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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

December 2013

Patrick’s Picks: Gifts for the Discriminating Gardener

The Bird Brain Evergreens, Young Trees Need TLC in Winter Season of Fresh Greens and Blooming Bulbs Ask the Experts about houseplants, hibiscus and native grass


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 December, 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

Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm Office Winter hours Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm For all inquiries or needed supplies please call. 913-592-2143 From all of us here at Swan’s Water Gardens, we wish all of you a joyous and happy holiday season.

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Myth #4 Water Gardens Are Too Expensive To Build and Maintain After building water gardens for nineteen years now I can tell you that after your initial installation investment for your water garden, maintenance is no more costly than the same amount of grass. Your investment as a DIYer starts around $700.00 and up for the pond kit and $600.00 plus for the rest of the materials, like rock, gravel and mulch. Now if you’re not a

DIYer and want one built professionally then you can figure on spending around $4000.00 and upward. The electrical cost for high efficiency pumps will run $10-15 a month. If your water garden is properly designed and built, it will provide you with years of relaxation and enjoy-

ment with minimal cost. However, if your water garden is poorly designed with shoddy workmanship then yes it can be expensive to keep and maintain. We are so confident about the quality of our craftsmanship that we stake our reputation on it with a five year no leak guarantee. The longest guarantee in the industry and we put it in writing.

We are currently revamping our entire website this Winter to reflect the changing times so as to make navigating and make online ordering easier and more convenient for you.

We back our Water Garden installations with a 5 year leak free guarantee!

With Swan’s Water Gardens You Get The Entire Experience “Creating Paradise ... In Your Backyard”

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do:

Place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. If direct sun can’t be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain. Provide room temperatures between 68 & 70 degrees. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia. Water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.

don’t:

Never over water or allow the plant to sit in standing water, best to remove from a decorative container before watering & allow the water to drain completely. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold & excessive heat, avoid temperatures below 50 degrees. Keep away from drafts & don’t place directly near heating vents. Never fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.

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December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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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 Erin Busenhart Tom DePaepe Cindy Gilberg Diane & Doc Gover 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 cavsgarden@kc.rr.com. Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at editorcavsgarden@kc.rr.com.

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 19. 4

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is the season for Christmas trees. A symbol of life in the midst of winter, decorating an evergreen tree is an age-old ritual celebrated all over the world. Cultures have established rich traditions during the holidays that have lasted for generations. While many appreciate the “alternative” (a.k.a., artificial, fake, permanent) tree choices, my partiality is to the fresh cut Fraser Fir. Thankfully, my family agrees. And it is the event of selecting the tree that has become just as important as the decorating. When our children were young, the process of picking a Christmas tree was easy. We all loaded up in the family van, and promised their favorite fast-food meal as a treat at the end. (That’s right parents, bribery is an approved parenting method.) Lo and behold, it worked like a charm. Tree selected, loaded, and all were happy. As they matured and developed their own personalities (a.k.a., attitudes), the stakes got a little higher, and we had to step up our game. Creativity is a parent’s friend, which likely saved us from a hostile juvenile takeover. Parents, we don’t want to undermine any of your similar methods, so we’ll not expose ours. Suffice to say, our success continued.

It’s tradition Then, as time pressed on, the oldest married and moved away, establishing her own family traditions. The next oldest moved out on his own, and simply appreciated his 20-something independence. Next is our daughter, a student of nursing who lived in Lawrence. The last and youngest was in high school still at home. It was at this point when we faced a new challenge. We extended to those living on their own, an invitation to continue in the family tradition of selecting a tree. Little did we know how opinions change over time. It seems the Lawrence resident couldn’t bear the thought of her parents, selecting a tree on their own. In her mind it was impossible. So she would drive in to “make sure we picked the right tree.” During our time on the lot, the youngest always wants the 20-foot tree. No. We have 10-foot ceilings. Dad begs for the classic “Charlie Brown” tree that will drop what needles are left in the drive-

way, leaving one brown branch to hold one ornament. No. And while there is dissension among the tribe, the Lawrence gal has identified “the perfect tree” in record time. How did we manage without her help all these years? In reality though, as we are reminded year after year, it’s our resident “tree man” that ultimately makes the final decision. His keen eye for balanced branching and a straight trunk minimizes driveway aggravation and the use of a chainsaw. {grin} The holidays are filled with traditions. Some fresh and newly established, while others have been around for generations. Long after the tree goes to be recycled, the traditions will lay forever in our hearts. We’ll recall them with loving fondness and we’ll be grateful for the wreath of unity that binds us. My wish for you is a season filled with everlasting love and unity. Merry Christmas! I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue December 2013 • Vol. 18 No. 12 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Fresh Greens Blooming Bulbs .... 8 Become KS Master Naturalist .... 9 Patrick’s Picks: Garden Gifts ...... 10 GrowNative: Gifts for Native Plant Gardeners ...................... 12 The Bird Brain ......................... 14

about the cover ...

8

Garden Calendar .................... 15 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Weather ................................. 17 Evergreens need extra TLC during winter months ................ 18 Professional’s Corner ................ 19 Subscribe ................................ 19

Poinsettia is a beautiful addition to your holiday home decorating. They also are great for gifting. See other gift ideas starting on page 10.

14 The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


Photo by Carol Fowler.

