do more harm repotting a plant that’s not ready. So when will you know? There are the easy tells. Roots snaking out the bottom or the plant actually breaking the pot. But, what if you’re not sure? Take a look at the roots. Pull the plant out of the

pot (trust me, it won’t hurt) and see what is in there. First thing, there should be some. If all the roots fall apart as you pull the plant out then we already have a problem and the last thing we want to do is relocate the poor guy to a new home. Check to make sure it is not staying wet, is in good potting mix and has drainage holes. Next, look at the color. They should be white or cream-colored, and look healthy. Dingy, grey or brown roots are not what we’re looking for. And now take a whiff. I know soil has a ‘natural’ smell to it but it should never actually smell bad. (Really, that should be a good rule for life.) If it smells bad then again we have another issue, lay off the water, make sure the potting medium is good quality and that the saucer is empty. If everything’s looking good then proceed, but here are some general rules: 1. Only go up 1 pot size. That means the 4” Philodendron should be repotted into nothing bigger than a 6” pot. Going too big can stress out a plant, keep a blooming plant from blooming and hold too much extra water in all that soil. 2. Repot a plant in spring or early summer. The days are longer, the sun is shining and plants know that it’s time to grow. Most plants are not actively growing inside our homes in fall and winter and transplanting them can be too big of a shock. 3. Use good quality potting mix – no garden soil, top soil or $1.00

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bags of potting soil. And don’t use any mix that has moisture control if the plant will be spending time inside. Goes to that whole ‘staying wet’ thing. 4. Plant at the same depth it was in its original container. Pour fresh soil in the bottom of the new container, place the plant in and lightly pack the soil around edges and top but don’t bury the stem deeper. (African Violets are a different story.) You can tease out the roots if you want – just don’t cut or remove any. Always water the plant well after repotting. Add more soil to fill in if needed.

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March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Erin Busenhart is seasonal color designer at Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park, Kan. You may reach her at 913-642-6503.

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he Sierra Club’s Kanza Group will host a unique event in March, comparing the benefits of organic lawn care methods to the effects of using synthetic chemicals to support our desire to have the greenest lawns and lushest gardens in our neighborhoods. When: Tuesday, March 12th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM. Where: Glenwood Arts Theater, 9575 Metcalf Ave., on the east side of Metcalf South Mall. Schedule: 6:30 PM Welcome to the Sierra Club and Announcements. 6:45 PM – Presentation on the health risks of using synthetic chemicals on our lawns, gardens, parks, and athletic fields.

7:05 PM – FREE screening of the Emmy-nominated documentary “A Chemical Reaction”, which tells the true story of one small Canadian town’s battle against some of the biggest chemical companies in North America, how it won the right to protect its citizens from the use synthetic pesticides on public and private property, and how SafeLawns founder Paul Tukey is spreading the movement across the United States. 8:00 PM – Follow-up discussion on the film, presentation on what you can do, and a brief Q & A. Theater concessions will be open before and during the meeting and film presentation. For more

information, email Ken Schefter at purpleroc1@ The Sierra Club is the largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization in the United States, dedicated to preserving, protecting and enjoying the planet. The Sierra Club’s Kansas Chapter works on behalf of the environment to protect our water, air, soil, and wildlife, through education, legislation, and political action. If you believe our planet is worth protecting for your children, join today! Visit www.kansas.sierraclub. org/, or speak with a representative at the event.

Why is such a wonderful greenhouse in such an out of the way place? Our roots run deep. Grandpa bought this farm, and built the red barn and white house 116 years ago. Dad was born here and lived here all of his 70 years, farming the land. George and Rita started growing plants for the home gardener 36 years ago. Now, we’re seeing the next generations come along. So the love of nature has been handed down to us. I guess it’s just in our roots. After awhile growing plants you get good at it, but don’t take our word for it; ask any top notch gardener where to go for plants and they’ll tell you:

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The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Rose Report

Charles Anctil


ime to start thinking about roses. First, let’s talk tools. Are they cleaned and sharpened yet? If not, get on it. Now that you’ve worn out the new catalogs, did you pay attention to new products and plants that will be available this year? Burpee and Gardens Alive have grafted tomato plants available in their catalogs – more fruit and hardier plants – I might give it a try. I am anxious to see the rose Francis Meilland (2013 All American) in real life. If it is as good as Pink Promise, I will probably have to plant one in my rose garden. Final clean-up of your roses starts now. It is much easier to see canes that need to be removed and plants to be shaped up. March, weather permitting, is a good time to plant bare root (dormant) roses. As soon as you can work the soil, go ahead. Make sure to check your plants when they come in. The skin on the canes should be shiny and not wrinkled. You should have 3-5 nice

canes the size or thickness of your small finger and plenty of welldeveloped roots. Canes should be cut back to 8” and fresh cuts on the tips of the roots. Soak plants in water overnight. You can use Mushroom Stuff and let your plants soak while you are digging the holes. Dig your hole deep enough so when you build your cone of soil to spread the roots of your plants, make sure the bud union will be at least one inch below ground level. The bud union is the weakest part of the plant. Make sure you mound up or cover up the canes so nothing shows but a mound of soil. It takes two to three weeks for roots to start growing and working again, so do not uncover your plants too quickly. When you see buds starting to grow on the canes you can start uncovering. If the buds aren’t growing, recover. Almost forgot … do not use compost to cover the canes. Use soil or wet peat moss. Do not fertilize until the plant has bloomed for the first time. 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.

