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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

December 2019

Top Gifts for Gardeners

How to Grow Artful Native Vines Growing and Cooking with Herbs Bird of the Month: Northern Cardinal

The Kansas City


editor’s notes

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Abby Byrd Nik and Theresa Hiremath Dane Kietzman Dennis Patton Tamra Reall Ed Reese Chelsea Didde Rice Denise Sullivan Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

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P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone: 913-648-4728



ontainers filled with annuals long past their prime have been emptied and stored. The firewood stack has been replenished, the garden tools have been cleaned and put away, and Midwest gardeners are prepared for winter’s chill. For some, this is the perfect time to relax. We’ll sit by the crackling fire, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and flip through the ever-increasing stack of seed and tool catalogs. We’re glad for the free time to review a new gardening book or plan for another garden year. Like the garden, it’s time for us to slow the pace. Yet others are not so comfortable with a relaxed schedule. Antsy for something to do, we yearn for those regular duties of weeding, deadheading, and fertilizing. We long for the garden’s call outdoors to engage. Which type of gardener are you? Are you poised with your feet on the ottoman, captured within the pages of a popular new book? Or have you fallen into the Web’s black hole searching some dot com site fact checking news reports?

Personally, I have come to appreciate a more relaxed approach to winter. More to the truth … I’ve got more time for knitting. This new hobby of mine has grown over the last year, and I find myself looking for opportunities to sit and knit. It engages my brain and busies my hands, keeping me out of the kitchen where snacking could be a problem. Plus I appreciate the challenges a project might present, along with a strong sense of accomplishment once complete. This time of year encourages my bird watching too. The feeders and birdbath frequently need cleaning and refills. I keep an eye on which birds feast on seed and/ or suet. And unfortunately, at some point I’ll have to tromp through the “back-40” in search of a missing suet cage. The guilty party is likely a squirrel with super powers. Watching them in action is quite a show as well.

I like anticipating the next snowfall. I look forward to watching the birds feed. And on a crisp wintery morning as the sun shines through the naked trees, exposing bark and berry alike, I find a renewed gratefulness for nature’s bounty. The garden may seem austere and rustic right now, but honor the structure. Realize the framework that forms the garden foundation. Visualize the possibilities. This is my downtime. May you carry the joy of this season close to your heart and share it often with those you love. May peace and joy be with you today and always. I’ll see you in the garden.

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In this issue

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December 2019 • Vol. 24 No. 12

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 19.


Ask the Experts ........................ 4 Happening at Discovery Ctr ..... 4 Kids Ask Dr. Bug ..................... 6 Keep Wooden Friends Happy ... 7 Happening at Burr Oak Woods .. 8 Grow and Cook with Herbs ...... 9 Gifts for Gardeners .................. 10 How to Grow Artful Vines ........ 12

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Northern Cardinal ..................... 1 4 Plants on Plate Brussels Sprouts ... 1 5 Bird Seed Storage ................... 16 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Spring Symposium in Paola ...... 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Meet a Master Gardener ......... 19 Subscribe ................................ 19

Poinsettia makes a wonderful living gift for a teacher, neighbor or gardener. Learn about other gifts for gardeners beginning on page 10.

December 2019 |



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Ask the Experts Gardeners have plenty of questions about soil and plant issues, DENNIS PATTON answers a few of them here. GARLIC Q&A UPDATE In the November issue, I answered a question about the best time to plant garlic. A reader, along with my co-worker Zac Hoppenstedt, provided more insight and information. Fall is the best time to plant garlic, but in my answer, I closed the planting window a little early. Zac offered information from my very own institution, Kansas State University, indicating the ideal window for planting is from late September through late November. The reader preferred the later date as well since the plant only produced root growth and little or no top growth, which is usually damaged by the winter. My thanks to The Kansas City Gardener reader and Zac for this information.

UGLY GALL CAUSED BY ASH FLOWER MITE Question: Now that the leaves have dropped from my white ash tree and the branching is exposed, I can see all these little brown growths or structures hanging on the branches. What are these? Answer: These dense, brown growths are damage caused by the ash flower mite gall. This insect stings the developing ash flower causing it to be misshapen. When it dries, it results in these clumps. They can hang on the tree for extended periods. The result is an unattractive appearance. Unfortunately, there is no effective control. The good news is the gall does not harm the health of the tree. It just looks bad and we must live with the issue.

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Plant garlic through late November.

Monarch butterfly benefits from natives.

OVERSIZED LILAC IN NEED OF PRUNING Question: I have a large overgrown lilac. Can I decrease the size of the plant? If so, how can it be done and when is the best time? Answer: Old fashion lilacs can get large and out of control. Luckily the shrub is relatively forgiving. Can it be done? Yes. How it is done is a little more complicated. You have two options. The first option is the slash-and-burn method! Rejuvenate the plant by cutting all the stems back to about 6 to 8 inches from the ground. Rejuvenation results in new growth emerging from the base. This new succulent growth may take a couple seasons to mature and produce a bloom. The second option is using selective thinning. This process removes about one-third of all limbs back to the ground each

year. Over several years all overgrown wood is removed, and all new growth will be less than three years. Keep this process going and you will have a smaller plant. This method should help retain blooms each year. When is the best time? If you want to enjoy the maximum number of flowers, prune back within a few weeks after blooming. If you don’t care about the flowers, then prune before spring growth, triggering the best growth response especially if you chose to rejuvenate. DECISION-MAKING ABOUT NATIVES Question: I’ve read about planting more native plants for the health of the pollinators. But many of our native plants have been selected or bred to be “garden worthy.” As I read information, I become confused about whether the selected cultivars are

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good for wildlife. Can you help me know what is best to plant? Answer: Oh, you ask very complex questions for the space allowed. The simple answer is true native plants are the best as they have developed alongside the native pollinators. Unfortunately, some of the natural characteristics of true natives are not as desir-

This Blue Spruce Bakeri will likely grow to 30 feet here in the Midwest. able in the garden. The result is referred to as nativars, or selections of native plants brought into cultivation. There is not always great research to let us know if the nativar supplies the same amount or quality of nectar as the straight species. It is complex as many of the nativars have different flower structures making it harder for the insect to feed or produce lower quality pollen or nectar. We each must plan on which selections we

plant. Incorporating more natives in the garden is the goal. It is tricky to find a balance so that we plant and maintain a garden that brings us joy along as well as supporting pollinators. The good news is you are thinking and looking at plants for more than just another pretty flower. UNDERSTANDING NURSERY TAGS Question: I would like to plant a spruce tree in my yard. As I read information and search the internet, I find conflicting information. The height and spread of some of these selections can have a 20- to 30-foot difference. How do I know how big it will grow? Answer: Ah the joys of attempting to read a nursery tag. Once again, it all depends. It depends on where the tag information was gathered. In the case of evergreens, the size information is based on where they tend to grow best in the conifer forest ranges of Oregon and Washington – not the prairies of the Midwest. My take with evergreens in the KC area is to focus on the lowest number. For example, a nursery tag may say blue spruce will grow 30 to 50 feet. That would be 50 feet in Seattle or Portland but in Blue Springs or Fairway probably more like 30 feet in 20 to 30 years. Hope that helps. 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.

