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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

January 2015

Patrick’s Picks:

Underused Houseplants

What’s in Your Garden? Bird of the Month: Black-capped Chickadee Growing Food, Building Community Caring for Your Trees in the Dormant Season

Happy New Year 2015 Come Join Swan’s Water Gardens At Our New Facility For The Most Interesting and Fun Filled Water Garden Season In Our Twenty Year History. We’re Planning Many Saturday Events In Our Learning and Discovery Center For All You Water Garden Enthusiasts. Exploring and Researching All Phases of The Wonderful World of Water Gardening. Hands on Training In Designing Your Water Garden Paradise, New Pond Building Techniques, Building Pondless Water Features, and Much More.

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WWW.WESTLAKEHARDWARE.COM The Kansas City Gardener | January 12/11/14 2015


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The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Intentional New Year

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Matt Evans Diane & Doc Gover Patrick Muir Dennis Patton Christine Shuck 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 Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

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January 2015 |


n a cold December night, a young man calls to say, “Hey, I’ve just been t-boned. I think my truck is totaled. I’ll probably need a ride home.” While he waits for police reports and a tow truck, his friend drives up and says, “Hey man, you alright? Need anything?” The young man replies, “I’m okay, my Dad is on the way.” Soon Dad arrives, and father and son examine the damage and discuss what could have been. Just then an employee from a nearby fast-food restaurant (where the friend is manager) delivers an evening meal to this young man having a very bad day. More than food, this generosity of heart serves up a bit of comfort and compassion for a friend. The neighbor up the street hadn’t been seen for a couple of weeks. She’s a single lady and we like to keep an eye on those that live alone. We watched for her to come home from work at her usual time, but there was no sign. Unusual activity, unfamiliar cars and people made us curious. We wanted to call, making sure she’s okay, but we didn’t want to pry. Soon though, we were compelled and left this message: “Hi neighbor. Just checking in and wondering how you

are. We’ve noticed unusual happenings up your way and hope all is well. Call me when you get a chance.” She returned the call and described recent events of international travel, the nightmare of injury while abroad, and how long she would be convalescing. Grateful to hear her voice and know she’s on the mend made our exchange healing and cheering for both. My guess is that we all can witness to events like these. Times when friends brought meals when you were ill. How about the time you were stuck in the snow and a stranger gave you a push? Or while standing in line with only three items, the lady ahead of you with a cart full of groceries invites you to go first. Our community is rich with these kindnesses, and gardeners are no exception. We are quick to share blooms from our garden in order to brighten someone’s day. We wel-

come strangers to stroll the pathways of our landscape. And we are eager to help when a garden project needs another pair of hands. As the new year marches in, and opportunities for fresh starts abound, it is my goal to be intentional in 2015. I will intentionally seek actions of kindness for neighbors and strangers alike. I am inspired by those around me who quietly make a difference in the lives of others. And I am sure if we all make this kind of commitment, just one simple act of love for another, our communities and our world would be a more peaceful place. May your New Year be healthy, prosperous, and peace-filled. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue January 2015 • Vol. 20 No. 1 The Bird Brain ......................... 5 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Spakers’ Bureau ...................... 7 Gardeners Connect Events ....... 8 What’s in Your Garden ............ 9 Patrick’s Picks: Underused Houseplants ............ 10 Growing Food, Building Community ................. 12

about the cover ...

Spring Gardening Seminar ...... 13 Caring for Your Trees .............. 14 Powell Garden Events ............. 15 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 KC Remodel & Garden Show .... 16 Weather ................................. 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Professional’s Corner ................ 19 Subscribe ................................ 19

The bloom of the Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) is quite striking and will brighten any room during the winter. Learn more about underused houseplants on page 10.



The Bird Brain


Bird of the Month: Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee is a remarkable little bird that lives in the Kansas City Area year round. Weighing in at about a third of an ounce (a handful of paperclips), the Chickadee has a wonderful assortment of adaptations for the winter. Scientists have been intrigued by the ability of these small creatures to survive during the most frigid days and nights. Chickadees > molt at the end of summer and grow a new, denser set of feathers (think of this growing process as a new down jacket) > will cache (hide) their food to be eaten at a later date > gain an additional 10% more of their body weight each day > use up their excess body fat to shiver all night to keep warm

> have the ability to go into nightly hypothermia (to conserve energy) > select winter roosts (roosting pockets) to escape harsh weather – the small cavity becomes their cozy little bedroom > enhance the protective value of a roost cavity by fluffing their feathers to cover their naked legs and feet, and by tucking their beak and face into their shoulder feathers

Chickadees are among the easiest birds to lure into your yard, especially during the winter. Be sure to offer sunflower and safflower seeds in almost any size or shape feeder. Chickadees also enjoy shelled or in the shell peanuts, suet, bark butter and mealworms. Offering a source of water is crucial (a heated source in the winter).

