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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

February 2015

Tropical Bromeliads exotic tropicals for indoor gardens

Flowering Buckeyes Styled to Perfection February is National Bird Feeding Month In the Garden at Shelter Insurance Gardens

Swan’s Water Gardens 2015 A New Beginning For Swan’s Water Gardens At Our New Facility Located On Eight Beautiful Rolling Acres In Northern Miami County. Join Us For What We Envision To Be The Most Interesting and Fun Filled Water Garden Season In Our Twenty Year History. We’re Planning Many Saturday Events, Exploring and Researching All Phases of The Wonderful World of Water Gardening. Hands on Training In Designing Your Water Garden Paradise, New Pond Building Techniques, Building Pondless Water Features, Miniature Water Features for Entryways and Small Courtyards. Planting and Maintaining Your Water Garden .

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Each building pictured above has a specific purpose here at Swan’s Water Gardens. Everything that we do is aimed at providing you the ultimate shopping experience. Our Fish Shack will be stocked full with your favorite fish. Our main warehouse has over 5000 sq ft of EPDM liner in 25x50 ft and 20x50 ft rolls for large projects. We also will carry mini rolls this year consisting of 15x20, 15x25, 20x20 and 20x25 ft rolls for your loading and unloading convenience. For the first time ever we will have a large inventory of pre cut boxed liner in sizes of 10x10, 10x15 and 15x15. Our retail store has everything you need for this Water Garden Season.

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FEED THE BIRDS ALL WINTER LONG! TEN SIMPLE TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL WINTER BIRD FEEDING The first days of winter are a great time to start feeding birds. Once you have bird feeders, some water sources, some shrubs and trees for habitat cover you are well on your way!

1. Put out feeders with good size capacity: Try to use multiple feeders to provide ample food, especially during snow and ice storms. 2. Provide nutritious winter seed foods: For most birds these often include seed mixes of: black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, niger seed and white millet seed. 3. Offer fatty food too: Birds need to burn more calories in the winter just to stay warm. Suet is considered a high energy food because it consists of fat that has 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates or protein. Peanut Butter is also popular with our flying friends but is more expensive than suet. Suet feeders are a favorite of woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds. 4. Keep your feeders full: Winter birds need to stock up on calories for those long, cold winter nights.

5. Be consistent and keep feeding through the winter: Birds grow accustomed to your feeders. 6. Remember water: Birds can become dehydrated in winter even if surrounded by ice and snow. Putting out a pan of water near the feeder on warmer days is a terrific idea. 7. Stomp down the snow below: Ground-feeding birds such as dark-eyed juncos, doves and many sparrows will be able to gather up the seed that drops from the feeders if they don’t have deep snow to try to manage. 8. Hang feeders in cat-safe locations: Think of placing the feeders ten to twelve feet from shrubs or brush piles. This gives the birds some time to react. 9. Remember feeder cleanliness: Your feeders can get a little grimy. 10. Save some money and stock up on seed: If stored properly, (in cool dry places) seed can easily last for several months, particularly seed mixes and sunflower seeds.



May vary, check online for your specific location



FEB_KC gardener.indd 1

WWW.WESTLAKEHARDWARE.COM 1/15/15 10:59 AM The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015 3

The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Love of a garden ... and birds

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Judy Aull Tom DePaepe Diane & Doc Gover Charles Hammer Susan Mertz Dennis Patton Diane Swan Brent Tucker Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

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P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone: 913-648-4728 For advertising information contact Michael Cavanaugh at Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

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February 2015 |

The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. ~ Gertrude Jekyll


t was a clear January day, unseasonably warm with not a cloud in the sky. I was strolling through the garden and taking care of a few birding chores. The suet cages and tube feeders needed refilling. And because the squirrels and my cats are in the birdbath as much as the birds, it needed refilling as well. I paused for a moment, glanced skyward, and immediately noticed the branching of the sycamore tree. The white bark in contrast against the vivid blue sky was eye-catching indeed. I stood in awe admiring the beauty of this winter scene. No matter the season, my garden gives me great happiness. Notable in winter are the distinct characteristics of trees and shrubs, like the aforementioned sycamore and the papery peeling bark of the river birch. Not to be overlooked are the crimson red berries of the holly shrubs and the ripening fruit of the crabapple trees. Even the dried blooms on the oakleaf hydrangea are handsome this time of year.

It’s been unusually dry this winter, with no significant rain or snowfall amounts. On those special days when temperatures are above freezing, I relish in watering the garden. I love watching the birds dance and play in the sprinkler while the young, newly planted dogwoods receive a good soaking. When I stand in the garden to water by hand, I imagine the soil drinking up the water, then delivering that much needed moisture to the roots of my garden plants. Caring for my garden brings me great joy. From the stillness of winter to the renewal of spring, I’m filled with gratitude for every transformative moment in the garden. Each season brings a unique perspective

worthy of contemplation and recognition. Also worthy of recognition is that this month is all about birds; it’s National Bird Feeding Month and the Great Backyard Bird Count takes place Feb. 13 through Feb. 16. Anyone can take part, birders of any level or a feeder watcher. Individuals, families, friends, schools and organizations are all invited to count birds in their backyards, local parks or wherever you happen to be. You can visit the official website at www.birdcount. org for more information. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue February 2015 • Vol. 20 No. 2 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 The Bird Brain ......................... 8 Shelter Insurance Gardens ........ 9 Flowering Buckeyes ................. 10 Prune Fruit Trees ...................... 11 Tropical Bromeliads ................. 12 Water Lilies in the Pond ............ 14 Gardeners Connect ................. 15

about the cover ...

Styled to Perfection .................. 16 What to Plant Advice .............. 17 Upcoming Events ..................... 18 Weather ................................. 21 Garden Calendar .................... 22 Professional’s Corner ................ 23 Subscribe ................................ 23 Web Giveaway ....................... 23

Tropical Bromeliads like this Aechmea are stunning and easy to grow. Learn more about Bromeliads on page 12.



© 2015, All rights reserved.

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The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton DRY BROWN LEAVES ON MY JAPANESE MAPLE Question: I am sitting here looking at my Japanese maple. It is covered with dry brown leaves. What’s up and should I pick them off? Answer: This fall we had a little known event happen. We had a marcescent autumn which means the leaves withered without falling. Our warm October followed by the cold November conditions led to this event. Because of the weather

patterns the leaves did not properly form their abscission layer. This is a layer of cells that develop and sever the leaves from the branch. If this layer does not develop properly then the leaves will not fall. As a result the leaves wither and do not fall. The good news, just relax as over the winter months the leaves will slowly drop and by spring the tree will be just fine. The only concern as a result of marcescence is if we have a heavy ice or snow event. The leaves that are hanging on will collect more moisture and it could lead to limb breakage. FOOTPRINTS ACROSS THE LAWN Question: Help, I have footprints across my lawn. My son takes this route to school and now I have a brown path across the lawn. What should I do?


