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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

December 2012

Encouraging Amaryllis While Forcing Other Bulbs

Impact of Tree Fertilization Patrick’s Picks: Vegetable Gardening Gifts 3 Easy Steps to Holiday WOW Charming Crestwood Corner

Does Your Water Garden Come Alive As A Winter Wonderland, Or Do You Just Put It To Sleep For The Winter? I Don’t Know About You But Winter Is My Least Favorite Season Of The Year.

Living and Enjoying The Water Garden Lifestyle Arriving at Swan’s Water Gardens is like entering a charming water garden village. Complete with covered bridges, scenic pathways winding through beautiful water gardens, magnificent waterfalls and peaceful streams. You’ll find quaint arbors and benches along the way where you can sit and relax as you absorb the sights and sounds of a true water garden paradise. The mesmerizing sounds of cascading waterfalls are so calming and relaxing that your mind almost enters into an hypnotic trance. Releasing the tension and stress created by the hectic pace of the outside world. Your built-up frustrations, anxieties and problems suddenly seem to just drift away. These sounds seem to trigger the release of serotonin and endorphins, the chemical messengers of the brain that induce pleasure.

When Was The Last Time “You” Felt Totally at Peace? Suddenly you awaken from your hypnotic trance and continue on your journey through the seemingly endless maze of pathways. With each new turn bringing you to yet another water garden paradise. Only this one uniquely different then the last. After touring the water gardens you’ll no doubt end up in our retail market center. So affectionately referred to as “shopping in paradise” by many of our customers. This is where you’ll find quite possibly the largest selection of aquatic plants and flowers anywhere in the Midwest. We also carry everything you need for your water garden.

Swan’s Water Gardens Is a Full Service Water Garden Center.

That is why we do everything we can to help ease the pain of the Winter blahs. That starts with leaving our waterfalls run most of the Winter. I know some people will say, “you can’t do that” your fish will freeze to death. Well, that’s not true. In fact it has been our experience that moving water does not freeze and the water in the pond bottoms still remain in the 38-40 degree range even in the coldest times that we have experienced here in the Kansas City area. The one thing that we caution all of our customers is to watch closely when the temperatures start to dip below 15 degrees as ice dams can form in the stream and divert the water out of the stream.

When you’re finished adding water disconnect the hose from the faucet and roll the hose up to drain the water out. Store in garage or some other warm area ready for next time. Remember, never leave your garden hose connected to the faucet during the winter. At this time you should have already started treating your pond with Autumn/Winter Prep to keep your pond as healthy as possible. You should always leave your aeration system running to ensure maximum oxygen levels in your pond and to keep an air hole in the ice (pictured above) so any gases that are created by decaying leaves and debris can escape harmlessly into the atmosphere. By taking a few precautionary measures you can enjoy the sights and sounds of a true “Winter Wonderland” right in your very own backyard.

When temperatures plunge below 15 degrees we simply unplug the pump and wait for the temps to rebound to a more favorable temperature and then plug the pump back in. If your system has a check valve assembly installed where the water cannot freely flow back into the pond, then you must disconnect it so the water does not freeze in the return line. If the winter is dry without much precipitation you may have to add water to bring the pond level back to normal from time to time. The nice part of living in this area we are blessed with many days of above freezing temps where we can add water. Caution! Be sure to add dechlorinator when adding water to protect your fish from chlorine and chloramines in the water.

Swan’s Water Gardens Provides a Five Year Guarantee On All New Installations And We Put It In Writing!

“Creating Paradise ... In Your Backyard”

Swan’s Water Gardens 20001 S. Padbury Lane, Spring Hill, KS 66083 Mon-Fri 9am-6pm • Sat 9am-4pm 913-592-2143

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 Lauren Cavanaugh Contributors Leah Berg Erin Busenhart Barbara Fairchild Clarke Fry Diane & Doc Gover Gwen Martin Patrick Muir Dennis Patton 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

Right outside my window


he large bay window in the front of the house allows plenty of visual access to the garden. Since our house faces southeast, I have the pleasure of starting my day sitting in the living room and watching the sun rise through the trees. With a cat in my lap and coffee in hand, winter mornings are warmed by the flood of sunlight. It’s easy to see the crabapple tree loaded with fruit. The Robins usually clean the trees. This year, though, I’m hoping to see the elusive Cedar Waxwing flock. It’s also a place where other birds like Cardinal, Nuthatch and Chickadee wait their turn at the bird feeder. The gazebo style platform feeder situated near the bay window is a busy place this time of year. I can easily spy on courting birds that feed each other, and young ones in training with a parent. In the winter months, I keep it filled with safflower which satisfies many popular species, and is less appealing to Squirrels and Starlings. Situated closer to the street, I get a glimpse of the garden arbor. This handcrafted wooden piece of

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

Japanese Maple catch your eye as you pass through the dining room? Are you able to notice the tulips start to break through the soil in spring? I believe the garden should be enjoyed in every season, even when the trees are naked and the shrubs are bare. Structure and form, wings and seed — it’s all there waiting to be discovered. As you look out into the garden from any room in your home, is the scenery as joyful and fulfilling as if you were standing in the garden? My wish for you is the unending joy in the garden, inside and out. Make it happen. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue

Join us and fellow gardeners. Become a fan.

Give a subscription to your favorite gardener. See page 19 for a subscription order form.

art never fails to evoke the same response, one of simple elegance. Installed almost two years ago, I can say that I enjoy it every single day. Its uncomplicated style makes it pleasing to see anytime of year. Another visual favorite of mine is the Globe Blue Spruce, planted in the front corner of the landscape. She anchors that section of the garden with unique shape and color year round. The silverblue needles are especially bright in the summer. This evergreen shrub (more like ever-BLUE) is a constant garden beauty. Do you have a favorite place inside the house where you can observe garden activity? Can you see birds in the heated birdbath on the deck, from your kitchen window? Do the fall colors of the

December 2012 • Vol. 17 No. 12 Ask the Experts ....................... 4 GN Strawberry bush ............... 6 Impact Tree Fertilization ........... 7 The Bird Brain ......................... 8 MGGKC Spring Seminar ................................. 9 Encourage/Force Bulbs ............ 10 Patrick’s Picks: Vegetable Gardeners Gifts ....... 12

about the cover ...