Meet Diane Blazek, learn about All-America Selections a Gardeners Connect sponsored program


he All-America Selections label is familiar to gardeners, but most of us have only a vague notion of the program. All-America Selections is an independent, nonprofit organization that tests new varieties and introduces the best garden performers as AAS Winners. To tell us more about AAS and give us ideas of plants that can add zing to our gardens, Diane Blazek, executive director of the AllAmerica Selections program and National Garden Bureau, plans to give a lecture at 10 a.m. Sat., March 16, at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. This program is free. Blazek has been immersed in gardening personally and professionally for 20 years. She brings

a passion to the subject based on a history in the field of horticulture publishing as well as a love for gardening and culinary exploration. Before taking the helm of the AAS program, she was president and publisher at Ball Publishing, managing Ball Publishing’s entry into consumer garden book publishing. All-America Selections was founded in 1932 and continues as the oldest independent plant testing organization in North America. This is a big year for AAS. After 80 years of exclusively trialing new seed varieties, AAS has begun trials of vegetatively propagated ornamentals. Join us to find out what’s coming for 2013, get gardening tips and hear about the beautiful display gardens to visit.

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Entertaining Gardens Home and Garden Tour


ansas City gardeners love to entertain outdoors. Our unpredictable Midwest weather draws us outdoors when those perfect spring and fall days and nights align. Members of the Westport Garden Club are passionate about their outdoor spaces and entertain alfresco whenever possible. They plan to “go public” with six of their members’ gardens open for touring. “Entertaining Gardens” is a Home and Garden Tour Event scheduled for May 18, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. presented by the Westport Garden Club. The event will benefit Powell Gardens’ ‘Good To Grow’ education program. Featured will be six private gardens in Mission Hills, Sunset Hill, Prairie Village and Fairway. Each garden will be prepared for a festive occasion to inspire other freshair aficionados with new ideas for their own outdoor entertaining.

Enchantment in the garden Patron’s tickets are $65. The gardens will be open an hour early for Patrons. General admission tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. A discount coupon for neighborhood restaurants will be included with each ticket. See www.thewestportgardenclub. org or www.entertaininggardens. com for complete descriptions of the gardens and ticket information, or phone Linda Burton at Powell


Uniquely Yours

A Garden With a View Vieux Carre in Mission Hills Gardens, 816-697-2600 ext. 209 for tickets. The Powell Gardens ‘Good to Grow’ program provides handson, grade-appropriate programs and experiences in the Heartland Harvest Garden. In 2011, 1,700 children from 31 different schools in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area participated. The primary goal is to help teach our next generation to make wise choices about the foods they eat. They watch seedlings sprout in the Seed to Plate Greenhouse and discover the food plants used in their favorite snacks. Children see, smell, taste and touch – and leave with a new way to think about food. ENCHANTMENT IN THE GARDEN Enter this delightful Sunset Hill terraced garden and explore wind-

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ing stone pathways that lead to hidden patios, platforms and a hot tub. Some of the surprising accents are the fancifully painted back stoop bench, Art Deco-inspired privacy screens and Ichabod Crane-like bird houses. VIEUX CARRE IN MISSION HILLS Savor the atmosphere of New Orleans as you see the elaborate ironwork gates, intimate courtyards, detailed brickwork, and a well planned, enclosed garden. While walking over the ownerdesigned brick path bisecting the garden, observe rooms of plantings that are defined by walls of clipped hedges of boxwood and yew. Not to miss are two classical sculptures humorously dubbed Touchdown Betty and Running Man residing, not only with a large collection of millstones, but also with several antique lightning rods.

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A Photographyer’s Canvas COLONIALISM REVISITED Upon arrival in this Prairie Village garden, one feels transported to a Colonial Revival Virginia garden. Charming white-painted Chippendale architecture and furniture accentuate the boxwood borders, brick pathways, and perennial beds in this carefully designed garden. This garden is a lovely setting for entertaining friends with a croquet party. A PHOTOGRAPHER’S CANVAS CLICK shutterbugs! This Mission Hills garden, designed by the photographer-owner, is a mature tapestry of perennials, shrubs and predominately native trees planned for all ages and seasons, for play and parties, and for rest and relaxation. Entertain yourself while you pickup tips for photographing your own garden. SOUTHERN CHARM From this stately, brick colonial home’s grand flagstone entry courtyard with its three-tiered fountain

March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

to the intimate gardens surrounding the house, curb appeal and Southern ambience abound at this Mission Hills home. A GARDEN WITH A VIEW Stroll the spacious grounds of this Fairway garden via a boardwalk to a conservatory, an herb and vegetable garden, and a rose and peony bed snuggled adjacent the entertainment patio. Follow the expansive, peripheral perennial beds toward the rear of the property which opens onto a lush, tree-lined golf course vista.

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The Westport Garden Club was founded in 1950 by a group of Kansas City women who wanted to form a group of like-minded friends to share the knowledge and love of gardening and to impact their community environment through programs and action in the fields of conservation, civic improvement and education. The organization is one of 200 member clubs of the Garden Club of America, which was established in 1913.


