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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

October 2013


Ask the Experts Simplifying Water Garden Maintenance Autumn and Winter Interest with Native Color Fall Lawn Fertility Makes Big Difference in Spring

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Myth #2 The Five Biggest Myths In The Water Garden Industry Today

Myth #2. You should never put rocks and gravel in your pond. This is a debate that has been on going since we built our very first pond some 23 years ago and exists still to this day. At Swan’s Water Gardens we have been promoting the use of rock and gravel in the construction of water gardens from day one. We do this for several reasons. 1) When you close your eyes and think about a waterfalls and a stream, does it have rocks and gravel in the picture or just an old ugly wrinkled black liner? Rocks and gravel are much more aesthetically pleasing to look at. Which look do you prefer? Reason #2) Rocks and gravel provide ballast for the liner during high ground water levels. True story. One of our customers was persuaded by our

competition that sells pond supplies, (but does not build ponds) that he should take all the rocks and gravel out of his pond. Following their advice he began the labor intensive process and removed all the rocks and gravel. Later that year during a rainy spell he looked out his window early one morning as he often does to look at his pond. In utter shock and disbelief he saw his fish and plants all over his backyard! What could have caused this he asked? He turned to Swan’s Water Gardens seeking answers to his questions. It was very simple what happened. His liner had bubbled up because of the hydrostatic ground water pressure, displacing hundreds of gallons of pond water. Resulting in dead fish and plants all over his

backyard. Reason #3) Structural integrity of the pond structure. We have witnessed first hand the sidewalls caving in because there were no rocks to support the structure. This is why we use large granite rocks inside the pond. Reason #4) Rocks and decorative gravel give the beneficial bacteria the substrate required for colonization so they can do their work of breaking down the sludge build up in the bottom of your pond. In our experience with yearly pond maintenance over the last 20 years we see ponds with no decorative gravel containing 2”-4” of sludge build up from fish waste and decaying material compared to 1/4”-1/2” rock and gravel lined ponds. So go ahead and make it beautiful.

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CURB APPEAL WITH THESE SIMPLE STEPS: 1. Pay attention to your lawn by keeping grass trimmed and free of sticks & leaves. 2. Prune shrubs & trees to thin them out. Remove dead or dying branches that interfere with other branches or rub against the house. 3. Bring color to your landscape with fall blooming flowers like mums & pansies in borders or containers. 4. Outdoor lighting can enhance your home. Try a new porch light or path lighting. 5. Clean gutters & downspouts by removing leaves, sticks & debris. 6. Keep Holiday decor simple by adding pumpkins, Indian corn or gourds. 7. Add a fresh coat of paint or pop of color by repainting the front door.



May vary, check online for your specific location



October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener



The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Road trip

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Erin Busenhart Cindy Gilberg Diane & Doc Gover Dennis Patton Phil Roudebush Rodney St. John Diane Swan Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

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


hhhctober! Just saying the word relaxes me. It is without a doubt one of the loveliest times of the year. Whether you are a gardener, or you garden from afar, the scenery now is marvelous. The rich colors of fall fill the landscape, encouraging our slower pace to appreciate the view. Appreciate the view was exactly what I did last month when I participated in the MS150. This event was a two-day bike ride starting and finishing in Olathe. On the first day, those of us on the 103mile route traveled as far south as Spring Hill and Hillsdale, then headed north through Edgerton, DeSoto, Basehor, turning south to Tonganoxie, Eudora, landing in Lawrence. It was quite a road trip. Had I not been limited on time I would have stopped to appreciate the native sunflowers and grasses growing easily at the side of the road. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to touch the barkless trees decaying at the edge old farmland, or walk through an abandoned structure scouring for lost memories. There’s nothing like experiencing the landscape from the seat of

a bicycle. Rural roadways through farmland and small communities, where antique farm equipment are a testimony to an earlier time in history. And the fragrance of grass that takes me back to a sweet childhood memory with my grandmother. Have you ever heard the sound of drying corn stalks in the wind? Or seen the size of the horns on a steer up close? Or tried to count bales of hay staged for transport? All of these penetrated my senses as I peddled, and filled me with a sense of gratitude and awe for this place we call home. What struck me the most were the numbers of brown wooly caterpillars crossing the road. They were everywhere, some traveling quick, others not making it across. So curious by this scene, I had to learn more.

Local expert, Lenora Larson tells me that they are Virginia or Salt Marsh Tiger Moths. “They are feeding generalists, will eat almost any low-growing plant. Then traveling to find just the right spot to pupate or hibernate for the winter.” I never thought about a caterpillar having speed and focus. It’s remarkable how a creature that small has survival skills. If you haven’t hollered to a friend “road trip” lately, why not? Whether from the seat of a bike, hiking on foot, or from the comfort of your car, get out and see the landscape. Appreciate the view. Set a course to witness this beautiful land. I promise, you will return inspired and filled with gratitude. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue October 2013 • Vol. 18 No. 10 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Gardeners’ Gathering .............. 8 Lilypalooza ............................. 9 Growing the Good Life ............ 10 Autumn at the Arboretum .......... 12 The Bird Brain ......................... 13 ChrysantheMUMS ................... 14 Water Garden Maintenance ..... 16 GrowNative: Native Color ........ 18

about the cover ...

Pets & Plants ............................ 20 Garden Calendar .................... 21 Upcoming Events ..................... 22 Rose Report ............................ 24 Hotlines ................................. 25 Weather ................................. 25 Fall Lawn Fertility ..................... 26 Professional’s Corner ................ 27 Subscribe ................................ 27

Chrysanthemums are the ever popular fall plant used to brighten landscapes, patio gathering places and the entryways of homes. Learn more starting on page 14.



The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

Scarecrows, Antique Tractors, Harvest Celebration & Spooky Nights Bring the family for fall fun at Powell Gardens


all celebrations at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, begin the first weekend in October when antique tractors rumble in for the annual Harvest Celebration, which includes a scarecrow display, an art gourd exhibit, a wine tasting, a children’s pedal tractor pull, pumpkin painting and more. The fun continues with Halloween Spooktacular and the Jack-O-Lantern Walk later in the month. General admission applies unless otherwise noted: $10/adults, $9/seniors and $4/children 5-12.

traditional event fills up fast and reservations are mandatory, so call 816-697-2600 x209 or see www. well in advance for pricing and times. Jack-O-Lantern Walk 6:30-9 p.m. Oct. 20 Take a spooky self-guided tour through Powell Gardens by the light of numerous creatively carved Jack O’ Lanterns and luminaries and enjoy free refreshments (while supplies last) in the Missouri Barn. Halloween Spooktacular is a Powell Gardens traditional event that fills up fast and reservations are mandatory, so sign up well in advance. son with demos by cookbook author Beth Bader and Carey Weir, owner/ chef of Salt Catering. Festival pricing applies on Saturday and Sunday: $10/adults, $9/seniors and $5/children 5-12. Three-day passes are available for $15 per person and may be purchased at the gate.

A kids’ pedal tractor pull adds to the fun at the Harvest Celebration & Antique Tractor Show on Oct. 5-6. Harvest Celebration & Antique Tractor, Engine & Equipment Show 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4, Preview Day 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 5-6, Festival Days This fall festival offers a slice of vintage Americana with an array of antique tractors, engines and other farm equipment, hayrides, tractor parades, a children’s pedal pull and barrel train rides. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, visitors can take part in a Missouri Wine Tasting in the Heartland Harvest Garden vineyard (sampling fee applies). On Sunday, Oct. 6, the Garden Chef Series concludes for the sea-

Scarecrows in the Garden 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1-31 View the results of Powell Gardens’ annual Scarecrow Contest and vote for your favorite icon of autumn throughout the month of October. Show Me State Gourd Society Display 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5-6 Admire a variety of carved and painted gourds and chat with some of the artists who created them at this Harvest Celebration display inside the Visitor Education Center. There also will be a table showing the step-by-step creation process. Halloween Spooktacular Tours starting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18-19 Grab your costume and some comfortable walking shoes for a family-friendly night. Enjoy a guided tour through a land of fairytale fun filled with new skits

October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers tolerant. Cut back each spring to remove the winter growth. Divide as needed to control clump size. Outside of that, enjoy this nice addition to the garden.

