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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

December 2018

Editor’s Choice

Plants as Gifts talk about gifts that keep on giving

Revitalize with Live Greenery Well Wishes for retiring McHenry Your Time Determines Garden Style Ask the experts about caladiums, restoring damaged lawn, and more

The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Abby Byrd Nik and Theresa Hiremath Dennis Patton Judy Penner Dr. Tamra Reall Ed Reese Phil Roudebush Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

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he walls still scarred from removing personal treasures, this room has not changed since the youngest headed off to college. It’s the spare room that collects piles of clean laundry and random items like a sewing machine, a coffee table, and a recliner. The best part? It’s the corner room with a view on two sides. On the second floor of the house, you get a bird’s eye view of the garden. Even in winter when there are no blooms or butterflies, evergreens stand tall against the bitter cold, and where lots of birds take refuge. Naturally, this is the room where visitors stay. Of course, with guests scheduled to arrive soon, I have waited until the last possible minute to make it ready. Here’s my checklist: Who stayed here last? When was the last time the sheets were washed? Do I really need to vacuum? Have the pets been sleeping in here? Where did those sleeping bags come from? I shift into overdrive washing, vacuuming, and putting things where they belong. My goal is to arrange the room to feel more like a stateroom rather than a storeroom.

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December 2018 |

As you might know, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but a vase full of fresh flowers and a live houseplant go a long way in saying, “We’re glad you’re here.” Admittedly, we run more of a hostel than a hotel, and you won’t find us listed on Airbnb. Be that as it may, we take pride in offering five-star accommodations. (Caution: entering tongue-in-cheek zone.) Welcome to our five-star chantey. We hope you find accommodations to be acceptable. If you need anything at all, CVS is 1.3 miles away. If you were expecting a continental breakfast, you might want to find another place to stay. Opening the curtains in your room offers a fabulous view of the garden. You’ll also expose the dirty windows. A roll of paper towels and the Windex is in the top drawer. Did you forget an accessory, or need a pop of color to coordi-

nate an outfit? Feel free to wear any of these scarves hanging on the wall. I suggest shaking the dust off before wearing. Use the recliner at your own risk. There are a few bolts missing. We finally got rid of the odor in this room. The source and just exactly what happened is still under investigation. We recommend keeping the door open for improved air circulation and to avoid creating conditions that might cause the odor to return. We have refrained from leaving mints on pillows. The cats think they are toys, and the dog eats them. This is no ordinary experience. Feel free to browse the book of comments made by previous guests. Now, where did I put that? Wishing you and yours a holly, jolly Christmas. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue December 2018• Vol. 23 No. 12 Ask a Scientist ......................... 4 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Your Time Garden Style ............ 8 Plants as Gifts ......................... 10 Well Wishes for McHenry ........ 12 Pets & Plants ........................... 13 How birds survive the cold ....... 14

Revitalize with Live Greenery .... 15 Powell Garden Events .............. 16 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Bird Facts ............................... 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Meet an EMG ......................... 19 Subscribe ............................... 19


about the cover ...

One of the most popular live Christmas decorations around, you can find a poinsettia’s scarlet, star-shaped leaves everywhere you turn during the holidays. Plus, they make a great gift. See other gifting plants beginning on page 10.


keep your indoor garden bright


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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.


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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Ask a Scientist Home to more than plants, kids ask DR. TAMRA REALL about critters found in the garden.

How do insects get into your house? Bri, 8 Just like you, insects want protection from bad weather. In the fall, you might find ladybugs, stink bugs, and flies come into your house through cracks and holes.

Spiders come looking for insects to eat, too. It’s okay to shoo the critters back outside or vacuum them up. Do roaches bite? Ramiyah, 8 Yuck alert: Only read if you really want to know! They don’t usually bite people, but skin shed and frass (a.k.a. bug poop) can get in the air and cause allergy and asthma symptoms. This is a good reason to keep your room clean and help your parents clean up after dinner. Often chemicals have to be used to control this pest. Your parents can call your local county extension for more information. How can you get rid of bedbugs? Damian, 15 The best way is never to get them in the first place. Until a few

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years ago, most people had never seen a bed bug. Unfortunately, bed bugs have made a comeback and are ninja-like hitchhikers and hideand-seek masters. If you stay in a hotel, leave your things in the bathroom until your parents inspect the room. If you get bedbugs in your home, don’t panic. They won’t give you a disease, but their bites can be itchy. Hire an exterminator to get rid of this pest. Does the moon affect insects? Jonathon, 9 Yes! Did you see the solar eclipse last summer? Missouri University (MU) scientists, with the help of kids like you, learned that honey bees stopped moving when the moon blocked the sun. Some insects use the moon to navigate at night. One group of insects, called dung beetles, has even been found to use the Milky Way to navigate their dung ball away from the fresh pile of manure to raise a family. How do you know so much about bugs? Jasee, 6 I have always been fascinated by insects. Although they are small, many are gorgeous and have fascinating lives and behaviors. I’m

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an entomologist—a person who studies insects. Scientists research insects to learn how to manage pest insects and how to help beneficial insects. Insects are also used in research to learn more about how cells, proteins, and genes work in other animals. Dr. Tamra Reall (@MUExtBugN Garden) is the new horticulture specialist for MU Extension in Jackson County. For free, research-based gardening tips, call 816-833-TREE (8733), email, or visit

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Why do leaves change colors? Sarah, 7 During the summer, leaves are green because of chlorophyll used to capture the sun’s energy. Another pigment group, carotenoids (like carrots), create yellow and orange. These colors are there all summer too, but we only see them when there isn’t as much chlorophyll. In the fall, if conditions are just right, leaves start making red pigments (called anthocyanins) that help the tree get all the energy from leaves before falling off.

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Ask the Experts HEIRLOOM ROSE GIFT Question: I have an heirloom rose that has been in the family for four generations. My niece would like a start. It is a once-bloomer and suckers readily. When would be a good time to chop off and dig up a rooted section for her Christmas present? Answer: The best time to pass along this plant to the next generation would be in late winter while still dormant. This would result in less stress and the best chance of surviving the transplanting. Even though the shoot has roots, it will be stressful when cut from the mother plant. My recommendation would be to wrap up a picture of the rose bush and write a lovely note about the family history of the bush to put under the Christmas tree, of course with the promise of a start later.

