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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

February 2016

All-America Selections 2016 reliable new varieties proven for home gardens

Venus Flytrap Bird of the Month: White-Breasted Nuthatch Selecting Apple, Pear and Peach Cultivars for Home Gardens


editor’s notes

The Kansas City

GARDENER

Birding in the winter garden

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors David Bird Nik & Theresa Hiremath Lala Kumar Dennis Patton Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

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“To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course, is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries.”
 ~ Anne Raver

A

dmittedly, I’m not terribly fond of the month of February. Winter has a firm grip by now, and is not likely to let up anytime soon. Most days no matter the conditions—sunny or cloudy, windy or calm—it’s just plain cold. And sadly, spring seems far away. So rather than focus on the things I can’t do in the garden, this month my focus is on what I can do—birding. Did you know that February is National Bird-Feeding Month? I wanted to know how this came to be, so here’s a bit of information I found on the web (https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ Bird-Feeding_Month). On February 23, 1994, John Porter (R-IL) proclaimed February as National Bird-Feeding Month when he read this proclamation … “Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize February, one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds, as National Bird-Feeding Month. During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild

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bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects … Backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults.” The article goes on further to validate how easy and inexpensive this hobby can be, as well as point out personal and social benefits. One of my greatest pastimes is birding. I love interacting with my backyard birds. I have several different types of feeders—platform, tube, suet cage—positioned around the landscape, and in full view from inside. Also, there’s a heated bird bath on the deck, where from my kitchen window, I can watch birds drink and bathe. We are deliberate about what is planted in the garden as well. Fruitbearing species like holly, liriope, viburnum, and crabapple all benefit a variety of birds through the season. It’s fun to watch robins sit among the holly shrubs plucking red berries to eat. Also coming this month is the Great Backyard Bird Count, sched-

uled for February 12-15. Bird watchers of all ages count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are. The GBBC is a FREE world-wide event. Be a participant in the largest Citizen Science Project ever undertaken. Individuals, families, friends, schools, garden clubs and civic organizations are invited to count birds at bird feeders, backyards, local parks and other locations. You can spend as little as 15 minutes or as much time (4 days) as your schedule allows. Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at www.birdcount.org. Wild Birds Unlimited is a major sponsor of this event, so check with the folks at the Leawood location for more information. Backyard birds put life back into those lifeless winter garden scenes, offering delight and peace. Now go fill those feeders, friends. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue February 2016 • Vol. 21 No. 2 Ask the Experts .......................... 4 Conifers for KC ......................... 6 The Bird Brain ........................... 7 Venus Flytrap ............................. 8 Selecting Apple, Pear and Peach Cultivars for Home Gardens ........ 9 AAS Winners 2016 ................... 1 0

about the cover ...

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Warning: Oriental Bittersweet ............................... 12 Upcoming Events ..................... 14 Powell Garden Events .............. 16 Subscribe ................................ 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Professional’s Corner ................ 19

Geranium Brocade Fire is 2016 All-America Selections Flower Award Winner. Learn about all of the 2016 winners starting on page 10. Photo courtesy all-americaselections.org.

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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.

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton WHEN TO PRUNE HYDRANGEA Question: I planted several Hydrangea paniculatas last year. I’m confused about pruning. Do I cut them back to the ground or only prune off the dried flowers? Answer: Well you are going to hate my answer because it is another one of my favorite answers, “it depends.” How you prune a panicle hydrangea depends on the variety and how you want to manage its growth and habit. One part of your question is to cut back to the ground. This is a no, no for this type of hydrangea. Cutting to

the ground is recommended for ‘Annabelle’ or arborescens type. Panicle hydrangeas do bloom on new wood or the current season’s growth. That means the best time to prune is in the spring before growth begins. The second part of your question is to only prune off the dried flowers. Removing only old flowers is probably to the other extreme. It is hard to give you a recommended way to prune this group as some only grow to about 3 feet and others can reach 6 feet or more. Just keep this thought in mind, the harder you prune (the more wood you remove) the larger the flower heads. Our Extension Master Gardeners cut some of the smaller plants back to about a foot or so from the ground while larger plants get randomly cut back to 1 to 2 feet. We find with varieties such as ‘Limelight’

Planting flowers or a garden? Then you need to have your underground facilities marked! Missouri law requires that any person making or beginning any excavation notify MOCS. Placing a locate request is free and easy! Call 1-800-DIG-RITE (800-344-7483) or 811. For more information, visit mo1call.com.

If you’re growing mophead hydrangea in our soils, and desire blue, the recommendation is to apply sulfur each spring and fall. this heavy pruning results in flower heads the size of footballs. If we prune less there are more flower heads but maybe the size of a softball. We go for the big and impressive blooms. I must admit it looks pretty drastic when the job is first done and before new growth. WHEN TO APPLY SOIL SULFUR TO TURN HYDRANGEA FLOWERS BLUE Question: When should I apply soil sulfur to lower the pH so my mophead hydrangea’s flowers turn blue? How long does it take to lower the pH? Answer: The best answer is last week. Really it can be applied anytime. Remember it takes time for the sulfur to move into the soil. If you work it in around the plants the roots will be damaged which will setback the plant. My best

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EXPOSED ROOTS WHEN PLANTING A TREE Question: I planted a tree last year that had two large “roots” coming out from the trunk above the soil line of the container. There’s about a 2-inch gap between these roots and the roots that were in the container. Should I have planted the two roots below the soil surface?

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recommendation in our soils is to apply sulfur each spring and fall if blue is your desired color. The rate would be about one-half cup spread out and around the plant. Pull back the mulch layer so that the sulfur is in direct contact with the soil and of course water it in thoroughly. Keep doing this until they are blue then you can relax and see what happens.

