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The Kansas City

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

November 2012

Not So Minor Bulbs Hangin’ Out For Winter Care for Your Newly Seeded Lawn Falling ... Into Winter Ponds The Bird Brain answers your questions

Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle...

It’s Not Just Something You Have In Your Backyard, It’s About A Way Of Life! There Truly Is Something Magical In The Healing Waters Of A Water Garden In Your Own Backyard Sanctuary


ere’s why you should have Swan’s Water Gardens build your water garden paradise in your backyard.

Located on 2 acres in southern Johnson Co. is where you’ll find Swan’s Water Gardens. A place where we live and breathe the “Water Garden Lifestyle” everyday.

First, we’ve been building and maintaining Water Gardens for over 18 years now. Over those 18 years our pond building techniques have been honed to perfection through years of hard work and fine tuning.

It’s where we specialize in backyard living and helping you do the same by creating beautiful water gardens in your backyard.

Although our ponds appear as though anyone could duplicate them, nothing could be further from the truth.

Nowhere will you find anyone more dedicated to creating paradise in your backyard with water gardens than Swan’s Water Gardens.

In reality our ponds are built to exacting standards by experienced pond builders, under the watchful eye and direction of veteran pond builder Kevin Swan.

ome with us on an exciting journey and discover the ultimate Water Garden destination. A place where you can experience first hand what “Living In Paradise” is really like.

Learn how we use water to bring balance into our lives, our gardens and areas surrounding our home. Irrespective of the size of your backyard we can create that perfect balance with nature bringing you a lush and healthy water garden that both soothes and inspires you at the same time. There’s just something magical about the sound of water in nature. Calm sets in and nature takes over.


Not only will you marvel at the precision of the excavation of your pond but you’ll be amazed at how well your finished water garden actually blends into your existing landscape. Once the excavation is complete the true artistry of the building process begins. It’s also where our secrets to building ponds that don’t leak are revealed. You can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility your water garden provides without worry!


ake your plans today to visit Swan’s Water Gardens in 2012.

You’ll see water features you can build for as little as $2,500 for small patios or courtyard water gardens up to $40,000 for more elaborate features all built by Swan’s Water Gardens. With so many different water gardens to see here, there is surely one that will fit perfectly in your backyard or maybe even in your front yard. For the do-it-yourselfer, we carry everything you need to build your water garden. Pumps, liners, underlayment, filtration systems, hose, fish, aquatic plants, lilies, lotus and garden accessories. Come shop in paradise with the pond professionals at Swan’s Water Gardens. Where we don’t just sell you products like the internet companies do, we actually show you how they work in our water gardens.

Swan’s Water Gardens Spring Hill, KS 913-592-2143

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

The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Thanksgiving blessing

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Leah Berg Betsy Betros Erin Busenhart Barbara Fairchild Clarke Fry Diane & Doc Gover Patrick Muir Dennis Patton Diane Swan Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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


or the last several months, I’ve been a little out of sorts ... off track ... even derailed at times. I’ve been unable to pinpoint the problem. What I do know is that strangely, after the triathlon in July, all my good exercise and eating habits evaporated. It was as if I turned 180 degrees and went on a three-month vacation in the opposite direction. You know the kind, where for a few days you might escape — skipping exercise, indulging in a few extra calories, having a few cocktails, etc. Usually it ends when you return home and unpack the suitcase. Not for me. For weeks, I simply abandoned my commitment to health and wellness. With the holidays fast approaching and my own wellness at stake, I knew a little soul searching and self examination was in order. The result? Apparently I’m in need of a little balance ... well, maybe more than a little. (Gee, you think?) This is not unfamiliar territory. I’ve walked this path before. Finding balance is not simple. Lord knows I’ve looked. Through the

years of career and family, I’ve often found myself switching from one extreme to another, all in order to ‘get it right’, This is why I garden. It seems that with muddy knees and dirty fingernails, the stress in my life fades. I’m able to unload expectations, either real or imagined, allowing clarity and balance to enter in. A day in the garden gives me a chance to gain perspective. Does the garden help you sort out life’s challenges? Is it the place that calms? Is it the place where you can find balance? I was recently reminded that the road ain’t always smooth. The rough ride indicates a little maintenance is required. So after some time in the garden, I realized that I won’t always ‘get it

right’. In fact, getting it wrong is where the learning happens. When learning continues, I discover more about myself, my weaknesses as well as my strengths — and for that, I have much gratitude. My gratitude spills over to you, dear reader. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. It wouldn’t be the same without you. In this season of thanksgiving, I offer this blessing by Ralph Waldo Emerson for you. “For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” I’ll see you in the garden!

For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at

In this issue

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

November 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 11 Join us and fellow gardeners. Become a fan.

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. It makes a great gift! See page 23.

Ask the Experts ....................... 4 Potting Ahead for Spring .......... 6 Care for Newly Seeded Lawn ... 7 Winter Ponds .......................... 8 OPA Luminary Walk ................ 9 Bird Brain ............................... 10 Hangin’ Out For The Winter ..... 11 Not So Minor Bulbs ................. 12 Underused Shrubs N&E ............ 14

about the cover ...

GN White Crownbeard ........... 16 Garden Calendar .................... 17 Upcoming Events ..................... 18 Powell Garden Events .............. 19 Heuchera ................................ 20 Weather ................................. 21 Rose Report ............................. 22 Professional’s Corner ................ 23 Subscribe ................................ 23

Allium in the garden is a spring showstopper. Learn more about this bulb and others starting on page 12.

November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


16 3

Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton


STOP HEDGE TREE FROM FRUITING Question: What gives? My neighbor and I each have a hedge tree in our backyard as there was a hedge row at one time. Mine has fruit, the big green balls while his never produces any fruit. How do I get mine to not fruit like his? Answer: Great question with a simple answer. Just like people there are male and female trees. His tree is a male tree which produces the pollen to fertilize your female tree. Of course it is the female that has the responsibility of bear-


ing fruit. Unfortunately there is no practical way to stop your female tree from fruiting. I guess since his tree provided the pollen you can ask him to help pick up the offspring. After all isn’t that how co-parenting should be? SPRING BLOOMS IN FALL Question: I noticed a number of spring flowering trees in bloom this fall. What caused this, the summer weather? Answer: A number of spring flowering trees and shrubs flowered this fall. The blooming was a result of the summer heat and drought stress. The trigger for the blooming was when hurricane Isaac came through bringing much needed rainfall and cooler conditions. Up to that point many of the plants were forced into summer dormancy


for a great season! visit us this fall and winter 3 for pond supplies 3 for holiday gifts 3 just for fun! Out-Of-Towners coming to visit? Make Water’s Edge Your Destination and Share the Oasis!

What caused spring flowering trees to bloom this fall? from the extremes of summer. This summer dormancy in many ways is similar to winter dormancy. The trigger for blooming in this case was the rainfall instead of warmer spring weather. As a result the plants broke dormancy and flowered. Remember that most spring flowering trees and shrubs set their flowers during the current summer and then mature to flower. The concern from many now is what will the spring blooming look like? I would expect in some cases to see less flowers next spring based on the amount of blooms. Not all buds opened so there will

be spring color, maybe just not as explosive. Also keep in mind that if your tree or shrub flowered this fall it is a wakeup call that your plants were under stress and needed some attention. WHEN TO CUT BACK ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Question: When is the ideal time to cut back the ornamental grasses in the yard? Answer: The ideal time to trim back all the ornamental grass clumps is in the late winter or early spring. This is recommended for several reasons. Grasses can add

Holiday Plants Look Great with PlantMaster Indoor Formula This year when you bring home those beautiful poinsettias and other holiday plants, use the formula that will keep them looking great all through the holiday season. For bright colors and deep green foliage, PlantMaster Organic Formula and Concentrate is the revolutionary way to maintain anything you grow indoors. It keeps plants from becoming rootbound by supplying them with over 100 minerals, trace minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and other essential elements that you will not find in other products. Norwegian seaweed extract and cottonseed embryo will give you the edge. Other ingredients create additional pore space in the soil to allow for the proper amount of air and water. Try PlantMaster Organic Formula & Concentrate to discover how easy it is to receive compliments on your plants.