RESTORING LAWN DAMAGED BY CONSTRUCTION Question: The gas company dug up my yard for utility work in October then laid sod. In the section of lawn that was trampled, I took a four-prong fork and created holes, like an aerator, to help reduce the compaction. What else should I do to ensure everything survives the winter? Answer: A few years ago my front yard was torn up so I feel your pain. The damage is not only in the construction area but also the compaction from the equipment getting to the spot. Once repaired, you are left to care for the mess with the hope it all works out. Your primary concern should be to get the sod established. Keep it well watered and hopefully you fertilized to promote growth.

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Gardeners have plenty of questions about landscape issues, DENNIS PATTON answers a few of them here.

Moonlight Caladiums

SunPatiens Lavender

Unfortunately, you will need to keep the hose handy in case it is a dry winter. The sod will have limited roots and may need a drink on a warmer winter day when the soil is not frozen. By summer your sod should be established. Repairing the compaction damage will take longer. The fork helped but it is more than a oneand-done task. My recommendation would be to core aerate each September for a few years to help break up the compaction. Outside of that, there is not much else to do.

GROWING CUTTINGS Question: I took SunPatiens® cuttings in October. The 50 cuttings did well while they were covered. I took off the plastic covering after they had rooted and the cuttings immediately shriveled and died. What went wrong? Answer: You have me stumped and guessing. My first thought is maybe a damping-off type disease rotted the tender roots. My second thought is the roots were not strong enough to support the cuttings with the low humidity. Or it could be a combination of both. If you try this again I think I would recommend to slowly remove the covering and gradually reduce the humidity. Also on a side note, my hunch is propagation of this plant is probably prohibited. But of course the plant police are probably not going to raid your basement for SunPatiens®. Well maybe, I cannot promise they will not raid!

OVERWINTER CALADIUMS Question: I grew caladiums in a clay containers this summer. Can I just put the pot in the garage to overwinter? Answer: Yes, this could work and reduce a lot of efforts. The goal is to keep them on the dry side. Do not water and make sure the garage does not freeze.

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WHEN TO CLEAN UP CONFUSION Question: Last year you wrote an article saying don’t clean up the garden beds to save the overwintering butterflies. This year I read your article saying to clean up garden beds. So what is your stance on saving the butterflies? Answer: I guess in this political climate you could call me a flipper. I must admit this is a prac-

Monarch butterfly on Zinnia

the mid to upper 60s or even low 70s. This may mean a delay in garden clean up into mid-April, giving time for the overwintering stages of larvae to emerge. By doing this, it shortens the time to complete all the spring chores. If I waited that long to clean up and cut back the debris, I would never get it all done. It’s not that I don’t care about the butterflies. I just cannot get it all done in a short window of time. I pick and choose what and when I clean up based on each plant. Here is the recommendation: it is your garden and your choice. Do what needs to be done for your garden and lifestyle. If that means you can include ways to improve the habitat and survival of the pollinators, even better. The truth is both of my responses are correct. Gardening is like life, it is all about choices and making the best choice possible.

tice in which I give mixed signals both in my Extension life and my personal chores at home. I am not a purist. A purist would leave the debris until mid-spring after there is a week or so of temperatures in

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

Overland Park Luminary Walk Continues


he holiday season kicks off at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Garden with the 19th Annual Holiday Luminary Walk presented by First National Bank and Westlake ACE Hardware stores, beginning November 23rd. The twinkling light of more than 2,800 candles lining the walkways, and tens of thousands of holiday lights adorning the trees will illuminate the path to live music, lighted displays, horsedrawn wagon rides and hot apple cider. To avoid over-crowding and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the experience fully, the decision was made this year to limit the number of tickets available and to sell for specific nights. Children and those young at heart return year after year to this local family tradition. The scent of hot apple cider by the campfire, the faint echo of Santa’s “Ho Ho Ho,” the clacking of miniature holiday trains on their tracks, the clopping of the horses’ hooves, and live music all add to the wonderment that awaits.

The annual celebration starts Thanksgiving weekend, and will run for three weekends – open only on Friday and Saturday nights Nov. 23, 24 & 30, and Dec. 1, 7 & 8. The Arboretum will be transformed into a wonderland of candles and lights from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, with last entry allowed at 8:00 pm. Admission for the Luminary Walk is $10, children five and under are free. Tickets are date-specific, and must be purchased online in advance at https://artsandrec-op. org/arboretum/luminary-walk/. Parking is complimentary. The annual fundraiser is produced by Friends of the Arboretum, a part of The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park, and all proceeds benefit the Arboretum. The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is located at 8909 West 179th Street, just ten minutes south of I-435 and Metcalf, west of 69 Highway, an easy drive from anywhere in the KC metro area.

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Your Time Determines Garden Style


et’s begin by looking at two basic garden styles. I’ll call them traditional and natural. You would expect a traditional garden to require more maintenance than a natural garden. The estimated labor needed to maintain a traditional high-maintenance garden style (native or non-native plants) for a year is 6 minutes per square foot of garden space, give or take. This amount of time is for a garden where plants are grouped neatly in masses, where beds are mulched, weeded, and watered, and the edges are kept tidy. This kind of garden has a variety of perennials, grasses, trees, and shrubs—all needing to be trimmed or pruned on a regular basis to keep them looking good and as originally intended. Perennials and grasses that grow fast are dug up

at the edges to keep them compact and to keep them from spreading into neighboring plants. Plants that aggressively spread from seed are avoided or dead-headed (the process of removing spent flowers to prevent seed production and spread). Branches that grow into sidewalks or gutters are trimmed back. Walkways are swept up and leaves are gathered in fall. In late winter, garden plants are cut back before spring, keeping 10-inch stems standing for cavitynesting bees. An avid gardener may have 2,000 square feet of garden though some homeowners have more and most choose to have less. Maintenance on this hypothetical garden is about 200 hours per year. That’s 16.5 hours per month or a little more than 4 hours per week (based on 2,000 square feet x 6

Cardinals wild winter red

Photos by Scott Woodbury.

