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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

December 2015

Gift-Giving Ideas

Primulina The Magic Tree Bald Cypress Winter Pollinators in the Native Garden Evergreens, young trees need extra TLC during winter months


editor’s notes

The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Giving gardener

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Theresa and Nik Hiremath Ken O’Dell Dennis Patton Phil Roudebush Rodney St. John Brent Tucker Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone: 913-648-4728 For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at mike@kcgmag.com

Kind hearts are the garden, Kind thoughts are the roots, Kind words are the blossoms, Kind deeds are the fruits. ~ John Ruskin

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he holidays are upon us, and it is gift-giving time. It’s another opportunity to let others know how much we appreciate them. Whether co-workers or neighbors, teachers or family members, we get a chance to share some token of our gratitude for their role in our lives. Now for some, ideas don’t come easily. We wrack our brains searching for something meaningful, a gift that would make a difference. Seriously, what do you give those who seem to have everything? So in this issue we asked a few of our advertisers to offer their suggestions. And starting on page 10, are a dozen ideas that might be helpful while making your list ... and checking it twice. Why not support our advertisers while you shop? Tell them you saw their name in this publication. They supply quality plants and products, and have a hard-working, professional staff on hand to assist in selecting just the right gift. Also, when you spend money at a local

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at elizabeth@kcgmag.com

Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 19.

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Of course, this notion of giving is nothing new for us. It comes without prompting, no matter what time of year. Gardeners always share from their hearts and their gardens. The world could use a little more kindness, especially now. So let’s start right now in our homes and communities, in our places of work and places of worship. Extend a hand, offer a smile, hold the door, say hello, and start changing the world. One kindness at a time. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue

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small business, those dollars likely stay local. I like that! Here’s one more thought on gifting. Why not give the gift of your time? Reaching out to those in need is a great human kindness. No shopping or wrapping required. It’s simply you ... wonderful, beautiful you. Think of the assisted living and nursing homes within a 10-mile radius of your home. And think of the number of people living within those residences that could use a cheerful, spirited smile from a visitor. Imagine families with children at hospitals coping with the uncertainty of illness. And those that are homeless in need of shelter, food and a warm embrace.

December 2015 • Vol. 20 No. 12 Primulina ................................ 4 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 The Bird Brain ......................... 8 2016 KC Garden Symposium ... 9 Gift-Giving Ideas ...................... 10 Bald Cypress .......................... 12 Winter Pollinators .................... 13

Evergreens, young trees need TLC during winter ............ 14 Pets and Plants ........................ 15 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Weather ................................. 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Professional’s Corner ................ 19

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about the cover ...

The ever-popular Poinsettia makes a wonderful gift for anyone on your list. See more gift-giving ideas starting on page 10.

December 2015 | kcgmag.com

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keep your indoor garden bright

WITH WESTLAKE ACE

great gift for a gardener:

AMARYLLIS

GIANT BLOOMS VARIETY OF COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM TRUMPET SHAPED FLOWERS CAN PRODUCE FLOWERS IN THE WINTER INDOOR BLOOMS ON A YEARLY CYCLE

POINSETTIA

care

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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Primulina

a new favorite in the Gesneriad family

Brent Tucker

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his month I wanted to introduce my new favorite group of plants that are related to African Violets. I should admit now that I’m tough on African Violets, so much so, that I tend to kill them out of neglect. I’ve found that despite my periods of neglect, Primulina has come through with flying colors, hence my new favorite! So what is Primulina? Primulina is a member of the Gesneriad family of plants and as mentioned above, a relative of African Violet. Don’t confuse it with the cool season annual (some-

times perennial) Primulina. They are similar in appearance, but still quite a different plant. Primulina is found in the Old World such as China, South East Asia and neighboring countries. Much like violets, it grows as a rosette of leaves producing panicles of trumpet shaped flowers in varying shades of lavender, white, and soft yellow. On the occasion when Primulina might be out of bloom there are many varieties that have decorative leaves, such as silver to white veining or large patches of creamy variegation. There is even a variety that has leaves that smell like tobacco! Primulina also shows variety in the size of plant: the small that is quite manageable on a windowsill, to the large requiring a foot or so of space. A few look like miniature bonsai! As mentioned earlier, Primulina, is a cousin of violets and they share the same care as violets too. Keep

them moist with a slight drying between waterings. You can also wick water Primulina like violets. Feed with your favorite plant food every month or at a more dilute strength at each watering. I grow my Primulina under lights during the winter and out on my bright, but shaded porch for summer. They can, however be grown all year on a windowsill or under lights too. Average home temperatures and a comfortable humidity for you and your plants are fine with Primulina. When repotting is necessary use an African Violet soil with perhaps a bit more perlite added for good drainage. Like to share plants with your friends? Primulina can be propagated like violets by division and leaf cuttings.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in growing a new type of plant. They are quite easy and varied enough to have many! Here are some varieties worth checking out: Primulina tamiana, P. Aiko, P. wentsaii, P. Loki, P. Charity, P. Patina, P. Betty, and P. tabacum. Some of these I’ve seen at local garden centers, but many can be found at annual show and sales of local plant clubs like that of the Gesneriad and African Violet clubs. Keep an eye out for notices in this publication. Good growing! Brent Tucker is Horticulturist of Seasonal Displays and Events at Powell Gardens. You may contact him at btucker@powellgardens. org.