Shop with the Water Garden Specialists It’s Worth the Trip! 9th and Indiana • Lawrence, Ks. • (785) 841-6777 Open Year-Round Tues-Sun (Closed Monday)

Ask for these products at your favorite retailer!

MFG. BY: ChemCraft, Inc. 913-579-3903 Overland Park, KS • Visit our WebSite at The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

great winter texture and interest to the landscape in the winter months. Many of the grasses used in the garden are warm season varieties and in some cases really harsh winter conditions can stress or potentially kill a clump. Leaving the dried vegetation acts as a mulch to provide some winter protection. With that being said, there are a couple reasons why I would still cut back in the fall. One would be if they are a tripping hazard when flopping next to a walkway. The second would be the fact that they can be a fire hazard. Clumps planted in locations where cigarette butts can be flicked should be trimmed just to reduce the problem with fires. This is probably most important in commercial plantings along sidewalks and entrances to buildings. HANDLING FALL LEAVES Question: I am preparing to battle the leaves this fall and with the new Johnson County ban on leaves going to the landfill I have to change some of my practices. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a much needed step for the future and besides, Missouri banned the yard waste over 20 years ago. It is about time we got into the 21st century in Kansas. My question is does every leaf need to be picked up from the lawn? Answer: Great question and the answer is, no. Handling the fall leaves to me involves a combination of strategies. Leaves do not create a problem for the turf until they pile up and shade out the grass. So as long as they do not cover the turf, there is no need to pick them up. Also the leaves can be mulched mown back into the turf. Research has indicated as much as 6 inches of fallen leaves can be returned. The process to achieve this is by

frequently mowing shallow layers of leaves maybe only 1 or 2 inches at the most. The mower chops the leaves and then they filter back to the soil surface to decompose. The trick here is the frequent mowing as this is not mowing over a 6 inch pile of leaves, but baby steps. You can continue to mulch mow the leaves as long as they do not cover the grass. Once the grass starts to get covered with shredded leaves then the turf is being shaded out and they should be collected. Lawn mower shredded leaves work great as a mulch layer around trees and shrubs or when added to the compost pile. Once all these efforts are expended then keep in mind organic waste can still be picked up and disposed of at a recycling compost facility. Best of luck, managing leaves is not difficult if you wisely use all your options. The problem is us spoiled Johnson County people are just used to an easy out when it comes to leaves. WHEN TO PLANT GARLIC Question: Is it too late to plant garlic? Answer: The ideal time to plant garlic is in early September to allow the plant to establish a root system for winter survival and early spring growth. I would maybe attempt planting a few cloves this fall and then again in late winter as soon as you can get into the soil. People that grow garlic will swear by one time or the other. Both fall and spring plantings will work so go ahead and give it a try. 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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Explore the fullness of fall at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center A Sense of Fall Hike Nov. 10, noon to 2:30pm No registration required (Ages 10 and up) Bring your camera and hiking shoes for a leisurely fall hike. Feed your soul by immersing all your senses in the season of autumn. We will take it slow to capture the moment. This moderate 2 mile hike begins and ends at the nature center. Wild Edibles: November’s Nature Nuts Nov. 13, 1 to 3pm Registration required at 816-228-3766 (Adults) Discover the delicious nut producing trees native to Missouri. These same trees are essential to the very survival of some of our wild residents! Investigate tasty, nutritious treats that you can prepare for your own family while learning how wise use ensures enough for our wild families as well. Rockin’ & Readin’ Nature Tales Nov. 24, 11am to noon Walk-in (Ages 2 and up) Join us for a story hour as we lead you on fantastic nature adventures! We will meet butterflies, birds, mammals and all sorts of magnificent creatures! We will cross rivers, discover mysteries within the forest and fly across the prairies. Our imaginations are the only limits.

Burr Oak Woods Nature Center is located at 1401 NW Park Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015; Phone: (816) 228-3766

KC No-Mess Winter Blend A Birdfood Blend for Our Area A Wintertime Staple!

KC Winter Blend is a completely no mess blend of coarse sunflower hearts, peanut pieces, hulled millet, suet nuggets and dried fruit. Formulated to provide your backyard birds with maximum energy for those cold Kansas City winter days.

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November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Potting ahead for spring color

Erin Busenhart


ow! Where did the fall go? It seems like every year I go to sleep on Halloween and wake up at Christmas. And with all the school, sports and life happenings this time of year it can be a little overwhelming to plan ahead for the holidays - let alone SPRING, but that is exactly what I am going to ask you to do. Now is a great time to get ready for spring and pot up some bulbs for pretty early-season color. I promise you’ll be glad you did! We all have some pots (any kind will work) that we just finished dumping the petunias and mums.

So, instead of dumping all the soil save it and plant them with bulbs to store over the winter. Your spring blooming Dutch bulbs, like Tulips, Daffodils and Crocus all require 3-4 months of a cooling period before blooming. This means…if you don’t plant them now, you’re out of luck! Stick with 1 or 2 types of different bulbs per pot. The magazines always show pictures of these “European gardens” with a bunch of different types of blooming bulbs. Well, I don’t know exactly how it works across the pond, but here in the states those different varieties almost never bloom at the same time like the catalog shows. Here, it just starts to look messy. Plant your bulbs with noses in the air (pointy end up) – if you are at all unsure about which end is which just plant it on its side and the bulb will figure it out. As far as how deep to plant bulbs; a good general rule is: if the bulb is larger

Call today for a free pruning estimate We offer winter pruning discounts in January, but call today to reserve your spot because our schedule fills up fast. SAVE 20% off jobs $300 or more SAVE 10% off jobs $299 or less (Applies to work completed January 1 thru March 15.)

Watch your trees and shrubs flourish Fertilizing trees and shrubs in the fall will promote growth and vitality in your landscape. Call RYAN to fertilize today and enjoy lush, vibrant trees and shrubs next spring.

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MO: 246.1707 KS: 381.1505

will help keep them out or try spraying a squirrel repellent. No extra fertilizer is necessary! Bulbs are like Mother Nature’s perfect flower – each bulb already comes “preloaded” with a flower just waiting to emerge – pretty cool! Pull all your pots out early spring and let them start to do their thing! You can fill in any bare spots with pansies. After blooming, transplant the bulbs into your garden beds if you want to winter them for next year. Just remember to never cut the foliage back until it dies back on its own. That foliage is what’s bringing in the food to produce next year’s flower! Some of the best bulbs for containers: Early-mid season Tulips (they stay shorter) like Triumph or Darwin or late, double Tulip varieties; all Daffodils, Crocus and Muscari. 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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than a quarter- plant it 8 inches deep, smaller than a quarter- plant 5 inches deep. If you are planting a couple different types, plant the shorter ones to the outside of the pot. Plant your bulbs in clusters and fill your pots – you want your pots to look full next spring. Good news is that by now bulbs are usually on sale, so you can afford to buy extra! Place your pots somewhere protected where temps will stay below 50 but above freezing. Window wells, garden sheds and garages all work great. Water the containers well before hibernation and then check the moisture about once a month through the winter. It will depend a lot on the weather – you don’t want soggy, wet bulbs, but you don’t want them to dry out completely. Sounds a little vague – just stick your finger down in the soil and as long as it feels a little damp leave them alone. Squirrels can be pesky, annoying critters and if your pots are somewhere they can get to, they’ll try and dig them up. Pieces of chicken wire over the tops of pots

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The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

How to Care for Your Newly Seeded Lawn


ow that you’ve invested in your lawn by reseeding this fall, it is time to protect that investment. New seedlings are not as hearty and resilient as wellestablished grass; therefore, extra care is needed. Your new lawn will require special attention to watering, mowing, raking, and reducing traffic across the area. Depending on the variety of seed used to spruce up your lawn, the germination period will vary. For example, if you recently planted rye grass, you can expect to see new seedlings within 5-10 days. Fescue typically appears in 7-14 days, and bluegrass takes much longer at 14-30 days. Air and soil temperature, soil to seed contact, and the quality of the seed will all have an impact on the germination rate as well. Seed to soil contact is a term frequently thrown around our industry. The term does not simply mean that seed needs to touch the soil for growth; it actually needs to have a light soil covering to ensure growth. This is why practices such aeration and verticutting are so pivotal to the success of a new seed job. After the lawn has been seeded, the most important step to ensure even growth will be proper watering. Water is without a doubt essential to lawns. Now that the weather has begun to cool down, watering twice a day will probably not be as vital; however,

the soil must be kept moist all the way through the growing process. Not until the new growth has been established can you return to a normal watering routine. Also remember to water throughout the winter months. More lawns seem to die as the ground freezes and thaws out in the winter than any other time. If snow and rain stay away from the Kansas City area again this year, make sure to take some time and give your lawn the water it needs. Fertilizing all grass is important, but it is especially important for new grass plants. Starter fertilizer is used on new lawns because it promotes rapid growth. The three primary macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). The numbers will be listed in that order on all bags of fertilizer. Starter fertilizer should have high concentrations of phosphorous, but also adequate percentages of nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen will help promote hardy seedling growth, by helping the grass obtain nutrients for lush, green growth. Phosphorous is used in nearly all plant growth processes, including photosynthesis, the process that plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Potassium strongly influences turf grass response to cold, heat, and drought stress. Starter fertilizer will concentrate these elements near the root system of new seedlings for healthy, fast growth.