Kick Off the Season at the Arboretum’s Holiday Luminary Walk

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reat your family to a very special holiday experience this year at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. The 14th annual Holiday Luminary Walk features 10,000 candles lining a mile of pathways through woods and gardens, extensive lighted displays, a bonfire, and lots of holiday music and entertainment. 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. Children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.opabg. org or at area Hen House locations. Tickets are also available at the door, and there is no additional charge for parking. Visitors can warm up with hot chocolate and apple cider at various spots along the way. Santa Claus will greet children from a cozy spot in the new Leatherwood Depot area of the Train Garden. Horse-drawn wagon rides depart nearby ($3 per rider). Says event chair Teri Shields, “There is something here for everyone to enjoy!” In addition to the enormous efforts of FOTA volunteers and Arboretum staff in making this family-friendly event happen, the 2013 Luminary Walk is sponsored in part by Louisburg Cider Mill, CenturyLink, Lambie Custom Homes Inc., NiteLites of Kansas City, Van Wall, and KCH&G. 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 www.opabg. org or call 913.685.3604.

Winter Solstice Hike Saturday, December 21, 1-2pm Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO No registration required (ages 5+) The weather is cold, the leaves are gone and the grass is brown. Does that mean we can’t enjoy the outdoors? Of course not! Before you hibernate from outdoor activities come out to Burr Oak Woods. What better way to kick off the first day of winter than with a hike! For more information 816-228-3766; email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

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.

Louise Kendrick & Effie Mitsopoulos, Gardeners of America

Leah Berg, Metropolitan Community College – Longview

Erin Busenhart, Family Tree Nursery

Mildred Meinke

~ Building Your Own Grow Lights ~ Building a Dish Garden

Crystal Broadus, Director of Horticulture, Kansas City Zoo

~ Horticulture at the Kansas City Zoo

Lynn Soulier

~ Gardens of Delight

Lloyd Harrison, Grass Pad ~ Renovating Your Lawn

~ Ornamental Grasses

~ Daylilies & Clematis (What are the best varieties and how to make them thrive in KC)

Doug Seip, Family Tree Nursery

~ Decorating Outdoor Containers for Winter

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Tour

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 GreaterKCGOA@gmail.com or call (816) 561-5380. December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton BEST TIME TO PRUNE HARDY HIBISCUS Question: I have been growing several varieties of the hardy hibiscus in my garden, when is a good time to cut back this plant? Answer: Hardy hibiscuses, ones that survive year after year in the perennial garden, are wonderful additions to the garden. Unlike their tropical cousins that do not tolerate a freeze these showy summer plants add color and interest to the garden. There are many

varieties on the market in a range of colors from pure white, red to many shades of pink or lavender. The plants have two different types of leaf shapes and some even have reddish colored foliage. The hardy types are warm-loving plants and are one often one of the last plants to emerge in the spring. They then put on their main show in July during the heat of the summer. Once fall and frost arrive they are killed to the ground becoming dormant until the following spring. So with that being said, you can either cut back the thick fleshy growth in the fall or late winter. It really depends on your style of gardening and what winter look you desire in the garden. Some gardeners like to leave the frost killed debris for winter interest while others say get it out of there and are ready to get a jump

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on spring chores. In short it does not matter, paper or plastic, fall or spring it is your choice as the plant will be just fine either way. NATIVE GRASS Question: I would like to add several clumps of truly native grasses to my landscape. Would you please recommend a few that are shorter, maybe 2 to 3 feet at most. Answer: There are a couple of native grasses that have made their way into mainstream landscaping. These would be Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem and Switchgrass. Prairie Dropseed reaches about 2

feet. It is a very thin, wispy clumping grass. I think it looks best in the landscape in a mass planting. That would be three, five or more planted densely as the plumes tend to show up better than in a single clump. There are a couple of varieties of Little Bluestem on the market. We have grown ‘The Blues’ and ‘Blue Heaven’ in our demonstration gardens. They also reach about 2 feet and have nice fall color. I think we prefer ‘Blue Heaven’ as it has a better growth habit and nicer fall color. One plant does look nice but a grouping might be best. There are numerous varieties of Switchgrass on the market in

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Now is a good time to perform structural pruning of younger trees. www.countryclubtreeservice.com The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


a range of leaf colors, blue-gray, green or even purple tinged. They reach from several feet to 5 feet or more. One of my favorites is ‘Shenandoah’ as it has a very nice upright, dense habit and wonderful purple fall color. It is a nice thick clump and has done extremely well in our demonstration gardens.

CAN I APPLY FERTILIZER NOW Question: I missed my November application of fertilizer for my bluegrass lawn. Can I go ahead and apply now in December? Answer: Unfortunately you have missed your window of opportunity. The normal cooler conditions of late November and December have slowed the plant growth and applications of fertilizer applied in December do not have a chance to be picked up by

the lawn and converted to stored food and energy. Much of the nutrient applied that late will be lost. My recommendation would be to make the last application by midNovember for the full effect of the application. TO TREAT EAB OR NOT Question: I have heard so much about the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer. How will I know if my tree is infected? Answer: That is a really great question as we all keep saying look for the “D” shaped exit holes in the trunk. Well after participating in a hunt for EAB this fall I have somewhat changed my tune. When EAB initially infects a tree it will only be found in the upper growth of the tree. The exit holes in the main trunk will not start to appear until the upper portion of the tree is dead. So you will know if your tree is infected initially not by looking at the trunk but by looking up. The start of EAB in your beloved ash tree will be seen as canopy or branch dieback. This is sometimes referred to as flagging. Flagging is when one or several branches in the top of the tree start to dieback. EAB once established in the tree, they slowly works their way down the tree as they kill out the upper portion. This explains why a tree may take three years or more to decline and finally die. The question then becomes, when should I start treatments if I want to save this tree? Some would say if your tree is close to one of the known effected regions start this coming spring. Others would recommend

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to a new set of growing conditions that stress the plants. Leaves that developed under the brighter outdoor conditions will usually struggle once returning indoors to lower light often yellowing and dropping from the plant. The other reason not to move your plants outdoors is that in nature you expose them to many “bugs” which then have a heyday once back inside under ideal growing conditions and no natural predators. Then populations of aphids, mealy bugs and scale insects explode. Houseplants severely infected with insects are often best discarded. Now that the problem has started I would recommend that you treat on a regular basis with an insecticide to help keep these populations in check. Insecticidal soaps are easy and very safe to use indoors as well as several other insecticides. Please be sure to read and follow all label instructions.