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December 2015 | kcgmag.com


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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton HOW TO STRAIGHTEN A TREE Question: When I planted my single trunk ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ last June it was straight. It’s now leaning slightly. What can I do to straighten it back up? It’s a large 3” caliper tree. Answer: It would appear that those strong Kansas City winds have been at play catching the foliage and causing a slight lean. Generally, we don’t like to straighten a tree that has a lean, as the pulling action damages the roots which

can weaken the tree. But since this is newly planted in its first season of growth, I would go ahead and straighten and stake. If the tree was staked at planting it was not placed in the correct location. The stake should be on the south/southwest so that the supports will hold the tree from moving generally to the northeast. I would also recommend that you remove this new stake during the next growing season so that the tree does not become dependent on the stake. Remember to stake low, about a third of the way up, and do not let the wire cut into or rub the trunk. Best of luck and if the tree continues to lean then don’t think of it as being crooked, but rather having developed character.

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PAPERWHITES OUTSIDE Question: Can paperwhites be planted outdoors? Answer: Paperwhites are hardy to zone 8 to 10. So if you live in the Deep South, this species of the Narcissus (daffodils) could be planted outdoors. In our climate they would not survive the freezing winter conditions. As a result, we force them in a small vase of water or soil, enjoy the fragrant flowers and then discard. Happy holidays! EXPOSED ROOT SYSTEMS Question: I planted several large container grown ‘Green Gem’ boxwoods this summer. I planted the root balls about an inch high because of our clay soils. Over the course of the summer watering, the upper roots are

now exposed. Will they be okay this winter? Answer: You did the right move by planting slightly higher as planting too deeply can stress the plant. Here is a simple solution and one that probably should have been done already. Simply apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch up and around the plant to cover the exposed root ball. The mulch will help protect the roots from the elements, conserve moisture and still allow the roots to get the much needed soil oxygen to thrive. Mulch also helps to give a finished look to the garden and provides so many wonderful benefits. PROLONG EVERGREEN FRESHNESS Question: I love fresh cedar garland and wreaths for decorat-

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ing the interior of my house. Is there something I should do to maintain their freshness? Answer: I would agree there is nothing more natural than a beautiful swag of garland to bring a festive touch to the holidays. Since they are natural materials that transpire, they tend to quickly dry out with the dry air in a home. Prolonging freshness can be accomplished several ways. Start with the freshest greens possible. When purchasing, make sure they are soft, pliable and feel fresh to the touch. Run your hands up and down the garland. If needles break the swag is not fresh. Before decorating, soak the garland overnight in a tub of fresh water. This will help rehydrate the greens. The fresh greens can also be sprayed with an anti-transpirant spray. This will provide some help in retaining freshness. A word of caution: do not to treat juniper berries, true cedar or blue spruce. These plant materials have a blue-waxy covering that can be “eaten” away by these products. Lastly, these plants will dry out more rapidly if placed in direct sunlight and around the warm dry air of heat vents and other sources of heat. Another step is to treat the live fresh greenery with a flame retardant for increased safety. Enjoy the season. IS WILT-PROOF NECESSARY Question: Should I spray my outdoor evergreens with a wiltproof product? Answer: That is a really great question. A quick search on Google will pop up a number of companies that sell the product, all saying that it is wonderful and should be applied. But if you dig deeper and do an advanced search for “edu” sites, you will find another story.

Most of the research points to the fact that these products that reportedly stop or slow desiccation in fact do not work. Research in some cases even points to the fact that they can be detrimental as they cover the stomata of the leaves and cause damage. The best way to help prevent winter desiccation is to make sure the plants have good soil moisture during winter. Make sure to thoroughly water all evergreens, especially younger, establishing plants before the onset of winter and periodically throughout if it is a dry winter. It is the lack of soil moisture that is most likely to cause the damage. One last comment, don’t forget the basis of good gardening and that is ... right plant, right place! This is the best defense against the forces of winter’s drying winds, and other effects of the season. WHEN TO MULCH PERENNIAL GARDEN Question: Why is it recommended to wait until after a hard freeze to mulch perennial garden beds? Answer: The recommendation was a hard freeze to ensure that the plants were fully dormant. The purpose of winter mulch is not to keep the plants warm but to protect from our ever-changing weather patterns and protect from our winter highs and lows. Once the plants have gone through a hard freeze they are dormant and the mulch helps keep them dormant until the longer, warmer days of spring arrive. 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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The Bird Brain

Bird of the Month: The Northern Cardinal By Nik and Theresa Hiremath

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brightness depends on the food he’s been eating, it is an indicator to the female that he is healthy and has a good source of food. These are always good qualities in an avian mate! The female’s duller plumage also has an important purpose…. It provides an effective camouflage for her and the nest. In the late summer to early fall months, the cardinal molts his old, tired feathers. While body feathers are molted over a period of time, many cardinals molt their head feathers all at once. This can leave them with a bald, black head, sometimes with just a few stray feathers sticking up haphazardly. When you see one at this stage of molting, they look quite disheveled and unkept! The body feathers grow back in with dark grey ends that wear off over time, resulting

he Northern Cardinal is perhaps the bird most often depicted in snowy winter art scenes. This songbird does not migrate, staying around to brighten our mood even on the coldest days. They forage near the ground, but sing and preen from a high branch on a shrub. With his bright red plumage and perky crest, the male cardinal strikes a pose and chirps us to cheeriness during the long, cold winter! Both the male and female sing, with the female song indicating to the male whether or not to bring food to the nest. The female cardinal is one of only a few female North American songbirds that sing. In addition to adding color to sometimes drab winter days, the cardinal’s pretty red plumage is attractive to females. Because his