2012 Holiday Event

We’ve created a unique and clever selection of recycled and handmade gifts for you and those on your holiday list. Lots of fun and surprises inside and outside the studio. It’s a winter wonderland filled with holiday gardening delights.

Call 913-579-5395 with questions. Visit blog for more info, open times, dates, and directions:

8601 Barkley Street, Overland Park, KS November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Frid Satu ays, & Su rdays nday s i Noven mber

Limit traffic on the areas where new seeds have been planted. This includes doing your best to keep your pets off the lawn as much as possible. Obviously, once grass has grown to about 3 inches tall it will be necessary to run a mower over the lawn. When doing so, set the mowing height to 2 inches and make sure to never cut more than 1/3 of the blade of the grass in order to avoid damage. Mow slowly, paying close attention when making turns so that the new seedlings will not be uprooted. Also, remember to only cut your grass when it’s dry. Lastly, make sure to keep fall leaves from accumulating in your yard. As much of a pain as it can be, that last wave of leaves that fall need to be cleared before the cold winter months ensue. If leaves

are allowed to pile up over new growth, the seed will be smothered and die. Successfully seeding your lawn can be a delicate process; however, following these instructions will greatly increase the successful germination. For certain varieties of grass a little patience may be required before you notice hearty growth. Remember that the investment in your lawn must be deeper than just laying the seed, as it must be cared for properly in order to achieve the lush, green carpet of grass that will make your home stand out on the block. Clarke Fry is a marketing associate at Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-381-1505 or

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Falling… Into Winter Ponds (not literally, but do watch your fall pond turn into a winter pond)

Diane Swan


ith Fall’s cooling temperatures, there comes a lot of changes in your pond. 1) The water temperatures go down. 2) Aquatic plants die back. 3) Fish eat less and spend more time in the bottom of the pond. These things mark the transition from Fall to Winter. It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare, so pick a sunny blue sky day and trim all your plants. Lower your Lotus and any fragile leafed plants. Take out all tropicals if any are left in the pond and discard. The leaf net you had put on to keep out the leaves can come off

as soon as the leaves are done falling. Clean up your yard before you remove your net or the first time you get a wind, they will all head for the pond. When the water temperature stay below 50 degrees, you will want to stop feeding your fish. They will go into a semi-hibernation state during the winter and cannot digest fish food and it can actually harm them. Discontinue the use of your summer product, such as clarifier bacteria and barley products as they do not usually work when water temperatures reach 50 degrees or so. Do your Autumn/Winter Prep treatments to help maintain your cold-water bacterial levels. This will help your ecosystem stay healthier during the winter months to come. Normally this is a great time of year with little or no algae out-

Nature Wise Compost Is Ranked as Kansas City ’s #1 Compost * *Source: Andover Group Research 2010 Our Nature Wise Compost is a 100% Natural Soil Amendment. It’s made totally from lawn, garden and tree trimmings collected from the Kansas City area.

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breaks and crystal clear waters. By doing these few simple things you will have your pond ready to enjoy this winter. Falling Into Love with Your Winter Ponds Short crisp days…long cold nights…Jack Frost is painting our windows and the winter season is here. The old school of thought was to simply turn off the waterfalls and wait for Spring. The main problem with this is that you’ll miss out on the whole Winter Wonderland experience. The ice sculptures on the waterfalls and stream are well worth the effort of keeping your pond up and running. As with snowflakes, no two ice sculptures are ever exactly

the same. The ice sparkling on the pond will delight you on those cool crisp sunny days and signal you to come out and see. Having waterfalls running all winter will keep fish, plants, and ecosystem healthier during the winter. If the ice creates a ‘dam’ you can unplug your pump and as soon as it starts to thaw you can turn it back on. Underwater lights will enhance the overall enchantment of your winter pond and extend your viewing pleasure. During Christmas, you can take it one step further by creating a Christmas wonderland. There is a large assortment of Santas, reindeer, snowmen and elves. Decorate nearby trees and shrubs with colorful lights. By placing them around your pond, add a new dimension to delight young and old alike. The colors of the lights and outlines created can put you in total awe when you see the outcome of the reflections in your water’s surface and ice sculptures. Your kids and grandkids will be mesmerized and you all will fall in love with your winter pond. 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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Overland Park Arboretum presents

ANNUAL LUMINARY WALK New This Year: Horse-Drawn Hay Wagon Rides!


he Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will welcome the holiday season with its 13th Annual Holiday Luminary Walk the weekends of Nov. 23 and 24 and Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. Thousands of candles will light the way across a mile and a half of pathways.

carolers, other live holiday music, festive light displays, and outdoor entertainment. Santa Claus, a bonfire, refreshments, an Elvis impersonator, and a Native American flute player add to the winter evening fun. Major sponsors of the event are Friends of the Arboretum and Panera Bread.

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The entrance fee is $7 for adults and FREE for children five and under. A new addition to the festivities is horse-drawn hay wagon rides with sing-alongs. The ride is $3 per rider. There is no charge for parking. No pets please. “This is a beautiful way for a family to begin the holiday season, and perfect entertainment if you have Thanksgiving guests from out of town,” said Teri Shields, chair of the Luminary Walk. “The 300 acre Arboretum and Botanical Gardens provides a beautiful setting for this event.” In addition to the candlelit trails, the Luminary Walk features

The Arboretum, 8909 West 179th Street, is easily accessible from the 179th Street exit off Highway 69. Drive one-half mile west just past Antioch and turn left into the Arboretum drive. Open year-round, the Arboretum is an educational, recreational, and beautiful cultural resource for the Kansas City area. Located on 300 ecologically diverse acres, it features eight different ecosystems with rare and unusual plant species, an Environmental Education Visitors Center, and activities for individuals and families. For more information call 913685-3604 or visit


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November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions

Doc & Diane Gover


s we sit down to celebrate this beautiful season with friends and family, we have many things for which we can give thanks. Let all of us at Wild Birds Unlimited say “Thank You” to the nature lovers that we see on a daily basis; for you are the ones who are appreciative of your surroundings and all of the songbirds that share your backyard. A daily offering of food and water will be a welcome sight as days grow shorter and temperatures drop. Q. How do songbirds find food?