Dennis Patton BORDER PLANT Question: I keep seeing a plant used as a border or edging plant. It appears to be some type of variegated foliage Liriope. I have seen it used in some of the Extension Master Gardener demonstration gardens. Tell me about this plant. Answer: The plant you are referring to is Variegated Lilyturf or Liriope muscari ‘Variegata.’ This is a great 12–15 inch tall perennial. It has grass like foliage with varying shades of yellow-green contrasting with white. The plant will develop a spike purple bloom late in the summer. Unlike its unruly spreading ground cover cousin the green Liriope, Liriope spicata, this one is a very slow growing clumping plant. It works great in creating an edge or border in a garden. We have used it to line a walk as it helps create the repetitive look important to landscaping. Care is fairly simple, water as needed during the summer although it is somewhat drought

MAPLE EXPOSED WOOD Question: I have a red maple tree which is about 10 years old. The top looks pretty good and the amount of new growth is fair. But here is the problem. The trunk has a long crack in which I can see exposed wood. This summer I even noticed a few white growths in this area. What can I do to help this tree recover? Answer: Well sometimes in life we deliver a message all sugarcoated and other times we just have to speak up and say, just rip the Band-Aid off. I think in this case it is best just ripped off and not get all flowery. The solution to your issue is to remove the tree and replace it! The injury you described is typical for a red maple. The long crack is due to the fact that red maples have very thin bark which is susceptible to all kinds of injury and the most common is winter injury. If this tree is left, at some point in time it will most likely snap off in a storm because the tree lacks the internal structure to support the weight. It is better to cut your

Liriope muscari (left) and L. spicata (right) make terrific border and edging plants, and are easy to care for. losses now instead of later when the tree is larger and could cause property damage. One last comment, DO NOT plant another red maple or red-silver maple cross. These trees are all thin-barked and weak-wooded which makes them poor choices for the landscape. They are over planted which at some point will lead to other problems yet to be discovered. If you need help selecting a good quality replacement tree contact your local Extension office. Don’t ask your friend or neighbor as they will probably recommend what everyone else is planting, the awful red maple. I would even question the garden center as they are some-

times out for a quick sale instead of working hard to find a good and the proper tree for your location. Okay, one more last thought, there is no such thing as the perfect tree. MUSHROOMS IN LAWN Question: After the summer rains my lawn was full of mushrooms. What can I do to get rid of them in the lawn? Answer: Mushrooms are common after periods of rain when we have warm temperatures and moist soils. The vast majority of these mushrooms or toadstools are harmless. In the big picture they are beneficial as they usually feed on decaying organic matter such as a

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The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

dead root or buried wood. The bad news is there are absolutely no controls. Traditional fungicides do not work which pretty much leaves you with breaking them off and picking them up. The best advice might be just live with them for the short period of time they are around. The good news, they will cause no harm to your trees, lawn or soil, they just look funny. Some people do have concerns about pets consuming and the fact that they could be poisonous. If this is a concern then pick up, bag and discard. combined to provide the right conditions for its development. Downy mildew was confirmed in a number of plantings around the city. So your “now what” question is a good one. The most common recommendation is not to plant impatiens in the landscape because of Downy Mildew. Here is another thought, how often do we have that type of weather during the middle of the growing season. If you want to grow impatiens here are some tips: 1, increase the spacing between the plants. This helps increase air flow and helps the plants dry out

IMPATIENS WITH DOWNY MILDEW Question: This spring I heard about the new disease on impatiens called Downy Mildew. At that time it had not come to Kansas City. Now I hear that it has been confirmed around here. What can I do now? I enjoy planting impatiens and I am concerned about planting in the future. Answer: Your information is correct. In the spring this problem was prevalent in the South but had not made its way to KC. Unfortunately the nice cool, rainy period in late July and early August

quickly after rainy periods which will reduce the humidity in the canopy. 2, decrease fertilization as lush growing plants are more likely to be hit. Of course fertilize enough to produce nice plants. 3, decrease the total number of plants in the landscape. Instead of using impatiens as the backbone of a planting use another annual and then just spot in a few impatiens here and there. If they thrive great, if not they will be easier to replace with another plant to complete the design. I honestly think time will tell after a few more growing seasons whether this problem will erase this popular shade loving annual from our planting palette. REPAIR RUTS IN LAWN Question: I had some concrete work done in my backyard and now I have ruts from the Bobcat that was used to rip out the old material. What can I do to help reduce these ruts and smooth out the lawn? Answer: The best surefire way is to completely renovate the lawn in this area. That would involve removing the current sod layer and then tilling up the soil, leveling


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October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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and replanting or sodding. I am going to guess you were looking for something less extreme. If that’s the case then I do not have a silver bullet but a couple of suggestions. One is to core aerate on a regular basis. This will not remove the ruts but will be help reduce the compaction to heal the lawn and provide a cosmetic improvement. Two is to apply thin applications of good quality top soil. The top soil should be applied at the rate of no more than a 1/4 of an inch. You do not want to cover the crowns of the plants but provide soil that will wash down into the low spots. You should be able to apply the light layer of soil once in the spring and again in the fall. After a few years this helps reduce the ruts. Lastly, given time, and freezing and thawing of the soil ruts, not that deep, will naturally work their way out of the soil.

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Gardeners’ Gathering October 17


Sustainably Designed Food Growing: Permaculture in Four Dimensions

rban agriculture has been gaining in popularity due to the desire for fresh and healthy food, for personal food security, and as a means of building the local community. But many gardeners think their yard is limited in food-growing potential because it’s too shady, or too sloping, or it has low fertility. But think again! A landscape design using permaculture principles can make it possible to grow food on practically any site. Permaculture is not a discipline itself, but rather a design science that utilizes ideas from many disciplines including soil science, hydrology, botany, agroforestry, and landscape architecture. By combining these disciplines, permaculture designers have transformed landscapes as diverse as the desert in Jordan (now a green space), and

the Loess Plateau in China (now hydrated and re-forested). On the scale of your own front or back yard, by using permaculture design, you can grow many perennial shade-loving crops: tree crops, root crops, herbs and berries, with annual vegetables interspersed. Michael Almon has been using his design training to develop Forest Floor Permaculture, a nutand fruit-centered forest garden, established in 1980 on one-half acre in Lawrence, Kan. Speaking at the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Gardeners’ Gathering on October 17, Almon will explain the theory and effectiveness of permaculture, how it mimics natural ecosystems with an emphasis on food bearing plants, and how it works not just at the soil surface, but in vertical layers, and also over a period of time. Furthermore,

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Michael Almon he will describe the basics of doing a site assessment and external influences analysis, designing earth works and water catchments, selecting woody and herbaceous species, all at help you map your personal garden design. In the permaculture garden of perennial food crops, you won’t have to till every year – much of your weed-

ing is eliminated by groundcovers; your shade trees and shrubs will bear food; and irrigation needs will be reduced. And you might end up retiring your lawn mower! Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City as Michael Almon, Sustainability Action Network and Kansas Permaculture Collaborative present “Sustainably Designed Food Growing: Permaculture in Four Dimensions”, Thursday, October 17, 2013, 6:30 p.m. at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. Free and open to the public. Door prizes. No registration required. For further information call 816-665-4456, or see the Master Gardeners’ website at www.mggkc. org, our new blog at mggkcblog., or the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Facebook page.