Despite their small size and fragile appearance, chickadees (and other winter birds) cope remarkably well with severe winter weather. Thanks to their adaptability they thrive when most other creatures either hibernate or migrate. If you have any questions regarding Chickadees or any other

birds just stop by the store, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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12/9/14 The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


2:56 PM

Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton CAN I FERTILIZE NOW Question: I was planning on applying my November application of fertilizer but then the cold temperatures arrived and I never did get it on. What should I do now? Answer: I perfectly understand this problem as the same thing happened to me. The fertilizer is setting in the garage but the rains never came and the temperatures plunged. At this point just wait as there is no use of applying fertilizer in the dead of winter. Extension is

not a big fan of spring fertilization applications as the nutrients are converted to top growth. It provides little to the developing roots. But in this case I think we will need to go ahead and make a spring application. It will be needed for good color. If you apply crabgrass control with fertilizer then this application will be sufficient. Crabgrass control is ideally applied the last week in March through mid-April. If you don’t use crabgrass control then hold off with a spring application and apply the fertilizer in mid-May. One word of caution, if you don’t water during the summer then I would back up and apply in the early April time frame. Did that make it confusing enough? Bottom line is, one application of

A good time for your rock /drainage projects.


Snapdragons prefer a cooler climate and don’t always perform that well under hot, dry conditions, and here they are considered annuals. fertilizer applied between early April and mid-May should be on the schedule. SNAPDRAGON PERFORMANCE Question: I planted snapdragons this spring and they were a nice addition to the garden. Are snapdragons an annual or perennial? Answer: Snapdragons are a fun plant to grow. 2014 was a great year to grow this plant. They prefer a cooler climate and don’t always perform that well under hot, dry conditions. Snapdragons in our climate are considered an annual. With that being said, occasionally they will overwinter and come back. So my take is consider them an annual but

if they return for another season call it a nice surprise. LEAVES WITHERED, DID NOT FALL Question: What’s up with the leaves? They seem to be hanging on the trees for a long time. Answer: We experienced what is termed a marcesent fall. Marcescence means to wither without falling. What happened is the leaves did not fully develop their abscission layer. The abscission layer is the area where the leave connects to the twig. The leaves normally develop a layer of cells which causes the leaves to fall from the tree, the abscission layer. A marcesent fall occurs when this layer does not develop. Most often in our climate it is related to cold

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weather that kills the developing layer. The bottom line is the tree will be fine. The leaves will eventually fall over the winter or in the spring when new leaves develop. This problem rarely creates any issues for the tree. The biggest issue is that leaf pickup tends to be an endless job. EFFECT OF WIND CHILL ON PLANTS Question: The November cold temperatures got me thinking. How does wind chill effect plants? Answer: That is a really great question. The effects of the wind only effect warm-blooded animals, not plants. Warm-blooded animals, people, must maintain a certain temperature to survive. The more wind and its chilly effects mean greater heat loss. However plants do not need to maintain a temperature above that of air. As a result wind chill will not increase cold damage to a plant. For example, a wind chill of minus 10 and an air temperature of 15 degrees will have the same effect on the plant as no wind chill and 15 degrees. The difference though is in the effect of the winds. Wind as we know can have a drying effect. Winds can desiccate or increase the dehydration of plant tissue. Plant tissue requires moisture to survive and high wind speeds usually causes moisture loss. This desiccation may be great enough to injure or kill plant tissue. Small twigs of trees and evergreen foliage is extremely susceptible to the drying effects of cold winter winds. So don’t worry about the plants as

it is actually air temperature that is important. Wind chill matters to us; as you know it can make us feel oh so much colder. IMPATIENS PROPAGATION Question: I have been reading about a new impatiens variety called Bounce. According to the article it is the best variety and does not get powdery mildew. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a source for seeds. Do you have any suggestions? Answer: I have also heard about this newer variety. There has been a lot of work done in impatiens breeding to help overcome the mildew issue. But unfortunately you will not find any seeds for this variety. Bounce like many of the other newer vigorous annuals are not reproduced from seeds but by vegetative propagation. That means you purchase a rooted cutting or start from the grower. These cuttings are sold only to large, wholesale growers. This trend of vegetative propagation continues to increase in the world of annuals as cuttings provide a high quality and consistent plant. Also, these plants are patented which means each plant comes with a royalty fee thus increasing the cost of the plant. The use of seeds to reproduce annuals for the mass market is declining.

