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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

August 2013

Summer’s Shrubs that thrive in heat

Call before you dig Container Water Gardening Repair bare, thin turf with fall seeding Understand Importance of Fish Care Patrick’s Picks: Reblooming Iris

Swan’s Water Gardens

Your Full Service Water Garden Center Located In Southern Johnson County

Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle… Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for the tranquil atmosphere of Swan’s Water Gardens. Where the beauty and wonders of nature surround you at every turn.

Miniature Water Gardens We’re just having too much fun at Swan’s Water Gardens. Pictured above is our latest addition here in our gardens. This beautiful water feature was built in an area of 5’ w x 8’ l proving no backyard is too small to have the calming sights and sounds of a Water Garden Paradise. Only $929.00 installed!

August Aquatic Plant Sale

Receive an additional 20-40% off our already low prices on our in stock aquatic plants from August 12th thru August 27th. This sale includes all Tropical and Hardy Water Lilies, Lotus and Tropical and Hardy Marginals. We have a huge selection to choose from so don’t miss out on this sale! Many other pond accessories available.

Victoria Cruziana

First time ever at Swan’s Water Gardens is this awe inspiring Tropical Water Lily. The pads can grow up to 4’ in diameter. Originally from South America it can withstand cooler temps than the Amazonia. It boasts a white and pink flower with a sweet fragrant scent. A must see for all gardeners.

Why Should You Have Swan’s Water Gardens Build Your Water Garden?

First and foremost we back all our installations with a five year warranty. This is unheard in the Water Garden Industry. Most companies want to give you a three month, six month or, if you’re lucky, a one year warranty on their installation. We don’t think that’s right! We’ve seen horribly incorrect installations by many companies out there that just don’t know what they’re doing and they won’t stand behind their work. You will never have to worry about that with us. We’re in our 19th year in business and our warranty is longer than many water garden installers have been around. We don’t just dabble in the water garden business, “It’s our way of life”.

Here at “The Water Garden Center” we are committed to Research and Development. Before we ever sell a new product to our customers, it has to be tested here. Just because a Manufacturer says their product is the newest miracle on the market doesn’t make it so.

We carry only the highest quality products available and will not sell cheap inferior products just to compete on price. All of the pumps, liners, filtration systems and other pond supplies that we use in our installations are sold right here at “The Water Garden Center”. We research our competition and all the Manufacturers in the industry so we are on top of any new developments.

In today’s marketplace, we know you’re bombarded with everyone claiming to be the best or having the best products with the lowest prices. There’s so much misinformation out there it can be very confusing for the new and old Water Garden enthusiast. So what should you do? That’s easy. Come out to “The Water Garden Center” and we’ll walk you through the lushly landscaped water gardens or just let you stroll through at your leisure. Either way when you leave here you’ll have a good understanding of how to correctly build a water garden or maybe you’ll decide to have our experienced installation crew build one for you.

Come See All of Our Turtles in Our New Turtle Pond! We back our Water Garden installations with a 5 year leak free guarantee!

“Creating Paradise ... In Your Backyard”

Swan’s Water Gardens

20001 S. Padbury Lane, Spring Hill, KS 66083


The helpful place.






May vary, check online for your specific location

August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener





The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Entry in my Garden Journal

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Erin Busenhart Bob Camarena Aleta Fairbanks Diane & Doc Gover Lala Kumar Lenora Larson Patrick Muir Dennis Patton Phil Roudebush 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

Join us and fellow gardeners. Become a fan.

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 27. 4


he summer garden is lovely now. The zinnias are eyecatching as the street-edge border of the front garden. The daylily blooms always make me stop to appreciate their delicate details. And even though the yarrow blooms have slipped from bright yellow to brown, they are diligent about being noticed in their upright state. We’ve had a terrific experience with tomato plants this season, which is nice for a change. There’s nothing like walking through the garden to pull a handful of cherry tomatoes for lunch. Of course, paired with a few fresh herbs from the herb garden, a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a little salt and pepper, and you’ve got a healthy herb and tomato salad. The only notable frustration this season has been the prolific baby oaks. We’ve spent numerous hours trying to de-populate. Just when I think I’ve cleared one bed of these juveniles, another batch rises up within days. Because our entire landscape is nothing but garden beds, removing the baby oaks

requires hand picking, one by one. I know, a bit tedious. For me, though, it can be quite therapeutic – dare I say, addicting. So much so, I found myself pulling baby oaks at midnight. Here’s how that happened. Every evening when bedtime nears, I step out onto the porch to call in the cats. Most times they are responsive, dash in and are ready to settle in for the night. Other times, however, it may take a couple of minutes of patiently calling. Charlie, the older, and my personal assistant in the garden, has finished his nightly stroll and is usually ready to come in. Ginny, the younger, and the hunter, is the one who’s not likely to give up. If she’s got her eye on a chipmunk or mouse dashing in and out of the

dry stack walls, Ginny is locked in the pursuit. So I’m standing out in the driveway calling the cats and get no response. I go a little further down into the garden trying to get a glimpse of a cat or hear tags jingling. Still nothing. Instead of going inside to wait it out, the baby oaks catch my eye, and I’m drawn to start removing. (Remember I used the word addicting?) Time passes, and before too long I realize it’s midnight. What am I doing out here? I’m aware after calling the cats again that they were practically watching me, they were so close. I wonder what their conversation was about after I put them to bed? I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue August 2013 • Vol. 18 No. 8 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Container Water Garden ......... 8 GKCIS Celebrates 65th ............ 9 Repair thin turf ........................ 11 Call before you dig ................. 12 Rose Report ............................ 13 Summer’s Shrubs ..................... 14 Understand Fish Care .............. 16 Patrick’s Picks: Reblooming Iris ... 18 Pets & Plants: Cat Grass ........... 20

about the cover ...

Garden Calendar .................... 21 Upcoming Events ..................... 22 Spider Mites .......................... 22 Powell Garden Events ............. 23 TreeKeeper Courses ................ 24 Hotlines ................................. 25 Weather ................................. 25 Invite Swallowtails ................... 26 Subscribe ............................... 27 Professional’s Corner ................ 27

Learn about St. John’s wort and other summer shrubs that thrive in the heat starting on page 14.



The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

The Bird Brain


Doc & Diane Gover

The Theater of Nature

Watch birds with your children. You’ll be giving them a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.


n our busy lives involving work, school, sports, home care and a myriad of other activities, there is little opportunity to enjoy the wonders of nature. Yet we all agree that exposure to the world of nature enriches our lives and is important to the wellbeing of our children. The best opportunity to connect with nature on a daily basis, without leaving home, is through the wild birds that can be attracted to our own backyards. That is why more and more families are developing mini nature reserves or backyard wildlife habitats in the yards immediately surrounding their homes. By providing cover, food and water for wild birds, adults give themselves and their children (grandchildren) an important daily link to nature. Just by looking out the window, they can see birds eating from feeders, drinking and bathing in birdbaths, protecting nesting territories, feeding youngsters and generally behaving naturally in the habitat only a few feet away.

Greene County Master Gardeners invite you to Ozarks-style Garden Party

By involving children in efforts to make their backyards more attractive to wild birds, adults open a door of opportunity to a greater understanding of our environment and a deeper love of nature – its beauty, drama and wonder. It is well established that children raised in homes where wild birds are an important part of daily life go on to enjoy wildlife throughout their lives. Most establish their own backyard habitats, where they and their own children continue to witness the wonders of nature right in their own backyard. What a gift for future generations. Just stop by the store, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you create a habitat that will be irrestible to you and your feathered friends. Let the learning begin!

t’s a Garden Party! And the Master Gardeners of Greene County are gearing up to host the 18th Annual Master Gardener State Conference Sept. 20-22 in the Springfield, Mo. area. You are invited to expand your gardening knowledge, enjoy an entertaining evening presentation by Dr. F. Todd Lasseigne of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, and tour the beautiful Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center & Gardens and private area gardens. The lovely, newly-remodeled Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield will be the conference hotel and site of the Sept. 21 banquet, Sept. 22 luncheon, advanced training, workshops, and garden-

ing exhibitors. You won’t want to miss the Friday night social at the new Botanical Center. Reserve your spot early for the conference by registering online at Early bird registration for the full conference is $160 through Sept. 2. The cost is $180 after that date. If you cannot attend the entire conference, a la carte registration is available. For additional information, call 417-881-8909, ext. 320 or email missourimastergardener. org. Registration will open to the public on Sept. 3. Your gardening friends in Southwest Missouri look forward to seeing you in September, so be sure to save those dates and register as soon as you can!

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August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener


Ask the Experts! questions from our readers According to the literature this problem can result from a genetic mutation, bacterial or viral infection. Fasciated plants develop an abnormal flattening of the stem. It often appears like several stems have fused together. Leaves formed along the stem can be distorted also. This problem is not fully understood but can occur on as many as 100 species of plants. The good news is that this fluke will not destroy the plant. The recommendation would be to prune out the stem and forget about it. On a side note, you will have seen stems that have fasciated used in flower arranging as they can create an interesting line.


Question: I have an interesting looking growth on one of the branches of my dwarf spirea. Instead of being the normal thin round brown stem the plant has sent up this flat, wide shoot. The leaves appear to be a little abnormal and the flower was oddly shaped. Do you have any idea what might have caused this interesting branch? Answer: Your plant has a little known problem called fasciation.