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816-842-5012 • • 1557 Swift Ave., NKC, MO The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

4th Annual Lilypalooza

‘Lilies: There is Always Room for One More.’


he “Lily Lady” is planning to come to Kansas City to give a program and take part in Gardeners Connect’s fourth annual Lilypalooza bulb sale and lecture. Barbara Sautner had a recurring role on the TV show “Rebecca’s Garden” as a lily expert known as the “Lily Lady.” On Oct. 26, she plans to share her lily expertise with Kansas City gardeners and give a program titled “Lilies: There is Always Room for One More.” Doors open at 10 a.m. The program starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Rose Room at the Garden Center in Loose Park, 51st Street and Wornall. Stop by to catch the program, get questions answered by an expert in growing lilies and shop for freshly dug, exhibition-size lily bulbs. As in years past, you can order lily bulbs and prepay online at You may also look at and choose bulbs online and mail a check made out to Gardeners Connect for your lilies c/o Brian Chadwick-Robinson; 6911 Blair Road; Parkville, MO 64152. We need the check by at least Oct. 16 so we can package your order for you. Either way, you must pick up your bulbs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Loose Park Garden Center, 51st Street and Wornall. Online orders ensure you get the bulbs you want before we run out. Barbara lives in Bloomington, Minn., where with her husband, John, she operates Hartle-Gilman

“Lily Lady”, Barbara Sautner, will share her lily expertise with Kansas City gardeners. Gardens, a lily nursery with a long history and beautiful lilies. Several Hartle-Gilman lilies will be offered in the Lilypalooza lily bulb sale. Before taking over operations at Hartle-Gilman, Barbara ran Summer Chase Gardens, which started as an outgrowth of her interest in irises. Summer Chase Gardens’ inventory expanded to include perennials and that led to a specialty in lilies. Barbara moved to Bloomington from southeast Kansas in 1973. Back then, gardening was only a blip on her radar. Much has changed over the past 40 years. Now Barbara is known nationally for her expertise in growing Siberian iris and lilies. She is active in the North Star Lily

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his wife has moved to a nursing home. The workload has shifted to the Barbara and John. In addition to Hartle-Gilman hybrids, Barbara and John offer other lilies and have begun their own hybridizing. In addition to running HartleGilman Gardens, Barbara tends her own garden. Her garden is on a city lot and there are so many things planted that it has no grass. Her garden is laid out in garden rooms for sun loving to deep shade plants in the design of a cottage garden. Some of the features are several unique sun and shade seating areas, a pergola, a gazebo and accent beds. Featured plants include more than a thousand lily cultivars, more than 500 varieties of each iris, daylilies and hostas in addition to other perennials.

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Society and the North American Lily Society. She also has been an officer in the Iris Society of Minnesota, Daylily Society of Minnesota, American Iris Society and Society for Siberian Irises. Hartle-Gilman Gardens’ storied history began in the 1950s with the hybridizing work of Herb Hartle. His son, Dean Hartle, helped his dad and eventually took over the operation. In 1979, Bob Gilman, a dentist and lily enthusiast who went by “Doc” became a partner with Dean and his wife, Marsha. Around 2000, Barbara became acquainted with Hartle-Gilman Gardens through working with the North Star Lily Society’s bulb sales. They became friends, and Barbara and her husband began helping out. In 2009, they became partners in Hartle-Gilman. Doc Gilman died in 2012. Dean Hartle’s involvement in the nursery has shrunk, and

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Simple Approach to Growing the Good Life Well, my life gets in the way of replicating anything close to that level, BUT I can take away some elements from the magnificent to bring into my own yard. So I’ll be trying out these ideas:

Erin Busenhart


ecently I toured two of the most amazing landscapes I’ve ever seen – the kind of place that makes you feel like you just stepped into a magazine. I walked around oohing and aahing over what must be some kind of out-of-this-world landscaping prowess – spectacular plants, the insane lack of any weeds and perfectly edged and mulched beds. Pictured here are just a couple of inspiring images from that tour. How’s the mere mortal gardener supposed to compete with that?

Multiple Seating Areas Both yards had expertly laid stone patios on multiple levels. But, although the stonework was impressive, what actually beckoned me in for a margarita were the cozy seating areas. A table for dining, yes, but also just an informal collection of chairs with a fire pit, or a bench with a couple outdoor pillows. Lots of lanterns, outdoor rugs and luminaria rounded out the fab look. Tropical WOW Both homes mingled exotic tropicals into the perennial elements of the landscape. A big-leaved banana shooting up out of a bed of peren-

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nial Plumbago, a giant Macho Fern leading into a bed of Hosta or a giant Selloum Philodendron sunk into a garden bed. Adding tropicals to the landscape adds texture, color and extra-special interest that set your yard apart. Want to try and keep them around for next season? Leave plants in pots and sink in the ground and either keep dormant in a garage or bring inside as a houseplant depending on the plant. All the Way Around We usually think to landscape our front yard, maybe our back, but what I noticed about these yards is that they led you around with gardens throughout. They planted their yard…not an “area”. Arbors welcomed from the side yard and paths wrapped around full circle. Mary even landscaped her creek! Containers in the Landscape Pots aren’t just for the front door! Large containers are a great

way to add architecture into the landscape. Just make sure that your arrangement is substantial enough to make an impact. If you have a smaller container you want to use, pair it with a larger one to make a statement. To keep large containers steady in the landscape, level a large paver stone first to set the pot on and then cover the paver with mulch. 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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The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

Tips from e d the Boni d... he potting s

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ďŹ nd a October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener


Autumn at the Arboretum nature crafts with kids, night walk and flying brooms


he Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will be a busy place in October this year, with special events nearly every week! Unless otherwise mentioned, events listed below are free upon admission to the Arboretum, which is $3 for adults, and $1 for children ages 6-12. Friends of the Arboretum (FOTA) members and children under the age of 6 are admitted free of charge. October kicks off with a new twist on a children’s event at the Arboretum – Nature Crafts for Kids, to be held Sunday, October 6, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Children’s Garden. In addition to a dozen different craft projects, including the ever-popular hedge apple heads and frog pond monsters, kids 2-12 can enjoy face painting and audience-participation puppet shows. With the shorter autumn days come longer autumn nights . . . and

a rare opportunity to experience the Arboretum in the dark! The first-ever Night at the Arboretum will be held Friday, October 11 from 8 to 10 p.m. Visitors can learn about nocturnal creatures by participating in guided walks led by naturalists, which will depart from the Visitor’s Center at 8:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. Also, members of the Kansas City Astronomy Club will offer telescope viewing of the night skies from Serenity Point and the Children’s Hill. This event will occur rain or shine, with presentations in the Visitors Center in case of rain. Guests should plan to bring their own flashlights. The Flying Brooms exhibit will begin on October 15 and run through Halloween. Assembled by various local organizations and displayed throughout the Gardens, the Flying Brooms are not intended to scare anyone, just to generate creative inspiration.

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Holiday Tablescapes is designed to give you ideas for your holiday entertaining. Brenda Freebern of Picture Perfect Interiors in Overland Park will demonstrate how to make your party or dinner decorations something special. Demonstrations will be held on October 17 and 19, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Visitors Center. Brenda has designed tables for charity events such as DIFFA, Tables That Bloom, and Harvesters Ball. Register online for this event at The fee is $5 per person (plus admission for non-members of Friends of the Arboretum). More ideas for the holidays can be yours at Dips, Dunks, and

Spreads on November 16 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Visitors Center. Donna Cook of Rabbit Creek Foods will demonstrate how to enhance appetizers, create spreads for entrees and how to top off a good dessert. Tasting will be included. Register online for this event at The fee is $5 per person (plus admission for non-members of FOTA). Even if you can’t attend one of these special fall events, plan to visit the Arboretum sometime this season. The trees and gardens are beautiful and the walking trails are magnificent! To learn more about these and other Arboretum events, visit

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The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

The Bird Brain

Preparing Backyard Bird Habitats for Fall and Winter Doc & Diane Gover Clean Out Old Nest Boxes Nesting boxes and bird houses should be cleared of old nesting debris. Cleaning out old nests from houses can help reduce the possibility of parasitic bugs surviving the winter. It also allows the birds the opportunity to roost (sleep) in a clean house during inclement weather.

Water’s Edge

Roosting Spots Place roosting boxes and roosting pockets out for owls, woodpeckers, flickers, bluebirds, Carolina wrens and other birds that may overwinter in the Kansas City area. You might not see any activity right away, but knowing their options is key. Similar to the vacancy sign at a motor lodge, it’s an indication to birds that you have space available at the inn.

from becoming crooked or loose in bad weather. Poles and screws can be oiled to make them easier to unscrew if necessary. Make sure that feeders are hung so they are easy to fill. Following these simple steps and providing foods that are fresh, high fat and high protein will allow you to sit back, relax and watch your healthy birds. If you have any questions, just stop by the store, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you.