A. Songbirds locate food sources by sight. They do not have a developed sense of smell. Birds don’t want to be alone searching for food in scarce times. They might not find any without the help of others; if one bird finds food, they all benefit. That is a main reasons that birds form flocks for the winter. Q. I’ve put my concrete birdbath in the garage for the winter so it won’t break. Do birds really need to bathe in the cold weather? A. Always remember that a clean bird stays warmer. When temperatures drop, birds still need to drink and bathe. Clean feathers allow for excellent insulation against harsh weather and for quick flight away from predators. Be sure to offer liquid water throughout the cold weather. This is possible by



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.

using a birdbath heater in your existing birdbath or a heated birdbath. Both of these quality items are thermostatically controlled, so managing them is very easy. Plug them in, fill with water and enjoy the show. Q. My Dad always fed the birds Black Oil Sunflower seeds in the winter. Will they eat anything else? A. Cold weather means birds need more calories to stay warm. Black Oil Sunflower seed is an excellent choice but it’s also a great time to offer high-fat food choices like safflower, white millet, mealworms, chopped fruits, suet, suet snacks, Bark Butter, tree nuts, peanuts in the shell and shelled peanuts. Q. I wasn’t able to clean my yard before the cold weather arrived and it looks pretty ragged. If I get a chance and the weather cooperates, what should I work on first? A. Don’t stress. Your neighbors may not like the ragged look but the birds will love it. Always remember that Mother Nature is in the business of recycling. Just spruce up around the front door and whatever leaves that you rake up can

be used in an inconspicuous area in the backyard. Build a brush pile with branches that have dropped or that you have pruned; this will ad instant shelter in your backyard habitat. Just sit back and enjoy the leaves being off the trees, you can see the birds easier. Remember, if you feed the birds, you are one of 54 million backyard birders in North America. We enjoy bringing people and nature together in the Kansas City Metro Area and the Bird Brain article will help you attract a wider variety of birds to your yard. If you have any questions, stop by and one of our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kan. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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Hangin’ Out for the Winter By Betsy Betros

gaRdeN CeNTeR

Photos by Betsy Betros.


he joys of summer insect discovery and lazy afternoons filled with cicada songs and night sounds of crickets and various katydids are now past as long winter days have settled upon us. Critters either can survive our winters in one form or the other, or escape to warmer climes, or simply die out and be replaced by southern migrants come spring. There are many winter survival strategies. Some examples include the following: A number of our butterflies in Kansas City are only summer residents. No stages survive winter and spring migrants from the southern portion of the U.S. repopulate our area each year. Some examples include the Common Buckeye, shown in the photo, Cloudless Sulphur, Painted Lady, Sachem Skipper, Little Yellow, Dainty Sulphur, Monarch and others. The Monarch is the only butterfly known to migrate to an overwintering area. Other insects such as the Green Darner dragonfly have mass migrations south, although some individuals as larva overwinter here. Some insects overwinter in the larval stage, such as the Giant Leopard Moth which overwinters as a full-grown caterpillar and pupates in the spring. The Great Spangled Fritillary caterpillar hatches in late summer, but does not feed until the following spring. Some insects overwinter in the egg stage. Some are easily found in the winter such as the large egg cases of praying mantids.

A number of our butterflies in Kansas City are only summer residents such as this Common Buckeye.

Only the queen bumble bee overwinters. A surprising number of insects overwinter in the adult stage. In the case of the bumble bee, only the queen survives the winter. For insects to survive our cold winters, many of them produce special chemicals including proteins and glycerol that keep the body from freezing. Some insects will huddle together en masse to

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Look for praying mantid egg cases in the winter. The large “toasted marshmallow” on the left is the egg case for the Chinese Mantid. The one on the right is for one of our native mantids. survive the winter such as ladybird beetles. Some insects are even active in the winter, carrying out their life cycle in very sheltered areas such as under tree bark. Insects with aquatic stages such as dragonflies and mayflies remain actively feeding and growing all winter. Winter stoneflies (a type of aquatic insect) actually emerge in the winter! Honey Bees survive the winter by feeding on their stores of honey produced the previous growing season. Mild or cold winters, dry or wet summers are all part of the challenges of surviving, but Nature is all about survival and the ability of a given species to adjust to variations is all part of the norm in the

survival business. Insect populations can boom or bust depending on the weather. Not only the current weather, but also the previous growing season’s weather. If you start suffering from some cabin fever this winter, take a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park and keep your eyes open for cocoons and egg cases and even maybe some active insects. Even if you cannot spot any, just watch a woodpecker and see how successful they are at finding insects in the nooks and crannies of tree trunks! Betsy Betros is the author of “A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Region.”

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Above: Spanish Bluebells

Above: Crown Imperial; Below: Grape Hyacinth

Below: Summer Snowflake


Below: Checkered Lily

Below: Snowdrops; Above: Siberian Squill

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

Not So Minor Bulbs Leah Berg


utumn’s transition to shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures may depress gardeners dreading winter’s approach. But cheer up! We may still plant spring-flowering bulbs in November as long as the ground is not frozen. Early frosts won’t interfere with the process, especially if rainfall remains scarce. In fact, planting outdoors while the soil is too warm can backfire. Classic tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus this fall season are usually sold “pre-chilled” and start growing their roots right away when planted. We want them to stay insulated outdoors in the ground, usually 3-10” deep, and grow slowly through the winter months a required number of weeks. Don’t wait til spring to plant them! By the time the roots are wellanchored, the dormant leaves and flowers inside gradually find their way to the surface. Pushing up flower stalks too early in response to early spring warmth and moisture puts them at risk for damage from sudden severe freezes and the weight of ice or sleet. Most Kansas City area professional gardeners target mid-October to mid-November to plant for the massed displays we’ll enjoy next April and May. They dislike planting in muddy and heavy soil, though sometimes it must be done. Though some bulbs tolerate heavier clay soils (like daffodils), many species DO NOT and truly require the well-drained soil more typical of slopes or raised beds than level compacted areas near foundations, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Hybrid tulips seem especially sensitive to compacted, poorly

draining areas, explaining why after the first year they do not come back well in some sites. If within irrigation system zones, they may receive too much constant moisture and rot during summer. Wet winters also prove hard on bulbs stuck in compacted or soggy areas. The flip side of this relates to drought. After flowering, bulbs go dormant for the summer. Foliage recharges the bulbs for next year, gradually dries up with early summer heat and dies back. Then we forget about them.

described in books and bulb growers’ catalogs (see advice from www. Since rodents enjoy eating our expensive tulip and crocus bulbs, and hungry deer and rabbits may browse foliage and buds, it also pays to concentrate on species like daffodils (Narcissus) and so-called “minor bulbs” like grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) not attractive to the critters. I’ve invested most of my dollars and labor in Narcissus and other Amaryllis family cousins because

Above: Allium They need water infrequently during dormancy, but they may need some supplemental watering during dry winters as well as dry summers. Treating some varieties as annuals in selected locations and replacing them each year offers best results, but is hard on limited budgets. Fortunately daffodils, species tulips and many “minor bulbs” will naturalize and increase in quantities over the years. Containers often work well for hybrid tulips, hyacinths, and other pre-chilled bulbs with the added option of “forcing” them to bloom after the proper period stored in an unheated garage or cold frame outdoors. Ideally, target slopes or berms for bulbs in the ground or take advantage of raised beds. Loosened soil amended with compost creates the ideal organically rich, slightly acidic, moist but well-draining soil

November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

their bulbs are toxic to rodents. Summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) flowers resemble dainty white bells with a green dot on each petal tip, but leaves and stalks look much like daffodils. Shorter, early-blooming snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) may appear by February, while Leucojum bloom later in April-May. At least 9 different varieties of Narcissus return faithfully for me each year, first planted about 2005. Over 100 varieties listed at Missouri Botanical Gardens and in the Powell Gardens collections testify to their flower power wellsuited to our climate. Neighborhood rodents have also ignored my giant allium and crown imperial clumps. Crown imperial (Frittilaria imperialis) really do have smelly bulbs reminiscent of skunk, just as descriptions say! And according to the instructions, I planted mine SIDEWAYS

to minimize potential damage from water collecting in the crevices in poorly draining soil. Roots grow down, stems grow up, so plant sideways when in doubt. Normally we plant bulbs pointy side up, about 3 times deeper than their diameter. Missouri Botanical Gardens list of best bulbs for our region prefers instead smaller Frittilaria meleagris (checkered lily, guinea hen or snake’s head frittilaria). Try them in dappled light or where afternoon shade minimizes stress. Anything in the onion family might be nibbled, but usually aren’t the top salad bar choice for critters. Like chives on steroids, Allium giganteum command “Oh wow!” attention in landscapes, with purple blooms up to softball size on sturdy stems waving in breezes. These giant bulbs usually cost $4-6 each, but they’ve been high quality investments at my house and in public places like the Kauffman Memorial Gardens. Plenty of other less expensive species in the Allium family provide us with various heights and longlasting flowers with nectar value to beneficial insects. Consider some of the great minor bulbs featured at Powell Gardens, offering critter resistance plus great performance and interesting seasonal changes. Favorites at Powell Gardens (and in my yard!) include Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) and Spanish Bluebells (Scilla hispanica a.k.a. Hyacinthoides hispanica). Starting as early as next February, look for blooming bulbs there and meanwhile peek ahead by looking at past spring flower photos on Alan Branhagen’s blog ( 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. 13