Upcoming Events ..................... 14 Gardeners Connect January Program ...................... 15 3 Steps to Holiday WOW ........ 16 Garden Calendar .................... 17 Charming Crestwood Corner .... 18 Weather ................................. 19 Subscribe ............................... 19 Professional’s Corner ................ 19

Learn the steps to have blooming Amaryllis and other bulbs in your home, starting on page 10.

December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


18 3

Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Here is the sad news, we still don’t have the new logo approved so we have to use the old one. Can you incorporate the look of the postcard anyway especially the cutie girl? I know this ad is smallllllll (1/4) page so Arborvitae faired a little better let me know if we have too much copy or you are too but they also suffered greatly this busy to get to by the tight deadline. past summer without supplemental

Dennis Patton EVERGREEN DECLINE Question: I have noticed so many dying evergreens around the city. Is there a disease or is this the result of summer? Answer: Unfortunately this is the result of the hot, dry summer. Simply put, if the evergreen trees were not properly watered they are more than likely in decline. The hardest hit evergreen was the Emerald Arborvitae. This plant has a very shallow root system and many just simply burnt up. Along those lines, the Green Giant

watering. Spruce and white pine trees are also in decline. Unlike the arborvitae, which turned brown in the summer, the spruce and pine did not start to fail until into September. Once a branch has died on an evergreen there is not much that can be done except to remove the branch. Evergreens do not set secondary buds like many deciduous plants. That means when large brown dead areas are removed the natural shape of the plant is destroyed and recovery is a slow process if at all. Many of the browning trees will need to be removed. Remember none of these trees are native to our climate and can-

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not tolerate these wide swings in moisture. Bottom line is all evergreens except junipers should be watered on a regular basis if rainfall does not provide the moisture. This means whether they are one year old or one hundred — water is the key to salvation. LAST CHANCE TO FERTILIZE BEFORE DORMANCY Question: I missed applying my application of fertilizer before Thanksgiving. Is it too late to apply in December? Answer: This is a good question with a not so simple answer. The problem with applying fertilizer into December is we run the risk of the turf going dormant before

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Once a branch has died on an evergreen there is not much that can be done except to remove the branch. the roots can pick up the needed nutrients and store for spring use. If the month is cold, it will probably be wasted. However, if December holds mild the turf will still be growing and developing roots, which means the nutrients can be utilized by the grass. My recommendation is to apply the fertilizer only in the very early parts of December and then make sure it is watered into the soil to become activated and in the root zone for pick up. Keep in mind it is also important to apply the proper fertilizer mix. At this time of year, apply a high nitrogen product, which is very low or contains no phosphorus and potassium. Also, make sure


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the nitrogen is available in a quick release form as we want it available immediately to the plants. KEEP COMPOSTING THROUGH WINTER Question: Do you have any suggestions to help keep my compost pile working longer into the winter months? I realize that in cold weather the process will stop. Answer: Here are a couple of tips to keep it chugging along in the colder months. The first step is to make sure it is working properly so that it creates heat. The two most common factors that slow the process is lack of moisture and low nitrogen. Make sure the pile is evenly moist. The plant debris should feel like a damp sponge. Make sure there are ample greens in the pile to break down the browns. This can be accomplished by adding a couple handfuls of garden fertilizer and mixing throughout the pile. This combination is a one-two punch to success. Other tips to keep the pile working longer into the winter include building a bigger pile so that there is a greater mass of materials and locate the bin in the sun to take advantage of the sun’s rays to heat up the pile. I have seen piles that when built properly work all winter long. It is a pleasant sense of accomplishment to turn the pile in winter and see the steam rise from the generated heat. CROP ROTATION Question: I have a small vegetable garden and keep reading in books that I should rotate my crops. The problem is how do I accomplish this in a 10’ by 10’ bed? Answer: The concept of crop rotation or moving plants around

in the garden is a recommended practice. The belief is that it helps keep the soil fresh and helps reduce insect and disease problems. Unfortunately, this does not work in modern gardens. In the old days where gardens were an acre in size it was easy to plant different crops in different areas each year. Smaller spaces require replanting in the same general location each year so rotation is not possible. My advice is to practice good gardening practices such as sanitation or the removal of old crop debris. This helps reduce insects and diseases from overwintering. Soil testing on a regular basis will also help monitor the soil fertility needed for healthy plants. This combination should help keep the garden fresh and you are able to replant each year without following the old recommendation of crop rotation. USE PINE NEEDLES AS MULCH Question: I have a grouping of three pine trees. Should I rake the needles up or just let them be? Answer: The simple answer is just let them be. Pine needles make great mulch and look natural under the tree. The only concern could be the spread of some of the pine needle diseases. However whether you pick up or not, the airborne diseases will still be a potential problem that cannot be controlled by sanitation alone. So let them alone as this will also reduce your workload and the hassle of disposal. 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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Celebrate the Holidays at Powell Gardens 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 816-697-2600 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. 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 at or call 816-697-2600 x209.



SPEAKERS’ BUREAU Need a speaker for your church, civic group or garden club? The Johnson County Extension Speakers’ Bureau have the speakers you are looking for on just about any topic like environmentally safe lawn care, or perennial flower gardening. We can adapt to meet your group’s needs, from a short 20-minute presentation to a longer format, if needed. While there are no fees for a volunteer speaker, a donation to Extension or the chosen volunteer organization is appreciated. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information on this service, call 913-715-7000.