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Answer: The footprints develop when the frozen leaf blades are full of water and the weight crushes the leaves. As a result they die. Even though the footprints look odd the damage is only done to the leaf blades. This problem usually shows up more in the early fall with the first couple waves of cold weather while the blades are more in the summer growth mode. As the lawn browns over the winter the effect will go away. The really good news is that the prints rarely impact the crowns and overall health of the plant. That means come spring the grass should green up and no harm done. GROWING BLUEBERRIES Question: This past summer I attempted to grow blueberries in pots. They are in a good size con-

tainer and I used a mixture of peat moss and potting soil. The plants grew nicely this summer. But here is my question. The directions did not provide winter care instructions. What tips do you have for me? Answer: With our local soil conditions growing blueberries can be a challenge. Containers offer a good alternative. Blueberries are winter hardy in our climate but in the pot the roots could be damaged by the freezing and thawing conditions. My recommendation would be to leave the pots outdoors as long as possible. As long as the temperatures stay in the mid-teens or higher the plants will be fine. Once the temperatures continue to drop below this point then I would move the pots into an unheated garage. Keep on the dryer side by



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February 2015 |

watering only occasionally. Once March arrives and the temperatures moderate and it is not as cold, move back outdoors. The other option is to nest the pots together

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in a protected location and mulch heavily around the pots with leaves or straw. PAPERWHITES Question: I received a gift of paperwhite narcissus for the holidays. They were already potted and grew quickly and flowered. Now that they are past bloom what do I do with the bulbs. Can I plant them outdoors? Answer: Paperwhites are not winter hardy in our climate. Unfortunately the best and really only option is to discard the bulbs once they have flowered. They will not survive outdoors in our climate nor build up enough energy to bloom again. They are a one and done plant. TIMING OF VEGGIE TRANSPLANTS Question: I am itching to get my hands in some dirt. When is the best time to start vegetable transplants for the garden? Answer: Growing your own transplants can be a fun and reward-

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developing plants and left on for a majority of the time. In answer to your question, you determine when to seed based on when the plant will move outdoors to the garden. Most transplants take about six to eight weeks to grow. So if it is a tomato you want to grow count back from say May 1. That means the seeds would be planted around early to mid-March. Growing broccoli and planting late March in the garden, then the seeds would be sown early February. Be sure to keep good notes as air temperatures will greatly influence development. Cooler temperatures will have longer growth periods while warmer, shorter times. My recommendation is to keep a journal of when you planted so you can make adjustments for next year. 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 Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


The Bird Brain Bird of the Month: Dark-eyed Junco “The Snowbird”

Doc & Diane Gover


he Dark-eyed Junco resides in the Kansas City area during the cold months. They begin arriving in October and spend the winter with us. Just as their arrival reminds us that winter is around the corner, their departure means that spring is upon us. The male is a round, dark-eyed bird with a slate gray chest, head and back. Their belly is white and they have a pink bill. The outermost tail feathers are white (during flight the tail appears as a white V). The female resembles the male, only tan to brown in color. The juvenile is similar to the female, but has a streaked breast and head. Juncos spend their entire winter in flocks averaging in size from six to thirty or more birds. Each flock has a dominance hierarchy with adult males at the top, followed by juvenile males, adult females and young females at the bottom. You can often observe individuals chal-

lenging the status of others with aggressive displays of lunges and tail flicking. Juncos will eat seeds and insects. They practice an interesting foraging method called “riding.” They fly up to a seed cluster on the top of a grass stem and ride it to the ground where they pick off the seeds while standing on it. They will also forage under your seed feeding stations looking for millet and hulled sunflower seeds and will visit seed tubes and hopper feeders. They love suet and bark butter if offered at a low height. Be sure to offer them fresh liquid water for drinking and bathing. Interesting Facts • Juncos are often called “snowbirds”. A possible reason for the nickname may be the slate colored back and the white belly plumage of the Junco which has been described as “leaden skies above and snow below”. • The oldest banded Junco was 10 years old. • Juncos are sighted at more feeding areas across North America than any other bird.

Celebrate National Bird Feeding Month

Be sure to watch for the “Snowbirds” right in your own backyard. Stop by the store if you have any questions, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

Cupid isn’t the only winged creature to watch out for this month. In 1994, the United States Congress proclaimed February to be National Bird Feeding Month. It is the harshest month of the year with cold temperatures and very little food, if any, to be found in nature. If there are food sources still available much of it is covered by ice and snow. So join in with 41 million North Americans and feed the birds in your backyard. The average backyard is visited regularly by 15 or more different species. You can increase the variety of birds that visit your backyard by providing the appropriate high calorie, high fat foods in the right locations.

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February 2015 |

Photos by Susan Mertz.

In the Garden at Shelter Insurance Gardens a parking lot oasis

Susan Mertz


estled in the back of the huge expanse that is the Shelter Insurance parking lot is a lovely garden. Driving down West Broadway past the numerous office buildings, you would never know it was there. It would probably not be your first stop in searching for gardens in Columbia. Afterall, Columbia is home to the University of Missouri and the Mizzou Botanic Garden that encompasses the campus with thousands of plants in numerous gardens. That would have been a more logical destination. Yet, here I was searching between office buildings for this hidden gem. In the early 1970s, a replica of a 19th century one-room schoolhouse was moved onto the Shelter Insurance property to honor the seven farmers who met in a schoolhouse to form a farm club in Missouri that would eventually become the MFA Mutual Insurance Company and then Shelter Insurance. With the placement of the schoolhouse on the

property, employee Scotty Garrett requested permission to create a garden for the community. Now, almost 40 years old, the gardens cover five acres with 14 different features and garden rooms. Several thousand visitors each year appreciate the beauty of the plantings, attend free concerts, have picnics, and celebrate weddings on the property that is open to the public. Through the iron gates and under the canopy of dozens of mature trees are the gardens with over 350 varieties of trees and shrubs plus 250 varieties of perennials and grasses. Some of my favorite trees are on the property include Heptacodium miconioides (Seven Son Flower), Quercus alba (White Oak), and Taxodium ascendens (Pond Cypress). The pathways go through several memorial gardens, a rose garden, conifer collection, butterfly garden, and Japanese garden. One of the pathways goes past a Callicarpa japonica (Japanese Beautyberry) with arching branches covered with white berries. It was beautiful in the fall! Close by the schoolhouse is the Sensory Garden with plant tags in Braille. The foliage of the Thailand Giant Elephant Ears captured my attention in this garden. It was fun watching little ones toddle

throughout the gardens and discover sticks, acorns, flower petals and the koi in the water features. A flashback to my childhood came about at the Sedum and Succulent Garden. Every Sunday when I was growing up, we would have dinner with my dad’s parents. After eating, when the weather was nice, we would venture out to see what crops were growing in their former Victory Garden that Grandpa meticulously planted and tended each year. I loved Grandma’s flowerbeds and rock garden. We would also spend time on their front porch amongst container plants carefully situated in sunny spots. Mother of Thousands was one of their front porch plants that fascinated me. It had been a long time since I last saw that plant and here was one growing in the Shelter Insurance Sedum and Succulent Garden! When I spotted it, I quickly looked around for the guard who makes his rounds through the gardens. It was so tempting to climb up the rock wall in the garden and pick off one of the babies to take home and grow. However, I behaved myself. Katrina Monnig, Superintendent of Grounds, leads a team of gardeners and landscape technicians who maintain the property including the landscape beds around the

