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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

February 2017

All-America Selections 2017 Flower Winners

‘Jewels of the Plains’ Revived Winter Mower Maintenance Bird of Happiness: Eastern Bluebird Gardening Under a Black Walnut Grove


editor’s notes

The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Nature inspires

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Nik and Theresa Hiremath Lala Kumar Terry Blair Michel Dennis Patton Theresa Platt Scott Woodbury 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 mike@kcgmag.com Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at elizabeth@kcgmag.com

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

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February 2017 | kcgmag.com

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t’s a murky winter morning. It is the sort of day when my lazy gene rages, encouraging me to lay around in sweats. It would be absolutely marvelous to surrender to the impulse, grab a cup of tea and comb seed catalogs. Giving in to the urge, however, will undoubtedly set a pace for the day, making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything. Of course, we all could use a down day (or two) right about now. From the shrill of national events that has seeped into our brains, to the international atrocities that plague our very souls. And the intense end-of-the-world social conversation is psychologically exhausting, a fatigue that seems longlasting. Like my gardens, I’m more dormant than awake this time of year. Truthfully, I’m a little more vulnerable and a little less strong in the winter. In any other season, this would not seem as compelling. The garden would be my escape, my respite. I would be committed to a list of activities that keep me busy, mind and body. Since we’re in winter’s grip, and time in the garden is mini-

mal, a day on the sofa sounds like a great idea. Maybe what we need is a revival, a day filled with puppies and kittens, ice cream and chocolate. That sounds like a happy solution, does it not? I mean, who doesn’t love kittens? Never mind, I don’t want to know. Oh, but wait, what if you’re allergic to cats and dogs and dairy and sugar (how dreadful), then what? Perhaps birding is the answer. The 20th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count is held this month, February 17-20. Bird watchers of all ages count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are. 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. Please visit the official website at www.birdcount. org for more information.

Another option is to join Alan Branhagen for a bird hike at Powell Gardens on February 19. See the details listed in Powell Gardens events on page 15, or visit powellgardens. org/walkwithnature to learn more and register. Speaking of birding, have you joined millions to watch the live Eagle Cam? There is a Bald Eagle pair in southwest Florida that bird lovers everywhere have had the privilege to observe. From the viewers’ vantage point, we are able to witness the pair build their nest, care for each other and their eggs, and the miracle of an eaglet break free from its shell. What a remarkable journey. And to all who make this possible, I am grateful! Nature inspires, gently nudging me along through winter. I’ll keep my feeders full and binoculars close, so not to miss the next miracle. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue February 2017 • Vol. 22 No. 2

Gardening Under a Black Walnut Grove .................. 4 Ask the Experts ......................... 6 Gardeners’ Gathering ................ 7 Eastern Bluebird ........................ 8 Lakeside Serenity ...................... 9 All-America Selections ............... 10 Fertilizing Trees ......................... 1 2

about the cover ...

8

Jewels of the Plains Revived ........ 1 3 Winter Mower Maintenance ....... 1 4 Powell Garden Events ................ 1 5 JoCo Hort Classes ..................... 1 6 Upcoming Events ...................... 16 Garden Calendar ..................... 18 Subscribe ................................ 19 Professional’s Corner ................ 19

Penstemon Twizzle Purple is one of eight All-America Selections 2017 Flower Winners. See all the winners starting on page 10. Photo courtesy of all-americaselections.com.

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Gardening under a Black Walnut Grove

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early 18 years ago I planted two fringetrees (Chionanthus virginicus) in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO. I planted one 10 feet from the base of a mature black walnut tree (Juglans nigra), the other beneath a chinquapin oak. It has been interesting to watch them grow over time. The one beneath the oak is approaching 15 feet in height and spread whereas the one under the walnut is both five feet tall and wide. Both have attractive branch structure and flower well. The dwarfing effect comes from juglone, a chemical produced by walnut roots. I’ve seen the same effect of juglone on two other smallflowering trees, common witchazel

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February 2017 | kcgmag.com

(Hamamelus virginicus) and prairie crabapple (Malus ioensis). This dwarfing affect looks pleasing on single or multi-stemmed trees, but it can make certain shrubs look scrawny. They have fewer stems, are not filled out well and invite weeds. Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and swamp dogwood (Cornus amomum) are two shrubs that do poorly under walnuts for this reason. On the other hand, wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) and beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) are virtually immune to the black walnut potion. They are full and perform beautifully. Grasses and sedges also do well under the black walnut spell. Star sedge (Carex radiata), fox sedge (C. vulpinoidea), cedar sedge (C.

Photos by Scott Woodbury.

SCOTT WOODBURY says yes, it is possible to see success when gardening under Black Walnut trees.

Fringetree grows to 15 feet under an oak.

Under a walnut, Fringetree grows to 5 feet.

eburnea), and Pennsylvania sedge (C. pennsylvanica) all grow nicely in black walnut shade. So does American beakgrain (Diarrhena obovata; a suckering grassy groundcover), and river oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), a grass that seeds around aggressively. Giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) is in the grass family. Under walnuts it is easier to control and its growth rate is notably slower, a nice trait for a plant that is notoriously aggressive. Perennials growing under black walnuts are a mixed bag. Rose turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) does well but Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) doesn’t. Neither does American alumroot (Heuchera americana), but prairie alumroot (Heuchera richardsonii) and little-flower alumroot (H. puberula) grow perfectly well. Barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) grows densely and flowers well, but is a slow-grower no matter where it grows. Southern blueflag iris (Iris virginica) grows strong and flowers decently though it flowers better in full sun, while copper iris (Iris fulva) performs poorly altogether. I garden under a black walnut at home too. Beneath it is a patch of wild sweet William (Phlox divaricata), elephantsfoot (Elophantopus carolinianus) and blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna, an annual) that thrive and spread. Though I like the shade the tree provides, their nuts are a bit of a nuisance. When the wind picks up in early fall they come crashing down on the roof

like baseballs. THUD, THUD and THUD! On the ground they are trip hazards so need to be raked up. Fortunately we have a handy gizmo on a pole that rolls over the round fruits, gathering them up as you go. It makes the job easier. If you eat black walnuts the first step involves removing the outer hulls by placing them on a driveway. Drive over them with your car for a few days. The hulls come right off. Then let the inner nuts dry out for a month or two before cracking them open to pick out the nutmeat. My former colleague Ray Garlick showed me the ropes. I miss old Ray. He had a nut-cracking stump that had several indentations (that hold the nuts in place) from decades of whacking them gingerly with a hammer. He once told me that he watched a squirrel throwing walnuts in the air one after the other while listening to the sound they made when they hit the ground. A good thud meant a good nut and off he went stashing it away for winter. So don’t waste another moment reading this, get outside and experience what is happening in your own backyard or neighborhood! You can find suppliers of native plants at www. grownative.org. Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for 25 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.


