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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

November 2013

Big Bang Annuals

Bee Haven Project Spruce Up the Look of Fall When Shrubs Outgrow Their Space Patrick’s Picks: Proven Poinsettias on Parade

Swan’s Water Gardens

Your Full Service Water Garden Center Located In Southern Johnson County ...

Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle…

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for the tranquil atmosphere and relaxed shopping experience of Swan’s Water Gardens. Where the beauty and wonders of nature surround you at every turn.

It’s November, What Are You Going To Do?

Are you going to put your Water Garden to bed for the Winter or are you going to do what we do here at Swan’ s Water Gardens? Turn Your Water Garden into a “Winter Wonderland”.

Light Up Your Nights

Winter Hours

Retail center open until Nov. 23rd Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm; Sat. 10am-4pm Office Winter hours Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm For all inquiries or needed supplies please call. We are still building and maintaining ponds as long as the weather allows.

10% off our new generation of Pond & Garden lighting pkgs. Combining the latest technology with the warm white and color changing LED lights to effectively illuminate your pond or garden. Remote control up to 30 ft. with dimmable features, day/night sensor, easily add additional lights, and energy efficient as well.

Myth #3 Your Pond Should Be At Least Three Feet Deep To Over Winter Your Fish! Your pond does not, let me repeat, does not need to be three feet deep for your fish to survive thru the Winter season. We have several hundred “Water Gardens” we have built at two feet deep and the fish survive just fine. Here are the two most critical factors in overwintering your fish here in our area. Maintaining adequate oxygen levels in the pond and keeping a hole in the ice so that noxious gases from decaying materials can escape into the atmosphere. Decaying material such as falling leaves, debris and fish waste. Since you

should not be feeding your fish once the water temps are below 50 degrees fish waste is minimal. However, the leaves and debris should be physically removed from the pond as best as you can. You can lessen the amount of leaves getting into your pond by placing a leaf net over it. This reduces the amount of noxious gasses building up in your pond. Maintaining adequate oxygen levels in your pond can be achieved by adding an aerator. By pumping air into your pond creates thousands of oxygen bubbles that rise to the surface

creating what is called a water column. This water column in turn sends oxygenated water down to the lower levels of your pond replacing the low oxygen water with fresh oxygenated water making for a healthier home for your fish. Years of experience has taught us that these two things make for a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Don’t miss next month’s issue when we cover myth # 4. For more information on aeration systems and preparing your pond for Winter please visit our website listed below.

With Swan’s Water Gardens You Get The Entire Experience We back our Water Garden installations with a 5 year leak free guarantee!

“Creating Paradise ... In Your Backyard”

Swan’s Water Gardens

20001 S. Padbury Lane, Spring Hill, KS 66083



are warm birds


Some flew south, while others took perch. For the ones that hunkered down, give ‘em the nutrients they need to brave cold temps. Swing by Westlake Ace Hardware for a variety of seeds & feeders so you can be generous. After all, they chose your yard over Disney World.



FEED ‘EM Like Kings

Tip: native plants provide nesting sites & natural food & shelter for inclement weather, so place feeders about 10-ft. away


Tip: check out our bird-friendly chart to learn more about your feathered friends’ distinct tastes

GIVE ‘EM Shelter




Tip: insulate birdhouses with wood chips & dry grass so birds can plug cracks & holes to retain body heat on the coldest of nights



May vary, check online for your specific location



November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener



The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Leah Berg Erin Busenhart Tom DePaepe Tracy Flowers Cindy Gilberg Diane & Doc Gover Patrick Muir Dennis Patton Phil Roudebush Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

Join us and fellow gardeners. Become a fan.

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 23. 4


Gracious fall days

ith summer a distant memory, the fall season has captured our attention. Cicadas and crickets are quiet now. The hummers and monarchs have migrated to warmer territory, while the zinnias and butterfly bush have stopped their seasonal attraction. Secretly though, I wish summer would last forever. But alas, the planets and Mother Nature we cannot control. We are merely spectators on this train, so we might as well enjoy the gracious views. The autumn festival of colors is at its peak. Brilliant are the hues of flowering dogwood, burning bush, and fragrant sumac. Oakleaf hydrangea and smoke bush are also in their fall glory, while gingkos join in with their spectacular yellow show. Begging our attention is the red-twig dogwood mostly for the color of the stems once the leaves drop. The fringe tree wears a cloak of yellow this time of year, while the witch hazel clings to its flowers long after the leaves have fallen. The holly shrubs are prolific with berries now, which have already turned holiday red. Not long behind are the crabapple fruit

which will ripen just in time for robins looking for their winter feast. Whether driving across town, or walking through our neighborhood, we can’t help but admire the season of change. I must admit, although resistant to winter’s approach, I appreciate the cool fall evenings. It’s a time to gather in the driveway with neighbors around the firepit. While the children eat toasted marshmallows and play hide-n-seek in the dark, the adults drink their beverage of choice and banter about whose trees drop the most leaves. We trade garden tips and soup recipes. We’ll meet the new baby and share parenting advice. Does your neighborhood do this? Do you entertain in the driveway with impromptu potluck meals? Are their bonding experiences allowing you to get to know each other a little better?

That sense of community is what I fell in love with when we first moved here. They say it’s a ‘Midwest thing’. I think it’s a ‘human being thing’. We all need that sense of belonging, a place of shared give and take. We need human interaction in the place where we build our families. Otherwise, what are we teaching? Community is only within our house? Absolutely not. Teach your children and grandchildren, neighbor kids as well, the importance of their community. Create a bond that will spill beyond your street and out into the world. And when winter drops a few inches of snow, you’ll be a band of shovelers. That bond you created will make shoveling a shared experience – an experience of friendship and gratitude. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue November 2013 • Vol. 18 No. 11 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Patrick’s Picks: Poinsettias ......... 8 Spruce Up the Look of Fall ........ 10 The Bird Brain ......................... 11 Big Bang Annuals .................... 12 GrowNative: Winter Gardens ... 14 When Shrubs Outgrow Their Space ............................. 20

about the cover ...

Garden Calendar .................... 17 Upcoming Events ..................... 18 Arboretum Luminary Walk ........ 19 Weather ................................. 21 Free Feeders ........................... 22 Pets & Plants ........................... 22 Professional’s Corner ................ 23 Subscribe ................................ 23

This coleus is among numerous noteworthy annuals that performed well in 2013. Leah Berg explores others starting on page 12.