Happenings at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center Native Landscape Chat December 6 ∙ Friday ∙ Noon–2 PM Do you have questions on how to utilize and care for native plants on your landscape? The Discovery Center Landscape Specialists will be available to answer your questions and provide education on various aspects of working with native plants. Citizen Science Saturday: iNaturalist and eBird December 7 ∙ Saturday ∙ 10–11:30 AM or 12:30–2 PM Walk-in (ages 9+) Are you interested in becoming part of the growing world of Citizen Science and are looking for ways to participate? Join us for our second Citizen Science Saturday. Let’s start by reviewing how to use iNaturalist and learn about eBird. We will blend technology and our natural habitats to learn how to record encounters with wildlife, connect to specialists in the science world and help gather wildlife data for one of the area winter bird counts. iPhones, iPads, Android phones or tablets are recommended.   Holiday Greenings December 14 ∙ Saturday ∙ 10 AM–2:30 PM Thinking of making the holidays a little greener this season? Then join us for one of the Discovery Center’s favorite holiday traditions. Discover how to decorate using native plants and trees. Fashion a festive holiday swag or wreath to hang using red cedar, prairie grasses, wild nuts, berries, seed pods, game bird feathers and your imagination.   Feeding Birds in Winter December 21 ∙ Saturday ∙ 10 AM–2:30 PM The best time to feed birds is in the winter. Rewarding even for the novice, setting up a feeder will help connect you to the natural world. Join us to learn about different food options and the types of feeders to use. Visitors will have an opportunity to make a pinecone feeder to take home. Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64110 816-759-7300; For more information email

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Kids Ask Dr. Bug How do insects survive when it’s so cold? Reggie, 9 Insects, and their relatives (such as spiders), are cold-blooded and survive the freezing temperatures by finding a warm place to live, leaving for a warmer location, or diapausing (similar to hibernating). Ladybugs, stink bugs, and spiders may come indoors. Some dragonflies and Monarch butterflies fly south for the winter. And, most arthropods find a spot to sleep it out in one life stage or another. For example, before they die, some adult grasshopper moms lay about 20 eggs together in the soil, coated in a gooey insulation. The protected eggs can withstand cold temperatures long enough to hatch in the spring. Because insects are cold-blooded, they aren’t able to move as fast

when it is cold. However, there are some exceptions. Next time it snows, look carefully for jumping black specks on the white background. These could be tiny collembolan insects, sometimes called snow fleas. With fewer predators who want to eat them, they have adapted to gather at this time. They have a type of natural antifreeze in their bodies that protects them from freezing. Where does food in the store come from when it’s cold? Lizzie, 8 Local farmers used to provide most of the food for the people in their community. Today, with advanced transportation, our food can come from all over the world no matter the season. While we grow a lot of soybean, corn, and beef in Missouri, we may get our

lettuce from California, bananas from Guatemala, and cashew nuts from Vietnam. Our wheat may come from Canada, olive oil from Italy, cocoa from Ivory Coast, and sugar from Mexico. Remember though, you can also find a variety of foods from local growers at your neighborhood farmers market.

Photo by M. Reiser.

Home to more than plants, kids ask DR. TAMRA REALL about the curious things found in the garden.

Can woolly bear caterpillars predict how severe winter will be? Laura, kid@heart Depending on where you live, the width of the orange-brown stripe is said to predict a mild or severe winter. No worries about remembering whether the wider the stripe, the more severe, or vice versa, because the folklore isn’t true. However, the size of the stripe may indicate how harsh winter was last year because, as the caterpillar ages, it has more orange-brown hairs. Wider stripe = milder winter last year. Why do insect bites itch? Kaitlin, 9 Actually, it isn’t the insect bite that itches. When an insect bites you, you usually don’t feel it. It’s your body’s allergic reaction to the insect’s saliva that causes the itching. For example, when a mos-

Woolly bear caterpillar quito bites, it injects salvia with a particular chemical, called an anticoagulant, to prevent your blood from clotting and easy to suck. Unfortunately, most people’s bodies overreact and produce another chemical, called histamine, to “protect” you from the mosquito’s chemical. The area around the bite then becomes red, swollen, and itchy. Taking an antihistamine, or anti-itch cream can help keep you from scratching. 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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Keep Your Wooden Friends Happy This Winter Arborist DANE KIETZMAN offers his tips for protecting your landscape during the winter months.


s temperatures drop homeowners are finishing up projects around the yard, getting everything prepared for the coming winter season. With outside chores done for the year, we tend to adopt an out of sight, out of mind mentality. However, before we check out for the winter there are a few things to keep in mind for our wooden plant material friends! Here are a couple of tips to protect your landscape during the colder months and a bonus tip to protect your wallet! Winter Watering With almost a decade under my belt, I can say I see more drought damage on plants coming out of winter and into spring than during the summer months. Freezing temperatures and the relatively low moisture content in snow leave plants with the inability to access the resource they need the most. Although plants reduce their water consumption through winter, evergreens continue to use their foliage year-round and even the roots of deciduous trees continue to uptake water. Taking advantage of a mild day once or twice a month to give your landscape or targeted plants a good soak can go a long way in keeping them healthy and happy. Refreshing Mulch Everybody knows that a good mulching can improve landscape appearances, reduce weed pressure and help retain soil moisture during

Winter is an ideal time for pruning most trees. Ask an arborist if the time is right to prune yours.

the year. It has these effects during winter as well, helping with the issue of drought stress. Late fall and early winter are when trees and shrubs do most of their root recovery from the year and develop new roots for the next. A good mulch layer can also extend the time a woody plant has to do this by acting as an insulator for soil temperature. A good mulch layer should be 3 to 4 inches thick, extending to at least the edge of the canopy of the plant. To prevent various issues, a 1-inch gap in mulch coverage should be left between the stem of the plant and any mulch.

climbers can easily identify and remove dead wood even with the foliage gone. Like taking a family trip during the offseason, getting your trees pruned during the winter can also help save money. Many tree companies offer discounted work seeking to stay busy during a time when most people have forgotten about the services they provide.