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Ask the Experts Readers share their questions about landscape issues, and DENNIS PATTON gives expert tips and advice. BOXWOOD BLIGHT Question: Over the holidays I read about making boxwood wreaths. The article said you should not bring home purchased boxwood sprigs if you have boxwood planted in your yard. They said it could lead to boxwood blight. What is boxwood blight and should I be concerned? Answer: Boxwood blight is a nasty disease of this popular plant. It has been detected in the Kansas City area in a local nursery several years ago; the plants were recalled and destroyed. At this writing I know of no major outbreak of the blight in the Kansas City area landscapes. K-State wants me to continually check and send samples into the lab to confirm if it is present in the landscape. Prevention is the key to controlling this disease

No known outbreak of boxwood blight in Kansas City landscapes at this time.

The effect of acorns on soil pH occurs over a long period of time.

Fertilize azaleas when growth begins in spring or just after flowering.

which means the plants should be removed and destroyed. Checking several websites where blight is a major issue they do warn about purchased décor that contains boxwood. They indicated it could be a transmission source.

They recommend either not purchasing or keeping the items away from boxwood in the landscape. When discarding, double bag and never compost. Should you be concerned? Yes, there is a potential for this disease to become more widespread. If you do use just keep it away from the garden plants and tucked more safely in the home.

years there will be an effect, but how much? Remember, our soils tend to run on the high side so the lowering effect of the acorns may be beneficial. Keep in mind in most cases the pH can drop by a couple of points and still would be in an acceptable range for most plant growth. Let me bottom line this question. There are so many things in life more important to worry about. If you are really concerned then take a soil test (a reliable one) and you will know for sure.

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ACORNS AND SOIL PH Question: I had a lawn service tell me acorns from my pin oak change the pH of the soil under the tree. Is this true? Answer: Acorns tend to have an acidic pH. Yes they can lower the soil, but this is not a short term effect; it is a long, very long term effect. Even though I answered yes the real answer is not in your lifetime or probably the following generation. Maybe in 50 or 100

RHODODENDRON AND AZALEA FERTILIZER Question: Do I need a special fertilizer for my rhododendrons and azaleas? Should I apply it in February? Answer: If I am selling you fertilizer of course the answer is yes. But really all you need is a general

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Set broccoli plants in the garden mid to late March. plant food which can be used on just about every plant in the garden. Each established plant probably needs no more than a quarter cup or so. As for when, I would say either when growth begins in the spring or just after flowering. Keep this in mind. Fertilizer may not be needed if the plants are growing strong and healthy. Also fertilizer does not make an unhappy plant happy; it does not correct issues with location, drainage, or other factors. It can help healthy plants grow bigger and stronger; however, fertilizers can actually make a sick plant suffer more. Fertilizers are a tool for plant growth not a salvation. They do not perform magic! GROWING BROCCOLI FROM SEED Question: I’d like to try my hand at growing broccoli from seed. When should I start my seeds? Is sunlight from a south window sufficient to produce healthy plants? Answer: Growing broccoli can be fun and rewarding. Transplants can be started at home. They will require about six to eight weeks to develop into a nice size transplant for the garden. The ideal time to

set broccoli plants in the garden is mid to late March. Seeding should take place in early February for best results. Sufficient light, now that is the challenge. Rarely is a south window bright enough for a strong transplant. They tend to be taller, leggy and not as stout. Growing transplants under shop lights is the best method as they provide the intensity and duration needed for healthy plants. Transplants also NEW S240can SPORT be found on the market at that time if you don’t want to start the plants from seed. But give it a try and see what happens. NEW S240 SPORT

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Offers end February 28, 2017. Subject to approved installment credit with John Deere Financial, for consumer use only. 20% down payment required. Taxes, freight, setup and delivery charges could increase monthly payment. Other special rates and terms may be available, including financing for commercial use. Available at participating U.S. dealers.

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2 and implements sold separately. Available at participating dealers. 1 $95 payment based oncredit $8,139with MSRPJohn plus $550 freight charge with $1,738 downuse payment trade-in, months atrequired. 3.9 % APR.Taxes, freight, Offers end February 28, 2017. Subject tomonthly approved installment Deere Financial, for consumer only. or 20% down84payment 3 $115 are monthly paymentby based $9,999 MSRP plus $550 freight charge with $2,110 down payment purposes or trade-in, 84 months at 3.9 %operating APR. *The engine horsepower and charges torque information provided theonengine manufacturer be be used for comparison Actual horsepower setup and delivery could increase monthly payment. rates termsto available, including financing for only. commercial at horsepower *The engine horsepower andOther torquespecial information areand provided bymay the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes use. only. Available Actual operating and torque will be less. Refer to the engine manufacturer’s website for information. participating U.S. dealers. and torque will be less. Refer to theadditional manufacturer’s website for additional information. 2 $95 basedwhichever on $8,139 $550and freight charge with down payment ortrademarks trade-in, of 84Deere months at JOHN 3.9 % APR. **Term limited to monthly years orpayment hours used, comes varies byandmodel. See thetrade LIMITED WARRANTY FOR NEW DEERE TURF AND UTILITY JohnMSRP Deere,plus thefirst, leaping deer symbol, green$1,738 and yellow dress are & Company. 3 monthly payment based onand $9,999 MSRP plus $550 freight charge $2,110 down payment or trade-in, 84 months 3.9 % APR. A0D020DCU2A69451-00032348 EQUIPMENT at$115 JohnDeere.com/Warranty JohnDeere.ca/TUWarranty forwith details. John Deere’s green and yellow coloratscheme, the leaping deer symbol and § *The engine horsepower andManufacturer information are provided by theatengine manufacturer to be used foron comparison purposes Actual Prices operating Prices DEERE and models may vary byofdealer. suggested list price $2,499 on S240 Sport, $1,499 D105 and $2,499only. on Z235. arehorsepower suggested retail JOHN are trademarks Deere &torque Company. torque will to be change less. Referwithout to the manufacturer’s website for additional information. prices only andand are subject notice at any time. Dealer may sell for less. Shown with optional equipment not included in the price. Attachments John Deere, the leaping deer symbol, and green and yellow trade dress are trademarks of Deere & Company. and implements sold separately. Available at participating dealers. The Kansas City Gardener | February 2017 A0D020DCU2A69451-00032348 *The engine horsepower and torque information are provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. Actual operating horsepower A0D03KKCU2A62195and torque will be less. Refer to the engine manufacturer’s website for additional information. **Term limited to years or hours used, whichever comes first, and varies by model. See the LIMITED WARRANTY FOR NEW JOHN DEERE TURF AND UTILITY EQUIPMENT at JohnDeere.com/Warranty and JohnDeere.ca/TUWarranty for details. John Deere’s green and yellow color scheme, the leaping deer symbol and JOHN DEERE are trademarks of Deere & Company.