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December 2015 | kcgmag.com

The cardinal eats primarily seeds and fruit, but will supplement that diet with insects. They are common visitors to backyard bird feeders, especially during the cold winter months. Premium black oil sunflower seed and safflower seed are particular favorites of theirs. With the friendliness and joy this colorful avian imparts to us, it is no wonder it has been chosen as the state bird in seven states! Their easy-going attitude makes it simple to attract the cardinal to your backyard. Keep your feeder stocked with fresh birdseed, provide water and cover, and you should be seeing flashes of bright red plumage in no time! Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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in the distinctive crimson plumage that is the cardinal’s signature. The cardinal can live to be over 10 years old. They are socially monogamous, and hang out in pairs during the breeding season, which lasts from early spring to late summer. This long breeding season gives them plenty of time to raise up to two broods per season. As fall approaches, they form flocks of one to two dozen birds. During breeding season, the males twist and turn their bodies and perform a song and dance display to attract their mate. The male provides nesting material to the female, who bends the material around her body to form a nesting cup of the perfect size in about 3-9 days. The nest is built fairly close to the ground in live foliage, typically no higher than 15’. Because they are not picky about nesting sites, cardinals are found in woodlands, urban and suburban areas, and even in deserts.

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Gardeners, recharge your imagination and get savvy tips about plant selection and garden design from four nationally recognized garden speakers at the

2016 Kansas City Garden Symposium

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he Kansas City Garden Symposium returns to the Atkins Auditorium stage at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Saturday, Feb. 27. The doors will open at 8 a.m. and the programs will start at 8:30 a.m. The day of garden lectures will end at 4 p.m. This event is a fundraiser for Gardeners Connect, based at Loose Park since 1958, whose mission is “to educate and inspire members of our community to become more complete gardeners.” The cost the same as in recent years, $79 for tickets bought by the end of Jan. 16 and $89 after. Tickets to the traditional Friday evening Garden Symposium banquet are $49, and a garden design workshop titled “Creating Your Own Slice of Heaven” on Feb. 26 will cost $54. The theme this year is “Sow Your Garden Adventure.” This year, the lineup of speakers includes a plant explorer, garden design author, garden artist and a plantsman who is a north-central Kansas native. The Plant Explorer Plant explorer Dan Hinkley was one of the speakers at the very first Kansas City Garden Symposium in 1998. For this year’s Kansas City Garden Symposium, Hinkley plans to talk about “Exploring Zone 6 Around the World — Plant Exploration in Northeast Turkey, Northern Japan and South Korea.”

Kansas Native Troy Marden is author of a book published this year by Cool Springs Press, “Plant This Instead — Better Plant Choices.” It is a guide to choosing prettier, hardier, longerblooming, drought-tolerant and native plants. For the past 20 years, Troy has called Nashville, Tenn., home. He is watched each week by tens of thousands of viewers on Nashville Public Television’s gardening show “Volunteer Gardener.” For the Symposium, Marden plans to present two programs: “Plant This Instead!” and “A Passion for Plants: Marrying Garden Design with Plant Collecting.” Garden Designer Garden designer Jan Johnsen, author of “Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection,” is an award-winning garden design instructor at the New York Botanical Garden. For the Kansas City Garden Symposium, she plans to present a program about “Liquid Dreams — Ways to Add the Magic of Water into a Garden.” On the Friday before the Symposium, she will teach a garden design workshop based on her New York Botanic Garden class titled “Creating Your Own Slice of Heaven.”

to the 2015 Northwest Flower Show. She is bubbly, fun and full of solid, practical advice on garden design and garden artistry. She is a freelance writer who is a regional contributing editor for Horticulture magazine. She has written for several Brooklyn Botanic Garden handbooks, including “Intimate Gardens,” which she co-authored with C. Colston Burrell. Hardiman plans to give two presentations in Kansas City.

During the Symposium itself she will talk about “Coloring outside the Lines: Making the Most of Color in the Garden.” She will present a fun, lighthearted program, “Beyond Plants: Furnishing Your Garden,” for the Friday, Feb. 26, banquet preceding the full-day Kansas City Garden Symposium. To learn all the details about the *1 OFF speakers and the Symposium, to 5Ego Series gardensymposium.org. 5045E and 5055E

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Gift-Giving Ideas for that special gardener on your list W

ith the holidays upon us, and the season of giftgiving in full swing, we thought it might be helpful to offer a few ideas. We asked a handful of local advertisers to choose one of their favorite gifts to give. So without further adieu …

Amaryllis can be purchased as a kit, which comes with bulb, soil and pot, along with complete instructions. Another option is to give this striking plant already in full bloom. Either way, with long lasting blooms, it is sure to relieve the post-Christmas blahs.

1. Hori-Hori Knife Gardeners love to dig in the dirt and they certainly would appreciate a tool that makes the experience more fun. “Think of this tool as the Swiss Army Knife of professional landscapers and the serious gardener,” says Kurt Winkler, at Soil Service Garden Center, Kansas City, Mo. It digs, weeds, saws, trims and transplants. And it’s only one tool! This is a must-have for the serious gardener.