14 The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

An Interview with Local Artist and Beekeeper Jarrett Mellenbruch about his Haven Project

Tracy Flowers


ome interesting structures have been going up around Kansas City. They look like white birdhouses atop 15-foot poles, with bees buzzing in and out. These houses are part of a beehive project called “Haven” by local artist and third generation beekeeper Jarrett Mellenbruch. We have been getting many questions about our Haven hive at the Kauffman Memorial Garden so I sat down with Jarrett to pick his brain about this project and what inspired it. Beekeeping is in Jarrett’s genes. “I am a third generation beekeeper, my grandfather kept bees and my mother keeps bees so I just grew up around it,” he said. He noticed that the domestic honeybees they were keeping were needing more and more medication to fight off parasites and diseases. “It became a constant ramping up of the need to medicate the bees every year just to keep them alive. The trend has only been to have to do more and medicate more. There has not been a period where there was a problem; we solved it and now we can sort of get back to business as usual.”

We currently keep hearing that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the biggest problem for domestic bee populations but it isn’t as simple as that. Mellenbruch explained, “Colony Collapse Disorder is kind of a loose description. It’s not like I can test and say, ‘Oh, this colony died of CCD.’ It is one very dramatic and startling result of a lot of different things that the bees are facing.” Then he got a little bit further into his purpose, “What I am trying to do is to look at what’s happening to wild honeybees. This project is all about looking at the bees that are existing in the wild, living in hollowed tree cavities or around people’s homes. They are not necessarily invited. The Haven hives house wild honeybees that will be treated a little differently from the domestic beehives that we are used to seeing. I do not consider it the same as ‘beekeeping’, it is more like ‘bee hosting.’ ” Mellenbruch takes the unwanted wild honeybee hives and gives them a home in a Haven sculpture, where they can be monitored either by Jarrett or by the public. There is a QR (quick response) code that can be scanned by a smartphone on the post of each Haven hive. Once you scan the QR code you can then answer a series of questions that will then be collected and later studied. If we study data that is collected about wild honeybee populations we will have a chance of finding better ways to fight honeybee pests and diseases through genetic

resistance or a genetic habit that the wild bees exhibit that the domestic bees do not have. Better resistance will mean that domestic beekeepers will need less medicine for their honeybee operations. Mellenbruch elaborated on this idea, “We can watch wild honeybees live and die and monitor their life cycles and learn more about rhythms and pat-

terns and we can look to see if the death rates of the colonies of the Haven hives are more or less than the average death rates in a commercial beekeeping operation.” Mellenbruch is a member of The Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association and recommends groups like this as the best way to get a good education about bees. He also has a website that has pictures and press clippings written about the Haven project so far at http://www.jarrettmellenbruch. com/haven/ and is still looking for new hives locations for next year. I hope you get a chance to get out and buzz by a Haven hive while the weather is warm and the honeybees are still active. Tracy Flowers is on the Horticulture staff at Powell Gardens and she works at The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. You may reach her at 816-932-1200.

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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“The pros you know in the clean red truck.” November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener


Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton MISSED FERTILIZATION Question: I missed applying a September application of fertilizer to my yard. Can I apply a heavier application in November to make up for this missed window? If not can I make another application in December? Answer: The September fertilizer application is the most important for a bluegrass or tall fescue lawn. I know personally I kept waiting for rain and finally it arrived and I got the fertilizer down. Here is my recommendation. The November application is a

must since you missed the earlier window. You can apply at a higher rate and help beef up the lawn. Normally when you buy a bag of fertilizer and it recommends setting your spreader it is calculated to apply around one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The rate can be boosted to 1 1/2 pounds. Basically that means you are applying about half of the second application. This will help get a little more of the needed nitrogen down in the fall. The November application is converted to stored food for strong early spring growth. As for a December application, forget it as the grass will be dormant and little will be picked up by the root system. OVERWINTER CALADIUMS Question: I’ve been growing caladiums in pots. I would like to

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attempt to grow again next spring by overwintering. Can you give me any helpful tips as I have heard they are difficult? Answer: Over my years of gardening I have attempted to overwinter caladiums a couple of times with no luck. So to provide the information I am turning to my colleague Rosie Lerner with Purdue Extension for assistance. The following is her recommendations for overwintering caladiums. When the tops of caladiums are injured by the first fall frost, gently lift the plants and cut back the stem to the soil line. Leave the ball of roots and soil intact. Place the soil and root masses in a dry, cool storage area, and allow the tubers to cure for two to three weeks. Then remove the balance of the soil, stalks, and roots, cut out any rotted spots, and dust with fungicide. Store the tubers at 50°F in low humidity. Pack the tubers in dry

CUTTING BACK ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Question: I have several clumps of grasses of different kinds. They did nicely this summer but last winter with the heavy snow they fell over. Should I go ahead and cut them back this fall or wait? Answer: Cutting back the ornamental grass clumps is probably more of a personal decision than a horticulture recommendation. The grasses will survive the winter whether cut back or not. The question is what look do you prefer in the winter landscape. Most gardeners like to see the shades of brown waving in the breeze over the winter to add interest to the garden. I have heard of some gardeners that wrap the clumps in the fall with twine or some other material to tie up and support the growth from the winter to help it stand up. But on the other hand if you find the breaking over to be objectionable and like a cleaner look then go ahead and cut back. I guess there is an in between. That would be to allow the grasses to remain until they start to fall apart then you can get into cleanup mood. GETTING RID OF WHITE CLOVER Question: I have a problem with white clover in my yard. I

Still time to get on our fall clean up list.

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The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

was told that if I apply lime it will eradicate the clover from the yard. Is this true? Answer: Only if it was that simple but it is not. White clover is a perennial that can be difficult to control. Unfortunately an application of lime could cause more harm than good. The theory behind this home remedy is that clover prefers to grow in acidic soils. Lime is used to raise the pH of the soil and thus increasing the pH level discourages the clover growth. Like I said, it is not that simple as the vast majority of local soil is not acidic and already tends to have higher pH levels. Adding lime in an attempt to control this weed could create other issues by increasing the pH. Higher fertility levels tend to discourage clover so you might want to check your nutrition program. The best control is to use herbicides that are effective on clover. If you are attempting to be organic your best option might be to embrace the plant for its nitrogen fixing nature and just live with the problem. HARDY PAMPAS GRASS Question: I keep seeing the term Hardy Pampas Grass. I

grew up in the south and enjoyed Pampas Grass in my landscape. Is this Hardy Pampas Grass the same plant or something similar? Answer: Common names can be confusing especially when people are hoping to cash in on a popular plant. Hardy Pampas Grass is not the same as the southern plant. What we grow is Saccharum (formally Erianthus) ravennae. This grass has a similar look to the southern grass but the seed heads are less showy but still attractive offering a nice winter interest. The true Pampas Grass is Cortaderia sellcana. This plant is hardy to zone 8 and has the large white plumes. Some references indicate that it is marginal in zone 7 and 6. I guess if our winters continue to warm this would be a plant we can add to our “try” list. If you desire your southern species you might be disappointed by the northern imitation. 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.