INSECTS ON HOUSEPLANTS Question: I have brought in several houseplants that I summer outside. All of a sudden I am noticing some whitish insects on the plants. What could these be and how do I get rid of them? Answer: Many people like to take their houseplants outside during the warm, sunny months to help promote new growth. The plants are then brought back inside once fall arrives. I have to say that if you really love your houseplants then you would keep them in the house year-round for several reasons. The main reason is every time you move the plant to a new location the plant has to acclimate

Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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waiting until this problem becomes more widespread then start to treat. If you can catch the infection early on there is still a very strong possibility the tree can be saved with insecticide treatments. But if you want to keep your tree as healthy as possible then the recommendation would be to start treatments prior to the infection. The question is to then start in 2014 or wait a little longer for the population to build.

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A Season of Fresh Greens and Blooming Bulbs

Erin Busenhart

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he holidays can get away from us pretty easily with the many things that suddenly appear on the to-do list. There are some easy things you can do however to bring the magic of the holidays into your home without spending a lot of time or money. Here are a few of my fool-proof tips for making your home look holiday ready! First the holiday pots! I know I have harped on this before, but it really is the easiest way to perk

your home up for the season. Pick up a readymade pot of fresh greens, pot up a living evergreen that you can plant into the ground later or make up your own holiday container creation. Making your own is easy. Start with the few supplies I’ve listed in the box to the right. Add to this basic recipe as much as you want: unbreakable outdoor ornaments, magnolia or juniper sprigs, lights or even a can of snow flock can be fun! Fresh roping is another essential decorating tool for me. I always get several coils and put it everywhere — inside and out. Outside, wrap it up the banister and around the door, wind extra pieces around the light fixture and to fill in around

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3 2 outdoor-safe berry picks 3 3 pine cones the holiday pots you just made. Inside, drape roping over the sink window and mirrors; tuck sprigs in the guest bath, under place settings and on holiday packages. For an easy centerpiece, find a large low bowl, set a single poinsettia (or 3 if they’re small) in the center, coil white pine roping around them to cover their pots and tuck in pinecones to fill in any gaps. Firs and cedars are the most fragrant, however pine and boxwood tend to last longer. Spraying greens with an anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-stop, will keep them fresher longer by sealing in the moisture, but it does also seal in some of that fragrance. Additionally, think about buying extra and keeping a coil or two in a window well outside. When the first batch dries out, simply switch it out with the fresh.

Pot up Amaryllis and Paperwhite bulbs to enjoy all winter long. These non-hardy bulbs are an easy, goof-proof way to have indoor blooms for months. Paperwhites usually take about four to six weeks from bulb to bloom. Buy extra and start a second, or even a third batch, every couple weeks to have constant white flowers. They look great in a kitchen window! Amaryllis are the king of winter blooms with their large green leaves and velvety flowers. ‘Red Lion’ is the all-time deep red classic but try other varieties too – whites, pinks and peach or variations of these in beautiful double and single blooms. Erin Busenhart is seasonal color designer at Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park, Kan. You may reach her at 913-642-6503.

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


Make Magical Memories

I

mmerse yourself in the spirit of the season at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden.™ Visitors can enjoy a quiet moment of solitude among the holiday splendor or celebrate treasured traditions with family and friends. Unless otherwise noted, activities are included with regular Garden admission of $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children ages 5-12.

Apply Now for Kansas Master Naturalist Program

I

f you have an interest in natural resources and enjoy working with others then the Kansas Naturalist program may be just the opportunity for you. Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Kansas Master Naturalist training program. The deadline for application is January 17. Training sessions will begin at the end of February, and run one night per week through mid-April, 2014, from 6 to 9 p.m. All classes will be conducted at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 1500 in Olathe. Class members must be a resident of the greater Kansas City metro area. There is a $100 administration fee for those accepted into the class. Acceptance notices will be sent out at the end of January. The mission for the program is to develop knowledgeable and dedicated citizens who are active in promoting awareness, understanding and stewardship of the natural heritage of Kansas. Applicants who are selected for the program

will receive intensive 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in natural resource concepts. In return, newly-trained recruits will be required to volunteer 30 hours of volunteer service each year, on environmental projects that benefit the community. Areas of training include: * Ecology * Geology * Soils * Weather & Climate * Plants * Birds * Insects * Mammals * Herpetology * Ecosystem Management * Education and Interpretation If you are interested in applying for the program, or would like more information, please contact Dan Lekie, county Extension director and Natural Resources agent with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension at (913) 715-7012, dan.lekie@jocogov.org or visit www.johnson.ksu.edu and click on the “Volunteers” link for details.

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December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Holiday Fun with Santa, 9 a.m.-noon, Dec. 14 and 21 (Breakfast served until 10:30 a.m.) Reservations required: 816-697-2600 x209. Discuss that wish list with Santa in Café Thyme for 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. See more details and reserve your tickets online at www.powellgardens.org/Santa.

Oh, You Rascal! Rascal the Raccoon has arrived!