5. Weeder Have you seen this nifty tool? Cindy Boardman, garden sales associate at Westlake Hardware, Prairie Village, Kan., tells us about the Fiskars Triple-Claw Weeder. This weeder makes it easy to remove invasive plants from your lawn without kneeling, bending over or using herbicides. It features three serrated, stainless-steel claws that grab weeds by the root for clean removal, plus an easyeject mechanism on the handle that clears the head between uses.

2. Tabletop Fountain Bring the relaxing effect of moving water indoors with a tabletop fountain. Dena Brooks, advertising and marketing manager with Colonial Nursery in Kansas City, Mo., says it’s that gift that keeps on giving. This unique item provides a welcome soothing sound from which serenity flows. 3. Bird Feeder For the birder on your list who is troubled by squirrels, the Eliminator bird feeder will solve that problem. Nik Hiremath, coowner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Leawood, Kan., says when a squirrel touches the perch ring, its weight closes the seed ports, foiling its seed-stealing plot. The Eliminator’s unique technology allows you to set the sensitivity level, so you can also exclude large birds such as pigeons or doves. It’s easy to hang, and holds three and a half quarts of seed. 4. Amaryllis Available in many varieties— banded, striped and bordered—the gorgeous flower makes this plant an extraordinary specimen. Colors range from pure white to wine red, with lots of variations in between.

6. Kinetic Wind Sculpture This attractive metal yard sculpture looks stunning in the garden, either nestled among the plants or as a standalone. Geoff Myer, manager at Planters Seed in Kansas City, Mo., points out that you don’t need a green thumb to plant this in the garden. All you need is wind. This moving art adds interest and intrigue to the landscape all year through. 7. Insect House A unique and thoughtful gift idea for your garden and nature lovers are bat houses, insect houses and mason bee nesting kits. Laurel Taylor, garden store manager at Rosehill Gardens, Kansas City, Mo., tells us that these are attractive as well as affordable, and promote the importance of beneficial insects for our environment. 8. Bird Bath “The Heart Bird Bath is a unique twist on a classic garden staple,” says Katie Cochran at Van Liew’s Home and Garden, Kansas City, Mo. “The phrase ‘My Heart Is In The Garden’ is inscribed on the elegant pedestal holding

a heart-shaped bowl. This quality cast stone gift is sure to be the centerpiece of any garden.” 9. Arbor What a statement this gable top arbor would make in the garden! Sabine Green at Farrand Farms

friends—the best things come in pretty little pots. 11. Gift Card Perhaps one of the most popular gifts is a gift card. What gardener would deny the opportunity to spend a little at the their favorite

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11 in Kansas City, Mo., tells us that this is an incredible piece, and it’s easy to assemble. Heavy metal, and made to last, this beautiful arbor with bench says ‘Welcome to my garden.’ 10. Pretty Little Pots Containers, large or small, can be real statement-makers. With a diverse collection of colors, shapes and sizes, for any style project, indoors or out, a beautiful container provides the base for an amazing display. Susan Davis, coowner of Water’s Edge, Lawrence, Kan., reminds us to fill them full of little treasures, the Gypsies love them, and so will your gardening

12 garden center. Greg Reeves, manager, at Suburban Lawn & Garden, 135th and Wornall, Kansas City, Mo., says it’s the most popular choice, especially this time of year. “It’s just the right size, and just the right color,” he says. It slips easily in a card for mailing, or as a stocking stuffer. 12. Poinsettia Don’t forget this perfect holiday gift for any gardener. A poinsettia also makes a lovely present for a child’s teacher and the hostess of a dinner party. Now seen in assorted colors and sizes, it’s a favorite easy-care indoor plant that will brighten any room.

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2015

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The Magic Tree Bald Cypress

Ken O’Dell

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nown for being native in our wetlands and river byways, bald cypress trees will grow under very adverse conditions. They are often planted as a shade tree, a street tree or in city parks. This unique tree grows naturally from Delaware south and west into Texas and up the Mississippi river tributaries into Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Bald cypress has been present in North America for 70 million years. In wetlands and swamps it is known for having swollen buttresses and woody conical structures we call knees. A few million years ago we had different weather conditions and the knees might have served a purpose at that time. If the knees serve any purpose today it is to allow gasses to escape from the roots. The swollen buttresses give strength to the trees when growing under mucky wet conditions. We have a large bald cypress growing for the past 17 years near the visitor center entrance at the Overland Park Arboretum. Look closely and you will see some very

short knees which are less then 6” in height. These particular knees are from outgrowth roots which were likely caused by overwatering when the tree was younger, or because some of the soil and mulch has slowly disappeared. The delicate appearing foliage of bald cypress adds to the gracefulness of this large growing tree. Soft green colored leaves in spring time change to darker green in the summer and with autumn approaching the cool sunny days and cool dry nights will give bald cypress a fantastic bright rustyorange autumn leaf color. On our farm in Miami county, we have a grove of five bald cypress planted at the edge of our prairie where the soil conditions are high and dry. These have been growing under these conditions for 18 years. They are beautiful trees. Strong, sturdy and clean. The fall colors are spectacular. A few hundred feet from this grove we have a few other cypress planted near the ponds under wet to nearly mucky conditions and these have never had the spectacular autumn leaf colors. At the Overland Park Arboretum we have planted a large grove of over 50 bald cypress. This is in the area known as Legacy Garden. Walking along the south side of Margaret’s Pond you can look down upon this beautiful grove of cypress trees. Karen Kerkoff, the