November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Farrand Farms Locally Owned & Locally Grown Since 1922

The color is intense. The selection is exceptional. You really must bring the camera! Farrand Farms has grown all of your traditional holiday favorites. Fifteen thousand poinsettias in all colors, shapes, and sizes await your inspection. You will be awed by this very spectacular display. We know you’ll also appreciate the fact that we only offer fresh real Christmas trees and wreaths. You’ll be glad you began the holiday season at Farrand Farms.

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Patrick Muir


oinsettias now seem synonymous with the holidays, but we owe their existence as we know them to one man: Paul Ecke. The founder of the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, Calif., was singlehandedly responsible for hybridizing what had been a large gangly Mexican shrub into today’s potted poinsettia. Poinsettias are now the best-selling flowering plant in the world, and Ecke Ranch remains the industry’s heavyweight. 70 percent of all rooted cuttings ordered by U.S. greenhouses come from Ecke

and their market share worldwide stands at 50 percent. One of the highlights of my career before I became paralyzed was providing communication consultation services to The Paul Ecke Ranch. It was an experience that completely changed my perception of poinsettias. Seeing their greenhouses speckled along the ocean outside of Encinitas displaying a myriad of colors and applications was truly inspiring. Keith Farrand with Farrand Farms in Kansas City, Mo., is growing 13,000 plants for this holiday season. “We feel the very best red variety for our region is ‘Red Prestige’ from Ecke. The foliage is deep green and the bracts are a very true deep red.” It is not at all uncommon for his customers to tell him their poinsettia is still blooming beautifully through early May.

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Patrick’s Picks: Proven Poinsettias on Parade

‘Jester Red’


‘Tapestry’ is a newer novelty that offers a totally different presentation. This variety develops tri-color leaves going from creamy yellow, then olive green and finally to a mid green topped up with strong red bracts. Farrand says, “The contrasting colors make ‘Tapestry’ one of the most unique varieties available today.” The Family Tree Nursery greenhouses in Kansas City, Kan., grow over 30 varieties in eight pot sizes, totaling more than 22,000 plants for their three retail locations. Owner Eric Nelson says, “The most durable poinsettia we grow, and still one of my favorites, is ‘Jester Red’. It’s genetically smaller with dark pointy green foliage that sets

off a deep red upright bract making it strikingly different.” The manager of operations for Heartland Nursery and Garden Center in Kansas City, Mo., Kevin Keilig, says his favorites include ‘Strawberries and Cream’. The bracts are a bi-color of strawberry pink and cream with uniquely serrated edges and medium green leaves. “It is a smaller plant reaching only 6-12” in height, so it’s perfect for a tabletop decoration.” The bracts of ‘Sonora White Glitter’ are speckled red and white over deep green leaves. Keilig comments, “Each bract has a different color pattern, making this a showstopper. I would recommend this novelty poinsettia as an

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The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

Classes at Powell Gardens

from gourd birdhouses to growing orchids at home ‘Red Prestige’

‘Strawberries and Cream’ Create A Gourd Birdhouse (Ages 6 & Up) Saturday, November 23 10-11:30 a.m. Using a dried, cleaned and pre-drilled gourd, your child will paint and decorate an abode for a bird. Please dress your child in clothing suitable for painting messes. A gift bag for the birdhouse is included! (One adult admitted per child project. Gardens admission applies to all others in attendance.) $37/person, $32/Members. Registration required by November18. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at

‘Sonora White Glitter’

‘Winter Rose Early Red’

alternative to the traditional red for those who have a more progressive decorating palette.” Another of Keilig’s preferred choices is ‘Winter Rose Early Red’ which falls in the “love it or leave it” category. The red bracts are puckered and downward-curled, resulting in a rose-like appearance over dark green leaves. Keilig continues, “I recommend this variety to our customers because it is unique in appearance, makes a lovely tabletop decoration and is great for gift giving.”

Learn more about the history of poinsettias and how they came to be, as well as the Paul Ecke Ranch at http://www.pauleckepoinsettias. com/. Poinsettia options are numerous and there’s something suitable for every style. Decorate your home and share a few with your neighbors – always a welcome gift. Patrick Muir can be reached at or visit his blog at

Growing Orchids At Home Friday, December 13 9 a.m.-noon Selecting orchids suitable for the home environment is an important first step to growing orchids at home. Learn the basic care of orchids with horticulturist and orchid grower Dave Bird of Bird’s Botanicals in Blue Springs. Receive your own orchid to raise at home. Extra orchids will be available for purchase. $34/person, $25/ Members. Registration required by December 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at Powell Gardens is a not-for-profit botanical garden located 30 miles east of Kansas City on Highway 50. Spring/summer garden admission is $10/adults, $9/seniors, and $4/children age 5-12. Garden hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November-March and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April-October. Powell Gardens is open daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day), year round. For more information please call 816-697-2600 or visit us at

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Outdoors never felt so good 9

Spruce up The Look of Fall shockingly cool temps so salvage what you can and add Ornamental Cabbage, pumpkins and gourds, Creeping Jenny, Pansies and Ivy to jazz things up.

Erin Busenhart


ow that we are full swing into fall, if you’re like me you are going to go to bed on Halloween night and wake up on January 1 with some wellrotted Jack-O-Lanterns. And while we might be sad at the thought of another season ending, wipe those tears away, because now is the best time to get things planted, fed and decorated for the season.


Fall Up Your Pots First things first – it’s time to refresh the front pots! Many annuals like Petunias, Geraniums and ‘Snow Princess’ Alyssum can take


Add Fall Color to the Landscape Now is still a great time to plant trees and shrubs. The ground around here won’t freeze solid until at least January (if at all) and anything you plant can start to establish before the heat of summer. Some great plants to add fall color are Sweetspire, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Tiger Eye Sumac, Blackgum, Red Maple, Gingko, Beautyberry, Hardy Geranium, perennial Plumbago, Amsonia and Blueberries. Plant Bulbs (Finally) Every spring I tell myself that next year will be the year I plant banks of spring-blooming Tulips. But while Tulips are beautiful, here in the Midwest they should be treated more like an annual.