Question: I want to renew my boxwood hedge. Can boxwood be

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pruned low to get new, basal growth? Answer: Boxwood is the number one selling plant at garden centers and for good reasons. It is one of our most dependable evergreens. Boxwood plants can get a little out of hand as they get larger than desired. Unfortunately like many evergreens boxwoods are slow to recover from an extreme pruning. They have the internal socalled dead zone. This is the older stemmy area of the plant in which the foliage has dropped. Pruning back into the dead zone can stress the plant and may take a period of several years to regenerate growth and recover. Based on that fact we do not recommend pruning into the dead zone, instead keep the pruning cut so that there is live tissue such as a leaf or another healthy shoot. If boxwood needs to be cut back severely to reduce the height or spread it is best to do it gradually by selectively cutting back shoots to another growing point. Over time this will allow you to decrease size without creating an eyesore.


Question: The hot new trend in KC is growing hostas in containers. I’m told you can leave them

outdoors in the winter. What all should I take into consideration in order to be successful? Answer: Hostas can be grown in containers but with a little caution. First the pot must be large enough to accommodate the root system and provide some insulation from the harsh winter weather. The second concern with container grown hostas is excess winter moisture. Hostas like to have a drier root system over the winter. Cold wet soils can lead to root rots and the death of the plants. I have heard of people preventing this issue a couple of ways. One is turning the pot on its side to prevent snow and other moisture from keeping the soil continually wet or the second is moving the pot under a deck or some other structure to reduce winter moisture. Another consideration is the pot itself. If it will stay outside over

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Question: Help! Where did all the bindweed come from? It appeared and has sprouted up all over my lawn and garden. How do I control this vining weed? Answer: Bindweed is one of the most difficult garden weeds to control. Bindweed can creep along the ground or vine up a fence and has pretty white to soft pink morning glory shaped blooms. The problem with bindweed is that it has a very extensive root system that can survive in just about any environment. Because of its perennial nature and aggressive root system control is difficult. Bindweed in a lawn can be controlled with broadleaf herbicides but multiple applications and years of applying will be needed to completely eradicate from the lawn. The best time to treat is in the late summer, August or early September. At that time of the year the plant is preparing for winter by moving more stored food into the root system. When the plant stores food it also pulls the herbicide into the roots increasing the effectiveness of control. Spring applications oftentimes just burn off the foliage only to return again and again. Bindweed in a flower or vegetable garden is more difficult to control as the broadleaf herbicides applied in the heat of the summer

will also damage your desirable plants. In these areas it might be best to use the non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate. Direct your sprays only to the weed without touching your desirable plants. Be persistent and over time you can win the battle of this noxious weed.


Question: This spring my red maple tree leafed out just fine but then as spring rolled along I started to notice all these black spots on the leaves. Then when the summer heat arrived they dropped from the tree. Someone told me my tree had verticillium wilt. Is that the correct diagnoses? Answer: Your maple tree was infected by a common foliar disease that can happen when we have a rainy, cool spring. The problem is called anthracnose. The good news is this problem is cosmetic and no controls are necessary. The disease spores move through the air and land on a damp leaf and thus infect the leaf. There is no need to be worried as the tree will develop new growth and fully recover. The worst is the shedding of the foliage which can cause concerns. The only recommendation would be to provide good growing conditions so that you have a healthy, happy tree for the future. 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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Something bugging your trees? Call us for your insect and disease control needs. August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Sustainability Saturday August 3, 10am-2:30pm at Anita B. Gorman MO Dept. Cons. Discovery Center Urban Campus, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO • Rex Buchanan, KU Geological Survey speaking on aquifers • Mark Abney, NRCS and Dr. David Hammer, MU Soil Health Testing Laboratory talking about the new Lab and soil health • Surplus Exchange of Kansas City is offering an electronics pickup. • mini topics on importance of using mulch in climate change gardening, electric cars, vermiculture, beekeeping, rain gardens • demo on making a rain barrel, which will be given away after the demo in a drawing • Eco-Elvis on stage singing eco hits • sustainability education and recycle activities • games/activities for children • tours of Project Living Proof This FREE event is a good opportunity for the public to learn how sustainability can become a daily part of their lives. For more info contact: 816-759-7300.

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Water Garden in a Container cool and totally do-able

Erin Busenhart


onfession time – I have never been a fan of water gardens. It was a foreign world to me, a branch of horticulture with its own glossary of terms, specialized products and unique (and sometimes, strange looking) plants. I thought it took too much work. In my Negative Nancy frame of mind (which can hit when the heat index skyrockets into double digits) I had unfairly erased the world of watering gardening from the available RAM space inside my head. And then my friend and co-


worker, Greg, shared with me the exciting world of container water gardening! It was so cool! There is a way to have the feel of a water garden without all the trouble! Here’s how simple it is. Start with a container – without drain holes. (I know…pretty obvious, but I can use a reminder.) A glazed container can be the most attractive but there are many great plastic choices now too. Fill with water. Regular tap water is just fine. It’s the fish that makes things complicated. You can add small goldfish or mosquito fish but keep in mind that now your water garden is an aquarium and the water must be treated. Add plants. One large plant for mega drama or pot up several into a basket and submerge. Read plant tags and choose some that like the same depth level. Plant tags are highly informative and most offer

pictures so you can see what your new pond plant will look like. In general, most are happy sitting right at water level. Pot up the combo with aquatic soil to anchor the plants down without clouding up your water. Here are a couple more things to consider: Add some floaters. Floaters are plants that rest on top of the water like Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce and Frogbit. They love the warm water of summer and multiply readily. Add movement. A spitter or small fountain is a great addition to your container water garden. It circulates the water while providing a relaxing Zen touch to the patio. Add Mosquito Dunks. Still water can quickly become a breeding ground for Mosquitoes. Add fertilizer. Pond plants want food too! But as Greg told me, “Fertilize the plants, not the water!”

Use the fertilizer tabs designed for pond plants and push them down into the pot. Plant selection. Here’s a list of my new favorite pond plants. Keep in mind that most blooming plants need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive. If your container will be situated in a shadier location, consider the ones indicated that are shade tolerant foliage plants. Water Lilies Elephant Ears* Canna Houttuynia* Creeping Jenny* Ruellia Rumex* Alternanthera* Papyrus* * = Shade tolerant

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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GKCIS Celebrates 65th Anniversary

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August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Photo by Jim Murrain.


ounded in 1948 with 44 charter members, the Greater Kansas City Iris Society continues its mission to promote interest in the culture, propagation and hybridization of iris. Like most garden related organizations, members are just as diverse as the flowers they admire. Some like to attend meetings and view slide shows, while others prefer to spend their time working in the garden or attending sales and shows. In the early 1950s flower shows were huge events held over two days at the Municipal Auditorium or the Muehlebach Hotel. Today they are enjoyed as single day competitive events generally held at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City. Members bring named varieties mostly for the pleasure of visitors. Entries are judged on how well each specimen is groomed and displayed. Just getting the stalk to the show intact without bruising, tearing, or breaking the flowers is a feat in itself when you are trying to fit a 36” plus stalk into the back of your car! Over the years, the “pollen dauber” bug has bitten several society members, resulting in the hybridization and introduction of numerous varieties of iris. Most notable was Mr. John F. Grinter, hybridizer of ‘Missouri’, which was awarded the Dykes Medal in 1937. Mr. Sam Street won the C. G. White Medal in 1968 for the Arilbred iris ‘Wee Scot’ and Dr. James Waddick was awarded the 2003 Founders of SIGNA Medal for his species introduction ‘Marvel Gold’ and ‘China West Lake’ in 2004. Other members, including Jim Hedgecock of Comanche Acres Iris

Gardens, have received the Award of Merit and Honorable Mention Awards for their introductions. Dr. Norlan Henderson’s introduction ‘Kansas City’, a fine example of a near black iris, was depicted on the city sticker for Kansas City, Missouri in the ’80s. GKCIS is an affiliate of the American Iris Society in Region 18, which comprises Kansas and Missouri. The organization hosted the 1962 and 2009 AIS National Conventions and a number of Region 18 meetings and garden tours held every Spring and Fall. Many of our members have become accredited judges and serve in leadership roles with the regional and national organizations. Members of GKCIS also lend a helping hand to assist volunteers with the care of the Cohen Iris Garden at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden as well as Iris Hill at Powell Gardens, which displays 20 years of AIS Award of Merit Tall Bearded iris winners. We are in the process of developing a new iris garden area at Loose Park, which will display selections of iris for the home gardener from the early blooming dwarf iris through the well-known

bearded iris well into June with Siberian, Louisiana, Spuria and the new pseudata hybrids. Our members are drawn from all over the metropolitan area and beyond and frequently remain members even if they move away. Members have access to new iris introductions at our twice a year auctions as well as trading back and forth iris varieties from our own gardens. Members share tips, sources and time with each other making all of us better iris growers. The GKCIS Iris Sale is a perennial mainstay where area gardeners can select from hundreds of variet-

ies of iris suited to local growing conditions. Many newer varieties are included as well as historic iris that your grandmother may have had that evoke fond memories. This year’s sale will be held August 24th at the Trailside Center, 9901 Holmes (SE corner of 99th and Holmes), Kansas City, Mo. 64131 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds of the sale support GKCIS activities including support of area community iris gardens. Members will be on hand to answer questions about iris culture and help you select the right iris for you. If you have an interest in iris, we invite you to join the American Iris Society and/or the Greater Kansas City Iris Society. For more information about our organizations or upcoming sale, call 913-406-2709, or visit or www. Our favorite flower has seen a lot of changes over the last 65 years, who knows what colors, patterns, or forms will be unlocked by future generations.