Prepare Birdbaths Birds do need a source of liquid water in the winter. We encourage you to provide an open source of water for your birds. As we all know, the weather in Kansas City can turn cold and the water in birdbaths will freeze solid. Just place a heater in an existing birdbath or offer water in a heated birdbath so your birds can drink and bathe. Clean Feeders It is important that feeders be cleaned on a regular basis. Feeders should be cleaned with a warm water/vinegar (50/50 ratio) solution. Cleaning the area around feeders is important because it can help eliminate the buildup of seed. It really helps keep the mess down for birds that are feeding on the ground. Hardware Maintenance Now is an ideal time to check the mounting hardware that holds the feeders for stability and function. If poles are scratched, they can be painted with rust proof spray enamel such as Rustoleum

or replaced before the cold wet weather sets in. If there are any screws on the mounting hardware be sure they are tightened. This can help keep poles

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The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

Photos left and right courtesy of Powell Gardens.

Photos left and right courtesy of Powell Gardens.

Middle photo courtesy of Powell Gardens.

ChrysantheMUMS! Leah Berg


irst impressions form so fast, who really knows why one instantly finds ‘Jackie’ more attractive than ‘Andrea’? I’m talking about MUMS often labeled with women’s names, not a new office romance or online dating profile … although sometimes impulse shopping for mums works a bit like the speed dating concept! Walk by tables of gorgeous container-grown mums at local garden centers feeling instant attraction to certain varieties. Golden-yellow or cinnamon-red colors may appeal just as some people are partial to blondes or redheads. Carefully groomed to attract, even if you had no intention of buying mums, it’s easy to picture how these manicured “girls” in simple pots will brighten front steps at home. The autumn tones remind us of favorite fall tree foliage, and pink to purple shades provide welcome contrast to rather boring building colors or evergreen backdrops. People who love daisies may prefer related white hybrid mums. Since perennial daisies bloom earlier in summer, simply cut back their wilting foliage to the base. Then nestle pots of white mums just in front of the area.

Though often treated as annuals and discarded at season’s end, mums may prove perennial if planted early enough to establish roots before freezing weather. In our region, planting by early October ensures more success than waiting until after Halloween. These potted beauties were pampered in greenhouses with the equivalent of spa treatments: proper fertilizer diets and the “pinching” technique to force heavy flower production and create the classic rounded plant form. Grown in light, fast-draining soil-less potting mix, they need faithful watering at home, especially if left in containers. Though they prefer well-draining soil, they certainly dislike drying out too much. If disappointed with the appearance of those planted in the ground that return back next year but sprawl and seem to flower less, remember they respond to the right attention (just like most women). Prepare a wide planting bed by incorporating compost into existing garden soil. Sunny sites ensure better blooms than partly shaded. DO NOT cut back stems and foliage until spring. They do not need to be “cleaned up” after hard freezes. The dead leaves and stems help protect the crown and roots. Several inches of loose ordinary straw, pine straw or shredded bark mulch help insulate them from drying winter winds. Instead, give them regular “haircuts” from May through midJuly. Trimming the tips promotes lateral (side) stem development and

October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

greater flower bud production on more compact plants. Read more about optimum maintenance in The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabao-Aust (Timber Press). This Ohio-based landscape expert discusses options like shearing once by half to 2/3 the height in midJune, or creating a staggered period of bloom in layers by shearing a section again later in July. For flower shows and arranging in vases, a different strategy involves patiently removing lateral buds to promote larger single flowers on terminal stem ends. Apply fertilizer to existing beds in spring and again in early summer since mums are heavy feeders, like tomatoes. Supplement with water when rain is inadequate. And like daylilies, division every few years reinvigorates most fast-growing perennial clumps. Dig some to share with friends or expand to other locations. Since they won’t bloom til early fall, pair with shrubs or spring and summer-blooming perennials, or combine with annuals strategically based on available space. Daisy-like Chrysanthemum x morifolium are favorites at Powell Gardens, especially a reseeding variety in shades from apricot to cream named ‘Jackie’s Mum’ in honor of volunteer Jackie Goetz who donated the original plants years ago. Another favorite here is hybrid ‘Hillside Sheffield Pink’. These serve as important companion plants in the vineyards and other areas providing valuable nec-

tar into late fall for butterflies and many other beneficial insects. Classic masses of mums create interesting geometric color patterns where bigger budgets permit, but even tight budgets may indulge in a few selections to combine with cool-season pansies and kale. Try them with unique gourds and squash like blue ‘Hubbard’ as well as standard Halloween pumpkins. Give a woman whose name happens to match one of the current variety names a fun unexpected gift. They travel well to cheer up hospital rooms or nursing home residences with bows or inexpensive baskets to conceal the basic black plastic pots. Container mums make good table centerpieces for special occasions indoors and outdoors, and nicely outline welcoming aisles or sidewalks for fall weddings or festivals. Use edible flower ray petals as pretty accents on salads (avoid the more bitter ends attaching petals to the flower’s center). Add some pansies and colorful kale readily available in fall. Try individual cut flowers placed with foliage accents on plates or napkins. Treat yourself to a little instant gratification, even if you only have room for one. Also, make time to see mums displayed in 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

Simplifying Water Garden Maintenance It’s easy when you understand the needs of your unique pond

Diane Swan


hrough the years I’ve noticed that many pond owners turn water garden maintenance into a complicated, hard-to-do scary process. Some of this is due to misinformation, no proper training, simply not knowing what to do, or dealing with badly installed filtration systems. Regardless, any water garden is manageable if you fully understand the all the workings of your water garden and the elements of your pond’s ecosystem.

Every pond is unique. You need to understand and learn the needs of your pond. Just because something or certain amounts of products works for your neighbor or friend’s pond, does not mean those exact amounts will work for your pond. Even manufacturers and retailers can only give you recommendations and guidelines to follow. Your job is to experiment with how much your pond actually needs to stay crystal clear and to keep algae to a minimum. It’s possible you may need more natural products like Beneficial Bacteria, Barley Straw products or Pond Balance when Spring arrives to jump start your ecosystem and more in the Fall months when the leaves start to drop. Sometimes in the Summer

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you can use a little less when the ponds are at their prime but then sometimes the heat of the sun will create more algae. The key is to not stop putting anything in the pond because it looks great. You might lessen your amounts, but if you stop you can set yourself up to an algae bloom later on. Renewing your pond products monthly keep your levels up in your pond.

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To know approximately how much of a product to use, you need know the formula for calculating the water volume of your pond. The standard formula is L x W x Avg. Depth x 7.5 = gal. of water. Use this as your guideline and proceed from there. Your pond, fish, and plants need plenty of oxygen. A rushing waterfall and stream will create some oxygen. Spitters and fountains that spray in the air will give mostly surface oxygen. The best way to add more oxygen to the pond is to use an aerator. Aerators have an airstone that sits in the deepest part of the pond and creates columns of oxygen bubbling to the surface. The unit itself sits outside on the edge of the pond high enough so it never sits in water and is semiprotected. Most aerators will withstand the elements of weather such as rain, heat and snow. The additional advantage of an aerator is not only that it adds oxygen to the bottom layers of the pond where the beneficial bacteria grows but also will leave an airhole in the ice during the winter months, thus doing double-duty. A pond with a good filtration system will naturally be less maintenance than, for instance, a pond with the pump in the bottom of the pond. When the pump is simply set in the bottom of the pond, you can help yourself by adding products and introducing oxygen to the bottom of the pond. These two things will help get rid of a lot of the debris that is around the pump that clogs it up. Leaf nets in the Fall help tremendously to cut down on the amount of leaves getting into your pond regardless of the type of filtration system you have. Use them

during the heavy droppage. When most of the leaves are gone, you can remove it. Aquatic plants add beauty and texture to your pond. They provide shading and help to steal nutrients away from the algae. You would normally divide plants in the Spring and then simply deadhead during the season. In the late Fall it’s time to trim off all leaves. This helps to cut down on debris in the pond. Aquatic plants require very little maintenance as you do not weed them or water them! Pond pump filters are cleaned in the Spring, rinsed out in the Fall and then only cleaned during the season if you see your waterfalls slowing down. Beneficial bacteria grows in the filters and you don’t want to rinse them out any more than absolutely necessary. Top off your pond 1-2”, due to evaporation, once a week. By doing so you will rarely ever have to add de-chlorinator. Remember new water adds nutrients the same as rain storms. In the Winter enjoy your Winter Wonderland created with ice sculptures. Watch ice buildup and make sure you have an airhole in the ice. If the ice creates an ice dam, unplug the pump until it thaws out and then simply plug back in. You may have to add water due to evaporation. All and all, pond maintenance does not have to consume your time and energy. Once you’ve gained an understanding of your unique pond, it should only take a little time each month. Then you can spend the rest of your time simply enjoying your water garden. Kevin and Diane Swan own Swan’s Water Gardens, a full service water garden center. You may contact them at 913-592-2143.

