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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

February 2018

Garden Winners 2018 All-America Selections Part II

Ask the Experts Expand your Gardening Knowledge Annuals add Color to Native Garden Meet Master Gardener Gwynn Pierce

Attention Homeowners! If you’re thinking of adding a water garden this year, here’s why you should call Swan’s Water Gardens.

Today’s Marketplace We realize that you are bombarded with many companies competing for your business. Everyone claiming to be the best or having the best products with the lowest price.

In search of the ultimate Water Garden

The “Water Garden Village”

After 23 years of researching and installing water gardens, we have refined our building techniques to a level that produces the most naturalistic and easiest maintenance water garden you can have built today.

Located on 8 acres dedicated to building and maintaining water gardens. Make a day of strolling through water gardens and quaint shops of our Water Garden Village.

With so many companies just wanting to sell you their products for a price, then leave you We call it the “Four Season Water Garden” alone to deal with the many costly mistakes that for good reason. It’s the water garden for all first-time pond builders and landscapers make. seasons. From the beautiful flowers of summer, to the magical ice sculptures of winter. We don’t think that’s right! The best part of the “Four Seasons Water Garden” is its guaranteed from leaking for When you entrust Swan’s Water Gardens with your business, you get more than just the 5 full years! The longest guarantee in the materials to build your pond. industry.

You’ll be able to see container water features you can build for as little as $295, ideal for small patios or courtyards.

You get over 23 years of pond building experience and knowledge to go with your purchase. We are going to be here to assist you with the step-by-step pond building process from start to finish, or we can build it for you. Your end result, a Water Garden Paradise.

Why do we stand behind our work for so long? Very simple, when you hire Swan’s Water Gardens to build your water garden, it’s the beginning of our relationship, not the end! So if you’re looking for a company you’ll never hear from again, we’re probably not the company you’re looking for.

We also have many more display gardens ranging in price from $2,500 up to $40,000 for a more elaborate feature built by Swan’s Water Gardens. We have many exciting events and classes scheduled for 2018 so be sure to watch for them in upcoming issues of The Kansas City Gardener. We are Kansas City’s only full service water garden company that carries everything you’ll need to complete and enjoy your water garden lifestyle.

We’re Living and Loving The Water Garden Lifestyle! “Creating Paradise ... in Your Backyard”


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FAT BIRDS are warm birds KEEP ‘EM HAPPY ALL WINTER LONG WITH HELP FROM WESTLAKE ACE HARDWARE! Some flew south, while others took perch. For the ones that hunkered down, give ‘em the nutrients they need to brave cold temps. Swing by Westlake Ace Hardware for a variety of seeds & feeders so you can be generous. After all, they chose your yard over Disney World.

FILL THEIR Feeders BIRDS BRAVE WINTER WITH FOOD, SO KEEP FEEDERS CHOCK-FULL OF DELICIOUS SEED. plants provide nesting sites Tip: native & natural food & shelter for inclement

weather, so place feeders about 10-ft. away

GIVE ‘EM Shelter





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The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

The Beauty of Winter

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Nik and Theresa Hiremath Marion Morris Dennis Patton Ed Reese Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

See us on the Web:

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

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” ~ Paul Theroux


orrespondence is such a gift. Whether comments, corrections, critiques or suggestions, I always appreciate hearing from our readers. Recently I received a business-related email, that included a few personal sentences about winter. “One of the things I love about winter is how everything in the garden looks positively dead. Then suddenly, daffodils peek up out of the frozen, barren ground. Before you know it, the “dead” starts to show signs of life–the clematis buds begin to elongate, the creeping phlox greens up. The cardinals start to sing (I always mark it on my calendar–the first cardinal song of the year). Then everything explodes into spring. It’s such a miracle, I think.” So inspired by her words, I was compelled to explore my own perspective on winter. A car ride to Burlington, Kan., to see our oldest granddaughter sing with other district honor choir students, provided ample time to ponder. Taking time to visually absorb and contemplate the winter scen-

February 2018 |

These are the days of muchdeserved rest for the landscape from which we expect so much. I have a renewed appreciation for the subdued nature of winter. I could easily learn a lesson or two from the pages of this orchestra songbook. With the weeks of winter that remain, I’ll focus on lento, a slower tempo, as we approach warmer days. Soon enough I’ll have more to accomplish than hours in the day. Lastly, I must conclude with this CORRECTION. In the January 2018 issue, we (not the author of the article) made an error. The photo on page 12 was incorrectly identified as a purple finch. The bird is actually a house finch. During my slower tempo, I’ll finetune my songbird identification skills. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue February 2018 • Vol. 23 No. 2 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Expand Gardening Knowledge .. 7 Nesting Neighbors ................... 8 Plant Profile .............................. 9 Garden Winners Pt II ................ 10 Garden By Design Symposium ... 12 Gardeners Connect Programs .... 12

about the cover ...

Exciting New Plants ................. 13 Annuals add Color .................. 14 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Meet an MG .......................... 19 Subscribe ............................... 19 Bird Facts ............................... 19

Garden winners like Tomato Chef’s Choice Red is just one in the group of 2018 All-America Selections Winners. Learn about others beginning on page 10. Photo courtesy of All-America Selections.


ery, I remembered “how everything in the garden looks positively dead.” It rang a positive tone with me. Even when smoky gray tree tops are positioned against clearing skies, the view is tranquil. Underneath the peaceful cloak of winter rests grasses and wildflowers glad for abundant calm before the blooming riot of spring and summer. Barren roadside trees and shrubs express winter’s somber mood. What remains hidden is the protection offered for birds and other wildlife against harsh elements of the season. In contrast, the hawks’ command improves, high atop leafless perches, as detecting prey is a snap. Soon, like an orchestra tuning for a performance, the harbingers of spring will appear. Hints of green will become visible, as the ice melts away, and jonquils arise like dollups of sunshine.