Bird of the Month: Eastern Bluebird Attention birders! THERESA HIREMATH reveals her plan to attract these happy birds and how you can too.

W

ho needs a little more happiness in their lives? Everybody, that’s who! No other bird brings me more happiness than the delightful Eastern Bluebird, and my mission this year is to attract them to my new home. Luckily, Bluebirds are quite happy to live near our homes, preferring open fields (lawns) surrounded by tree and shrub borders. The fields and lawns provide the insects that Bluebirds love to eat, and the trees and shrubs surrounding the lawn provide shelter and a perch from which they can hunt. To attract any bird, we need to provide food, water, shelter, and a place to raise their young. To attract Bluebirds, specifically, I’ll put up a Bluebird house by midFebruary for shelter and a place to raise their young. As soon as the

house is up, I’ll begin feeding live mealworms on a reliable schedule in a readily seen mealworm dish or tray feeder. Already in place are several birdbaths with heaters to ensure my birds always have water. Because Bluebirds are one of the earlier nesting species, February is a great time to install a Bluebird house so that it is available for spring inspection and habitation. To reduce competition from house wrens (who don’t like to travel over open spaces) Bluebird boxes should be placed 25 feet or more away from cover. Houses mounted at eye level, make it easy for you to monitor the nest. Snakes and raccoons are known predators of Bluebird nests, so be sure to baffle the house or install a snake guard. Bluebirds need elevated perches from which they hunt, frequently

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using the top of their house and surrounding trees as perches. When an insect is spotted, they drop to the ground to capture it with their bill. This sit-and-wait technique is called drop-hunting. A Bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at the remarkable distance of over 50 yards. During fall and winter, they perch in fruiting trees to eat berries. Bluebirds love mealworms, live or dried, and the ideal food to lure Bluebirds to your area. As the days grow longer in the spring, the male begins his mating song. Along with his song, the male attracts a mate by bringing nesting material in and out of the nesting hole, perching near the site, and fluttering his wings. Males may carry nest material to the nest, but they do not participate in the actual building. They spend much time guarding their mates during this time to protect the nest from other birds and to prevent the female from mating with other males. Bluebirds are generally monogamous, staying together throughout the breeding season, and they may breed together for more than one season. Both sexes defend territories, however, the males tend to defend territory edges while the females primarily defend the nest site. Only the female incubates the 4-6 eggs which she maintains at a temperature of 98-100°F. Nesting occurs from March through August, and Bluebirds may raise two and sometimes three broods per season. Pairs may build their

second nest on top of the first nest or they may nest in an entirely new site. To improve survival rates for the second or third brood, I’ll remove the nest from prior broods. If you leave the previously used nest, subsequent broods may fledge too soon due to excessive nest height. The male continues to take care of the recently fledged young while the female begins to re-nest. Young of the first brood will occasionally help raise their siblings in the second brood. Families flock together until fall. At that time they merge with other family flocks. Bluebirds rarely winter in areas where night-time temperatures routinely fall below 20°F. For those that do stay through winter, the Bluebird house will be used for roosting. To protect them through chilly winter nights, I will cover the vents to seal in warmth. Then remove the sealing material once it warms up in spring. Adult Bluebirds tend to return to the same breeding territory year after year, but only a small percentage of young birds return to where they were hatched. Bluebirds consume about four grams of food per day, or about 12 percent of their body weight. This is equivalent to a 200 pound human eating 24 pounds of food each day! In addition to mealworms, Bluebirds also love suet, sunflower hearts and finely ground sunflower, and fruit, which can be placed in a tray feeder or tube feeder with a tray attachment. The Eastern Bluebird’s willingness to use nesting boxes and their love of mealworms provide excellent opportunities for you to attract these lovely creatures to your area. If you’d like to try attracting them, or have any other questions, call or visit our store. Our backyard birdfeeding experts would love to help! Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.


Bird in the Hand February 11 ∙ Saturday ∙ 9–11 AM Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015 816-228-3766

Lakeside Serenity By Terry Blair Michel

I

magine a beautiful lakeside setting with an adjoining garden having a wide variety of landscape features including trees, shrubs and blooming plants along with perennials and handmade glass whimsies. This is one of several garden homes featured during the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Garden Tour, June 9 and 10, 2017.

The owners have kept in mind yearlong blooms and pollinators, as well as various shapes of trees, as they planted their garden. Their desire to also have “something green” all year shows in their fascination with different and distinctive evergreen varieties planted throughout the yard. Landscaped berms have been positioned in the back yard to accentuate the view of a beautiful fountain in the lake. A small greenhouse is tastefully tucked along side of the house for the owner’s pleasure. It has a watering system that has helped the owners to store tropical plants and start plants during the winter and early spring. Vegetables are kept in containers to keep the deer at bay in warmer seasons since they are prevalent in the area and love vegetation.