By keeping these tips in mind, it is easier to keep your outdoor investments healthy and happy, and avoid adding to the already long list of spring-time chores. Winter pruning can also give you the opportunity to take care of much-needed landscape maintenance at a more affordable price! Until next time, Merry Christmas Kansas City! Dane Kietzman is a seven-year professional ISA Certified Arborist with Ryan Lawn and Tree, currently serving as Team Lead for the Plant Healthcare Department out of Overland Park. Kietzman has a bachelor’s degree in Park Management and Conservation from Kansas State University with eight years in green industry experience since graduating in 2011.

Winter Pruning There are a few varieties of trees and shrubs that should not be pruned during winter. An arborist should be able to help you identify these plants. Otherwise, winter is a great time for pruning. Bare of leaves, structural issues in trees can be more easily identified and addressed. Also, most experienced


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Happenings at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center Backyard Birds & Hike December 7 ∙ Saturday ∙ 10–11AM Who’s hopping up that tree, making that sound or eating that birdseed? Find out the answer to these and many more questions as we explore the feathery creatures of our backyards. Weather dependent we will go outside to explore the nearby woods for cool bird species.

Saturday, March 7 Rockhurst University

Join us for a day of lectures by acclaimed garden experts focused on the challenges we face in our Kansas City-area gardens.

Super Suet Saturday December 14 ∙ Saturday ∙ 1–2:30 PM Suet is a super food that can help attract many winter birds to your yard. Join us as we learn about the types of suet that winter birds love. Plus, you will get to make suet to take home for your feathered friends to enjoy! Registration required (ages 18+)   Backyard Forest December 21 ∙ Saturday ∙ 11 AM–Noon Winter may be here but it’s never too soon to plan for spring! Come join us in learning about how to create a forest in your own back yard. Explore how and why trees are highly desired resources that will put a smile on your face and keep money in your pocket. Bird in the Hand January 4 ∙ Saturday ∙ 11 AM–2 PM Missouri River Bird Observatory staff and Burr Oak Woods partner in an on-going project to identify and track the birds that come to our feeders each winter. From the resident chickadees and cardinals to the migrating juncos and sparrows, we capture, apply colored bands and release these fascinating creatures. Once banded and recorded, you will be able to track individual birds through this and future seasons. This program is weather permitting. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015 816-228-3766; For more information email

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Implementing the Design Workshop taught The Symposium by garden designer Nick Banquet, featuring a McCullough will program by Brie Arthur be Friday, March 6. discussing “Fragrance Nick will use case in the Air,” will be studies and hands-on Friday, March 6. exercises to help you The venue will be Lidia’s take inspiration and Kansas City near Union Station, ideas and translate where attendees may choose them into a garden. tableside from three dinner options. Attendees get a field guide with Caesar salad before and tiramisu for Nick’s personal resources, tips dessert are included. and garden breakdowns.


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Growing and Cooking with Herbs ABBY BYRD offers tips for growing and cooking with fresh herbs, containing valuable nutrients.

Fresh herbs should be trimmed frequently to promote new growth. available. Fresh herbs are also best for dishes that have little to no cooking time such as chicken salads and when added at the end of the cooking process. Dried herbs container a stronger, more condensed flavor, but may lose some nutrients in the drying process. To maintain flavor, try to use within six months. Dried herbs are a good way to carry summer harvests into the winter and they are great for dishes that simmer for long periods such as soups and stews. Frozen herbs maintain their flavor and nutrients well and can offer another good solution to storing fresh cut herbs for longer periods. Fresh herbs should be trimmed frequently to promote new growth, maintain fullness, and prevent flowering (or going to seed). Kitchen shears are a great way to chop leafy herbs right into or over dishes. Tougher sprigs with small leaves like thyme and rosemary can often be stripped off the stem with your fingers pulling from top to bottom. Drying works well for herbs such as oregano, thyme, and sage. Start by harvesting longer stems. Wash them and dry thoroughly to prevent mildew. Use twine to secure the stems together into a bundle and place in a paper bag.

Keep the tied end up and secure the bag to that end. Hang the bag in a cool, dry space for several weeks, then shake the bag until the leaves separate from the stems. Discard the stems and gather your dried herbs into air-tight containers. Freezing is great for leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley. Wash them and place them on a towel to dry. Mince them to your desired consistency and measure out your desired amount such as a teaspoon. Place the desired amount into ice cube trays and will enough water to cover the herbs. Freeze, then transfer to freezer-safe bags for long-term storage. Be sure to label your bags. The most popular herbs to grow yourself indoors are basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Each

has its own unique flavor and uses ranging from savory to sweet. If you are limited on space, choose the ones that are most versatile or suit your cooking style. If you cook a lot of Italian dishes, you might opt for basil and oregano. If you love root vegetables and pot roasts, and stews, you might go for rosemary and thyme. Try out my favorite roasted sweet potato and potato dish or Botanical Brian’s herb spread for entertaining this holiday season. The recipe will be posted on The Kansas City Gardener website, Abby Byrd serves as the Greenhouse Coordinator at Colonial Gardens, Blue Springs, Mo., and teaches workshops and painting classes at the garden center.


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. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information on this service, call 913-715-7000. Serving the Northland for 35 years

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here’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh basil sprinkled over fresh pasta or fresh rosemary mixed into roasted potatoes. They taste even better when you’ve harvested it from your own garden. Even though outdoor gardening is on pause for the winter months, growing and cooking with fresh herbs can continue indoors for the holiday season and all winter long. Cooking with fresh herbs elevates any dish with extra flavor, and more importantly, valuable nutrients and antioxidants. Cutting sprigs within moments of use ensures maximum flavor and nutrition. Growing your own herbs is also much more cost efficient than buying fresh herbs from the store as you can continue to harvest on them all season. You can cut what you need and eliminate waste. Growing herbs yourself also ensures that they were grown to the standard you desire. In the winter, herbs will obviously be easiest to grow in containers such as windowsill pots. While healthy soil that offers a beneficial fungi, bacteria, and microbes is important, herbs prefer moderate soil fertility. Too much fertilizer with nutrients like nitrogen can increase their growth but make their flavor less concentrated. We recommend our custom potting mix here at Colonial paired with a balanced fertilizer applied weekly or bi-weekly at a lower strength to maintain health. Your windowsill should ideally be south facing with plenty of direct sunlight. Herbs do not like to remain saturated and should be watered only when the top layer of soil begins to feel dry to the touch. Containers should have good drainage. When you first start to grow your herbs, check the soil all the way through the first few weeks to get a sense of how quickly or slowly the soil is drying out. Choosing between fresh, dried, and frozen herbs depends on how the herbs will be used. Fresh is generally preferred, but not always

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Top Gifts for Gardeners CHELSEA DIDDE RICE shares her favorite gift ideas for the gardener in your life.