Shelter Insurance office building. Previously a landscaper at MU, she has been at the Shelter Insurace Gardens for two years. Katrina’s favorites in the gardens are the hollies with red berries in the winter, tulips and daffodils in the spring, roses in the summer, and maple trees in the fall. Unlike a home gardener, Katrina and her team have some unique challenges of tending to a public garden that include visitors moving plant tags along with planning events such as weddings and corporate gatherings. After talking with Katrina, I was pleased that I didn’t add myself to the list of challenges by climbing the rock wall when I spotted the Mother of Thousands. Besides, it isn’t good manners (or a good look) for a middle aged woman to fall off a rock wall and tumble down a hill with a prized plant in her hands when visiting a garden. Shelter Insurance Gardens, located at 1817 West Broadway, Columbia, Missouri 65203. Open daily between 8am and dusk (except Christmas day). Susan Mertz, Garden Writer and Director of Marketing at Loma Vista Nursery. Join her for tours and photographs of gardens at

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


Photos by Charles Hammer. The towering blossom of native American Red Buckeye, one of many clusters that adorn the big shrub in late spring.

By Charles Hammer


hy not plant a flowering tree that is shade tolerant, beautiful – and for some reason seldom seen in our gardens. Try one of our three loveliest flowering buckeyes, all of which do well in most of the eastern United States, zones 4 to 8. Prettiest in its way is aesculus pavia, Red Buckeye, the smallest of the lot, native in America from Virginia to Florida west to

These are the “buckeyes,” the lustrous seeds of the native red American shrub.

This is the lush, pink-flowering hybrid Pink Horsechestnut, already 25 feet tall. It may hit 40 before it stops.

Flowering Buckeyes Missouri and Texas. It likes sun but in May will throw up blazing red panicles almost a foot long even in fairly deep shade. I bought my tree from a Missouri native plant nursery more than 20 years ago and placed it under big red and burr oaks in my Shawnee, Kansas, garden. More than 15 feet tall now, it blooms generously. A side benefit is the annual crop of lustrous seeds, which do

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Tiger swallowtail butterflies love the nectar of Bottlebrush Buckeye spires, which shoot up thickly from the shrub (but produce only small seeds.)

February 2015 |


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faintly resemble the eye of a deer. My tree produces rich double handfuls, each the size of a walnut but far more handsome. After harvest, I plant them two inches deep all over the garden. Next spring, up pop dozens of baby Red Buckeye trees. Wider than Red Buckeye but no taller is the one called Bottlebrush, aesculus parviflora, named for white flower panicles that could indeed scrub the interior of a bottle. It has much the same native range as Red Buckeye. My own Bottlebrush has a tendency to sucker, throwing up new shoots from the base. Dig up a shoot; you can plant it elsewhere and watch that one grow too. Butterflies love my Bottlebrush, swarming all over it June into July. The plant is almost more glorious in fall, when the big leaves turn radiant gold. Michael Dirr, the great woody plant guru at the University of Georgia, says few summer-flowering trees can rival this species.

“I wait with anxious anticipation for the plant to flower in my garden,” he writes. So, incidentally, do I. If you want a bigger, lush-flowering tree, choose the hybrid Pink Horsechestnut, a cross between little Red Buckeye mentioned earlier and a tall European species, aesculus hippocastanum. Hippo means “horse” in late Greek. The hybrid is called aesculus x carnea, with a deeper red selection, Briotii. Thirty years ago Joanne and Steve Yates paid a fat $40 to a nursery for a starter plant of carnea. Blooming in late spring in the side yard of their Merriam, Kansas, home, it’s a glory to the neighborhood, perhaps 25 feet tall and nearly twice as wide. “We’re happy with it,” Joanne commented, “forty dollars well spent even back when that was a lot of money.” Charles Hammer, writer and former journalism teacher at UMKC, lives in Shawnee, Kansas.

Prune Fruit Trees for Added Sunlight an essential element to grow more fruit

Tom DePaepe


ast week I received an interesting phone call from my high school cross country coach Bob Karr. It has been a while since I have talked with him, and it was nice to catch up and find out how things were going. One of my first jobs was working for Bob stacking and loading square hay bales and planting apple trees on a farm near Emporia, Kan. I did not realize it then, but this was the start of Bob’s dream to grow his own fruit orchard. Named simply ‘The Orchard,’ he sells many varieties of apple and peaches in addition to managing several bee hives which produce some of the best honey in Kansas. My conversation with Bob got me thinking about fruit tree pruning. Apple, pear, peach, apricot and most other fruit trees can be pruned this time of year to increase fruit production and prevent storm damage. Pruning your fruit trees properly is very important. Mistakes can cause decreased flowering and fruit production. The main goal when pruning fruit trees is to create light channels within the tree. If you have ever really looked at a fruit tree, you may have noticed that most of the fruit is in the top half of the tree. This is because the fruit at the top of the tree has the best access to sunlight. Shaded limbs will stop producing fruit altogether and won’t start pro-

ducing fruit again without aggressive renewal pruning. Because of this, it is best to consistently and regularly prune to make sure light is penetrating the tree. A secondary reason to prune, especially in our area, is to reduce storm damage. Start pruning fruit trees by removing the ‘leggy’ height and sides of the tree by at least onethird. This achieves several goals. Reducing the height also reduces the likelihood of top limbs breaking due to excessive fruit weight or heavy ice loads. Bringing in the sides allows more light to penetrate through the canopy allowing better fruit growth. The side limbs will also be stronger to support fruit loads. Next, thin the interior of the canopy by 10-15%. Pay special attention to removing rubbing/crossing limbs. This will help the tree develop scaffold branching. Once again, this allows more sunlight to reach the interior of the tree and also provides more room for fruit to grow. Now turn your focus to removing dead wood back to branch bark collar or live growth. This diverts the tree’s energy into growth and helps with the sunlight filtering into the canopy as well. Pruning out low limbs that do not get enough sunlight is necessary as well. Fruit won’t grow on these limbs. Don’t get too aggressive with this pruning, as removing more than 1/3 the total height of the tree is potentially devastating. Finally, many fruit trees develop sucker sprouts at the base of the tree. Cutting them back to ground level when needed will help improve the aesthetics of the tree, as well as prevent the sprouts from growing into the

canopy and taking up valuable space for the fruit. If you’ve inherited a fruit tree from a previous homeowner, or planted a fruit tree for fun and have been puzzled by a lack of fruit, it is definitely time to get pruning. Fruit that gets enough sunlight is larger and more bountiful. If you don’t have fruit trees of your own, visit a ‘you pick

orchard’ similar to Bob’s and have a look around, pick fruit and enjoy the bounty of the grower’s labor. There isn’t much that beats fresh, locally grown produce. Tom DePaepe is an ISA Certified Arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-3811505 or at tomdepaepe@ryanlawn. com.

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For information on all Earth Right products call us at 913-492-2992 If you want to have our products applied contact Tobin Lawn & Landscape at 816-765-5565 or Sonshine Lawn at 816-525-7111. The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


Lower photos are Guzmania Bromeliads. Upper left photo is Tillandsias.