Despite the thick clay soil, the owners have put in a drainage system, and with the use of the various berms have been able to maintain a beautiful landscape. They have used wood mulch which helps the soil become enriched as it disintegrates. Many native perennials, which are hoped to be deer-proof are used in the berms as well. Some of these are black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, coreopsis, beard’s tongue, monarda, agastache, and yarrow for color. Some of the top plants the owners like are (Evergreens) Weeping Alaska Cedar, Arizona Cypress, Emerald Green Arborvitae, and Weeping Norway Spruce; (Evergreen Shrubs) Blue Star Juniper and Blue Girl Holly; (Shrubs) Anthony Waterer Spirea, Cotoneaster, Limelight Hydrangea, Peonies, Summer Wine Ninebark, and Mohawk Viburnum; (Trees) Fine Line Buckthorn and Dappled Blue Willow; and (Perennials) Midnight Blue Agapanthus, Russian Sage, and Lavender. Join us for the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Garden Tour, June 9 and 10, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For further information about the gardens on the tour, visit www.mggkc.org under the “Garden Tour” heading. Tickets will be available May 8 at various sites in the Kansas City area. A listing of these sites will be available on the website at that time. Master Gardeners is a program of the University of Missouri, an equal opportunity/ADA institution. Terry Blair Michel is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

No registration required (all ages) Missouri River Bird Observatory staff and Burr Oak Woods partner in an on-going project to identify and track the birds that come to our feeders each winter. From the resident chickadees and cardinals to the migrating juncos and sparrows, we capture, apply colored bands and release these fascinating creatures. Once banded and recorded, you will be able to track individual birds through this and future seasons. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

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Photos courtesy of All-America Selections. CELOSIA Asian Garden (above)

VERBENA Pink Bicolor (below)

PENSTEMON Twizzle Purple (below)

VERBENA Pink Bicolor (above)

VINCA Orchid Halo (below)

VINCA Pink Halo (above)

DIANTHUS Supra Pink (below)

GERANIUM closeup (above)

GERANIUM Calliope® Medium Dark Red (below)

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February 2017 | kcgmag.com


ZINNIA Profusion Red

A

All-America Selections 2017 Flower Winners

ll-America Selections, the only non-profit trialing organization for plants that demonstrate great garden performance throughout North America, presents 11 exciting new AAS Winners for the 2017 garden season. We’re featuring the flowers this month, the vegetables in the March issue. Each of the following varieties was trialed in North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges during one growing season. Each was trialed next to comparison varieties that are considered best-in-class among those currently on the market.

CELOSIA Asian Garden This spiked beauty claimed victory in North America’s trial sites to become the first ever AAS Winner from Japanese breeding company Murakami Seed. The judges gave this entry high marks in the greenhouse for the good branching, almost bushy growth habit and early to bloom flower spikes. In the garden, Asian Garden Celosia continued to bloom on sturdy stems, keeping the bright pink color all summer long, holding up even through some of the first frosts of the season. The AAS Judges commented on the fact that this celosia was a pollinator-magnet, making this AAS Winner a sure bet for pollinator-friendly gardens. ZINNIA Profusion Red This newest Profusion Zinnia winner is the fourth color in the single flower series to win the coveted AAS Winner award. The original Profusions were ground-breaking

plants because of their compact form, disease resistance, early and continuous blooms all season long and ease in growing. Judges raved about the vibrant, perfectly true red color of this zinnia which doesn’t fade in summer’s intense rays. As one judge stated, “We have waited for years for this true red color in zinnias!” Gardeners will find many uses for the true red zinnia that’s easy to grow and a favorite of pollinators.

VINCA Mega Bloom Pink Halo F1 Mega Bloom is an exciting new series of vinca bred to withstand heat and humidity without succumbing to disease. Pink Halo produces huge soft pink blossoms with a wide white eye. These flowers present a striking look in the garden, even from a distance. Plants maintain a nice, dense habit with flowers staying on top of the foliage for full flower power color. VINCA Mega Bloom Orchid Halo F1 Mega Bloom is an exciting new series of vinca bred to withstand heat and humidity without succumbing to disease. Orchid Halo produces huge bright rich purple blossoms with a wide white eye creating a striking look for the garden, even from a distance. Plants maintain a nice, dense habit with flowers staying on top of the foliage for full flower power color. VERBENA EnduraScape™ Pink Bicolor EnduraScape™ is described as “tough as nails” because it is the first verbena that can toler-

ate drought and heat plus survive cooler temperatures down to the low teens. This long-blooming pink bicolor verbena is spectacular in the landscape, edging a walk or border as well as in large containers and baskets. Vigorous plants are sturdy spreaders that pop with abundant soft pink blossoms that darken in intensity toward the center of the bloom. Pink Bicolor is the newest color in the series and the AAS Judges deemed it truly spectacular! PENSTEMON Twizzle Purple Vibrant purple blooms present a new and unique color in penstemon! Twizzle Purple was judged as a first-year flowering perennial by judges who were impressed with the upright plant habit and superb flowering performance. This North American native blooms profusely with 1-inch tubular flowers on long slender stalks that grow up to 35 inches high, making this beauty a magnet for pollinators from mid to late summer. Twizzle Purple can be used to add height to combination planters or in landscapes for highimpact color.

GERANIUM Calliope® Medium Dark Red With an outstanding deep red velvety flower color and great branching habit, Calliope® was unmatched in the AAS Trials when compared to other market varieties. Calliope® Medium Dark Red geranium is an interspecific hybrid with zonal-type flowers and leaves. This AAS Winner has a mounded, semi-spreading growth habit with strong stems supporting the flower

heads that are loaded with deep red blossoms. These plants work great in containers, combination plantings, hanging baskets as well as in an in-ground landscape. Gardeners will enjoy exceptional landscape performance in normal conditions as well as in more challenging high heat and drought conditions. DIANTHUS Interspecific Supra Pink F1 Supra Pink joins its sister, 2006 AAS Winner Supra Purple, to give us two fantastic colors in an easyto-grow interspecific dianthus for three-season (spring, summer, fall) garden color. This compact, bushy plant blooms prolifically with novel mottled pink flowers sporting frilly petal edges that hold up even in summer heat and drought. No deadheading needed on this winner. One judge attempted to deadhead this entry but it rebloomed too fast to do so! Supra Pink grows to just under a foot in height but is a vigorous grower and will deliver fancy, clear pink flowers for a long time as observed over and over by the AAS Judges. Supra Pink was tested as an annual and won the award based on firstyear performance, but similar to other dianthus, it may overwinter in some regions. Keep in mind that these award winning plants might not be readily available at your local garden center this season. So secure this page and add these newbies to your wish list of plants. For more information on these and other All-America Selections winners, past and present, visit www.all-americaselections.org.

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2017

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Tips on Fertilizing Landscape Trees Soil tests, and evaluating tree vigor are elements that LALA KUMAR considers when fertilizing trees.