• Newest addition to our family of solid seed characters. • Made of sunflower chips, peanuts, canola, apples, cherries, blueberries and prunes, while holding a mini ear of corn. • Rascal makes a great gift and is a fun way to introduce someone to the joy of birdfeeding. Available “exclusively” at Wild Birds Unlimited Free feeder pin with purchase of Rascal the Raccoon (value $8.99) while supplies last.

During this holiday season, we would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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NEW: Home for the Holidays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 This festive day is designed to get you and your home in the holiday spirit. Stock up on poinsettias you won’t find elsewhere, including the unique poinsettia “trees” grown on site, amaryllis bulbs, handcrafted wreaths, ornaments and stocking stuffers for everyone on your list. The day includes a full slate of holiday demonstrations and workshops, including make-and-take ornaments, fresh winter centerpieces, natural swags, giftable homemade holiday spirits and more. The gingerbread house inspiration lab will provide great ideas for making your own, and Café Thyme will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. See the full schedule at www.powellgardens.org/holidayhome.

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The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


Patrick’s Picks: Gifts for the Discriminating Gardener Patrick Muir

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gardener goes through withdrawal as winter sets in but a well-chosen gardening gift can help regain their passion until the catalogs arrive. So once again, it’s been a distinct pleasure to gather these unique candidates throughout the year for your consideration. Of course, we encourage shopping locally for gifting ideas, so check with your favorite nursery or garden center for any of the products. The web sites are provided as reference. According to Florence Rodale in this year’s June/July issue of Organic Gardening, the Diamond Hoe ($76.75) is “an amazing tool made by Sneeboer, which cuts my weeding time in half.” This beautiful-to-behold Dutch import of hand-forged stainless steel has sharpened blades on all four sides. (www.gardentoolcompany.com) I’ve seen a lot of trowels in my life but none I would have declared a work of art — until now. The Fisher Blacksmithing Large Trowel ($52.00) is handcrafted by a Montana blacksmith utilizing traditional tools and techniques.

The hand-forged metal is set into a distinctive walnut handle to create a truly distinctive gift. (fisherblacksmithing.com) Want a functional gift that can add to the overall aesthetics of your garden? Handcrafted in the USA, the World’s Coolest Rain Gauge (starting at $44.95) is made entirely of solid copper, steel and blue polycarbonate tubing. As water f l o w s into the copper collection flute, the blue measurement tube rises to show the water accumulation. (worldscoolestraingauge. com) Since I was a child, I’ve been amazed at the gift from our Maker contained within a single seed. And I can think of no better presentation for passing along these gifts than the Hudson Valley Seed Library Art Packs ($3.75). “Plant the Seeds, Frame The Art” is their tag line and each heirloom variety is in a packet designed by a contemporary artist. (www.seedlibrary.org) At its core, a liquor store is made up of ingredients from a botanical garden. In famed author Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks ($16.26),

December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

you can learn about 150 plants used for the creation of alcohol. Stewart has also been so kind as to include fifty unique drink recipes for those interested in mixology. Go to territorialseed.com for plants romanced in this engaging book. The whole family will love discovering backyard nature with the help of the Audubon BirdCam ($79.95). This innovative Audubon bird camera takes crystal-clear photos and videos of your backyard birds. We a t h e r p r o o f , motion-activated, and easy-touse, this digital BirdCam captures photos and videos with sound. You’ll be amazed by what’s going on in your own backyard! (www.wingscapes.com) The Orange Paisley Gloves with Arm Saver ($29.50) have to be the most fashionable garden accessory you will find for the lady gardener in your life. Features include a leather palm and sleeves that cinch around the elbow for scratch, insect bite and sun protection. (womanswork.com)

Green Heron Tools offers the HERS Shovel-Spade ($57.99). Every feature is based on a woman’s body and her digging and shoveling styles. Three handle lengths are available based on the height of the gardener. (greenherontools.com) While we’re still in the tool shed, Corona Tools USA is introducing its Convertible Forged Pruner/ Lopper ($38.00). The innovative handles flip out to convert the ease of a pruner into the power of a lopper. Left or right handled activation is accomplished with a centered lock. (coronatoolsusa.com) Don’t you admire hanging baskets so full of plants, they appear as a round ball of energy? To consistently create such an effect, rely on the Pamela Crawford SidePlanted Basket ($24.95). The baskets are heavy-gauge steel, hand welded with a heavy plastic coating. The coco-fiber liners are fashioned with eight pre-cut holes for side plants. (www.kinsmangarden.com) Sharing garden gifts like these with loved ones (or for yourself) will certainly brighten the dreary days of winter. Remember though, that gifting is welcome throughout the year. These suggestions are surely suitable for most any occasion. Happy gifting! Patrick Muir can be reached at patrickmuir808@gmail.com or visit his blog at www.patricksgarden.com. 11


Gifts for Native Plant Gardeners www.grownative.org

Cindy Gilberg

T

hat time of year is upon us again – and, once more, it is a time to ponder the age-old question of what to give those on our gift-giving list. Gardeners are among the easiest to shop for since we all seem to thrive on the vision of our gardens next year. Instead of visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads, there are visions of new plants, concepts and ideas to incorporate. Curling up with a good gardening book or plant catalog is the ideal way to spend a wintry day. When in doubt as to which plants to buy and the fact that it is not the time to plant, consider

the ever so popular gift certificate. Almost every garden center and plant nursery offers gift certificates. These are good towards not only the purchase of plants, but in most cases, can be used to purchase books, soil amendments, garden tools and even wind chimes! For a complete list of garden centers and mail order nurseries that sell native plants in Missouri, go to www. grownative.org. If you are looking for a gift other than plants, note that many organizations have memberships that can be given as a gift. This is a gift that keeps on giving year round. Shaw Nature Reserve offers memberships as gifts and also gift certificates good towards their excellent offering of books. The Missouri Prairie Foundation, Audubon Society and Wild Ones (www.for_wild.org) are three other organization whose membership can make a perfect gift. The list is endless when it comes to gift certificates.