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Cindy Gilberg


ost gardeners think of autumn and winter as down time. The only thing that’s down are the leaves, allowing the opportunity to view the more subtle beauty of the garden. Look outside your window. What do you see? Perhaps a better question would be what don’t you see? Yes, gone are the colorful flowers of spring and summer. Is color missing from your winter garden? Get to know some of our native shrubs and trees that have bountiful

crops of berries in the fall and winter months. Consult for nurseries and retailers who carry native shrubs and trees. Adding these into your landscape will provide the sparks your garden may need in this season. These native plants produce autumn crops of berries with the sole purpose of attracting birds and small mammals. Animals depend on this late fall and winter source of food and the plants depend on the animals for seed dispersal—it’s a win-win situation. Because of this relationship, the berries are noticeable and colorful. Additional color and animation will be introduced into the garden in the form of Missouri’s many winter songbirds that forage for these small fruits. Perhaps the best known is winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata). Many horticultural cultivars offer plants that are smaller than the

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straight species and more appropriate for the average small landscape. Some of these include ‘Red Sprite’ (a dwarf form),‘Winter Red’, and ‘Winter Gold’. The native winterberry is spectacular, sporting many brilliant, red clusters of berries on its branches from late fall through the winter months. It forms a dense shrub and tolerates a wide variety of soil types including clay. Deciduous holly (Ilex decidua), a close relative of winterberry, is a multi-trunk, small tree that grows to a height of 10–15 feet. This is the more commonly encountered species in Missouri. Its abundant bright red berries tend to last throughout winter, especially when a winter resident mocking bird lives nearby to selfishly ward off all other birds. In appearance and culture, possum haw is very similar to winterberry. The third species of holly is American holly (Ilex opaca). Wild populations are rare and at times, American holly is as rare to find in nurseries. The red berries are set against evergreen leaves mak-

ing it doubly attractive and quite desirable in the winter landscape. Many horticultural varieties of this species exist and its branches are a common and welcome sight during the winter season. All hollies (Ilex) tend to be dioecious, in other words the plants are either predominantly male or female. To ensure an abundant crop of fruit, locate a male plant in close proximity to the female plants. The various species are similar in their cultural requirements—they prefer an average to moist location and are tolerant of light to partial shade locations. Hawthorns (Crataegus) are members of the rose family (Rosaceae) and are represented in Missouri with up to fifty naturally occurring species. The downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) is the official state flower of Missouri. All hawthorns have clusters of white rose-like flowers in mid-spring and can be quite showy. Like their cousins, the roses, all have thorns so use caution if you are in the pruning mood. It is in the fall and

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Top Ten Shrubs and Small Trees for Fall and Winter Berries Spicebush

Green hawthorn

winter months that these small (to twenty feet) tough trees show off with bright orange or red berries. These fruits, not tasty when eaten raw, do make excellent jam or jelly if the birds don’t beat you to them. Native populations of hawthorns are typically found in open woodlands (light to partial shade) and are tolerant of average, dry soil. One of the hawthorns however, the green hawthorn (C. viridis), occurs naturally in low, wet areas and so grows happily in moist or clay soils. Most gardeners associate the name Euonymous with the evergreen ground cover that has lost popularity and become a nuisance in recent years. Yet Euonymous atropurpureus, known as wahoo, is not only fun to say but also an intriguing plant in the garden. In early fall, pink capsules appear, suspended on long stems like dangling earrings. After the first frost, these capsules pop open to reveal the scarlet fruit. Wahoo will sprout from the roots and produces a multi-trunk shrublike form. This thick suckering habit makes it useful as a hedge in light shade. Growing naturally on wooded slopes and along streams, it is at home in the shade garden in both dry and moist soils. The aptly named beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) bears lustrous, purple berries from October through December. This 5’ shrub seems to be quite happy growing in

light shade as well as full sun, making it a versatile choice for the landscape. Since we are at the northern reaches of its hardiness, some winters are harsh enough to cause some die back, much like butterfly bush and crepe myrtle. Simply wait until early spring to remove any dead stems. Beautyberry has large leaves, offering a pleasant backdrop to many of the finer textured perennials such as aromatic aster, sedges, prairie dropseed grass or even woodland ferns. Flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) are generally a woodland favorite for their large white flowers in spring but are equally valuable for their bright red berries in late fall and throughout winter. Winter resident birds tend to wait until mid to late winter to begin eating the fruits of this dogwood species. The fruit attains its full color in October, coinciding with the dogwood’s beautiful red leaves. So next time you meditate over a cup of coffee and gaze at your garden, imagine some of these native plants embellishing the winter scene. Imagine also the abundance of birds outside your window, enjoying a profusion of natural foods. Cindy Gilberg is a horticulturist, landscape designer, and a professional member of Grow Native!, a program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

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

Regular applications of Earth Right Super Stuff ® conditions soil and increases drainage. Be sure to apply Super Stuff® two weeks before reseeding or seeding new lawns. Use 2 weeks prior to transplanting & digging will be easier. Earth Right Super Stuff® improves drainage and loosens soil so the roots can grow deeper. PROMOTE WATER & NUTRIENT ABSORPTION AND ROOT GROWTH WITH EARTH RIGHT PRODUCTS RTF fescue & blue grass benefit from The Mushroom Stuff®. Apply when turf seedlings are 1/2” tall to help expand & run the roots. It will help your lawn establish before winter weather sets in. The Mushroom Stuff ® will improve over-wintering roots for perennial gardens evergreens, shrubs & trees, including roses. By applying this in Oct you strengthen your plants. If we get an early freeze in fall or a late freeze in spring our root systems will remain strong. Fertilize smart in the fall by using Sure Bloom® fertilizers. Great for gardens, turf, shrubs,trees and containers. Keep roots from burning and soil conditioned. Use year round monthly for indoor containers. Sure Bloom® Formulas are the only fertilizers used in the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden at Jacob L. Loose Memorial Park.

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Pets and Plants: Brunfelsia Toxicosis

Community Forum: What’s in Our Water “What’s in Our Water? – Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Kansas Surface Water” will be the program for the 12th annual Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues. The Forum will be held on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, KS. Program will begin with Zack Pistora, KNRC, giving a short review of recent Kansas Legislative actions. Presentation by the featured speaker, Dr. Michael T. Meyer, will follow. Meyer received a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Kansas, 1994, and has been a research Geochemist with the U.S. Geological Survey since 1988. He is currently head of the USGS, Kansas Water Science Center’s Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory. 5:30 p.m. Displays by local environmental organizations. Appetizers served. 6:00 p.m. Dinner of locally grown organic foods catered by blue bird bistro. 7:00 p.m. Program. Zack Pistora, KNRC, Review of Kansas Legislative Actions; Dr. Michael T. Meyer, “What’s in Our Water?” $20 advance donation includes dinner. $10 for program only; students free. Walk-ins welcome. Reservations are available: Pay online at For more information re Program or Exhibit space: Deborah English 913-451-7510 / Questions re Supper reservations: Kathy Riordan 913-383-7882 / The annual Community Forum is sponsored by Kansas Natural Resource Council and the Prairie Village Environmental Committee and hosted by the Environmental Action Committee of Village Presbyterian Church.