Secluded Serenity By Terry Blair Michel


his lovely 1930’s Tudor home in an old Kansas City neighborhood needed the special attention of its owners when they moved in many years ago. Sixtyfoot pines; large, shaggy evergreen shrubs; and a yard begging for help inspired the owners to develop a new passion for gardening. They realized from the beginning that they were going to have to learn how to garden in shade. What the owners found, though, was that they were drawn to shade-loving plants. Shade gardening can be a challenge that many gardeners avoid, especially when it comes and goes in a garden due to loss of older trees and plants or at different times of the year. After the loss of five larges pines, and subsequent damage to large yews, the owners created a “holly hospital” in a corner of their back yard. When a small plant begins to fail, it is moved there for special attention and then

transplanted back to the regular garden as it recovers. The yews re-grew after a couple of years to their original beauty with some careful pruning, even without moving them. Timing when pruning can be tricky, but these gardeners have found the best time to do so for most Spring blooming woody plants is July 4. The garden has extensive antique brick patios, creating “rooms” where people can enjoy

Beautify Your Surroundings

the scenery. There are two water features—a wall fountain, and a gazebo that canopies a pool with a statue. These spaces add the sound of water to the quiet, peaceful yard. Encircling a grass expanse in the center of the back yard is a pea gravel path that moves between various beds under the giant pines. Understory trees such as dogwoods, redbuds, blue point junipers, Norway spruce, Canadian hemlocks, tulip magnolias, and green giant arborvitae create the next layer, followed by shrubs of hydrangeas, rhododendrons, Virginia sweet spires, crepe myrtles, abelias, azaleas, clethra (summersweet), various hollies, hypericum, burning bush and weigelia. Tucked in spaces between these larger plants are a variety of ferns and hostas, liriope edging,

spurge, colorful astilbe; graceful, arching Soloman’s seal, Jacob’s ladder, caladiums, guara, celadine poppy and speedwell. This garden can provide a visitor with a huge display of plants for shady areas, as well as demonstrate how to weave in peaceful places for people to enjoy the serene beauty available. Don’t miss seeing this special garden during the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City 2013 Garden Tour, “Unique Gardens of South Kansas City”, June 7 and 8, 9 am to 4:30 pm. For further information about the seven gardens on this tour, visit under the “Garden Tour” heading. Tickets will be available May 15 at various sites around the Kansas City area. Terry Blair Michel is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

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garden calendar n LAWNS • Spot spray for dandelions, henbit and chickweed. • Apply crabgrass preventers in early to mid-April. • Seed thin areas in bluegrass and tall fescue lawns. • Fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue if no fall applications were made. • Lower mowing height about 1/2 inch to remove debris as the turf greens, do not scalp. • Soil test to determine fertility needs. • Tune up lawn mowers for the season. • Sharpen blades for a quality cut.


• Prune trees, except birch and maple which are best pruned after leaf out. • Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs until after they bloom. • Mulch tree and shrub plantings up to 4 inches deep. • Fertilize trees and shrubs. • Plant new trees and shrubs. • Remove tree wraps from young trees for summer growth. • Rake and clean ground cover plantings. • Remove grass at least 3 feet from the base of young trees and mulch.


• Plant pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, other cool-loving annuals. • Clean up perennial beds by cutting back foliage and removing winter mulch layer. • Prepare soil for annual planting by adding compost or other organic matter. • Fertilize gardens with a balanced fertilizer as growth begins. • Take a soil test if one has not been done in the last five years. • Start seeds under lights indoors for transplanting to the garden. • Late month remove winter mulch from roses and prune as needed. • Cut ornamental grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground. • Plant new roses.

• Start dividing and planting perennials. • Fertilize spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils as they emerge. • Cut seed pods from spent bulbs. • Control iris borers by destroying old foliage before new growth begins. • Mail order plants should be unwrapped and kept cool and moist until planting.


• Prepare soil for spring planting. • Soil test if needed. • Fertilize garden soil before planting with 1 to 2 pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet. • Plant broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in late March. • Plant potatoes, peas, onions, lettuce and other salad crops. • Asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries can be planted now. • Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and other warm season vegetables. • Sharpen garden tools and repair. • Apply dormant oil to fruit plantings to reduce scale and mite insects. • Make a fungicide application to control peach leaf curl before growth begins. • Prune fruit trees, grapes, raspberries and blackberries. • Remove mulch from strawberries when growth begins. • Turn the compost pile.


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

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

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Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Garden Shows Johnson County Home & Garden Show March 1 – 3; Overland Park Convention Center Flower, Lawn & Garden Show March 22 – 24; Bartle Hall

Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tue, Mar 12, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300

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Bonner Springs, KS Garden Club Tues, Mar 19, 1pm; 503 Coronado Rd, Bonner Springs. Program: “Evolution of Flower DesignsVision of Beauty” by National Garden Club Master Judge, Donna Schneck. Call Ruth Pleak, 913-728-2806 or Hostess Sheila Miller, 913-4225191 if you will attend or for more information. Guests welcome! Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City Sat, Mar 9 and 23, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-784-5300 Gardeners Connect Wed, Mar 13, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Gardeners Connect Tue, Mar 19 and 26, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Vege Gardening Class. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Mar 17, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 4, 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! 816941-2445. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Mar 13, 12-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Sabine Green of Farrand Farms will speak on “Container Gardening, Mixing Herbs With Annuals.” Reservations, call 913-592-3546. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 23, 9am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St (67th & Roe), Prairie Village, KS. Hospitality at 9am; Meeting and Program at 10am. Ed Lyon will present, “Why Don’t My Plants Look Like the Catalogue?”. Potluck follows, bring a dish to share, Club provides meat. At 1pm, Mr Lyon shares, “How to Build a Successful Shade Garden”. Come for one or both. Visitors welcome. For info, 816-213-0598. Independence Garden Club Mon, Mar 11, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center, Noland and Truman Rds, 4th floor, Independence, MO. Larry Ryan of Ryan Lawn and Tree will speak on the subject, Forestry problems in the city. Visitors are invited and refreshments will be served. or call 816-373-1169 or 816-796-4220. All About Pruning Roses Thurs, Mar 14, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. It’s almost time to uncover the roses and get them started on a healthy growing season. That means pruning - a task that can make even the most