BACK TO SCHOOL Special This Month At Suburban Lawn & Garden


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

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he HBA’s Home Show – Fall Edition returns to the Overland Park Convention Center, September 6 – 8 bringing with it ideas, inspiration, and solutions for your home this autumn. Visitors will see nearly 200 exhibits and meet the experts of home improvement. This vibrant market place will have new home products and services, decorating, remodeling, and design ideas. The Spaces Show Stage will feature HGTV Star John Gidding Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Gidding is an architect and interior designer who brings his breadth of experience to HGTV’s Curb Appeal. This popular program gives homeowners great ideas for how to look at homes with a fresh eye and turns them into reality through stunning makeovers.

The Beanstalk Garden is for Grown Ups Too! By Aleta Fairbanks


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Gardeners Gathering:

ave you had your nutritional powerhouse goumi berries today? How about disease fighting antioxidant aronia berries? Do you know what plant is called the toothache plant? Did you know there is a garden in Kansas City that will answer all of your questions regarding these plants and more? The Beanstalk Children’s Garden, in its eighth season, offers visitors six intriguing gardens including the Seed and Grain Garden, Curiosity Garden, Herb Garden, Fruit Tree and Shrub Garden, Vegetable Garden, and Water Garden. In season tasting is allowed and encouraged in all of the six of the gardens. Treat yourself to a balmy August evening in this magical place. Ben Sharda, (pictured) Kansas City Community Gardens Executive Director, and his staff will lead tours throughout all six gardens discussing the highlights of the unusual plants and their uses. The lush gardens will be full of commonly known and unique, tasty fruits, vegetables and herbs. Kansas City Community Gardens is a not-for-profit corporation that assists low-income house-

holds and other residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area to grow vegetables and fruit from garden plots located in backyards, vacant lots, schoolyards and community sites. Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City as Ben Sharda presents “The Beanstalk Garden is for Grown Ups Too!” at the August Gardeners Gathering, Thursday, August 15, at 6:30 p.m., at the Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington Avenue, Kansas City, Mo. Free and open to the public. No registration required. For further information call (816) 6654456, or see the Master Gardeners’ website at, our new blog at mggkcblog.wordpress. com or the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Facebook page. Aleta Fairbanks is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

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7130 Troost, Kansas City, Mo. Garden Center • 8am-6pm Mon.-Sat. • (816) 444-3403 Nursery • 9am-6pm • Sun. 10am-5pm • (816) 333-3232 The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

Repair bare, thin turf with fall seeding By Rodney St. John


ow that fall is just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about seeding. Thick, healthy turf is the cornerstone of most landscapes. It prevents weeds, cools the air, produces oxygen, filters impurities out of water and air, prevents soil erosion, helps with your personal well-being and can increase your property value by as much as 15%. The problem is that stressful summers, disease and insects can weaken your lawn and create thin or bare areas. Small damaged areas might recover with some water and fertilizer, but that takes time and not all grasses are created equal when it comes to “filling in” problem areas. For instance, Bermudagrass is an excellent spreader; with a little fertilizer and water, Bermudagrass can spread out over large areas in one season. Conversely, tall fescue is a bunch-type grass and it does not spread at all. Rather, this grass forms clumps. Sure, the clumps will slowly get bigger, but tall fescue will not fill in any bare areas. Somewhere in the middle is Kentucky bluegrass. While this does spread by rhizomes, large damaged areas will need to be reseeded. As you can see, problem areas in cool season lawns like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass should be seeded. The best time to seed these grasses is in the fall. The soil temperatures are warmer than in the spring, and rains combined with cooler air temperatures will help keep the seedlings

from drying out too fast. (Imagine trying to reseed in the middle of summer!) One last benefit to seeding in the fall is that the grass seedlings will have all of the fall, winter and spring to mature and develop a deep root system before the heat of next summer arrives. Which type of grass should you plant? Generally speaking, I like a tall fescue/Kentucky bluegrass mix for most yards. I like Kentucky bluegrass blends for irrigated, highly manicured lawns. Perennial ryegrass and fine fescues are good for shady lawns. K-31 tall fescue is good for large un-irrigated acreages. Keep in mind that these are guidelines; I’ve seen and planted exceptions to these rules. The first step for successful seeding is to buy quality seed. Buy seed from a local nursery or garden store. Big box stores are buying seed for the whole country and they are not picking out the varieties that have tested well in local university research. Read the label and look for percent of ‘Weed Seed’ or ‘Other Crop Seed.’ You want these percentages to be zero. If you are going to seed your lawn yourself, make sure you have good seed to soil contact. You can sprinkle seed on top of the soil and some might grow, but much more seed will germinate if you incorporate it into the top 1/4 inch of soil. The last, and probably the most important tip for seeding success, is to irrigate your seed frequently. This usually means watering one or two times a day, everyday dur-

Much more seed will germinate if you incorporate it into the top 1/4 inch of soil.

ple stop watering once the seed germinates. Don’t do this -- keep it damp. Those little seedlings have a very short root system and need to be irrigated frequently. Once the grass gets tall enough to be mowed, cut back the irrigation to every other day or every three to four days, and mow the yard. Most yards get a little damage from the summer heat and drought. Most grass types in our area won’t fill in on their own, and will require some fall seeding. Buy seed with zero percent weed seeds and be sure to work it in to the top 1/4” of the soil. Finally: water, water, water. Remember, thick healthy turf is the backbone of a healthy landscape, and it starts with successful seeding.

ing the hottest part of the day. Continue this type of irrigation schedule even after the grass seed germinates. Many times, I see peo-

Dr. Rodney St. John is an agronomist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at

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Greater Kansas City Iris Society Plant Sale Saturday, August 24 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trailside Center 99th & Holmes, KCMO

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New and historic varieties of iris grown by local members will be offered for sale. Members will be available to answer questions on growing iris. Bring this coupon to our sale to receive one FREE Median Iris. No purchase necessary. 11

A Rose Primer, Part Two


he second of two presentations about the History of Roses and Modern Rose Classification will be given at the Thursday, August 8, meeting of the Johnson County Rose Society. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Prairie Village Community Center at 7720 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas. The August presentation will delve into the modern classification of roses. Learning about the history of roses and how we now classify the beautiful blooms can help us understand and appreciate the varieties of roses we see in our own and in public gardens. Celine Porrevecchio, ARS Consulting Rosarian, will give the presentation about Modern Rose Classification. Learn the difference between a Floribunda

p o t s

and a Grandiflora, or just what is a “shrub” rose. The meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be 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. The Consulting Rosarians will also give timely tips for caring for roses “This Month in the Rose Garden”. For more information about the meetings, programs, or other activities of the Johnson County Rose Society, or for membership details, visit their webpage at, or visit them on Facebook at www.

SAVE YOUR TREE FROM EMERALD ASH BORER! The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive pest that will kill any untreated ash tree.

Aug. 11 (8/11) serves as convenient reminder for Kansas & Missouri residents to



ansas 811 and Missouri One-Call encourage people to make a free call 3 working days before digging to know what’s below With Aug. 11 almost here, Kansas 811 and Missouri One-Call hope this date on the calendar, 8/11, will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which will identify affected member utility companies, who will then send professional locators to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large

or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. “On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Max Pendergrass, Public Relations Coordinator for Kansas 811, “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.” The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Visit, www., or www.mo1call. com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.


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Rose Report Charles Anctil


he early morning temperature on July 4th allowed the perfect opportunity to plant. So I spent the morning planting and cleaning roses. Planted 1 Grande Amore, 2 Gemini, and 2 Pink Impressions. I have space for four more plants because I dug up some “wimps” who were simply getting too lazy and not growing the way they should. Don’t be afraid to do the same in your garden. There are plenty of new rose plants waiting to thrive in your garden. Ask your local garden center professional for a recommendation. So far, insects have been very quiet – thankfully! No Japanese Beetles yet, no spider mites, however I did see several Cucumber Beetles at the store. They got “squished” very quickly! With too

much rain and the right temperatures finds some gardeners seeing powdery mildew. There’s been very little black spot which I have only sprayed once with copper sulphate. I have been watering deeply twice a week at home. This has to be the best spring for roses in a long time. I’ve seen extremely large blooms that were so perfect and stayed on the plants forever. The leaves were extra large and the color…. WOW!!! Rainwater, cool temperatures, and only one feeding this year so far! Will know more next year. Is this your best season yet? Which plants have been the high performers in your garden? Tell us how your rose garden grows. We look forward to hearing from you. Charles Anctil has been an active Rosarian since 1958, Kansas City Rose Society, ARS Judge Emeritus, ARS Master Consulting Rosarian. If you need help, call him at Moffet’s Nursery, St. Joseph, Mo., 816-2331223.