s gardeners we can all agree that our favorite parts of the hobby include things like picking ripe red tomatoes, admiring beautiful flowers, strolling through the garden after a long day, or perhaps dining outside surrounded by lush greenery. The less enjoyable (but equally necessary) parts of this pastime include weeding, raking leaves, hand watering, planting bulbs and hauling around mulch, soil or bags of garden debris. Therefore, in my lifelong quest to decrease the unenjoyable aspects and increase the fun, I’ve settled on eight gardening tools that I consider “must haves” when it comes to getting tough jobs done quickly and easily. None of the products mentioned are sponsored – I’m just a dedicated fan. 1. Hori Hori Knife I’m a big fan of multipurpose tools in all aspects of my life since they save on both space and cost. A hori hori knife, (also called a Japanese gardening knife) not only serves as a tool to plant annuals, it cuts jute twine when I’m staking up rogue tomato plant branches, measures depth during bulb planting season, slices through perennials when it’s time to divide them, and allows me to pop pesky weeds (including the root) out of our clay soil with ease. If I had to choose one garden tool to rule my yard, this would be it. 2. FELCO 2 Hand Pruners These hand pruners are a close second to the hori hori knife when it comes to my most used gardening tool. Not only are “FELCOS” (as they’re affectionately called by many gardening experts) sturdy and 10

comfortable to use for long periods of time, they offer the option of replaceable components like blades, springs and screws, which can save you money when it comes to maintenance. Finally, they’re long lasting. The pair I received as a wedding gift several years ago (yes, I put pruners on my registry) look barely used despite hundreds of hours of work, and my parents still regularly use pairs that are five times as old. They even come in different sizes for small and large hands. They’re not inexpensive, but trust me they’re worth it. 3. Atlas Nitrile Gloves Since the “dirt-under-my-fingernails” look isn’t in style for the corporate world, I find myself needing a form fitting glove that’ll protect my hands yet preserve my dexterity when working in the garden. After trying over a dozen different types of gloves, atlas nitrile fit the bill. These gloves are easy to find at any garden center, inexpensive and washable, so when I inevitably lose one (or several) over the course of a season, it’s not the end of the world. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit both men and women. 4. Bulb Auger What’s a girl to do when she hates digging holes to plant bulbs but adores flowers like daffodils and tulips? Buy a bulb auger! This clever tool is like a giant corkscrew that attaches to the end of a power drill and, with a little skill, digs perfectly shaped holes with ease and only minor effort on my part. I’ve used several types of bulb augers in the past and recently found the most success with a brand called Power Planter that features hand welded, heavy duty

December 2019 |

augers that are made in the USA. Thanks to this tool, my fall planted bulb obsession reached new heights this year as I added a few hundred spring blooming bulbs to my landscape. As a bonus, you can also use the bulb auger to dig holes for planting annuals in the spring and summer! 5. Dramm Water Wand Aside from pulling weeds, the chore that racks up the highest amount of hours in my garden is watering. This water wand (which attaches to the end of your garden hose) makes it a breeze, though, with its gentle stream and easy-tocontrol on/off lever. The secret is the hundreds of tiny holes the water passes through on the specialized water breaker nozzle, which is interchangeable to meet your needs. It comes in several lengths, but my favorite is the 30” because it saves my back from having to bend over when watering newly planted seedlings. 6. Cordless Leaf Blower Gone are the days where only gas- and electric-powered leaf blowers were strong enough to do the job. Improvements in battery strength and product development mean I no longer have to wrestle with a 100-foot extension cord or spill smelly gasoline when blowing leaves out from under the deck or cleaning up my soil spills after planting my front porch containers. Instead, I simply click the freshlycharged battery into my cordless, battery powered leaf blower and voila! Clean porches in a few seconds. This was one of the favorite holiday gifts I received last year, and it has definitely earned a spot on my “most used” list.

7. Pop Up Yard Bag Since I compost the majority of my pruning clippings and annual plants, I forego brown paper lawn bags for 90 percent of my yard clean up. A canvas pop up bag makes things easy to haul and simple to dump out into the compost pile when I’ve reached my limit. If you prefer to put your lawn waste in bags at the curb, you can still use this as a way to keep your paper bags upright, by slipping them inside of the pop up circle. 8. Gorilla Garden Cart In my house, there are two teams when it comes to transporting gardening-related items in bulk. Team wheelbarrow (AKA my husband) and team garden cart, which I champion. While wheelbarrows have a place in most gardening sheds, I’ve found the garden cart to be simple to maneuver on uneven surfaces and easier for me to pull up hills without also pulling a muscle. The Gorilla Cart I use has four large wheels, a sizeable poly tub, and a quick release dumping feature where I can unhook one side of the frame and easily dump out whatever is in the tub. Overall, I know that no tool can replace good old manual labor, but having the best tools for the job certainly makes that hard work go a lot faster. Do you have a tool that changed your gardening life? Let us know on the Kansas City Gardener Facebook page! When Chelsea Didde Rice isn’t at work as a senior communications specialist, she’s an avid gardener who enjoys teaching people how easy it can be to garden.








8 The Kansas City Gardener | December 2019


How to Grow Artful Native Vines


f all winter garden chores, I enjoy pruning woody plants the most, especially a tangle of vines. It is so satisfying making order from chaos, like completing a jigsaw puzzle or building a fire-breathing Lego ninja dragonship from a heap of tiny plastic parts. In winter, branching is more obvious than in summer. You can see stems crisscross, rub on each other and meander out of bounds (e.g., toward a house, street, or walkway). Often times, a profusion of twigs and sprouts develop on plants growing in full sun, so a portion of them needs to be removed. This is referred to as corrective pruning. Another type of pruning—aesthetic

pruning—is used to improve the beauty of the vine rambling over a lamppost, trellis, or pergola. Funny thing about woody vines: they are living things. Untended vines can grow to the size of small tree trunks, and like trees, they grow bigger and bigger each year, yet their support structures stay the same. When they outgrow their structure, they need to be untangled and reduced in size. If not, they bulge at the top, envelop their structure or take over something else then they drape back down to the ground in an unsightly blob. Perhaps you’ve seen sections of vine trunks stuck in chainlink fence. Even after being chain sawed away from the fence, pieces remain entangled.

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December 2019 |

Photos by Scott Woodbury.

Native plant guru, SCOTT WOODBURY describes how native vines can be more than a tangled mess.