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Allium ‘Globemaster’

Try Alliums and Daffodils instead! Both are bunny and deer resistant and reliably perennial! Allium, an ornamental onion, is most popular as the giant ‘Globemaster’ but available in many sizes and shades. And try planting white daffodils for an unexpected and elegant pop of spring color. All spring blooming bulbs need a cold period to bloom and so must be planted now. It’s super easy. Plant bulbs noses in the air, about 3 times deeper than the height of the bulb and just wait for the show.

Add Ambience The longer evenings of fall are just calling out for candlelight. But with kids… and pets…and curtains… real-flame candles can cause a major fire hazard. I am hooked on Luminara candles! They are a battery operated candle with such a realistic flame I guarantee someone will try to blow it out! Put some in lanterns by your front door and more inside in sconces, on the mantle – anywhere that reflects the dancing flame.

Get Your Veggies Going Just because you’ve pulled out your tomatoes, does not mean that the veggie season is over. Many veggies not only tolerate but perform best in cooler temps. Now is the time to grow lettuce, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, mustard, leeks, garlic and onions. Think of the salads and soups this fall! If temperatures dip below freezing throw a frost blanket over the tender leaves, especially lettuce, or try your hand at constructing a cold frame by hinging windows on the raised bed.

Feed the Lawn If you only feed your lawn once, now is the time. In fall and winter, grass plants naturally want to thicken up, putting their energy into root and stem development. Simply put – grass will eat up all the food you give it without growing tall. Quick-release, highnitrogen fertilizer, often called Winterizer, should be applied 2-3 times, 4 weeks apart. 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 Bird Brain

answers your questions about Dark-eyed Junco

Doc & Diane Gover


he Dark-eyed Junco is a common backyard visitor, arriving in the Kansas City area as the cold weather arrives and lingering here until spring. For such a small little bird – just 5 1/2 inches from beak to the tip of its tail – they are loaded with personality. We hope that you find the following facts interesting. • Dark-eyed Juncos are often called “snowbirds”, possibly due to the fact that many bird watchers believe their return signals cold snowy weather. Their coloring would be another source for this nickname with a gray body and white belly they look like a winter scene with “leaden skies above and snow below”. • Their migration pattern is accomplished as a single bird traveling low in the sky throughout the night. The Flocks are not formed until after the completion of migration. They spend their

entire winter in flocks averaging in size from six to thirty or more. • Most tend to return to the same area each winter. Chances are that you have many of the same birds at your feeder this winter that you had in previous years. • They will usually stay within an area of about ten acres during their entire winter stay. • Watch for their dominance of hierarchy with adult males at the top, then juvenile males, adult females and young females at the bottom. You can often observe individuals challenging the status of others with aggressive display of lunges and tail flicking. • Juncos have over 30% more feathers (by weight) in the winter than they do in summer. • They prefer to roost in evergreens at night but will also use tall grasses and brush piles. They return to the same roost location repeatedly and will share it with other flock mates, but they do not huddle together. Each bird will choose its branch for a roost. • The population of Dark-eyed Juncos is approximately 260 million, second only to the American Robin in overall population size in North America. • You can attract Juncos to your yard by feeding white millet, nyjer,

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ing”. They fly up to a seed cluster on the top of a grass stem and “ride” it to the ground where they pick off the seeds while standing on it. • They will always enjoy an open (liquid) source of water for drinking.

hulled sunflower seeds, suet and Bark Butter. • Juncos are known to burrow through snow in search of seeds that have been covered over. • They also practice an interesting foraging method called “rid-

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As always, the more you learn about nature the more interesting it becomes. Grab your kids or grandkids. Have your binoculars and field guide handy, we’re pretty sure you’ll be seeing Juncos. If you have any questions, just stop by the store, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to share their expertise. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Coleus Marooned (above)

Vinca ‘Titan Rose Halo’ (above); Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’(below)

Lantana Lemon Creme (above); Coleus Royal Glissade (below)

Evolvulus (below)


The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

Ornamental pepper ‘Chilly Chili’

Lantana Pot of Gold


Big Bang Annuals Leah Berg


ome of the best-performing annuals of 2013 deserve a final look in late autumn when many area professionals start committing to which varieties they will grow in 2014! I was unable to attend the late July open house at the K-State field trial test gardens site in Olathe. However, I talked with others who attended and went by on my own later. My visit October 1st to see what might STILL look good resulted in these photos. From a distance, with height between 4-6 feet, tropical Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’ makes a sensational burgundy foliage backdrop for contrasting annuals instead of purple fountain grass. Last year at home I grew a similar cultivar aptly named ‘Maple Leaf’ for its resemblance to red Japanese maples. Many sun-tolerant coleus also excel for mass plantings or container use. The vigor of Proven Winners ColorBlaze® series Marooned, Royal Glissade, and Dark Star here was impressive. Another favorite in the trial beds from the Proven Winners® brand Evolvulus Blue My Mind™ was also thriving by the research center office entry. Related to morning glories but prostrate with a smaller trumpet-shaped flower, soft fuzzy grayish-green hairs on leaves help deflect sun and heat from the south cement sidewalk.

This improved evolvulus makes the perfect low-profile, thick-spreading carpet to set off mid-height and taller annuals. It was also superb in annual beds at Powell Gardens and the Kauffman Memorial Gardens. Gardener Tracy Flowers confirmed this evolvulus “... was amazing this summer. As soon as it set roots it began blooming and hasn’t stopped. The flower color is also eye-catching.” It’s hard to find truly blue flowers. Designers striving for patriotic red, white and blue combinations often use Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’ (deep dark blue) or one of the petunia or ageratum varieties, but they have strong lavender/violet hues. Picture a color somewhere between sky blue and Crayola® box periwinkle, close to the color of flowers on perennial groundcover Vinca minor. It looks great with everything. For me, there’s no such thing as too much blue or violet, so my eye gravitates to this evolvulus with the blue salvia, ageratum and angelonia woven through the canal beds at the Kauffman Memorial Gardens this year. Tracy said “Angelonia is always dependable for us and this year was no different – it flourished.” Angelonia varieties also excelled at the trial gardens in Olathe and anywhere else I saw them. For the second year in a row, horticulturist Judy Penner surrounded annual purple fountain grass with Angelonia Angelface® Dark Violet in a long rectangular bed between the Loose Park Garden Center Association build-