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An Organic Approach to Lawn Care When: Thursday, September 5, 2013 Where: University of Missouri Extension Center, 1106 W. Main Street, Blue Springs, MO Cost: $30.00/person with lunch This event is geared for home gardeners and green industry professionals including schools, colleges and parks staff. The workshop will provide information on non-synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on lawns and cultural practices which will help maintain green lawns in a non-conventional way. 9:00 am 9:10 – 10:00 10:00 – 10:10 10:10 – 12:00 12:00 – 12:30 12:30 – 1:40 1:40 – 2:00 pm

Registration Introduction to Organic Techniques for Lawn Management Break Organic Cultural Practices for Better Lawn Management Lunch Organic Products for the Lawn Questions/Discussion/Evaluation

For a list of speakers and more information, and/or to register, please contact Lala or Cindy at 816-252-5051. Class size is limited to 30 participants. Register by August 28, 2013.

For help with reseeding, call Tobin Lawn & Landscape at 816-765-5565 or Sonshine Lawn at 816-525-7111.

Earth Right products help you beat the heat. All of our soil applied products contain conditioner that helps plants wick water and stay cool. Fertilize smart in summer heat by using Sure Bloom® fertilizers. Great for gardens, turf, shrubs, trees and containers. Keep roots from burning and soil conditioned. Use Mushroom Stuff® to produce more blooms. Apply anytime and when the nights are cooler you will see new buds appear. Pond Stuff® pond clarifier is safe for wildlife. Maintain a clear water supply and relieve murky conditions. One pint treats up to 16,000 gal.

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Be sure to apply Earth Right Super Stuff® two weeks before reseeding turf or seeding new lawns for easier verticutting and two weeks prior to transplanting to make the digging easier. Earth Right helps your lawn and beds drain and helps absorb water and nutrients.

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Transplant Insurance Rhizomatous Tall Fescues (RTF) are gaining popularity in KC. RTF fescue and blue grass benefit from The Mushroom Stuff ®. An application when turf seedlings are 1/2” tall will help the roots to expand and run so your lawn will be well established quickly, before winter sets in. The Mushroom Stuff ® promotes well established roots. Apply in the fall to winterize shrubs, roses, evergreens, perrenial gardens and trees. If we get an early freeze in the fall or a late freeze in the spring, our root systems will be stronger.

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Above: buttonbush; Below: beautyberry flowers.

Above: fragrant sumac late summer; Below: arrowwood viburnum flowers.


Above: shrubby St. John’s wort; Below: beautyberry fruit.

Above: fragrant sumac fall color; Below: arrowwood viburnum fruit.

The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

Above: New Jersey tea

Summer’s Shrubs that thrive in heat

Leah Berg


arly August is an ideal time to assess easy-care attractive shrubs well-adapted to summer heat. The Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center (4750 Troost) features hardy natives worth comparing with related cultivars. It’s a great place to walk with dogs that delight in many birds and rabbits attracted to the food and shelter in this landscape. Since gardeners despair over rabbit damage in our yards, this site also provides ideas for what may hold up to them fairly well. Certain areas like the wetlands and parking lot bioswales are under renovation, but follow the sidewalk leading west along the south side. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) may still flower in August, but July is peak bloom for many planted along this south side of the building in full sun, others along shadier paths farther west. Notice at eye level (here about 4’ wide by 5-7’ tall) many beneficial insects attracted to the nectar. This may worry anyone sensitive to stings, but insects focus on the flowers not people! Buttonbush can double this size if planted in the constantly moist conditions preferred in its native habitats. However, in my yard in a drier site, it’s only about 2’ wide and 4’ tall. This species especially suits pond edges, rain gardens or poorly draining sites. August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Buttonbush also responds well to strategic pruning into a small umbrella-shaped clump tree form as seen at Powell Gardens along the Island walk. This allows underplanting with smaller shrubs or perennials. Tiny tubular white flowers cluster in distinct globes an inch in diameter. They might remind you of a dandelion gone to seed, or a satellite or pincushion. But the common name derives from the appearance of the mature seeds in fall. Dense spheres of clustered small seeds or “nutlets” resemble round brown buttons often used on jackets in earlier centuries. Try partnering buttonbush with shrubs known for reddish fall foliage color like Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) – all natives also woven through these grounds. These all bloom before buttonbush and can support a cooling design theme of white flowers. Research popular cultivars of Viburnum dentatum like Blue Muffin® aptly named for its showy clusters of persistent dark blue fruit. To ensure pollination and fruit production, plant at least one different V. dentatum variety which blooms at the same time rather than all the same named clone. See www. for more details. Ridged medium green leaves develop autumn tones of reddish to almost purple. Viburnums tend to resist deer reasonably well and also grow within root zones of black walnuts (toxic to many plants).

For sites needing shorter shrubs, a variety of fragrant sumac Rhus aromatica Gro-low® can repel browsing deer and rabbits thanks to the sharp aroma of broken stems. Each spreads nicely 5-8’ and tolerates drought once established. Growing about 1-2’ tall, use it for erosion control or for ground cover instead of wintercreeper. Don’t mistake the 3 part leaflet arrangement for poison ivy, it’s safe to handle this plant! Normally the native fragrant sumac species at 6-10’ works well for privacy screening. Small yellow flowers in spring result in cinnamon colored fuzzy fruit clusters persisting into winter if wildlife don’t eat them all. Last year I sampled iced tea brewed from sumac berries, so foragers should look for this and other sumac. Another shrub about 3’ tall and wide called New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) produces leaves brewed for tea first by native tribes, and later by European settlers as a substitute for black tea. Attractive fragrant white flower clusters stretch above the leaves in May-June. Rabbits or deer may browse New Jersey tea, so protect until established, then plants should regrow. At the Discovery Center a partly shaded bed surrounded by pavement limits its spreading habit, but on the Island at Powell Gardens it thrives it in full sun next to the pools on the west side on the top of the wall. Senior gardener Caitlin Bailey recommends New Jersey tea for reliable performance requiring little maintenance, but notes “Occasional

watering during dry spells is necessary, especially for young plants.” At home I planted recently introduced hybrid Ceanothus x pallidus Marie Bleu™ with light blue-lavender flowers where it can help fill a slope I was tired of mowing. A cross between a blue flowering California species and our native, the reddish seeds should also provide extra ornamental interest. Near the Discovery Center entry, small dainty pinkish flowers of American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) blooming July-August ultimately produce show-stopping purple berries clinging into November. Compare it with oriental Callicarpa dichotoma (smaller leaves and berries) at the nearby Kauffman Memorial Garden (4800 Rockhill Rd.). Fans of Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’ should notice newer compact Hypericum hybrids that feature extra pretty conical seed capsules following summer’s cheerful yellow flowers. Compare with the long-blooming native shrubby St. John’s wort, Hypericum prolificum at the Discovery Center. Powell Gardens also features these colorful choices for use in landscapes of all sizes. Explore ways to combine them with trees and evergreens by seeing them in mature settings like these great public gardens. 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. 15

Understand Importance of Fish Care By Bob Camarena


ne of the many issues and aspects of the pond and water gardening hobby that seems to be relatively misunderstood and often times given little attention is proper fish care, including disease, growth and nutrition. There are many reasons this happens. For many pond enthusiasts their primary interest is a well groomed, well cultivated oasis full of myriad maginal plants, beautiful tropical and hardy lilies and majestic lotus. For some their interest is more in a striking landscape statement; a huge waterfall and trickling stream meandering to a large meticulously manicured pond set with carefully chosen natural boulders, water features and decorative lighting. For many of those hobbyist, the fish that are added are of secondary concern; an asterik, another component to round out the scene. And there is certainly nothing wrong

The Japanese hand down their prized koi generation to generation and a koi can live for over two hundred years! with the fish doing just a small part by adding their color and movement to complete the larger vision of the pond owner. But it is very important that even those minor players in your pond receive the proper attention.

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For those of us whose primary interest is the fish, we understand and direct our attention to their health and vitality, whether they be goldfish; shubunkins and comets, koi of all varieties; asagi, shusui or your favorite lemon hariwake. Most hopefully understand that in order to keep them thriving and growing, intensifying in color and living a long life, proper fish nutrition is of upmost importance. Many times though, the pond owner believes that as long as the fish are in water, they will do just fine – that the pond will provide all the necessary nutrients to sustain it. Not so. The fish we purchase and keep in our ponds are not wild animals. They do not occur in nature naturally and are generations removed from their wild relatives. These are biologically engineered life forms, bred for hundreds of years from riverine animals. They

are not designed to “fend for themselves” and regardless of the type of pond we create, what we have in our backyard is an “artificial ecosystem”, an aquarium “outdoors” if you will. Even though we fill it with all sorts of plant life and other items to make it seem as natural as possible, it is a sterile, barren environment and is not designed to generate and grow nutritional food in enough quantities to allow our fish to thrive. There are many who believe otherwise; that given enough time and maturity a pond will generate enough “natural” food to sustain a population of fish. The plantlife our ponds do naturally generate are primarily algaes of various species. And for most of us those algaes are considered nusiance algaes; stringy filimentous types, cotton candy billowy types and many benthic algae growing along the side walls of our rubber liners and pots and rocks. And although a fish may nibble and graze on them, those algae do not have sufficient nutritional value to allow that fish to live and grow and display the colors and finnage it was designed to. Even the grass carp which was introduced in the U.S. in the mid sixties to control nuisance plants and algaes does not find filimentous algae palatable and it now has become a nuisance and problem in and of itself. Goldfish and Koi are omnivores and will attempt to eat anything that falls into the water. The dead leaves and twigs that fall into your ponds do not provide sufficient nutritional value to keep you fish thriving and