February 2015 |

Middle photo is Aechmea and Vriesea is pictured upper right.

Tropical Bromeliads exotic tropicals for indoor gardens

Brent Tucker


nyone familiar with my passion for tropical plants knows that I have far too many favorites. So it comes as no surprise that Bromeliads are a favorite of mine. Bromeliads are available in many interesting shapes, sizes, and colors, and they’re easy to grow. Bromeliad is a family of plants that hail from the new world tropics. Some are terrestrial (growing in the ground) and others are epiphytic (growing on trees) amongst other plants like ferns and orchids. There are several standard bromeliads that most people can purchase at garden centers like Guzmania (the most common), Aechmea (also called silver vase) and a variety called Vriesea that has brightly colored sword shaped flower spikes. Recently, Tillandsias (air plants) have become popular because of

their ability to seemingly live off just air and are also being used in terrariums. Tillandsias are usually sold bare root. Bromeliad flowers usually lasts for several months so once the flower spike starts to turn brown it’s time to remove it. Will it flower again? Yes with proper care, but it does sometimes take 12 to 16 months or longer for it to flower again. The reason for this is the “mother” plant only flowers once and while she’s flowering she starts to produce “pups”. These pups can be removed once they’re about a third the size of the mother and potted on their own. Once they have reached maturity and given adequate care they will then flower. Too much work? Throw the Bromeliad out once flowering is finished and start over with a new one – for some, I know that’s hard to do. With all the different varieties available there is no doubt you’ll be able to find one to fit any décor of the home. Let’s look at care tips for maintaining healthy, beautiful Bromeliads. Light. Bright indirect light is best for continued health, but some

sun through a window is appreciated too. If you summer your bromeliads outdoors, which I recommend, don’t place them in all day direct sun however, early morning sun or dappled sun through a tree is fine. Temperature. Average home temperatures are agreeable, but if you place your plants outside bromeliads won’t like temperatures below 50° F. Humidity. Average home humidity is sometimes too dry so they would appreciate misting or a humidifier in the room. Extra humidity can be attained by grouping plants together too. Water. Bromeliads like their roots to become near dry before they are watered again. Water the root ball thoroughly with tepid water once they’ve reached that point. Placing water in the “vase” is not necessary but if you do use only rainwater or distilled water and replace it every few weeks. The standing water can become fowl and injure the plant and our noses. Tillandsias actually do need water so misting them every day or so is recommended. I would suggest also soaking them for an

hour or so in a bowl of water once a week to ensure they remain hydrated. Fertilizer. Feed at half strength the manufacturers recommend dose once a month with a balanced fertilizer. There are Bromeliad fertilizers out there if you prefer a specialized kind. Soil. I prefer to mix my own soil using half orchid bark or coconut husk chunk to half container soil. Never use topsoil. Straight container soil can be used but be sure to add extra perlite to it. Bromeliads prefer free draining soils. Most garden centers carry Bromeliads in assorted sizes and colors. Bromeliads can also be ordered on the Internet if you have interest in a particular variety not found elsewhere. Bromeliads are truly easy and fun plant to grow. Heck, here at Powell Gardens I enjoy them so much, it seems every display I create several of them find their way in. Brent Tucker is Horticulturist of Seasonal Displays and Events at Powell Gardens. He can be reached at

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


Water Lilies in the Pond The Old, the New and the Most Unique

Diane Swan


he most recognizable aquatic plant is the water lily with its floating pads floating on the water’s surface. They are adaptable to almost any water garden. The lily pads are attached to long stems connecting to the root tubers. Lilies prefer full sun to flourish and bloom from May to September. There are a few exceptions, such as, the night blooming tropical that can take full shade. By fertilizing them during the season, you can promote even more blooms. Here are a few of the oldest, well-known hybridized lilies and are reliable bloomers.

•  Nymphaea ‘Marliacea Albida’, a cup-like, white lily with green leaf pads. Hybridized by Marliac in 1880. •  Nymphaea ‘Chromatella’ Small, soft yellow cup-shaped blossoms. Green mottled leaves. Fragrant. Good bloomer. Tolerates partial shade Hybridized by Marliac in 1887. •  Nymphaea ‘Sunrise’ Giant canary yellow blossoms. Petals are long, narrow and curve slightly inward. Leaves are dark green. Flower shape is star-like. Hybridized by Marliac in 1888. • Nymphaea ‘Laydekeri Fulgens’ Magnificent glowing red blooms. With fiery red stamens. Reddish brown flecks on dark green leaves. Cup-like blooms. Hybridized in 1895. •  Nymphaea ‘Gloriosa’ has cup-like, bright red flowers and


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Victoria cruziana lush green foliage. Hybridized in 1896. •  Nymphaea ‘Pink Beauty’ Cup shaped flowers of medium pink and round green leaves. Hybridied in 1899. Here are of the newest water lilies coming on the market soon. Tropical Lily Nymphaea ‘Plum Crazy’ was awarded the Best New Tropical Waterlily of 2013, it was given the highest honors of Best New Waterlily of 2013 beating the other competitors from all over the globe and in all four different water lily categories. The flower is exceptionally full of petals with over 100 petals. The purple color is quite eye catching. Not many waterlilies on the market have such a full flower. Not only is the flower spectacular, but the foliage is quite stunning also. Green lily pads striped with maroon make for a very attractive appearance. Nymphaea ‘Purple Fantasy’ The first ever dark purple HARDY water lily was hybridized by FAN and will be released hopefully to the market this year, 2015 (Patent pending). N. ‘Purple Fantasy’ won best in its class and 2nd best overall in the 2013 IWGS Best new Waterlily Competition held in Denver last year. N. ‘Purple Fantasy’ is a real performer with numerous blooms on any given day. The deep purple flowers on the deep green pads makes for a real eye catcher. So this lily is not only one of the newest coming on the market but also truly unique!

Last but not least is not only one of the most unique water lilies but also one of the oldest. The giant water lily Victoria ‘Amazonia’. The giant lilies scientific name was added in 1837 as a tribute to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom by botanist John Lindley after bringing back from the Amazon. Its large pads can get to 4-6 feet or larger in diameter edged with 2- to 4-inch rims surrounding the edges of the pad. The pineapplescented night blooming flowers can get 9-12 inches. They start out white on the first day, pink on day two and darker pink on the third day. They usually bloom July and August. Prefer water temperatures over 75 degrees. This lily is however is way too large for most ponds, so there is a smaller version, Victoria cruziana. It will grow in cooler water temperatures. The cruziana is native to Argentina and Paraguay and was discovered in Bolivia by Alcide d’Orbigny who was sponsored by Andres de Santa Cruz and was named after Santa Cruz by Alcides brother, Charles Henry Dessalines d’Orbigny. Its leaf pads can get to 2-3 feet but will probably not reach its potential of 4-5 feet because of our shorter summer season. It works great in larger water gardens, large farm ponds or small lakes. Kevin and Diane Swan own Swan’s Water Gardens, a full service water garden center. You may contact them at 913-592-2143.