SPEAKERS’ BUREAU Do you need a speaker for your church, civic group or garden club? The Johnson County Extension Speakers’ Bureau have the speakers you are looking for on just about any topic like environmentally safe lawn care, or perennial flower gardening. We can adapt to meet your group’s needs, from a short 20-minute presentation to a longer format, if needed. While there are no fees for a volunteer speaker, a donation to Extension or the chosen volunteer organization is appreciated. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information on this service, call 913-715-7000.

Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


Gardeners Connect presents

Delaney, Arnold, and Garden U


color advances in daffodil development around the world, and he will share expert cultural advice for growing this perfect spring bulb in our Midwest region. Delaney is celebrating his 19th year at Missouri Botanical Garden. For 15 years he maintained and specialized in the bulb, daylily and iris collections, among others. Missouri Jason Delaney is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17. Botanical Gardens’ bulb mountains in northeastern China. beds have nearly 600 daffoHe has also traveled to Taiwan, New dil cultivars, with daffodils from all but one of the 13 official divisions Zealand and extensively throughout the U.S. promoting daffodils. of the genus Narcissus. Delaney also operates ProfesDelaney is has participated in conservation-focused plant colsional Horticultural Services, a company specializing in residential lecting expeditions in the Altai garden design and maintenance; mountains of southern Siberia, the Caucasus mountains of the Republic and PHS Daffodils, which specializes in daffodil bulb production.  of Georgia, the High Atlas mountains His daffodil collection is situated of Morocco and the Changbai Shan on 3 acres in Flora, Ill., where over 3,000 varieties are grown for commercial production, breeding and evaluation. Collecting novel decoraFairy Garden aCCeSSOrieS! tive varieties and preserving historic Bronze • Bird Baths • Concrete Urns • Home varieties are his primary foci.  Decor • Gazing Balls • Statuary • Sundials Fountains • Cast Aluminum • Furniture On Saturday, Feb. 21, Gardeners Connect welcomes Rita Arnold, coowner of Arnolds Greenhouse in LeRoy, Kan., to give us a preview of what to look forward to this spring in a program titled “What’s New for 2015.” The free program 74th & Prospect, KCMO also is scheduled for 10 a.m. with 816-523-1760 refreshments the half hour before. Also in February, Gardeners SELECTION IN KANSAS CITY Connect is offering a four-session

mong the earliest and most dependable harbingers of spring are daffodils. Though most of us are familiar with the smiling yellow and white faces of narcissus cultivars, an expert daffodillian plans to tell us some of the details we have missed and tempt us with images showing the range of colors, types and sizes of daffodils. Jason Delaney, north gardens supervisor and bulb collections specialist for Missouri Botanical Garden, plans to present a program titled “Revisiting the Daffodil: Still the Perfect Bulb for Your Springtime Garden” in a free program Saturday, Jan. 17. The program is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the auditorium of Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. We’ll have coffee and refreshments at 9:30 a.m. in amphitheater in the lobby west of the auditorium entrance. Delaney will discuss divisions, hybridizing, and new trends and

Elegance For The Home and Garden


garden design course as part of its Garden U adult education program. The instructor will be Kristopher Dabner, owner and creative director of landscape and garden design company The Greensman. The class is scheduled for Tuesday nights starting Feb. 3. After the first two Tuesdays, there will be a one-week break and then classes resume for the next two Tuesdays, ending March 3. The classes are scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at the Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania. The cost for the four-week course is $50 for members of Gardeners Connect and $65 for nonmembers. Gardeners Connect also plans to lead a group to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show on Feb. 12-15. Celebrating its 26th year, this year’s show offers attendees a chance to see hundreds of exhibitors, 6 acres of display gardens and a lineup of 120 seminars by top-tier gardening experts. The trip price includes airfare from Kansas City to Seattle and back, three days’ admission to the show, three nights’ stay and ground transportation to and from the airport in Seattle. You are responsible for all meals and shopping. The trip costs $1,079 for a single-occupancy room or $799 per person for a dual-occupancy room during your stay. For more information or to sign up for the Garden U garden design course or for the trip to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, please visit

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January 2015 |

Natural Diversity or Horticultural Variety: What’s in your garden? By Scott Woodbury Pictured left: Eastern blazingstar, Liatris scariosa and Texas greeneyes, Berlandiera texana; and see the Monarch?