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Answer: Tree planting in some ways is very confusing but it is really not. The root flare, where the first roots emerge should be right at the soil surface. What I am picturing is you did the right thing as planting too deeply is a major issue which can slow establishment and the growth rate of the tree. My recommendation is to leave the two exposed roots. If you cut off you remove valuable roots to support the tree. If you cover up then oxygen is excluded which will harm the tree. The roots should not be a problem as this young tree should have a mulch ring of at least 3 feet or more around the base. This mulch ring should more than adequately include the roots. Simply cover the exposed roots with about 2 to 3 inches of wood mulch. Keeping the grass at bay increases the tree’s growth rate, reduces trunk injury and provides nutrients while helping to keep the soil evenly moist and cool. What a perfect location for roots to thrive. Healthy roots equal a happy tree. PRUNING EVERGREENS Question: A person at a local nursery said I could shear my boxwood hedges after it got cold and the plants were dormant. Is that okay? Answer: Hmm, two responses. One, are you crazy? Two, shop at another nursery! There is no way around it. This advice well, politely is fertilizer. Get my drift? Extension does not recommend pruning much of anything in the fall or early winter, especially evergreens. Shearing boxwood in the fall or early winter exposes plant tissue that has been protected from environmental conditions. Once the inner leaves are exposed and the stems cut, they will be highly susceptible to desiccation and

sunburn. Never prune evergreens in the fall. The only exception would be if you randomly cut a few branches here and there for holiday décor. Boxwoods are sheared in the spring just after the new growth has emerged and then tidied up during the season with a nip here and there. PIN OAK LEAF DROP Question: My pin oaks dropped most of their leaves by early December. But my neighbor’s pin oak across the street still has a lot of leaves. They water their lawn more than I do. Is that why their tree is always late to drop its leaves? Answer: I do not think there is a correlation between the amount of water and when the tree drops its leaves. This past summer with all the rain and cooler temperatures pin oaks would have not been stressed. In very stressful years trees experiencing drought issues would tend to drop their leaves first compared to those healthier trees. I think in this case we are dealing with simple genetics. Sounds like your trees are mature. Back in the day trees were grown from seed. Just like every kid has different DNA so does every tree grown from seed. As a result some may have bigger leaves, better fall color, deeper lobes, or even drop their leaves later in the season. Personally I think having them drop early is a plus so that you can put the rake away. Of course the problem is their leaves blowing into your lawn.

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Conifers for KC

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Thurs., Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m.

ansas City, with its wide range of weather extremes and often poorly drained clay soils, can be a challenging place to garden with conifers. Conifers are, however, an important component to a sustainable landscape and provide the widest variety of hardy evergreens one can grow here. Alan Branhagen (pictured), Powell Gardens Director of Horticulture, will touch on the wide range of conifers that can be grown well with a proper setting in our region. Alan will touch on learning what a conifer is and that they are not flowering plants! Their seed and pollen cones are beautiful attributes of each species and you’ll find out which species have both types of cones while some species

have plants that are just male or female. Yes, some pines produce edible seeds called “pine nuts” that make them components of edible landscapes as well. Junipers don’t produce berries, rather modified cones that function as berries which is great food for wildlife. Some species are relished by chefs for flavoring meat dishes and yep, juniper cones are what flavors gin. Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO. Free and open to the public. Door prizes. No registration required. For further information call 816-665-4456, or see www.mggkc.org.

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Landscaped Gardens: Does the thought of spring leave you a little blah when you consider the current condition of your lawn? You’ll leave inspired and ready to tackle any yard project after you stroll through five unique 800 sq. ft. feature gardens. Spring Marketplace: Tulips, bunnies, and butterflies – oh my! Stroll through the 300 sq. ft. Olathe Glass Spring Marketplace and leave with home décor accessories to get your home spring-ready. TICKETS: $8 – Adult (Online), $10 – Adult; FREE – Children 12 and under SHOW TIMES: Friday, 2/12, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday, 2/13, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, 2/14, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For details about all special features and to buy tickets online, check out the Kansas City Home Show website at kcremodelandgarden.com.

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The Bird Brain

Bird of the Month: White-Breasted Nuthatch By Nik and Theresa Hiremath

T

he White-Breasted Nuthatch is known as the “upside down” bird. It is often observed jauntily creeping headfirst sideways, down, and up tree trunks while pausing and searching cracks and crevices for insect food. As a bonus, this funny little bird is nonmigratory so it stays year round with antics to entertain us. This bird has a small body, large head, and almost no neck, along with a short tail and long narrow bill. The plumage is grayblue on their backs, chestnut on the lower belly and under the tail, and they have a black or gray cap and neck frame. Male and female plumages are similar, except the male has an entirely black cap on its head. The female’s crown is bluish-gray and her neck is black like the male. Juvenile plumage is similar to adults, and there are no seasonal plumage changes. They primarily nest in natural cavities and woodpecker holes, and will also use a nest box. The female builds the nest by herself, and she will often return to the nesting site in subsequent years. The White-Breasted Nuthatch is a common visitor to bird feeders. They get their name from their behavior of typically taking a single seed or nut, flying to a nearby tree, wedging it into the bark and hacking it open with repeated blows from their bill. In a study of the

providing sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet as food sources. As is the case with all of our avian friends, it is important to provide food, a source of water (especially important during the cold winter months), and shelter from predators and the cold. Once you establish these habitat elements in your backyard, you are sure to attract not White-Breasted Nuthatch’s seed caching behavior, it was found that they selected unshelled sunflower seeds approximately 25 percent more often than seeds still in the shell. It appears that this preference is driven by the fact that it takes the Nuthatch about half the time to transport and cache an unshelled seed than it does a shelled one. They frequently hide cached food by covering it with plant material or snow. During the winter, WhiteBreasted Nuthatches will often forage together with other birds such as titmice, chickadees, and Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers in a group known as a foraging guild. Nuthatches are able to recognize the alarm calls of these species and can thus reduce their own level of alertness by relying on vigilance of these other species. This leaves them with more time to concentrate on finding food. They like to feed at both hopper feeders, tube feeders, and peanut feeders. You can attract them by

only the White-Breasted Nuthatch, but many other entertaining birds to your yard for your viewing pleasure.