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s we gear up for spring, Rita Arnold, co-owner of Arnolds Greenhouse in LeRoy, Kan., plans to give us a green garden slideshow and lecture of what to look forward to this spring in a program titled “What’s New for 2015.” The program is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, in the auditorium of the Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. We plan to have coffee and refreshments at 9:30 a.m. in the Lewis & Clark Room down the hall from the lobby and auditorium entrance. Rita will offer an encyclopedic account of plants to watch for this spring. Come for all of it, or come for what you can. This will be your first and most comprehensive chance to hear what Rita has to share about plants for 2015. Be ready to take notes. You will leave the program filled with ideas and inspiration. New introductions are the driving force and excitement in gardening every spring. Rita plans to present most of the new introductions that will be available at their garden center this spring. There will be many more, including new annuals and vegetables. We will have a drawing to give away 10 $20 gift certificates to • 7130 Troost, Kansas City, Mo. Garden Center • 8am-5pm Mon.-Sat. • Closed Sunday • 816-444-3403 Nursery • 9am-5pm Mon.-Sat. • Closed Sunday • 816-333-3232

Rita Arnold will lecture at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. Gardeners Connect members at the end of the program. On March 21, Gardeners Connect has scheduled a program by Angela Treadwell-Palmer, president of Plants Nouveau, a plant introduction company based in Baltimore, Md. She travels around the US and Europe searching for new plants to introduce to the US and Canadian markets. Treadwell-Palmer’s lecture is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at the Discovery Center. For more information on these program and others programs of Gardeners Connect, please visit

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Photos by Judy Aull.

Styled to Perfection

By Judy Aull


ehind every garden gate, there’s a great story and this garden is no exception. This story began in the 1850s on a piece of land that became known as Armour Fields. In 1918 J.C. Nichols acquired this historic site, then planned and developed a successful golf course there. It was called the Armour Fields Golf Club. This house and its garden were eventually built on it. The current homeowners started out with a yard neglected by the

previous owners. Not only were weeds covering most of the garden but the soil was a dreaded mix of predominately clay. As we all know, clay is a poorly drained soil and can result in below average plants. This is not what the homeowners had in mind for their new home. These dedicated gardeners realized their first job was to amend the soil for their new plants, eventually having the best soil possible for the results they desired.

Johnson County Community College

Horticultural Sciences Day

Theme: 21st Century Horticulture: Innovations, Trends and Challenges


oin JCCC’s professors and leaders in horticultural sciences as they host some of the best speakers in the field. Learn about the existing and emerging career opportunities while you visit with professionals who will have information booths and activities. You’ll also have a chance to talk with reps from JCCC about career certificates and associate degree programs.

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February 2015 |

Once the soil was improved, the next step was to install the plants. The garden contains an amazing variety of plants – 123 trees and shrubs – which they personally planted. Some of their favorites are Monarda (commonly called Bee Balm for it’s great smell and ability to attract lots of bees), the Hoopay blue spruce for its glorious color, both Big Boy and Angel Wing begonias for easy maintenance and beautiful leaves. Others include a majestic Chinese Elm – well over 100 years old – fragrant Viburnum bushes, the ever popular Oakleaf Hydrangea, Persian Shield, variegated Ginger, Mandevilla vines, Hostas, Elephant Ears, Papyrus and many others. These plants are all placed in one of 4 sections that were created specifically to accommodate each according to their requirements. The 4 sections are: floral, shaded and woodland, formal and, lastly, a tranquil back corner for meditation. The most outstanding feature of the entire garden, and its focus, is the water feature or reflecting pool which is situated in the center of the garden. They have taken Bradford Pear trees and made them unusual by trimming the lower limbs to an unbelievable height

on the trunk, leaving a dramatic puff of foliage at the top. These trees line and define the sides of the pool. The owners comment: “the trees seem to be standing guard over the center fountain”. One must this phenomenon to believe the impact it has on the entire setting. A couple of tips from these two homeowners: 1. Start with the best soil possible, the rest is trial and error. 2. Move plants and trees around like it is furniture. The owners took their vision of a park-like setting and transformed it into their own personal retreat. Visitors to this extraordinary green space can journey through the paths and walkways, being aware of the amazing design and plantings that surround them. Don’t miss seeing this garden during the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City 2015 Garden Tour on June 5-6, 9am to 4:30pm. For further information about the six gardens on the tour, visit under the “Garden Tour” heading. Tickets will be available May 15 at various sites in the Kansas City area. Judy Aull is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

What to Plant Advice

from Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom programs


et a jump start on planning what you will grow this season with tried and true varieties of annuals and perennials showcased by Dr. Alan Stevens, the Director Kansas State Horticulture Research & Extension Center in Olathe, and Kansas State Extension Specialist for commercial floriculture. Dr. Stevens conducts annual and perennial cultivar trials to promote outstanding performers via the Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom programs. These trials produce information for Midwest gardeners. Prairie Star annual flowers are varieties best adapted to the challenging prairie climate. The plants in this program have performed well for two or more years in the Kansas State University bedding plant research trials. These plants are the best of the best, flowers that grow and bloom abundantly with minimal care. The Prairie Star collection is organized in three sections: Plants for Flower Display, Plants for Foliage Display, and Plants for Containers.

The Prairie Bloom collection consists of high performance perennial flowers with great vigor and spectacular bloom. These flower varieties have exhibited superior performances for at least 3-5 years and have grown well in Kansas soils and a transitional prairie climate. Included in the list are some well-known reliable perennials such as daylily, iris, hosta and ornamental grasses. Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City as Dr. Alan Stevens shares his suggestions and insights on what to plant in 2015 at 6:30pm Thurs., Feb. 19, 2015 at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, KCMO. Free and open to the public. Door prizes. No registration required. For further information call 816-665-4456, or see the Master Gardeners’ website at www.mggkc. org, our new blog at mggkcblog., or the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Facebook page.