Patrick’s Picks: Underused Foundation Shrubs North & East Patrick Muir


t first blush, it might appear the northern and eastern exposures have far fewer options than the warmer exposures of your home. But nothing could be further from the truth. Kathy Bark with Suburban Lawn & Garden in Kansas City, Mo., says her first choice to break free from the green abyss of most foundation plantings is a gold punch of energy named Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearl’. Coming in at 2-3’ high and wide, Bark says “This plant has a high tolerance for most conditions.” In consideration of this, Chardonnay Pearl is a

great choice for the East side of the house. “The resonating chartreuse foliage will compliment any and all accompanying plants. Delicate and cascading white “pearls” in the spring are simply an added bonus to this already lovely, but highly underappreciated plant.” And what color would be more dynamic with all that gold? Why it’s the blue/gray found on Bark’s next choice, the Chamaecyparis ‘Boulevard’. She says “It’s a dense, pyramidal and soft to the touch, semi-dwarf evergreen for your shadier, northern beds. Requiring about ten years to reach the 5-6’ height, choose a substantial specimen to begin with. The final size is 5 to 12’ wide by 2-4’ wide. Minimal pruning can also keep this plant at a size you desire.” Bark is asking us to break the foundation shrub mold and look upward with the Climbing

Beautiful OutdOOr SpaceS that are

Uniquely Yours

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’

Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’

Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearl’

Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris). With one of the most distinctive blossoms in the hydrangea family appearing from May to July, this plant can grow up to 30-50’ high. While Bark has seen it cover a wall in a moderate amount of time, my personal experience had two plants that sat stalled for over three years before significant growth appeared. Bark says ‘This lovely creature both blooms in both part and dense shade, too! A rock wall or extended trellis is the main requirement for growing one of these plants.” She told me of a very unique treatment using this plant as a groundcover.

“One plant can cover up to 200 square feet! That being said, it is also manageable and, for that reason, is a no-brainer substitute for Ivy. Exfoliating stems during the winter months add interest to the barren, sleeping beds.” Coming back down to earth, Ken Wood with Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee, Kan., recommends the Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’. This variety comes in at a tidy 2’ x 3’ ‘and is a workhorse with bold displays of dark green foliage that doesn’t need much pruning for shape and is an excellent substitute for boxwood.” But its claim to fame has to be an explosion


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Leptodermis or False Lilac of fragrant white trumpet-shaped blooms repeating two to three times through out out the season. While some daphne are known for berries, this variety has all male flowers but is a great pollinator. Another tidy selection from Wood is the charming Abelia ‘Twist of Lime’. With a rounding width of 2 1/2’ high spreading to 3-4’ wide, this option is semi-evergreen to evergreen depending on its location. Wood says, “The leaves are truly unique coming out green with gold edge that fades to stable green and white variegation. The arching branches are laden with trusses of white trumpet-shaped flowers in summer.” Another taller favorite is the stunning evergreen Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’. If you’ve never grown or seen pieris before, prepare to have your eyes widened to see a flower unlike anything in the Midwest. Imagine if you will, a shrub that is blessed enough to have what

Abelia ‘Twist of Lime’ appears to be delicate brocades of Lily of the Valley type flowers. Wood says, “Not daring to be outmatched is the foliage where the new growth emerges bright red changing to green edged in white.” This selection needs well drained acidic soil so it’s a wonderful companion with azaleas and rhododendrons. If Wood doesn’t have your head dancing with possibilities about what you thought were the dull sides of your home landscape, then hold on one last time for the Leptodermis or False Lilac. Wood says “This is another small gem keeping to 2’-3’ hide and wide with deciduous light green leaves with blooms on new growth, so trim dormant in early spring. The light lavender flowers on ends of stems look like small lilac flowers. The plant blooms in June and will rebloom in early July through early August if trimmed back after first blooming cycle. Consider this inspiring bevy of selections the next time you’re choosing shrubs for the landscape. Neighbors and guests are sure to be impressed with your preference of underused shrubs.

Farmers Season Evaluation: Next year, I’m gonna… Thursday, Nov. 29, 6-8pm

“Next year, I’m gonna...” What do you want to do differently next year? Get Growing KC is bringing together urban growers to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2012 and to start planning for 2013. Register at Held at Rosedale Development Association, 1403 SW Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66103. This workshop is free. To learn more about Get Growing KC, see us on the web at or call 816-226-7979.

Winter Pots Are Here

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

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GrowNative Plant Profile: White Crownbeard Barbara Fairchild


t’s unlikely you’ll find white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) in a formal garden. This perennial herb is tall and lanky (up to seven feet tall), has nondescript foliage and white flower heads, which are only about an inch or an inch and a half wide—all of which make for a rather rough appearance. However, as they say, beauty is only skin deep. The beauty of this plant lies in its function and an attribute shared by only a few other plants. While the flowers heads are tiny, the plant produces large numbers of them, beginning in August

and lasting through October. These functional flowers are beneficial to a bevy of pollinators. Among them are bumblebees, honeybees, carpenter bees, green metallic bees and soldier beetles, as well as butterflies. A Florida naturalist counted 50 tiger swallowtails on a patch of white crownbeard in Highlands Hammock State Park. “There were other pollinators too, but the swallowtails captured my attention and I pretty much ignored everything else around me,” he says. Another feather in white crownbeard’s cap is being named a monitoring plant by Monarch Watch. Its bloom period corresponds with the southerly migration of monarch butterflies, making it an important nectar plant for these travelers. White crownbeard typically is found in rocky, open woods, at the base of wooded bluffs, along stream and thickets. It ranges from Florida

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to Texas, north to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas. In Missouri, it occurs naturally in the south and central part of the state and is found north as far as St. Louis. According to National Phonology Network, white crownbeard, as so many native plants, has been used medicinally as a gastrointestinal aid, a urinary aid, a laxative and as a medicine for eyes. It also has been used as an external anti-rheumatic medicine and for ceremonial uses. Eighteen Verbesina species are found in North America. It likely is safe to say there is at least one Verbesina species in every state— unless they are on the northern border of the country. They share a scientific name that, according to Linnaeus via Edgar Dennison, derives from a printer’s error. The name was supposed to be Forbesina rather than Verbesina. As you might guess from the width of its range, the plant has a wide range of common names. They include wing-stem, Virginia crownbeard, Indian tobacco, richweed, squawweed, tickweed, ice plant, ice weed and frostweed. The frosty names allude to the attribute I referred to earlier — one that might earn this plant a place at the back of a garden or in a fence row. After the plant has lost its leaves, its sap recedes to the bottom stems and into the roots. A passerby would see only a lifeless, dry stick. However there is, again, more than meets the eye.

The first hard freeze causes the stem to split open, emitting the sap that immediately freezes into ribbons of ice that curl around the stem and transforms that dry stick into a delightful ice crystal sculpture — a sculpture we call frost flowers. These flowers are fascinating and a sight that delights. In addition to frost flowers, numerous other names have been given to the delicate ice crystals—ice fringe, ice fingers, ice ribbons, frost ribbons, frost beards, frost castles, even frost freaks. Other native plants with this same attribute include Helianthemum canadense (frostweed, rock frost frostplant, frostwort, longbranch frostweed), Helianthemum bicknellii (frostweed, hoary frostweed), Cunila origanoides (dittany), Pluchea camphorato (stinkweed) and a few others. If you find the idea of cultivating frost flowers in your backyard, white crownbeard may be the plant for you. It is easy to grow and, because of its spreading rhizomes, can form sizable colonies. It will take regular weeding to keep it in place, but providing nectar for pollinators and peeking at frost flowers on a frosty morning may be worth the effort. For more information about native plants, visit Barbara Fairchild gardens in central Missouri, and writes for the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012


garden calendar


• Rake fallen leaves from lawn to prevent winter suffocation. • Fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue with high nitrogen fertilizer to promote root development and early spring green-up. • Send turf into winter with ample moisture. • Control dandelions, henbit and chickweed with a broadleaf herbicide. • Mow as needed into the fall at 2 to 3 inches. • Drain gas or add a stabilizer to lawn mower engine for winter storage. • Get a jump on spring, repair equipment this fall.