I

deally, soil test results should be used to determine if a tree will need a dose of fertilizer. In the absence of soil test results you may observe other signs of low nutrition such as poor tree growth, pale green or yellow leaves, mottled patterns between the veins, stunted leaves or early loss of leaves. Tree vigor also can be determined by checking the growth of several twigs during the past three or four years. Twig/shoot growth on most young trees should be nine to 12 inches or more per year. Large, mature tree twigs may grow only four to six inches per year. Since trees have their greatest need for nutrients in the spring, deciduous trees such as maples and oaks should be fertilized anytime between leaf drop in fall and leafing out in spring, except when soils

are frozen. Evergreen trees, however, such as pines and junipers should be fertilized in the spring. In either case, fertilizer application is not recommended after July. Beyond that time, new growth stimulated by the fertilizer may not have sufficient time to harden off before winter. Newly planted trees should be fertilized only lightly until they have become well established. This usually is not until after their first growing season. Young rapidly growing trees should be fertilized annually to promote rapid establishment. Mature trees may need fertilization every two or three years to maintain good foliage color and hardiness. Tree growth is limited more often by a deficiency of nitrogen than by a lack of any other element.

Deciduous trees such as maples and oaks should be fertilized anytime between leaf drop in fall and leafing out in spring, except when soils are frozen. The standard recommendation is two to four pounds of nitrogen (N) per 1000 square feet per year. For an example, which is equivalent to six to 12 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer Ammonium Nitrate (33-0-0) per 1000 square feet per year. Fertilizer should be spread throughout the area occupied by root system (root zone), which extends four to six feet beyond the branch spread of the tree. The fertilizer can be applied on the soil surface. This method is more efficient for nitrogen fertilizers. If there is a need for phosphorus or

potassium it can be applied below the soil surface via augured holes six to 12 inches deep and spread about two feet apart in concentric circles around the tree trunk. Lala Kumar is the Regional Horticulture Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, Jackson County. For more information, read this MU publication: http:// extension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/ agguides/hort/g06865.pdf or contact kumarl@missouri.edu or call Master Gardener Hotline at 816554-TREE.

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February 2017 | kcgmag.com

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Gardeners Connect presents

‘Jewels of the Plains’ Revived

C

ome learn about native plants of the Great Plains and listen to the story of a South Dakota cattle rancher who attained international acclaim as an eminent plantsman of the plains during a free program at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. Jim Locklear, conservation director of Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center, will present a program titled “Jewels of the Plains Revived.” The program is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in the auditorium of the Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. The free program, open to everyone, is presented by Gardeners Connect. Coffee and refreshments are planned to be presented before the program at 10 a.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room down the west hall from the lobby and auditorium entrance. “Jewels of the Plains” is the title of a book written by Claude A. Barr that was published posthumously. Locklear has updated the plant names for the classic book. Long out of print, the book is now available again and is a great reference for native plants of the plains.

This talk includes information about native plants but also much more, says Jan Riggenbach, a garden journalist who has presented programs for Gardeners Connect herself. “Jim’s program was both informative and entertaining. It would appeal to anyone who likes native plants and to those interested in unusual rock garden plants, as well as to those who just like to be entertained. I was inspired by hearing more about Claude Barr’s unusual life and his success under very difficult circumstances,” Jan says. “Jim is an excellent speaker.” Through his Prairie Gem Ranch, Barr supplied Great Plains seeds, plants, and information to the scientific and gardening world for many years. His achievements inspired formation of the Great Plains Native Plant Society in 1984. Locklear has been director of conservation at Lauritzen Gardens since 2010. He has conducted conservation assessments of imperiled plants in the Great Plains for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Colorado Natural Areas Program,

and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Among Locklear’s published works is the 2011 Timber Press book “Phlox: A Natural History and Gardeners Guide.” Locklear is the former director of the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, a 13-acre botanical garden at Hesston College in Hesston, Kan., and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Lincoln.

The mission of Gardeners Connect, founded in 1958 and based at Loose Park, is to “educate and inspire members of the community to become more complete gardeners.” More information on its events can be found at www. GardenersConnect.org.

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The Kansas City Gardener | February 2017

13


Winter Mower Maintenance To keep a mower in good shape, a little maintenance goes a long way. THERESA PLATT gives us a to-do list.

W

hen the mowing season ended a few months back, did you take care of your mower before putting it away for the season? If not, there’s plenty of winter left to get that job done. Here are a few tips to assist this important task: 1. Clean your mower – Brush or hose off grass and debris from your mower. Clean the underbody by gently tipping mower on its side, air filter side up and spraying it with a garden hose, or if your

mower is equipped with a wash-out port on the deck, simply screw your garden hose into the wash-out port, turn your mower on and engage the blades. 2. Use a fuel stabilizer – We recommend you fill your tank up with fresh, non-ethanol gas and add a good fuel stabilizer such as Startron, Briggs & Stratton fuel treatment or Stabil 360. Stabilizer will keep fuel fresh up to six months. Run your mower or small equipment for five minutes or so to

allow the gas and stabilizer to circulate into carburetor. Turn off the engine and fill the tank completely full. A full tank will help prevent moisture from condensing in the tank which can form rust or debris that could break away and clog the carburetor. 3. Rider batteries – It is a good idea to remove the battery and store in a cool, dry place, but not necessary. However, if you choose to leave the battery in your rider, go out and start it once a

month or so to keep the battery charged. 4. Store your equipment in the shed or garage, away from the furnace, a water heater or appliance with a pilot light. Theresa and Jim Platt own and operate Northland Feed of Kansas City, Mo., where their team of professionals can answer questions about mower service and repair. You may reach them at 816-4528393.

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Kiss Your Winter Blues Goodbye with events at Powell Gardens

Spring Splendor Exhibit through Feb. 26, open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Horticulturist Brent Tucker is designing a lovely escape from winter! Step inside the conservatory and surround yourself in a spring garden filled with colorful gerbera daisies, kalanchoe, ‘Senetti’ pericallis, stock, snapdragons, primula and lobelia. Kiss your winter blues goodbye! Enjoy this colorful display through the month of February. Forever Evergreens Feb. 11, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Discover and learn about the conifers that thrive in Greater Kansas City gardens so you can enrich your own home landscape with beauty for all seasons. This 3-part program begins with Conifers I, where you’ll learn about some common easy-care varieties. Conifers II will focus on intermediate varieties and Conifers III will include a tour of our American Conifer Society Reference Garden. Alan Branhagen will bring in his private collection of conifers for study. Registration required. Register for one, two or all three conifer sessions. Single session: $13/member, $15/nonmember, 2 sessions: $24/$28. 3 sessions: $37/$43. Call 816-697-2600 x306 or visit powellgardens.org/adultclasses to learn more and register. Prudent Pruning: Fruit Trees Feb. 11, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Spend a morning in the Heartland Harvest Garden learning the basics of pruning to improve