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One free, easy call gets your utility lines marked AND helps protect you from injury and expense. Safe Digging Is No Accident: “Always Call Before You Dig in Kansas” Call 1-800-DIG-SAFE, or 811, or visit us at

The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

growing. The occasional bugs that wander and fall into our ponds will be a welcome treat for your fishes but these will be few. The fish breeders have carefully selected and bred the ornamental pond fishes to display specific colors and patterns, fin shape and body type. If you believe your fish don’t need to be fed consider this; if that is the case, HOW did the fish breeder get that fish that you purchased from your pond dealer from fry to marketable size – by not feeding it? Besides, why would you spend your hard earned money on, say a $4.00 comet say nothing of a $45 to $100 Japanese koi and then decide to not take care of it properly? And worse, if the dealer you purchased the fish from told you it wasn’t necessary to feed or care for your investment. And koi in particular are an art and investment. No, in order for your fish to grow, remain healthy, thrive and reproduce you need to feed them a balanced diet designed to allow the fish to display the colors and patterns and all the other attributes the breeder intended. The Japanese hand down their prized koi generation to generation and a koi can live for over two hundred years! For goldfish their lifespan can reach 30 years or better. The fish that live that long do so because of meticulous, regimented feeding. No one treats their koi better than the Japanese, and most of the best foods for koi and goldfish originate from Japan. Those formulas have been refined and developed over many years of

intensive research and expermentation and with much input from the breeders themselves. They are the true experts in ornamental pond fish nutrition. The foods we feed our pond fishes are formulated to accentuate the fishes color intensity and pattern definition in addition to providing fish the proper vitamins and minerals that assure their immunity to disease and other internal problems. In a short article John Farrel Kuhns penned recently concerning fish nutrition he put it best when he wrote; “To not feed your koi and goldfish is akin to not feeding your dog because it is free to go outdoors and scrounge around your yard for anything it can find.” John is known nationally and considered an expert on fish and aquaculture and water conditioning products and formulas invented by him are used by many of you in your ponds weekly. The foods we feed are specifically formulated with the proper vitamins, minerals and proteins our fish need to maintain optimal health and growth. These formulas are designed to be used throughout the pond year based on a fish’s nutritional and physical need. Our ponds cannot provide these elements and you will reap the benefits of proper fish nutrition by having less unexplained fish loss, more vibrant and active livestock that is healthy and disease free.

Late Summer Learning at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 816-228-3766 For more information email Native Garden Stepping Stone Art August 17 • Saturday • 12:30–2 PM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (adults & families with children 5+) Native plants are wonderful, but sometimes can be less accessible than we like. Learn this fun process and take home your own stone to get started with an easy to maintain walkway through your native garden! The Wild Ones: Late Season Favorites August 20 • Tuesday • 9-11 AM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (adults) There are many species of edible wild plants that are well adapted to the dog days of summer. Let’s discover what is available in August and learn how to prepare these nutritious plants in a way that will delight even the most discerning palate.    Planted Paper August 31 • Saturday • 10-11:30 AM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (all ages) Many of our native plants are producing seed by late summer. Join us to make a recycled paper decoration with native seeds that can be enjoyed this season and planted in your garden next spring!

Hit a home run with the birds this season!

Bob Camarena owns and operates KC Pond and Water Gardening, You may reach him at 816-842-5012. ROB MORTKO—THE HOSTA GUY

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Patrick’s Picks:

Patrick Muir


t was the morning before a hot September day and her freshness screamed for attention in the midst of a tired perennial bed. We were visiting the jewel in our city known as Kauffman Gardens and here, standing before us, was the glorious yellow tall bearded iris, ‘Summer Olympics’. I wasn’t aware some irises have the genetic ability to rebloom and I had to learn more. You may have seen national magazine ads offering reblooming

bearded iris collections. But the ability to rebloom is very regional and some experts believe the key to success is selecting hybrids with proven performance in your USDA zone. The majority of iris hybridizing takes place in California (Zone 9), so most hybrid reblooming catalog claims are based solely on performance in that region. So I’ve contacted some local experts to find varieties that have been proven to rebloom in our area. To aid in the description of these fine selections, a brief lesson in iris nomenclature is appropriate. The three petals facing upwards are the standards while the three hanging down are the falls. The caterpillar-like growth on the base of a fall is known as the beard. Jim Hedgecock with Comanche Acres Iris in nearby Gower, Mo.,

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sings the praises of the sparkling white, and aptly named ‘Immortality’. He says, “I see continuous bloom from May through end of the season and it was the first hybrid introduced to the market as an ever-bloomer.” From my research, if you can make room for only one rebloomer, this should be your pick. Another selection from this grower of over 2,000 varieties on 15-acres is ‘Feed Back’. Hedgecock says, “This hybrid sports 6-8 buds of ruffled, blue-violet flowers on strong well-branched stems. This

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Double Your Summer Pleasure with Reblooming Iris

midseason spring bloomer is noted for its sweet fragrance.” Butter yellow is an apt descriptor for the color of the beautiful and wonderfully fragrant ‘Harvest of Memories’. Hedgecock says, “Both of these hybrids are very reliable rebloomers here at Comanche Acres in September and October.” A two-time president of the Greater Kansas City Iris Society, Jim Murrain has been growing irises since he was ten years old. He says “The hybrid ‘Earl of Essex’ is very different in color than most irises that can rebloom in Kansas City. It


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The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

Earl of Essex

Harvest of Memories

has a delicate tracery of orchid on the falls and a little heavier on the standards. You can expect rebloom in late September.” From the same breeder as ‘Earl of Essex’, ‘Baby Blessed’ is a standard dwarf bearded iris only reaching a height of 10”. Murrain says, “This selection is a fast grower and puts up a lot of flower stalks. It’s light yellow on the standards fading to white on the falls. This is a very reliable rebloomer in September and October.” ‘Rosalie Figge’ is a subtle interplay of violet and purple with a pretty, sweet fragrance. Murrain says, “This variety is hailed as one of the very best rebloomers in our climate. It boasts a more modern form than most rebloomers and can bloom again any time in September or early October.” Debbie Hughes with the Greater Kansas City Iris Society has been volunteering at the Cohen Iris Garden at the Overland Park

• • • • • •

Arboretum since 2007. She said “The best rebloomer of the bunch out there is ‘Love Goes On’, which has rebloomed each year since 2010.” With pink standards and lavender falls, this bi-color is only available by mail order at Cultural tips from Tracy DiSabato-Aust in the gardening classic, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques, include cutting all old stalks to the ground immediately after the first flowering. Deep, weekly watering during hot and dry weather is essential for success. Fresh new fans will appear and these are the sites of late summer and autumn flower production. Since twice as many fans are produced in a season, dividing frequently is recommended to encourage reliable rebloom. In addition to regular watering through the summer months, Hedgecock recommends an exten-

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sive fertilizing regime of three applications of 5-10-10 in March, late June and October for optimal reblooming. The only time to plant irises is in the fall. Order your fans as soon as possible. Unless otherwise noted, all varieties are available at For

more information, you can find The Reblooming Iris Society at Patrick J. Muir is a garden blogger who at provides area gardeners with the knowledge they need to succeed in their gardening efforts.


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August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Ed Campbell, III

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Pets and Plants Cat Grass: What’s the Attraction By Phil Roudebush


any domestic cats like to consume green grass but reasons for this are poorly understood. Cats are obligate carnivores and are usually less likely than dogs to eat plants or plant-related materials. Fresh green grass is one plant item to which domestic cats seem to be attracted and dogs may ingest green grass as well. Purported causes of cats eating grass range from they simply “like the taste” to a need for dietary folic acid (an essential watersoluble vitamin) or a need to stimulate vomiting as a way to purge themselves. Cat’s taste receptors respond to proteins, amino acids and other acid compounds typically found in meat so it seems unlikely they find the taste of grass intriguing. Folic acid and other

Purported causes of cats eating grass range from they simply “like the taste” to a need for dietary folic acid (an essential water-soluble vitamin) or a need to stimulate vomiting as a way to purge themselves. essential vitamins and minerals are supplemented in all commercial cat foods so it also seems unlikely cats are trying to overcome a nutritional deficiency. The purging theory is

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has been recently sprayed or treated with pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Commercial “cat grass” is sold in pet or garden stores and catalogues. Cat grass is usually barley grass (Hordeum vulgare), common oat grass (Avena sativa), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata), wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) or a mixture of these plants. The product is usually labeled as “cat grass” with the scientific name of the corresponding plant. Growing one or more of these grasses indoors for consumption by domestic cats is fine but not essential for feline health. Vomiting after grass ingestion is common, usually not harmful and should be expected in most cats and dogs. Persistent or severe vomiting after eating grass or other plants should prompt a visit or call to a veterinarian.