Native plant guru, SCOTT WOODBURY compares the time available to garden determines garden style.

Traditional native garden with Purple Coneflower, Michigan Lily, Threadleaf Coreopsis minutes). Ok, that’s a considerable amount of work, but that is what is needed to keep this garden looking its best. In contrast, the estimated labor for a natural, low-maintenance landscape style (native or nonnative plants) is 3 minutes per square foot per year. For the same size garden as above, maintenance is about 100 hours per year or about 2 hours per week on average. Note that this style too requires considerable maintenance, but the natural style is different from a traditional style because the perennials and grasses are randomly mixed in a

natural arrangement. This is often called a “tossed-salad” garden and looks somewhat natural. Trees and shrubs are still used to add shape and contrast to the natural garden and to soften the harsh visual lines of a house. Walkways are blown, trees, and shrubs pruned away from gutters and sidewalks and weeds are kept out. The main difference with a natural garden is that plants are not grouped in masses. They are allowed to spread more freely form seeds and roots. After plants are established (this typically takes two years) mulch is no longer needed

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except perhaps at the edges to create visual contrast. Plants are rarely dug and divided and rarely are dead-headed. That said, some species are more aggressive than others and may require partial

you have available for good old fashioned garden maintenance. It may also come to how you view the world around you and how you choose to shape it. Some choose to emulate nature, others choose

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Natural garden with Wild Sweet William, Columbine and Sweet Cicely

Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for 27 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers of native plants and other native plant resources, including landcare professionals, at, Resource Guide.

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tradition—and yet others invent new styles. Whatever you choose, your garden deserves a place in the neighborhood as long as it gets the care it needs. Happy gardening!

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removal to give less aggressive species room to grow. At the end of winter this garden style may be cut or mowed down all at once (typically in March). (To benefit cavitynesting native bees, stems can be cut at least 8-10 inches high at the end of the growing season and cut to the ground in March.) If you care for a large or small garden, it doesn’t take long to discover the labor savings of a “tossed-salad” style. Traditional and natural gardening both take trained labor. They both can be stunningly beautiful. They both can be rich with plant, insect, and bird diversity (if you use native plants!). The difference may boil down to how much spare time

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Editor’s Choice


Plantstalk as Gifts about gifts that keep on giving

lanning for the holidays is a fairly simple mission. Make a list, check it twice, include naughty and nice. However, here is where my best laid plan has run amok—my failure to execute. Due to tendencies to procrastinate, I’m scrambling to purchase last minute gifts (a repeat of what I promised not to do). If you are like me and know that time is running out, this article is right on time. Classroom teacher, holiday party hostess, your pastor, coworker, family member or friend, live plants make suitable gifts. Potted plant gifts are both simple and unique, and won’t break the bank. Despite there are more choices than I have space to allow, I have assembled merely a few to explore. See your local nursery professional for other possibilities. First, keep in mind the kind of space the recipient is working with. 10

What about pets and kids? What kind of light does their place get? Unless you’re buying for someone you know has a green thumb, it’s a good idea to keep things super easy. Give beautiful, effortless houseplants. Orchid Modern and graceful, Orchids are a stylish addition to a desk or living room end table. Prefers indirect light and only about an ounce of water a week. With chic appearance in lots of colorful combinations, Orchids are one of the most popular indoor plants. Bromeliad This bold tropical often is used in restaurants or hotel lobbies as they are super easy to care for. You’ll typically see them flower in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow. These plants like humidity,

December 2018 |

bright sunlight, and regular watering. The only difference between them and other houseplants is they like to be watered where all the leaves come together, also known as the cup. Poinsettia One of the most popular live Christmas decorations around, you can find a poinsettia’s scarlet, starshaped leaves everywhere you turn during the holidays. The legend of poinsettias is a charming and simple one, with a very basic moral lesson; any gift which is full of love and given straight from the heart is better appreciated than any expensive gift that one can think of. Definitely will bring the holiday spirit to any room. Amaryllis This likely is my favorite, and is especially nice for mailing out

of town. You can purchase a boxed Amaryllis kit, which provides bulb, planting medium, container and instructions. Easy enough for a child to assemble. Then watch it grow. Or, chose an Amaryllis planted and already in bloom. Amaryllis bloom color varies. Paperwhite Here is another bulb that you can plant up. It requires little more than to be potted and watered to produce clusters of fragrant blooms. Use a heavy pot to avoid tipping over under the weight of the blooms. Add a festive bow, and you are done. Cyclamen Another good cold weather choice, the Cyclamen is compact and unique. In the right conditions, the plant will bloom continuously for a couple of months. Cyclamen

are a bit fussy about watering. It’s best to let the soil get somewhat dry between waterings, but not to the point of wilting. Happy Cyclamen thrive in cool temperatures that drop as low as 40 degrees F. at night and rise into the 60s during the day. Place them close to a bright south-, east-, or west-facing window for maximum sunlight. Christmas Cactus The plant is recognizable by its segmented stem and the brightly colored blooms that appear at the ends of them. They pump out masses of delicate jungle flowers in rosy red, white, orange, pink, and pale yellow, depending on the variety, just in time for the holidays. A plant that can be kept year round, the Christmas Cactus will produce striking red flowers every holiday season.

Money Tree The most popular plant for “Feng Shui”, it can bring prosperity and positive energy to any work space, home, dorm or patio. Money trees prefer bright, indirect light and moderate-to-high humidity. Direct sunlight can lead to leafscorching, but the plants can do relatively well in low light. Exposure to too many drafts, though, may cause leaf loss. Heater vents and hot, dry air also need to be avoided. If you can’t keep the money tree in a bright, steamy bathroom, make it a humidity-enhancing pebble tray by filling a shallow tray with small rocks, adding water to partially cover the rocks, and setting the plant on top. For more detailed care instructions regarding any of the plants listed here, ask your local nursery or garden center professional.