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February 2015 |

places to go, things to do, people to see

Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Feb 10, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Feb 21, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Feb 2, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Feb 11, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Annual Valentine’s Tea. Enjoy sandwiches, quiche and delectable desserts. Visitors are always welcome, there is no cost for this luncheon. Sabine Green of Farrand Farms will be presenting, ‘Growing Edibles with Flowers in Containers’. Receive information that you can take home and put into practical application. As always there will fun surprises and prizes to give away. Greater Kansas City Iris Society Mon, Mar 9; at Trailside Center, 91st and Holmes, Kansas City, MO. Social 6:30pm, meeting 7pm, followed by a forum on Hybridizing Iris. First meeting of the year. Non members welcome. Free of charge. For more information, contact Shelley Clements at 913-226-5580 or Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 21. The Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society will be kicking off Spring with an exciting meeting at the Faith Lutheran Church, 67th & Roe, Prairie Village, KS. Hospitality will begin at 9:30am, followed by a short business meeting at 10am, after which Jeff Miller, owner of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm, Milton, WI, will present ”Hostalicious”. The Club will provide barbecue for a potluck at noon. Everyone is welcome, you may bring your favorite dish to share. Following lunch, we are fortunate to have our own Phil Alley sharing his lively presentation “Evolution of a Garden”. Come share a fun day with fellow hostaholics! There will be great food, many door prizes and best of all, two great speakers! See you there! For information call Gwen at 816-213-0598. Independence Garden Club Mon, Feb 9, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center, corner of Noland and Truman Rd, 4th Floor, Independence, MO. Our program is to be announced. Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information please call 816-373-1169 or 816-812-3067. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Feb 15, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Feb 10, 7-9pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence (1263 N. 1100 Rd.) Meet the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. Information & Monthly Newsletter: herbstudygroup@ Leawood Garden Club Tues, Feb 24, 10:30am; at the Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. About noon, Ed Reese will present “Birdscaping-Gardening to Attract Birds.” Ed and his wife Karen operate the Wild Bird House in the heart of downtown Overland Park, Kansas. They are avid bird watchers as well as independent business owners.. The meeting is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. As an added attraction, we are having our winter bake sale! Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts are provided. For more information, please visit our website www., send an email to, or call 913-642-3317. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Feb 10, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 S W Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit MO 64081. Our speaker will be Chris Veach, Extension Master Gardener. The topic will be “Lasagna Gardening”. Refreshments will be provided, visitors are always welcome. Visit our website www.leessummitgardenclub. org or call 816-540-4036 for additional information. Mo Kan Daylily Society Sun, Feb 8, 11am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Northland Garden Club Tues, Feb 17, 7pm; at Sherwood Bible Church, 4900 N Norton, Kansas City, MO (just south and west of Penguin Park). The Garden Club will feature a presentation by Kathy Bark of Suburban Lawn & Garden. Please check website for additional information: Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Feb 17, 12:30pm; at the Bass Pro Shop, 119th St and I-35, Olathe, KS. Kim Pegal will lead the group with hands-on projects related to the garden. Last year we learned to make butterfly feeders, painted rocks and gardener’s hand cleaner. Public is invited, but there will be a nominal fee for materials. Any questions, please call Joan Shriver at 913-492-3566. Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Feb 8, 1:30-2:15pm beginners group, General meeting and presentation at 2:15pm; at Lenexa Senior Center, 13420

Oak St. Listen to Doug Martin present “Native Orchids of the Central Plains”. Open to the public. Ribbon Judging of locally-grown orchids. Come join the fun. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Feb 9, 7pm social, 7:30pm program; at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Symposium put on by our experienced members. One will speak about her technique for starting seeds for spring bedding. Another will discuss her technique for dividing plants to be ready for our annual flower sale. Guests are welcome. Questions? Contact Sallie Wiley at 913236-5193. Sho Me African Violets Fri, Feb 13, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes February Container Gardening: Beauty and Convenience Thurs, Feb 5, 11:30am-1pm; at Sunflower Room, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Do you yearn to grow yummy, nutritious food for your family, but have no yard? Or maybe you just want your herbs and salad makings closer to the kitchen. A container garden, placed in full sun, can fulfill the mutual needs of plants and gardeners. Fortunately, plant breeders have heeded the call for porch and deck garden solutions by developing vegetables, flowers and even shrubs and trees that flourish in a small space. This presentation reviews the basics of container gardening, then applies those principles to vegetable growing. PowerPoint photographs illustrate the science-based techniques and a handout provides further information and resources. A Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener, Lenora Larson grows most of her food on her 27 acre property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola. She is a proud ‘science geek’ with a degree in microbiology from Michigan State University, a career in molecular biology and a life-long interest in gardening and cooking. Registration is not required. Free admission to active Master Gardeners. $5.00 per person, all others. New Volunteer Orientations Sat, Feb 7, 9-11am; Tues, Feb 10, 10am12pm; Fri, Feb 20, 10am-12pm and 1-3 pm; at Powell Gardens. Learn something new, meet friends, have fun, make a difference – Powell Gardens’ volunteers do all of the above and then some. We try to be as flexible as possible with scheduling – weekly, every-other-week, or occasionally – volunteers have a variety of opportunities from gardening to special events. Plus volunteers receive free admission to the Gardens. If you’re age 16 or older (or 12-14 if volunteering with a parent or grandparent) and are interested in volunteering contact Connie Harclerode, Volunteer Coordinator at or call 816-697-2600 x304. An RSVP is necessary. Other dates will be added as needed. Desert in Bloom + Cactus Show & Sale Sat, Feb 7. Visitors can easily travel to warmer climes as “Desert in Bloom” con-

tinues through Feb 22. The glass-topped conservatory gracing the Visitor Center showcases diverse shapes and sizes of cacti and succulents, ranging from the towering Century Plant to the scarlet-flowered Crown of Thorns. On Feb 7, the Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society offers a show and sale from 9am to 5pm. The show is included with regular admission. Nights at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is offering four events in 2015 for visitors to experience the magical beauty of the Arboretum under the light of the moon and stars. Each event will provide information and activities relating to the moon, the changing seasons and the impact on plants and animals inhabiting the Arboretum. Scheduled during full moons, and using the Native American names for full moons, the events are on Fridays from 7:00-10:00pm on February 6, (Full Hungry/Snow Moon) March 6, (Full Worm Moon) September 25, (Full Harvest Moon) and November 13 (New Moon preceding Full Beaver Moon). Guided tours will be available, and visitors will have opportunities to view the night sky through telescopes located along the trails. Skilled astronomers and astronomy students will offer information and answer questions at each viewing point. At the Feb 6 event, pre-tour activities in the Visitors Center will include educational and fun interactive activities to assist in identifying nocturnal animals, night sounds in the Arboretum, and winter food sources. Following the tour, visitors can participate in creating a mural of their experience, which will be hung in the Visitors Center; engage in other art and educational activities; and purchase S’Mores kits to be enjoyed at one of the available fire pits. General admission to the event: $3.00 ages 12 and older, $1.00 ages 5-12, under 5 years free. FOTA members free. Bird Feeder Wreath Make and Take Sat, Feb 7, 11am-2pm and Sun, Feb 8, 12:30-3:30pm; at Powell Gardens. In this session, participants will use seed heads, suet and dried fruit to create a colorful arrangement that is visually pleasing and feeds the birds, too. The cost is $10 per project. RSVP to lburton@powellgardens. org or call 816-697-2600 x209. Great Ground Covers Wed, Feb 11, 7-9pm; at 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Ground covers can be problem solvers in the landscape. Whether it is an area of heavy shade in the lawn or just a corner of the yard that needs coverage these versatile plants work. Ground covers are great solutions for the area. This class will discuss the use of ground covers, planting, maintenance and selected species in order to have success. Speaker: Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. Fee: $10 per person. Registration requested at least one week in advance. Enrollment limited. To enroll go to www.johnson.ksu. edu and click on All Extension Classes, Horticulture. For info, 913-715-7000. 18th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 13–16. It’s FREE – It’s FUN – It’s EASY. Take time to participate in the largest Citizen Science project on record. Anyone can take part, birders of any level or a feeder watcher. Individuals, families, friends, (continued on page 20)

Koi Pond and Water Feature Designs We look forward to seeing you at the Johnson County Home and Garden Show, Feb. 20-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center

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The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015


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

for Spring

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Water Gardens Tour 2015 22nd Annual Water Garden Tour Come see 50 plus backyard water gardens of Water Garden Society members