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the most likely candidate for the feline behavior of eating grass. Domestic cats who hunt outdoors will usually consume voles, mice and other small rodents. Prey is often swallowed whole and cats will later regurgitate or vomit the indigestible pelt. Consuming grass may be one strategy to promote this purging reflex since domestic cats will often vomit grass after its consumption. Since we cannot ask cats about their behavior, there may certainly be other reasons that cats find grass consumption so compelling. Grass consumption by cats or dogs is not harmful unless grass

Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian, specialist in small animal internal medicine and adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He is an Extension Master Gardener in Shawnee County, Kansas. He can be reached at philroudebush@

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• Water bluegrass during the hottest part of the summer with up to 1 1/2 inches per week. • Tall fescue will require 1 inch of water per week. • Let lawns go dormant and water every two to three weeks to retain soil moisture. • Fertilize zoysia for the last time this season by mid-month. • Watch for grub damage and control if needed to prevent damage. • Continue mowing as needed to maintain turf vigor. • Control unwanted zoysia or Bermuda grass. • Start planning for fall renovation and aeration. • Soil test to determine fall application needs.


• Water with 1 to 1 1/2 inches per week depending on soil and plant type. • Replenish mulch layers around plants for conservation of water and weed control. • Fertilize flowers for fall growth. • Fertilize roses for the last time this season by mid-August. • Remove faded flowers from annuals for increased fall blooming. • Divide irises and daylilies while dormant in mid-summer. • Plant hollyhocks, poppies and larkspur. • Make plans for bulb planting in fall.


• Water young trees and shrubs every seven to ten days depending on weather and soil type. • Check mulch layers and add as needed. • Prune damaged or dead limbs.

• Check plants for girdling wires from planting or staking. • Prune and shape hedges. • Spray or hand-remove bagworms. • Do not fertilize trees and shrubs to allow plants to harden off before winter.


• Water gardens and fruit plantings on a regular basis to improve yields. • Continue planting fall crops such as carrots, beets, and salad greens for fall harvest. • Transplant seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage for fall crops. • Harvest crops on a regular basis. • Prop up tree limbs heavy with fruit to prevent breakage. • Discourage birds from eating fruit by netting the trees. • Fertilize and water strawberry beds to encourage flower buds to set a bumper crop next spring.


• Fertilize to promote summer growth before light levels decrease in winter. • Water as needed • Remove dust layers from plants by washing off in the shower or wiping with damp cloth. • Pot-bound plants can be repotted into 1-inch larger pots for added root development. • Leach pots with plenty of fresh water to reduce fertilizer salts in the media. • Take root cuttings of favorite plants for friends.

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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Look for Spider Mite Damage on Vegetables and Flowers


here are many species of mites. They are different then insects and have eight legs (4 pairs) whereas insects have six legs (3 pairs). This year we have noticed significant damage to tomato, green beans, cucumber, eggplant, marigold, burning bush and roses from spider mites. The most important spider mite is two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). Two spotted mites are small and generally need a hand lens or other magnification to see them. Two spotted spider mite is a warm-season species and they start damaging the plant in warm and low humid weather conditions. They spend the winter as dormant females. They may be present around buds, under bark flaps of trees and shrubs, and they also shelter under the surface of soil debris. Generations are completed in a little as 10 days and the population peak during June-August. Two spotted spider mite pierces plant cells and feeds on the sap. Infestation first show as a very fine light speckling or as localized pale yellow spots on the upper surface of leaves. Careful examination of the undersides of affected leaves, preferable with a hand lens or magnifying glass, will reveal colonies of mites. A more generalized bronzing discoloration develops as infestation progresses. The vigor of the plants may be reduced. Sometime visible webbing is produced when populations are exceptionally high. Watering and water management are critical in controlling two spotted spider mites. Providing adequate water for plant growth needs is also neces-


Photo by University of Missouri Extension.

Lala Kumar

sary for managing spider mites. Drought and fluctuating wet/dry soil conditions can stress plants, allowing spider mite population to increase. High humidity rate can decrease feeding by two spotted mite. Thus spraying susceptible plants with a fine mist of plain water twice a day may reduce mite damage. Hosing of plants with water dislodges mites and also increases the humidity which helps in mite control.

Spider Mites on Burning Bush Spider mites are difficult to control with pesticides, and many commonly used insecticides aggravate the problem by destroying their natural enemies. Multiple applications of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap applied every seven to ten days will provide good mite control. Please read the labels before spraying and make sure that the spray covers undersides of leaves. More information can be found in MU Publication: http:// Last but not least; don’t forget to remove all plant debris in the fall to reduce the population of dormant female mites. Call the Master Gardener Hotline 816-833-TREE for more information. Lala Kumar is University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist.

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

Club Meetings Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City Sat, Aug 3, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Aug 4, 1-3pm; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. We welcome anyone wanting to grow dahlias to attend. For additional information, please contact Randy Burfeind at 913-451-3488. Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Aug 5, 6pm meeting, 6:30pm presentation; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Our speaker is Leah Berg, contributor to The Kansas City Gardener, instructor at Metropolitan Community College–Longview, where she teaches landscape design and ornamental plants. Leah will teach us about a wide selection of ornamental grasses offering practical, lower maintenance choices for landscapes as well as satisfying aesthetic principles like interesting textures and forms. Guest are always welcome. Bring your garden questions. Come join us and make a gardening friend! For additional information, contact Vince Vogel at 816-3138733 or email us at GreaterKCGOA@ Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Aug 14, noon; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Julia Hunter a Naturalist Healer from Lexington, MO, will speak on “Naturalist Healing.” We welcome visitors. Call 913-592-3546 for luncheon reservations. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, Aug 17, 9:30am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Sep 14, Hospitality and Registration at 9:30am, Business and Program at 10am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St (67th & Roe), Prairie Village, KS. Our speaker for the day will be Bob Olson, past President of the American Hosta Society and currently Editor of the Hosta Journal. Mr. Olson will be sharing his exciting experiences hunting hosta in the wild in their native Japan. The Club will fur-

nish meat, drinks and table service for a potluck following the meeting. You may bring a dish to share. There will be door prizes and plants for sale. Guests are always welcome! Info: Call Gwen 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. Idalia Butterfly Society Sat, Sep 21, Potluck Dinner at 5:30pm; Beverages and table service provided. Program 7-8pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS 66208. Caterpillars are Mother Nature’s perfect fast food and are on the menu for other insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small furry mammals. While they lack the usual defenses of biting, stinging and rapidly fleeing, they do have a large arsenal of clever strategies to avoid being eaten. Photographs taken at Long Lips Farm illustrate these tactics, including camouflage, mimicry and posturing. Speaker is Lenora Larson, a Miami County Master Gardener and member of local chapters of both the Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society. She maintains a 2 acre NABA (North American Butterfly Association) certified garden on her property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola, Kan. Guests are welcome Independence Garden Club Mon, Aug 12, 6:30pm; at the home of Martha Waits 1204 W Beverly Rd, Independence, MO. Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information call 816-3731169 or 816-796-4220. Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Aug 8, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. This presentation will delve into the modern classification of roses. Learning about the history of roses and how we now classify the beautiful blooms can help us understand and appreciate the varieties of roses we see in our own and in public gardens. Celine Porrevecchio, ARS Consulting Rosarian, will give the presentation about Modern Rose Classification. Learn the difference between a Floribunda and a Grandiflora, or just what is a ‘shrub’ rose. The meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be 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. The Consulting Rosarians will also give The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

timely tips for caring for roses. For more information about meetings, programs, or other activities, or for membership details, visit, or visit them on Facebook at Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Aug 5, 12-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Aug 20, 12:30pm; at the Bass Pro Shop, 12051 Bass Pro Dr (119th & I-35), Olathe, KS. A Master Gardener will present a program on growing cut flowers. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited. Call Joan Shriver 913-782-7205 for more information. Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Aug 11, 1:30-5pm; at Lenexa Community Bldg, AB Room, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. Speaker Alan Koch, Gold Country, Sacramento, CA, ‘Orchids, Orchid Care 101.’ Here’s a chance to learn how to grow orchids in your home from a world-recognized expert. Public is always welcome. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Aug 12, 7pm; at Colonial Church, 71st and Mission, Prairie Village, KS. Our speaker will be Lenora Larson of Long Lips Farm. She is a Master Gardener in Miami Co, and will present her program “Want Birds get Bugs”. Attracting birds to your yard using native flowers. Refreshments will be served. Visitors always welcome. Come Grow with Us. For additional information contact Judy Schuck 913-362-8480.