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The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


Ask the Experts Gardeners have plenty of questions about landscape issues, DENNIS PATTON answers a few of them here. ANTI-DESICCANT HELP OR HINDER Question: Last November, I sprayed anti-desiccant on all of my boxwoods. I just read the label and it said not to spray on slow growing dwarf plants. Oops! I sprayed my Dwarf English Boxwood. Is this going to be a problem? Answer: That is a really good question and my best answer is only time will tell. I guess the real question is what is the definition of a slow growing dwarf plant? Dwarf in the plant world just means that it is smaller than others in its species. For example, with burning bush, the original can reach 10 to 15 feet tall. The dwarf burning bush is only 8 to 10 feet. So is that dwarf? What I am saying is this in the plant world just means smaller. Boxwood in my mind is not a dwarf plant nor slow growing. The

Dwarf English Boxwood

Pruning Pin Oak

worst that can happen is the foliage will be burned by the film left by the product. One last thought, the research does not always indicate that these

products help. They may slow the drying effects of winter winds, but have little advantage from extreme cold or helping to overcome droughty soil conditions. Keep me posted in spring when growth begins. Then you’ll know for sure.

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February 2018 |

WATER IN THE WINTER Question: I know gardeners are supposed to water young and newly planted trees and shrubs in the winter. But what about perennials like hosta? Answer: All plant types will survive the winter conditions with adequate soil moisture. So yes all perennials and even the lawn will be better able to withstand whatever winter conditions we have with good soil moisture. I think we tend to put more emphasis on the trees and shrubs because of the investment. Perennials are less expensive to purchase and replace. Remember, water goes a lot further in the winter than in the heat of summer. A deep soaking every month or so should be enough to ensure winter survival. A word of caution: Don’t overly wet the soil as root rot is common in cold wet winter soils. TREE TRIMMING IN FEBRUARY Question: I think I read some place where you said that because of climate change our springs are arriving earlier and cold weather

is arriving later (or something like that). So should I contract to have my trees trimmed in early February instead of late February, as normal? Answer: The climate has changed over as evidenced by us moving from zone 5 to 6 on the hardiness map, and the lengthening of the growing season. From what I have been able to find, we have added about ten days to our growing season. That means the last frost in the spring is earlier and the first frost is arriving later. We have also noticed plants that once froze out are surviving the winters. Plants are leafing out earlier and the trees are dropping leaves later. When it comes to pruning, I think we are still safe to prune just about any time in February. For that matter, January is just fine. Tree companies need time to service all customers so we have a wide window for dormant season pruning. MY HARDY PHLOX NOT SO MUCH Question: I thought I understood that creeping phlox was hardy. But I keep planting it and it keeps dying. What I am doing wrong? Answer: This one is a head scratcher. I am not for sure. Here are a couple of pointers. Creeping phlox prefers sun and well drained soils. I have seen it get root rot in wet areas. So check the sun exposure and the moisture. Another thought and just my gut, but I have noticed that not all colors perform equally. I see more of the lilac or light purple color than any other. I know there is a white and dark pink color. I just don’t see them around as much. So it might be that these colors are just not as adaptable in our clay soils. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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February 12 – Getting to Know Your Weeds Weeds just seem to pop up everywhere in the lawn and garden. There are so many different types of weeds from grasses to broadleaves and annuals and perennials. Getting the upper hand on them requires us to first know the pesky weed and its characteristics. This is the first step. This class will help us identify our weed problems. This class when combined with the other February class will be the perfect one-two punch. Attendance at both is not required. Come to one or both. February 26 – Getting the Upper Hand on Weeds Chemical, organic, cultivation? Getting a handle on eliminating weeds is about selecting the right option that meets your needs. The second session on weeds will cover your options in weed control. It is not a one size fits all method but a strategy that meets your needs. Attendance at the first session is not required so attend one or both. March 5 – Greening the Lawn They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But each of us have a different idea of what green means. This class will cover recommendations that means green in different ways. Greener is an approach to lawn care which can reduce the use of fertilizers, water and other inputs while still having a nice green lawn. This program will help you tailor your lawn care inputs to match the desired outcomes. Proper lawn care is not a one size fits all program once you know the secrets to a green lawn while being green in the process.

March 26 – Spectacular Shrubs Tired of the same old lilac, forsythia and juniper? Desiring something new, out of the box that stands out in the neighborhood or garden? Then make plans to attend this session. Newer varieties and introductions for the landscape will be covered. Shrubs are more versatile than ever with smaller plants, more colorful foliage and longer flowering periods. After this session you will be ready to give those tired, old over-pruned shrubs the heaveho and give the garden a facelift. April 9 – Add a Splash of Color with Summer Bulbs Bulbs are not just for spring. Summer or tender bulbs are a great way to add more color and interest to the landscape. This session will look at those selections that either will not survive the winter or bloom during the summer. They come in a wide variety of plant types, forms, shapes and colors. This session will introduce you to these lesser-known bulbs for the garden. Proper care will be covered to help you get the most out of these garden gems. April 23 – Container Gardening Containers are problem solvers. They add so much flair to any location. This session will cover everything you need to know for success. The class will breakdown into two parts. First we will look at the science of container gardening and what it takes to grow the plants. The second part of the session will be the fun, art of container gardening including design tips and of course the great plants that add the wow factor. After attending this class you won’t be able to stop at just one pot!

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“The Pros You Know In The Clean Red Trucks.” The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


Nesting Neighbors Local birding expert, THERESA HIREMATH offers tips on enticing birds to nest and thrive in your backyard.


ne of my favorite places in the world is my backyard. It is my personal refuge where I take in its natural beauty: sweet fresh air, soft light at sunrise and sunset, the sound of breeze in the trees, and the entertainment provided by wildlife — squirrels, deer, an occasional fox, bats in the summer, and, of course, the birds! Birds need four items to be attracted to backyard refuges: food, water, shelter, and a safe place to raise their young. Some birds begin scoping out nesting sites as early as February or March, so this is a great time to put up a nesting house. Nesting boxes provide nesting sites for birds that require a cavity in which to nest. Primary cavity nesting species (such as woodpeckers) excavate their own sites, while

secondary cavity nesters rely on pre-existing nesting cavities and will readily accept secondary housing. It is important that any house you put outdoors meets the proper housing specifications for birds. Houses should have good insulation and ventilation. Panels of wood that are ¾ inch thick help provide insulation from extreme heat or cold, and recycled plastic should be at least ½” thick. Holes near the top of the house allow for the heat to escape and holes at the bottom are important to the health of the baby birds by ensuring adequate drainage. An overhanging roof provides shade and protection from driving rains. A functional birdhouse does not have a perch, as a perch can serve as a platform from which predators can raid the nest.