Saturday, June 27 • Sunday, June 28 9am - 5pm • Rain or Shine


(continued from page 19)

schools and organizations are all invited to count birds in their backyards, local parks or wherever you happen to be. Visit the official website at for more info. Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers learn more about how birds are faring and how to protect them and the environment we share. In 2014, participants turned in more than 144,000 online checklists, creating the world’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded. Get involved! If we can be of help just stop by Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 117th & Roe. African Violet Annual Spring Sale Sat, Feb 14, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St & Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City. For information, 816-373-6915, Great Backyard Bird Count Sun, Feb 15, 9am-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Join Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Be part of a team that identifies and counts the wealth of birds that visit the Gardens. The morning session begins indoors and will focus on counting the birds that frequent our feeders around the Visitor Center. In the afternoon, Alan leads a hike of the Byron Shutz Nature Trial. The fee includes either or both sessions; please register for each session you plan to attend. $8/adult, $3/youth (ages 5-12), free/ member. (Members can RSVP directly to Linda Burton at lburton@powellgardens. org.) Registration required by Feb 11. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Ladder-Style Bird Feeder Sat, Feb 14, 11am-2pm and Sun, Feb 15, 12:30-3:30pm; at Powell Gardens. This make-and-take project is free. Learn how to create your own ladder-style feeder and enjoy watching the birds hop from rung to rung. RSVP to or call 816-697-2600 x209. What to Plant in 2015 Thurs, Feb 19, 6:30pm; at Kauffman Foundation Conf Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd, KCMO. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: “Prairie Star & Prairie Bloom Programs - What to Plant in 2015”. Dr. Alan Stevens, Director of the K-State Research & Extension Center in Olathe, KS, is Extension Specialist for greenhouse production. He conducts annual and perennial cultivar trials to promote and identify outstanding performers for the Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom programs. Dr. Stevens will share his suggestions and insights on what to plant in 2015! Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For information call 816-665-4456.

913-599-9718 • 816-861-3449 Sponsor: House of Rocks 20

February 2015 |

Johnson County Home & Garden Show Feb 20-22; at Overland Park Convention Center. Special appearances by John

Gidding, HGTV series Designed to Sell and Curb Appeal: The Block; and Leanne Lee, 2015 Home & Garden Trendsetter of the Year. Over 300 exhibitors, displaying high quality home and garden products will join with contemporary-minded homeowners, who seek to improve the value, comfort and appeal of their homes. Speakers who are experts in home décor, remodeling, gardening and landscaping, will entertain and inform on the show stage. Don’t miss Overland Park’s community event of the year. See more details at Small Scapes Workshop Sat, Feb 21, 1-4pm; at Suburban Lawn & Garden, 135th & Wornall greenhouse. Informative demonstration of plant selection and miniatures that can be used to create you own Fairy Garden, Terrarium or Dish Garden. Bring your own container or choose from our huge selection of containers. Soil will be provided - plants and other supplies (ie fairies and miniature arbors, ponds, and other fairy decorations) will be available for purchase. Get 10% off purchases for the workshop this day. Fun for all ages, and a good way to get the kids out of the house. FREE. Emerald Ash Borer Tues, Feb 24, 7-9pm; at Lenexa Conference Center, Thompson Barn, 11184 Lackman Rd, Lenexa, KS 66215 (SW corner of College and Lackman Rd). Now that Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been found in Johnson County, what is next? EAB will likely kill thousands of ash trees in the coming years. Learn about the spread of EAB into the area and what can be done. Be ahead of its movement and learn about your options, which include treatments, removal and replacement. Speaker: Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. Note this session is free of charge; registration will be handled through the City of Lenexa. Pre-registration required. ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp (click on adult classes to find link) Perennials Through the Year Tues, Feb 24, 6:30-8:30pm; at Raytown South Middle School, room 129, 8401 E 83rd St, Raytown, MO 64138. Consider a seasonal planting plan when selecting and placing perennials in a landscape. Since each blooms for a limited period, give equal consideration to when they flower and the foliage qualities that contribute to the other seasons. Discuss some of the best varieties for our region and their site preferences. Handouts included. $12. Instructor: Leah Berg. To enroll and directions, call Raytown Community Ed 816-268-7041. Pruning for More Fruit Sat, Feb 28, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Proper dormant season pruning is an essential part of managing disease and insects and improving fruit harvests. During this workshop you will learn the principles and techniques for dormant pruning of apples,

peaches and grapes. This class will be outdoors with a hands-on pruning demonstration, so dress appropriately. Tools will be provided. $29/person, $22/member. Registration required by Feb 23. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at AdultClasses.

March Trees for Johnson County Tues, Mar 3, 7-9pm; at Lenexa Conference Center, Thompson Bark, 11184 Lackman Rd, Lenexa, KS 66215 (SW corner of College and Lackman Rd). As Emerald Ash Borer continues its spread throughout the area, trees will begin to die and many of our tree-lined streets will vanish. This will be a loss to our neighborhoods, but a great travesty if we do not replant for the future. The class will show which trees should be planted and which ones to avoid. Each participant will receive a copy of the list to assist with finding the right tree for the right location. Speaker: Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. Note this session is free of charge; registration will be handled through the City of Lenexa. Pre-registration required. Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp (click on adult classes to find link). The Medicine Garden Sat, Mar 7, 9:30-11:30am. Learn the What, Why, and How of planning and planting your Medicinal Garden. Whether you’re growing in a pot or a plot, these herbs are easy to grow and easy to use. Learn the herbs everyone needs in a medicinal garden and more! (Class) $24. Instructors: Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael and Twila Fairbanks, Founders of the Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group and Good Earth Gatherings. Details & Registration: The Art of Dormant Pruning Sat, Mar 7, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Thoughtful removal of branches and limbs can be easy and encourages good growth in the spring. Classroom time is blended with hands-on time to teach you the basics of pruning, including proper technique, the optimal time to prune each plant and basic care for pruning tools. Part of the class will be outdoors, so dress appropriately. Tools will be provided. $29/person, $22/member. Registration required by Mar 2. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Permaculture – A New Trend Tues, Mar 10, 7-9pm; at 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Permaculture is a set of principles or tools for designing landscapes that are modeled after nature yet include humans. This class will show you how to incorporate permaculture concepts into your home landscape with the goal of making your garden more balanced, more abundant and less work. Speaker: Jim