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Venus Flytrap By David Bird

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hen I was about 9 or 10 years old, I remember begging my parents for a Venus Flytrap plant. We picked one out from a local greenhouse, I brought it home and proceeded to ‘snap the traps’ by touching one hair twice or 2 opposing hairs once. After a few hours, the trap would slowly open and I would snap it until it didn’t work anymore. I watered that little plant often, taking it to the sink, getting the water warm and soaking it thoroughly. Then, I thought it was hungry, so I took some uncooked hamburger and shoved it into the trap. That poor little Venus Flytrap never had a chance. Each week it looked weak and the leaves turned black. Finally after a month, it died or went dormant. I threw it out. Then I asked for a Praying Mantis. I was a strange kid. If I had been given some instructions, growing a Venus

Flytrap might have been a success. My first mistake was ‘snapping the traps’ incessantly. Once in a while is fine, but after three times that trap gets a “Charley Horse”, runs out of energy, and is stuck either open or closed. My biggest mistake was using tap water. Municipal water has chlorine in it, but more importantly it contains minerals that are detrimental to most carnivorous plants. Boiling tap water only concentrates the minerals. Rain water is best, but distilled or RO (Reverse osmosis) water is fine. Placing the plant in a shallow bowl with 1/4” to 1/2” of water is best to keep it wet at all times. Hamburger contains fat which rots the traps. Carnivorous plants

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must have a fat free diet. If I would of caught a fly to feed the trap, it would still need to be alive. The movement of the fly in the trap causes the trap to close tighter and it stimulates the enzymes to digest it. In about 3 weeks, the trap will open and be ready for another fly. Flies are just a bonus, it’s really not necessary to feed it, but it is fun to be cruel to flies. Venus Flytraps like most carnivorous plants, prefer full sun. A south or west window is best if its inside at room temperature. After the plant flowers, which should be removed, it may be getting ready for dormancy. If the leaves die back but the crown is firm, put the plant into a plastic bag and put it in the crisper of the refrigerator. Bring it out on March 1 and it will start to grow. To prevent the plant from going dormant, use artificial lights for 14 hours a day and the plant will think it’s summer. Most

carnivorous plants do better outside in full sun in the summer. I was amazed how many bugs it would catch. Repot Venus Flytraps in the spring, using a carnivorous plant mix, peat, perlite, vermiculite and sand. Due to tissue culture and more seed available, there are many varieties of Venus Flytraps. The first tissue cultured plant was ‘Red Dragon’, or’ Aki Ru’ which has bright red colored traps and leaves of good size. ‘King Henry’ is lazy, the leaves lay down, the traps are plentiful and large making it a gluttonous pig, always looking for its next meal. ‘B-52s’ have very large traps. ‘Whip Slimsnapper’ has long leaves with the traps hanging below the pot. ‘Dente’ is teeth in Latin and they are uniform and short. As Venus Flytraps become more popular again, there will be more creative names given to the varieties. They are also easily grown from seed. Next time your kids or grandkids ask for a Venus Flytrap, quiz them to see how much they already know about the plant first. You might be surprised. Buy them a plant, and give them these directions for success. David Bird is owner of Bird’s Botanicals, Kansas City, Mo. You may reach him at 816-252-4478.

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Selecting Apple, Pear and Peach Cultivars for Home Gardens

S

Lala Kumar

uccess in growing apple, pear and peach trees in home plantings largely depends on the type or cultivar selected. Apple, pear and peach trees produced from seeds differ from their parents in fruit types and quality. Trees that are produced by grafting ensure trueness to cultivar. It is recommended that grafted fruit trees should be obtained from reliable nurseries and garden centers. Apples, because of their large size as standard trees, are most in need of dwarfing. Pears and peaches are less in need of dwarfing because of their naturally smaller

size at maturity. Therefore it is recommended that you select apple cultivars that are grafted on dwarf (MM 111), semi-dwarf (M 7a) and supreme dwarf (M.9 or Bud 9) rootstocks. Select pear cultivars which are grafted on standard root stock ‘Old home x Farmingdale’, and select peach cultivars which are grafted on standard rootstocks such as Lovell or Halford. Nurseries may be able to provide information on rootstocks of cultivars you are planning to plant. Supreme dwarf apples may require life time support by staking. Apple and pear trees require cross-pollination. Therefore if you are planning to plant apples or pears you have to plant at least two cultivars that bloom at the same time to facilitate cross-pollination where as peach trees will bear acceptable crop with self pollination.

In this area, apples are very susceptible to fungus disease; apple scab, cedar apple rust and powdery mildew and the bacterial disease fire blight. It is advisable to plant resistant cultivars such as Pristine, Redfree, Liberty, Goldrush, Jonafree and Enterprise. Pears are susceptible to fireblight a bacterial disease which is hard to control. So the best bet will be to select cultivars which have some resistant to fireblight such as Harrow Delight, Seckel, Kieffer, Moonglow and Starking Delecious. A major factor in selecting peach cultivars for home use is cold hardiness, and this refers to their ability to withstand low temperatures during winter. The KC area is in

the USDA Hardiness Zone 6. This is not to be mistaken with the ability to survive late frost during blossom. A few peach cultivars recommended for this area are: Madison, Redhaven, Reliance, Cresthaven, Bell of Georgia and Encore because they have hardiness. Mature trees of apple, pear and peach can produce 2-4 bushels of fruits. The number of trees to be planted for home planting will depend on size of family and other consideration such as canning and freezing needs. More information on fruit production can be found on the University of Missouri website: http://extension.missouri.edu or call the Master Gardener Hotline at 816-833-TREE for more information. Lala Kumar, Regional Horticulture Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, Blue Springs, Mo., can be reached at 816-833-TREE.

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Salvia Summer Jewel™ Lavender

Tomato Chef’s Choice Green

Geranium Brocade Fire

Pumpkin Super Moon

Pepper Escamillo

All-America Selections 2016 reliable new varieties proven for home gardens

A

ll-America Selections (AAS) Winners have been tested for garden performance by the AAS judges. After the judges submit their scores, those varieties that perform best over all of North America become AAS National Winners. Entries that performed particularly well in certain regions are named AAS Regional Winners. Once these new varieties are announced as Winners, they are available for immediate sale and distribution. Home gardeners will find seeds available from their favorite catalog or online seed source or as young plants at their favorite garden retailer.

your winner for any planter, container or garden!

out the season, standing up to midseason heat.