November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

ing and the sidewalk leading to the rose garden. Next year I imagine setting off a blend of blues and violets with a ribbon of lantana like Little Lucky™ Lemon Cream (a soft yellow and white two-tone) or a stronger solid yellow Little Lucky™ Pot of Gold. Most foliage and flowers still looked perfect in October. In the beds by the visitor education center at Powell Gardens, horticulturist Anne Wildeboor also liked the performance of Evolvulus Blue My Mind™ and Lantana Luscious® Piña Colada. Anna Ramey, horticulturist at Mission Hills Country Club, used a similarly colored lantana called Bandana® Lemon Zest, filling a long sidewalk border to set off a foundation boxwood hedge. Her other favorites included Coleus ColorBlaze® Dark Star for contrast to brightly colored annuals, and Coleus ‘Wasabi’ combined with Papyrus King Tut® effectively. Anna noted annual vinca (Catharanthus) Cora® series really took off in the intense heat. She uses cascading vinca every year in baskets and pots and says “...nothing beats it for the summer!” In the field trial beds, my favorite Vinca was ‘Titan Rose Halo.’ When I said how much I liked the Sun Parasol® series of tropical Mandevilla this year (especially intensely dark red Garden Crimson still loaded with blooms in the trial garden), Anna reported similar great success. A container filled with Portulaca Pazzaz™ Tangerine looked so good I hope to find it next year and

try combining it with ornamental pepper ‘Chilly Chili’ which was equally vigorous in the bedding trial area and elsewhere. I may add mid-height and mildew-resistant zinnia Zahara™ Double Fire in the border framing my driveway, and will recommend it to fill large beds elsewhere. Another impressive filler for large beds is a series of improved begonias rightfully called BIG™. Tracy noted “Begonia BIG is a begonia that we will definitely be using again next year. It made all of the other begonias in the garden look like wimps.” The bold foliage and extra large blooms may overwhelm smaller annuals typically paired with ordinary wax begonias, but will complement many larger annuals as well as ornamental grasses and shrubs. Use them where bold impact is desired with no deadheading to worry about. These varieties constantly exposed to sun and wind with very little supplemental watering deserve consideration for landscape projects next year. Look for photos and performance evaluations of these and other superior choices on the website: and set aside a certain portion of the budget for annuals delivering big bang for the buck. 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

Grow Native! Plant Profile

Cindy Gilberg


crispy clear day in fall is one of the most wonderful times to walk in our many natural areas. After the leaves drop, the view into the woodlands opens up and reveals fascinating views. In the glades and prairies colors become muted, as grasses turn golden orange to brown and seed heads darken. Flocks of birds are taking advantage of a smorgasbord of seeds and berries. We are so blessed with a diversity of habitats and native plants that life is never dull, not even in the winter.

Walk also in your garden, observing whether there are features that attract attention. Take note of areas that may need the additions of plants, stone or even an aged urn. Don’t be too tidy in the garden at this time of year. Plant structure—seed heads, pods, dried stems and leaves, etc.—provide interest through the winter. In addition, this is an important source of seeds for food, and the plants offer much needed cover for animals that overwinter here. Upon close inspection of stems, you may find a chrysalis, cocoon, or egg case of a praying mantis. Snow falling and settling upon the dried plants can also create an intriguing winter scene. Many of our native trees and shrubs have berries that are brightly colored as a signal for birds to come and feast. Add in a few of these since the berries tend to ripen

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Ilex decidua at different times and with different berry color. The timing of the ripening in part determines which birds visit. Migrating birds gather berries and seeds that are ripening in fall while the overwintering birds feed on berries that ripen later as well as seeds that hang on or have fallen to the ground. The aptly named beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) bears lustrous, purple berries from October through December. This five-foot 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. Perhaps the showiest of the berry producers is the possum haw (Ilex decidua), which has abundant fruit throughout winter. Berries are only produced on female plants so be sure that you have both male and female plants in your garden. Possum haw is a multi-trunk, large shrub with a height of about ten feet.

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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. The fruit attains its full color in October, coinciding with the dogwood’s beautiful red leaves. Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) has white berries in fall that are complimented with bright red stems. This six to eight foot tall dogwood is densely branched and grows like a hedge. It is an excellent screening alternative to plant in open woods after invasive honeysuckle has been removed. Many of the shorter sedges are semi-evergreen right on through the winter. A few to look for are cedar sedge (Carex eburnea) or oak sedge (Carex albicans). These are both low-growing sedges (6 to 12 inches tall) that grow well in light shade and average to dry soil. The grass-like foliage blends well with other woodland plants such as wild ginger, columbine and little-flower alumroot. Also semi-evergreen is the Christmas fern (Polystichum arctostichoides). Though it resembles Boston fern it is a totally reli-

able hardy fern that is tolerant of dry shade and average soil. Later in winter, in January and February, the fragrant, ginger-yellow flowers of witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) open and tease us with spring. This small tree (10 to 15 ft.) is an important early source of pollen for insects that brave a warm winter day to forage. Happy in both full sun and light shade, witch hazel typically grows in moist soil. If it is planted in a drier location, extra compost will help hold moisture in the root zone. For details on native plants and where to purchase nursery-grown natives, consult www. Winter allows a gardener the opportunity to sit back and reflect not only on what was wonderful in the garden but also on what might make the garden even better next year. Relax now, for surely in the spring a long list of new plants and ideas will be waiting.

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What to do when Shrubs Outgrow Their Space

Tom DePaepe


hrubs play an important role in our landscapes. They are great for screening foundations, creating borders and adding interest through dramatic foliage or delicate blooms. While shrubs can be utility players in home landscapes, homeowners often underestimate their mature heights and breadths. One day a shrub is the perfect addition to your entry way, the next it is the size of a small tree and visitors brush up against it on their way to your front door. What can homeowners do when shrubs outgrow their intended space?

Rejuvenation Pruning Believe it or not, many varieties of shrubs can tolerate severe pruning in the fall to reduce overall height. Homeowners can really get aggressive here – it’s perfectly okay to cut back the entire shrubs to within inches of the ground. Healthy shrubs will bounce back the next growing season. The major benefit to this type of pruning is that the overgrown shrub is immediately brought back into check. The downside is that the shrub is less aesthetically appealing pending new growth. Dogwoods, forsythia, rose of Sharon, hydrangea, privet, honeysuckle, elderberry, spirea and lilac can all tolerate rejuvenation pruning. (Evergreen shrubs will not tolerate rejuvenation pruning.) Renewal Pruning Renewal pruning is more subtle than rejuvenation pruning, but will also bring shrubs back in line.