Crist, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener. Fee: $10 per person. Registration requested at least one week in advance. Enrollment limited. To enroll go to www.johnson.ksu. edu and click on All Extension Classes, Horticulture. For info 913-715-7000. Garden Planning Workshop Sat, Mar 14, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Get the jump on the gardening season and plan your vegetable garden now. Learn when to plant your vegetables and how to keep your garden healthy. You will sketch garden design plans with expert advice and take home a collection of seeds. (This workshop is also perfect for teachers looking to revamp schoolyard gardens.) $29/ person, $24/member. Registration required by Mar 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Carrots for Butterflies Sat, Mar 14, 5:30pm Pot-luck Dinner, 7pm Presentation; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd. Free to the public. By Lenora Larson. Butterfly gardeners know that if you plant members of the carrot family, you will have Black Swallowtails. Unfortunately, many of these plants, like Dill, Fennel and Queen Anne’s Lace, are self-sowing thugs, determined to take over your yard. Come meet some less common, polite family members, plus learn how to manage the overly-rambunctious species for garden beauty so you don’t have to apologize to every garden visitor except the Swallowtails. Lenora Larson is a Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener and member of local chapters of both the Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society. She maintains a 2 acre NABA (North Ameran Butterfly Association) certified garden on her property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola, Kansas. Questions? Contact Home Show - KC Lawn & Garden Show Mar 20-22. A Kansas City tradition for 67 years, the Home Show together with the KC Lawn & Garden Show showcases new opportunities and choices for homeowners to get a jump on spring home and garden projects. Headlining this year will be Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Fri, Mar 20, 10am-8pm, Sat, Mar 21, 10am-8pm, Sun, Mar 22, 10am-6pm. Tickets will be available online or at door. Rain Barrel Workshop Sat, Mar 21, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Using rain barrels can be an easy, inexpensive way to have beautiful gardens all growing season. Learn how to use a rain barrel and make your own rain barrel to take home. Your rain barrel will be made with a 55-gallon barrel, so bring an appropriately sized vehicle to haul it home. $67/ project, $59/member. Registration required by Mar 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at

To promote gardening events, send details to: Deadline for March issue is Febuary 5.


Weather Report

Highs and Lows Avg temp 34° Avg high temp 43° Avg low temp 24° Highest recorded temp 80° Lowest recorded temp -20° Nbr of above 70° days 1

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 8 Avg nbr of cloudy days 14

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 4.5” Avg rainfall 1.3” Avg nbr of rainy days 7 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases Full Moon: Feb. 3

Plant Above Ground Crops: 1, 2, 19, 20, 23, 24, 28

Plant Root Crops: 8-11

Last Quarter: Feb. 11

Control Plant Pests:

New Moon: Feb. 18


First Quarter: Feb. 25 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

13, 14, 17, 18 1, 2, 28

Plant Flowers: 19, 20, 23, 24

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015



garden calendar


• Start seeds for transplanting in spring. • Check fall planted perennials and water as needed. • Watch for frost heaving of tender perennials and cover. • Replenish winter mulch around roses and other plants. • Check bulbs in storage for decay and discard as needed. • Prepare orders for mail. • Take a soil test and make needed improvements.


• Check for rabbit damage on young trees and shrubs. • Water fall planted trees and shrubs as needed. • Apply dormant oil for control of scale and mites. • Take advantage of warm days and begin spring pruning. • Do not prune spring flowering trees and shrubs until after bloom. • Twigs and branches of spring shrubs cut and brought indoors add a splash of spring color. • Carefully remove snow from limbs with broom. • Water evergreens if soil is dry and not frozen.


• Make garden layouts to assist with planning process. • Order seeds for spring planting. • Soil test, testing is conducted at all extension offices in the metro area. • Start broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage transplants. • Prune fruit trees, apples, pears and cherries.

• Prune peach and nectarines just prior to bloom time. • Select varieties and order new fruit trees. • Check for rabbit and rodent damage on fruit trees. • Apply manure or compost to garden areas and incorporate for soil improvement. • Prepare garden soil for early trees on warm days. • Do not work soil when wet. • Check stored seeds for viability and discard old ones. • Prune grapes, raspberries and blackberries.


• Rotate plants to produce a balanced plant. • Withhold fertilization until spring light arrives. • Check plants for insects, mites and other problems. • Remove dust from plants by placing in the shower under room temperature water. • Give a plant to a friend for a winter pick-me-up. • Repot root-bound plants in a 1-inch larger pot. • Take cuttings of plants to make new ones for friends. • Shape plants for spring growth to produce a more balanced and attractive plant.


• Rake fallen leaves to prevent lawn suffocation. • Review lawn service contracts. • Get a jump on the season and tune up and repair the mower. • Avoid injury by keeping foot traffic to a minimum when soil is frozen.

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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February 2015 |

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

for a membership directory.

We provide more than just topsoil. We provide services as well as topsoil, mulch and river rock. We don’t simply just dump and leave it, but can place the material around your buildings and property. you pay only for the amount of topsoil that is off-loaded. no shoveling or wheelbarrowing needed!

Olathe, KS (913) 780-4848 Belton, MO (816) 331-0005

Check out the February Garden Giveaway

Professional’s Corner

Get ready for the growing season with these

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Visit KCGMAG.COM to learn how you can win. • Archive Issues to review • Garden Destinations to visit for inspiration • Garden Groups to join • Find a Professional for your project • Timely Articles on plants and people

Don’t Miss a Single Issue! The Ka nsa s City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

For convenient mail delivery, complete the form below and send with your check for $25.00. You will receive a one-year subscription to The Kansas City Gardener. Name: Address: City, State, Zip: Phone: E-mail: Where did you pick up The Kansas City Gardener? Please enclose your check payable to The Kansas City Gardener and mail with this form to: P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 The Kansas City Gardener is published monthly Jan. through Dec.

Tom DePaepe is an experienced and certified arborist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. Name: Thomas DePaepe Company: Ryan Lawn & Tree Job description: As a consulting arborist, I meet with clients to evaluate their pruning needs in the landscape and plant health care issues like disease and insect control. Then I provide an estimate of services along with a detailed consultation explaining a plan of action. Education and experience: I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in parks and resource education, and I am an ISA certified arborist. It’s amazing to realized how I’ve worked in this industry for 13 years. A day in the life of an Arborist: A steaming cup of dark roast coffee gets my day started. Then, I’m usually on my first property by 7:30am. A good day involves meeting with customers who are passionate about their lawn and landscape. A great day is helping a customer solve a problem they are having with their trees. Seeing a unique tree like a Kentucky Coffee or a great specimen like a state championship Bald Cypress is the icing on the cake. Favorite tree: Selecting one isn’t easy, although Crape myrtles seem to top the list of favorites. There are many hardy varieties that perform well in this area. There are dwarf, standard, and tree form varieties. Crape myrtles also come in many colors – white, pink, red, and even purple. Most varieties can bloom over 80 days during the growing season. The leaves can also have a vibrant red/purple fall color. Favorite garden destination: The St. Louis Arboretum situated within the Missouri Botanical Gardens is quite impressive. It has one of the most spectacular Japanese maple gardens, and some of the largest Ash trees I have ever seen. What every gardener should know: When planting balland-burlap trees including evergreens, please remove the string, wire basket, and burlap first. Always plant according to ISA standards. Ask a certified arborist if you need planting details. Additional interests: I love spending time with my family. My wife and I have two children, 2.5 years and 3 months which keep us busy and entertained. I also enjoy the outdoors. I have a farm outside Emporia, Kansas where I spend several weekends of the year. Little known secret: Redbud trees are actually legumes, like peas and peanuts.  Contact information: Ryan Lawn & Tree, “The pros you know in the clean red truck,” 913-381-1505, 7:30am-5:30pm, website, email

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2015



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February 2015 |

Suburban Lawn & Garden Maintenance 816-941-4700

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy closed for winter season

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KCG 02Feb15  

bromeliads, buckeyes, bird feeding, Shelter Insurance Gardens