Crossvine The good news for home gardeners is that some native vines are less aggressive than others. Native yellow, coral, and limber honeysuckle are small in size and are clump-forming woody vines. That makes them easier to care for than big vines. Big native vines like American wisteria, pipevine*, wild grape^, lady’s eardrops**, Virginia creeper^**, and trumpet creeper* can be massive, growing 50 feet up a tree. I don’t mind this when the tree is growing in the midst of a woodland where the vine and the tree exist in relative harmony, but at the edge of the woods where there is much more sunlight, vines typically take over the tree. In this situation I’ll cut the vines in favor of the tree. Mid-sized species include bittersweet, supplejack, crossvine^ and Carolina moonseed* that typically grow 15–25 feet in height. I often select these vines for landscaping projects because they can fully cover a good-size pergola yet can be easily managed with pruning. Vines can quickly overgrow chain-link fence or wooden lattice and so need maintenance pruning every year or two to remove the oldest branches. I prefer growing vines on structures made of wooden posts including wood-post pergolas and split-rail fencing. Their bulky structure is forgiving when vines get slightly out of control and are easier to prune from. Also,

they don’t have tiny crevices for the vines to get tangled in. This past late winter Jen Sieradzki of the Shaw Nature Reserve horticulture staff and I pruned supplejack off of the home gardening shelter because it was tangled and bulging out from the structure. Safety is key so we set up scaffolding to work off of (a sturdy ladder is the next best thing). It gets pruned about every 5 years because our structure is rather large. It had three new branches (5-10 feet long and 1/2 inch thick) at the base that we untangled and lay aside before we cut back the two oldest canes that were over 20 feet long. Supplejack stems are tough, pliable (hence the name), and smooth-barked, so they untangle with ease. The old stems were over 2 inches thick, requiring a handsaw and loppers to remove. We cut segments of stem out of the tangle until the larger mass came free from the shelter. At this point it all came off in a big mass. After removing the debris and sweeping up the area, we turned our attention to tying the young stems back up. Supplejack grows by twirling around other objects like a wooden post. So we wrapped the stems around the post and tied it with twine so it could continue its vertical climb. I love supplejack in winter because it has beautiful smooth matte green bark that is a pleasure to handle. Stems twirl

around each other (when allowed) and grow into a perfect double helix that could be turned into a novel walking stick. The wood is dense, hard, and has woodworking potential. Supplejack is one of the main vines planted at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, on the

tree trunks, cliff faces, and even concrete buildings as long as the concrete is textured (not brushed smooth). The only evergreen vine native to Missouri is crossvine, giving it a great advantage when trying to hide an ugly concrete or brick surface.

Kansas City Garden Club Annual Holiday Auction and Luncheon scheduled for December 9 Everyone is invited to join in on the bidding at Kansas City Garden Club’s Annual Holiday Auction and Luncheon fundraiser, starting at 10:00 AM, Monday, December 9. Up for sale are a wide range of goodies including plants; garden books and tools; home baked breads, plates of mixed cookies and candies; dried flowers; wreaths; farm fresh honey; vases; fresh, generous bundles of mixed holiday greens including blue spruce and boxwood; and much more.

‘The Color-Filled Garden’

Supplejack fruits

Supplejack vines

venue’s new green wall made of laser-cut steel that looks like a spider web. In addition to supplejack, coral honeysuckle, and crossvine were also planted on the wall. Most of the vines mentioned here, grow by twining around support structures much like how a black rat snake climbs trees. The vines wrap around stems as they grow upward and likely will need to be tied up until they are tall enough to keep going. Plants like wild grape use spiraling tendrils that wrap around stems, clinging as they grow upward like clothespins on a line. Virginia creeper and crossvine have sticking pads at the tips of tendrils that are kind of like suction cups, growing straight up

Symbols key: ^Plants that climb using sticky or twirling tendrils. *Plants that spread with underground runners. ** Plants that spread with runners on top of the ground.

Location of this event is the Central Methodist Church, 5144 Oak Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64112. Park in the southwest corner of the church parking lot off of Brookside Boulevard. Call 913-341-7555 with questions. Ad for December 2019 and January 2020 issues of Kansas City Gardener maga

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 28 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers of native vines at www.grownative. org, Resource Guide.

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5th Annual Spring Gardening Symposium in Paola

‘The Color-filled Garden’


February 29, 2020 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Check-in: 8:30 am Eye Candy: Color Theory for the Gardener, and Beyond Impatiens: The Colorful Shade Garden 365 Days of Amazing Color

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Gardening by Design

Lenora Larson, MdC EMG and gardener extraordinaire

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In addition there will be a grand selection of gift certificates from area nurseries, restaurants and other merchants. After the auction at 12:15, there will be a potluck luncheon with the club furnishing meats, drinks and tableware.

Coupon applies to regular retail priced items. Cannot be combined with any other discounts. No ad reproductions, duplications, or electronic coupons accepted. One per customer. One-time use only. Expires 12/31/19.

Timothy Moloney, MU Landscape Design Professor

Designing with Colorful Native Plants

Ania Wiatr, owner of Bluestem Garden Consulting

Colorful LowMaintenance Gardens

Susan Mertz, Powell Gardens Director of Horticulture

The Lighthouse Church

1402 E. 303rd St., Paola, KS

Map of Paola at: Registration: This event is open to everyone, but pre-registration is required by February 15. The $40 registration fee includes a gourmet boxed lunch, snacks, and all printed reference materials. No onsite registrations. Make your $40 check payable to the MdC Extension Master Gardeners and mail with the form (available online at www. to: K-State Research & Extension, Marais des Cygnes District–     Paola Office, 104 S. Brayman, Paola, KS 66071 For more information call 913-294-4306

December Planting Dates Plant Above-Ground Crops: 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 26-28, 31 • Plant Root Crops: 13, 14 Transplant: 4, 5, 13 • Plant Flowers: 3, 4, 26-28, 31 • Control Plant Pests: 18, 19, 24, 25

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2019


Northern Cardinal Local birding expert, THERESA HIREMATH talks about characteristics and habits of the bold and beautfiul cardinal.


here are very few birds as iconic as the Northern Cardinal or more commonly just called the Cardinal or red bird. It is probably the bird most cited or credited for triggering someone’s interest in birds or backyard bird feeding, and it is certainly one of the most sought-after birds to visit feeders. It comes as no surprise that its bright red plumage is one of the prime reasons it is easily noticed and quite captivating in almost any setting. This color is also the reason that early American settlers named the bird the Cardinal because it reminded them of the biretta and vestments of Catholic Cardinals. In fact, among the many

names for a group of Cardinals, such as, “radiance,” or “conclave,” they are also called a “Vatican” of Cardinals. The color of their feathers is red and is the result of pigments absorbed from the food they eat. This is unlike bluebirds, whose feathers are not blue but rather refracted light, because their feathers absorb all other colors of the spectrum except blue. Because of their strong conical shaped beaks, they can easily crack open shells, which is why they’re such easy birds to feed at backyard feeders. Their favorite feeder foods include Black Oil Sunflower, Striped Sunflower, Safflower, Peanuts, and shelled Sunflower. In

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addition, their natural diet consists of a variety of other seeds, insects, fruits and berries. As they tend to feed on the ground, bird feeders with trays or other surfaces large enough for Cardinals to comfortably land on are best suited for them. They are also one of the first and last birds at most feeders, coming at first light and at dusk, making a predictable viewing schedule to spot them. Cardinals are serially monogamous; pairs remain together for one season and rarely more. The mating process includes “beak to beak” or what some call kissing. The male feeds the female during the early courtship process and thus they’re touching beak to beak. The mating and nesting season spans from March to September. This is the time of year when the male’s hormones make them very territorial, and when we might witness some very unusual behavior of the males as they aggressively attack their reflected image in the windows of our homes. Late fall through winter, however, is when Cardinals are more social, often arriving in amicable groups in trees and at feeders. Cardinals have two broods of 3 to 4 eggs and sometimes a third brood. The female is the only one that incubates the eggs for about 12 days while being fed by the male. Both males and females feed the fledglings during their 9 to 11 days in the nest before they fledge.