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Nesting boxes should be cleaned out at the end of the nesting season. The box should then be left up for the winter, as the birds will huddle together inside during inclement weather for shelter and warmth. Covering or blocking the ventilation and drainage holes will help keep much-needed warmth inside the box during the cold winter nights. An added benefit of leaving the box up during winter is that the birds will know the location of the box when they are ready to nest in the spring. Many birds prefer their nesting habitat at a certain level, and you will be more likely to attract the species you seek if the box is placed at the right height. Also consider whether the bird you seek prefers woodlands, the forest edge, open spaces, and / or proximity to water for nesting. Do not place the box near bird feeders, as too much

Get your mowers and equipment in for a SPRING TUNE UP before you need them. Tune ups include changing the oil and filter, replace spark plug, air filter, and sharpening blades.

Contact us this February to get a jump on your Spring 2018 landscape and maintenance needs. February 2018 |

Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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nearby activity may cause the box to remain unoccupied. If you mount your nest box on a pole, be sure to place a baffle just below your box to keep snakes, raccoons, cats and other animals away. There are several other things you can do to make your backyard more attractive to nesting birds, as well. Ensure your birds have a reliable source of fresh water to drink by installing a birdbath. Leave dead trees standing as long as they are in no danger of falling. Tree snags provide a great source of insect food and nest sites. Remove any dead limbs if necessary, and create brush piles that provide shelter for fledgling birds. Feed high-protein foods such as mealworms, peanuts, and suet. Additionally, calcium enriched bird foods help replace the calcium females lose during egg production. Enticing birds to nest in your yard through proper habitat and safe nesting boxes is great for your birds and a fun, rewarding activity for your family. If you’d like more information about nesting boxes and making YOUR backyard more attractive to nesting birds, our backyard birdfeeding experts would love to help you.

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Plant Profile MARION MORRIS tells of Angelonia Archangel™ Cherry Red.


container standalone, with a 10ne plant I look forward to 12-inch wide spread. to seeing this spring Called “Summer is Archangel™ Snapdragon” as ‘Cherry Red’ angewell as a “season lonia. This annual extender,” this is new this year stunning plant and makes a specblooms all sumtacular thriller for mer long and a pot, as well as into the fall. landscape borders Thriving in the and cutting garsun and pollinadens. Height wise, tor friendly, this it’s 12-14 inches tall angelonia provides with big, vivid red relaxing entertainment blooms lining the stalk with butterflies and humall the way to the top. Super mingbirds flitting around this hardy, thriving even under the garden beauty. It’s super fun and duress of heat, humidity and easy! drought, this angelonia is an impressive plant for all gardenMarion Morris is a longtime ers, especially beginners. gardener and staff member at Vibrant cherry red flowers Farrand Farms, 5941 Noland give a nice pop of bold color in a planter. I like mine mixed, but Road, Kansas City, MO 64136, 816-353-2312. this angelonia could even be a Ad for the February issue of Kansas City Gardener magazine

Gardening by Design

Spring Gardening Symposium Saturday

March 3, 2018

9:00 am – 3:30 pm Check-in: 8:30 am

The Gardening Design Process and

Garden Rooms and Spaces Merle Sharpe, Keynote Speaker

Constant Color: Succession Planting in the Flower Garden

Cynthia Gillis, Certified Landscape Designer

The Aesthetics of Hardscaping

Bryan Kottke, Powell Gardens Perennial Garden Senior Gardener

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Marais des Cygnes Extension Office 104 S. Brayman Paola, KS 66071 Registration: This event is open to anyone, but pre-registration is required by February 26. $30 registration fee includes a gourmet boxed lunch and all printed reference materials. Registrations must be made in advance. Make your check payable to the MdC Extension Master Gardeners and mail with the form (available online at www.maraisdescygnes. with your check for $30 to: K-State Research and Extension Marais des Cygnes District–Paola Office, 104 S. Brayman, Paola, KS 66071 For more information call 913-294-4306

1-800-DIG-RITE or 811 The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


Garden Winners 2018 All-America Selections Part II


he All-America Selections (AAS) Board of Directors approved 14 new and exciting AAS Winners. Seven are featured here, and the remaining seven were featured in the January issue (available online at While you are falling in love with these new garden favorites, please keep in mind that they may not be readily available for purchase this season. Still ask for them often, letting your local nursery know of your interest and eagerness to include them in your garden soon. Canna South Pacific Orange F1 Flower Winner Sister to 2013 AAS Winner South Pacific Scarlet, this newest AAS Winner is compact in habit and well suited for both landscape and container use. This variety is more vigorous, more uniform, and has more basal branching than comparison cannas. It offers an outstanding bloom color in an

attractive, vivid bright orange that contrasts nicely with the bright green foliage. Pollinator gardens will love this addition of an attractive canna that sports uniformly colored flowers over a long blooming period. Bonus: this canna is grown from seed, not tuber, meaning less chance of succumbing to disease. Marigold Super Hero Spry Flower Winner When one of the discerning AAS judges says, “I’d love to have this in my yard!”, you know you have a winner! Super Hero™ Spry is a lovely compact (10-12 inches) French marigold with dark maroon lower petals and golden yellow upper petals perched on top of the dark green foliage. The list of winning attributes continues: a more uniform and stable color pattern, earlier to bloom and no deadheading required. These stunning blooms make any garden fit for a Super Hero!