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A wonderful book and one of my favorite resources is Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People by Dave Tylka. Wildlife habitat can be enhanced to include plants for many aspects of wildlife and this book delves into looking at the whole picture. An excellent compliment to this would be Tried and True Missouri Native Plants for Your Yard from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Is there a birdwatcher on your list? Start with Birdscaping in the Midwest – A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds by Mariette Nowak. A new addition to book lists this year, it is the most in-depth approach to landscaping for birds that I have read to date. Throughout the book are detailed discussions of restoring habitat conducive to birds. With books in hand, a gardener can approach their garden as a place to observe, study and appreciate all aspects of nature. As native plants are integrated into the landscape, some identification books are a requisite for enlightening the gardener. I frequently refer to my cherished copy

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Cindy Gilberg is a horticulturist, landscape designer, and a professional member of Grow Native!, a program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. She can be reached at Gilberg Design and Consulting, cindy.gilberg@gmail.com.

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of The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley as various birds come and go in my garden. A walk through the garden can reveal a whole new world of insects, from caterpillars and butterflies to dragonflies and walking sticks. All of these garden visitors are worth knowing and one can learn from any of the ID books available on the subject. Many walkers at Shaw Nature Reserve carry a book for identifying the plants they see along their hike. Ozark Wildflowers by Don Kurz and Prairie Wildflowers by Doug Ladd and Frank Oberle are among the many books to select from. So we move forward, wrapping paper and ribbon in hand. Have a warm and wonderful holiday season and may next year’s garden be the best.

• Rabbits, chipmunks, moles, groundhogs, mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums, snakes and bats • Woodpeckers, starlings, pigeons, sparrows and geese • Repairs and chimney caps • Wildlife biologist on staff • Licensed and insured • Celebrating 23 years of service NOW OFFERING: Attic Insulation & Removal GENERAL PEST CONTROL: Specializing in Termite Control and Termite Treatments. Termidor or Hex-Pro Baiting Systems.

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Do you have a LANDSCAPE PROJECT and need HELP or ADVICE from an industry professional? Consider a member of the Hort NetWORK, which membership consists of professionals in all aspects of the green industry. To connect with a professional, go to

www.hortnetwork.org

for a membership directory. The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


Garden Symposium Scheduled

A

Top Ten Grow Native! Books Native Landscaping

• Bringing Nature Home, Douglas Tallamy • Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People, Dave Tylka • Tried and True Native Plants for Your Yard, MDC

Inspirational

• Noah’s Garden, Sara Stein

Native Plant Identification

• Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers, Doug Ladd • Missouri Wildflowers, Edgar Denison • Ozark Wildflower, Don Kurz • Trees of Missouri, Don Kurz • Shrubs and Woody Vines of Missouri, Don Kurz • Native Plant Seedling Id Guide, MDC

fter attending the ninth biennial Kansas City Garden Symposium on Saturday, Feb. 22, you will come away with inspiration and information to help you embrace this symposium’s theme, “Color Outside the Lines: Developing Your Garden Style.” The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art again welcomes our creative gardeners to its Atkins Auditorium. The symposium is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Four speakers are coming to Kansas City for the Symposium: * Julie Moir Messervy, garden designer and author of seven books. * Amanda Thomsen, commercial landscaper and author of “Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You.” * Joseph Tychonievich, nursery manager at Arrowhead Alpines and author of a new Timber Press book, “Plant Breeding for the Home

Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables and Flowers.” * Kerry Ann Mendez, author of “Top 10 Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens: Seeing Your Way Out of the Dark,” “The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top 10 Lists” and “The Smart Shopper’s Top 10 Lists: Exceptional Perennials, Annuals and More.” See www.GardenSymposium. org for details about the workshop and banquet on Friday, Feb. 21. Admission remains the same as the last three symposiums. Sign up before the end of Saturday, Jan. 18, and the Symposium ticket is $79, the propagation workshop is $39 and the banquet is $49. Sign up after Jan. 18 and the ticket prices go up $10 to $89 for the Symposium, $49 for the workshop and $59 for the banquet. Sign up for the Garden Symposium, workshop or banquet at www.GardenSymposium. org, where you can find all the details.

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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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December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

13


The Bird Brain

answers your backyard birding questions • Bird seed, raisins, peanuts and tree nuts, dried mealworms Mix Bark Butter or peanut butter, suet and cornmeal together. Stir in birdseed, raisins, cranberries, nuts and dried mealworms.

Doc & Diane Gover

L

et’s decorate a tree (or a wreath) for the birds. It can be a fun activity for families, school groups, churches, garden clubs, birding groups and other organizations. Make this one of your holiday traditions. Following are some easy recipes for making treats for our feathered friends:

WATER’S EDGE

SUET STUFFING • 1 cup Bark Butter or chunky peanut butter • 1 cup Simply Suet (pure rendered suet) • 2 1/2 cups coarse yellow corn meal

14

SUET “MUFFINS” 1. Cut a 2” round of cardboard and secure to a piece of pipe cleaner. 2. Place in a muffin tin cup. Spoon in Suet Stuffing. Repeat for each muffin cup. 3. Place the suet muffins in the freezer to harden. 4. Once hardened, remove from tin and hang suet muffins on a tree or in a wreath. If temperatures are well above freezing, place muffins in a feeding tray. PINE CONE FEEDER 1. Secure a string or wire around a pine cone.