Juveniles are easily distinguished because they have grey or black beaks. Males get their adult plumage and red bill with their molting after 12 months. The beaks of Cardinals are never yellow, as they are quite often inaccurately depicted in logos of sports teams. If the colonists had landed on the west coast of America, they wouldn’t have even seen the Cardinal. It is rarely seen west of the great plains with exception of some isolated locations in Arizona and New Mexico. But now that fall is here, they’re easier to spot and soon, you’ll be able to capture a picture-perfect setting of a Cardinal against a snowy background. 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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Plants on Your Plate – Brussels Sprouts DENISE SULLIVAN talks about nutritious food and preparing healthy meals, including Brussels Sprouts.


f it is possible for vegetables to be ‘trending’, we could say that Brussels sprouts are doing exactly that. These tiny cabbages (as my kids used to call them) are showing up shaved into salads and roasted in savory side dishes on menus and dinner tables across the country. Brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassicaceae family, as are cabbage, broccoli and kale, sharing a similar nutrient profile. These tiny sprouts are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K

ety. My kids were genuinely excited about a vegetable that looked like something out of a science fiction movie, but I did not share their enthusiasm. I had only eaten them in the school cafeteria growing up and I was not a fan. That day, however, I made a decision to build on their enthusiasm and we bought them. Now, this was in a time before Google and Pinterest, so I had to figure out how to cook them on my own. I knew from experience that lemon, garlic and butter could make anything palatable, so

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Calories: 130, Total Fat: 6.5g, Saturated Fat: <1g, Sodium: 160mg, Carbohydrates: 18g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 2.5g

3 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided ½ teaspoon salt (optional) 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into 1-inch cubes 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 cup pecan halves, toasted 1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. 2. Cover large rimmed baking sheet with foil. 3. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt; toss to combine. Place, cut side down, onto half of a foil-lined baking sheet. 4. In another medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; toss to mix and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on the other half of the baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 400° F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, stir veggies for even roasting. 5. In a large serving bowl, combine roasted vegetables, pecans and cranberries; stir to combine. Drizzle with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and stir again. Serve.

Yield: 8 servings (3/4 cup per serving) Recipe adapted from:, analyzed by

and folate. Vitamin C is important for tissue repair, immune function and aids in the body’s ability to absorb iron. Vitamin K is necessary for effective blood clotting and important to bone health. It is important to note that anyone taking blood-thinning medication should monitor vitamin K intake. Folate is an important nutrient for women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant, as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the developing fetus. As with most vegetables, Brussels sprouts are a good source of fiber that is beneficial in digestive and gut health. A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts has shown to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of pro-inflammatory diseases. When selecting Brussels sprouts, look for bright green compact heads, and whenever possible, buy them on the stalk. It was actually on-the-stalk Brussels sprouts that caught my kids’ attention over 20 years ago that forced – I mean inspired – me to try the fresh vari-

after steaming them, that’s what I added. Guess what…the kids loved them and even more surprising… so did I. From that day, Brussels sprouts became a part of our vegetable rotation. If, like me, you formed your opinion of Brussels sprouts (or any vegetable for that matter) on something you were served in the school lunchroom, I really urge you to try them fresh. God bless the school lunch ladies decades ago, but most of the vegetables served were overcooked and not very tasty. The recipe here is a tasty way to add more colorful plants to your holiday plate. When we served this dish at last year’s Christmas dinner, it got more attention than the ever-famous green bean casserole! Denise Sullivan (@MUExtJackson Co) is a Nutrition and Health Education Specialist for MU Extension in Jackson County. For research-based nutrition and food safety information and programs, call 816-482-5850 or visit www.

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The Kansas City Gardener | December 2019


Bird Facts: Storing Seed ED REESE talks tips for storing bird seed keeping it cool and dry.


tart out with buying fresh bird seed. Bird seed is a live product, so it’s important that it is stored properly in a cool, dry and well ventilated location. Manufacturers use seed storage systems that work well in keeping seed fresh. When buying seed, make sure the product is free of insects, and mold. Specialty stores selling bird seed are excellent sources for fresh seed. Store your seed in clean, dry containers. Containers having lids are a plus, as they help prevent insects, or mice from getting into your seed at home. Bird seed containers are available at specialty stores, other containers, such as plastic pails or small trash cans, work well too. The best place to store bird seed especially during warm

months is in a cool, dry area in your house. During cool/cold months your garage works well if the seed is protected from mice and insects. A good way to ensure freshness is to limit your storage time to three months, or less. Also, make sure you have easy access to the bird seed. One final note, make sure you have your bird feeders filled with fresh seed. Topping off feeders, without consideration for older seed that’s still in the feeder can lead to problems quickly. Ed and Karen Reese own and operate the Wild Bird House in Overland Park, provisioning outdoor backyard bird lovers for over 26 years. Contact them at 913-341-0700.

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December 2019 |

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

Club Meetings African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City Tues, Dec 10, 6pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Membership Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Dec 11, noon, at Rose Room, Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. This month the members will enjoy a joyful and fun holiday party with music and delicious food. Come prepared for a great time with your friends...we enjoy sharing stories of holidays past...and perhaps a Christmas herbal gift. Members will bring a potluck dish and a white elephant gift to share at this holiday party. Facebook: check us out at Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. Friends and visitors are always welcome. Questions: Call Lynn at 816-308-5450. Greater Kansas City Iris Society Sun, Dec 8, holiday potluck. Setup at 12:30pm, Meal at 1pm; at the Trailside Center, 99th and Holmes, Kansas City, MO. Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Dec 8, noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Besides having a great 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, garden-themed gift if you’d like to participate in the gift exchange. For more information, email MoKan Daylily Society Sat, Dec 7, 10:30am Meet and greet; Potluck at 11am, meeting and program follows; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Membership information contact Mary Niemeyer: 816 853-5332.