Canna South Pacific Orange F1 10

February 2018 |

Pepper habanero Roulette F1 Edible–Vegetable Winner Roulette F1 resembles a traditional habanero pepper in every way (fruit shape, size and color, and plant type) with one exception – No Heat! This AAS National Winner’s one-ounce fruits are red with thick walls when it matures and a nice citrusy (no heat) habanero flavor! Gardeners will be delighted with the earlier production of large, uniform fruit and a very high yield. One judge noted that each plant easily produces 10-11 fruits at one time and up to 100 per season so there are plenty to eat fresh, cook with, and enjoy! For an early fruit production of a habanero pepper that will charm even those that don’t like it hot, take your chances…Roulette is the perfect choice. Pepper Hungarian Mexican Sunrise F1 Edible–Vegetable Winner Mexican Sunrise Hungarian Pepper F1 brings to the garden a full spectrum of colors from lime green to yellow then orange and red as the fruit matures. These earlier maturing conical pendant shaped peppers produce a thick-walled fruit that can be eaten at any stage. The fruits are semi-hot, attractive peppers which can be used for ornamental purposes as well as for processing, pickling, and fresh preparations. Vegetable gardeners are sure to enjoy this pepper with its attractive fruit, early maturity and high yielding plants that look great in any gardenscape. Tomato Chef’s Choice Red F1 Edible–Vegetable Winner The fifth addition to the popular Chef’s Choice tomato series is Chef’s Choice Red which produces globe-shaped, tomato-red beefsteak type tomatoes. Tomato lovers and culinary gardeners will want to grow this firm-fleshed delicacy that has just the right balance of acid to sugar. AAS Judges raved about

the prolific yield of the 8-ounce fruits that the strong, 5-foot indeterminate vines produced. You’ll enjoy harvesting 30 or more scarfree fruits throughout the season from this disease-resistant plant with dark green leaves and wellbehaved form. Grow the whole Chef’s Choice series for a colorful harvest! Ornamental Pepper Onyx Red Flower Winner Onyx Red is one of those stunning double-take plants that steal the show! This breeding work has resulted in an unprecedented compact, well-branched ornamental pepper adorned with eye-catching dark black foliage. The contrast between the diminutive black foliage and tons of shiny red fruits is striking and makes a bold statement in the garden. Plants are vigorous, continually growing but retain their neat, compact habit, making Onyx Red a wonderful plant for beds, borders, containers and dramatic mass plantings. Naturally compact plants are perfect for a potted plant program as well as for an annual bedding plan where earliness and retail readiness are important factors. Tomato, cocktail Red Racer F1 Edible–Vegetable Winner Red Racer, a cocktail size tomato, produced small, uniform fruits with great taste in the AAS Trials. Cocktail tomatoes have a good sweet/acid balance and are a smaller variety tomato (although larger than cherry or grape tomatoes). These tomatoes are uniform in size and mature as a cluster of fruits. The compact determinate plants produced a huge yield 7-10 days earlier than the comparisons and are ideal for small space and container gardens. One judge summed up this winner saying “Red Racer is small in size but big in taste!” Available in both organic and conventional seeds.

Tomato, cocktail Red Racer F1

Tomato Chef’s Choice Red F1

Content and photos courtesy of All-America Selections,

Pepper Hungarian Mexican Sunrise F1

Marigold Super Hero Spry

Pepper habanero Roulette F1

Ornamental Pepper Onyx Red The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


Gardening by Design

Extension Master Gardeners present spring seminar for all gardeners March 3 in Paola Photos by Lenora Larson.


tart brushing up your landscaping skills early this 
 year at the Marais des Cygnes District Extension Master Gardeners Spring Garden Symposium. This year’s theme, Gardening by Design, will delve into the finer points of both planning and process. In addition to keynote speaker Merle Sharpe’s presentation on Garden Rooms and Spaces, she will also present The Gardening Design Process. (Details were presented in the January issue of this publication.) Certified Landscape Designer Cynthia Gillis will talk about Constant Color: Succession Planting in the Flower Garden. “Succession planting can mean many things,” says Cynthia. “For vegetables, we’re after full productivity by planting and replanting in the same place. But for a flower

garden, we’re after continuous and changing beauty.” Cynthia was born in Winnipeg Canada. After moving 
with her architect husband John to New York City she took courses at the New York Botanical Garden and studied with John Brookes at the Clock House School of Garden Design in England. Now, with over 30 years of garden-making under her belt (and fingernails), she is

making the garden of her dreams in Olathe, Kansas. Powell Gardens perennial garden Senior Gardener Bryan Kottke will present The Aesthetics of Hardscaping. Attractive and functional hardscaping is essential to a pleasing garden. “Because structures such as paths, walls, pergolas, fences, edging, and art may be the most expensive and long-lasting garden elements, great care should be taken in deciding their placement,” he says. Bryan has worked in the horticulture industry for nine years. As a former Great Gardens of the World Triad Fellow, he worked at some of the most prestigious gardens in the world including Longwood Gardens in the US, Hidcote Manor Garden in the UK, and Kiseki no Hoshi Botanical Museum in Japan.

He is a graduate of Longwood Gardens’ two-year Professional Gardener Program. The annual symposium, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, will be held at the K-State University Research & Extension Office at 104 S. Brayman, Paola, Kansas 66071. Check-in starts at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registration by February 26 is required. The $30 fee includes a gourmet box lunch and all printed reference materials. Obtain a registration form at and return with your check to the address above. The event is open to all interested in gardening. Local Master Gardeners will receive five hours of Advanced Training credit for attending. Questions? Call the extension office at 913-294-4306.

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7130 Troost, Kansas City, MO Garden Center • 816-444-3403 Nursery • 816-333-3232

Gardeners Connect programs move to Thursday evenings at the Plaza Library


tarting with the March and April Free Speaker Series programs, Gardeners Connect is going to see how presenting programs on Thursday evenings works out for everybody. The programs are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64112. There is ample parking in the parking garage next to the building. March 15, Maria Fadiman presents The Intimate Relations of Plants and People At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, Maria Fadiman, associate professor of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, will present a program titled “The Intimate Relationship of Plants and People: Gardening and Beyond.” She is an engaging speaker who has presented TEDx Berkeley and TEDx Cancún talks on related topics. She is an ethnobotanist who has studied rainforests of Central and South America, the savannahs in Africa, and plants of Tibet, China, the Philippines and elsewhere. She studies the interactions of people with plants and examines whether the interactions are sustainable and records how plants are used so the information is not lost over the generations.