• Water newly planted trees and shrubs. • Evergreens young and old need ample moisture during winter. • Protect young plants from rabbit damage by wrapping or making a wire screen. • Plant new trees and shrubs. • Rake leaves. • Check mulch layers and replace. • Prune dead or hazardous limbs. • Do not prune spring flowering trees and shrubs until after bloom.


• Sort apples in storage and remove spoiled fruit. • Clean and remove fallen fruit from around trees to reduce insects and disease next year. • Review garden notes about successes and failures in the garden. • Start planning for next year. • Remove all debris from the garden. • Take a soil test and make needed adjustments this fall. • Till garden soil and add organic matter. • Mulch strawberries after several hard freezes.


• Check plants for insects such as aphids and spider mites. • Keep plants away from heat vents and cold drafts. • Locate plants about one foot away from windows to protect from winter cold. • Reduce or stop fertilizing until spring. • Water as needed and avoid letting roots stand in water. • Rinse to remove dust from leaves. • Continue dark treatment of poinsettias for holiday re-blooming. • Plant and water amaryllis bulbs for Christmas bloom.


• Clean up rose beds to help reduce disease next season. • Mulch hybrid tea roses for winter. • Remove frost killed annuals. • Till annual flowerbeds and add organic matter to improve soil tilth. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. • Dig and store tender bulbs, cannas, gladiolus and others in a cool, dry area. • Cut back tall rose canes to 24 inches to prevent winter breakage. • Cut back perennial stocks to 4–6 inches. • Mulch perennials after several hard freezes.


• Clean and oil garden tools, sprayers and other equipment for winter storage. • Drain garden hoses and sprinklers and store indoors for increased life. • Use fall leaves to start a compost pile. • Turn compost pile to hasten breakdowns. • Start a garden wish list for the holidays.

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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November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Club Mon, Nov 12, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center on the fourth floor,


1820 NE County Park Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 11/4 mi. East of Hwy 291 on Colbern Rd (816) 525-1111 or (816) 554-DIRT 18

Corner of Truman and Noland roads in Independence. Class on Garden Art conducted by Dawn Hoover. Visitors welcome. For more information see our web site www. or call 373-1169 or 796-4220. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Nov 18, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Nov 5, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center Bldg, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Program is “The Best Producing Plants of the Beanstalk Children’s Garden” by Ben Sharda, Director of Kansas City Community Gardens. Free and public is invited. Also view the “Home for the Holidays” flower show with horticulture and floral designs, open from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. Bring a sack lunch and join us for deserts and drinks furnished by the club after the meeting. 913-599-4141 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Nov 13, 7pm. The Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group will host guest speaker Laura MartinEagle of Moon Jewel Ayurveda on “Ayurveda & Herbs” and “Using Essential Oils”. Plus, we’ll talk about “Herbal Gift Ideas,” and there’s always something extra. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Join us! For more information: HerbStudyGroup@ Leawood Garden Club Tues, Nov 27, 10:30am; at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Business meeting starts at 10:30am, followed by program “Seasonal Floral Design” by Patty Santee, owner of Santee Floral Designs. Bring a sack lunch. Desserts and beverages provided. Open to the public, guests are welcome. Contact 816-363-0925 or for further info.

11/4 mi. East of Hwy 291 on Colbern Rd., in Lee’s Summit, MO

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Nov 10, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Northland Garden Club Tues, Nov 15, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone, MO. Program: ‘Botanical Gifts for the Holidays,’ Presented by Sue Miles, Family Tree Nursery. Guests are welcome. For further information contact Gretchen Lathrop, 816-781-4569. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Nov 20; at the Bass Pro Shop, 12051 Bass Pro Dr. For more information contact Lila at 913764-2494 or olathegarden. Sho Me African Violets Society Fri, Nov 9, 11am-2:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300

Events, Lectures & Classes November Food Safety Begins in the Garden Thurs, Nov 1, 11:30am; at Wyandotte County Extension, 1208 N 79 St, (Sunflower Room), Kansas City, KS. Learn how to manage your compost and manure applications, irrigation, and harvest practices to minimize the risks of food-borne illness. Jennifer Smith, Douglas County Horticulture Agent. Fruit Trees and Berry Plants Fri, Nov 2, noon-2pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO. Join us for a special combined workshop on growing fruit trees and berry plants. Learn what varieties are best for this area and how to plant and care for them to get a bountiful harvest. We will focus on the major fruit trees for this area (apple, peach, cherry and pear) and will learn about the different varieties of fruit-bearing shrubs (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries) as well as some more exotic varieties. Presented by Ben Sharda, KCCG Executive Director. (Note: this is a two hour workshop with the first hour covering tree

fruits and the second hour covering berry fruits.) FREE. Call Earlene Franks at 816-931-3877 to register. AVC of Greater Kansas City 62nd Annual Judged Show/Sale Nov 3-4, 9am-3pm Sat, 10am-3pm Sun; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Info: Fred and Pat Inbody. 816-373-6915. Starting Transplants Mon, Nov 5, 6-8pm; at Cultivate Kansas City, 4223 Gibbs Road, Kansas City, KS 66106. Would you like to be able to start your own transplants? Maybe save some money and grow the varieties you want? We’ll look at a variety of options for starting transplants in the spring, including lean-to greenhouses, cold frames, hot beds, grow-light units and others. http:// event/259123. Questions about registration? info@getgrowingkc. org or 816-226-7979. “Home for the Holidays” Flower Show Mon, Nov 5, noon-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. “Home for the Holidays” flower show presented by Kansas City Garden Club. Free and open to the public. View horticulture specimens, dish gardens, terrariums, planters in addition to floral designs. 816-569-3440 Build a Compost Tumbler Sat, Nov 10, 9am-1pm; at Powell Gardens. Come build a compost tumbler and learn the benefits of composting. Composting is the “green” way to reuse yard waste and even kitchen scraps, turning them into nutrient-rich humus you can work into your garden and flower beds. Leave with one 55-gallon barrel tumbler and the know-how to use it. All materials provided. $142/project, $134/ Members. Registration required by Oct 29. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online and see pictures of projects at www.powellgardens. org and follow the LEARNING link. A Sense of Fall Hike Nov 10, 12 to 2:30pm; at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 NW (continued on page 20)

November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Powell Gardens

peaceful holiday getaway


scape to Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden™, for a peaceful getaway during the holiday season. With the conservatory decked out in its holiday finery and a full slate of events, visitors will find much to see and do this winter. Unless otherwise noted, activities are included with regular Garden admission of $7/ adults, $6/seniors and $3/children ages 5-12. Adventures in Toyland: A Conservatory Exhibit 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 18-Dec. 31 The region’s largest poinsettia exhibit combined with a fun toythemed decor combine for a stunning Conservatory exhibit, complete with special spaces perfect for photo taking. Family Holiday Photos by Studio Chyree 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 24 With the conservatory as a backdrop, Studio Chyree offers professional photos of your family on Nov. 24 for Christmas card and print packages beginning at $40 and will deliver orders within two weeks. Holiday Fun with Santa 9 a.m.-noon, Dec. 1, 8 and 15 (Breakfast served until 10:30 a.m.) Reservations required: 816-697-2600 x209. Discuss that wish list with Santa in over pancakes and eggs—Chris Cakes style! Then take part in the rest of the fun: join Mrs. Claus for storytelling in the Grand Hall, make a craft to take home and go for a spin on the Holiday Express barrel train if weather permits. The price, which includes Garden admission and all activities: Ages 4 and under/$7 or $5 for members; ages 5-12/$9 or $7 for members; ages 13 and up/$13 or $8 for members. Reservations are essential—call 816697-2600 x209. Perennial Gifts Holiday Open House 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8 Shop for the gardeners, foodies and kids in your life during Perennial Gifts’ annual open house complete with samples, hot drinks and free gift wrapping with every purchase. Spend $50 or more and receive a pair of Jody Coyote earrings. All purchases help support Powell Gardens’ ongoing operations. Holiday Performances in the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel 3-4 p.m. Dec. 2, 8 and 9 Dec. 2: The popular hand bell choir Rezound! returns to Powell Gardens with a concert bursting with holiday favorites. Dec. 8: Octarium presents eight singers whose voices blend as one with artistic polish and balance. Dec. 9: String Theory brings together four women with a love of music and a complement of historic instruments. Their music ranges from classical to contemporary, from traditional to folk. Performances require separate tickets which include Garden admission and admission to the luminary walk that follows: $10/members and $14/non-members. Buy tickets online at or call 816-697-2600 x209. Gardens by Candlelight: A Luminary Walk 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 Live holiday music, homemade cookies and a glowing fireplace add to the fun of walking along a candlelit path to the Gardens’ architectural gem, the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel. Additional food and drinks are available for purchase: help us plan with an RSVP to or 816-697-2600 x209. 19