Raytown Garden Club We will not have our regular meeting in December as we break for the holidays and dream of next year’s gardens! We will resume our regular meetings in FEBRUARY 2020 on the first Tuesday of each month. Look for our announcement in the JANUARY issue of this magazine for details about our first 2020 meeting in FEBRUARY! Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season! Visitors are always welcome! Please come meet our group; we would love to get to know you! Check out our Facebook page at Raytown Garden Club or visit our website at https:// Sho Me African Violets Fri, Dec 13, 11am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center Building, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Membership. Visitors welcome. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes December Waterfowl Migration Second Sundays at Smithville
 Sun, Dec 8, 1-4pm; at Jerry Litton Center, 16311 County Rd DD, Smithville, MO 64089. Because fall and early winter are such great times for waterfowl migration, we will be visiting Smithville Lake each month to keep tabs on what is coming and going. We should see great diversity as the gulls, loons, grebes, ducks, geese and raptor populations constantly change during the course of this season. Questions? Contact Backyard Bird Center, 816-746-1113,; Kansas City Garden Club Annual Holiday Auction Fundraiser and Luncheon Mon, Dec 9, live auction begins at 10am; at Central United Methodist Church, 5144 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64112. Everyone is invited to join in on the fun and bargains.

Up for sale are a wide range of garden items, baked goods, and a grand selection of merchant donated items and gift certificates. We usually have over 200 lots-of-fun items to bid on and buy. After the auction at 12:15pm there will be a potluck luncheon with the club furnishing meats, drinks and tableware. Park on the southwest corner of the church parking lot off of Brookside Boulevard, and come in the west entrance. 913-341-7555

“354 Days of Amazing Color.” Susan Mertz, “Colorful LowMaintenance Gardens.” Sponsored by Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners. The $40 fee includes lunch and snacks. Open to all, but pre-registration is required by Feb 15. Space is limited. Watch for details and registration form at For more information call 913294-4306.

Gardeners Connect Free Speaker Series Sat, Feb 15, 10am; in the Auditorium of the Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110. Cookbook author Judith Fertig on “Garden to Grill.”

Kansas City Garden Symposium Mar 6-7, 2020; in Arrupe Hall at Rockhurst University. Composed of three events spanning two days. A Friday workshop and Banquet with a full day Saturday Symposium. Attend any of the events or attend all three for maximum learning and fun. Symposium: A full day of programs by four acclaimed garden presenters including lunch, $99 through Feb 15. Reg Price $129. Banquet: An evening of dinner at Lidia’s Kansas City including a program by presenter Brie Arthur entitled Fragrance in the Air; $79 through Feb 15, Reg Price $99. Workshop: Implement the Design. A garden design for the gardener workshop. $49 through Feb 15, Reg Price $69. For details, including purchase tickets, go to

Gardening by Design Symposium in Paola
 Sat, Feb 29, 9am-3:30pm (checkin at 8:30am) at the Lighthouse Church, 1402 E 303rd St, Paola, KS. Theme: “The Color-Filled Garden.” Presenters and topics are Lenora Larson, “Eye Candy: Color Theory for Gardeners” and “Beyond Impatiens: Colorful Shade Gardens.” Ania Wiatr, “Designing with Colorful Native Plants.” Timothy Moloney,

Central Missouri Master Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 2, 2020, 7am-noon. Indoor plant sale at the Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Road, Jefferson City, MO. The sale features tomatoes, vegetables, peppers, herbs, annuals, perennials, natives, hanging baskets, container plantings, shrubs, and trees. Proceeds from the sale fund scholarships, community garden projects, and the River City Gardens.

SAVE THE DATE IN 2020 Gardeners Connect Free Speaker Series Sat, Jan 18, 10am; at the Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110. Andrew Fox, now owner of Arnold’s Greenhouse, will discuss what’s new and cool.

More events are posted on our website, KCGMAG.COM, click on “Events.” Promote club meetings, classes, seminars, plant sales, regional conferences and other gardening events for FREE! Send details to:

Deadline for publishing in the January issue is December 5.

5th Annual Symposium in Paola:

The Color-Filled Garden


egister now for Gardening by Design, the 5th Annual Symposium in Paola, on Saturday, February 29, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.). By popular demand the venue has been moved to The Lighthouse Church, with more space and improved visuals. The 2020 theme is “The Color-Filled Garden.” Eye Candy: Color Theory for Gardeners “Color has an instinctive visual appeal and everyone has their favorite colors,” says presenter Lenora Larson. Psychologists state that your choice of colors can even be indicative of your personality! So how does one begin to choose colors for a garden? An understanding of the physical properties of color and the psychological impact of color combinations can be very helpful to a gardener seeking to establish a mood of either drama or serenity in their landscape. Beyond Impatiens: Colorful Shade Gardens Full sun gardens abound with the bright flowers that need the sun’s energy to make nectar and attract pollinators. However, you don’t have to give up color or drama if your garden grows under a canopy of trees or in the shadow of buildings. We will go beyond Impatiens to demonstrate a profusion of shade-loving colorful flowers and brilliant foliage. Yard art also contributes to this colorful palette, giving the shade garden additional pops of color. The presentation, also by Lenora Larson, will show examples of colorful plant combinations growing in the shade and attendees will receive lists of suggested plants with bright flowers and/or foliage that can succeed in our area. Designing with Colorful Native Plants
 Ania Wiatr will highlight native plants. “When Lewis and Clark encountered Midwest flora during their pioneering expedition, they were stunned by the incredible diversity
and beauty of plants they’d never seen before. The Midwest is home to a long list of colorful native trees, shrubs and perennials,” says Ania. “These

natives can be used to
create gardens that are not only beautiful year-round, but also beneficial to wildlife and sustainable.” During this presentation, we will explore ways to incorporate Midwest native plants into designs that achieve a year-round bounty of color and texture in your garden. Two additional speakers, Timothy Moloney and Susan Mertz, will be featured in the January issue of KCG. Lenora Larson is a Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener and a member of local chapters of both the Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society. She maintains a two-acre garden in the English Estate landscape style on her 27 acre property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola, Kansas. Her garden functions as an outdoor sculpture gallery as well as a certified butterfly garden. Born and raised in Poland, Ania Wiatr started her horticultural career in England, where she learned traditional gardening skills while training under some exceptional plantsmen. Ania has applied this knowledge at both public and private gardens, including as Senior Gardener at Powell Gardens. She is currently the owner/operator of Bluestem Garden Consulting, LLC, specializing in landscape designs that emphasize regional native plants. Limited Seating–Register by Feb. 15! Held this year at The Lighthouse Church, 1402 E. 303rd St., Paola, KS 66071, the event is open to all. But pre-registration by February 15 is required. The $40.00 registration fee includes a gourmet box lunch, snacks, and all printed reference materials. For a registration form go to: Mail your check to K-State University Research & Extension Office, 104 S. Brayman, Paola, KS 66071. MdC Extension Master Gardeners will receive five hours Advanced Training credit for attending. Other EMGs must ask their County Agents if they will receive AT credit. Questions? Call: 913-294-4306. Presented by the Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners.