In this talk, Maria will describe and discuss how people are connected to plants and bring the issue home for Midwest gardeners. She plans to lead us on an exploration of various facets of gardening and plant use and how we can help get others excited about the flora world. April 26, Ethne Clarke presents The Midcentury Modern Landscape Returning to Kansas City, Ethne Clarke will present a program titled the same as her newest book, “The Midcentury Modern Landscape.” This program is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The book is a fresh guide for gardeners and garden designers seeking bold approaches to redefine outdoor spaces or people wishing to learn about the history of Midcentury Modern aesthetics. The Midcentury Modern period is 1940-70. Ethne’s book documents the transformation of Modernism to Midcentury Modern, the impact of World War II, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence, the spread of Bauhaus architecture on the East Coast, post-war suburbs and the rise of West Coast ranchstyle living. The programs are a joint presentation of Kansas City Public Library and Gardeners Connect, a gardening education nonprofit organization celebrating 60 years of community service this year.

Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America presents

Exciting New Plants for 2018 by Rita Arnold Mon, March 5, 6pm

Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, KCMO 64112


ita will cover the ‘Exciting New Plants, Roses and Shrubs for 2018!’ New introductions are the driving force and excitement in gardening every spring. She will provide a PowerPoint presentation of over 240 new introductions of perennials, roses, shrubs, annuals, succulents, and herbs that will be available in at their garden center this spring! Particular emphasis will be on attracting pollinators to the garden and landscape, and why these cultivars were chosen and added to their extensive plant selection. Come and learn more. This event is free and open to the public. George and Rita Arnold own and operate Arnold’s Greenhouse & Garden Center near Le Roy, Kan., which is about 90 miles southwest of Kansas City. They began their adventure with a 10’x16’ hobby greenhouse in the spring of 1977. Today, 39 years later, there is over 60,000 square feet of greenhouses plus additional outdoor growing area. Customers from all over the Midwest visit Arnold’s due to their 1 extensive selection–over 3000 cultivars of plants, shrubs and trees! Many considOFF*gardeners er their garden center a ‘candy-store’ of plants, and make an ‘annual pilgrimage’ to Le 5ERoy!Series For more information, contact Effie Mitsopoulos at 816-935-1594 or Vince Vogel 5045E of and 5055 –– OR –– Vogel Landscaping at 816-289-8733.




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Annuals add Color to Native Garden


nnual plants sprout from a seed, grow and die in the same growing season. Sometimes overlooked—with an abundance of native perennials to choose from—are native annuals, which add prolific blooms to the garden. Red-whisker clammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra), for example, is a native annual that blooms for two to three months in late summer. It has rose-pink to white petals and red stamens that are longer than the petals and look like red whiskers. The flowers are hummingbird moth and skipper magnets. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and fit in tiny gardens. This annual wildflower is

also one of those native plants that grows in the most inhospitable of habitats—gravel bars—and so it grows well in most gardens. If you haven’t walked down to the gravel bar at Shaw Nature Reserve (or any gravel/sand bar along a river) you are missing out on one of life’s small but wonderful experiences. This is where shining bluestar, switchgrass, and sandbar willow also grow and where fog settles in the early morning during spring and fall. It’s a magical place that deserves more attention. Palafox (Palafoxia callosa) looks like pink baby’s breath. Snow-on-the mountain (Euphorbia

Buy one tail prop feeder and get 2 suet cakes FREE. Valid only at the Leawood, KS Wild Birds Unlimited location. Offer not valid on previous purchases or with any other offers. Offer valid in-store only through February 28, 2018.

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February 2018 |

Photos by Scott Woodbury.

Native plant guru, SCOTT WOODBURY describes how to add more nectar for wildlife and color for your garden.

Western wallflower and virginia spiderwort

Polansia dodecandra

marginata) has stunning white and green floral bracts. Blue waxweed (Cuphaea viscosissima) has tiny magenta flowers and purple fall color. Each of these late summerto fall-blooming annuals tolerate dry or rocky soils, and also grow well in most sunny gardens. They look great in flower with fruiting beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius), native grasses, and longblooming star coreopsis (Coreopsis pubescens). I think of some perennials as performing more like annuals for various reasons. Rose verbena (Glandularia canadensis) is perennial when growing in the wild, but is gone in a few years in most gardens. Same is true of cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), so at Shaw Nature Reserve, we replant them every few years like we do with annuals. Blazing stars (Liatris spp.) are by no stretch of the imagination annual, but we replant them every year or two because their corms get eaten constantly by voles. Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a short-lived perennial or biennial (living two years) in most landscapes, but sometimes grows and dies in the same season like an annual. We will be planting many of them this spring to add more color for visitors and nectar for pollinators. In nature they are typically yellow, but occasionally red and yellow. Shaw Nature Reserve will

be giving away seedlings of both varieties at the Spring Wildflower Market on May 12, 2018 in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. In early spring, swallowtail butterflies emerge from winter hibernation looking for nectar sources like western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum), an annual that grows wild on rocky glades. In gardens it prefers average to dry soils, and is easy to grow. Like all of the annuals mentioned above, this one will spread slightly in the garden from seed. There is a trick to having success with annuals. It’s easy to purchase and replace new plants every year, but trickier to keep them going season after season. If you mulch in February and March, you may smother seedlings that try to come up in April, especially if you mulch too thoroughly and deeply (half inch or more). If you wait until April to mulch, however, you may get a crop of unwanted weeds. I’ve found that it’s better to spread mulch 2 inches deep where you don’t want annual wildflowers, but thinner or not at all in areas where you do want them. Ground leaf mulch is best because it is loose and porous. Targeted mulch spreading in February and March gives you some control, however seedlings have a way of coming up where they want whatever you do. This gives the garden a more naturalistic look. Another way to

encourage germination is to sow seeds on loosened bare soil in fall and mark with a tag, keeping mulch and leaves off of these areas. In April seedlings will emerge and you can either leave them be, thin them if too dense, or transplant to other parts of the garden. Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) is a shade-loving winter annual that breaks the rules of horticulture. It germinates in November, grows all winter and then blooms in spring. Like other annuals, it suffers with more than a half inch of mulch. This species prefers bare ground. In the wild, blue-eyed Mary relies on floodwaters to carry leaf litter away in fall or winter. Without it, seedlings can’t push through the layer of leaves. In gardens, rake leaves away immediately when they fall in November where you want a patch. Seedlings will germinate and thrive, even when it freezes. Winter seedlings are tiny and green with purple speckles. Blue-eyed Mary blooms in April with another woodland annual called Miami mist (Phacelia purshii), and perennials Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), celandine poppy