experienced gardener wonder, “Am I doing this right?” The Johnson County Rose Society will present “Pruning for Beautiful, Healthy Roses. Guest speaker will be Dr. Glenn Hodges, an ARS Master Consulting Rosarian, an ARS Accredited Horticulture Judge, and a Johnson County K-State Extension Master Gardener. Dr. Hodges will show us how to evaluate a rose for pruning and the guidelines to use for making healthy cuts that will lead to beautiful roses. Free. Open to the public, refreshments provided. Members and guests can also take advantage of the “Consulting Rosarians Corner” for a free individual consultation with a Consulting Rosarian about specific questions or concerns about all aspects of rose growing and care. For more information about the meetings, programs, or other activities of the Johnson County Rose Society, or for membership details, visit, or at 913-663-5235 or Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Mar 17, 1:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-822-1515 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Mar 4, 10:30 am, Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO.  “Linda Hall Library’s Fabulous Tree Peonies and More” by Scott Reiter, Head Grounds Keeper, Linda Hall Library. Tips on floral design by Donna Schneck. Horticulture and floral design exhibits. Bring a sack lunch and join us for snacks, desserts and drinks furnished by the club members after the meeting. 913-599-4141 Kansas City Rose Society Sat, Mar 23, 10am-12pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Spring Demo. 816-784-5300 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group  Tues, Mar 12, 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd, Lawrence, KS. We meet monthly to learn about herbs. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing & harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Our March focus herbs are CHICKWEED and LEMON BALM, and you never know what you’ll learn during our popular “Share, Show, and Tell” segment. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. www. Leawood Garden Club Tues, Mar 26, 10:30am; at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Business meeting 10:30am, followed by annual fundraising auction. Bring a sack lunch. Desserts, beverages provided. Open to the public, guests welcome. Contact 816-363-0925 or jaguyn@aol. com for information. Northland Garden Club Tues, Mar 19, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone, MO. Program: New Annuals for 2013 by Vaughan Fletcher. Guests welcome. For further information, Sue Combellick, 816-452-7485. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Mar 19, 12:30pm; in community room of Bass Pro Store, 12051 Bass Pro Dr, Olathe, KS. The program will be presented by Flower Show Judge, Betty Bonnes on a Flower/Tool Carrier and the Mechanics of Design Table. Public is invited. For information, call Joan Shriver at 913-782-7205.

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Mar 10, 1:30-5pm; at Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. Orchid Care, A Panel Discussion and Q&A by Area Growers. Public is invited. Bring your orchids in for expert advice on care repotting. Learn from our members about how to grow orchids. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 11, Social-7pm, program-7:30; at The Colonial Church, 71st & Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Steve Mann, Site Developer for Cultivate KC will talk about the Paradise Garden, sustainable gardening for the 21st Century. Steve is a gardening educator with Food Not Lawns KC and does sustainable agriculture consulting through his business, Prairie Ecosystems Management. Cultivate KC believes that urban agriculture is fundamental to building an alternative system for our city by growing good food, new urban farms and stronger and environmentally sustainable community. Public welcome. ShoMe African Violets Society Fri, Mar 8, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Sunflower Garden Club (GOA) Wyandotte Co Tue, Mar 12, 7pm; at Eisenhower Community Center, 2901 72nd St, Kansas City, KS. Begin the spring planting and growing season. Guest speakers provide the program information. The public is invited to participate. Questions contact Claudeane Craig at 913-287-7045.

Events, Lectures & Classes March Bird Chat – Spring, Migration and Nesting Sat, Mar 2, 10-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $10 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Doc & Diane Gover of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop will discuss migratory arrivals and nesting habits of birds. Register by going to www.opabg. org and follow the prompts. Bring paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913-685-3604 “Kansas Environment: Burning, Fracking, & Polluting” Sat, Mar 2, 9am; at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf, Overland Park, KS. During the general meeting of the League of Women Voters of Johnson County. Panel members include: Craig Volland, Kansas Sierra Club–Chr. of Air Quality Committee; Tom Jacobs, Mid-America Regional Council–Director of Environmental; Joe Spease, Windsohy C.E.O; James Joerke, Johnson County Health and Environment Dept. Public is invited. Admission free. Contact: Elizabeth Ann Sanders– Vice Pres League of Women Voters Johnson Co 913-631-2108;   Soups from the Garden Sat, Mar 2, 11am; at Louisburg Cider Mill, 14730 K Hwy 68, Louisburg, KS. Lois Hart will be making soups featuring tomatoes, spinach and cantaloupe. Reservations requested, call 913837-5202. Vegetable Garden Basics  Wed, Mar 6, 6:30-8pm; at Independence Health Dept, 515 S Liberty St, Independence, MO. Presented by Kansas City Community Gardens. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877. Container Gardening Workshop Thurs, Mar 7, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS 66047. FREE. Please RSVP so we know many seats to have. Learn how to make a great container garden with flowers, herbs, vegetables, or a combination of all three. Types of containers,

March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

soils, fertilizers as well as varieties of plants that work well in containers will be discussed. For more information call 785-842-3081. Vegetable Garden Basics Fri, Mar 8, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877. Lawn Seminar Sat, Mar 9, 10am; at Springtime Garden Center, 1601 NE Tudor Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. FREE lawn seminar. Door prizes. Refreshments. Space is limited. Call to reserve spot. 816-525-4226. Planning/Planting your Schoolyard Garden Sat, Mar 9, 10:30am-noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Designed for teachers or school staff who have or are planning to start a schoolyard garden, this workshop will cover basic gardening knowledge needed for planning and planting your spring and summer schoolyard gardens. Plant selection, tips for planting and garden management will all be discussed. We will also highlight ideas for fun garden activities and demonstrate garden-based lessons. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877. Organic Gardening Mar 11 and 13, 6:30-8:30pm; at MCC-Longview, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. We study principles and practices of organic gardening. We’ll study both the use of organic materials and the use of organic cultural practices. You can have a garden that creates oxygen, provides habitat for honeybees and otherwise improves the planet. Fee $29. Call MCC-Longview Community Education to enroll: 816-604-2030. Organic Lawn Care Tues, Mar 12, 6:30-9pm; at Glenwood Arts Theater, 9575 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS. Sponsored by the Kanza Group of the Sierra Club. Program comparing the benefits of organic lawn care methods to the effects of using synthetic chemicals to support our desire to have the greenest lawn and lushest gardens. Free screening of “A Chemical Reaction”. Details pg 20.