Geranium Brocade Fire 2016 AAS Flower Award Winner Geranium Brocade Fire has unique bi-color foliage with a nonstop display of semi-double orange flowers that gives it an exceptional look in any garden. It’s ideal for combination planters, landscapes and garden beds. This robust plant keeps its distinguishing foliage color and brilliant blooms throughout the hot summers then becomes a fantastic transitional flower going into fall.

Geranium Brocade Cherry Night 2016 AAS Flower Award Winner Striking foliage with large semi-double blooms of cherry pink. Gardeners looking for unique and distinct foliage to accent their containers and gardens will be delighted with Brocade Cherry Night. The bronze leaves with green margins are a remarkable and unusual addition to any design. Add this heat tolerant geranium as

Mustard, Japanese Red Kingdom F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner Judges noted how the color was a vibrant reddish-purple all through the season and suggested that this flavorful, mild tasting green is an edible that can also be used as an ornamental in containers or in the landscape. Gardeners will appreciate how this variety did not bolt as easily as other mizunas and produced a much higher yield through-

Onion, Bunching Warrior 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner Warrior grows quickly and thus matures early, producing a very uniform crop of slender, crisp onion stalks that are easy to harvest and clean. Can’t get to your harvest? No worries as Warrior will hold up in the garden longer than similar varieties that were grown as comparisons in the trials. Warrior can be used raw to add texture, flavor and color to all kinds of dishes or they are delicious grilled whole as part of a grilled vegetable platter or entrée accompaniment.

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February 2016 | kcgmag.com

Pepper Cornito Giallo F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner “DOUBLE YUM” was one judge’s response to our new AAS Winner Cornito Giallo F1 pepper, “The flavor on this one is totally a winner!” Starting as small green fruits, this AAS Winner develops into bright yellow jewels with a delicious sweet and fruity flavor.

The peppers themselves are plentiful and durable, yet easy to eat fresh. Being an early bloomer, you will be able to enjoy these peppers throughout the growing season and well into the fall. Pepper Escamillo F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner An early bearing pepper plant with a compact habit makes it an ideal choice for any home garden. Gardeners will be captivated with the high yield of peppers per plant and how the fruit itself is held off the ground for easy picking and less rotting. This plant is a winner with its all around qualities of excellent taste either raw, cooked or fire roasted, its compact size and high yield. Pumpkin Super Moon F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner AAS judges loved the nice, eyeappealing ghostly white coloration on the large, blemish-free round pumpkins. Grown for their size, up to 50 lbs., and their clean white color, these hardy plants are known


Content and images courtesy of all-americaselections.org.

Radish Sweet Baby

Onion, Bunching Warrior

Tomato Candyland Red

Strawberry Delizz®

Mustard, Japanese Red Kingdom

Pepper Cornito Giallo

for their early fruit development and vigorous growth. Their stems are tough, hardy, disease-resistant and unstoppable! When done decorating with these beauties, consider trying the yellow flesh for roasting or in your fall harvest soups. Radish Sweet Baby F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner Sweet Baby accurately describes the look of this beautiful purple/ white/rose colored radish. Judges commented on the improved exterior quality of this radish, in addition to the uniform size and the excellent taste, which was crispy, crunchy and slightly spicy. The internal color ranges from pale purple to white with violet streaks to mostly white with just a few purple splashes of color. Sweet Baby proved itself to be quick-growing, maturing in just 40 to 45 days which means many home gardeners can have successive sowings for season-long radishes. Salvia Summer Jewel™ Lavender 2016 AAS Flower Award Winner The fourth AAS Winner in the Summer Jewel™ series of popu-

lar AAS Salvia Winners is the newest in color, Summer Jewel™ Lavender. The unique flower color of dusty lavender purple is a delight in the garden and flower containers as well as a major attractor of pollinators including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. An extra bonus is how much the Goldfinch loves these flower seeds in the fall. It’s a photo-ready moment when these complementary colors of gold and lavender connect! The early blooming, stable, compact uniform growth, and continuous flowering of this plant are additional positives to this plant. Strawberry Strawberry Delizz® F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner What’s not to like about our first ever AAS strawberry winner Strawberry Delizz® F1? These vigorous strawberry plants are easy to grow, from seed or transplant, and produce an abundant harvest throughout the growing season. The best part though is the wonderful sweet strawberry burst of flavor from every handpicked berry. These plants have a nice uniform

and compact size making them perfect for containers, hanging baskets or garden plots. Tomato Candyland Red 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner Tomato Candyland Red is the only AAS award winning curranttype tomato. Currant tomatoes are smaller in size than cherry-type and are ready to “pop” in your mouth straight from the garden. Gardeners will appreciate the dark red, sweet flavored fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the season. The tomato plant itself has a nice tidier habit than other curranttype plants with the fruit tending to form on the outside of the plant making them easier to harvest. Tomato Chef’s Choice Green F1 2016 AAS Vegetable Award Winner Looking for a uniquely colored yet delicious tomato with which to impress your foodie friends? Then look no further than this AAS Winner, Tomato

Chef’s Choice Green F1. The newest addition to the Chef’s Choice series produces beautiful green colored fruits with subtle yellow stripes and a wonderful citrus-like flavor and perfect tomato texture. You’ll enjoy this disease free plant throughout the season with its dark green leaves and well-behaved form.

Geranium Brocade Cherry Night

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2016

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Warning: Oriental Bittersweet may be Bad for Your Health

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nfortunately certain plants don’t come with warning labels like on a pack of cigarettes or bottle of wine. If they did there might be fewer invasive plants tempting us in the marketplace and fewer yet invading healthy natural areas. Over-consumption of life’s guilty pleasures takes about 50 years to bite back. Same is true with invasive plants. Sound familiar? They start out harmless enough then a half-century later, look out! A poorly chosen plant can come back to haunt if you ignore the health warnings. Take oriental bittersweet for instance.

live plants or holiday decorations with American bittersweet and notify vendors who may be selling oriental Bittersweet. They may not know what they have. Wreaths with oriental bittersweet seeds discarded into the compost bin or the edge of the woods is a natural area disaster waiting to happen. Oriental bittersweet displaces native plants and has the potential to kill mature trees over time. If you already have an infestation, the first order of attack is to