(Stylophorum diphyllum), and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). If you want more color in your garden to enjoy and more nectar for wildlife, native annuals are the way to go, especially if you are gardening in containers. Keeping them going from year to year is not rocket science and can add enjoyment to your spring routine. You will have difficulty finding native annuals in garden centers, but fortunately we will be selling them at the Shaw Wildflower Market in May. Check with other Grow Native! professional members as well, in the Grow Native! Resource Guide at Until we see you then, happy gardening! Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for 27 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers of native plants at, Resource Guide.

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Gardeners Connect is a The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Club Meetings African Violets of GKC Tues, Feb 13, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Feb 3 and 17, 9am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Feb meeting at Loose Park has been cancelled. Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 5, meeting at 6pm, presentation at 6:30pm, at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Our speaker is Rita Arnold, from Arnolds Greenhouse presenting Exciting New Plants, Roses and Shrubs for 2018. For more information, Effie Mitsopoulos at 816-935-1594 or Vince Vogel of Vogel Landscaping at 816-289-8733. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Feb 14, Noon; at Rose room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd & Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64112. Annual Valentine Tea & Luncheon. This is our special event each year that we all look forward to and, it’s on Valentines Day! Everyone is asked to bring something to share for the Valentine Tea (herb infused desserts, finger sandwiches, teas, etc.). We always are delighted to learn new recipes and ideas of how to use herbs. Don’t forget to bring your favorite tea cup to share how it is special to you and your favorite tea. Presentation: The Power of Herbal Love by President Lynn Soulier. Learn about the magical gifts of herbal aphrodisiacs, blended essential aromatics, and incense and herbs for relaxation and deep rest. Get recipes for some items, and have the opportunity to try others. Facebook: check us out at Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. Friends & visitors welcome. Questions: call Nancy at 816-478-1640.

Find the


WATER’S EDGE Visit the water garden specialists


Find the Oasis from the Ordinary 9th & Indiana, Lawrence, KS • 785-841-6777 Open Tues-Sun (Closed Monday) 16

February 2018 |

Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 24; at First Lutheran Church, 6400 State Line Rd, Mission Hills, KS 66208. Check-in and Hospitality at 9:30am, Meeting at 10:am. Speaker Tom Micheletti has lots of experience with hostas founding the Northern Illinois Hosta Society, serving on the board of the American Hosta Society, and selling hostas through his business The Hosta Patch. Tom’s presentation is “Maintaining Your Hostas”. Club will provide barbecue for a potluck at noon, bring your favorite dish to share. Come for great information, food, door prizes, and raffle options. Everyone is welcome! For more information:, HeartlandHostaAndShadePlantSociety/, or email Idalia Society Sat, Mar 17, 5:30pm, Pot-luck Dinner, 6:45pm Presentation; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS 66208. Free to the public. The “Evolution of a Butterfly Garden” traces Carole’s burgeoning interest in butterflies and gardening that culminated in a magnificent memorial garden at her church, Bristol Hill United Methodist in KCKS. Brilliant photographs will demonstrate the planning process, plant selection and how the garden became an important shared space for the community. Idalia member Carole Tomlinson is a graduate of Pittsburg State and works as a Medical Technologist in the Immunohematology Laboratory at Community Blood Center. She spends her spring, summer and fall days in pursuit of butterflies, as well as insects and other critters! Her love of gardening came at an early age through the wonder of her grandfather’s amazing green thumb. She belongs to the Idalia Society, Kansas Native Plant Society and North American Butterfly Association. KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Feb 18, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. We’re looking forward to a very special presentation by Judy Pigue on her recent trip to study the cacti and succulent plants of Argentina and Chili. In addition to being a KCC&SS member, Judy is also President of the national Cactus & Succulent Society

of America and a widely respected expert in the field. Visitors are welcome, and February’s presentation will be a great time to drop in! For information on the Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society, call 816-444-9321 or visit our website: Leavenworth County Master Gardeners Wed, Feb 14, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Judy Pique, from the Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society, will give a presentation on how to grow succulents and cactus is the Kansas climate (this presentation is re-scheduled from Jan). The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Leawood Garden Club Tues, Feb 27, 10:30am; at Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS. At about noon, Don Mann, with Kat Wholesale, will present “New and unusual screening plants.” Don is a certified arborist with over 10 years of experience. The meeting and our membership is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. A potluck luncheon will be served. For more information, please visit our website or send an email to Mo Kan Daylily Society Sun, Feb 11, 11:30am-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Sho Me African Violets Club Fri, Feb 9, 10am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Water Garden Society of KC Tues, Feb 20, doors open at 5:30pm for snacks and socializing and our first speaker begins at 6:30pm; at Our Lady of Sorrows, 2552 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108. There is plenty of parking west of the building, just outside the door. Selina O’Neal comes to us from The Charlotte Street Foundation, where she is the neighborhood artist residency coordinator. Begun in 1997, the Charlotte Street Foundation was established to support artists as a valuable, creative social and economic resource to the city. They give artists a voice in the public arena. The Water Garden Society is collaborating with community artists on the 25th anniversary tour this July. Our featured speaker is Roye Dillon, from Prestige One Landscaping. Roye is a “dream developer” and longtime friend of the Water Garden Society. His topic is The Winter Water Garden; Its Beauty and Challenges. He will be talking about water clarity and winter bacteria for healthy fish and your backyard oasis. Visitors are always welcome.