fruit production! You’ll have the opportunity to learn firsthand from our gardeners all the best techniques for pruning peaches, apples, grapes, blackberries and blueberries. Bring your gloves. Registration required. Single pruning class: $39/member, $45/nonmember. Both pruning classes: $70/$85. Optional lunch: $10. Our gardener-recommended pruners and folding saw may also be purchased for an extra fee. Call 816-697-2600 x306 or visit powellgardens.org/adultclasses to learn more and register. Prudent Pruning: Ornamental Trees Feb. 11, 1-4 p.m. Are you unsure of the proper way to prune your small trees and shrubs? Gain confidence through this class! You’ll get a broad base of knowledge as you learn the best times to prune, horticulturally sound techniques, basic tool care, and plenty of hands-on experience. Parts of this class are outdoors, please dress appropriately and bring gloves. Registration required. Single pruning class: $39/member, $45/nonmember. Both pruning classes: $70/$85. Optional lunch: $10. Call 816-697-2600 x306 or visit powellgardens.org/adultclasses to learn more and register. Vintage Valentine Affair Feb. 11, 5-7 p.m. Spend a sweet evening with your valentine in our beautiful Grand Hall! Throughout the night you’ll enjoy 5 exquisite wines paired with imaginative chocolateinfused light bites, and a fun explo-

2017 Annual Spring Gardening Seminar March 11, 2017 Rockhurst University, KCMO

An all day event offering a variety of presentations from backyard birding to everything you wanted to know about mulch. $49.00 including lunch Visit www.mggkc.org/spring-seminar for detailed information on each of the 13 presentations plus enrollment instructions. Keynote Speaker - Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture Powell Gardens will discuss his new book “Native Plants of the Midwest” and offer ideas on how to enrich your landscape with native plants.

ration of the intertwined nature of romance and gardens. Your hosts for the evening will be sommelier Hillary McCoy and our own Barb the Gardener and educator Caitlin Bailey. Each attendee will receive a keepsake love potion handcrafted by Barb, made with enticing ingredients from the Heartland Harvest Garden.
Call 816-697-2600 x306 or visit powellgardens.org/vintagevalentine to learn more and register. Great Backyard Bird Count and Hike Feb. 19, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 1-4 p.m. Join Alan Branhagen and take part in this important annual national survey of birds. The morning session takes place indoors and will focus on the many birds that visit the feeders around the Visitor Center. In the afternoon, Alan will lead hike on the Byron Shutz Nature Trail in search of more elusive species. The fee includes

one or both sessions. $13/member, $15/nonmember. Call 816-6972600 x306 or visit powellgardens. org/walkwithnature to learn more and register. Honeybee Keeping 101: Traditional and Organic Approaches Feb. 25, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Hobbyist beekeepers come from every imaginable background and occupation – so why can’t you “bee” one, too? In this class you’ll learn important beekeeping basics including both traditional and organic methods, equipment basics, where to get your bees, how to manage and care for them, and of course – how to harvest the honey. Class fee includes lunch. Save the dates for Part 2 and Part 3, respectively: June 17th and September 16th. $62/member, $70/nonmember. Call 816-697-2600 x306 or visit powellgardens.org/adultclasses to learn more and register.

Use Our Natural Products All Year For Containers, Gardens, Turf Shrubs, Trees, And Ponds

EARTH RIGHT SUPER STUFF is the perfect product to apply in spring, especially before a rain. Prepare the soil now for a better lawn and great gardens. Planting with THE MUSHROOM STUFF will quick start your spring gardens, shrubs & trees. Use in containers too! Our SURE BLOOM NATURAL & SURE BLOOM 6-7-6 contain vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes & organic acids not found in commercial fertilizers. Experience great results in containers & gardens, around trees & shrubs & on the lawn. NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT KEEP YOUR GARDENS, LAWNS & PONDS HAPPY & HEALTHY

POND STUFF Pond Clarifier should be used as soon as it warms up to help prevent algae & keep your ponds clear. Use in ponds 3 ft deep for best results or use with a colorant. Maintains a clear water supply and safe for all wildlife! 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 2017

15


Johnson County Extension Horticulture Classes All classes are held at Johnson County K-State Research and Extension, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe, 66061. Fee: $10. Register at www.johnson.k-state.edu or call 913-715-7000. Growing Beautiful Hydrangeas • Feb. 16 • 7 p.m.

Learn the different varieties and tips for growing gorgeous hydrangeas.

Ten Ways to Kill Your Plants • March 1 • 7 p.m.

Plants don’t want to die. Despite our best intentions, gardeners lapse into bad habits and poor practices that put our beloved plants at risk and waste money. Topics range from sick soil, to zone envy to too much love. This presentation is an interactive discussion.

The Ins and Outs of Lawn Fertilization
• March 14
• 7 p.m.

Ever gone to the garden center and been overwhelmed by the choices of fertilizers? Starters, winterizers, preventers, step 1, 2, 3….. it all can be overwhelming. This session will take the mystery out of understanding these products and which ones you really need for a healthy and happy lawn. It really is very simple once you know the lingo.

English Gardens at Home in the Prairie • March 28
• 7 p.m.

We have drooled over the gorgeous photos of waves of color in an English garden. Recreating that look is not always simple especially under our mid-western growing conditions. Learn the process that incorporates the English principles and applies them to our prairie conditions helping us create that much sought-after effect.