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Oriental bittersweet on the left, American bittersweet on right

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This past holiday season I attended a craft show and noticed a vender selling beautiful bittersweet wreaths. They sold out quickly. Only problem was that people thought they were purchasing American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), a 10-20 foot tall native vine, when they were actually getting oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), a 50-80 foot tall invasive vine now spreading into Missouri like armadillos. It flowers and fruits profusely then spreads by birds and mammals that enjoy their tasty fruits. It has proven to be highly aggressive and difficult to control with quickly suckering roots. To make matters worse, it hybridizes with American bittersweet creating plants that are tricky to identify. American bittersweet has flowers and fruits in clusters at the ends of branches while oriental has flowers and fruits more scattered along the stem. Be sure to purchase

cut climbing vines off at the base. This will keep them from fruiting for a few years, but if left to regrow they will quickly produce fruits and continue their rapid spread. Secondly, pull up plants by the roots being careful not to miss any (roots are bright orange) or coat cut stumps with an herbicide that has the active ingredient triclopyr (like Ortho Brush-b-Gon or Poison Ivy-b-Gon). Most importantly, learn how to distinguish oriental bittersweet from American bittersweet and heed this health warning. Oriental bittersweet is bad for healthy natural areas. Visit www.grownative. org, Resource Guide, for a list of nurseries who offer the native American bittersweet. Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

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Gardeners Connect presents New and Exciting Japanese Maples

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wo brothers who co-own the nursery with the largest collection of Japanese maple cultivars in the U.S. plan to come to Kansas City to share their enthusiasm for the species Acer palmatum. Matt and Tim Nichols are the co-owners and operators of Nichols Nursery, MrMaple.com, and MrGinkgo.com, which are based in East Flat Rock, N.C. They plan to talk about “New and Exciting Japanese Maples” during a 10:30 a.m. program Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. This free program, and the rest in the series of free programs presented by Gardeners Connect, are financed by membership dues and fund-raising events, including the Kansas City Garden Symposium. Matt and Tim learned gardening basics as they helped in the

Matt and Tim Nichols are co-owners and operators of Nichols Nursery, and they plan to talk about what’s new and exciting in the world of Japanese Maples. upkeep of their grandmother’s and parent’s gardens. Some of their earliest memories recall getting off the school bus at their grandmother’s home. She loved plants, flowers, and woody ornamentals, and one

of her favorite plants was Japanese maples. Their father has been propagating Japanese maples for more than 35 years. The business started as a small family hobby for years sell-

ing at flea markets and tail-gate markets. While their dad was selling Japanese maples, the sons were selling Johnny jump-ups (Viola tricolor) for comic book money. Matt and Tim have expanded their father’s hobby and created a larger operation. They have been running it for the past six or seven years. They have no employees, so they do everything: propagation, production and sales. Their operation is on two acres and has 15 greenhouses. Mr. Maple has more than 1,000 cultivars of Japanese maples and 100 other species in the genus Acer. The Nichols also grow more than 50 cultivars of ginkgo trees, offering compact, dwarf, columnar, weeping and variegated leaved forms. All of their ginkgo trees are male ginkgo selections that do not fruit.

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places to go, things to do, people to see

Club Meetings African Violets of GKC Tues, Feb 9, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Feb 20, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590

Educating gardeners since 1958

n Author/ plant explorer DAN HINKLEY

Upcoming Garden Events

Bonner Springs Garden Club Tues, Feb 16, 1pm; at United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, 425 W Morse Ave, Bonner Springs, KS 66012. We will have a table exhibition floral design workshop and practice, led by Donna Schneck, National Garden Clubs, Inc. Master Flower Show Judge. Bring your flowers, vases, tools, and materials (if you have them). Refreshments will be served. The meeting is free and visitors are most welcome to attend, however we request that you call so that we can make sure we have materials for all participants. For more information, or to let us know you will be attending, please call Ruth Pleak at 913728-2806. Gardeners of America Mon, Feb 1, 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 10, noon; in the Rose Room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Join us for our annual Valentine Tea and Luncheon. Enjoy different blends of teas, tea sandwiches and desserts at no cost to you. Guests are always warmly received. Our speaker is Master Gardener, Caitlin Dix, presenting Backyard Food Forest. Caitlin has been a presenter before and is a wealth of knowledge. You will be delighted. What a great way to enjoy a Valentine’s Tea with us—food, fun and functional information. Prizes and surprises are on board. To ensure we have plenty of food and tea, we would ask you to contact Barbara at 816-523-3702 or Charlotte at vntglady@comast.net so we may have an accurate count. Please note, if the Kansas City School District closes the schools due to severe weather, our meeting will be cancelled as well. GKC Water Garden Society Tues, Feb 16, doors open at 5:30pm for snacks and socializing, formal portion of the evening begins at 6:30pm; at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. Park in the Northwest parking lot beside the Planetarium. Follow the WGS signs to meeting rooms. Parking for members is free with their parking pass. Our featured speaker is Mae Christenson from the Johnson County Extension Master Gardeners program sponsored by K-State Research and Extension. Ms Christenson will be speaking about “Plant Combinations That Please the Eye”. She will be including extensive information of what constitutes naturalistic planting for harmony in the garden. Membership dues are renewable