Money Tree

Christmas Cactus



Paperwhite The Kansas City Gardener | December 2018


Well Wishes for retiring McHenry Usually giving rose advice, instead, JUDY PENNER reminds us of Mark McHenry’s contributions to Kansas City.


usually write the monthly “Rose Report.” Instead with Mark L. McHenry, Director of Kansas City Parks and Recreation, retiring at the end of 2018, I wanted to share a bit about Mark and his 44 years of service. Mark McHenry has left his mark in many ways in Kansas City adding 34 parks and six new community centers. Improvements have been made to the Kansas City Zoo and the Starlight Theatre. Also, the current National World War I Museum and Memorial was created. Mark also was instrumental in establishing The Bay Water Park, The Springs Aquatics Center, Go Ape Tree Tops Adventure, Shoal Creek Golf Course and Tom Watson Golf Academy in Swope Park. Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in park administration

from Texas Tech University and his master’s in public administration from University of Missouri, Kansas City. He joined the staff of Kansas City, Mo., Parks and Recreation in 1974 as a municipal management trainee and has been a key member of the department since 1976, moving through the ranks of park district manager, superintendent of construction and development, and superintendent of parks management. In 1988 he became Deputy Director and has served as the department’s director since 2003. He is the seventh director to lead the department since its establishment in 1892. In 2017 he received the Arts Advocate Award from Arts KC for serving as the steward of Kansas City’s public monuments, memorials, sculptures and fountains.

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Jacob L. Loose Park–Arbor Day 2016 with Judy Penner, Park Director and Mark McHenry, Director of Parks and Recreation. Under Mark’s guidance Kansas City has been recognized by national and international organizations. In 2012, Ward Parkway was designated as one of 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association. In 2016, “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in Community Planning and Development and Landscape Architecture. In July of 2018, the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden received the World Federation of Rose Societies Triennial Conference Award of Garden Excellence. In recent years, Mark worked to identify funds and navigate the challenges to develop, design and build Swope Soccer Village in partnership with Sporting Kansas City. Following that same model, he helped develop the Urban Youth Academy at Parade Park in partnership with the Kansas City

Royals Baseball organization. Both of these partnerships with professional sports franchises will benefit our community’s youth for decades and bring many large tournaments into Kansas City. Mark has worked closely with Jackson County Parks and surrounding municipalities in the development of our trails system. The trails that have been developed will eventually link to the Rock Island trail which is under development now and will eventually link to the Katy Trail, allowing trail enthusiast to ride or hike from St. Louis to Kansas City, Mo. Along with all of his other many duties, Mark also serves on the Zoo Board, Starlight Board, Liberty Memorial Association and the City of Fountains Foundation. Mark’s impact on Kansas City has touched millions of residents and visitors that come to Kansas City. Mark will be truly missed by the Parks Department and the Kansas City Community! I wish you the best and remember to stop and smell the roses! For more on Mark McHenry you can Log onto http://www. to listen to an interview on KCUR featuring Mark McHenry. Judy Penner is Expert Rosarian at Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo. You may reach her at judy.penner@


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December 2018 |


Pets and Plants: Sago Palm By Phil Roudebush, DVM, DACVIM



he sago palm (Cycas revoluta), also known as cycad palm, king sago palm or Japanese sago palm, is not a true palm but a cycad. Cycads are ancient plants with fossilized specimens from at least 280 million years ago. The cycad family is a group of subtropical to tropical plants native to southern Japan that are used here as an indoor ornamental plant or for landscaping in the southern continental United States and Hawaii. Sago palm is highly poisonous to all animals but most clinical problems have been reported in dogs with mortality rates exceeding 35 percent. All parts of the plant are toxic (leaves, seed, bark, roots) but seeds contain the highest level of toxins. Ingestion of only one or two seeds can result in death in an average-size dog. Several different toxins have been identified including those responsible for liver and gastrointestinal damage and separate toxins associated with nervous system effects. The onset of clinical signs after ingestion of sago palm material is variable from a few hours to several days. The most commonly reported problems include vomiting and diarrhea (with or without blood) followed by lethargy, depression, liver failure and death. Neurologic signs include weakness, wobbly gait, seizures and coma. Treatment includes oral decontamination (induce vomiting,


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Sago palm is highly poisonous to all animals but most clinical problems have been reported in dogs. activated charcoal) and supportive care with emphasis on the liver. Sago or cycad palms are beautiful ornamental plants but are extremely dangerous to dogs or other animals if they eat any plant materials. Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian and specialist in small animal internal medicine. He was an adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and is now an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Buncombe County, North Carolina. He can be reached at 816.229.1277 | 27610 E Wyatt Road, Blue Springs, MO 64014 Monday-Saturday 8AM-5PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM

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How birds survive the cold Local birding expert, THERESA HIREMATH discusses how backyard birds are able to survive winter conditions.


ow do those birds survive such cold temperatures? Just as we have several options when we go out in the cold to maintain our body temperature, birds also have a variety of ways they use to stay warm too. The options for the birds fall into three categories: morphological, physical attributes of their bodies; physiological, how their bodies work; and behavioral, how they behave. While various birds have different body temperatures, on average, a bird’s temperature is about 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This is considerably warmer than for humans, thus a greater challenge to maintain it. One of the physical characteristics of a bird that helps them to stay warm are scutes or a type of scales on their lower legs and feet. Scutes

are made of a hard protein called Keratin and provides a better barrier than skin. Also, this keeps their feet from freezing onto surfaces they land on. Some birds also have darker skins on their backs, like polar bears, which retains the heat they get from the sun. Similarly, the base of their feathers is also dark, also to help retain heat. While these physical characteristics are interesting, what they can do with their bodies is even more impressive. Birds can restrict blood flow to their extremities like their legs and feet and direct more to their core to keep their vital organs warm. Birds can also lower their body temperature. It’s been observed that a Red Tail Hawk who’s gone hungry for several days in the winter will lower its temperature by 5 degrees. Like