Make the Trip! Visit Water’s Edge this holiday season and find exciting gifts for all of the family. Explore our uncommon gift selection for gardeners, water gardeners, and NON gardeners, alike from toys to tools, smell-goods to feel-goods, from functional to fun funky to hi design! Find something for everyone on your list!

2. Pack Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter into the pine cones and roll in bird seed mixture. 3. Hang from a tree or place on a wreath. BAGEL FEEDER 1. Split bagels in half and air harden overnight. 2. Spread peanut butter on each side. Press seed blend into peanut butter. 3. Tie a string through the hole and hang from a tree or wreath. GRAPEFRUIT or ORANGE FEEDER 1. Poke three holes around the edges of a hollowed-out grapefruit or orange half. 2. Run twine through the holes and knot the ends. 3. Spoon Suet Stuffing in fruit half; sprinkle seed mix on top and place in freezer to harden. 4. Hang from a tree. ADDITIONAL TREAT IDEAS Decorations that can be strung on heavy string and placed on the tree include popcorn, cranberries, fresh orange slices (thick cut), peanuts in the shell, dried apples and dried figs. You can also hang rice cakes with string, fresh crabapples by the stem, dried baby corn bundles or red seedless grapes tied in bunches. In addition, peanuts in the shell and whole walnuts can be scattered under the tree. Natural brown string, ribbon and raffia can be used for hanging

decorations. Also consider decorating with short lengths of wool or string, as birds may use this for nesting material in the spring. Be sure to select a tree near a window so that once you have completed your decorating you can sit back and watch as the many beautiful birds stop by to enjoy their treats. Remember – BE PATIENT – birds find their food by sight. It may take a while, but it is always worth the wait. Whatever your holiday traditions may be, we hope it is a fun time with family, friends and the birds. Thank you for reading “The Bird Brain”. Our wish for you and your family is an enjoyable 2014 interacting with nature – right in your own backyard. 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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LARGEST SELECTION IN KANSAS CITY The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


December

garden calendar

n TREES AND SHRUBS • Keep heavy snowfall from limbs of trees/shrubs by lightly shaking. • Avoid shoveling snow onto trees and shrubs to prevent breakage and prolonged snow cover. • Protect the trunks of young trees and branches of shrubs from rabbit damage. • Living Christmas trees are special, leave inside the home no longer than one week then acclimate to outdoors and plant. • Prune damaged branches as needed throughout the winter months. • Water newly planted trees and shrubs to prevent dry soil conditions. • Provide good soil moisture for all evergreens during winter. • Mulch roots of tender shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons to keep vigorous during winter. • Prune branches of junipers, pines, hollies and other plants to use as holiday decorations. n LAWNS • Rake fallen leaves to prevent suffocation. • Keep limbs and other debris picked up. • Negotiate lawn service contract. • Store unused fertilizers in a dry location and out of reach of children and pets. • Store pesticides in a cool, not freezing, dry location out of reach of children and pets. • Winterize power equipment by changing oil, draining gas and lubricating all moving parts. n FLOWERS • Evaluate the garden and make notes to assist in future planning. • Mulch hybrid tea and other grafted roses by mounding soil 6 to 8 inches deep over the plants to protect the graft. • Mulch perennial beds with a 2 to 4-inch layer of straw, shredded leaves or other lightweight material. • Cut tall hybrid tea roses back to 18 to 24-inches to reduce wind whipping and plant damage.

• Remove old stems and growth on perennials. • Pull and discard dead annuals. • Till garden soil and incorporate organic matter for next year. • Review new garden catalogs and make selections. • Test soil to help determine soil needs for the next growing season. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs, water and mulch. • Give plants or gift certificates as holiday gifts for gardening friends. n VEGETABLES AND FRUITS • Till soil and incorporate organic matter for next season. • Take a soil test. • Store leftover seeds in a cool, dry location such as a sealed jar in the refrigerator. • Turn compost pile to encourage winter breakdown. • Check vegetables in storage for spoilage. • Mulch strawberries for winter protection. • Protect trunks of fruit trees from rabbit damage with tree wraps. • Pick up fallen fruit and discard to reduce disease and insect problems next year. • Clean and oil garden hand tools for winter. • Repair equipment now to avoid spring rush. • Start planning for next year by making notes and preparing orders. n HOUSEPLANTS • Enjoy poinsettias longer by placing in bright light, keeping away from hot/cold drafts and water evenly so the soil does not dry out. • Purchase other holiday plants for a festive touch such as cactus and amaryllis. • Watch plants for signs of insect infestations and treat. • Wash plants to remove dust layer. • Rotate plants in the light to produce a balanced plant. • Water as needed to keep soil moist, avoid standing water in plant trays. • Reduce or quit fertilizing during winter. • Give plants as holiday gifts. • To avoid leaf damage, watch for hot or cold drafts on plants.