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Fundamentals of Birding Sat, Mar 16, 10-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $10 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Dr David Seibel will focus on birding fundamentals, such as the basics for identifying common bird species. Register by going to and follow the prompts. Bring paid receipt for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913685-3604 Gardeners Connect presents “Some AllAmerica Selections Dazzle for Our Gardens” Sat, Mar 16, 10-11:30am; at the Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. A slide show and lecture by Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden

(continued on page 28)

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Perennials: A Closer Look Tues, Mar 12 and 19, 6:30-8:30pm; at Raytown South Middle School, rm 104, 8401 E 83rd St, Raytown, MO. Two-part course takes in-depth look at perennials which do well in our region. Discuss growing techniques and ways to include outstanding, unusual perennials in landscape. Two nights, $20. To register, call Raytown Community Education 816-268-7037. Early Spring Crops Fri, Mar 15, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Give-in to your spring gardening fever and get outside to plant a vegetable garden. Learn about selecting, planting and caring for vegetables that thrive in the cool spring weather. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877.

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13635 Wyandotte, KCMO 27

Extension Horticulture Classes All Times 7–9 pm. $10 per person. All classes held at the Johnson County Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe, KS 66061. Registration requested at least one week in advance. Enrollment limited. To enroll, go to or call 913-715-7000.

March 5, Tuesday Lawn Care – Preparing for the Wrath of Summer The practices you apply in spring can help prepare the lawn to cope with summer conditions. This session will look at what you need to know and be doing so that your lawn will survive another summer.

Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see (continued from page 27) Bureau and the All-America Selections seed trial program, has been immersed in gardening professionally and personally for 20 years. Free.

March 13, Wednesday Creating Beautiful Butterfly Gardens This presentation will review butterfly biology and habitat requirements with an emphasis on garden design. Simply choose your resident butterflies and plant their caterpillar food. Learn how to create butterfly habitats with no compromise in beauty or garden design.

Supertufa™ Garden Basket Sun, Mar 17, 1-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Using a basket as your mold, a sturdy basket-planter is easy to make. No sculpting experience required. Using Supertufa™, which cures within 6 hours, you will take your creation home the same day. Make one large or two small baskets in class. Suitable rubber gloves and all other materials will be provided. $55/project, $47/Members. Registration required by Mar 11. To register call Linda Burton, 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at

March 27, Wednesday Drip Irrigation – A Greener Approach to Watering Drip irrigation is an extremely efficient method of delivering water to a plant. This class will cover the evolution of drip irrigation concepts and the practical application in the home landscape. The class will include a hands-on approach to the various system components involved in the design and installation of a drip irrigation system.

Vegetable Garden Basics Mon, Mar 18, 6-7:30pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877.

April 2, Tuesday Room Hydrangeas for the Garden This class will sort out all the confusion about growing this group of plants. We will cover the various groups and their culture along with the secrets to pink or blue flowers.

Landscape Design and Maintenance Mar 18-May 15, Mon/Wed, 5:45-8:30pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview campus in Lee’s Summit, MO. Information tailored to our region, essential aspects of site evaluation, design concepts, methods to create scale drawings are emphasized. Instructor: designer Leah Berg. Fees apply. Info, Leah Berg at 816353-7170 or e-mail

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


Pest Management Mar 19-May 16, Tues/Thurs, 6-8:45pm; at Metropolitan Community College-Longview campus in Lee’s Summit, MO. Learn the least toxic methods preferred to manage regional insect and disease problems. Students also prepare to pass the Missouri State exam for the Certified Pesticide Applicators License, given the final day of class. Instructor: certified arborist Rusty Denes. Fees apply. Info, Leah Berg at 816-3537170 or e-mail Easy Care Roses/How to Grow Your Best Roses Sat, Mar 23, 10am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, Kansas City, MO. Kansas City Rose Society in partnership with Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation will be hosting the program. Judy Penner, Dir and Rosarian of Loose Park will speak on Easy care Roses and How to Grow your Best Roses. We will also go into the garden and show how to cut back your roses for spring. Hypertufa Mini Dish for Succulents Sat, Mar 23, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Create your own succulent hypertufa mini-dish garden. You will not only learn how to make and cure hypertufa containers, but also how to grow and care for the succulents in them. Participants should bring gloves and be prepared for messy creativity. $42/project, $34/Members. Registration required by Mar 18. To register call Linda Burton, 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at

en keeping in this educational new workshop. We’ll cover fundamentals like different breeds, what to look for in a coop, care for your backyard flock, how to raise baby chicks, health issues, city regulations and the thrill of bringing fresh eggs to your table. Instructor: Barb McKinney. Fee $29. Call MCC-Longview Community Education to enroll: 816-604-2030. Early Spring Crops Wed, Mar 27, 6:30-8pm; at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 3601 S Sterling, Independence, MO. Presented by Kansas City Community Gardens. Learn about selecting, planting and caring for vegetables that thrive in the cool spring weather. Free. Register, call 816-931-3877. Container Gardening Basics Thurs, Mar 28, 4-5:30pm; at Rosehill Garden Center, 311 E 135th St, Martin City. Tired of the same old plant combinations in your garden containers? Load up on creatively fresh ideas to break out of the ordinary for spring. We’ll discuss plant selections, and you will plant a container garden to take home. Supply fee (varies with selection) paid to instructor. You may bring your own pot or container. Instructor is Staff of Rosehill Nursery. Fee $14. Call MCC-Longview Community Education to enroll: 816-604-2030. Gardeners Connect Garden Book Sale Sat, Mar 30, 10am-3pm; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall. We also need donations. Bring them to a program or email to arrange it.