annually - $35 per year for a single membership and $45 for a 2 person household. Benefits of membership include educational monthly meetings and newsletters, discounts from our sponsors, tickets to the annual public tour, a plant exchange and special members-only tours throughout the summer. www.kcwatergardens.com Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 19, Hospitality at 9am; Meeting and Program at 10am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4801 W 67th St (67th & Roe), Prairie Village, KS. Kim Dyer will present an innovative program on Shade Perennials, sharing tips we all need to know, some that will both please and surprise you! Potluck will follow, Club provides meat, drink and utensils. You may bring a dish to share. There will be a raffle and door prizes. Following lunch, Keith Wheeler will share his presentation on Hypertufa containers. Come and join in the excitement of Spring! Visitors are always welcome! For more info, call Gwen at 816-213-0598. Idalia Butterfly Society Sat, Mar 12, 5:30pm Pot-luck Dinner and 7pm Presentation; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd. Bartending for Butterflies: Choosing the Best Nectar-rich Flowers. Lenora Larson presenter. Humans and butterflies agree: flowers belong in every garden. However, if you offer only flowers, you are not a butterfly gardener. You are a bartender, serving up beverages to adult butterflies as they search for love and their caterpillar’s food plant. Of course during spring and fall migrations, butterflies absolutely need nectar to fuel their journeys. This presentation discusses which flowers are best for the highly discriminating butterflies. We’ll also be voyeurs, watching butterfly courtship behaviors at the “Nectar Bar”. Free to the public. 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. Questions? Contact lenora. longlips@gmail.com. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society
 Sun, Feb 21, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 816-513-8590. Leavenworth Co Master Gardeners Wed, Feb 10, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Steve Moring, owner of Vajra Farm and Kaw Permaculture will present, “Permaculture, a self-reliance movement disguised as organic agriculture.” The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome. For more information call Melony Lutz at 913-484-4568 or the Leavenworth County Extension office at 913-364-5700. Leawood Garden Club Tues, Feb 23, 10:30am; at its NEW MEETING PLACE, Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS. At about noon, Tim Crews, Research Scientist,


Land Institute, will present “Permaculture in the Prairies, An Update on Perennial Grain Development.” The meeting is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts provided. For more information, please visit our website www.leawoodgardenclub. org, send an email to leawoodgardenclub@ gmail.com or call 913-642-3317. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Feb 9, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 S W Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081. Our speaker will be Dave Earnes, his topic will be “Art in the Garden”. Refreshments will be provided and visitors are always welcome. Visit our website www.leessummitgardenclub.org or call 816-540-4036 for additional information. Mo Kan Daylily Society Sun, Feb 7, 11am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Northland Garden Club Tues, Feb 16, 7pm; at Sherwood Bible Church, 4900 N Norton, Kansas City, MO (just south and west of Penguin Park). Mark Samborski of Antioch Urban Growers will present about growing healthy, organic, non-GMO plants. In addition, Mark and his gardeners at Antioch Urban Growers have a passion for growing healthy confident people through education and community building. Please check website for additional information: www.northlandgardenclub.com. Olathe Garden and Civic Club Tues, Feb 16, 11am; at meeting room on 2nd floor of Hy-Vee store, 119th St & Ridgeview Rd. The program will be presented by member, Kathi Tully on Heirloom Gardening. Lunch will be available for $8 to $10 at the meeting. Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Feb 14, 1:30pm; at Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St. Beginners’ Group at 1:30pm. Regular meeting at 2pm. Program at 3pm is “The Birds, the Bees & the Orchids” a lively presentation about orchid pollination by Doug Martin. Open to the public. More info at www.osgkc.org. Sho-Me African Violet Club Fri, Feb 12, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes February The Art of Pruning Shrubs Tues, Feb 2, 7-9pm; at Johnson County Extension Office Room 1060, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Unravel the mysteries of pruning. Pruning is as much an art as it is a science. It is really fairly simple. By knowing a few basics you can become a master pruner. Don’t be like most people and fear pruning, instead embrace the cut. Avoid the common mistake of not pruning until it is too late and then more drastic measures must be taken. Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. $10 per person. To enroll: http://www.johnson.kstate.edu/classes-events/index.html or call (913) 715-7000.

The Art of Bonsai Thurs, Feb 4, 11:30am-1pm; in the Sunflower Room at the Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. If you’ve ever admired bonsai, the Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers, and wondered how to get one started and then how to maintain it, this is the class for you. Wyandotte County Master Gardener Rev. Dexter White has been creating and caring for bonsai plants for 11 years, and will share his knowledge and experience. Fee: $5 (waived for certified Master Gardeners). 913-299-9300 Horticultural Sciences Day Fri, Feb 12, 8am-6pm; at Johnson County Community College. To register and view the scheduled program details along with speakers and topics, go to www.jccc.edu/ horticultural-sciences. There is a registration fee of $40 for the general public to attend lectures on Feb. 12. Lunch and breaks are included. JCCC faculty, staff and students can attend free with a valid ID (lunch not included).

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African Violet Annual Spring Sale Sat, Feb 13, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City. Join us for our annual Spring sale. There will be lots of blooming and starter plants and potting supplies. Open to the public with no admission fee. Info: kskd1@juno.com Felted Forms: Inspired By Nature Sat, Feb 13, All Day; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS 66013. Enjoy this special, one-time, outdoor exhibit produced by the Felt Makers Federation of Kansas City. All of these sculptures will brighten the otherwise grey season. Also, learn about the craft of felting and how it is made. See how it can be pushed to its limits. No pre-registration necessary, included with admission. www.opabg.org Kaw Valley Annual Seed Fair Sat, Feb 13, 9am-3pm; at Douglas County Fairgrounds, Bldg 21, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence. FREE. 7th Annual Kaw Valley Seed Fair. Seed exchange, local producers, environmental info, seed saving workshops, and children’s activities. www.facebook. com/kawvalleyseeds Maintaining a Lawn with Less Inputs Tues, Feb 16, 7-9pm; at Johnson County Extension Office Room 1060, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Lush and green is the goal for many lawn keepers. But times are a changing and many of us question lawn care. Do we really need all that fertilizer, water and pesticides? The answer is not really. This session will cover how you can have a great looking lawn for less. Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. $10 per person. To enroll: http://www.johnson.kstate.edu/classes-events/index.html or call (913) 715-7000. Gardening with Conifers in Greater Kansas City Thurs, Feb 18, 6:30pm; at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture (continued on page 16)

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15


Time for Garden Planning, Birding and Romance

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A Dose of Spring 
 If you need a splash of spring color, step inside the conservatory where the ‘Winter Romance’ exhibit is open through Feb. 27. Cheerful cineraria, cyclamen, orchids, kalanchoe and more will chase away those winter blues. The exhibit is included with winter Garden admission of $7/ adults, $6/seniors age 60+, $3/ children ages 5-12 and free/members. February is a great month for bird watching, and we have several opportunities for bird lovers: Homes Birds Love (Feb. 13 and 14) 
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. we’re having a home show for the birds! Learn how to attract birds to your yard with the right birdhouse in this display. Great Backyard Bird Count and Hike (Feb. 14)
Join Powell Gardens’ Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen to count the birds that visit Powell Gardens. The Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, helps track changes in bird populations on a massive scale. We’re offering two sessions. The morning session (9 a.m.noon) is great for all ages and focuses on birds around the Visitor Education Center. In the afternoon session (1-4 p.m.), Alan leads a hike on the Byron Shutz Nature Trail to count the more reclusive birds. Fee: $9/ person, $5/members of Powell 16