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Grow Native! Plant Profile Strawberry bush Barbara Fairchild


rimson leaves, brilliant blue sky and crisp, clear nights signal the arrival of that glorious time of year we call autumn. Splashes of yellow, orange and red leaves decorating the landscape are breathtaking to say the least. Every bit as breathtaking is the fruit of the strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus). As days shorten, the warty, globular fruit begins to swell, turns the color of raspberries and, when fully mature, bursts open to reveal three to five vividly orange berries dangling by a thread from the colorful husk—a breathtaking sight, indeed, on a crisp fall day. Strawberry bush is found in much of the eastern United States, ranging from the east coast to Texas and Oklahoma on the west and from Florida on the south to Pennsylvania on the north. The shrub also has been found in Ontario, Canada. In Missouri, its natural range is the southeast corner of the state. Look for it along streams, in river bottoms and moist, open woods. While many native shrubs offer stunning floral displays in the

spring, strawberry bush is more low-key. You have to look closely to find its greenish-white blossoms that begin opening in late April, early May. The tiny blossoms are less than a half-inch in diameter and are so flat they seem almost two-dimensional. Not only are the blossoms subdued, the entire plant seems restrained during spring and summer. It, however, explodes with beauty in the fall, when, not only its fruit, but also its fiery leaves add a glow to the landscape. In areas populated with deer, the leaves may be absent. Deer, it seems, see the shrub as their personal salad bar—or as one botanist noted “deer ice cream.” The plant’s thick, wiry stems, however, continue to lend a green grace to the landscape throughout fall and winter. Strawberry bush can reach heights of 10 feet, but a more typical height is three to six feet. If heavily browsed or trimmed, it may sucker and form a small thicket. While suckering is not always desirable, strawberry bush is not considered invasive. The common name strawberry bush comes from the fact that its immature fruit resembles green strawberries. Another common name and my favorite is hearts-a-

The Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America would like to thank the following speakers for the wonderful programs they presented to our members over the past year.

Rita Arnold, Arnold’s Greenhouse

Kay Elliott, Gardeners of America

David Bird, Bird’s Botanicals

Megan Sperry, Ozanam Horticultural Therapist

Lady Elaine Coleman, Powell Gardens

Piet Stuifbergen, Stuifbergen Bulb Export

~ Exciting New Perennials and Annuals ~ Orchid Cave Tour

~ Make Your Own Hypertufa Container

Dr. Bibie Chronwall, Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City

~ Flower Pounding

~ Oh My Gourd!

~ Planting & Forcing Bulbs

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

~ Native Plants

Look for our meeting announcement listed each month in the Upcoming Events section of The Kansas City Gardener. Join us at our next meeting and make a gardening friend! For more information, email or call (816) 561-5380. 6

Photo by Andy and Sally Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

bursting, which refers to the manner in which the fruit opens. The scarlet husk literally bursts open. The burst can catapult its vivd orange berries as far as 15 feet. Other common names include bursting heart, fish wood and John Baptiste-Percival. Euonymus is Greek meaning true or good name and americanus refers to the plant’s place of origin. Early European botanists, it seems, were intrigued by strawberry bush, as it was among the first American plants exported (in 1663) to Europe for horticultural use. According to the USDA Plant Database, strawberry bush seed serves as a strong laxative. Herbalists report the fruit and bark contain glycosides that cause severe diarrhea and others say the fruit can

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affect the heart—even cause a heart attack. (Note: Do not consume any part of the plant. The plant also has an adverse effect on sheep and cattle.) Tea made from its roots was used to treat malaria, liver congestion and constipation. Its bark was ground into powder and applied to the scalp to eliminate dandruff. The seeds provide food for wild turkey and some songbirds. And, as noted, deer, as well as eastern cottontail rabbits, browse the leaves. Scientists say a lack of strawberry bush in its natural habitat can be an indicator of a large deer population. Because of its autumnal display, strawberry bush is a great ornamental species and is best used in natural settings in the shade of larger shrubs and trees. One landscape designer suggests planting it in view of a window, as the shrub covered with hundreds of bursting fruits is a spectacular sight. Once established, strawberry bush is hardy in most conditions. It tolerates many types of soil, but may falter during a drought. Mulching and watering the shrub in hot, dry conditions will keep it alive and allow it to dazzle you in the fall. For information about native plants and vendors who sell them, visit Barbara Fairchild gardens in central Missouri, and writes for the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

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Impact of Tree Fertilization By Clarke Fry


any people don’t think twice about fertilizing their yard; however, when it comes to trees and shrubs a different mindset ensues. Why should I fertilize my tree when plenty of trees seem to do just fine in the forest? While forests are home to a lot of trees, nature does not care what lives or not. If a tree dies in the forest, its place will quickly be taken by poison ivy or some other replacement. When is the last time you noticed perfectly manicured grass in the woods? The fact is, if you want a yard with curb appeal, it is important to care for all aspects of the landscape, not just the lawn. The most lacking plant nutrient in the soil is nitrogen. Our trees and lawn are in constant competition for the nitrogen available to them. Turf grass root systems are much more dense and will receive most of the nitrogen present. This is why the fertilizer applied to the lawn throughout the year will not be sufficient to maintain the health of your trees. While Nitrogen is naturally present in the air we breathe, in order for trees to absorb the element, it must be in a soluble form in the soil. If you are looking to fertilize yourself, it is best to find a slowrelease nitrogen-based fertilizer. These come in liquid, granular or organic forms. For homeowners, an iron post shoved into moist ground and then removed should provide an area large enough for fertilizer to be poured. It is important not to

spray the fertilizer all around the tree, because at this concentrated level, the Nitrogen could very well burn the grass around it. Fertilizer should be placed below the grass roots; usually 3-6 inches below the soil surface will suffice. Getting the fertilizer below the surface will help it absorb into the lower portions of the soil where tree roots have a better chance of getting their share. The rate of application will vary depending on either the square footage of the treatment area or the diameter of the tree. The most common commercial method for applying tree fertilizer is injecting a liquid fertilizer into the soil. This is the easiest way to provide the proper amount of fertilizer to make a significant difference for a large tree. Normally, these injections will start at the drip line (the outermost circumference of a tree canopy) and will move toward the base of the tree. Each injection is generally spaced