Beautiful OutdOOr SpaceS that are

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Overland Park Arboretum director, started planting these about 10 years ago. Many of the trees are already 15 to 20 feet tall, and with years of growth they will be the most spectacular cypress grove imaginable. At 77 years of age, I hope I am still kicking around in 20 years to see them. The Magic Tree is what the Chinese call our great bald cypress. They have been using bald cypress for many years, and about 20 years ago they started working with Dr. David Creech of Stephen F. Austin State University to hybridize the bald cypress with the montezuma cypress. The montezuma cypress is native in parts of south Texas, a few spots in New Mexico and much of Mexico into central America. It is the national tree of Mexico. One of the finest hybrids to come out of the hybridization work the Chinese government did at Nanjing Botanical Gardens was named Nanjing Beauty. The Chinese are propagating Nanjing

Beauty by the millions from soft wood cuttings. These varieties and hybrid plants are an important part in the vegetation plan for the floodplains associated with bottomlands and estuaries of the great Yangtze River which is presently being dammed with the largest dam project known to man. Millions and millions of bald cypress and hybrids are being planted along this reforestation project by the Chinese Government. The hybrid cypress are also finding their place in many city parks and streets of China. In this southeastern region of China the bald cypress has proven to be a special tree. It is the Magic Tree. Ken O’Dell is a long-time member of the Friends of the Arboretum and is a long-time volunteer at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Native Plant Society and is the Kansas City regional leader of the Kansas Native Plant Society.

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Photos by Scott Woodbury.

Hazelnut

Missouri willow with bee

Ozark witchazel with fly

Winter Pollinators in the Native Garden

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ate fall and winter are my favorite seasons to watch pollinators. True, there aren’t many native plants blooming at this time, but the ones that do are mighty popular with our little buzzing friends. In late October and early November aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) is a crawling, buzzing mound of bumblebees, green metallic sweat bees, honeybees and various species of flies, hoverflies, skippers and small butterflies. With little else blooming, asters are like thriving islands of commerce with bees exchanging pollination services in exchange for nectar and pollen. In reality, insects are busily stocking up on the last bit of available food before what may turn out to be a long, cold winter. Aromatic aster blossoms mark the end of the growing season and the beginning of winter. The cultivar ‘Fanny’s Aster’ extends this feeding frenzy into November and at times, December, and blooms beneath newly fallen snow. Great companion plants include beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) with its complimentary purple berries that birds nibble on through Christmas, and common witchazel (Hamamelus virginiana), which

narrow spaces or would work well in large or small clusters planted 3–5 feet apart. Carolina willow is a wide tree growing 10–15 feet tall and wide or cut back yearly to form a 7–8 foot twiggy shrub. Good companion plants that also attract late winter pollinators include spring daisy (Erigeron pulchellum), pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii), and western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum. For sources of these and many other native plants, as well as the

WATER’S EDGE

Scott Woodbury

blooms late October through December. Next at bat is Ozark witchazel, Hamamelus vernalis which begins blooming in January and February. Like its cousin, common witchazel, its blooms are sweetly scented with petals that unfurl on warm winter days. It is an insect magnet drawing in many species. Pull up a warm cushioned chair, an insect reference book and a hot cup of coffee and prepare to be blown away by a non-stop march of beautiful insects, mostly a variety of flies and small solitary bees and honeybees. Hazelnut (Corylus americana) blooms next in February and March with dangling yellow male catkins and tiny purple female feather-like flowers near the tips of the branches. The flowers are a curiosity worth a close look. This 5–7 foot tall shrub makes an excellent screen, is tolerant of light shade or full sun, and is a good replacement for invasive bush honeysuckle. March marks the month of willows with prairie willow (Salix humilus), Missouri willow (Salix eriocephala), and Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) blooming first, and then peach-leaved willow (Salix amygdaloides) blooming later. The blooms are like mini-pussy willows and are quickly discovered by winter bees and flies on warm days. Prairie and Missouri willows are small shrubs topping out at 5–7 feet. Peach-leaved willow is a 15–20 foot tree resembling wild cherry in bark and form. It fits into

services of landscape design and land care professionals, consult the Resource Guide at www.grownative.org. Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for more than 20 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

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Make the Trip! The Kansas City Gardener | December 2015

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Evergreens, young trees need extra TLC during winter months

Rodney St. John

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he air is crisp, the leaves are falling and old man winter awaits. 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. Water While your lawn and many of your trees and shrubs may have gone to sleep for the winter, they are all very much alive. In the

absence of adequate rain and/or snow, give your landscape a drink when temperatures are above freezing. 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. Failing to water new lawns adequately this winter may mean re-seeding areas in the spring. While the lawn is the ‘main event’ of many of our landscapes, don’t neglect your trees and shrubs. Evergreens are especially prone to desiccation – or drying out – if they do not receive enough moisture. Likewise, any tree or shrub planted in the last year is still acclimating to its new home, so a little water

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will go a long way in ensuring it survives for years to come. Prune Winter provides a unique opportunity to study the branch structure of trees. Without leaves to obscure our view, you identify potential problems. Things to look for include rubbing or cracked limbs, limbs growing into your home or utility wires, and co-dominant leaders. Now is a good time to remove any of these problem limbs. Neglecting them could lead to property damage or emergency pruning down the road when these limbs are compromised by snow and ice. In addition to checking mature trees for any of the above, 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. Clean up Historically, we have enjoyed some mild days well into winter.