Year of the Heucheras


eucheras are all-American. Literally. Different species hail from the islands off the California coast to the highest mountains in the Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico. With this diverse range of habitat, these plants are able to find a niche in everyone’s garden. Breeders in America and Europe have taken a well-aimed swipe of a paintbrush between these species, and have assembled a plethora of plants with amazing flower and foliage forms that didn’t exist a scant ten years ago. Not only are these plants aesthetically pleasing, but they have become stronger, fuller, and more disease resistant. With few pests, great adaptability to containers and a seemingly unending number of forms, heuchera should be in everyone’s garden! Heuchera require welldrained soil. If you’ve had problems with coral bells in the past, most likely you’ve tried to plant them in soil that’s too wet or full of clay. To solve that, plant your heucheras in raised beds, on a berm, or in containers. Even mounding the soil slightly where you plant them will help. A premium organic planting compost will provide excellent drainage with enough moisture. Other than keeping the soil well-drained and mulched, coral bells have very few other maintenance needs. Let them dry between watering, refrain from using excess fertilizer, and give them neutral or slightly acidic soil (the perfect ph is 5.8 to 6.3, but most aren’t too fussy). Many coral bells do well in part sun, but stay away from hot afternoon rays—foliage will often fade, wilt, or scorch under intense sunlight. Instead, provide shade during the hottest times of the day, or plant where your heuchera will get consistent full or filtered shade. Heucheras are remarkable for needing little care. When flowers fade, they can be spun off with a flick of the wrist. If stems


get too long they can be cut off with the resulting stub resprouting and the piece in your hand replanted to form a new plant. This helps keep your heuchera compact.

‘Georgia Peach’

‘Mint Julep’

Heuchera combo When using “heuchs” in the landscape, they are best triangulated with most varieties planted 24 inches on center. You will have to look at the spread on the label to determine the best spacing. Three words are essential: drainage, drainage, drainage. Most varieties are drought-tolerant as well. Note that as coral bells grow, their crowns rise up and out of the soil slightly. Either mulch to protect the crown, or lift, divide and replant. It’s best to divide them every two to three years, with the spring being the best time to do this work. If necessary, cut back winterdamaged foliage in early spring to make way for new growth. Mulch your coral bells in winter, leaving the crowns unburied. Source: National Garden Bureau

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

(continued from page 19)

Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. No registration required (Ages 10 and up) Bring your camera and hiking shoes for a leisurely fall hike. Feed your soul by immersing all your senses in the season of autumn. We will take it slow to capture the moment. This moderate 2 mile hike begins and ends at the nature center. 816-228-3766 Lake Quivira Holiday Bazaar Nov 15-16, 1pm-9pm Thur, 10am3pm Fri; in the Lake Quivira clubhouse. The Lake Quivira Garden Club is sponsoring its 2012 Holiday Bazaar. The event is free and open to the public. With the theme “Find the Elf in Yourself,” the unique boutique will feature hundreds of holiday gift items offered by more than 50 vendors. Also included will be a raffle for great prizes and a bake sale. Cash, check or credit cards are accepted. To visit the bazaar, take Interstate I-435 to Holiday Drive (Exit 8A), then go one mile east to the Lake Quivira entrance. Rockin’ & Readin’ Nature Tales Walk-in (Ages 2 and up) Nov 24, 11am-noon; at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. Join us for a story hour as we lead you on fantastic nature adventures! We will meet butterflies, birds, mammals and all sorts of magnificent creatures! We will cross rivers, discover mysteries within the forest and fly across the prairies. Our imaginations are the only limits. 816-228-3766 Farmers Season Evaluation: Next year, I’m gonna… Thur, Nov 29, 6-8pm; at Rosedale Development Association, 1403 SW Boulevard, Kansas City, KS. “Next year, I’m gonna…” What do you want to do differently next year? Have you got any ideas on coping with more crazy weather? What went right, what would you like to do better? Get Growing KC is bringing together urban growers to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2012 and to start planning

for 2013. We’ll be asking you to bring some information to help deepen the conversation–look for an email when you register. http:// event/259125. Questions about registration? info@getgrowingkc. org or 816-226-7979 Holiday Luminary Walk Nov 23-Dec 1, 5pm-9pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, one half-mile west of Highway 69 at 179th just past Antioch. Fridays and Saturday. Entrance fee $7, children 5 and under free. Horse-drawn hay wagon rides $3 per rider. Free parking. No pets please. Call 913 685-3604 or visit

December Holiday Fun with Santa Dec 1, 8 and 15, 9 a.m.-noon (Breakfast served until 10:30 a.m.) Reservations required: 816-6972600 x209. Discuss that wish list with Santa in over pancakes and eggs—Chris Cakes style! Then take part in the rest of the fun: join Mrs. Claus for storytelling in the Grand Hall, make a craft to take home and go for a spin on the Holiday Express barrel train if weather permits. The price, which includes Garden admission and all activities: Ages 4 and under/$7 or $5 for members; ages 5-12/$9 or $7 for members; ages 13 and up/$13 or $8 for members. Reservations are essential—call 816-697-2600 x209. Holiday Performances in the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel Dec 2, 8 and 9, 3-4 pm; at Powell Gardens Dec 2: The popular hand bell choir Rezound! returns to Powell Gardens with a concert bursting with holiday favorites. Dec. 8: Octarium presents eight singers whose voices blend as one with artistic polish and balance. Dec. 9: String Theory brings together four women with a love of music and a complement of historic instruments. Their music ranges from classical to contem-

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

porary, from traditional to folk. Performances require separate tickets which include Garden admission and admission to the luminary walk that follows: $10/members and $14/non-members. Buy tickets online at or call 816-697-2600 x209. Annual Kansas City Garden Club Auction Fund Raiser Mon, Dec 3, 10:15am-12:15pm; at Loose Park Garden Center Building, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Free and open to the public. Bid for bargain auction items including plants, garden books, dried flowers, hydrangeas, baked items, wreaths, fresh holiday greens, dishes, knick-knacks, nursery and restaurant gift certificates and other fun items. 913-341-7555 Perennial Gifts Holiday Open House Sat, Dec 8, 9am-5pm; at Powell Gardens. Shop for the gardeners, foodies and kids in your life during Perennial Gifts’ annual open house complete with samples, hot drinks and free gift wrapping with every purchase. Spend $50 or more and receive a pair of Jody Coyote earrings. All purchases help support Powell Gardens’ ongoing operations. 11th Annual Evening Shade Farms Holiday Open House Dec 8-9, 10am-5pm Sat, noon4pm Sun; at 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, all made here on the farm. Wonderful all natural soaps and body care products, essential oils, and so much more. A free parting gift for all shoppers. Free admission. Evening Shade Farms is a 30 year old company making All Natural Body Products. 417-2826985. Gardens by Candlelight: A Luminary Walk Dec 8 and 9, 5-7:30pm; at Powell Gardens. Live holiday music, homemade cookies and a glowing fireplace add to the fun of walking along a candlelit path to the Gardens’ architectural gem, the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel. The musical line up for Saturday includes Lilah Gillette on hammered dulcimer in the Grand Hall and the Show Me Chorus in the chapel. On Sunday, a barbershop quartet performs in the Grand Hall and the ever-popular Men of Praise from Blue Springs will perform in the chapel. Additional food and drinks are available for purchase: help us plan with an RSVP to or 816697-2600 x209.