Gardens, $4/children ages 5-12 and free/members of Burroughs Audubon Society (fee includes one or both sessions). Register by calling 816-697-2600 x209. Photo by Alan Branhagen.

aking a walk through a garden may not be on your list of things to do in February, but it is a great time to do so— especially if you are looking for ways to add year-round interest to your own garden. Come to Powell Gardens before spring arrives to inspect the “bones” of the landscape. We’re talking trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and other structural elements that define space and direct movement through the garden. Gather ideas so you can design a landscape to admire all year long.

American Robin in possumhaw Bird Banding Demonstration (Feb. 28)
Join Missouri River Bird Observatory experts from 1-3:30 p.m. for this fun and educational demonstration, which helps them monitor lifespan and return rates of our resident and wintering bird species. Gear Up for Spring with a Class
 Gear up for the season ahead by taking a class at Powell Gardens. This month’s lineup includes classes on making hypertufa containers and gourd birdhouses, attracting birds to your backyard, beekeeping and flower arranging. Check powellgardens.org/adultclasses for the schedule. Valentine’s Day Dinner 
 Bring your sweetheart to the Gardens on Valentine’s Day for an evening of music, wine, food and the ‘Winter Romance’ exhibit. Each couple will take home a gift made by Heartland Harvest Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier. Prepaid reservations of $75 per person are required. Visit powellgardens.org/valentine or call 816-697-2600 x209 for details. Leap Day Is Free Day!
 We end the month with a sweet deal: free admission on Leap Day (Feb. 29). Enjoy a winter walk and warm up with a cup of hot cocoa. Enter our Leap Day drawing for a free Family Gold membership so you can come back as often as you like in 2016!

February 2016 | kcgmag.com

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

(continued from page 15)

with Powell Gardens will talk about the dwarf conifer collection. The garden is a certified Reference Garden by the American Conifer Society and offers visitors beautiful foliage textures and colors in all seasons. Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information call 816-665-4456 or visit our website @ mggkc.org and browse Gardeners Gathering. Basketry: Easter Basket Sat, Feb 20, 10am-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Weave a keepsake Easter basket measuring 6 by 8 by 11 inches tall featuring a solid woven bottom, handle, festive colors and an ornamental tie-on. Please bring a flat screwdriver, spritz bottle, ruler and an old towel. Bring a sack lunch. $49/person, $42/ member. Registration required by Feb 15. To register call Linda Burton at 816-6972600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Gourd Birdhouse Sat, Feb 21, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Learn how to prepare and decorate a gourd birdhouse. Plus you will receive instruction on placement and birdhouse care. Decorated gourds make great gifts, so you may want to make a second for a friend. (Specify quantity upon registration.) $29/ person, $22/member. (add $15 per additional gourd bird house.) Registration required by Feb 15. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Backyard Chicken Keeping Sat, Feb 27, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. It’s the latest suburban adventure – keeping laying hens in your own backyard! Learn about the basics to good chicken care, behaviors and benefits. Four halfdozen cartons of eggs will be given away in a drawing. $39/person, $34/member. Registration required by Feb 22. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/ AdultClasses. Bird Banding Sun, Feb 28, 1-3:30pm; at Powell Gardens. Join bird-banders from the Missouri River Bird Observatory and assist in netting, identifying, banding and releasing winter songbirds found around Powell Gardens. Learn how you can help your local birds thrive in Missouri’s winter climate. $7/ person, Free/member. Registration required by Feb 25. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Flower Garden Basics Tues, Mar 1, 7-9pm; at Johnson County Extension Office Room 1060, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Claude Monet said “I must have flowers always, and always.” Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? Come and learn the basics of flower gardening: when to plant, fertilize, water, divide, deadhead and more. This

session will be chalk full of tips to get the most out of your garden. Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. $10 per person. To enroll: http://www.johnson.k-state.edu/ classes-events/index.html or call (913) 7157000.

March Pruning for More Fruit Sat, Mar 5, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Learn the principles and techniques for dormant pruning of apples, peaches and grapes. This class takes place outdoors with a hands-on pruning demonstration, so dress appropriately. Tools will be provided. $29/ person, $22/member. Registration required by Feb 29. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Grow your own herbal remedies Sun, Mar 6, 1:30-4:30pm; at Hoot Owl Hill Gardens, 30750 Osawatomie Rd, Paola, KS. Eight garden herbs will be discussed, including their benefits, growing, storing and various ways to concoct healing preparations. You will then make a salve and a tincture to take home, plus recipes and information to continue preparing herbal medicines. Enjoy this country setting which includes light refreshments prepared from the garden’s bounty. Weather permitting, a tour of the gardens will follow. Please email brenda@hootowlgardens.com for more information and reservations. 913271-7451 Tangled Greeting Card Sat, Mar 12, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Learn how to tangle designs to create unique greeting cards to give to friends and family. Create a set of four cards on cardstock by selecting from oodles of Zentangle designs for inspiration. PowerPoint presentation and handout are included. $39/ person, $34/member. Registration required by Mar 7. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Gardening Fundamentals Sun, Mar 13, 2-3:30pm; at Hoot Owl Hill Gardens, 30750 Osawatomie Rd, Paola, KS. Plants don’t want to die. All of us want beautiful gardens. So why are there so many dead plants and ugly gardens? Despite our best intentions, gardeners lapse into bad habits and poor horticultural practices that put our beloved plants at risk and waste thousands of dollars. Solutions focus on the latest science and de-bunking common plant myths. Topics range from sick soil, to zone envy to too much love. Enjoy this country setting which includes light refreshments prepared from the garden’s bounty. Weather permitting, a tour of the gardens will follow. Please email brenda@ hootowlgardens.com for more information and reservations. 913-271-7451 Home Tweet Home Mon, Mar 14, 1-3pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W