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24-30” apart. On large trees, injections will reach to within a few feet of the trunk, and smaller trees to within one foot. Late fall or early winter is the best time to complete tree fertilization, as this mimics nature and gives the best results. If fertilization were to take place in the late sum-

mer, it could stimulate rapid new growth that would not have time to acclimate before the first fall freeze. Fertilizing new or younger trees as well as environmentally stressed trees is definitely recommended. Larger trees will also benefit from fertilization, especially if you would like them to grow at an increased rate. Tree fertilization will not only help establish newly planted trees, it can also aid in the strengthening of larger trees that need encouragement for future growth. If you decide to fertilize yourself, make sure to pay close attention to the timing and rate of your application in order to avoid harming the tree in the process. Clarke Fry is a Marketing Associate at Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-381-1505 or

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The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions

Doc & Diane Gover YOU can make a difference The life of a bird in winter is particularly difficult. The days are short (less daylight hours to forage for food) and the nights are cold and long. At times like these, it is especially helpful to have feeders full and a source of liquid water nearby to make their lives a little easier. While birds are equipped to withstand most weather, they obviously can’t turn up the thermostat, throw on an extra blanket or whip up a warm cup of cocoa. However, there are a number of ways you

can help make their survival easier, by providing food, a heated open source of water and protection from the elements. It is important to keep feeders full of fresh high oil content, high fat foods. Natural food sources are quickly being depleted or hidden by snow and ice. Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights and this fat must be replaced every day or the bird will perish. Normally, birds that come to feeders obtain only about 20% of their daily calories from food offered in feeders; the rest come from natural food sources. In contrast, during periods of cold weather, your birds may use your feeders to load up on calories as a means

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of survival. Not only is the demand higher for bird-feeder foods in winter, but the sheer number of birds that visit your yard increase because of flocking patterns. It would be highly unusual to see a solitary songbird during the cold weather months as food is found easier in flocks (more eyes looking for food and more eyes watching for predators). It is equally as important to offer a reliable, open (liquid) source of water. Birds continue to need a source of water for drinking to maintain their metabolism during cold weather. Clean feathers help birds stay warm and a bird bath is often the only way for some birds to drink and keep their feathers in top condition when it’s cold. Most birds adjust their feathers to create air pockets, which help them keep warm. The soft, fluffy down feathers are puffed up with air to create a warm blanket

around the bird. The body feathers lie on top of each other, overlapping like shingles on a roof. Small interlocking barbules, or “hairs”, zip their feathers together to create an airtight windbreaker (think down jacket). Most birds preen their feathers with the oil produced by a gland on their backs near their tails to create a waterproof rain coat. Research has shown that a chickadee with well maintained feathers can create a 70 degree (F) layer of insulation between the outside air and its skin. Provide birds a place to escape the elements. Installing roosting and nesting boxes in your backyard can give birds a warm, dry place to stay on a cold Kansas City night. Offer a small brush pile in a corner of the yard or near a feeding station, this would be a perfect use of your discarded Christmas tree. Shelter is also necessary for protection against predators such as birds of prey and cats. Birds will be returning to feeders on a regular basis and those of you who are considerate enough to keep them filled are in for a long winter of entertaining delight. You are the special people who “Create Joy in Your Own Backyard”. If you have any questions, 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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Wendy Hix 913.481.5416 • Tate Foster 913.406.6804 8

Made in the Heartland

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2012

‘Gardening: Coming of Age’ Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City 12th Spring Gardening Seminar


n Saturday, March 9, 2013, the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City will present their 12th annual Spring Seminar, “Gardening: Coming of Age”, at Longview College in Lee’s Summit. The seminar consists of three tracks of four sessions each from which to choose, plus two half-day advanced training sessions. The tracks—Beauty, Productivity, and Adaptability—reflect the Master Gardeners’ focus on gardening that can produce the most and best food while adapting to our new climate zone and still manage to create beautiful gardens. The two advanced training classes taught by K-State Associate Professor Dr. Jason Griffin and K-State Professor Dr. Candice Shoemaker will speak to trees and shrubs after the drought, and to gardening for healthy aging, both timely topics. The choice of Longview College, built on the grounds of R.A. Long’s Longview Farm, is an excellent choice due to the fact that the farm, built in 18 months in 1913-1914, was a progressive community concept at the time. Long hired 50 Belgian craftsmen and 200 Sicilian stonemasons to build 50 farm structures during that time, and employed 2000 workers to turn the

1,780 acres into “The World’s Most Beautiful Farm.” Included on the farm was apartment style housing for the workers and their families, schools for the children, a private telephone system, water system, and power plant. The five greenhouses produced prize-winning roses, carnations, gardenias and orchids— many of which adorned the grounds of the farm. New Longview developer David Gale, and Christopher Leitch, Director of the Kansas City Museum (housed in Long’s beautiful Kansas City home Corinthian Hall) will speak at the seminar about the farm and new developments on the farm grounds. Under the topics of beauty, Laura Dickinson-Rosarian and K-State Master Gardener, will speak about Easy Care Roses for Kansas City Gardens, and Caitlin Bailey, Powell Gardens Horticulturist will instruct a make-and-take session on making a living wreath. Ben Sharda of the Kansas City Community Gardens, MU Extension Horticulturist Marlin Bates, Landscape architect Jim Schuessler, Kansas City Community Gardens’ Sharon Goldstein will speak about cold frames and beyond, organic weed management in the vegetable garden, green roofs and vertical

gardens, and starting community gardens, respectively. Mandy Franklin of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Master Gardener and Longview College landscape instructor Leah Berg, gardener Rick Veach, and Powell Gardens’ Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen will speak on plant viruses and diseases, xeriscaping, drip irrigation, and the reality of our new climate zone.

Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City for our region’s largest and most affordable annual gathering of gardeners to learn, grow and get inspired. Registration and more information will be available by early January on the Master Gardeners’ website: Register in January for the early bird rate! Deadline for registration is March 1, 2013.