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runfelsia is a genus of about 40 species of neotropical shrubs and small trees. In the United States, they grow best outdoors in warm, coastal environments such as coastal California, Florida and the Gulf coast. Various Brunfelsia species are also kept indoors as ornamental plants. All Brunfelsia species should be considered poisonous to pets. This includes Brunfelsia pauciflora (B. calycina, B. pauciflora var. calycina) known as yesterdaytoday-tomorrow, morning-noonnight, or kiss me quick; B. americana known as lady of the night; B. australis known as Paraguay jasmine and also called yesterdaytoday-tomorrow; B. bondora and B. grandiflora, both confusingly known as yesterday-today-tomorrow as well. The common names are derived from how the flowers change from dark purple to lavender to white over several days. The individual shrub or small tree is quite attractive with a variety of different colored flowers, which change colors over a short period of time. All parts of the Brunfelsia plant (flowers, leaves, berries, seeds) are toxic, but dogs seem especially attracted to ingesting the berries. Several different “tremorgenic” compounds (hopeanine, brunfelsamidine) are found in the plants. Clinical signs often occur within a few hours of ingestion of plant material and include agitation, excitement, tremors, muscle

• • • • • •

rigidity and occasionally seizures. Vomitus or diarrhea containing plant materials, berries or seeds may also be observed. Treatment is aimed at early decontamination of the animal (induce vomiting, administration of activated charcoal), controlling seizures and supportive care. Prognosis is good if treated early but guarded if seizures are difficult to control. Tremors may persist for several days. Brunfelsia species are beautiful tropical plants but can be harmful or deadly to dogs. Be aware of the toxic potential of this plant and take steps to keep dogs out of harm’s way. 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

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The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013


garden calendar


• Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3 inches. • Core aerate bluegrass and tall fescue early in the month. • Dandelions, henbit and chickweed are best controlled in the fall when plants are young. • Keep mower blades sharp for healthier turf. • Fall leaves should be removed to prevent suffocation and death of the grass. • If you haven’t fertilized bluegrass or tall fescue yet this fall, do so now. • Sweep fertilizers and pesticides from hard surfaces to help protect the water supply.


• Plant new trees and shrubs. • Water new and establishing plants to send into winter with ample moisture. • Prune dead, broken or diseased branches and limbs and discard. • Wrap young tree trunks to prevent winter injury and rabbit damage. • Transplant seedlings when dormant after foliage drops. • Use fallen leaves in compost, as soil amendments or as a mulching material.


• Harvest fall crops as needed. • Plant garlic for a jump on spring growth. • Dig sweet potatoes and clean for winter storage. • After frost, remove all vegetable garden debris to reduce insects and disease next year.

• Till vegetable gardens and add organic matter. • Store pumpkins and winter squash in a cool, dry location for prolonged storage. • Harvest late season apple varieties. • Pick up and discard fallen fruit to reduce insects and disease next year. • Store leftover seeds to dry in the refrigerator for longer life.


• Plant spring flowering bulbs through Thanksgiving for best results. • Pull any frost-killed annuals and discard. • Till soil in annual beds and add organic matter. • Remove perennial stems and stalks as they die down. • Dig cannas, gladiolas, dahlias, other tender bulbs for winter storage. • Delay winter mulching until several hard freezes.


• Start dark treatment for poinsettia flowering. • If not done yet bring houseplants indoors. • Check plants for insects to prevent spread. • Wash dust from plants by placing in shower or wipe with damp cloth. • Withhold fertilizer from plants until spring. • Avoid hot and cold drafts on plants.


• Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers for winter. • Sharpen tools and clean at the end of the season by wiping with oil. • Put compost bins to work by turning and applying water to moisten.

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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October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Club Meetings African Violet Society of Greater Kansas City Tues, Oct 8, 5:30-8pm: at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Call 816-373-6915 for information. Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Oct 6, 9am-5pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members only, Master Day. Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Oct 27, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting.

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Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Oct 7, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Membership banquet. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Oct 9, noon; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. meeting will focus on “Jump Starting the Holidays.” We will make wreaths and swags. Lynn Soulier of Gardens of Delight and Kelly Acock of Monarch Flower, Re Event and Junk Mafia will be our instructors. For luncheon reservations, please call 913-592-3546. Visitors are always welcome. Independence Garden Club Mon, Oct 14, 6:30pm; at Sermon Center, Truman and Noland Roads, 4th Floor. Program will be bats and their benefits brought by John and Kris Farmer of Friends of Lakeside Nature Center. Visitors are welcome and refreshments well be served. For more information call 816-373-1169 or 816-796-4220. Visit our website at

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Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Oct 20, 1:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Oct 7, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Open to the public. Program is “How to Kill an Orchid” by David Bird, owner of Bird’s Botanicals, grower of over 100 orchid varieties. He

will be presenting a humorous take on how people perceive maintaining and growing orchids, and as he says, “It all started with ice cubes”! Iva Stribling will present garden tips. 913599-4141. Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Oct 8, 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd. We meet monthly to learn about herbs. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. Information and Monthly Newsletter: Leawood Garden Club Tues, Oct 22, 10:30am, at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Noon program: Biagio Mazza, owner of Elite Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy and a physical therapist, will give us ideas on how to “Preserve Your Physical Health While Gardening.” A potluck luncheon will be provided by members whose last names begin with A-L. Open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Call 913-642-3317 with questions or email Joan at Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Oct 12, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. MoKan Daylily Society Sun, Oct 6, noon-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Northland Garden Club Tues, Oct 15, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone (69th and N Holmes). Program will be a presentation by Laura Stack on creating beautiful outdoor spaces during the winter months. Check website for additional information: Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Oct 13, 1:30pm; at the Lenexa Community Center, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. Guest Speaker is Joe

The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

Meisel, Ceiba Foundation, Madison WI. Topic: Orchid Exploration of the New World. Also, orchid sale with plants starting at $2. Open to the public. More info: and Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Oct 14, 7pm; at Colonial Church, 71st and Mission, Prairie Village, KS. Our program will be Ruth Day of Grow Good Health will speak on Tower planting, growing plants indoors over the winter. Refreshments will be served. Visitors always welcome. Come Grow with Us. For additional information contact Judy Schuck 913-362-8480. ShoMe African Violets Club Fri, Oct 11, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting.

Events, Lectures & Classes OCTOBER Annual Begonia Show and Sale Fri & Sat, Sep 27 & 28; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO. Mid America Begonia Society is hosting its annual Show and Sale. (Held in conjunction with Heart of America Gesneriad Society). Fri Plant Sale only open to public 12-4pm; Sat Plant Sale open to public 9am-4pm, Show open to public 10:30am-4pm. Come join an enthusiastic group of people who are dedicated to growing and sharing their love and knowledge about this fascinating group of plants. Many unusual varieties of plants that are rarely seen and others grown to perfection can be viewed. Learn how to grow them and buy them too! Admission and Parking are free. Fall Sketch-Crawl in the Arboretum Thurs, Oct 3, 9am-12:30pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Class is free but admission fee required to the Gardens. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Bring your own art supplies (pencils, pen, ink, markers, colored pencils, crayons, watercolor paints, and paper) and enjoy a morning creating art in the many lovely gardens at the Arboretum. We’ll meet in the Visitor’s Center at 9:00, create outside until 11:30, then gather again in the Visitor’s Center for lunch and an informal sharing of our morning’s efforts. Bring your own lunch or purchase a sandwich at the Garden Cafe. We will meet rain, working in the Visitor’s Center, or shine. Class is limited to 20 people. You may register for classes by going to and follow the prompts. For information only, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604.