April Basic Vegetable Gardening Mon, Apr 1, 6-7:30pm; at Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central, Kansas City, KS. Presented by Kansas City Community Gardens. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Free. Register, call 816-931-3877. Woodland Wildflower Walk Wed, Apr 3, 10am-noon; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Join two experts as they take you on a walk through the woodlands at the Arboretum to see the vast selection of native wildflowers in bloom. Wear sturdy shoes. Class is free but admission fee to Gardens is required. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Register by going to and follow the prompts. Bring acknowledgement receipt to the walk for admission. 913-685-3604. Raised Bed Gardening Fri, Apr 5, 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. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877.

Early Spring Crops Mon, Mar 25, 6-7:30pm; at Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central, Kansas City, KS. Presented by Kansas City Community Gardens. Learn about selecting, planting and caring for vegetables that thrive in the cool spring weather. Free. Register, call Earlene, 816-931-3877.

Rockwall Garden Techniques Sat, Apr 6, 9am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Learn about wall construction, soil mixing, plant selection, planting techniques, and seasonal care of rockwall gardens. Class will include the opportunity to participate in planting a section of the Powell Gardens living wall, and you will take home a “tried and true” rock wall plant. Bring garden gloves. Rain or shine. $12/person, $17/ Members. Registration required by Apr 1. Call Linda Burton 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or online

Urban Chicken Keeping Mar 26 and 28, 6:30-8:30pm; at MCC-Longview, 500 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. Discover the joys and benefits of backyard chick-

African Violet Annual Show “Isles of Violets” Apr 6 and 7; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Sho-Me African Violet Society sponsors a combined

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

Show and Sale. Members will be entering African Violets and other plants of this gesneriad family. While viewing the beautiful plants and interesting design entries in the Showroom, members will be present and willing to talk with persons just being introduced to the subject of African Violets. The Show and Sales Rooms will be open to the Public Apr 6, 9am-4pm; and Sun Apr 7, 10am-3pm. Free admission. 816-784-5300 Essential Edible Landscaping Sat, Apr 6, 10-11:30am; at Powell Gardens. Learn what fruits, nuts, herbs and vegetables can be used in the edible landscape in your area and how to maintain the edible landscape. Discover what ornamental plants can be substituted with beautiful, edible ones. Participants will take away knowledge of edible landscaping, a sample landscape plan, assorted seeds and an edible, ornamental plant. $19/person, $12/Members. Registration required by Apr 1. To register call Linda Burton, 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Herb Gardening Thurs, Apr 18, 4-5pm; at Rosehill Garden Center, 311 E 135th St, Martin City. Fresh, home-grown herbs are fragrant and flavorful — and they add a unique touch to those special recipes. We’ll talk about selecting herbs and companion plants, and you will plant a container to take home. Instructor is Staff of Rosehill Nursery. Fee $14. Call MCC-Longview Community Education to enroll: 816-604-2030. Perennials in the Landscape Sat, Apr 20, 10-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th St, Overland Park, KS. This class is free. Admission fee to Arboretum applies. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Join expert Ken O’Dell as he shares his experience and knowledge. Emphasis on placement in the landscape, selecting for sun or shade, propagation, soil preparation and maintenance. This is an indoor class. Register by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913-685-3604. Emporia Gardeners of America Plant Sale Sat, Apr 20, 7:30am-2pm; at the Lyon Co Fairgrounds Anderson Building in Emporia Kansas. A wide selection of Annuals, Perennials, and Vegetables will be available for the home gardener to purchase. 620-342-4091 Mo Prairie Foundation Native Plant Sale Apr 20 and Apr 27, 8am-1pm; at the City Market, 5th and Walnut, Kansas City, MO. A large variety of native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and small trees suitable for many growing conditions— sunny, shady, wet, and dry—will be available for sale. Proceeds used by MPF in work to protect Missouri prairies. Contact: Doris, 816-716-9159. Gardeners of America OP Spring Plant Sale Thurs-Sat, Apr 25-27, Thurs: noon-7pm, Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat: 10am-6pm; at Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Rd, Prairie Village KS. Sponsored by Overland Park Gardeners of America. Hostas provided by the Hosta Guy, Rob Mortko. Large selection of annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs will be for sale. Potting soil will also be sold. Children may plant pumpkin or sunflower seeds or build a small container garden as part of our Youth Gardening Contests. Master Gardener Honey Barnekoff will be available to assemble custom containers, bring your own or choose some of ours. Bring your used nursery pots for reuse in our 2nd Annual Pot Harvest. Spring Plant Exchange Sat, Apr 27, 8:30-10am; at large shelter house at Oak Grove Park, 76th and N. Troost. Load those extra perennials into the trunk to trade with other gardeners and make some new friends in the process. Mark your plants with their names if at all possible. No registration. No cost. For info, call Gladstone Parks and Recreation 816-423-4091 Mo-Kan Daylily Society Plant Sale Sat, Apr 27, 8am-1pm; at Cave Springs Park, 8701 E Gregory, Kansas City, MO, 64133. SW Corner of Gregory & Blue Ridge.