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816-229-1277 • December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener




Hyacinth Daffodils


Cybister amaryllis ‘Emerald’ and ‘Bogota’ 10

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2012

Encouraging Amaryllis While Forcing Other Bulbs Leah Berg


maryllis definitely rival poinsettias for high-impact December holiday gift appeal. Their popular flowers are often bicolors, or classic solid red, white, shades of pink, orange, and even a light green and mauve amaryllis ‘Papillio’ (butterfly) or an unusual dwarf variety ‘Lemon Sorbet’ blooming pale yellow with a green throat. The slender recurved petals of cybister amaryllis (Hippeastrum cybister) create a spidery flower effect, and the foliage doesn’t go dormant as do more common amaryllis. Whether intended for someone else or for oneself, shopping for this showy plant reveals many appealing choices in price ranges from around $5 to over $20. Add plain pots or extra special pots, or give more than one if budget permits. Consider looking at selections in our local garden centers for the highest quality bulbs as well as some already potted and growing. Check mail order sources for some of the most unique hybrids. Large bulbs between the size of oranges to large grapefruit should produce several stems in one season topped by large trumpet-shaped flowers resembling lilies. But they are not true lilies (Lilium) or daylilies (Hemerocallis). The common name “amaryllis” usually refers to assorted hybrids derived from the genus Hippeastrum, plants native to Central and South America. However, the true amaryllis consists of the South African species, Amaryllis belladonna, also known as “naked ladies”—not to be confused with those pink winter-hardy “surprise lilies” (Lycoris squamigera) seen in many Midwest yards with similar growth and flowering pattern.

There are more than 50 species of Hippeastrum. Not winter hardy here, we see them most often for sale during the fall to “force” for indoor bloom. But the effort required is so easy, we might instead refer to “encouraging” or “allowing” them to bloom. After planted in pots, amaryllis usually bloom in 4-6 weeks. Staggered plantings two weeks apart of newly purchased amaryl-

roots and stems. Expect flowers 2-3 weeks later. Keep them in a cool dark place like an unheated garage or shed until well-rooted and beginning to sprout. Set up outdoor cold frames or a spare refrigerator for large numbers of pots to force. Then move them into bright light and greater warmth. All bulbs risk rotting from saturated soil or overwatering. Do not

lis bulbs between November and January result in extended weeks of brightly colored indoors flowers good for the winter morale! Like amaryllis, paperwhites do not require the period of chilling as do many of our favorite springflowering bulbs like crocus, daffodils, tulips and oriental hyacinths. They respond quickly to the 70-75 degree indoor warmth of homes and prefer sunny south windows. Once flowers emerge, move to indirect light and keep slightly cooler to prolong the bloom period. To force the other potted bulbs to bloom indoors, allow for chilling periods to grow roots in temperatures above freezing but below 50 degrees. If pots freeze, rooting stops. Potted crocus need chilling about 8-15 weeks; hyacinths and tulips about 10-15 weeks; daffodils about 12-15 weeks to develop

plant in soil from the yard! I prefer to pre-moisten well-draining soilless potting mix in buckets before planting. Pots must have drainage holes, and excess water running through should be poured off when placed in saucers to protect indoor surfaces. If planting a group of bulbs in one pot, they should not touch each other but be nestled fairly close with a collar of soil around each— picture eggs cushioned in egg cartons. Position tops of the bulbs just below or at soil level. Pot diameter should allow 1-2 inches of soil surrounding the bulbs. Don’t fill soil higher than 1-2 inches from the pot’s rim. Allow soil to dry partially between watering, to keep roots moist but not soggy. Appealing clusters of crocus or hyacinths suit shallow containers, but the long-stemmed top-heavy

December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

amaryllis benefit from heavier pots 2-3 times the height of the bulb. As stems elongate, tie to clipped bamboo stakes for support. To keep stems straight, rotate pots weekly as stems bend towards sunlight. Moistened potting mix works in easily around the roots usually showing already on quality amaryllis bulbs. Add a couple inches of soil to an empty pot. Hold a bulb in one hand centered and positioned with the bulb’s tip just above the rim, and the upper third of the bulb above soil. Fill in soil around roots gently, and cover the lower 2/3 of the bulb. No fertilizer needed! Avoid applying excess nitrogen, as it promotes vegetative growth and reduces flowering. Stems develop first, then flower buds, and finally long thick leaves. Consult the Missouri Botanical Gardens or our extension websites for more detailed growing advice. To preserve amaryllis another year, when the flowers dry up or drop off, start by cutting the stem back to just a couple inches above the bulb. Read more about the care steps required through summer and fall with its foliage growing, then timing a dormant period for classic hybrids like ‘Apple Blossom’ or ‘Liberty’ (but NOT for Hippeastrum cybister like ‘Emerald’ and ‘Bogota.’ Do not allow them to dry out or remove the foliage!) “An Amaryllis Encore” in Fine Gardening magazine’s online archives may convince some readers this is too much work! Just enjoy them this winter along with a Christmas poinsettia—or are you determined to keep that going all year, too? Many people simply treat someone to new bulbs each year. Merry Christmas! 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. 11

Patrick’s Picks: Vegetable Gardener’s Gifts Garden Gifts That Will Last a Lifetime Tier Garden Starter Kit ($369). This product is a tour de force of growlights and seed supplies in a very attractive shelf system. Please be sure to order their Heat Mats (starting at $39) to get your seedlings up and growing in the coolest of rooms.

Patrick Muir



e are all more than aware we’ve been witnessing an explosion of victory gardens for the fourth time in the history of our Grand Republic. So with the all this veggie craze fever, it has been a distinct pleasure looking for gifts suitable for you all year. And I won’t think any less of you if you Santa bagged some for yourself.


There’s nothing like the reward of starting your own heirloom vegetable plants under lights in January to kick off the gardening year. From the Gardener’s Supply Company, you’ll find the Compact Two-

Join Us at Our Holiday Open House For Refreshments & Good Cheer! Saturday, December 1 • 9am-5pm Explore our uncommon gift selection for gardeners, water gardeners, and NON gardeners, alikefrom toys to tools, smell-goods to feel-goods, from functional to fun funky to hi design! Find something for everyone on your list!