Photo by Scott Woodbury.


t’s no secret that native gardens lack horticultural variety compared to traditional gardens. A trip to a local garden center illustrates the point. Native plants are usually displayed in small wellmarked areas (the Grow Native! point of purchase). The remainder of the garden center consists of vast areas dedicated to cultivated varieties (cultivars) of annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, tropicals, hanging baskets, sculpted evergreens, trees, shrubs, and evergreen groundcovers (a garden center’s bread and butter). This is horticultural diversity at its best, delighting the eye, promising an artful display and the latest, greatest plant and trend year after year. Why? Homeowners like nice things. They are looking for a makeover or something new to see and show. They are hoping to maintain or increase the value of their big investment, their home. So when perusing plants at the local garden center, native plant displays are passed up. They tend to lack colorful variety and bold foliage textures. They lack new trademarked and heavily marketed varieties to choose from each spring. No skinny upright or low bushy evergreens. No weeping small flowering trees or wispy ornamental grasses. Only one purple coneflower for heaven’s sake compared to the dozens of cultivars that come in every color of the rainbow. But here is the thing. Native plants attract more natural diversity

For sources of native plants and native plant products and services, consult the Resource Guide at The site also has a searchable native plant database and other resources, as does Shaw Nature Reserve (www., a Grow Native! Professional Member and leader in native landscaping display gardens and education. with a handful of species than a hundred non-native cultivars combined. Native gardens have finches because purple coneflowers produce seed. They have dozens of bee and wasp species because plants like wild hydrangea have pollen and nectar. And native plants attract beetles, bugs, dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, butterflies, moths, lacewings, flies, ants and better yet, the critters that feed on them: birds, bats, hawks, lizards, frogs, toads, snakes and more. In total the natural diversity in a native garden is vastly greater than the horticultural variety in a traditional garden. In years past I have enjoyed the eye-grabbing jolt and the alluring elegance that comes from a horticultural display full of cultivars and non-native plants. But now I enjoy the ongoing march of natural diversity that finds its way

to the native garden. The difference is that gardening isn’t just about my selfish pleasures anymore. Those days are waning as I plant more and more native plants and observe more and more natural

diversity. The native garden is a sanctuary for species, a buffet for birds who feed their young insects, and a safe harbor for as much diversity as I can attract. Gardens can still wow gardeners and their visitors but what they are seeing is so much more than just nice to look at. It’s full of life and mystery. It’s unpredictable and changes from day to day. It invites natural diversity that isn’t for sale in any point of purchase. So I ask you again, what’s in your garden? Horticulturalist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for more than 20 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

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“The pros you know in the clean red truck.” The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


Patrick’s Picks:

Healthy and Happy, Yet Underused Houseplants Patrick Muir


o you think you’re limited to philodendrons, mother-inlaw tongues and peace lillies when it comes to successfully grown houseplants? Well truth be told, there are many exciting underused, under-appreciated and underloved selections for your indoor pleasure. And now is a great time to invest in some startling choices and grow them outside this summer for robust plants to bring inside this fall. Leading off at the batter’s plate, Alan Branhagen, the Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens in Kingsville MO, says “I would pick Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoria-reginae) which is a semihardy succulent and one of the showiest of the agaves. It won’t grow you out of house and home like its cousin the century plant. It can be found as a seedling in the succulents sections of several local nurseries and is a delight to grow. It gets better and better every season as a globe or starburst of spine tipped leaves, each with a whitened edge that make it so strikingly beautiful.” The Queen Victoria Agave requires a sunny window for the winter and is best put outside for the summer. This outstanding selection is tolerant of freezing temperatures but not extreme cold. It thrives with low water requirements in a well-drained soil mix. Brent Tucker is also on the staff at Powell Gardens as the Horticulturist of Seasonal Designs & Events. On the top of his list is the Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) that he describes as a vining tropical 10