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December 2018 |

On this snow-covered feeder, this male house finch feeds on high fat and high protein food that he depends on daily. Keeping feeders full this time of year improves the odds of survival. body temperature, some birds will lower their metabolic rate, thus needing less energy to stay warm. Many birds in the fall will eat more to store fats in their body. Studies have shown that birds like chickadees will have as much as a 10 percent body fat content in winter. These fats are more easily burned to keep the birds warm. And somewhat like us, birds shiver to generate body heat. However, in birds they shiver by moving their adjacent muscles in opposite directions, thus the reason you don’t see them shivering the way we do. Birds also have adopted several behaviors to survive the cold. Probably the most observable one is puffing. This is when they expand their feathers to capture as many air pockets as possible to provide additional insulation. You’ve probably seen how plump some birds look in the winter. The ability to keep their feathers preened enables them to trap this air between their feathers since the secretion from their preening gland is a waxy substance that keeps the air from escaping as easily. Studies have shown that the skin temperature of a chickadee can be 70 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature. Many birds will also stand on just one leg or even squat to cover their legs and feet in the winter to keep the warmth from escaping. Occasionally, you might

even see a bird tuck its beak into its shoulder feathers as another coping mechanism. Another behavior to observe is seeing a variety and/or several birds coming out of cavities or nesting boxes in the morning. They roost together in numbers to share body heat and often will do so with other species as well. Lastly, you’ve probably also seen several birds come out of dense bushes and brush which is where they will retreat from the cold. If you’d like to improve their odds of surviving through the winter, consider offering high quality, high fat and high protein foods. A heated bird bath to keep them hydrated and to help them preen. Also clean out your nesting boxes for the winter to provide a roosting spot. And if you have brush pile leave it through the winter or start one now with your fall trimmings. So, this winter, when you’re enjoying the warmth indoors, take the time to notice some of these adaptations’ birds have made to survive the cold. And as always, if you’d like to learn more, come see our bird feeding experts who can help you enjoy your backyard birds. Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

Revitalize with Live Greenery ABBY BYRD discusses care and disposal of live Christmas trees, fresh greenery and décor of the season.


lthough the horticultural growing season has come to a close, the Christmas season brings about a whole new life for live greenery and flowering houseplants to enjoy. Live Christmas trees fill your home with fragrances of the season and outdoor greenery brings about life where the flowers of spring and summer have faded away. Fraser Firs The displaying and decorating of a Christmas tree in the home, a tradition with deep roots and a rich history that spans many centuries and cultures, has become one of the main traditions families enjoy together during the holiday season. While some opt for artificial versions, others cling to the festive tradition of selecting a live tree each year following Thanksgiving. Many people that are environmentally-conscious hold the misconception that purchasing a live Christmas tree means chopping down forests and slowly depriving the earth of evergreen trees. In reality, Christmas tree farms operate much the same way as a farm that grows crops like corn. In order to have an inventory for the following years, every year a new batch of trees is replanted. Though there are several evergreen species that are marketed as Christmas trees, Fraser Firs offer many benefits that make them an exceptional choice. They are said to have one of the best fragrances, filling your home with a wonderful aroma. Their branches are strong, especially near the top of the tree, making it ideal for hanging ornaments. The branches of a fraser fir are often varying lengths, making each tree a unique, organic shape. Their needles are green on top and a silvery-white on the bottom, appearing of frost. Fraser firs are also said to be longer-lasting than some of its competitors. Part of what makes the fraser fir so long-lasting is that it drinks

a large amount of water, keeping the needles fresh and hydrated. It’s important to check the tree stand for water every morning and evening the first week. Beyond that, you can taper back to checking once a day. If you are seeking an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of your tree after the holiday season, there are local services that provide drop-off sites where trees will be mulched or composted. Some cities even offer curbside pickup the weeks following Christmas. Evergreen trees can also provide excellent winter habitats for wildlife. If you enjoy watching the birds in the winter, consider staking up your tree outside and hanging suet cakes or feeders for the birds, so they can take up residence. Just be sure to avoid throwing it in the landfill. The remains of your tree can also be chopped and stored for burning the following year, adding an aroma to your fireplace next holiday season. Fresh Greenery Live greenery for the holidays can extend well beyond cut Christmas trees. Wreaths, garlands, swags, boughs, and spruce tip containers are also options for decorating your home and front porch. Greenery comes in a variety of textures and shades of color. Some of the most fragrant varieties are princess pine and fraser/noble/ douglas fir. Outdoor containers are a great way to incorporate a variety of greens and dried elements like branches, twigs, and pinecones and they can be made to decorate your doorstep all winter long, not just for Christmas. If properly cared for, greenery can be used inside the home for up to 3-4 weeks. Keep fresh greens out of direct sunlight as much as possible and away from vents and fireplaces that are used often. Using a product like Wilt Proof will help extend the life of

your greenery by locking in moisture. Keep your home on the cooler side and use humidifiers to aid in moisture retention. If possible, mist your greenery with water a couple times a week Outdoors, fresh greenery should also be kept out of direct sun as much as possible to stretch it further into the winter. Avoid placing wreaths and door swags between glass doors, especially in direct sunlight. Cold temperatures will help to preserve the greenery and hold moisture. If it is above freezing, water your greens a couple times a week by misting the foliage. For containers, you can water the soil and the greenery will hydrate through its stems.

Whether you’re looking for revitalization for your outdoor space or a breath of fresh air indoors, the Christmas and winter season offer a multitude of fresh foliage and blooms to help you deck the halls! For tips on caring for Poinsettias and how to nurture your plant to the next year, go to Abby Byrd has worked at Colonial Gardens for 12 years. She has a B.S in Art Education from Park University and worked as an elementary art teacher for several years before returning to Colonial full time. She serves as the Greenhouse Coordinator and teaches workshops and painting classes at the garden center.

Festival of Lights Nov. 23-Jan. 6 Thurs-Sun | 4-10 p.m.