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2019



garden calendar


• Remove leaves, limbs, and other debris from lawn to prevent suffocation. • Store unused 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. • Review lawn service contracts for next year. • Avoid extensive walking on frozen grass.


• Store unused seeds in a cool, dry location such as a sealed jar in the refrigerator. • Check vegetables in storage for spoilage. • Mulch strawberries for winter protection. • Clean and oil garden hand tools for winter. • Till soil and incorporate organic matter such as compost or manure. • Store unused garden chemicals in a cool, dry and safe location. • Update garden journal for success and failure. • Start planning for next spring on cold winter nights.


• Mulch grafted roses by mounding soil 6 to 8 inches deep to protect. • Mulch tender, shallow-rooted perennials with 2 to 3 inches of leaves or straw to prevent winter damage. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs until the ground is frozen.

• Give plants or gift certificates as holiday gifts for gardening friends. • Empty decorative pots and containers, storing inside.


• Lightly shake heavy snowfall from limbs to avoid damage. • Avoid shoveling snow onto trees and shrubs to prevent breakage and prolonged snow cover. • Check and protect the trunks of young trees and shrubs for rabbit damage. • Wrap young, light-colored tree trunks (maples) to reduce winter injury. • Leave living Christmas trees in the home no longer than one week, then acclimate to the outdoors and plant in a desirable location. • 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 for holiday decorations.


• Start planning for next year by making notes and preparing orders. • Turn compost pile to encourage winter breakdown. • Make your Christmas list adding gardening supplies. • Keep houseplants out of hot and cold drafts. • Drain hoses and store for the winter.

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends environmentally-friendly gardening practices. This starts by identifying and monitoring problems. Cultural practices and controls are the best approach for a healthy garden. If needed, use physical, biological or chemical controls. Always consider the least toxic approach first. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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The mission of the Missouri Master Gardener Extension Program is “helping others learn to grow.” The Master Gardener program provides in-depth horticultural training to individuals throughout Missouri who then volunteer their time applying what they have learned to help others in their communities to learn about gardening and environmental education. Join the newly forming Platte County Master Gardeners in Spring 2020. Instruction will be held at the Platte County Resource Center on Tuesday evenings, 6:00-8:00. Cost to attend is $200.00 with scholarships available if you have a passion for plants! If interested or have questions, contact Cory Creed, Horticulture Specialist for Platte County, or 816-270-2141. Equal Opportunity/ADA Institutions


December 2019 |

Gift Certificate for your favorite pond enthusiast!

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Nets and Deicers in stock. Stop in today! Check our Facebook page for current winter hours.




Lawn, Tree & Shrub Questions?

A s k a RYAN Pro! RYAN Pro:

Dr. Rodney St. John AGRONOMIST


816-842-5012 • 1557 Swift Ave., KCMO



Are you planning next year’s garden project and don’t know where to start?


Are you looking for a list of experienced and knowledgeable professionals for your next project? That resource is available at


Find everything from Arbors to Zinnias with a direct link to websites.


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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 Master Gardener, Jeanette Hartshorn

What first drew you to the hobby of gardening: Gardening is a means of creative expression. The gardens we create are reflective of our inner souls. For me, that equates to an opportunity to connect with nature while I am out working in my garden and in designing gardens to attract the nature I want to bring close. It is also a great way to de-stress and fulfill my need for nurturing life. How long have you been an Master Gardener: I’ve been a Master Gardener since 2013. I wanted to become a Master Gardener

to share my passion of gardening with others who also love the hobby; help to teach others about horticulture and hopefully to inspire them, including our next generation, to be passionate about gardening. For over 25 years, I have learned a lot about gardening by trial and error. For 10 of those years before coming to Kansas City, I was gardening in two northern states with very different growing conditions. Most valuable information learned: Our class on insects helped me to distinguish between “good” and “bad” bugs; 95% of insects are not harmful, and conventional and even organic pesticides kill non-target beneficial insects. If it is absolutely necessary to control a pest, then Integrated Pest Management practices are the best choice. Favorite tool: We all know that any job is made easier with the right tool for the job. But I’d have to say my favorite is the digging fork, because I learned about it from one of our demonstration garden’s captains (Frank, that’s you!). It’s the perfect tool for cutting through sod or hard clay, like when I am planting a tree or making a new garden bed. Favorite plant: I love New Jersey tea, Ceanothus americanus. It is a prairie plant,

native to this area. It is an absolute pollinator magnet, bearing fragrant white flower clusters in June-July. It’s very easy care, growing as a small shrub and could easily replace the spireas in our gardens to attract more pollinators. Do you have a specialty: Pollinator gardens and our regional native plants are my focus. What are you paassionate about: I love seeing butterflies including their caterpillars on my native plants, watching the bees feed and hummingbirds buzz around the garden. What challenges do you face: We live on the outskirts of town and have a lot of visiting and resident wildlife including moles, voles, geese, groundhogs, opossum, raccoon, and occasionally fox. But deer are the real challenge. Advice to share: Feed the soil and the soil will feed our plants. Use organic topdressings like compost, shredded leaves, and natural mulch. Skip the fall cleanup – our plants and overwintering beneficial insects will better survive the winter and the next generation. Who has inspired your love for gardening: Unlike other passionate gardeners, I didn’t grow up in a family of gardeners or participate in 4H. My love developed through learning about ancient cultures along with their need and use for gardens.

The Kansas City Gardener | December 2019


Decorate with Color

Decorate or gift with vibrant living color. Choose a poinsettia, the Christmas plant, grown in our own greenhouses, or select from rosemary trees, Norfolk Island pines, or Christmas cactus.

Wreaths & Roping

DĂŠcor & Gifts

Enjoy the fragrance of evergreen wreaths and roping.

Be inspired by unique holiday decorations and gifts. Plus statuary, bird feeders, wind chimes and more!

(913) 649-8700


December 2019 |

Select your freshest, fullest Christmas tree ever.

Creating fresh evergreen arrangements every day! Prices starting at $19.99.

Gift cards available in store & online!

105th & Roe

Christmas Trees

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

135th & Wornall (816) 942-2921

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KCG 12Dec19  

gardener gifts, garden gifts, poinsettia, native vines, grow native, herbs, northern cardinal, bird seed storage, symposium, container garde...

KCG 12Dec19  

gardener gifts, garden gifts, poinsettia, native vines, grow native, herbs, northern cardinal, bird seed storage, symposium, container garde...