March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

May Overland Park Arboretum Spring Plant Sale Thurs, May 2, preview sale and reception for Friends of the Arboretum members, 4-7pm. Join FOTA and receive 10% member discount. Open to the public on Fri and Sat, May 3-4, 9am5pm. No admission fee to attend the plant sale. Enormous selection of certified organic herbs, collectors’ hostas, native woodland plants and prairie wildflowers, annuals, perennials, and much more. Lush combination planters and hanging baskets for Mother’s Day. Free herb demonstrations both days at 12:30. The arboretum is located 1/2 mile west of Hwy 69 at 179th & Antioch. 913-683-3604

Water Gardens Tour 2013 20th Annual Water Garden Tour Come see 50 plus backyard water gardens of Water Garden Society members Saturday, June 22 • Sunday, June 23 9am - 5pm • Rain or Shine • Bus tours available.

Wyandotte Co EMG Annual Plant Sale May 3-4, 9am-5pm Fri, 9am-2pm Sat; in the parking lot at Wyandotte County Extension office, 1216 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. There will be a large selection of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants and edibles that have been specially selected for NE Kansas & NW Missouri growing area for purchase by the public. We are offering Master Gardener grown perennials, vegetable plants and herbs. Bring your own pots to our container planting station, let us help you select appropriate plants from our sale, and we’ll plant them up for you for just the cost of the potting soil used. Central Missouri Master Gardener Plant Sale Sat, May 4, 7am-noon; at Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Rd, Jefferson City, MO. Watch for more info and see our Website: extension. or, find us on Facebook at Central Missouri Plant Sale. Kansas City Garden Club’s Spring Luncheon Mon, May 6, 10:30am-1:30 pm; at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO. If you have questions, call Kaye at 816-373-9073. All details on pg 13. Annual Spring Hosta and Shade Plant Sale Sat, May 11, 9am to 2:30pm; at Faith Lutheran church, 4805 W 67th St, Prairie Village, KS. Sponsored by Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society. Collection of lovely new hostas and other shade perennials, including but not limited to, selected fern varieties; Carex siderosticha, “Banana Boat”; and Bleeding Heart, “Gold Heart”. Free gift for children over age 4, who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Public welcome. For info call Gwen. 816-228-9308 MG of Greater Kansas Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 11, 8am-2pm, or until sold out; at Bass Pro Shops, at the corner of I-70 and MO-291 in Independence. Over 10,000 reasonably priced plants that are sustainable for our climate area, including annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials and native plants. See website May 1 for complete listing of plants available:

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

Contributing Sponsor: House of Rocks

March Weather Repor t

List your gardening events! Email: Deadline for April issue is March 10. Questions? Call 913-648-4728.

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

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

Northland Garden Club - Tea in the Garden Sat, May 18, 3-5pm; unique garden near Parkville. Elegant tea menu to include delicious sandwiches, desserts, scones and several special teas. Limited seating, tickets $15, must be purchased in advance, no later than May 1. Just for fun, hats may be worn, but not required. Purchase tickets by contacting: Rain date Sun, May 19, 3-5pm. Herb Days in May Festival May 25-26, 10am-5pm, at Evening Shade Farms Soap House, 12790 SE Hwy TT, Osceola, MO. 7 Miles East off Hwy 13 on TT Hwy. Festival includes: Artisan Handcrafted Natural & Organic Body products, heirloom flower and vegetable plants and herbs, trees and shrubs, pottery and woodworking demonstrations, custom jewelry, metal garden art, blacksmith art, hypertufa planters, photo and fiber art. Free. 417-282-6985

Highs and Lows

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

From the Almanac Moon Phases

Plant Above Ground Crops: 11, 12, 15-17, 20-22

Last Quarter: Mar. 4

Plant Root Crops:

New Moon: Mar. 11

Control Plant Pests:

First Quarter: Mar. 19 Full Moon: Mar. 27 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

1-3, 27-31 4-6, 9, 10

Transplant: 20-22

Plant Flowers: 11, 12, 15-17


March into Spring at Powell Gardens


arch brings a flush a color both indoors at out at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. As early spring blooms beckon outdoors, the Conservatory inside the Visitor Education Center will be transformed into a creative home for the fictional Moss family, complete with furnishing that are literally alive with color and texture. The ‘Living’ Room, which opens March 16, is included in regular garden admission of $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children ages 5-12 through March 31. Beginning April 1, admission is $10/adult, $9/ seniors and $4/children ages 5-12. What to see and do this March and April at the Gardens: The ‘Living’ Room March 16-May 12, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The “Moss” family returns to Powell Gardens for The ‘Living’ Room Conservatory exhibit! In this whimsical display, ordinary household items become living works of art. The exhibit also features

Echinacea PowWow Wildberry

Reservations are essential: Call 816-697-2600 x209. The price to attend the Easter Egg Hunt only is $5 for all children, including members; adults pay regular Garden admission of $7/adults or $6/seniors; adult members are free. After the hunt, enjoy the early blooms outdoors and the whimsical ‘Living’ Room display inside the conservatory!

relating to these exquisite plants. Winter Garden admission applies: $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children 5-12.

Powell Gardens’ extensive collection of orchids. St. Patrick’s Day Plant Giveaway 9 a.m. March 17 Be one of the first 50 parties to visit Powell Gardens on Sunday, March 17, and you could take home a free Oxalis plant (which we commonly think of as a shamrock)! Supplies are limited and Garden admission applies. Orchid Weekend at Powell Gardens 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. March 23-24 Members of the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City will be here to offer advice on growing orchids and answer any questions

Veronica Blue Bomb

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Egg Hunt at Powell Gardens Breakfast: 9-10 a.m. March 30 (reservations required) Easter Egg Hunt: 11 a.m. sharp, March 30 Hop on out to Powell Gardens for a morning of fun with the Easter Bunny! Start with a Chris Cakes’ breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee. Then gather on Powell Gardens’ rolling lawn for an Easter Egg Hunt! The hunt, designed for children ages 10 and younger, is divided by age group and starts promptly at 11 a.m. The price for breakfast, including Garden admission, is $16/adults or $9/members. The price for children, including breakfast, admission and the Easter Egg Hunt, is $9.25 for members and $11.25 for nonmembers.