Choose one of these to do some clean up around your landscape. Make sure most of the leaves are raked out of your lawn (or mulch them with your mower). Clear debris out from landscape beds to make less work in the spring. You can even top dress your mulched beds to freshen them up. Now is also a fine time to add mulch rings around trees in your landscape to prevent damage from mowers and string trimmers during the growing season. Start one to two inches from the trunk and mulch clear out to the drip line. In addition to preventing damage, mulch helps retain soil moisture, moderate soil temperatures and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. 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. Rodney St. John is an agronomist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at rodneystjohn@ryanlawn.com or at 913-381-1505. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.


Pets and Plants – Grapes / Raisins By Phil Roudebush, DVM, DACVIM

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arious types of grapes (Vitus species) and raisins are common food items consumed by people and available to be eaten by pet animals as well. Pets are exposed to grapes and raisins in many ways. Frequently, dogs will eat grapes off the vine, steal from plates or be offered fruit as treats. Grapes and raisins have been recommended as treats and training aids because they are tasty and relatively low in calories. Unfortunately, dogs and possibly other pet animals can have serious, life-threatening reactions to ingestion of grapes and raisins. Adverse reactions to consumption of grapes and raisins have been well documented in dogs with anecdotal reports of problems in cats and ferrets. Affected dogs have eaten grapes and raisins purchased from grocery stores, as well as grapes found in the garden and even grape pressings from wineries—both seedless and seeded grape varieties have been implicated. It is unclear if the skin of

ney failure (loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors) may develop within 24 hours or be delayed several days after exposure. Treatment includes early decontamination (induce vomiting within a few hours of exposure) and aggressive therapy for acute kidney failure with intravenous fluids and appropriate drugs. Without knowing the exact mechanism of action, all cases of grape or raisin ingestion should be considered potentially serious in dogs. Do not feed grapes or raisins the grape must be ingested to cause problems. The toxic component and mechanism involved with the adverse effects have not been identified. Some of the grapes involved were tested for pesticides, heavy metals and mycotoxins with negative findings. Grape and raisin toxicosis causes acute kidney failure, which can be a life-threatening condition if not treated early and aggressively. As few as 1 to 2 grapes per kilogram body weight (10 to 14 grapes for 20-pound dog) may cause problems. Luckily, not all dogs develop problems after consuming grapes. For raisins, consumption of greater than 3 grams per kilogram body weight is potentially toxic (¼ cup raisins for 25-pound dog). Vomiting is one of the initial signs of grape or raisin poisoning and can begin within 3 to 6 hours after eating the offending material. Other initial signs that can occur within the first several hours of exposure include diarrhea, lethargy and excessive thirst. Signs of kid-

Elegance For The Home and Garden

to dogs for any reason and keep them away from grape plantings where they might help themselves to a tasty but dangerous treat. Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian, specialist in small animal internal medicine and adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He is an Extension Master Gardener in Shawnee County, Kansas. He can be reached at philroudebush@ gmail.com.

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The Kansas City Gardener | December 2015

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MISS AN ISSUE?

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

Club Meetings African Violets of GKC Tues, Dec 8, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership/Christmas Party. 816513-8590

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SPEAKERS’ BUREAU Extension experts available to speak to your group 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.

Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Dec 6, 12-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership/Christmas Party. 816513-8590 Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Dec 9, noon; in the Rose Room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. What a power packed meeting we have in store for members and guests! We have several vendors and crafters from the Kansas City area here in one place, sharing their wares and giving everyone an opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Come to the meeting, enjoy a catered luncheon and then shop, shop, shop. Dream of sugarplums and twinkling lights while listening to Emily Jaeger share holiday music on her harp. Represented is the Korner Shoppe from Overland Park, Artisan lotions, gourmet nuts, Pickwick candles and fabulous jewelry. Keith Wheeler garden container designs, if you came to the Garden Faire, you’ll remember his wonderful products. Heavenly Oils presenting flavored oils. This is a great way for you to shop for the upcoming gift giving season and support local businesses. There’s something for everyone on your gift list! Please contact Charlotte at vntglady@comcast.net or Barbara at 816-523-3702 to sign up for the catered luncheon-$17.50. This is the only time of year we charge for lunch. guests are as always warmly welcome. Note: In case of severe weather conditions the meeting will be cancelled for your safety. We close if the Kansas City School District closes school. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society
 Sun, Dec 13, 11:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Potluck holiday party. Besides having a yummy potluck meal, we also have a gardening-themed gift exchange, and we play bingo to win small cacti and succulents. Everybody wins at least 1 or 2 plants! Visitors, members and their guests are welcome. For more information call 816-513-8590. Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Dec 7, 10am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Dec 8, 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence (1263 N 1100 Rd - Lawrence, KS) We meet monthly to learn about herbs. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational,