And I can think of no better way to get those seedlings off to a fast start than composting your own kitchen scraps with the help of red worms, even in your own apartment! The Worm Factory 360 4 Tray ($109.95) from may turn out to be your favorite new garden tool. The top dressings of this type of compost will ensure high yielding organic vegetables you could have ever imagined. Let’s keep that imagination stirring with the

Photo by


Joshua W

ability to sit at your patio table and look at pansies while harvesting carrots directly from an outdoor wall to your plate? The Woolly Pocket Planter ($40) allows you to do just this with even the smallest amount of hard labor on your part. These brilliant all-American made products of 100% recycled plastic bottles are fashioned into soft pockets to easily accommodate drip irrigation. This is but one example of a revolutionary movement known as edible landscaping. While thought of by many as a new trend, this term was first coined by Rosalind Creasy in her groundbreaking book Edible Landscaping: Now You Can Have Your Gorgeous

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816.916.5171 The Kansas City Gardener / December 2012

Garden and Eat It Too! ($27) in 1982. The revised edition was published to fulfill many requests from the general public and generated much fanfare in 2010. Both novice and seasoned gardeners often forget an important step in the development of hardy transplants. The premiere Kinsman Garden Company offers its Cold Frame at a list price

of around $140. This essential tool hardens off transplants so they are better prepared to thrive in what may be a challenging environment in the open garden. An added touch, would be an Automatic Opener making the combo price $180. Special jelly in black cylinder responds to inside temperatures to automatically open and close top panels without electricity. Adjustable to begin opening anywhere from 60F to 85F. Raises up to 12 lbs. Full opening is 17”. Now that’s a garden tool. A cold frame is a weapon that even in the most limiting scenarios allows you to grow vegetables all year long. Try my favorite winter crop mesclune that’s made of small leaves of arugula, lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard. Pick up and review a copy of the cold

frame bible Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long ($17) for further inspiration. The Territorial Seed Company is an unheralded family-owned seed and supplies vendor and one of my favorites. The Urban Jungle Veggie Garden Basket ($98.95) helps one grow superior vegetables in apartments or other tight areas. Ten compact growing varieties, three hanging basket socks, a multi-purpose tool and plenty of seed supplies are crammed into a unique five-gallon Smart Pot. Now I want you to grasp a bold opportunity to garden on a higher level. and learn best practices

for our area. By getting a Powell Gardens Family Membership ($60) with access to the Heartland Harvest Garden that’s a salute to the seed to plate revolution. There you will find a 12-acre piece of garden nirvana even for the most seasoned of gardeners. Chief Horticulturist Matt Bunch and his team are fare stewards of the most important vegetable garden classroom in the entire region. So I hope I’ve given you the tools and confidence to grow great organic food. If you wanted to give another family the same tools, I

can think of no greater gift or way to give one’s life a greater purpose. I give you the permission to make mistakes and improve your abilities each and every year of your lifetime. Patrick J. Muir is a garden blogger who at provides area gardeners with the knowledge they need to succeed in their gardening efforts.

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The dormant season is an excellent time to trim deciduous trees and shrubs, as the structure of the plant is more apparent. December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener


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Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Dec 3, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City MO. Prepare for the holiday season by making your own Christmas wreath at our annual wreath-making party! All the greenery will be provided by our club. Wreath bases, pins, wire, ribbons, bows will also be available. This is one of our most fun events of the year. Enjoy some hot apple cider and get in the holiday spirit! Guests are always welcome. Come join us and make a gardening friend! 816-941-2445. GreaterKCGOA@ Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Dec 12, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Herbal Holiday Party. Special potluck. Members only. 816822-1515 Independence Garden Club Mon, Dec 10, 6:30pm; place to be announced. Our annual Christmas dinner. For more information, see our web site www.independencegardenclub. com or call 816-373-1169 or 816-7964220. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Dec 9, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Dec 3, 9am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center Bldg, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 913-599-4141

Mo Kan Daylily Society Sun, Dec 2, 10:30am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300 Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Dec 10, 6pm; at Colonial Church at 71st and Mission, Prairie Village, KS. This is the annual Holiday Celebration. We will install new officers, hand out annual awards to individuals as well as national club awards. In addition we will be entertained by the Rockhurst High Jazz and Orchestra Ensemble. Members will be supplying the hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Visitors are always welcome. For additional membership information, contact Judy Schuck 913-362-8480. Sho Me African Violets Society Fri, Dec 14, 11am-2:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Members meeting. 816-784-5300

Events, Lectures & Classes December Holiday Luminary Walk Fri, Nov 30 and Sat, Dec 1, 5-9pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, one half-mile west of Highway 69 at 179th just past Antioch. Entrance fee $7, children 5 and under free. Horsedrawn hay wagon rides $3 per rider. Free parking. No pets please. Call 913-6853604 or visit 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 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 http://www. 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


The Kansas City Gardener / December 2012

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, noon-4pm 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. 417282-6985. 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.

January Basic Landscape Photography Sat, Jan 12, 10am–noon; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $20 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Class limited to 30 people. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to take your landscape and scenic photographs to the next level, this is the class for you. Carol Fowler and Dave Shackelford, local photographers and members of the FOTA Photo Committee will focus on the basics of

lighting, exposure and composition when taking photos outdoors, whether at the Arboretum or on your travels. Indoor classroom only. Register for classes by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. 913-685-3604 Basic Flower Photography Sat, Jan 19, 10am-noon; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. $20 per person for class PLUS admission fee to Gardens day of class. Admission fee waived for FOTA members. Class is limited to 30 people. Flower photography at its finest! Everyone wants to take beautiful pictures when visiting the Arboretum or just in their own backyard. Carol Fowler and Dave Shackelford, local photographers and members of the FOTA Photography Committee, will focus on teaching the basics of composition, exposure and lighting, as well as other techniques to help you take interesting and beautiful flower photographs. Indoor classroom only. Register by going to and follow the prompts. Bring your paid receipt to the class for admission. No refunds for missed classes. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. New Volunteer Orientation Sat, Jan 26, 9-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Consider spending part of your leisure time volunteering at Overland Park’s 300-acre Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This hidden jewel at 179th and Antioch is a great place for people to get back in touch with nature, admire the beauty of numerous flower and water gardens and become part of a wonderful volunteer experience. You can find out about volunteer opportunities such as gardening, greeters, prairie restoration, greenhouse operations, weddings, photography, birds, special events and plant sales. Free-only requirement is 30 hours per year of volunteer time. You may register by going to and follow the prompts. For additional information, 913-685-3604.