CREATING THE CITY OF FOUNTAINS SINCE 1927

places to go, things to do, people to see Club Meetings African Violet Club of GKC Tues, Feb 14, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonner Springs Garden Club Tues, Feb 21, 1pm; at United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, 425 W Morse Ave, Bonner Springs, KS. Donna Schneck will demonstrate the art of Flower Pressing. All are welcome. For more info, contact Nancy Horn at 913-441-8078. Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Feb 11, 10am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Garden Club of Shawnee Thurs, Feb 2, 7pm; Old Shawnee Town Hall, 11600 Johnson Dr, Shawnee, KS. It’s not too early to start thinking about the foundations of your landscape...trees, bushes, and lawns. An expert from Ryan Lawn and Tree will talk to us about keeping these valuable components of our yards healthy and happy. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be served, door prizes given. This will be an exciting spring for the club as we are bringing back our garden tour. If you are interested in helping, please attend our meeting. GKC Herb Study Group Wed, Feb 8, noon; at Rose Room, Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Please note that if KC School Dist closes due to weather, our meeting will be cancelled as well. Annual Valentine Tea and Potluck Luncheon. This is our special event of the year as we enjoy herbal teas, tea party foods and especially valentine desserts. Remember to bring a fun food item and your favorite tea cup to drink from. Program: Herb of the Year presented by Elizabeth Cutting. The International Herb Society has selected Coriandrum sativum as the 2017 Herb of the Year. Cilantro is the plant and coriander is the seed. We always look forward to learning the history, how to grow, and how to use the highlighted herb. Friends and visitors are welcome. Questions: 816-478-1640, Nancy. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 25; at **NEW LOCATION*** First Lutheran Church, 6400 State Line Rd, Mission Hills, KS 66208. Check-in and Hospitality at 9:30, Meeting 10am. Speaker Mary Ann Metz is an enthusiastic landscaper and shade gardener who will present “Landscape Design with Shade Plants”. After lunch Janmarie Hornack, Earth Right LLC, will present a talk on the natural solutions to plant health. The Club will provide barbecue for a potluck at noon, you may bring your favorite dish to share. Come for great food, door prizes, great raffle options. Everyone is welcome! For info call, Gwen Wheeler 816-213-0598.

Bronze • Sundials • Bird Baths Concrete Urns • Home Decor Gazing Balls • Statuary • Fountains Cast Aluminum • Furniture

KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Feb 19, 1:30-4pm; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For information on Garden Center events, call 816-513-8590.

Celebrating our 90th year in business

Leavenworth County Master Gardeners Wed, Feb 8, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Barbara Hiemstra, local Leavenworth County beekeeper, will be speaking on starting and maintaining her bee hives, sharing her experiences and providing resources on keeping bee hives. Meeting is free, visitors welcome. More information, Paula Darling at 913-651-2445.

816-523-1760 74th & Prospect, Kansas City, MO

www.vanliews.com 16

Upcoming Garden Events

February 2017 | kcgmag.com

Leawood Garden Club Tues, Feb 28, 10:30am; at Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS. At

about noon, Dennis Patton, Horticulture Agent, Johnson County Extension Office, will present “Must Have Plants for the Garden.” The meeting and membership is open to everyone and guests are welcome. A potluck luncheon will be served. For more information, please visit our website www.leawood.org/leawoodgardenclub or send an email to leawoodgardenclub@gmail.com. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Feb 21, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 S W Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081. Special note: due to Valentine’s Day, our Tuesday meeting is one week later than usual. Our program speaker will be Ami Zumalt, her topic will be “Garden Art”. Refreshments provided and visitors are always welcome. Visit www.leessummitgardenclub.org or call 816-540-4036 for information. MoKan Daylily Society Sun, Feb 5, 11:30am-2:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, KC, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Feb 13, 7pm social, 7:30pm meeting; at Colonial Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS, lower level. Potluck, Conversation and Favorite Tools. We are hosting a potluck dinner and will be discussing upcoming local garden events, our favorite tools and dreams of Spring. Come and join us for an evening of warm fellowship. For any questions please call Karen Clark, 913-224-7279. Water Garden Society of GKC Tues, Feb 21; 5:15pm for snacks and socializing; meeting at 6:15; at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 2552 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108. Free parking behind the building. Man-made ponds and water features are artificial environments that need a healthy balance of plant life and fish to be successful. If you are considering adding a water feature, this meeting is for you. There will be handouts, and plan to take notes. Karen Fiske, our featured speaker, has 24 years of knowledge and expertise in the selection of appropriate plants for a healthy and successful pond environment. She is a popular speaker at area garden clubs and assisted in the research and development of programs used in the outdoor classrooms that the Water Garden Society has constructed for schools across the metropolitan area. See you there!

Events, Lectures & Classes February and March Organic vs Locally Grown Food: Which is Better for You? Thurs, Feb 2, 11:30am-1pm; at Sunflower Room, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners, Elisabeth Kasckow presents the program. Ms Kasckow is an Associate Professor of Biology at Kansas City Kansas Community College. She teaches Environmental Science. Prior to moving to Kansas, Elisabeth and her husband owned a fish farm in southeastern California where they grew catfish, bass and tilapia. Elisabeth dabbles at gardening and raises bees to help with pollination at her local community garden. Fee: $5.00 payable at the door. Registration not required. More information: 913-299-9300. Cut Flowers for Your Home Tues, Feb 7, 6-7pm; at Lansing Community Library, 703 1st Terr, Ste 1, Lansing, KS 66043. Sponsored by Leavenworth Co Master Gardener Library Series. Joy Kromer, Leavenworth Co MG, will discuss which cutting flowers grow well for this climate, when and where to plant,


how to care for them after cutting. Free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-651-2445. Making Boxwood Wreath Wed, Feb 8, 7-8pm; at Basehor Community Library, 1400 158th St, Basehor, KS 66007. Sponsored by Leavenworth Co Master Gardener Library Series. Mikey Stafford, Leavenworth Co MG presents how to make your own boxwood wreath. Free and open to the public. For more information, Paula Darling at 913-651-2445. African Violet Annual Sale Sat, Feb 11, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City. This is our annual sale of African violets and other gesneriads. For more information: kskd1@juno.com Wildflowers of the Flint Hills Wed, Feb 15, 1pm; at Overland Park Arboretum, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS. Ken O’Dell, Kansas City Regional Leader of The Kansas Native Plant Society, will give a one-hour presentation on Wildflowers of the Flint Hills. If you are not familiar with the Flint Hills, it is an area of transition where about 25% of the native species that occur in Kansas reach their eastern or western limits. The Flint Hills of Kansas stretch from near the Nebraska border on the north to Oklahoma in the south. There are no defined borders, but this area is about 40 to 70 miles wide and 200 miles long. The Flint Hills gets it name from the cherty rocks which makes it difficult to properly break up the soil with plows. As a result, it has remained cattle country because of the grasses among the 1,000 species of vascular plants now listed in the hills. We will have seating for 50 people. Reservations are not needed or taken. Come early to get a chair. If you are not a member or volunteer of the OP Arboretum there is a $3.00 admission fee. More information is at www.kansasnativeplantsociety.org. Click on the events calendar to contact Ken O’Dell. Companion Planting with Bulbs Thurs, Feb 16, 7-8pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Sponsored by Leavenworth Co Master Gardener Library Series. Mikey Stafford and Pat Matthews, Leavenworth Co MG will present companion planting with bulbs. Free and open to the public. For information, Paula Darling at 913-651-2445. Growing Beautiful Hydrangeas Thurs, Feb 16, 7pm; at Johnson County K-State Research and Extension, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, 66061. Learn the different varieties and tips for growing gorgeous hydrangeas. $10. Register at www.johnson.k-state.edu or call 913715-7000. Selecting, Planting Fruit Trees & Berry Bushes Fri, Feb 17, 12pm; at 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO 64132. If you want to add fruit to your garden or learn more about the best fruit varieties for our area, this workshop is for you! We will discuss the fruit plant varieties offered by Kansas City Community Gardens as well as the basic fruit planting techniques. Free. Call 816-931-3877 to register. Beekeeping Workshop Sat, Feb 25, at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015. The Midwestern Beekeepers Association will present their 22nd Annual Beginning Beekeeping Workshop. The workshop registration fee is $35 and includes the workshop, presentation notes and First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith Delaplane. Registration will begin at 8am and the workshop will be from 9am to 5pm with a break for lunch. Beekeeping Suppliers will be on site to order bees and supplies. The class size is limited to 60. To register, please visit Midwestern Beekeepers Association website at www.midwesternbeekeepers.org to download a registration form. For information, please call Bob Williams at 816-331-6634.