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December 2015 | kcgmag.com

and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. herbstudygroup@gmail.com MoKan Daylily Society Sun, Dec 6, 11am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Dec 15, 12pm; at the home of Karen Porta, 8501 W 144th St, Overland Park, KS. Annual Christmas Luncheon. Members are to bring canned goods for local food pantries. If you are not a member, but wish to attend, please call Joan Shriver at 913492-3566. Sho-Me African Violet Club Fri, Dec 11, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership/Christmas Party. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes December/January Luminary Walk Fri and Sat, Nov 27 and 28 and Dec 4 and 5, 5-9pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th, Overland Park, KS. This year tops off with the 16th annual Holiday Luminary Walk. This major fund-raiser features a mile of candlelit trails, holiday lights, live entertainment, Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, a bonfire and warm refreshments. $8 per person, we encourage you to buy your tickets before arriving. 913-685-3604 Natural Wreaths Sat, Dec 5, 2:30-4pm; at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015. Registration required. Call 816-228-3766 (all ages) Celebrate the season by crafting a natural artisan wreath! Evergreens, pine cones and many other natural trimmings will be provided. Please bring a small wire or grape vine wreath as a base for your creation. For more information email burr. oak@mdc.mo.gov Herbs & Fire: Burning Botanicals for Pleasure, Ceremony & Healing Sat, Dec 5, 10am-Noon. Burning herbs was the ORIGINAL room freshener! Cultures around the world since prehistory have burned herbs for enjoyment, in ritual, and to enhance well-being. In this class, we will delve into the benefits of the practice and discover how to bring it into our own lives. We will explore burning loose herbs, learn to make smudging wands with fresh herbs, and practice making incense with dried herbs and resins. Learn which herbs and ingredients are ethical and safe to burn, and why you would want to burn them. Learn to grow and wildcraft your own herbs to burn. Empower yourself by choosing safe, natu-


ral ingredients and eliminate fillers. $22 + $5 materials. More info & Register: www. GoodEarthGatherings.com (Registration Deadline: Dec 1) Annual Holiday Auction and Potluck Mon, Dec 7; at Loose Park Garden Center Building, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by Kansas City Garden Club. The public is welcome. Beginning at 10am, we will have both silent and live auctions of many garden items including gift certificates to area nurseries and restaurants, home grown honey; holiday mixed evergreens, delicious home baked items, boxwood and spruce wreaths, live plants and bulbs garden books, nick-knacks, dried flowers including hydrangea, vases and much more. If you have auction donation items, call 913-341-7555. After the auction is the potluck. Bring a side dish or dessert. Drinks and table set-ups are furnished. 913599-4141 Savory Soups Made Easy Sat, Dec 12, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. As the days shorten, everyone needs the little pick-me-up comfort foods provide! Taste test two homemade, winter soups designed to warm you inside and out and leave with four tasty soup recipes to prepare at home. Come see how easy soup making can be and enjoy the taste of homemade comfort. $44/person, $37/member. Registration required by Dec 7. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/ AdultClasses. Zentangled Ornaments Sat, Dec 12, 1-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Featured Pianos on Parade artist Christine Shuck will guide you through the art form of Zentangle while you create Zentangled ornaments just in time for Christmas decorating. Participants will receive supplies and instructions for making several unique ornaments from paper and blown glass. $47/person, $39/member. Registration required by Dec 7. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Holiday Swags Sat, Dec 19, 10am-2:30pm; at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110. Walk-in (all ages) Thinking of making the holidays a little greener this season? Nature provides many materials that can be used to make colorful ornaments that provide our trees and homes with seasonal decorations. Explore and experiment with the many material options available right outside the door. Fashion a festive swag to hang using prairie grasses, wild nuts, berries and seeds. Feathered Friends Mon-Thurs, Dec 28-31, 10am-3pm each day; at Anita B Gorman Discovery Center,

4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110. Walk-in (all ages) Birding is at its best during the cold winter months. Come spend a day at the Discovery Center that is for the birds. You will have the opportunity to make a pine cone feeder, learn identification techniques, go on a bird watching hike and more. Home Herbalism Course Discover Herbal Wisdom. This series of 10 monthly classes is a hands-on exploration of everything you need to know to be an effective home herbalist. Learn seasonally the times and methods of planting, harvesting, preserving, storing and using many herbs. We will work side-by-side in this course, giving you hands-on experience in using herbs in practical, useful ways. You will make tinctures, oils, salves, infusions, decoctions, and a variety of other herbal preparations. Some aromatherapy and wild food foraging will be included. Together we will journey around the Wheel of the Year with herbs, respectfully using what we grow and what Mother Nature offers, honoring both the wisdom of the ancestors and the current information available. This course is designed to give you a practical foundation so you feel comfortable and confident growing and using herbs for yourself and your family every day. Registration: Dec 1 - Jan 10 (Classes JanOct 2016) $35 each class or $325 (paid in advance) This course is limited to 15 people and will fill quickly. Registration and payment required to reserve your spot. More info & Register: email Tamara@GoodEarthGatherings or visit www.GoodEarthGatherings.com Ikebana: Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement Sat, Jan 9, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Sharpen your focus on the line and form of your own arrangement while learning about Japanese culture. Increase your skill by attending more sessions. Bring your own trimming shears; all other materials are provided. (You must purchase a vase and pin frog for the first session you attend. You may reuse these for subsequent sessions.) $39/person, $35/member (Add $45/ vase and pin frog). Registration required by Dec 28. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Seasonal Hike: The Bones of Winter Sun, Jan 10, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Join Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen and discover the beauty in the winter landscape! See the sublime beauty of tree silhouettes, dried grasses, evergreens, winter seeds and berries. What winter birds will we encounter? Join us and find out. $9/ person, $5/member. Registration required by Jan 7. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses.