Promote your gardening events!

‘A Year in Review’ with Duane Hoover


he last program of the year for Gardeners Connect will be a look back at this wild year. Duane Hoover, horticulturalist at Kauffman Memorial Garden, plans to lead us in reminiscing about challenges we overcame in 2012 as well as gardening accomplishments. The program is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. Refreshments will be available in the Lewis & Clark Room at the Discovery Center starting at 9:30 a.m. Hoover has been at the Kauffman Memorial Garden since spring 1999, one year before the garden opened to the public Memorial Day 2000. Before that, he ran Soil Service Nursery’s Landscaping department


Weather Repor t

for 16 years. He has a degree from Kansas State University in ornamental horticulture with emphasis in landscape design and a minor in plant pathology. Come January, we might be ready for a gardening fix. Join us for the first program of 2013 on Jan. 19, when Rita Arnold plans to share with us her encyclopedic look at plants to watch for next spring. That program also is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Gardeners Connect, formerly known as the Garden Center Association of Greater Kansas City, is a nonprofit organization established in 1958 with the construction of the Garden Center at Loose Park. The board works to live up to its mission, “To educate and inspire members of our community to become more complete gardeners,” through its free speaker series, gardening classes, children’s activities, support of the Stanley R. McLane Arboretum at Loose Park and supporting its many affiliate clubs.

Highs and Lows Avg temp 44° Avg high temp 53° Avg low temp 36° Highest recorded temp 82° Lowest recorded temp 5° Nbr of above 70° days 3

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 9 Avg nbr of cloudy days 14

Rain and Snow

This listing is FREE!

Avg snowfall 1.1” Avg rainfall 1.9” Avg nbr of rainy days 8

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


From the Almanac Moon Phases

Plant Above Ground Crops: 13, 14, 17, 18, 21-23, 26-28

Fax: (913) 648-4728

Last Quarter: Nov. 6

Plant Root Crops:


New Moon: Nov. 13

Control Plant Pests:

Deadline for December issue is November 5.

First Quarter: Nov. 20 Full Moon: Nov. 28 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

4, 5, 28 6-10

Transplant: 21-23

Plant Flowers: 13, 14


Rose Report

new roses, clean up, winterize

Charles Anctil New Roses If you are looking for new roses to plant, here are a few you might check out: Eliza, Grande Amore, Buxom Beauty, Randy Scott, Sugar Moon, and Francis Meilland AllAmerican Rose Selections Winner 2013 (pictured here). Clean up time Not knowing what the weather will be like this month, recently I’ve started pulling spent blooms from the plant. I did not cut any blooms. The more you cut, the

more they want to rebloom. You do not want that this time of year. I also started to defoliate. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to about three feet. Less foliage means less energy which means it’s easier for the plant to get ready for winter. Simple winter protection I have used chicken wire and newspaper collars. Try to make your collars 14”-16” in diameter. With the chicken wire, you pack leaves around the canes clear to the top. With the newspaper collars: take four sheets, fold them in half, take your stapler and staple each end (2-4 staples) – this is one section. Depending on the width

of your roses you might need several sections. Staple the sections together, fill with leaves or the brown Canadian Peat Moss, and you are done. With the paper collars, make sure the fold is up so the rain and snow will roll off. In the spring, remove the collars and

spread leaves or peat moss over the beds. You can also use rose cones. Cut the canes back to fit the cones. Cut the top off of the cone. Defoliate the roses, place over the plant, spray with a fungicide the day before, put a brick or two on the top to keep the wind from blowing the cone away and you are done! Climbers can be sprayed with Wilt Pruf then wrapped in burlap with topsoil piled around the base. 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.


POINSETTIA POT 1. Mask top of terra cotta pot. Spray paint base with Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint. When dry, repeat.


2. After paint is dry, remove tape from the rim. 3. Tape newspaper around pot to cover the chalkboard paint surface. 4. Place pot top-down to spray paint the rim and top edge the color of your choice. Let dry & repeat. Next spray a layer of Krylon Glitter Blast over the color. 5. Once paint is dry, write a message on your pot using chalk and place poinsettia inside. Tada!

1. For more information about


visit your local Westlake.

terra cotta pot painter’s tape chalkboard spray paint




colored spray paint Krylon Glitter Blast poinsettia SUPPLIES

chalk newspaper visit for a store location near you


The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

Create for the Holidays Heart-Shaped Holiday Wreath Sunday, December 2, 1-3 p.m.

Professional’s Corner

The heart-shaped wreath is very popular in England and has other uses, which will be revealed in class. You will be guided through the process of combining galvanized mesh and florist oasis into a heart shape frame to create your wreath’s base. $47/project, $39/Members. Registration required by November 19.

Basketry: Cinnamon Sticks Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Create a basket on a woven base measuring five by five inches and up to a height of seven inches. Add a splash of color with colorful reeds. Complete with a sturdy wooden handle, this basket is perfect for a season of gift giving. $35/person, $29/Members. Registration required by November 26.

Natural-Made Ornament Saturday, December 8, 1-3 p.m.

Come learn the Powell Gardens’ techniques for making natural, holiday ornaments. These ornaments also make unique and special gifts. You will make one ornament in class and leave with the know-how and a supply list to create more. Or create additional ornaments in class for an additional supply fee. $12/project, $9/Members (Add $7/additional ornament). Registration required by December 3. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online and see pictures of projects at and follow the LEARNING link.

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

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

November 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Andy Gridley with Horizontal Earthworks

Name: Andy Gridley Company: For five years, Andy has been with Horizontal Earthworks, a locally owned full service landscaping company, specializing in commercial and residential landscape design and installation. Describe the operation: We know how to do a lot of the “heavy lifting” for the customer with our equipment and provide a service that affects the change that the customer is looking for. I am the main craftsman who spends the most time on the job site constructing the landscape to the customer’s specific design. We help many customers maximize their outdoor living space with retaining walls that terrace their hillside to create usable space. We take pride in the structural integrity of our hard-scapes and spend the time and resources to make sure what we build will last. Specific duties as Crew Foreman: Preparing the crew each morning for the project and making sure that we have all the materials and equipment needed. Both are critical elements in keeping the job moving forward. Another priority is assuring the customer’s needs are being met. I also take pride in keeping a clean work area at the end of each day, just as I would like to have done at my home. What do you like best about your job? My favorite part is accomplishing the final few stages of each project, when the customer and I get to see all of the hard work transformed into the final vision. What a sense of accomplishment. What would your customers say? We work hard to think of all the details to make the hard-scape fit into the existing landscape and that we exceeded their expectations. We received an A+ rating on Angie’s List and received multiple acknowledgements from customers. And of course, the best compliment is when a customer refers us to their neighbors and friends. Favorite inspirational garden destination: Because I like boating, I have found the natural settings around the metro lakes are beautiful and peaceful. What’s hot in Hard-scapes this year? We installed quite a few paver patios this year; they initially cost more than concrete patios. But they are more colorful, have multiple designs, are easily repairable if the ground does move, and they do not crack. Little known secret: My wife and I are expecting our first child, a boy, in early November. For more information about Horizontal Earthworks: Scott Mayer, owner, ph 816-835-1682, web, email scott@ 23

fall color int


Big Maples Arriving from our Farms first week in November

• • • •

Autumn Blaze Maple October Glory Maple Red Sunset Maple Burgundy Belle Maple

• • • •

Red Armstrong Maple Celebration Maple Red Pointe Maple Green Mountain Maple

*Large Trees at our 135th & Wornall and K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy locations

25-50% Off selected SHRUBS at all locations

y b le ng b a l givi i a Av anks POINSETTIAS* Th Christmas TREES

Fresh Garlands & Wreaths

*available at 135th & Wornall and 105th & Roe locations


105th & Roe 913-649-8700

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy under construction

135th & Wornall

816-942-2921 The Kansas City Gardener / November 2012

The Kansas City Gardener  
The Kansas City Gardener  

November issue