February Deadline to register for Spring Seminar Feb 8, 2013. Deadline for early bird registration for the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Spring Gardening Seminar taking place Sat, Mar 9, at Longview College. Registration closes Mar 1. See under Spring Seminar heading in January for more information.

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

Deadline for January issue is December 5. December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Gardeners Connect welcomes Rita Arnold to share What’s New Saturday, January 19


ita Arnold, co-owner of Arnold’s Greenhouse in LeRoy, Kan., plans to give us a preview of what to look forward to this spring in a program titled “What’s New for 2013.” Join us Saturday, January 19 for this program, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, Mo. Gardeners Connect expects the Lewis & Clark Room to be available for serving refreshments starting at 9:30 a.m. Rita will offer an encyclopedic account of plants to watch for next spring. Come for all of it, or come for what you can. Be ready to take notes. You will leave the program filled with ideas and inspiration. George and Rita Arnold have built quite a complex near

LeRoy, Kan. In 1977, they built a 10- by 16-foot backyard hobby greenhouse. Their hobby grew into a business, and now there are 21 greenhouses covering 80,000 square feet of area. One of their three daughters has joined them in the business, selling a wide selection of annuals and perennials as well as trees, shrubs, conifers, herbs, vegetables and aquatics. Gardeners Connect plans to bring an expert on viburnums to Kansas City for a Feb. 16 program, also at 10 a.m. at the Discovery Center. Also, Gardeners Connect is planning a trip to the Philadelphia International Flower Show on March 1-4. Details of the trip can be found in the Gardeners Connect newsletter and online at

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3 Easy Steps to Holiday WOW!

Erin Busenhart


uy the gifts…check. Hang the lights…check. There is a lot on the checklist this time of year, but one of the easiest ways to spruce up the house for the holidays (well, besides calling Merry Maids) is to put out a great holiday pot. I see too many empty pots in December and January (or dead ferns, but that’s an entirely different neurosis of mine). It’s amazing how adding a bright and cheery splash of greens to the front door will liven up an entryway during these cold, cold times. It’s quick

and fun to do — and trust me, it will be the least expensive thing on your list this year! First, find an inexpensive plastic pot you can slip into your permanent pot. Go through your garage and try some things to get the perfect fit – I know a wonderful woman who uses an old ice cream tub (her husband threw it away last year – yikes… poor guy!) It doesn’t have to be perfect – greens will be dripping over the sides to cover. Fill the pot 3/4 of the way up with potting mix and finish to the top with sand. The sand isn’t a deal breaker, but the weight of it keeps those greens exactly where you place them. Next, buy the greens. You can buy bundles of greens and they’ll all work great. My tip is just to grab a bunch of what you like – with at least 3 different textures – like a pine, a cypress and a fir for example. A spruce top, white branches or red twigs are a great “thriller” for

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.)

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the center of the pot and then fill in around the edges. Easy! Next comes the fun! You have a perfect canvas to style up any way you want. Add pinecones and berries for a beautiful and natural arrangement or sparkly, glitter picks and unbreakable balls for a pop of holiday WOW! Want a more elegant look? Take your basic starter model and spray it with a can of snow flocking – lighter at the base and heavier at the tips. Sure, it will wash off after several wet snows… but if it snows, you don’t need faux flock! To extend the life of your greenery, spray them with an anti-desiccant, like Wilt-stop. This will seal

in the greens and prevent them from drying out as fast. For an added touch, buy a few feet of roping to wrap around the pot. Not only does this finish the arrangement nicely, but it covers a pot insert that is slightly bigger or smaller than your container. That’s all there is to it! Three easy steps to a fabulous front entry! Remember to water periodically through the winter months – especially if we have a dry, mild winter 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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DorMant SeeDInG: We recommend an application of enviroMax mixed with enviroLife (2 to 1 ratio) be used 7 to 10 days before verticutting and seeding. The ground will become softer, as pore space is added to the soil profile. TO PrePare fOr WinTer: Mix PlantMaster with enviroLife (2 to 1 ratio). apply under all trees, bushes and shrubs to aid your plants in winter hardiness. For the lawn, apply enviroMax before winter sets in and take advantage of the snow melt in creating pore space for spring. SepticMaster is available for maintaining your system. Use PlantMaster Organic formula for keeping inside plants lush and healthy.

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garden calendar


• Remove leaves, limbs and other debris from lawn to prevent suffocation. • Store unused fertilizers in dry, cool location and out of the reach of children and pets. • Review lawn service contracts. • Avoid extensive walking on frozen grass.


• Store unused seeds in a cool, dry location or refrigerator. • Check vegetables in storage for spoilage. • Mulch strawberries for winter protection. • Clean and oil garden hand-tools for the winter. • Till soil and add organic matter. • Store unused garden chemicals in a cool, dry and safe location. • Update garden journal with success and failure ratings of this year’s crops. • Start planning for next spring on cold winter nights.


• Mulch hybrid tea roses by mounding soil 6 to 8 inches deep to protect the graft. • Mulch perennial beds with 2 to 4 inches of straw or shredded leaves. • Cut tall hybrid tea roses back to 24 inches to reduce wind whipping and plant damage. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs until the ground is frozen. • Give plants or gift certificates as holiday gifts for gardening friends.

• Empty decorative pots and containers, storing inside. • Shrub roses such as Knock Out need no winter care or pruning until spring. • Check summer bulbs in storage for decay and discard as necessary


• Lightly shake heavy snowfall from limbs to avoid damage. • Avoid shoveling snow onto trees and shrubs. • Check and protect the trunks of young trees and shrubs from rabbit damage. • Living Christmas trees should be in the home less than one week, and then acclimate to the outdoors and plant in a desirable location. • Prune damaged branches throughout the winter months. • Water newly planted and young trees and shrubs in winter to prevent dry soil conditions. • Mulch roots of tender shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons. • Prune branches of junipers, pines, hollies, and other plants for holiday decorations.