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 www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Commercial and Residential Snow Removal and Salting

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Give the Gift of Nature this Season 4480 S. Noland Rd. • Independence, MO 64055 www.wildbird.com/independence • (816) 478-9399

15


Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from all the garden elves here at Greenleaf. www.greenleafkc.com

816.916.5171

Club Meetings Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Dec 2, meeting at 6pm, presentation at 6:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Wreathmaking. Guest are always welcome. Bring your questions. Come join us and make a gardening friend. No charge for this meeting. For information, please contact Vince with Vogel Landscaping at 816-313-8733. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Dec 11, noon; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Our special guest will be St Nicholas. For more information please call 913-592-3546. Visitors are welcome to attend. Independence Garden Club Mon, Dec 9, 6:30pm; meet at Hometown Buffet, 13720 E 40 Hwy, Independence, MO. This will be our annual Christmas party. Don’t forget the gift of an unwrapped toy, an article of clothing or non perishable food to donate to CSL. For more information call 816-373-1169 or 816-796-4220. Visit us at our web site www.independencegardenclub.com

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.)

Call RYAN to fertilize today and enjoy lush, vibrant trees and shrubs next spring.

www.RyanLawn.com

MO: 246.1707 KS: 381.1505

“The pros you know in the clean red truck.” 16

Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Dec 2, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Open to the public. 913-341-7555. Mo-Kan Daylily Society Sun, Dec 1, potluck 12:00, meeting 1:30; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. All visitors welcome. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Dec 17, noon; at the home of Kathy Swift, 11427 S Millview Circle, Olathe for their annual Christmas Luncheon. There will be a gift exchange. Members will receive a card or call as to what dish they are to bring. Call Joan Shriver 913-4923566 if questions.

Events, Lectures & Classes December

Watch your trees and shrubs flourish Fertilizing trees and shrubs in the fall will promote growth and vitality in your landscape.

Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Dec 8, 1:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Member meeting.

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 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.opabg.org. 913-685-3604 Holiday Greenings Sat, Dec 7, 10am-2:30pm; Walk-in (all ages); at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. 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 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. 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. 417-282-6985 Herbal Gift Faire Tues, Dec 10, 6-6:50pm, Meeting at 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd. The Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group presents our first Herbal Gift Faire. Come shop for herbal goodies made by local folks, then join us for our meeting after the Faire. Our gatherings are fun, educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. herbstudygroup@gmail.com 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 www.powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Kids Craft Day Sat, Dec 14, 10am-1pm; at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. No registration required (all ages). Kids Craft Day is a great way to make the holidays special. Make one-of-a-kind natural gifts to give to the people you love this holiday season. Don’t forget to create your own gift wrap before you leave! For more information 816-2283766; email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov.

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


Whooo’s in your Backyard? Sat, Dec 21, 10am-2:30pm; Walk-in (all ages); at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. 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 Owl-ology game. 816-759-7300 Winter Solstice Hike Sat, Dec 21, 1-2pm; at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. No registration required (ages 5+) The weather is cold, the leaves are gone and the grass is brown. Does that mean we can’t enjoy the outdoors? Of course not! Before you hibernate from outdoor activities come out to Burr Oak Woods. What better way to kick off the first day of winter than with a hike! For more information 816-228-3766; email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov Nature Printmaking Thurs & Fri, Dec 26 & 27, 10am-1pm; Walk-in (all ages); at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. Looking for some creative nature fun following the holidays? Learn about Missouri trees while creating your own colorful leaf print using leaves and ink. This along with other hands-on activities will help brighten yours. 816-759-7300

January Basic Flower Photography Sat, Jan 11, 9:30-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. 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. $20 class fee. Arboretum admission fees apply (FOTA members free). Enroll at www. opabg.org. No refunds for missed classes. New Volunteer Orientation Sat, Jan 18, 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. By participating as an active volunteer, you’ll form lasting relationships, learn new techniques, and share in the satisfaction that comes with helping the Gardens fulfill its mission and make our community a better place to live. Whatever your interests or talent, gardener or not, we’ll explore the opportunities based on your availability to find ideal fits. Free - Requirement is 40 hours per year of volunteer time. You may register by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604. Basic Landscape Photography Sat, Feb 1, 9:30-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Class is 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 in the great outdoors, whether it is at the Arboretum or on your travels. Indoor classroom only. $20 class fee. Arboretum admission fees apply (FOTA members free). You may enroll at www.opabg.org. No refunds for missed classes.

Extension On-Line Resources for Ag Producers and Gardeners

Y

ou may be accustomed to calling or stopping by your local Extension Center to get ag or garden information, but you may not be aware of some of the resources available to you on-line. Pat Miller, University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist, recommends the Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board (AgEBB) at http://agebb. missouri.edu/ as a starting place for many of the University of Missouri Extension sites. From there, go to the Missouri Agricultural Weather link where you can find the realtime weather stations located around the state. Here, among other things, you can find twoinch soil temperature readings to help you with planting decisions. At the Integrated Pest Management link you can also find the Missouri Environment and Garden newsletter and

Integrated Pest and Crop Management newsletter. Back at the AgEBB home page Miller says you can go to the Crop Performance Testing link and find state-wide data comparing numerous crop varieties. If you have tree or shrub disease problems that you want to identify, Miller suggests the MU Plant Diagnostic website which has a great resource: http:// soilplantlab.missouri.edu/plant/ diseases/index.aspx. It lists the common problems by species and has wonderful color pictures. If you need to identify weeds, Miller suggests the MU Weed Science Weed ID site at http:// weedID.missouri.edu. It lists 425 weeds along with their picture and description. Search at the University of Missouri Extension site at http:// extension.missouri.edu/ to find even more great resources.

February New Volunteer Orientation Sat, Feb 15, 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. Whatever your interests or talent, gardener or not, we’ll explore the opportunities based on your availability to find ideal fits. Free - Requirement is 40 hours per year of volunteer time. Register for classes by going to www.opabg.org and follow the prompts. For additional information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at 913-685-3604.