Water-Wise Gardening Sat, Oct 5, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Learn about drought tolerant plants and cultural strategies to minimize the watering needs of your landscape. Discover how to take advantage of natural microclimates and put the right plant in the right place. This class includes a lecture and tour to observe some of these plants so dress accordingly. Consider sunglasses and sun block. $19/person, $14/Members. Registration required by Sep 30. To register call Linda Burton at 816-6972600 ext. 209. Or register online at Fall Rose Demo Sat, Oct 5, 10am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Winterizing roses. Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jelly Workshop Sun, Oct 6, 2-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Basil, banana peppers and habeneros from the Heartland Harvest Garden combine to create a festive spread sure to warm the heart as well as the taste buds. You will learn how to prepare this jelly, sealing the jar with the waterbath method of preserving. Leave with a sample of preserved jelly. $19/person, $12/Members. Registration required by Sep 30. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Flowers and the Story They Tell Mon, Oct 7, 7-8pm; at the Lackman Library, 15345 W 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS. Join Aletha Simon, KSU Extension Master Gardener, as she shares stories about her favorite plants, from what countries they came and for what they were originally used. She will also give tips on planting and caring for the perennials that thrive best in area gardens. The program is free and registration is not required. Call 913826-4600 or email nordl@jocolibrary. org for more information. Heirloom Bulbs Oct 11 and 12; at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, AR. Brent Heath co-owner of Brent and Becky’s of Virginia will be speaking about Heirloom Bulbs, Bulbs as Companion Plants and a Container Workshop planting spring bulbs. For more information and reservations: Pumpkin Festival Sat, Oct 12, 10am-4pm; at Earl May, 21700 Midland Dr, Shawnee, KS. Join us for games, bounce house, chalk garden, straw maze, face painting, and pumpkin decorating. Food provided by Boy Scouts. 913-422-1505

October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener



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SPEAKERS’ BUREAU Need a speaker for your church, civic group or garden club? The Johnson County Extension Speakers’ Bureau have the speakers you are looking for on just about any topic like environmentally safe lawn care, or perennial flower gardening. We can adapt to meet your group’s needs, from a short 20-minute presentation to a longer format, if needed. While there are no fees for a volunteer speaker, a donation to Extension or the chosen volunteer organization is appreciated. 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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(continued on page 24) 23

Rose Report

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

(continued from page 23)

Charles Anctil


he rose growing season is coming to a close. It has been a good rose year in spite of the hot and dry conditions. The blooms were good and large with very little insect damage. Without spraying, only two Japanese beetles were discovered, and a few spotted cucumber beetles – so far. Remember to spray the soil with a good fungicide before mulching for the winter. This will keep disease spores from germinating in the spring. When I mulch, I use chopped up leaves – inexpensive and handy. Use your imagination when it comes to keeping the leaves from blowing away; chicken wire, newspaper, boxes, etc. If you use Styrofoam cones, make sure you cut the tops off and use a brick to keep the cone from blowing away. When the sun is shining it will get extremely hot inside the cones and could fry your plants. You will not have to use Lime Sulphur anymore. This is

another product that has been taken off the market. If you trim your roses back this fall, make sure you seal the cuts. Elmers Wood Glue, fingernail polish, or orange shellac work well. If you have a tree rose planted in a container on the deck or patio, make sure you bring it inside. Watch the plant for insects. Sometime in January or February many insects will hatch creating a problem. If it’s planted in the landscape, here’s how to overwinter. Use a sharp spade to dig a half moon circle at least 12 inches deep. Then bend the plant over, stake it down, and cover it with soil, mulch, etc. This is work, and it will save many tree roses. Charles Anctil has been an active Rosarian since 1958, Kansas City Rose Society, ARS Judge Emeritus, ARS Master Consulting Rosarian. You may reach him at Moffet’s Nursery, St. Joseph, Mo., 816-233-1223.

Workshops at Kansas City Community Gardens The following workshops will be held at KCCG offices in Swope Park, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Workshops are all on Fridays from 12-1:30pm unless otherwise noted. Space is limited; call 816-931-3877 to register. To learn more about other workshops being held, see October 4: Growing Great Garlic: You can plant garlic in November for a June harvest. Learn about planting and caring for garlic so that you can harvest large, healthy bulbs. We will also discuss different garlic varieties.   October 18: Fall Harvest Cooking: Learn fun and creative ideas for cooking with fall garden veggies, including winter squash, collards, spinach, cabbage and root vegetables. This workshop features cooking demonstrations and recipes.   October 25: Vegetable Gardening Basics: This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. 24

Hands on Flower Photography Sat, Oct 12, 9am-1pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $25.00 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Enrollment limited to 10. Want to improve your camera skills shooting beautiful garden scenes, as well as get to enjoy the beauty of the Arboretum? This class is focused on hands-on-photography instruction outside, with members of the Arboretum’s Photography Committee as the instructors. There will be plenty of chances to ask questions with both group and individual instruction. Bring your camera (film or digital and camera manual), lenses, tripod, memory cards, spare batteries and knee-pads (if desired). We will have a short lunch break after the outdoor session (bring a sack lunch or purchase one at the Arboretum) and we will, as a group, review photos after lunch. Be sure to bring your card reader so the photos can be loaded onto a computer for review. You may register by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. There will be no refunds for missed classes. For additional information, contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Pumpkin Festival Sat, Oct 12, 10am-4pm; at Earl May Seed & Nursery, 2424 North Belt Highway, St Joseph, Mo. We will be serving hot dogs, chips, water, Earl’s own popcorn recipes with samples. Kids activities include: Bounce house with slide, Pumpkin Painting, Face Painting, Chalk Garden, and Ring Toss. Prizes will be given at the different activities. 816-232-7375 How to Start an Urban Farm Tues, Oct 15, 6-8pm; at Urban Impact Center, 1028 Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64106. Get Growing an Urban Farm! Join us as we walk through urban farm planning step by step. Be part of the conversation with your peers and take away tools valuable to new and veteran growers alike. Email Sharon at or call 816-931-3877 to register. Sustainably Designed Food Growing Thurs, Oct 17, 6:30pm; at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: “Sustainably Designed

Food Growing”. Michael Almon, Kansas Permaculture Collaborative and the Sustainability Action Network, will speak about creating an ecologically sound, economically prosperous human community that is guided by the ethical of care for the earth, care for people, reducing waste, sharing the surplus and working towards a sustainable future. Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information call 816-665-4456. Halloween Spooktacular (Family) Fri, Oct 18 & Sat, Oct 19, 6-9pm; at Powell Gardens. Funny and fractured fairy tale skits come to life. Bring a trick-or-treat bag, and get ready for a spooktacular time! Refreshments will be served at the Missouri Barn following the tour. Over 150 hand-carved Jack-O Lanterns will be displayed throughout. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Call Linda at 816-697-2600 ext. 209 to schedule a time. $12/adults, $9/Members. Youth (age 5-12) tickets: $9/youth, or $7/child of Member. Purchase tickets by Oct 14. To purchase tickets call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209, or buy tickets online at and follow CALENDAR link. Hands-on Honey Harvest - $10 (free for Garden Members) Sat, Oct 19, 10am-noon; at the Gardens at Unity Village, 150B NW Colbern Rd, the Historic Unity Apple Barn, 1/4 mile west of the Lee’s Summit/Colbern Rd intersection. Join beekeeper Rick Drake for our annual Honey Harvest. Attendees receive a jar of local honey extracted on-site. Call 816-769-0259. Leave a message to make a reservation. Native and Garden Seed Collecting Sat, Oct 19, 1-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Learn the basics of collecting, storing and starting both native plants and hard to find garden perennials. Harvest seeds (weather permitting) and clean and prep seeds for germination. Take home seeds plus a lot of useful information. Participants should wear walking shoes, sunglasses, and sun block. $24/person, $17/Members. Registration required by Oct 14. To register call Linda Burton at 816-6972600 ext. 209. Or register online at Trees of Historic Elmwood Cemetery Sun, Oct 27, 1-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Tour the magnificent trees of Elmwood Cemetery with Alan Branhagen. Be

The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

inspired by Elmwood’s unique tree collection and learn about its heritage and cultivation. See a historic part of Kansas City that is being rediscovered for the treasure it is. Meet at the entrance to Elmwood Cemetery at 4900 E Truman Road in northeast Kansas City by 12:45 pm. $17/person, $10/Members. Registration required by Oct 21. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses.

November/December African Violet Annual Show and Sale Nov 2, 9am-3pm, Nov 3, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. AVC of Greater Kansas City Annual Show/ Sale. Info: Fred & Pat Inbody, 816373-6915. Diren He Watercolor Workshop Sat, Nov 2, 9am-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Through a series of demos you will see ways to capture color temperature, control water and lead the brush. Diren will use fresh flowers and photos as references or bring your own photos of flowers or gardens. A supply list will be mailed after registration. For beginning painters, supplies are available for an extra fee of $5; please request when registering. $69/person, $59/Members. Registration required by Oct 28. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Bees and Beekeeping Mon, Nov 4, 7-8pm; at Lackman Library, 15345 W 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS. Join Johnson County Master Gardener Miles Raymond to learn how to get started in this reward-

ing endeavor. The program is free and registration is not required. Call 913826-4600 or email nordl@jocolibrary. org for more information.