Events, Lectures & Classes August Sustainability Saturday Sat, Aug 3, 10am-2:30pm; at Anita B Gorman MO Dept Cons Discovery Center Urban Campus, 4750 Troost, KCMO. FREE. Rex Buchanan, KU Geological Survey speaking on aquifers, Mark Abney, NRCS and Dr David Hammer, MU Soil Health Testing Laboratory talking about the new Lab and soil health, Surplus Exchange offering an electronics pickup, mini topics on importance of using mulch in climate change gardening, electric cars, demo on making a rain barrel, vermiculture(take home a mini kit), beekeeping, rain gardens, Eco-Elvis on stage singing eco hits, numerous vendors from government, non profit, local businesses and education all concerning sustainability, recycle activities, games/activities for children, tours of Project Living Proof, seed balls August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

and self guided tour of the Discovery Center. The rain barrel will be given away after the demo in a drawing. This will be a good day for the public to come learn how sustainability can become a daily part of their lives. For more info contact: 816-759-7300. Red Wriggler Composting Sat, Aug 10, 10am-noon; at The Gardens at Unity Village, 150-B NW Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. Consider a new type of composting... let red wriggler worms do the work! Stan Slaughter will bring his worms to the farm and put them to work –eating through table scraps to produce a lovely, fertile compost. It’s an easy and compact option - even for apartment dwellers! Cost: $10.00 (Free to Gardens members) Call 816769-0259 – leave a message to make a reservation. Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society 36th Annual Show and Sale Aug 10-11; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Aug 10, 9am-5pm, show room opens at noon. Aug 11, sale and show 11am-4pm. This Show of intriguing plants is open to the public. Take advantage of this event to either supplement your present cactus/ succulent collection or to further your interest in beginning one. Indoor plants and even some winter hardy varieties will be offered in the Sales Room. Plants will be furnished by commercial vendors as well as KCCSS members. Members will be present to answer questions and, if asked, give helpful growing tips. Free Admission. Call Eva for more information 816-444-9321. Gardeners Gathering Thurs, Aug 15, 6:30pm; 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO. Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Gardeners Gathering: Ben Sharda, Kansas City Community Gardens Executive Director, presents “The Beanstalk Garden is for Grown Ups too!”. Free and open to the public. No registration required. For further information call 816-665-4456, or see the Master Gardeners website at, or our new blog at or the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Facebook page. Wine Tasting on the Terrace Thurs, Aug 15, 6-8pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $25 per person PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of event. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Welcome to the third wine tasting of 2013. Classic Cup will provide wine and snacks for this wine tasting. Registration is required. You may register by going to www.opabg. org and follow the prompts. Bring your (continued on page 24)

Nature Connects at Powell Gardens Festival of Butterflies Visitors will connect conservation, art and beauty of nature Visitors to the 17th annual Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens will reconnect with nature by exploring ways to help these magnificent creatures in the wild. The festival runs August 2-4 and August 9-11 at Kansas City’s botanical garden, just 30 miles east of Kansas City on U.S. Highway 50. During the festival the conservatory in the Visitor Education Center transforms into a tropical butterfly house where visitors encounter exotic species ranging from the world’s largest moth, the Atlas, to the magical Blue Morpho of Costa Rica. The newest collection of tropical butterflies includes intriguing species such as the Costa Rica Clearwing with see-through, glass-like wings, and a collection of Owl butterflies, which are active in the evening. Outdoor exhibits at the festival include the Native Butterfly Breezeway and displays by Master Gardeners and Monarch Watch, where visitors can learn how to tag Monarchs for research and how to plant way stations to help support their migration. The ‘Cat’ Room Local butterfly enthusiasts have teamed up to show visitors where the magic begins with a display of all sorts of caterpillars. The Cat Room is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each festival day. Fun for Kids Children’s activities include story time with “Fancy Nancy,” followed by a costume parade complete with a Chinese dragon-style caterpillar float at 11 a.m. each festival day. Throughout the festival, children also can paint a pot ($3), have their face painted ($2) or make butterfly wings ($3) and caterpillar headbands (free). Outdoors, children can catch and release butterflies, go on a caterpillar hunt and make a craft. Family Night: An Evening with the Butterflies, 7-9 p.m. August 3 This family-friendly event allows visitors to explore the “night life” at Powell Gardens. The event begins with home-made ice cream and includes a guided look at the exotic butterflies and moths in the conservatory, plus a chance to visit with nature experts stationed around the gardens to talk about the sights and sounds of the evening. Participants also will learn about the patterns of nature as they participate in a community LEGO® brick mosaic build, which will then be displayed during the rest of the Festival of Butterflies. Tickets are $15/ adult or $10 for members and $6/child or $5 for members’ children. Reserve them online at Evening Escape: Martinis, Moonlight & More, 7-10 p.m., August 10 This event for ages 21 and older is a casual night of drinks, light bites and the chance to explore the exotic butterflies and moths that come to life in the evening hours. Tickets include one drink, light appetizers, a guided tour of the butterfly conservatory and the chance to enjoy the Gardens in the beauty of twilight. Tickets are $30 or $25 for members and are available at Garden Chef Series See how culinary experts use fresh food grown in the Heartland Harvest Garden (with free samples while supplies last). Then sample what’s in season from the daily tasting station. Free with regular admission. * 2 p.m. Aug. 4: Craig Jones, owner of Savory Addicitions Gourmet Nuts and the Food Network and McCormick’s 2012 Grill Mayor * 2 p.m. Aug. 11: Chef Max Watson * 2 p.m. Aug. 18: Julie Kendall, owner/chef at Café Blackadder 23

TreeKeeper Workshops Now Enrolling for 2013!


he goal of Tree Keepers is to provide a corps of trained volunteers as a resource for local municipalities, school districts, and neighborhood associations in our region. Tree Keepers lead tree planting, pruning, and maintenance projects in our communities. It has been said that it requires five years to plant a tree: one hour to actually plant it, and the remainder of the time to ensure that it becomes properly established. Research has shown that the average street tree lives less than ten years due to the harsh conditions of the urban environment. While local municipalities are responsible for the preservation, protection and maintenance of all city trees, economic realities have limited the ability of some communities to provide adequate attention to young trees. Small and newly planted trees have the highest mortality rate and therefore need the most help; committed Tree Keepers are able to address these needs. Tree Keepers receive training in environmental awareness and basic arboricultural principles. Through twelve hours of classroom time and six hours of outdoor training, participants learn about tree identification, site suitability, proper planting techniques, after planting care and pruning. Upon completion of the course, Tree Keepers are asked to give 24 hours of volunteer time to the Heartland Tree Alliance (affiliate of Bridging the Gap) for municipal tree care projects around the Kansas City metropolitan region. In addition to classroom instruction, the Tree ID and Pruning classes have two Saturday outdoor field sessions for hands-on learning. Classes are taught by trained, certified and experienced foresters and arborists, including staff members from the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Kansas Forest Service, the Extension services of the University of Missouri and Kansas State University, local counties and municipalities and local tree care services. Missouri TreeKeeper Course $50; Begins Oct 15, 2013 6:30 PM 12405 SE Ranson Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082 TreeKeeper Missouri Schedule: Oct 15 - Tree Benefits and Identification Oct 22 - Soils and Biology Oct 26 - Tree ID (Field Day) 9:00 - 12:00 pm Oct 29 – Selection and Planting Nov 5 - Pruning Nov 9 - Planting/Pruning (Field Day) 9:00 - 12:00 pm Nov 12 - Tree Problems, Basic Tree Defects and Course Wrap-up Kansas TreeKeeper Course $50; Begins Sept 5, 2013 6:30 PM 13817 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66216 TreeKeeper Kansas Schedule Sept 5 - Tree Benefits and Identification Sept 12 - Soils and Biology Sept 14 - Tree ID (Field Day) 9:00 - 12:00 pm Sept 19 – Selection and Planting Sept 26 - Pruning Sept 28 - Planting/Pruning (Field Day) 9:00 - 12:00 pm Oct 3 - Tree Problems, Basic Tree Defects and Course Wrap-up Enroll online at click on Missouri TreeKeeper Course or Kansas TreeKeeper Course.


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

(continued from page 23)

paid receipt to the class for admission. Mark your calendar for an additional wine tasting event from various wineries that will be held on Sep 19. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-6853604. New Volunteer Orientation Sat, Aug 17, 9-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Consider spending part of your leisure time volunteering at Overland Park’s 300-acre Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This hidden jewel at 179th and Antioch is a great place for people to get back in touch with nature, admire the beauty of numerous flower and water gardens and become part of a wonderful volunteer experience. You can find out about volunteer opportunities such as gardening, greeters, prairie restoration, greenhouse operations, weddings, photography, birds, special events and plant sales. Free - only requirement is 30 hours per year of volunteer time. Register by going to and follow the prompts. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Landscape Design and Maintenance Tues/Thurs, Aug 20 – Oct 10, 2013, 5:45-8:30pm; at Metropolitan Community College – Longview campus. Learn design principles, the steps of site analysis and how to create plans with scale drawings. Many handouts supplement our textbook, and the emphasis is on information relevant to our region. This 3 credit hour class meets two nights a week and may be taken as part of the Grounds and Turf Management program or for personal interest. Fee applies based on residency; those within district over age 65 may request tuition waived. For more information contact instructor: Leah Berg 816-353-7170. Kombucha Sat, Aug 24, 10am-noon; at The Gardens at Unity Village, 150-B NW Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO. A funny name for a fantastic, healthy drink you can easily make yourself. Jane and Loran Van Benthusen will lead this class. **Starter Scoby available with reservation. Cost: $10. ($5 to Gardens members) Reservations Required. Call 816-769-0259 to get your name on the list.

Mo-Kan Daylily Society Plant Sale Sat, Aug 24, 8:30 to 1:30; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo 64112. There will be a large selection of daylilies at great prices.