• Start planning for next year by making notes and preparing orders. • Turn compost pile to encourage winter breakdown. • When making your Christmas wish list, add gardening supplies. • Keep houseplants out of hot and cold drafts. • Repair, sharpen and store tools for the winter.

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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Charming Crestwood Corner By Gwen Martin Photos by Terry Blair Michel.


earning to take a break? Need a vacation? Step into this Crestwood garden and you are immediately transported to a different time, a different place. Majestic, charming, reflective, loving and soft are adjectives that describe this eclectic garden with “Old World Charm”. Fulfilling their desires and passions for unique plants, flowers and cooking, the owners have taken the average corner lot and transformed it into a profusion of color and texture nestled in a retreat-like setting. Decades ago, the yard had been professionally landscaped but fell into ruin and neglect. When the current owners bought the house 15 years ago, they began to create outdoor spaces that welcome and invite. The garden offers a bit of everything – majestic large trees, native plants, herbs, perennials, stone statuary and a hardscape that stimulates and quiets the mind simultaneously.

Taking the old red brick path from the street to the front porch, you gaze around to see that the garden expands in multiple directions, each bringing a smile to your face. An Asian-influenced side garden with a laughing Buddha prepares you to appreciate the beauty and fun the owners have had in creating

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an eclectic landscape, embracing and holding your attention while relaxing you. Gardening is part art and this one fully encompasses that magical combination of color, texture, and shape. One-of-a-kind, owner-created features – a pergola at the end of the kitchen garden, a unique copper arch, multiple gates, birdhouses and raised garden beds – complement mature trees, including Japanese maple, dogwood, crab apple white pine and a truly heart-tugging “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” planted in memory of a parent. Berry-producing shrubs and native plants are thoughtfully placed to enliven each season and invite wildlife to enjoy its bounty. Choosing and planting what they like, the owners’ sentiments are reflected in many of their favorite plants. A money plant “Honesty” brings back memories of England; unique peonies (including yellow

and lavender) reminds them of their Memorial Day cemetery visits to honor others; and, irises, grown by an elderly parent and passed along. Hostas, ferns and astilbe are right at home in the shade and soften the space beneath the large trees. Orange cosmos and cranesbill geranium return faithfully each year. The summer phlox and crepe myrtles add that much needed summer color jolt while the kitchen garden yields an abundance of food and herbs and is anchored with a beautiful Sombriel antique climbing rose and wisteria. A neighbor’s statement captures this garden: “Walking by the yard is wonderful, but being in the garden is magical.” Come. Be in this garden, featured in the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Garden Tour, June 7-8, 2013. Gwen Martin is a member of Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City.

Serving the Northland for 29 years Snow Throwers in stock now: Toro Electric $199.00 Single Stage from $359.00 Two Stage $999.00 Troybilt SQ2100 - 21” Single Stage with electric start $499.00 Storm 2410 - 24” Two Stage $649.00

Whimsical Holiday Gifts for all Bird Lovers!

Come see our Treats & Toys – Great Christmas gifts for your pets.

Northland Feed • 816-452-8393 4807 N. Brighton, KCMO Mon • Fri 9am-6pm • Sat 9am- 4pm

Happy Holidays!

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2012


Weather Report

Highs and Lows Avg temp 34° Avg high temp 42°

Professional’s Corner

Avg low temp 26° Highest recorded temp 73° Lowest recorded temp -18° Nbr of above 70° days 0

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 10 Avg nbr of cloudy days 15

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 4.4” Avg rainfall 1.5” Avg nbr of rainy days 8 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases

Plant Above Ground Crops:

Last Quarter: Dec. 6 New Moon: Dec. 13 First Quarter: Dec. 20 Full Moon: Dec. 28 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

14, 15, 19, 20, 23-25, 28

Plant Root Crops: 1-3

Control Plant Pests: 6, 7, 12, 13

Transplant: 28, 29

Plant Flowers: 14, 15, 19, 20

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GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

December 2012 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Sabine Green of Farrand Farms. She’s looking forward to helping you create a special holiday display. Name: Sabine Green Company: Farrand Farms Where you’ll find me: Due to the diverse nature of my job, you’re likely to find me in one of three places. In the greenhouse as an assistant grower, I plant and maintain our vegetables, annuals and herbs, from seed to display for customer purchase. In the office, I’m entering data, planning and ordering for the upcoming season. While I enjoy all aspects of my job for 4 years, the most fulfilling part is working with customers. Listening to their desires and helping with landscape design, brings all parts of my job together … to the end product in the hands of a satisfied customer. Book or self taught: Living in Germany, my parents were avid gardeners, which naturally transcended through me, and motivated me to have a garden of my own. After moving to America, I worked part-time in a flower shop while going to school. I’ve gained knowledge everyday, taking classes, learning from coworkers and industry professionals. What is the most fulfilling part of your job? Being helpful to our customers needs, seeing them excited about their next planting project, seeing them leave happy and confident, is the best feeling. I know that’s a job well done. Favorite plant: I have several favorite plants this year that did well in this brutal heat. They are Lantana, Vinca and Angelonia. I love bright colorful blooms that look awesome with chartreuse foliage. Favorite garden destination: Wandering the displays at Kauffman Memorial Gardens and Powell Gardens is inspiring. I have to say, though, that one of my favorite gardens belongs to my Mom and Dad. It is one of the most relaxing spots in the world. Talk about the perfect place to grow: warm summer days and cool nights, and yes every year I’m there and get dirty in the rich German soil. What every gardener should know: The key to gardening amidst the challenges of Midwest climate and trials and errors, is adaptation. Learn from local professionals what works and what does not. It’ll save you heartbreak in the end. Little known secret: I taught 3- to 6-year-olds in a school in Germany. Loved that job! And always great fun to see some of “my” kids on my yearly visit back home. Contact information: 5941 S. Noland Rd., Kansas City, MO 64136; Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm; ph 816-353-2312;; 19

Suburban..... where Beautiful Holiday Homes begin

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

KCG 12Dec12  
KCG 12Dec12  

The Kansas City Gardener