Events, Lectures & Classes February Arboretum Volunteer Training Thurs, Feb 1, 10:30am-noon, Greeter Training, and 1-2:30pm, Tour Guide Training at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St. Be a part of our wonderful volunteer corps by greeting visitors to the Arboretum. Fee: Smile and willingness to share the beautiful surroundings. Starting Plants from Seeds Thurs, Feb 1, 11:30am-1:00pm; in the Sunflower Room of Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Do you want to grow plant varieties the store doesn’t sell? Do you want an early start on plants instead of planting seeds outdoors? Are your seedlings pale and spindly? Grace Troeh, a Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardener, will present Starting Plants from Seed. The class will cover basic seedling needs, such as preparation of picky seeds, soils, germinating temperatures, light, moisture and seedling hygiene. Mrs. Troeh will also discuss how to handle seeds saved from our own plants to preserve viability. Additionally, she will present ideas for setups to start seedlings, some of which can be made at home from readily available items. Registration not required. Fee: $5 payable at door (waived for certified Extension MGs). For more information, call 913-299-9300.

SAGES: Attracting and Identifying Missouri Birds in Winter
 Thurs, Feb 1, 10:30am-1pm; at Powell Gardens. Join us for a cozy morning in the Powell Gardens Visitor Center for a one-hour illustrated talk about native bird species presented by Missouri Master Naturalist Mary Nemecek. Learn to ways to attract Missouri birds in winter, identify them and gain birdwatching tips. Following the talk, view live Powell Gardens birds in action from the comfort of our visitor center as you enjoy a comforting soup, salad, and bread lunch in our cafe. COST: $35 (members less 10%). Visit for details.

4456 or visit our website at and browse Gardeners’ Gathering.

Seed Starting Workshop Thurs, Feb 1, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence KS. Learn how to start your own seeds. Handouts will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP to 785-842-3081.

Seed Sharing Event
 Wed, Feb 21, rain or shine, noon-3pm; at the visitor center at the Overland Park Arboretum. Jim Earnest and Ken O’Dell will host a Seed Sharing Event. Attendees will be able to select and pick out seed that Jim and Ken have collected from wilderness, woodlands, prairies, and the arboretum. Seed will be limited to 5 or 10 of each variety or species as this is for a fun growing event and not for commercial production. There will be seed from more than 50 different trees, as well as seeds from many shrubs, wildflowers, vines and grasses. The seed and small bags to put them in will be provided. You should bring a pen to write on paper or plastic. There is no charge for the event, and registration is not necessary. Just come in with a smile on your face. There may be a $3 fee to enter the Arboretum.

Pollinator Plants Tues, Feb 6, 4pm; at Lansing Community Library, 730 1st Terr, Ste 1, Lansing, KS 66043. Charlotte Van Wormer, a Leavenworth County Master gardener, will give a presentation on what pollinator plants grow well in the Kansas climate. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094.

Advanced Vegetable Gardening-Cold Crops Thurs, Feb 22, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS. How to grown cold season vegetables, 4-5 different cold season vegetables to be discussed. Which ones depends on a vote from the workshop attendees. Handouts will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP to 785-842-3081.

Beginning Vegetable Gardening Workshop Thurs, Feb 8, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS. Learn how to start a simple and manageable vegetable garden. Handouts will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP to 785-842-3081.

Beginning Beekeeping Workshop Sat, Feb 24; at Drumm Farm Center for Children, Nelson Hall, 3210 S Lee’s Summit Rd, Independence, MO. The Midwestern Beekeepers Association will hold 23rd Annual Beginning Beekeeping Workshop, that covers bee equipment, bee biology and anatomy, starting your first hive, what to look for during inspections, seasonal management, products of the hive, and many other honey bee related subjects. Registration fee is $60 and includes the workshop, a buffet lunch and refreshments, presentation notes, First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith S. Delaplane and a one year membership to Midwestern Beekeepers Association. Current members may register for $45. Registration will begin at 7:30am and the workshop will be from 8am to 4pm. Beekeeping Suppliers will be on site to order bees and supplies. The class size is limited, and registration will close when full or by Feb 17. No refunds after Feb 17. Visit Midwestern Beekeepers Association website at to register with Paypal or to download a registration form. For more information, call Bob Williams at 816-331-6634.

Terrarium and Smallscapes Workshop Sat, Feb 10, 1-4pm; at Suburban Lawn & Garden, 105th and Roe. Sign up in store or call to register. Space is limited. 913-649-8700 Annual African Violet Spring Sale Sat, Feb 10, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Hosted by The African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City. There is NO admission charge. Gardening is Good Therapy and you get Tomatoes Too Thurs, Feb 15, 7pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Paula Darling, Maria Traynham and Donna Zimmerman, all Leavenworth County Master Gardeners, will give a presentation on how gardening can be therapeutic. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Composting Thurs, Feb 15, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS. Learn how make your own compost pile at home. Handouts will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP to 785-842-3081. We Love Orchids! Work and Learn Workshop
 Wed, Feb 14, or Thurs, Feb 15, 9am-noon and 1-4pm each day; at Powell Gardens. Celebrate Valentine’s Day and your love for plants with this special greenhouse work and learn workshop at Powell Gardens. In this three-hour session, you will learn about basic orchid care, several easy orchids to grow, orchid fertilizing, and how and why to repot orchids. Each workshop is taught by Eric Perrette, Powell Gardens horticulturalist with the assistance of other Powell affiliated staff. Participants will be repotting orchids from Powell Gardens’ collections to gain professional-level expertise and will receive a small orchid start at the end of the workshop to take home. COST: $35 (members less 10%)—includes start of an orchid to take home. Visit for details. Native Trees for Kansas City Landscapes Thurs, Feb 15, 6:30pm; at Kauffman Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO. Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present Native Trees for Kansas City Landscapes. Our presenter will be Chuck Connor who is a Community Forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation and has over 30 years of experience in the care of trees and forest land. If you have not seen Chuck speak, don’t miss this event. He is very informative and adds humor and liveliness to his presentations. This presentation will cover how to select, plant and establish native trees in urban landscapes. Free and open to the public. No registration is required. Door Prizes. For further information, call 816-665-