Dianthus Star Dbl Pop Star

Easter Brunch at Powell Gardens 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 31 Bring your family to Powell Gardens for an Easter brunch in Café Thyme (details to be announced). Stroll through the Gardens afterward to admire the flowering bulbs and other blooms. For reservations, call 816-697-2600 x209. Bloom! A Celebration of Spring 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 13-14 Mid-April historically brings peak bloom of redbuds at Powell Gardens. Join us for a weekend to celebrate the full splendor of flowering trees in spring!

Lily Dwarf Hardy Tiny Double You

Dianthus Heart Attack

Check out the Nifty New 60 4” Perennials at WESTLAKE GARDEN CENTER

The Best New Varieties from 2011, ’12, & ’13 at a great price! Gaillardia Arizona Apricot


Coreopsis Big Bang Redshift

Rose - Hardy Mini Nancy Hall

Kniphofia Fire Dance

Phlox Cocktail Sherbet

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

GREEN INDUSTRY NEWS Networking Event with Hort NetWORK

Professional’s Corner

Plant Solutions for Residential and Commercial Landscapes Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th, Overland Park, KS Join us for an educational evening for the Green Industry Professional. This workshop will cover new and under used native and non-native adaptive plants for Midwest landscapes and gardens. Presenters will be Ben Cecil from Loma Vista Nursery, Bill Malouche from National Nursery Products, Elliott Duemler from Applied Ecological Services, and Natalia Hamill from Sakata. This event is open to all Hort NetWORK members, their guests, and all industry professionals only. • Pre-registration is required and open to the first 80 people. • Free for Hort NetWORK members, $10 guests/non-members. • Food and beverages provided. • Register at Not a member? Need more information? Go to

Starlight now accepting internship applications

Starlight Theatre is looking for a college student interested in gaining experience in horticulture this summer. Work alongside the 2-person grounds team in maintaining the 16-acre campus. You will have the opportunity to develop and possibly implement a design concept. Some duties include hand watering; planting and maintenance of gardens; mulching; soil testing; pruning; fertilizing; irrigation maintenance and repair; lawn care; and other general green-industry tasks. Application and complete details are at, Click ‘Education & Outreach’, then ‘Bob Rohlf Internship Program’.

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

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

March 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Steve Reynolds, along with his brother Mark (right), invite you to visit their showroom. Company: Reynolds Lawn and Leisure, Inc. Owners: brothers, Steve and Mark Reynolds Established: January 1990 Type of operation: We sell and service residential and commercial lawn care equipment. We also carry handheld equipment including trimmers, blowers, chainsaws, and edgers. We have every type of mower available including push and self-propelled walk behind mowers, lawn tractors, garden tractors and zero turn mowers. We also have compact utility tractors up to 50 horsepower and utility vehicles like the John Deere Gator. Brands offered: The major brands we carry include John Deere, Toro, Wright Commercial Mowers, RedMax handheld equipment, and Kawasaki, Honda, Kohler, Briggs & Stratton and Subaru engines. We also carry the Mantis/Little Wonder and Bluebird products. Services offered: We are a full service dealer which includes service after the sale. We perform service work here at the shop as well as routine maintenance at the home. Yep, that’s right! If you can’t get your mower to us, we will pick it up and return it or do the minor things at your house. Also, we have a fully stocked parts department and can quickly get what we don’t have in stock. Maintenance tip: The most common ailment we see with all powered equipment is fuel related. With the introduction of ethanol to the fuel system it has elevated those problems. Power equipment is not ethanol compliant! Keep your fuel fresh and clean, use an ethanol compliant fuel stabilizer and try to avoid fuels with ethanol added. Maintain your equipment at least once a year and check the oil level and air filter before every start. What makes Reynolds unique: Two important elements. First, Reynolds has been serving customers for 23 years, long enough that we have knowledge of the older John Deere machines, parts and attachments. The folks that still use or tinker with the older mowers appreciate our expertise. Second, is what we call Service Delivered. Our Mobile Maintenance unit will come to you to maintain and repair your power equipment and tools. Did you know: Sharpening mower blades to a fine point will dull them quicker than leaving a small blunt edge. The fine point rounds over quickly. Store Hours: Off season hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm Mon–Fri; 8:30am to 12:30pm Sat. Spring and Summer hours are 8am to 6pm Mon-Fri; 8am to 4pm Sat. Come see our showroom and service area. Contact information: 12902 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee, KS 66216; 913-268-4288;, Like us on Facebook. 31

Spring Starts NOW Spring Flowering


Crabs Plums Serviceberries

2 Year Guarantee on most trees & shrubs

Redbuds Cherries Pears

Spring Flowering Trees - MANY sizes & varieties

25-50% OFF

Freshly Dug Trees arriving from our farms Every Week @135th & Wornall

March MAPLE Special State Street Sienna Glenn Green Mountain Sugar

3� trunk diameter reg. $299.99 NOW $149.99


& other cool weather plants arriving 1st week of March

Control weeds Conserve Soil Moisture with durable

DeWitt fabric

105th & Roe

135th & Wornall (816) 942-2921


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

(913) 649-8700

The Kansas City Gardener / March 2013

KCG 03Mar13  

The Kansas City Gardener