January 2015 |

that produces umbels of star shaped flowers that can last several weeks. Very easy to grow in a brightly lit window with some direct sun and needs water only when dry. I personally grew a very endearing one with variegated leaves of cream and pink which was a most attractive plant. Tucker says “The wax plant can also be grown in hanging baskets as it might try to climb its way up and out if grown in a windowsill.” False Aralia (Dizygotheca elegantissima) is related to schefflera making it another easy to grow but underused tropical foliage plant for a bright location. Tucker says “The highly dissected leaves give a great texture with a dark green to almost black coloration that can add contrast to light colored walls. This plant grows columnar and does have dwarf varieties that can be accommodated in smaller rooms.” Keep moist but do allow the top of the soil to dry slightly before adding water. Tucker says “Natal Mahogany (Trichilia dregeana) is an easy to grow, tall growing columnar tree that tolerates low light conditions in the home.” It can take heavy handed waterings but much prefers some drying between applications of water especially if placed in low light. Leaves are a nice dark green and generally pest free. Although is resembles the totally overused schefflera, it’s more exotic looking and so much more forgiving. Sandy Gibson with Family Tree Nursery & Garden Center in Shawnee KS, has been seeing a lot of the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) in upscale design magazines lately. Gibson says “A lot of its popularity comes from leaves that can potentially get as big as a fiddle which is very neat. And the other reason I love this plant is that it doesn’t mind going dry between waterings.” This fig retails in many

sizes, so you could start with a small shrub and let it grow into a tree, or you can start with a large 6-7 ft. tree in a bright, beautiful plant for modern decorating. Next up for Gibson is the very intriguing Pony Tail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). Gibson says “This plant is also know as elephant foot because the trunk,

is one of the most fascinating houseplants out there. You might want to sit down for this description that any superlative just might fall short in capturing. It sports a most intriguing trunk that usually pouches out on one side, just like any jolly belly should! The leaves look very much like a waterlily and flowers are

Queen Victoria Agave over the course of time in more mature plants, looks very much like an actual elephant foot. It also has the ability to go very dry since it will store moisture in the trunk of the plant.” This plant is flexible as it performs well in both bright direct light and indirect light. Just like the fiddle leaf fig, this is another plant that you can start small and watch grow into a large tree. But the difference is they are slow growing so they will not quickly out grow your space. Gibson makes the bold claim that she personally guarantees that you cannot kill this outstanding selection. Gibson believes the Buddha Belly Plant (Jatropha Podagrica)

clusters of bright red or orange blossoms with a little yellow star shape flower in the center of each. Gibson says “I have mine at home in a west window and it’s a great performer all year round and almost never stops blooming. If you choose to put it outside for the summer, its flower are wonderful for attracting butterflies. Since it’s a succulent, it’s just another easy care plant that does not mind going dry.” Patrick Muir is a former Johnson County Master Gardener. He can be reached at patrickmuir808@ and you can subscribe to his blog at

False Aralia

Natal Mahogany

Wax plant bloom

Buddha Belly flower

Pony Tail Palm

Fiddle Leaf Fig The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


Growing Food, Building Community By Christine D. Shuck


open the door to a flustered, slightly panicked, “Your chickens are loose!” A chicken is standing there behind my neighbor, looking at me expectantly for treats. I smile, “It’s okay, really, we sometimes let them out to wander a little bit.” “But won’t they wander off? I saw one two houses down!” Her panic is receding. “They always come home at night.” I reassure her, “In fact, they even put themselves to bed at night.” I smile, thinking of my child who still wages bedtime battles. We are in the city, surrounded by concrete and blacktop. But on our ? acre of land, with chickens pecking about, it has the feel of a farm. We moved here, to this 1893 Victorian with five city lots, in early 2013. We immediately put in a garden and filled it with tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, kale, garlic and more. On the other side, grow-

ing against the rock and brick walls of our house is our herb garden. As I dig into the dirt in the front of the house, planting elephant ear, roses, and perennial bulbs, an unfamiliar car pulls over. A stranger smiles at me as she leans out the window, “I just wanted to say that your yard is looking beautiful!” I smile and thank her, and get back to digging. Flowers of all kinds grace our front brick walkway, inviting people to stop and drift down the hand-laid path. It isn’t much, this little walkway I’ve been building out of bricks, but it is steadily growing and expanding, inching its way from the front to the west side, where our food garden lies. As I dig potatoes from the garden, a voice interrupts, “Excuse me, is this your garden? I turn, nod and invite the stranger standing on the sidewalk to come and see our yard. She lives down the street and has been admiring

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January 2015 |

the progress. Her son, his tiny hand in hers, yells, “Chicken! Chicken!” until I pick one up and show him how to pet her. I spent a decade in the suburbs, and I am friends with more neighbors now, than I ever knew in my old neighborhood. A huge part of that is the garden. I walk out of my house one day and see the landlord of the nearby 8-plex on our sidewalk, pointing out our garden to a new renter. He turns to me and grins happily, “This reminds me of my childhood!” he says. I see him a few weeks later and he waves. I fill his hands with tomatoes. There is something special about the connections that arise from growing food in the city. It changes people. Their steps slow, they smile, and our eyes meet. Strangers stop, walk up our path and knock on our door. Occasionally there is sadness too. An older man stopped by our home one morning. He hesitantly explained that he had lost his wife a month before. “I had her cremated,” he said, his voice hitching, “I work as much as I can. It’s easier that way. Every day, I put a flower by her urn. Is it all right if I pick one?” My husband nodded, and the man picked a solitary bloom and walked away slowly, his body bent.