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Instead of cutting an entire shrub back at once, you can remove one-third of the shrub each year over three years. In order to do this effectively, you will remove about one-third of the old branches back to the crown or main stem. Your goal is to maintain the overall shape of the shrub while reducing its density and height over time. Although this process takes longer than rejuvenation pruning, it is more aesthetically pleasing in the short term. Barberry, pyracantha, forsythia and weigela are good candidates for renewal pruning. It is important to remember that removing branches from some species at this time of year will decrease or completely prevent blooming in the next growing season. The above methods apply to shrubs that have already outgrown their site. What can you do to prevent shrubs from getting overgrown in the first place? Regular thinning and heading cuts will help

you manage shrub growth, size and health. A heading cut involves removing the topmost growth of a branch back to a healthy bud or branch. This technique will encourage growth below the cut, making the plant more dense (increasing the need for thinning). Thinning cuts are made by cutting off a branch at its point of origin from the parent stem, to a lateral side branch, to the “Y” of a branch junction, or to ground level. Generally, you can remove a stem back to a lateral that is one-third the diameter of the branch being removed. Thinning and heading cuts are best used in tandem. Proper shrub pruning should involve the intentional removal of branches while maintaining the natural shape of the plant. It is not the same as shearing off the tips of all branches with hedge trimmers on some arbitrary schedule. A good pruning job is subtle. Before pruning, consider the natural form of the plant and remove branches that don’t fit. This approach takes more time, but is better for the plants involved both aesthetically and physiologically. Tom DePaepe is an ISA Certified Arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 816-2461707 or at tomdepaepe@ryanlawn. com.

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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 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 or old should have 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 away from windows about one foot 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 flower beds 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 hybrid tea rose canes to 24 inches to prevent winter breakage. • 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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Upcoming Garden Events


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Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Nov 12, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City Sat, Nov 23, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Nov 4, meeting at 6pm, presentation at 6:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Our speaker will be Erin Busenhart of Family Tree Garden Center. Erin will be discussing and demonstrating how to create beautiful outdoor containers for winter. Guest are always welcome. Bring your questions. Come join us and make a gardening friend. There is no charge for this meeting. For additional information, please contact Vince with Vogel Landscaping at 816-313-8733. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Nov 13, noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Our program will be “Saluting Our Veterans.” For luncheon reservations, please call 913502-3546. Visitors are welcome to attend. Heart of America Gesneriad Society/Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Nov 16, 12:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Joint membership meeting. Independence Garden Club Mon, Nov 11, 6:30pm; at the River Blvd Baptist Church, 3212


N River, use the lower entrance in the rear of the building. Our speaker will be Cortney Daven from Heartland Nursery and will be all about Bonsais. Visitors are always welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information call 816-373-1169 or 816-796-4220. Visit us at our web site Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Nov 17, 1:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting. Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Nov 4, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Open to the public. Program is “Brilliant! The 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show” by Dianne Swann. This is the world’s largest indoor flower show. See pictures of fabulous landscape displays, horticultural and floral competitions and much more. Birding update by Bev Amor. Buy many delicious treats at the Annual Bake Sale. 913-341-7555 Leawood Garden Club Tues, Nov 19, 10:30am, at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. Noon program: Jesse Nelson, Greenhouse Manager at the Overland Park Family Tree Nursery, will speak on “What’s New in the Nursery and for the Holidays.” Bring a sack lunch. Beverages and desserts provided. Open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Call 913-6423317 with questions or email Joan at westonsmom@earthlink. net. Northland Garden Club Tues, Nov 19, 7pm; at Linden Baptist Church, 611 NE 69th St, Gladstone (69th and N Holmes). Program will be a presentation

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

by Steve Hess of From the Summer’s Garden. Steve will present a program on “Garden Gifts for the Holidays”. Please check our website for additional information: Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Nov 11, 7pm; at Colonial Church at 71st and Mission, Prairie Village, KS. Our speaker will be Sarah Patterson, City Forester for Overland Park. Her presentation will be on the City’s program for maintaining trees within the public right of way and parks, including the Emerald Ash Borer situation. Sarah is also responsible for leading the crew that plants and maintains 38 public spaces throughout the city, such as City Hall, parks and traffic circles. Come have your questions answered by this certified arborist, licensed pesticide applicator and member of the Steering Committee for the Heartland Tree Alliance. 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, Nov 8, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting.

Events, Lectures & Classes November Growing Under Lights and Building your own Grow Light Unit Fri, Nov 1, 12-1:30pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. Start your own vegetable plants from seed at home under lights! Learn how to use a grow light unit to successfully prepare for, plant and maintain seedlings that can be transplanted into your garden. We will also discuss how to build your own grow light unit at a low cost. Space is limited; call 816-931-3877 to register.

African Violet Annual Show and Sale Nov 2, 9am-3pm, Nov 3, 10am3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. AVC of Greater Kansas City Annual Show/Sale. For more information, call Fred and Pat Inbody, 816-373-6915. 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. To register call Linda Burton at 816-6972600 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 rewarding endeavor. The program is free and registration is not required. Call 913-826-4600 or email for more information. 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 sharon@ or call 816-931-3877 to register. Get Growing a Community Garden Sat, Nov 9, 9am-12pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, 6917 Kensington, Kansas City, MO 64132. This (continued on page 20)

November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Photo by Dave Shackelford.

Your Thanksgiving Tradition: Arboretum’s Holiday Luminary Walk Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6-7


or 14 years, the Holiday Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens has thrilled visitors with the beauty of 10,000 candles and exquisite white lights lining its winter pathways. Many families have made this a Thanksgiving weekend tradition, bringing out-oftown company along to enjoy walking through the winter wonderland. This year’s event runs for two weekends – Friday and Saturday November 29 and 30 and the following weekend, Friday and Saturday December 6 and 7, from 5-9 p.m. each evening. Admission is $7 per person except for children 5 and under, who can visit for free. There is no additional charge for parking. Teri Shields, the chair of this year’s event, looks forward to it each year. “It’s a delightful way to kick off the holiday season,” she says. “Whether you enjoy

strolling through the gardens, visiting Santa, or listening to the music of the season, there’s something for everyone!” The 2013 event drew a record 14,000 visitors over the four nights. Many folks especially enjoyed the Train Garden, and the adjacent Leatherwood Depot is new this year. Santa Claus will be in the Depot from 5:30 to 8:30 each night. Horse-drawn wagon rides will delight young and old again this year. Hot apple cider and hot chocolate will be available at different spots along the candlelit route to warm chilly bodies. Advance tickets are available at all Kansas City area Hen House locations, and online at The Arboretum is located at 8909 West 179th Street, about a half mile west of the 179th Street exit from 69 Highway. More information is available at or by calling 913-685-3604. 19