Vegetable Garden Basics Mon, Feb 27, 6pm; at 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO 64132. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including; site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting techniques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. Offered by Kansas City Community Gardens. Free. Call 816-931-3877 to register. Container Gardening Tips and Tricks Wed, Mar 8, 2-3pm; at Blue Valley Recreation Center, 7720 W 143rd St, Overland Park, KS. As the weather warms up are you tempted to purchase the first colorful plants that hit the market? Johnson County Master Gardener, Mae Christenson, shares her love of container gardening with you. She’ll discuss plant selection, best potting mixes, designing containers using color and texture plus finding the right pot. She’ll also talk about creating simple fairy gardens. Informative gardening handouts will help you as you start thinking about adding these instant gardens to your existing landscape. Free. Must pre-register by calling Blue Valley Recreation: 913-685-6000. Using Native Host Plants in the Ornamental Garden Sat, Mar 11, 5:30pm Pot-luck Dinner and 6:45pm Presentation; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd 66208. Free to the public. Sponsored by Idalia Butterfly Society, Lenora Larson will present Taming the Beasts: Using Native Host Plants in the Ornamental Garden. Most caterpillar food plants and many pollinator blooms are natives that may challenge a fastidious gardener. Fear of a weedy mess and/ or the reaction of their Homeowners’ Association often prevents gardeners from planting for butterflies and bees. However, my garden contains the host plants for over 50 species of butterflies and there are no “weeds”. Using butterfly host plants as examples, this presentation will discuss the elements of garden design and provide multiple specific tactics to civilize any overly enthusiastic plants. 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. Annual Spring Gardening Seminar Sat, Mar 11; at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO. An all-day event offering a variety of presentations from backyard birding to everything you wanted to know about mulch. $49.00 including lunch. Visit www.mggkc.org/springseminar for detailed information on each of the 13 presentations plus enrollment instructions. Keynote Speaker, Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture Powell Gardens will discuss his new book “Native Plants of the Midwest” and offer ideas on how to enrich your landscape with native plants. Beekeeping I Wed, Mar 15 & 22, 6:30-8:30pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. This is an introductory course into beekeeping. We will review the importance of honey bees in our everyday life. Participants will learn about the life cycle of the honey bee, their history, and become familiar with today’s beekeeping techniques. Fee: $49. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-469-2323 and provide CRN 50597. Beekeeping II Wed, Mar 29 & Apr 5, 6:30-8:30pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. This course offers an in depth review of current beekeeping practices. You will study beekeeping in the classroom and explore a beehive in the field. The course will give you hands-on-experience working a beehive. Fee: $49. To enroll or for more information, call 913-469-2323 and provide CRN 50599.

Promote garden club and society meetings, classes, and seminars! Send all the details via e-mail to: elizabeth@kcgmag.com Deadline for March issue is February 5.

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February

garden calendar

n LAWN

• Rake fallen leaves 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 mail. • Obtain a soil test and make needed improvements.

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.

n VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

• Make garden layouts to assist with planning process. • Order seeds. • Soil 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 INDOOR PLANTS

• 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 one-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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Professional’s Corner

Jeremy Christiansen

What I do in a nutshell: As Plant Health Care Dept. Manager, my responsibilities lie in helping the company grow by hiring people with the right talents and enthusiasm for success on the job. Also, I train and coach team members in developing skills such as customer

of Ryan Lawn and Tree

service, proper spray technique, disease and insect diagnoses, and sales strategies. Education and experience: I graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Forestry, and since have gained 15 years of experience in the industry. What’s the favorite part of your job: Training and leading team members. Best advice for homeowners: Invest in your landscape and you will see huge returns. Adding mulch rings, injecting that Ash tree in the front, planting the hedge row of Arborvitae, and pruning the limbs that are touching the house are all examples of putting money back into our landscape. Whether it is saving on watering costs, heating and cooling bills, or just preventing damage, they all add up. Common planting mistakes: Too often we see trees and shrubs that have been planted too deep. There is a proper technique for planting trees and shrubs which creates the best conditions for healthy, prolific plants. Favorite tree: This is easy. It’s the magnificent Bur Oak. I grew up in Iowa where the expansive landscape is uninterrupted so to fully appreciate this mighty tree. I remember being

awestruck when seeing a Bur Oak standing alone in the middle of a pasture or crop field. It’s such a symbol of strength! Favorite garden destination: To be honest, my garden is my favorite. I love seeing and eating the fruits of my labor! What every gardener should know: It’s important to know what species of trees and shrubs do well where and why ... for success, always research before you buy. In order to have a landscape to be proud of, we must plant the right plant in the right place. Other interests: I’m a huge sports fan: college football, Iowa State basketball, the Kansas City Royals, and of course the Chiefs! Hunting and fishing are activities that keep me outdoors in every season. This is a great pastime to share with my dad and brother, as well as my children. Little known secret: Competition between trees and turf is a huge issue, and mulching is key! Contact information: Ryan Lawn and Tree, 9120 Barton, Overland Park, KS 66214; phone 913-381-1505; website www.ryanlawn. com

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2017

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