Promote your gardening events! Send details to:

The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 E-Mail: elizabeth@kcgmag.com Deadline for January issue is December 5.

F

Properly Dispose Hazardous Products

ocused on environmental responsibility, gardeners are likely to recycle garden debris into the compost pile, or leave it for pickup at the curb. But what about garden products that are unused, outdated, and considered hazardous? If you’re cleaning out the garden shed or garage, and it’s time to dispose of old herbicides, fertilizers, stains and paints, what do you do with them? There are regional household hazardous waste collection facilities and are available for residents to safely dispose their household hazardous waste. A list of these locations, along with directions and hours of operation, is available on the Mid-America Regional Council web site (http://www.marc.org/Environment/SolidWaste/HHW/hhwfacilities. htm). Here’s an abbreviated list for easy reference. In Missouri: Kansas City: 4707 Deramus; 816-513-8400 Lee’s Summit: 2101 SE Hamblen Road; 816-969-1805 In Kansas: Wyandotte County: 2443 S. 88th Street; 913-573-5400 Olathe: 1420 S. Robinson; 913-971-9311 Johnson County: Mission; 913-715-6900 Leavenworth County: 24967 136th St., Leavenworth; 913-727-2858 Miami County: 327th Street and Hospital Drive; 913-294-4117 Many of these locations operate by appointment only, so be sure to give them a call first. Thank you for properly disposing of hazardous materials and for protecting people, animals and landscapes of your community.

December

Weather Report

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

Plant Above Ground Crops: 13, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22

Last Quarter: Dec. 3

Plant Root Crops:

New Moon: Dec. 11

Control Plant Pests:

First Quarter: Dec. 18 Full Moon: Dec. 25 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

26, 27 3, 4, 10

Transplant: 17, 18

Plant Flowers: 13, 14, 17, 18

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2015

17


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 in the home no longer than one week. • Prune damaged branches throughout the winter months. • Water newly planted 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 to use as holiday decorations.

n LAWN

• Rake fallen leaves from the lawn to prevent suffocation. • Keep limbs and other debris picked up from the lawn. • Negotiate lawn service contract for next year. • Store fertilizers in a dry location and out of reach of children, 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 planning. • Mulch roses, only those that are grafted by mounding soil 6 to 8 inches deep over the plants. • Roses grown on their own roots such as easy care Knock Out® need no winter mulching. • Cut tall hybrid tea roses back to 18 to 24 inches to reduce wind whipping and plant damage. • Easy care or shrub roses need no winter pruning. • Remove old stems and growth on perennials.

• Mulch perennial beds with a 2 to 3-inch layer of straw, shredded leaves or other lightweight material. • Pull and discard dead annuals. • Till garden soil and incorporate 2 to 4 inches of organic matter. • 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 such as compost or manure. • Take a soil test and make needed recommended improvements. • 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, discard to reduce disease and insect problems. • 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 watering evenly so soil does not dry out. • Purchase holiday plants such as cactus and amaryllis for a festive touch. • Watch plants for signs of insect infestations and treat. • Wash plants occasionally to remove dust layers that develop. • Rotate plants in the light to produce a balanced plant. • Water as needed to keep soil moist and avoid standing water in plant trays. • Reduce or quit fertilizing during winter. • To avoid leaf damage, watch for hot or cold drafts.

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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For convenient mail delivery, complete the form below and send with your check for $25.00. 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.

Meet Nancy Nidiffer who is passionate about house plants and tropicals. Name: Nancy Nidiffer Company: Suburban Lawn and Garden Job Title: Team Leader Tropical Dept. of Suburban Roe Store. We help people choose the best house plants and tropicals for their needs. Also we help customers with any problems they may have. Experience: I have worked for Suburban Lawn and Garden for 15 years in various departments of the company. However, house plants and tropicals are my passions. I have been a lifelong plant enthusiast, having over 300 tropical plants of my own. What Inspires: I answered the ad from Suburban that said “If you love plants and people” and I said yes I do! Taking care of our customers and making sure that they are successful in taking care of their plants is very rewarding. Our customers become our friends, so we like to put in that extra effort to satisfy them. I believe that every home can be enhanced with beautiful plants! Favorite Plant: Since “I’ve never met a plant I didn’t like”, this is a tough question to answer. However, I am very fond of Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema). They are easy and do not demand a lot of light or attention. They are grown in several beautiful colors and varieties such as Siam, Happy Valentine and Etta Rose. It is hard to find a colorful plant for a darker corner, but these beauties certainly fit the bill! Favorite Garden Destination: My favorite place to spend time is right outside of my back door. In the summer I create my own tropical haven, complete with large tropical Banana Trees, large Palms and many, many other plants. The plants encircle a small fish pond with a fountain that makes a peaceful trickling sound. It’s a great place to unwind. What Every Gardener Should Know: You don’t need a “green thumb” to grow beautiful gardens. All you need is the right plants! Non-Green Interests: My husband Bob and I have 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Having time to spend with our large family is very special! Little Known Secret: Plants not only breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen ... they also remove toxic gases such as toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonia that we have in our homes. Contact Information: Suburban Lawn and Garden, Roe Ave., Overland Park, KS 66207. Store hours 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sun.; ph 913-649-8700; www.surburbanlg.com The Kansas City Gardener | December 2015

19


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