Illuminated by: | 816.697.2600 The Kansas City Gardener | December 2018


Powell Gardens in December Festival of Lights through January 6, 2019 COST: Festival Admission and parking applies Enjoy a beautiful botanically-themed lighting display installed along a one-mile pathway through the Gardens. Free hands-on activities for children each day of the festival from 4-8 p.m. Visit our tree ornament making station to make something to take home. Photos with Santa will be available 5-9 p.m. Dec 1, 8, 15. Holiday Decor Workshop Saturday, December 1, 9 a.m.-noon COST: $45 Decorate your home for the holidays with natural adornments created during this festive workshop. Gather ideas to spruce up your pots and add winter interest to your seasonal displays using fresh greenery, other natural materials, ribbons, and more. Each participant will create a fiber pot bough container that can be displayed indoors or out (and could easily slip inside a beautiful ceramic pot of your own at home). This project also makes a fresh and lovely seasonal gift for a friend, family member, or hostess. Visit for details. Family Frolic: Gifts of Nature Saturday, December 1, 1-4 p.m. COST: Free with festival admission This drop-in afternoon offers plenty of hands-on activities for children of all ages. Create excellent gifts for grandparents using natural materials, get a photo taken with Santa (available from 5-9 p.m.) for a small fee, listen to storytelling by the fire, and enjoy festive live music. Cookies are available for purchase for the kids and Boozy Botanical drinks are available for purchase for moms and dads. Stay until dusk and walk the magical trail of the Festival of Lights. Gingerbread House and Landscaping Workshop Sunday, December 16, 1-4 p.m. COST: $60 a family (includes festival admission, the gingerbread house and all edible decorations) Spend an afternoon designing your gingerbread dream house and landscape with chef Melissa Fahlstrom of Sugar Whipped Bakery. Receive instruction on assembling a pre-baked gingerbread house (dimensions estimated 10 x 10 x 10 inches) and some fabulous tricks of the trade, including how to make windows look like stained glass and cookies look like snowy shingles. Finish off your masterpiece with a variety of frostings and ready-made candies. Best for children ages six and older. Visit for details. Wassail Celebration & Feast Saturday, January 19, 5-9 p.m. COST: $75 Usher in the New Year with the seventh annual Wassail Celebration & Feast at Powell Gardens. Also referred to as a wintertime drink of spiced wine or ale, the word wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon greeting “wes hal,” meaning to “be of good health.” This seasonal dinner is prepared by students from Shawnee Mission Culinary Arts Program under the direction of Head Chef Robert Brassard and Chef Justin Hoffman and will feature a roasted pig accompanied by savory and sweet seasonal side dishes. A Wassail beverage (alcoholic or non) is included in the ticket price. A cash bar with wine and beer is also available. Live music and a traditional (continued next page) 16

December 2018 |

Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Club Meetings Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Dec 12, noon; at Rose Room, Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Annual Holiday Luncheon potluck. Our party includes sharing stories of holidays past and a Christmas herbal gift exchange. Facebook: check us out at Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. Friends and visitors are always welcome. Questions: call Nancy at 816-478-1640. KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Dec 9, noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Besides having a yummy potluck meal, we’ll have a gardening-themed gift exchange and play bingo to win small cacti and succulents. Everybody wins at least 1 or 2 plants! Visitors are welcome at both of these enjoyable events. Just bring a dish to share and a wrapped, gardenthemed gift if you’d like to participate in the gift exchange. For more information, email

Events, Lectures & Classes December Holiday Luminary Walk continues The holiday season kicks off at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Garden with the 19th Annual Holiday Luminary Walk. To avoid over-crowding and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the experience fully, the decision was made this year to limit the number of tickets available and to sell for specific nights. The annual celebration runs only on Fri and Sat nights Nov 23, 24 & 30, and Dec 1, 7 & 8. The Arboretum will be transformed into a wonderland of candles and lights from 5 to 9pm, with last entry allowed at 8pm. Admission for the Luminary Walk is $10, children five and under are free. Tickets are datespecific, and must be purchased online in advance at arboretum/luminary-walk/. Parking is complimentary. The annual fundraiser benefits the Friends of the Arboretum, a part of The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park. Natural Wreaths Sat, Dec 1, 10-11:30am or 1-2:30pm; at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015. Registration required online. (adults) Celebrate the season by crafting a natural 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 and any additional special decorations you wish to include. For more information email burr.oak@; 816-228-3766; www.mdc. Get into the Holiday Spirit at this Fabulous Event! Mon, Dec 3, 10am; at Central United Methodist Church, 5144 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64112. Park at the southwest corner of the church and come into the church at the southwest entrance facing Brookside Blvd. Are you looking for some holiday fun and bargains? Then be sure to attend the Kansas City Garden Club’s annual Holiday Auction and Luncheon. The public is welcome to attend. Celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, the Kansas City Garden Club knows how to have a good time. You will have many giggles and laughs while bidding on over 150 lots of sale items. Many merchants have donated items in addition to gift certificates for this fundraiser auction including plant nurseries, restaurants, hardware stores, coffee shops and several more. You may also be interested in many of the club member donated items such as plants; farm fresh honey; home baked plates of cookies; home baked breads; holiday greens that offer blue spruce, pine, juniper, fir; boxwood wreaths; vases; dried flowers; garden books; much miscellaneous and who knows what else! After the auction wraps up about 12:15 you are invited to join us for a delicious potluck luncheon. For questions, call 913-636-4956. Natural Wreath Making Party Mon, Dec 3, 6pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America will be hosting our annual wreath making party. Celebrate the season by crafting a natural wreath. Evergreens, pine, and many other natural trimmings will be provided. Please bring creative decorative centerpiece or wire wreath base for your creation. There will be wreath bases for sale at the party. Please bring gloves and hand clippers for easier construction. Refreshments will be served. Making Boxwood Wreaths Thurs, Dec 6, 11:30am-1pm; in the Sunflower Room, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Join us for a presentation on how to make boxwood wreaths by Mikey Stafford, a Leavenworth County Extension Master Gardener. Sponsored by the Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. Registration is not required. Fee: $5 payable at door (waived for certified Extension MGs). For more information, call 913-299-9300. Christmas Open House Thurs, Dec 6, 4-7pm; at Green Streets Market, 112 E Green St, Clinton, MO. Door prizes and refreshments. Fresh cut Fraser Firs, wreaths, swags, greenery pots, ornaments and lots of Christmas