What’s Happening in November at

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

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road Blue Springs MO 64015

To register, call 816-228-3766. For more information email Native Flower “Clay Bead” Jewelry November 2• Saturday • Noon–2 PM Registration required (adults) Create a unique wearable work of art with acrylic clay as a set of earrings, a necklace pendant, hair clip or a brooch. Learn about some of Missouri’s beautiful and essential native plants as you craft your jewelry from one of many basic flower shapes...flowering dogwood, rose mallow, sunflower, downy gentian and more. Babes in the Woods: Leaf Leaping November 12 • Tuesday • 10-11 AM Registration required (babes under 36 months) There is nothing quite like the scent of fall and shuffling through autumn leaves. Join the fun as we play in a forest blanketed by colorful fallen leaves. This adventure is sure to help connect you and your little one to nature. Conservation Kids Club: Letterboxing November 12 • Tuesday • 6:30–8 PM Registration required (ages 7–13) We will turn an autumn evening hike into a treasure hunt! Letterboxing is a great way to get outside and explore beautiful places, while learning how to navigate with a map and compass.   Little Acorns: Turkey Time November 13 • Wednesday • 10–11 AM or 1–2 PM November 23 • Saturday • 10–11 AM Registration required (ages 3–5) It’s that time of year again when we see turkeys everywhere! Come learn about these celebrated birds, then set out to get an up-close look at the wild turkeys as they make their way through the forest.   Raptors: Predators of the Sky November 16 • Saturday • 10–11 AM No registration required (all ages) Fall is a great time to view raptors in Missouri. Learn about their unique hunting abilities and other adaptations that help make them top predators of the sky.   Fall Fashion November 23 • Saturday • 1–2 PM Registration required (all ages) Shuffle and kick your way through the fallen leaves, gathering a few to be imprinted on your personal t-shirt. Soon you’ll be able to display what’s sure to be the most natural and vibrant addition to your closet!    Winter Backyard Birds November 30 • Saturday • 1–2:30 PM Registration required (all ages) Now that you have had your fill of Thanksgiving dinner, let’s give a feast to your backyard neighbors. Local birds come in droves to backyard feeders in winter. Learn how to identify them by sight & sound and settle in for a lovely winter of bird viewing with your very own simple feeder. 20

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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; 10-11am- Making Your Community Partner Garden Successful; 11am-12pm- Special Enhancements for Community Partner Gardens. Email Sharon at or call 816-931-3877 to register. Native Pollinators Sat, Nov 9; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. 5:30pm Pot-luck Dinner & 7pm Presentation (Sponsored by the Idalia Butterfly Society) Native Pollinators: Meg Mullet. Learn the secrets to attracting huge flocks of pollinators to your garden for mutual benefit. Often we may not notice the hummingbirds, bats, bees, beetles, butterflies, and flies that carry pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar. Yet without them, wildlife would have fewer nutritious berries and seeds, and we would miss many fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These hard-working animals help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants, and 70% of our crops. Johnson County Master Gardener Meg Mullett will present an introduction to several of our native pollinators, including recommended techniques we can use and plants we can grow to encourage them to live in our gardens. Dips, Dunks and Spreads Sat, Nov 16, 10:30-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $5.00 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day

of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. If you are looking for a few new food ideas for the holidays, this may be the program for you. Donna Cook, owner 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. Reservations are required. 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, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Create A Gourd Birdhouse (Ages 6 & Up) Sat, Nov 23, 10-11:30am; at Powell Gardens. Using a dried, cleaned and pre-drilled gourd, your child will paint and decorate an abode for a bird. Please dress your child in clothing suitable for painting messes. A gift bag for the birdhouse is included! (One adult admitted per child project. Gardens admission applies to all others in attendance.) $37/person, $32/Members. Registration required by Nov 18. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at Holiday Luminary Walk Nov 29-30 and Dec 6-7, from 5-9pm each evening; at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, located at 8909 West 179th St, about a half mile west of the 179th Street exit from 69 Highway. Overland Park Arboretum has thrilled visitors with the beauty of 10,000 candles and exquisite white lights lining its winter pathways. Many families have made this a Thanksgiving weekend tradition, bringing out-of-town

The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013

company along to enjoy walking through the winter wonderland. Admission is $7 per person except for children 5 and under, who can visit for free. There is no additional charge for parking. Advance tickets are available at all Kansas City area Hen House locations, and online at www. 913-685-3604

December Holiday Greenings Sat, Dec 7, 10am-2:30pm; at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. Walk-in (all ages) Thinking of making the holidays a little greener this season? Nature provides many materials that can be used to make colorful ornaments that provide our trees and homes with seasonal decorations. Explore and experiment with the many material options available right outside the door. Fashion a festive swag to hang using prairie grasses, wild nuts, berries and seeds. 816-759-7300 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; esfbodyproducts@; Growing Orchids At Home Fri, Dec 13, 9am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Selecting orchids suitable for the home environment is an important first step to growing orchids at home. Learn the basic care of orchids with horticulturist and orchid grower Dave Bird of Bird?s Botanicals in Blue Springs. Receive your own orchid to raise at home. Extra orchids will be available for purchase. $34/person, $25/ Members. Registration required by Dec 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Whooo’s in your Backyard? Sat, Dec 21, 10am-2:30pm; at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. Walk-in (all ages) Of the 18 owl species native to North America, eight live in Missouri or visit here. Discover how to identify owls by their calls, shapes and field markings. Put your owl knowledge to work as you create your own recycled owl and apply your scientific skills as you investigate an owl’s food chain. After learning about owls, test your knowledge by challenging a friend to our Owlology game. 816-759-7300

Great Plains - America’s Lingering Wild

A photographer’s journey exploring struggle and hope on the prairie

7:00 p.m. | Monday, November 4, 2013


Kauffman Foundation Conference Center 4801 Rockhill Road | Kansas City, MO 64110

ark your calendars for the evening of Monday, Nov. 4, when Powell Gardens, in partnership with the Westport Garden Club, will present Michael Forsberg, nature photographer and conservationist. Michael will share his work on sandhill cranes, his book and recently-released documentary film Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild, and the new Platte Basin Timelapse Project. Michael Forsberg is a Nebraska native who has focused much of his work in North America’s Great Plains. Michael seeks to capture the wild spirit of these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there in hopes that his images can build appreciation and inspire conservation efforts on this land. His photography has appeared in a


Weather Repor t

number of publications including Audubon, National Geographic, National Wildlife, and Natural History; and has been recognized in the Pictures of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. Admission is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Diana Silver at or 816-697-2600 ext. 207.