Go Bats for Bats: Family Workshop
 Sat, Feb 24, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Did you know that there are approximately 14 different species of bats in Missouri? Do you know why bats are important to humans and why they are helpful in a garden? Join us for an afternoon to learn all about bats—what species we have in Missouri, what they eat, where they live, and why they are not scary! This experience includes construction of a plywood bat house kit (one per family group) that you can take home and install in your backyard to support our bat population. Each three-chamber bat house (with approved design by Bat Conservation International) is constructed using simple materials including a screwdriver, heavy duty staple gun, utility knife, paint, and a caulking gun. Best for family groups with children ages 8 and up. Children under the age of 12 must work with an adult at all times. COST: $85 per family (one kit per family). Visit for details. Advanced Vegetable Gardening-Summer Crops Thurs, Mar 1, 6:30-7:30pm; at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS. How to grown summer vegetables, 4-5 different summer vegetables to be discussed. Which ones depends on a vote from the workshop attendees. Handouts will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP to 785-842-3081. Gardening By Design Symposium in Paola Sat, Mar 3, 9am-3:30pm; Sponsored by the Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners, at the District Extension Office, 104 South Brayman, Paola, KS. Symposium keynote speaker, Merle Sharp, is joined by Cynthia Gillis and Bryan Kottke. Topics include The Garden Design Process, Gardening Rooms, Perpetual Garden Color and The Aesthetics of Hardscaping. The $30 fee includes a box lunch. Space is limited; you must pre-register by Feb 26. Obtain a registration form at www. Call the Extension Office, 913-284-4306, for further information.

Promote meetings, classes, and other gardening events! Send details to: Deadline for publishing in the March issue is February 5.

Now Hiring for Spring

We are looking for friendly, enthusiastic people to fill positions at our Lenexa, Overland Park and So. Kansas City locations.

Cashiers Phone Operators Hardgoods Sales Plant Sales Merchandising Receiving Clerk

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Celebrating our 91st year in business 816-523-1760 74th & Prospect, Kansas City, MO The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018



garden calendar


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.



• 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 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, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.






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Let’s Discuss Your Preferred Maintenance Plan


Bird Facts


ED REESE shares what happens to songbirds in winter.

irds are great at keeping warm during the winter. Birds will fluff their feathers out to trap air underneath them. This allows their body to warm the trapped air thus keeping the bird warm. Feather fluffing coupled with actively searching for and eating food to increase their body fat during the day usually does the trick. Black capped Chickadee’s do more. They increase the size of their brain as it gets colder. As the weather turns, black capped chickadees gather food then hide it under the bark of trees and also in cracks they may find in wood structures. The increased brain size allows them to remember those special food hideaways. Black

capped chickadees, Swifts, and Mourning Doves may also enter a condition called “Torpor”. This is a type of regulated hypothermia. Heart rate and metabolism slows substantially, with their body temperatures dropping from a normal 105 degrees to around 90 degrees. This helps them conserve up to 25% more of their energy during very cold nights. The three most critical things for songbirds during the winter are having food, liquid water, and adequate cover. Ed and Karen Reese own and operate the Wild Bird House in Overland Park, that has been provisioning outdoor backyard bird lovers for over 26 years. Contact them at 913-341-0700.


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Name: Address: City, State, Zip: Phone: E-mail: Where did you pick up The Kansas City Gardener? Please enclose your check payable to The Kansas City Gardener and mail with this form to: P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 The Kansas City Gardener is published monthly Jan. through Dec.

Meet Master Gardener, Gwynn Pierce

Leavenworth County, class of 2014: I have enjoyed participating in the Master Gardener program here in Leavenworth County. The group has 12 civic projects it’s working on. I have learned a lot from volunteering alongside other master gardeners.

What first drew you to gardening: I wanted to grow my own herbs, vegetables and flowers. Plus I like getting acquainted with other passionate gardeners. Most valuable information learned: It is okay to pull out a plant I no longer like or doesn’t grow well. I try new varieties in the same family or something completely different. For instance, this past summer, I planted purple lantana instead of yellow. The purple lantana is low growing and looked great under my butterfly bush. I am slowly replacing nonnative with Kansas native plants. Favorite tool: I can do many tasks with my digging fork; dig up weeds, transplant plants, aerate, open bags of dirt and mulch. Favorite plant: Currently my favorite plant is a woody salvia. Salvias are supposed to be annuals here in Kansas, but ‘Hot Lips’ keeps coming back. It is located in a butterfly garden, where butterflies and hummingbirds love it. The flowers vary–some are red, some white and some flowers are both red and white. I’m curious to see if it comes back this year. Growing interests: I have been growing herbs and vegetables for over 20 years, but I have been trying different varieties of plants and growing techniques. I have tried growing heir-

loom tomatoes and several kinds of bell peppers. I grew four varieties of basil last year, in pots and in the raised bed. I wanted to see which varieties grew best in their locations. I am getting into flowers and bulbs. I have a dedicated herb garden. I started two butterfly gardens a few years ago and am now planting more perennials. What are you passionate about: I am passionate about learning, then eager to put into action the knowledge I’ve gained. I enjoy learning about how to grow plants, whether they are vegetables, herbs, flowers, bulbs, scrubs or trees. Challenges you face: Challenges = clay soil plus Kansas weather. No matter how much I amended the soil, the results were disappointing. I put in raised vegetable beds 10 years ago. The raised beds have improved my vegetable yield. I amend the soil in the butterfly gardens and will have to do the same in the new gardens. I have learned to roll with the weather, and see the extremes as an opportunity to learn. Advice to share: Have fun with your garden. Don’t get discouraged when a plant or a project doesn’t look or perform the way you expected. It’s part of the adventure.

The Kansas City Gardener | February 2018


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aas winners, annuals, natives, birds, master gardeners, hort classes, events

KCG 02FEB18  

aas winners, annuals, natives, birds, master gardeners, hort classes, events