decor. Santa, reindeer and statuary too. 660-885-3441

2019 Sneak Peak Tomatoes and Peppers Thurs, Jan 10, 11:30am-1pm; held in the Sunflower Room of Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 North 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by the Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. Dr Chuck Marr, Kansas State University professor emeritus, will present “Tomatoes and Peppers.” Registration is not required. Fee: $5.00 (waived for certified master gardeners). Please call 913-299-9300 if you need further information. Gardening by Design Symposium in Paola Sat, Mar 2, 9am-3:30pm. Sponsored by Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners, at the Town Square Event Center, 15 West Wea, Paola, KS. Keynote speaker Bryan Boccard, Kauffman Gardens, will be followed by Timothy Maloney, MU Professor of Landscape Design; Dennis Patton, JoCo Horticultural Agent; and Myrna Minnis, owner of Art with Myrna. Topics include The Garden as Performance Art, The Second Time Around (rethinking an existing yard/ garden), Finding Mr. Good Shrub, and Using Garden Art. The $40 fee includes a box lunch and snacks. Space is limited. Register by Feb 18. Watch for details and registration form at Call the Extension office, 913-294-4306, for more information. Beekeeping I Wed, Mar 13 & 20, 2019, 6:30-8:30pm. This is an introductory course into beekeeping. We will review the importance of honey bees in our everyday life. Participants will learn about the life cycle of the honey bee, their history, and become familiar with today’s beekeeping techniques. Instructor: Robert Hughes. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $59. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323. Beekeeping II Wed, Mar 27 & Apr 3, 2019, 6:30-8:30pm. This course offers an in depth review of current beekeeping practices. You will study beekeeping in the classroom and explore a beehive in the field. The course will give you hands on experience working a beehive. Instructor: Robert Hughes. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $59. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323. Keeping Backyard Chickens Tues, Apr 9, 2019, 6-9pm. An animal’s lover’s guide to sustainable agriculture on a small scale. Chickens provide natural bug control, as well as breakfast. Learn the how and why and what in order to avoid the perils of raising chickens on a domes-

tic scale. Instructor: Emily Winchester. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $39. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323. Beekeeping III Wed, Apr 10 & 17, 2019, 6:30-8:30pm. This class will be a fun and active way to learn how to be a successful backyard beekeeper. We will provide the basic knowledge needed to keep and manage a healthy beehive, and produce honey and beeswax. This class will cover bee behavior, hive management, diseases, pests, swarming and how to harvest honey right from your own backyard. Instructor: Robert Hughes. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $59. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323. Advanced Beekeeping – Spring Management Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 6:30-8:30pm. Review the steps to help your bees prepare for the Honey Flow. Review different processes and techniques to add honey supers, equalizing your hives and most important, learning how to keep ahead of the honey that your bees bring to the hive. Instructor: Robert Hughes. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $29. To enroll go to https://ce.jccc. edu or call 913-469-2323. Farmers’ Market and KC’s Local Food Movement Sat, May 4, 2019, 9am-12pm. Do you love shopping the local farmers’ market, but get overwhelmed deciding who to support, who are the real farmers, how and what to buy? Learn how to shop the market wisely and what to know about the vendor guidelines. Farmers’ markets are just a part of the active local food and farmer movement. Also look at the city’s historical farming roots and discover the myriad of resources that connect us to our local food growers. Discover farm to table, organic, urban and local trends. Learn about KC organizations collaborating to feed our city on many levels and key programs that are training our next gen farmers. Instructor: Sherri Thomas. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $39. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323. Herbs for Beginners Sat, May 18, 2019, 9am-12pm. May is the perfect time to plant more herbs! Become more familiar with growing herbs and their many culinary and medical uses with this hands-on class. Learn which are perennials or annuals and how best to grow each in your garden. In addition, learn about medicinal uses, useful recipes and ways to preserve the herbs you grow. Class held at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Fee: $39. To enroll go to https:// or call 913-469-2323.

More must-see events are posted on our website, KCGMAG.COM, and click on “Events.” Promote club meetings, classes, plant sales and other gardening events for FREE! Send details to: Deadline for publishing in the January issue is December 5.

Powell Gardens in December (continued) blessing of the apple orchard is part of the festivities. Greenhouse 101: Behind-the-Scenes Workshop Monday, January 21, 9 a.m.-noon, COST: $45 Get out of the cold and into our greenhouse! This special workshop provides an opportunity to polish your greenhouse skills and learn some tricks of the trade from our greenhouse staff. You will learn propagation techniques and will take home cuttings of varied tropical plants in our collection. Participants will receive a basic overview of how to sow vegetable seeds (to start in trays at home), understand how to grow plants using a cold frame (and receive a pattern for making one at home), and will learn the proper way to divide perennials. This action packed educational experience will get you inspired for the spring season. SAGES: All About Orchids Thursday, January 31, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. COST: $35 (includes a box lunch) Growing orchids in Kansas City (or the midwest) can be easy if you know how to care for them. Brent Tucker, Horticulturist of Seasonal Designs and Events, will show you all of the steps and tools that you need to have abundant southern blooms. The lecture is followed by a tour of the orchids on view at the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden conservatory.

Bird Facts


ED REESE celebrates the little charming Carolina Wrens.

arolina Wrens are a real treat for the Kansas City area. Kansas City is slightly north of where these unique birds historically are found. With good cover and decent weather though, they will stay year round. A common identifying trait is the signature upright tail feathers that wrens display. Because they are shy, these little friends are more often heard than seen. A Carolina Wren pair talks to each other throughout the day. They constantly chatter, occasionally breaking out into a signature “teakettle – teakettle – teakettle” song. They communicate about food, threats, and even about non-threatening birds including other Carolina Wrens that might infringe into their established territory. Carolina

Wrens love thick dense underbrush and groundcover, staying close to the ground and small bushes. Pairs are usually monogamous and stay together from mating until death. Carolina Wrens will build nests in anything from a tin can or shoe on the ground, to thick bush, and even nest boxes. They are busy parents. If conditions allow they will raise three broods from mid-spring to early fall. Carolina Wrens predominantly eat insects. They will occasionally feed on sunflower hearts and peanuts. Ed and Karen Reese own and operate the Wild Bird House in Overland Park. Contact them at 913-341-0700.