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

Promote your gardening events!

Rain and Snow 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 Fax: (913) 648-4728 E-Mail: Deadline for December issue is November 5.


From the Almanac Moon Phases

3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17

New Moon: Nov. 3 First Quarter: Nov. 10 Full Moon: Nov. 17 Last Quarter: Nov. 25 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

November 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Plant Above Ground Crops: Plant Root Crops: 17, 18, 21, 22

Control Plant Pests: 25-27

Transplant: 12, 13

Plant Flowers: 3, 4, 7, 8


FREE! Bird Feeders tions. Hopefully this will allow even more people to share in the joy of backyard birdfeeding. Groups interested in receiving free feeders should stop by or call Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood for more information. The store location is 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. (913-491-4887) Feeders will be available on a first come first serve basis.

Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood is offering free bird feeders with seed to any interested schools, libraries, assisted living facilities and parks. The feeders being offered are a result of a feeder tradein promotion held in September. Customers traded in quality feeders knowing that they would be given to deserving organiza-

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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7700 E. 40 Hwy., Kansas City, MO 64129 22


Pets and Plants: Plants Containing Calcium Oxalate By Phil Roudebush


any common indoor ornamental plants contain raphides, which are needle shaped, insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate found in the cells of more than 200 families of plants. Common ornamental plants containing raphides include Dieffenbachia species (dumb cane, mother-in-law plant), Epiphremnum species (golden pothos, devil’s ivy), Schefflera species (schefflera), Philodendrum species (philodendrum), Spathiphyllum species (peace lily), Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lily), Alocasia antiquorum (elephant ear) and Monstera diliciosa (Swiss-cheese plant). Outdoor plants such as Arisaema species (cobra lily, jack-in-the-pulpit) can also contain raphides. In such plants, as much as 6% of the plant dry weight may be composed of calcium oxalate. The reason plants accumulate or sequester calcium oxalate crystals is not known but probably helps defend against plants being eaten by browsing or grazing animals. The sharp crystals discourage animals from eating the plant by irritating their oral tissues. Calcium oxalate crystals may also contribute to plant skeletal structure. Both dogs and cats often chew leaves of ornamental plants containing raphides. Chewing or eating plant material results in sharp

calcium oxalate crystals becoming embedded in oral and digestive system tissues where they cause local irritation and swelling. Health problems are rarely life threatening and usually include oral pain, drooling and mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea). Treatment is usually not needed but supportive care and short-term steroid therapy may help severe cases with excessive swelling and inability to eat or drink. Pet owners and gardeners should be familiar with ornamental plants that contain calcium oxalate crystals and attempt to keep pet animals from eating the plants. 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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913-233-9499 • The Kansas City Gardener / November 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 New Ann

May 2012

Attracting Flying Flowers

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

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 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Rodney St. John, agronomist with Ryan Lawn and Tree, Overland Park Job description: As an agronomist, I work to develop our lawn program, selecting the best products and procedures that will create that ‘Ryan Signature’ healthy green yard. I also work with turf managers to ensure that they are trained, and conducting themselves at our high ‘Ryan Standards.’ I also study the latest turfgrass research, then teach that to all of our customer service representatives and turf, tree, and irrigation managers. Education: BS Turfgrass Management 1996; Master’s Turfgrass Science 2000; PhD in Turfgrass Science 2005 – all Iowa State University Favorite turf: I love a yard that is mixed with tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Tall fescue has a slightly deeper root system than Kentucky bluegrass and it can stay greener longer in the summer with less rainfall than Kentucky bluegrass. But Kentucky bluegrass has underground spreading structures called rhizomes. These rhizomes help keep the lawn thick and dense and will spread the Kentucky bluegrass in the thin or damaged areas. It is best to have a mix of mostly tall fescue and a little Kentucky bluegrass. Job satisfaction: Helping people grow grass. Providing a lawn problem solution and seeing the result is quite rewarding. It feels wonderful when I see the smile on their face when they have achieved that thick green lawn they have long been striving for. What every gardener should know: Green healthy turf is beneficial to the environment. Healthy turf is an excellent bio-filter – filtering out chemicals, soil, and dust from the water and air. Numerous studies show that fertilizing your yard decreases the amount of nutrients and sediments found in stormwater run-off. Contrary to popular belief, fertilizing the lawn creates a thicker healthier lawn that holds more soil in place and filters more water as it runs across the surface of the yard. Green healthy turf requires proper fertilization. So seed the bare/thin areas when needed and fertilize every year to create that thick healthy turf that protects the environment. More tips: The front lawn is a buffer strip, much like how farmers use them in row crop fields to filter the water running off the farm field before it enters the stream. You are filtering the water off the roof and driveway, before it enters the stormwater system. So be sure to sweep or blow any tree leaves, grass clippings, or fertilizer products off the driveway, street, or sidewalk back into the lawn. Once in the lawn it stays in the lawn. But if it’s in the street, is goes down the storm drain into creeks, ponds, and rivers. Other interests: Camping. My wife and I have 3 children, and we get outside where it’s peaceful and quiet, and appreciate nature. I have a soft spot for my 97 Jeep that keeps my mechanic skills up to par. Contact: Ryan Lawn and Tree, 9120 Barton, Overland Park, KS; 913-381-1505;; 23

fall color Plant It Now

Big Maples Arriving from our Farms in November • • • •

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

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

What Can We Do For You this month? Leaf Clean Up Fertilize Trees Winterize Sprinkler System

• Red Armstrong Maple • Celebration Maple • Green Mountain Maple

25-50% Off selected SHRUBS at all locations

Call 816-941-4700

y b e l ng* b a l givi i a POINSETTIAS Av anks Christmas TREES Th Fresh Garlands & Wreaths *available at 135th & Wornall and 105th & Roe locations 24

105th & Roe 913-649-8700

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy under construction

th 135 & Wornall The Kansas City Gardener / November 2013


KCG 11Nov13  
KCG 11Nov13  

annuals, bee haven, poinsettias, birds, winter native garden, pets and plants