September An Organic Approach to Lawn Care Thurs, Sep 5; University of Missouri Extension will host a class on organic lawn care. Lala Kumar, Horticulture Specialist, will speak on Introduction to Organic Techniques for Lawn Management; Dr. Brad Fresenburg, Turfgrass State Specialist, will speak on Organic Cultural Practices for Better Lawn Management; and Jeff Zimmerschied, President of Organic Lawn Care Services in Columbia, MO, will speak on Organic Products for the Lawn. The cost will be $30 per person which includes lunch. For more information and to register, please contact Lala or Cindy at 816-252-5051. Class size is limited to 30 participants. Please register by August 28, 2013. Home Show-Fall Edition Sep 6-8; at the Overland Park Convention Center, bringing with it ideas, inspiration, and solutions for your home this autumn. Visitors will see nearly 200 exhibits and meet the experts of home improvement. This vibrant market place will have new home products and services, decorating, remodeling, and design ideas. Show hours are Fri and Sat 10am6pm and Sun 10am-5pm. Admission is $7 at the door, $6 in advance and children 16 and under are free. Go to for more information. Flower Show Sep 5, 6 & 7; at the Olathe City Hall, 100 E Santa Fe, Olathe, KS. The Olathe Garden & Civic Club will sponsor a juried flower show. Flower designs and horticulture specimens are encouraged and welcomed. Please call Joan Shriver 913-782-7205 early if you plan to submit an arrangement. For horticultural specimens, they may be entered Thurs, Sep 5, 6-8pm and Fri Sep 6, 7:30-9am. 2013 Garden Railroad Tour: We Grow Trains in our Backyard Sep 7 & 8, The Kansas City Garden Railway Society will host our annual tour of 14 locations in the greater Kansas City area. We will be runThe Kansas City Gardener / August 2013

ning and sharing the fun of trains. Tour books can be purchased for $12 and allows the whole family to enjoy the great world of garden railroading. Fairy Gardens have become popular and we have combined trains and fairies for a unique prospective as this year’s theme. Books can be purchased at the Great Plains Train Station located at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, KS. Books are also available at other locations around town. A complete list is on our website at www. Fall Plant Sale Sep 13 & 14, 9am-5pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179 St, Overland Park, KS. FOTA members preview sale Thurs, Sep 12, 4-7pm. FOTA members receive a 10% discount throughout the sale which features native plants, including a variety of native trees in small containers; perennials, butterfly plants, ornamental grasses and a huge variety of hostas. Also available will be small Leatherwoods, the rare shrub for which the Arboretum Train Garden’s new Leatherwood Depot is named. Pruning Skills Mon, Sep 16, 6:30-8:30pm; at Raytown Middle School. Learn proper handpruning skills to improve the appear-

ance and health of woody ornamental plants like shrubs, trees, and certain perennials. Consider optimum timing, tools, and techniques and when a credentialed professional may be needed compared to what you may safely do yourself. Instructor: Leah Berg. Call Raytown Community Education to register 816-268-7037. Ozarks-style Garden Party It’s a Garden Party! And the Master Gardeners of Greene County are gearing up to host the 18th Annual Master Gardener State Conference Sep 20-22 in the Springfield, MO area. You are invited to expand your gardening knowledge, enjoy an entertaining evening presentation by Dr F Todd Lasseigne of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, and tour the beautiful Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center & Gardens and private area gardens. Reserve your spot early for the conference by registering online at http://www.missourimastergardener. org. Early bird registration for the full conference is $160 through Sep 2. The cost is $180 after that date. If you cannot attend the entire conference, a la carte registration is available. For additional information, call 417-8818909, ext 320 or email Registration will open to the public on Sep 3.

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; Apr 15 thru Jul 1, Monday 10am-1pm, Thursday 1-4pm


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


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


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

Do you belong to a group that offers gardening events? Let us help you promote your events.

August Weather Repor t

Fax: (913) 648-4728 E-Mail:

Deadline for publishing in the September issue is August 5.

Avg high temp 87° Avg low temp 69° Highest recorded temp 113° Lowest recorded temp 46° Nbr of above 70° days 31

Avg nbr of clear days 13 Avg nbr of cloudy days 8

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0 Avg rainfall 3.9” Avg nbr of rainy days 9 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases New Moon: Aug. 6 First Quarter: Aug. 14 Full Moon: Aug. 20 Last Quarter: Aug. 28 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Avg temp 78°

Clear or Cloudy

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

Highs and Lows

Plant Above Ground Crops: 11-15, 18, 19

Plant Root Crops: 22, 23, 26, 27

Control Plant Pests: 1-3, 28-30

Transplant: 14, 15, 18, 19

Plant Flowers: 11-15


Photos by Lenora Larson.

Spice Up your Garden: Invite Spicebush Swallowtails Lenora Larson


y hobby as a butterfly grandmother began in 1990 with the purchase of a butterfly field guide. Naively, I bookmarked all the Kansas residents and set vigil that first summer. Many beauties did find me, but where were the others? Further study taught me that flowers are not enough; one must plant the specific caterpillar food plant for each butterfly species. Perfect for your Shade Garden To feed its caterpillars, the Spicebush Swallowtail, (Papilio

A spectacular freshly emerged female Spicebush Swallowtail. troilus) depends on two members of the Laurel family: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) or Sassafras, the original source of root beer flavoring. I’ve failed in several attempts to transplant Sassafras trees to my garden; however, the Spicebushes have easily adapted and live up to their name. Crush a Spicebush leaf, and a faint whiff of benzene transports you back to high school

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A caterpillar lives inside each of the nine ‘leaf tacos’.

chemistry class. The dried leaves and twigs can be brewed into a lovely spicy tea. This multi-branched native shrub grows in moist forest understories, so a well-watered shade garden provides the perfect habitat. Because Spicebushes are dioecious, you’ll need at least one boy and one girl plant to produce the brilliant red berries much relished by birds. Fragrant yellow flowers forecast spring’s imminent arrival and fall foliage also glows bright yellow. Best of all, this well-behaved shrub does not sucker, invade or rampantly self-sow. If it grows too large or leggy, cut to the ground just like your Butterfly Bushes. I whack at least one of my Spicebushes each spring to ensure tender new foliage for the caterpillars. Mimicry: The Key to Survival Spicebush Swallowtails sport a 4-inch wingspan and are usually seen flying low to the ground near Spicebushes. Like many of our six species of Swallowtails, the Spicebush Swallowtails’ hindwings shimmer with iridescent blue against black. This coloration provides protection from hungry birds because it mimics the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. The caterpillar employs multiple clever defense strategies. First, the tiny caterpillar emerges from its egg looking like a little bird dropping. It laboriously crawls to the upper-side of the leaf tip which it chews to the midvein and folds into a shelter with a strip of silk. The hungry caterpillar only leaves his ‘leaf taco’ at night after birds have

Looks like a snake to me! His real eyes are on his little face tucked under the enlarged thorax with fake eyes. gone to bed. Then, when grown to 4th instar, the caterpillar dares to fearlessly flaunt its body in the open. With two giant fake eyes, it convincingly mimics a snake to frighten birds and small children. Field of Dreams “Plant it and they will come.” By planting a butterfly’s caterpillar food, such as the Spicebush, you can establish resident breeding populations in your yard. These past two mild winters have brought a resurgence of Spicebush Swallowtails to the Kansas City area, so this is an ideal time to add Spicebushes to your shade garden. And you can sip your spicebush tea while you marvel at the shimmering adults and charismatic caterpillars. 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. The Kansas City Gardener / August 2013


Professional’s Corner

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August 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Kevin (left) and Dave Anderson are Kansas City’s recycling experts. Company: Missouri Organic Recycling Owners: David, Jason, and Kevin Anderson Established: 1993 In a nutshell: We are a locally owned, family operated company with 30 employees (half of which are family). We take waste that might otherwise be landfilled, burned, or dumped illegally and turn it into quality landscape products. In the beginning: In 1991 Missouri Compost was started in response to Senate Bill 530, which banned yard waste from Missouri landfills. Missouri Compost gave businesses and homeowners a place to take green waste (brush, grass, leaves and garden waste). In 1993 Dave Anderson purchased Missouri Compost and changed the name to Missouri Organic Recycling (MOR). He began to process logs into firewood, and grass and leaves into Compost. Missouri Organic Recycling explored food waste composting in 2004, and applied for a grant from Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 2005. We launched our FRED Project (Food Residual Environmental Diversion) in 2005. Our customers include: churches, homes associations, organic gardeners, commercial landscapers, real estate management companies, municipalities, school districts, site remediation as well as regional garden programs and homeowners. Products/services offered: Landscape products include: Compost, Topsoil, Garden soil, Potting soil, Roof top soil, Rain garden soil; Mulch, Brown, Red, Black, Natural Darkwood, Premium #1, hardwood Chips, and Cedar. Services include Organic Waste recycling, Urban Lumber, Compost consulting, Industrial Grinding. Green Event waste management. What makes your business unique? Everything we do is unique! There is no other company in Kansas City, or the region for that matter, that do what we do. I believe with our commitment to the environment, customer service, and creating products out of waste we can say that we truly are a one of a kind company. Tell us about FRED: Food Residual Environmental Diversion Project is a program aimed at recycling food waste generated at grocery stores, schools, universities, cafeterias, restaurants, and food processing facilities, and turning that into our Nature Wise compost that is used in organic gardening, storm water controls, erosion controls, bioSwale mixes/Rain gardens, Rooftop and Urban Gardens, and more. To learn more, visit Recycling trends: There are new technologies focused on capturing the energy in food waste as well as making compost. Expect area venues and popular events to become more ‘green’. It’s only a matter of time when composting will be mandatory. Contact: Kevin Anderson, 7700 East US 40 Hwy, Kansas City, MO 64129; 816-483-0908; 27



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