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2018



garden calendar


• Keep heavy snowfall from tree limbs and shrubs by lightly shaking. • Avoid shoveling snow onto trees and shrubs to prevent breakage and prolonged snow cover. • Prune damaged branches throughout the winter months. • Protect the trunks of young trees and branches of shrubs from rabbit damage. • Leave living Christmas trees in the home no longer than one week. • 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.


• 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 and pets. • Store pesticides in a cool, dry location above 32 degrees and out of reach of children and pets. • Winterize power equipment by changing oil, draining gas and lubricating all moving parts.


• Evaluate the garden. Make notes to assist in spring planning. • Mulch grafted roses. Mound soil 6 to 8 inches deep over the plants. • 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 or winter mulching. • Mulch tender perennials with a 2 to 4-inch layer of straw, shredded leaves or other lightweight material. • Remove old stems and growth on perennials or leave in place until spring to protect overwintering pollinators.

• Pull and discard dead annuals. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. Water and mulch as well. • Till garden soil and incorporate 2 to 4 inches of organic matter. • Test soil to help determine soil needs for the next growing season. • Give plants or gift certificates as holiday gifts for gardening friends. • Review new garden catalogs and make selections.


• Till soil and incorporate organic matter such as compost or manure. • Test soil and make any 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 and 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.


• Enjoy poinsettias longer by placing in bright light. Keep away from hot and cold drafts and water evenly so the soil does not dry out. • Purchase holiday plants, like cactus and amaryllis, for festive touch. • Give plants as holiday gifts. • Wash plants occasionally to remove dust layers that develop. • Watch plants for signs of insect infestations and apply treatment if necessary. • Rotate plants in the light to produce a balanced plant. • Water plants as needed to keep soil moist. Avoid standing water in plant trays. • Reduce or stop fertilizing during winter. • Avoid leaf damage by watching 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, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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816-842-5012 • 1557 Swift Ave., KCMO

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• Hotlines to answer your questions • Weather report and planting dates • Look for garden clubs • Upcoming events

Have you seen our videos? We have created another gardening resource, filled with timely information. Find our videos on Facebook and YouTube by searching for The Kansas City Gardener. Subscribe and never miss one.


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A Mon thly Guid e to Suc October 2014 cess ful Gard Garde ning enin g to Succe ssful A Mont hly Guide

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.

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Chelsea Didde Rice produces videos with The Kansas City Gardener that are available on YouTube and Facebook.

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 Extension Master Gardener, Brian Basel

What first drew you to gardening: I “volunteered” to work in our home vegetable garden when I was a child. Although it wasn’t

necessarily my choice, I came to enjoy planting seeds, watching the plants and vegetables grow and especially eating my favorites! How long have you been an Extension Master Gardener: I became a master gardener in 2015. I knew persons in the program who were knowledgeable and passionate about gardening. They were also good at patiently answering my numerous questions. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to join this group and work with great people. Most valuable information learned: An axiom I have learned that is “right plant, right place”, but the most valuable thing I have learned might be to never stop learning about gardening. Favorite tool: That’s a tough one! One of the things I enjoy as a gardener is buying new and different tools. Many days my foam kneeling pad is especially valuable! My newest favorite tool is a soil knife, which is flexible for use in planting, weeding and cutting roots. It is also very cool to wear on your belt! Favorite plant type: One of my favorite shrubs is the Oakleaf Hydrangea because of its interesting leaves and summer-long blooms. I love redbud trees because they have beautiful spring blooms, are hardy and develop interesting shapes. A perennial I appreciate

is Texas Green Eyes, which has numerous blooms (with green centers). Gold finches flock to it all summer for a treat! Do you have a specialty: I don’t know if it is a specialty, but due to environmental conditions where I garden, I have learned a lot about what to plant in shade areas. I also have gained an appreciation for native plants and wildflowers. What are you paassionate about: Keeping gardening fun, growing healthy plants and sharing that passion with others. What challenges do you face: In a word, Kansas City’s climate! Getting to work in many types of gardens and dealing with the weather extremes is a big challenge, but it is great when your plans and work result in a beautiful garden and landscape. Advice to share: Make a plan and don’t rush it. Gardening can be extremely rewarding lifetime hobby and stress reliever. I never finish landscaping. I try to make changes and introduce new plants into my gardens every year. Who inspired your love of gardening: I credit my father for inspiring my love of gardening. He is the one who volunteered me to garden when I was growing up, and passed on his love of flowers and vegetable gardening to me. I do my best to carry on that legacy.

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2018



Grown For The Holidays!

Christmas Store In Lenexa

Poinsettias Are Here

Come see the large selection of greenery, fresh cut trees, poinsettias, and holiday decor.

Choose from thousands of fabulous poinsettias and indoor plants grown in our greenhouses! Starting at $4.99.

Now open at the Lenexa store. K-7 and Praire Star Pkw.

Rosemary Trees

Christmas Cactus

Norfolk Island Pine

Now gift cards available in store & online!

Fresh Greenery We are making fresh arrangements for your home and business daily!

105th & Roe (913) 649-8700

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy (913) 897-5100

135th & Wornall (816) 942-2921

Starting at $19.99 20

December 2018 |

#suburbanlg //

Profile for The Kansas City Gardener

KCG 12Dec18  

plants as gifts, poinsettia, amaryllis, live greenery, McHenry retires, garden style, natives, caladiums, lawn restoration, bromeliad, chris...

KCG 12Dec18  

plants as gifts, poinsettia, amaryllis, live greenery, McHenry retires, garden style, natives, caladiums, lawn restoration, bromeliad, chris...