Hotlines for Gardeners

Starting Transplants Thurs, Nov 7, 6-7:30pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Would you like to be able to start your own transplants? Come learn how to plant your favorite varieties. Email Sharon at or call 816-931-3877 to register.

Extension Master Gardeners are ready to answer your gardening questions.

Get Growing a Community Garden Sat, Nov 9, 9am-12pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. This workshop is essential for anyone thinking of starting a community garden or wanting to expand or improve their existing community garden. Attend one or all sessions. 9-10am- How to Start a Community Partner Garden; 10-11amMaking Your Community Partner Garden Successful; 11am-12pmSpecial Enhancements for Community Partner Gardens. Email Sharon at or call 816-931-3877 to register. 12th Annual Evening Shade Farms Holiday Open House Sat, Dec 7, 10am-5pm and Sun, Dec 8, Noon-5pm; at Evening Shade Farms, 12790 SE Hwy TT, 7 miles off Highway 13 on TT south of Osceola, MO. Watch for signs. Enjoy our delectable refreshments with a chance to shop for lots of unique gifts, made here on the farm. Wonderful Natural & Organic Soaps & Body Care Products, essential oils, and so much more. A free parting gift for all shoppers. Free Admission. 417282-6985;; eveningshadefarms. com


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Weather Repor t

E-Mail: Deadline for the November issue is October 5.

Avg low temp 48° Highest recorded temp 98° Lowest recorded temp 17° Nbr of above 70° days 16

Avg nbr of cloudy days 11

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0 Avg rainfall 3.0” Avg nbr of rainy days 8 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases New Moon: Oct. 4 First Quarter: Oct. 11 Full Moon: Oct. 18 Last Quarter: Oct. 26 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Avg high temp 69°

Avg nbr of clear days 13

Send information to:

Fax: (913) 648-4728

Avg temp 60°

Clear or Cloudy

Promote your gardening events! The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208

Highs and Lows

Plant Above Ground Crops: 5-8, 11, 12, 15-17

Plant Root Crops: 20, 21, 25, 26

Control Plant Pests: 1-3, 27-31

Transplant: 15-17

Plant Flowers: 5-8


Fall Lawn Fertility Makes Big Difference in Spring

By Rodney St. John


ummer made a last minute resurgence at the beginning of September, with temperatures in the 90s, but things are finally cooling off and autumn is definitely here to stay. In addition to planting spring flowering bulbs and cleaning up landscape beds, it is important to put your lawn to bed for winter. The last fertilizer application of the year for cool season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue, happens October through the first few weeks of December, depending upon your location and the weather. I often get questions about this application. “Why fertilize the grass if I stopped mowing around Halloween?” “It doesn’t seem to be growing in the late fall, why fertilize?” Let me explain a little about grass physiology. Shoot growth of cool season grasses is optimal

The first picture (left) was taken in December. The house on the right was fertilized in November and the house on the left was not. The next picture (right) was taken in early March. You can still see the benefits of the late fall fertilizer on the lawn. when air temperatures are between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the roots grow best when the soil temperatures are between 58-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically the air temperatures during the late fall application are between 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit, yet the soil is still very warm. So even though the grass is not producing leaf tissue,


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and we are not mowing it as often, it is still growing and it needs to be fed. Fertilizing the grass will keep the grass greener longer into the early winter and help the grass green up quicker in the springtime. A late fall application of Nitrogen fertilizer helps the grass to continue to photosynthesize which produces carbohydrates – food for the plant. The carbohydrate production is used to stimulate root production; and the much of the carbohydrates are stored in the roots, rhizomes, stolons and stems for use next springtime. Now you know why the late fall fertilizer application is one of the two most important fertilizations a year. (The other important application is in September. This helps the grass recover from the summer stresses.) In addition to late fall fertilization, there are a few more considerations for your lawn as we move into winter:

Don’t allow fall leaves to sit on the lawn. They will smother the grass and leave you with bare spots in the spring. This is even more important for recently seeded lawns. If you seeded in the fall, supplemental watering may be needed during the winter if there is not enough precipitation. Water newly seeded areas on days when temperatures are above freezing. This will preserve all of the work you put into your lawn when you seeded in the fall. Fall is a time to enjoy the changing leaves, slow down from the frenetic pace of summer and reconnect with nature. Finding some time to get in your landscape and get it ready for winter will pay dividends in the spring, when your lawn greens up early and the crocus are blooming. Dr. Rodney St. John is an agronomist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-381-1505 or

Plants & Pumpkins

Check our website for fall hours, events, and specials. 177th and Holmes 816-331-1067


The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013


Professional’s Corner

Th e Ka ns as Ci ty The Kansas City Th e Ka nsa s Ci ty

NER GAR D ENER GAR D EGARDENER Marc A M ogn th l y Gu idhe 2012 to S u c c e ssfu l Ga rd e n i n g November 2012 enin ssful Garde ning to Succ essfu l Gard A Mont hly Guide to Succe A Mon thly Guid e

Beautiful Bright and uals for 2012

May 2012

Attracting Flying Flowers

New Ann

Not So Minor Bulbs Heirloom Annuals

Miniature Hosta n trees Dogwoods are fine garde Memory Gardens Soil Test Interpretations

Hangin’ Out For Winter Care for Your Newly Seeded Lawn Falling ... Into Winter Ponds The Bird Brain answers your questions

The Grand Magnolia

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

NOw AVAILAbLE ONLINE • instant access to advertisers’ websites • Print out your favorite Page for the fridge • revisit inforMative articLes • review uPcoMing events

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GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

October 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Ryan (left), Ed III, and Ed Jr (right), three generations of experience in the building materials industry. Company: Johnson County Building Materials Owners: Ed Campbell Jr. and Ed Campbell III Established: 1978 In the beginning: When this venture began 35 years ago, we supplied building materials such as brick, blocks, stone, mortar and sand for masons and contractors for their commercial projects. Since then, our business has broadened to include landscapers and homeowners for residential jobs. Products offered: Johnson County Building Materials is a retail operation that sells quality products to contractors, landscapers and homeowners. We offer bricks, blocks, mortar, sand, gravel, topsoil, mulch, river rock, retaining wall blocks, landscape stones and numerous fireplace materials. Delivery is also available to both residential and commercial customers. Popular projects: In spring when it’s time to spruce up the garden, and in fall when we put gardens to bed, we sell a lot of topsoil, mulch and river rock. With the advent of outdoor living space on the rise, retaining walls and firepits have also been in demand. What makes JCBM unique? We have something that is not common anymore: there are three family generations working here. My father, Ed Jr, has been in the business for 55 years and I (Ed III) have been here for 34 years. My son Ryan, started working with us while he was in high school, and is now a full time employee. He has 8 years in the business. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service, especially with timely processing of orders. Contractors and homeowners have a timeframe within to complete their project, and we want that to be sooner rather than later. Tell us about new trends in building materials: When my father first started the business, there were many new homes being built with a lot of brick or stone on them. Masonry fireplaces were on every house. Not much of that kind of work being done on new houses now. In today’s economic environment, homeowners have become do-it-yourselfers, and are staying in their houses longer. They are repairing the existing brick or stone, plus they are adding brick patios, sidewalks, retaining walls, raised flower beds and sprucing up the appearance with mulch or replacing the old mulch with river rock. Contact information: 9108 W. 57th Street, Merriam, Kansas 66203; 913-432-8092; 27


50% OFF

selected varieties & sizes including: Large trees at our 135th & Wornall and K7 & Prairie Star Pkwy locations

Japanese MAPLES Exceptionally nice

Check out our fun Halloween Decor! Cowgirl Kate

(&Witch Hazel) performing balloon art selected weekends see her schedule at



selection of upright or weeping Japanese Maples. Glorious color, perfect for the north or east side of your home.


rid Hay

wn our O Y k c Pi pkin! Pum Free orn! Popc


Free Baby Pumpkins for the Kids!


WEEKENDS in OCTOBER 11:00am - 5:00pm 135th & Wornall 28

The Kansas City Gardener / October 2013

Kcg 10Oct13  

mums, water garden maintenance, native color, lawn fertility, lilypalooza, birds, garden calendar

Kcg 10Oct13  

mums, water garden maintenance, native color, lawn fertility, lilypalooza, birds, garden calendar