As you plan your garden events for 2014, let us help promote them. Send details to: The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 Fax: (913) 648-4728 E-Mail: editorcavsgarden@kc.rr.com Deadline for January issue is December 5. December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

December

Weather Repor t

Highs and Lows Avg temp 34° Avg high temp 42° 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: WeatherReports.com

From the Almanac Moon Phases New Moon: Dec. 2 First Quarter: Dec. 9 Full Moon: Dec. 17 Last Quarter: Dec. 25 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

Plant Above Ground Crops: 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13-15

Plant Root Crops: 18-20

Control Plant Pests: 25, 30, 31

Transplant: 9, 10

Plant Flowers: 2, 5, 6, 9, 10

17


Evergreens, young trees need extra TLC during the winter months

T

Tom DePaepe

he holidays are here – Christmas music is starting to infiltrate and the airways and stores have put up their wintry displays. This is not a time most people associate with their lawn and landscape, unless it happens to snow. While most of the landscape is dormant this time of year, there are still some considerations to make when it comes to keeping your lawn, trees and shrubs healthy and thriving. Evergreens. Many homeowners incorporate evergreens into

their landscapes for winter interest. It’s nice to look out the window and see a little bit of green to brighten up streets mostly filled with skeletal trees. I love evergreens for this same reason; unfortunately, they are not well-suited for our hardiness zone. As a result, they can require a little extra care during the winter months. Evergreens are prone to desiccation – or drying out – if they do not receive enough moisture. Blowing winds and freezing temperatures contribute to desiccation. In order to avoid this problem, water these plants when temperatures are above freezing. A mulch ring can also help the soil retain moisture and benefit the tree. Start about an inch from the base of the tree and mulch a ring that extends to the tips of the lowest branches on the tree. When I am out in the field talking to customers, many of them

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mention how poor evergreens in our area perform. There are many disease and insect issues with these plants. Stressed trees are more susceptible to these issues, so any winter watering you can do will prevent desiccation, and will also keep your tree healthier overall, making it less vulnerable to insect and disease problems. Newly planted trees. As with evergreens, plants added to your landscape this fall will benefit from watering when precipitation is low and temperatures are above freezing. A mulch ring will benefit these trees as well. Not only will the mulch retain soil moisture in the winter, it can prevent damage from string trimmers in the spring. These trees can be staked if they are in areas with the potential for damaging winds. Any trees planted in the last five years would benefit from a consultation with a professional

arborist. All of the trees we see laying on houses or across driveways during winter storms were once young trees planted by proud homeowners. Calling an arborist to assess all of the young trees on your property will prevent damage later down the road. It is easy and inexpensive to prune young trees to minimize the chance for storm damage. Many arborists offer free consultations. Visit www.treesaregood.com to find certified arborists in your area. Newly seeded lawns. Like newly planted trees, newly seeded lawns may need extra water during the winter months when temperatures are above freezing and there is little precipitation. Young turf has a shallow root system compared to older, more established grass. It is also important to not let leaves pile on top of the lawn. Leaves can smother and kill grass. I hope you all have a happy and blessed holiday season. It gets tough for those of us who love the outdoors to be cooped up inside all day, but it is a great time to plan for the next growing season. Settle in with some of your favorite gardening magazines or visit the local library for landscape design books and gather ideas for next year. Pinterest is also a great way to keep gardening ideas organized on the web. Tom DePaepe is an arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at tomdepaepe@ryanlawn. com or at 913-381-1505.

Use Sure Bloom® 6-7-6 or Natural on your indoor plants for beautiful blooms and foliage.

Made in the Heartland

The Kansas City Gardener / December 2013


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December 2013 / The Kansas City Gardener

Meet Travis Karns, Assistant Nursery Manager at Suburban Lawn and Garden. Name: Travis Karns, Nursery Department, Assistant Manager Company: Suburban Lawn and Garden, 105th and Roe location Job description: My main focus is assisting customers find and select the plant or product they need for their project. If someone wants help in deciding what would work best for them, I listen to their needs and determine what the planting location is like. Then I make recommendations of what plant(s) might work best for them. I also give advice on how to successfully install and care for the new plants. Additionally, there are daily care and maintenance duties around the nursery that keep me busy the rest of the day. Length of service: I have been with Suburban since 2006. In that time I have spoken with many interesting and friendly people who come in to shop, get advice, or just to stroll through. Education: I attended classes at JCCC in the Horticultural Sciences Program. I strongly recommend this program to anyone wanting a foundation for a new career in the green industry. It’s also suitable for those who want to learn more about working in your own garden at home. I would say though that I started learning when I was a kid in the family garden. Planting seeds and watching them grow, and of course pulling weeds. I find I am still practicing the chore of weed pulling. Favorite tree/plant: Trying to decide on just one gives me pause every time. When customers ask this question, I lean toward selecting some kind of edible plant. Whether it is a cherry or serviceberry tree in the yard, or a blueberry bush in a pot on the deck, or even a bowl of lettuce greens, there’s always room for some kind of edible. Favorite garden destination: I like to visit any place with walking trails and lots of trees and wildlife to watch. The Overland Park Arboretum is one local destination that’s a good place to spend the day. What every gardener should know: When considering a new plant for your landscape, get to know the planting location. How many hours of sunlight does it get? Is it dry or wet? Is there enough room for your new plant to grow to its mature size? These are important questions to answer before picking your plant. In your spare time: When I get a moment and want to unwind I like to read comics (DC fan), or take my dog for a walk. Contact information: Suburban Lawn and Garden, 10501 Roe, Overland Park, Kansas 66207; 913-649-8700; suburbanlg.com; Winter hours: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm. 19


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