179th St, Overland Park, KS 66013. Put a bird in it! For kids ages 8 and up, they will enjoy building their own wren house designed for the suburban yard. Our volunteers will lead this fun and interactive class. Additionally, we will make use of good old-fashioned hammer and nails. By the end of class you will have built a house for the birds that you will take home. One adult participant is required for each student for no extra fee. More than one person can work on a single house. Cost: Birdhouse class and construction $15, plus regular admission; Child Arboretum Nonmember Admission ages 6-12 $1; Arboretum Nonmember Admission 13 and up $3; Arboretum Admission for Child Members $0; Arboretum Admission for 13 and up Members $0. www.opabg.org *The Artistic Garden Tues, Mar 15, 7-9pm; at Johnson County Extension Office Room 1060, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Mixing art objects among your plants can be daunting; however, garden art can bring both form and function to your landscape while creating beauty and disguising eyesores. This presentation assists gardeners in answering the question, “What is art?” and defining their own artistic style. *A handout provides guidelines and inspirations. Presenter: Lenora Larson, Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener. $10 per person. To enroll: http://www. johnson.k-state.edu/classes-events/index. html or call (913) 715-7000. Growing Vegetables in Kansas Sun, Mar 27, 2-3:30pm; at Hoot Owl Hill Gardens, 30750 Osawatomie Rd, Paola, KS. Do you yearn to grow produce yummy, nutritious food for your family? Whether you have just a patio, a small yard or a large farm, following the K-State recommended processes for planning and planting can produce a bountiful vegetable garden. Topics include soil health, plant selection, maintenance (AKA weeding and watering!) and insect visitors. Enjoy this country setting which includes light refreshments prepared from the garden’s bounty. Weather permitting, a tour of the gardens will follow. Email brenda@hootowlgardens.com for more information, reservations. 913-271-7451

Wildflower Nursery Sale Sat, Mar 28, 9am-4pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, Swope Park, 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO 64132. Sponsored by The Westport Garden Club, Member Garden Club of America. Open to the public.

Apr/May/Jun Spring Garden Symposium Sat, Apr 9, 9am-3pm; at K-State Research and Extension, Marais des Cygnes District – Paola Office, 104 S Brayman, Paola, KS 66071. Sponsored by the Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners. Our Keynote Speaker, Jamie Kidd, Shawnee County Horticultural Agent, will present “Designing your Dream Garden”. Kansas State Research & Extension faculty Dr. Cheryl Boyer and Lynn Loughary will cover tree selection and care, the newest Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom releases and the challenges of weed control. The $25 fee includes lunch. To register, please send your check made out to the MdC Extension Master Gardeners to the K-State Research and Extension, Marais des Cygnes District – Paola Office, 104 S Brayman, Paola, KS 66071. For more information or to register, call 913-294-4306. Central Missouri Master Gardeners 19th Annual Indoor Plant Sale Sat, May 7, 7am-noon; at Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Rd, Jefferson City, MO. Follow the plant sale progress and see what’s for sale on www. facebook.com/centralmissourimastergardenersplantsale or our website www.centralmissourimastergardeners.org. For questions about the sale, please contact Julie at 573-295-6263 or jlong@ktis.net. Night Garden Tour Northland Garden Club will host a Night Garden Tour event in June (date to be announced). Back by popular demand, the night garden of Dave and Sharon Cleveland, aka, the white garden, will be open for a dusk to dark tour. Due to the size of this garden, the numbers of visitors were limited on the premiere tour. More information will be available at www.northlandgardenclub.com.

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February

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n LAWNS

• Rake fallen leaves that the wind has carried into the yard to prevent suffocation. • Review lawn service contracts and make changes. • Get a jump on the season and tune up and repair lawn mowers. • Avoid injury to the grass; keep foot traffic to a minimum when soil is frozen.

n FLOWERS

• Start seeds for transplanting. • Check fall planted perennials and water if 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. • Prepare orders for mailing. • Obtain a soil test and make needed improvements.

n VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

• Make garden layouts to assist with planning process. • Order seeds. • 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 and discard old supply. • Prune grapes, raspberries and blackberries.

n HOUSEPLANTS

n TREES AND SHRUBS

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

• 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.

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

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2016 Perennial Plant of the Year™ Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

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Professional’s Corner Meet Paul “Ace” Clouse, service manager for 25 years at Reynolds Lawn and Leisure Education and experience: I am a Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician and Kohler Expert Dealer. The rapid pace of change in the power equipment trade makes it essential to attend yearly training. The days of points and condensers has long passed. Soon the days of carburetors too will be gone. Digital fuel injection is on its way. In reality 90% of my knowledge base came from Mr. Swaffer at good old Ruskin High school, first hour power equipment class. I work on everything related to outdoor maintenance from the smallest string trimmer to 20’ mowers. Right now it’s snow blowers and salt trucks. What inspires/motivates your work: Truth be told my original inspiration was I needed a job. Newly married, baby on the way, fresh out of the Army. My first job was at Gravely tractor dealer, where I realized pretty early on that I was good at this stuff. I spent a few years working my way through a stint with Toro, then to motorcycles until I landed here. I take pride in the fact that when it all started at Reynolds, it was 2 brothers and me. All these years later, we have 7 full time service employees, and a 6,000-square-foot service department. Favorite power tool: A son with a strong back. And a snowblower. I have seen every brand and type of garden equipment, the main thing to remember is you get what you pay for. A Deere isn’t more expensive because it’s painted green. What every gardener should know: Sharp tools are safe tools. Unless it’s a shovel or hoe, keep it out of the dirt. One second in the dirt will ruin your chainsaw. Other interests: My wife and I are strong supporters of local music, bands like Beyond Evolution and Desert Wine. We host an annual party for 100+ people offering a venue for these bands to gain exposure. Also, we are Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ) members. Little known secret: “Dancing with Stars” is my favorite television show. Contact information: Reynolds Lawn and Leisure, 12902 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee, KS 66216; 913-268-4288; www.reynoldsll.com; servicerll@swbell.net The Kansas City Gardener | February 2016

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