One block to the north is a convenience store that has seen four homicides in recent months. To the south, a rental house is overflowing with trash, attracting vermin. Yet here, on our block, when we hear raised voices in the night, neighbors appear, ready to come to someone’s aid. There is awareness, a sense of community, and more. We share our eggs and tomatoes and encourage the neighbor children to explore our garden. A visiting neighbor and her grandson ask, “Don’t you need a rooster to get eggs?” I explain, “A woman ‘lays’ an egg every 28 days. It doesn’t mean she gets a baby out of it. Hens lay eggs two out of three days. “I love what you are doing with this place. It’s beautiful…peaceful.” I smile, “Let me get you some fresh eggs to take home.” And here, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, I am home. Christine Shuck is a writer, artist, community educator and general malcontent. You can find more of her gardening adventures at http:// or contact her at

Save the Date for Annual Spring Gardening Seminar


he Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City invite all local gardeners to their annual Spring Gardening Seminar, scheduled for March 14, 2015. The seminar will be held this year at lovely Unity Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The keynote speaker for this year will be Alan Branhagan, director of horticulture for Powell Gardens. Alan will speak on “The Garden After Dark” focusing on the peacefulness and the senses we use after dark in our gardens—fragrances and lighter colors for example. The seminar will be divided into four sections with three speakers each. Each section will cover a specific topic: Promising Plants, Unique Landscaping, Incredible Edibles, and Dynamic Demos. Under Promising Plants, the three speakers are Elliott Duemler, Leah Berg and Alan Stevens. Elliot Duemler, Nursery Manager of Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery in Baldwin City, Kansas, will speak about the propagation and care of native plants and what is considered a true native. Leah Berg, a landscape designer and writer of many articles on gardening for the Kansas City Gardener, will speak on designing patterned plantings—how many and what colors of plants needed to create beautiful flowering beds in your garden. Alan Stevens, a professor of horticulture at K-State, will talk about how plants are chosen to be Proven Winners in the K-State trials each year. Under Unique Landscaping the three speakers are Susan Mertz, Kristopher Dabner and Deb Spencer. Susan Mertz is director of marketing for Loma Vista Nursery and has worked in the horticulture industry in Kansas City for 15 years. She will speak about Small Trees/Big Impact –how to choose the right trees, what the best small trees, and how each contributes to the beauty of your yard. Kristopher Dabner is a local landscape designer who specializes in hardscapes.

He will speak about garden structures with the letter W—walks and walls—that will make your garden more interesting through shapes and materials. Deb Spencer is co-owner of Water’s Edge in Lawrence, Kansas. She will about smallscale water gardening and how anyone can have a small water garden using great containers, and how to maintain a small water garden. Under Incredible Edibles, the three speakers are Cody Hogan, Kim Dyer, and Linda Hezel. Cody Hogan, Chef de Cuisine at Lidia’s in Kansas City will speak about designing delicious edibles, taking you through the seasons in his Waldo herb and vegetable garden, including seed saving, and what he’s found that works best and what not to do in your garden. Kim Dyer, greenhouse manager for Colonial Nursery, will speak about herbs and how to grow them, keep them, and especially use them. Edible samples will be available. Linda Hezel has developed Prairie Birthday Farm since 1995 to produce beautiful, nutritious and flavorful organic food necessary for good health. She will speak on foraging: eating from the wild. In Dynamic Demos the three speakers are Judy Pique, Hal Riedler, and Grit Vece. Judy Pique is a member of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and will speak on Succulents for all Seasons. She has a large collection of hardy cactus and succulents in her yard. Hal Riedler has a passion for his hobby of beekeeping. He will tells us all about what’s the buzz on bees and the essential relationship between the honey bee and the flower. Grit Vece is a fashion designer who will teach us how to imprint nature on clothing by using leaves and flowers to create interesting apparel. For further information about this year’s Spring Gardening Seminar, and for dates to sign up through Eventbright, watch our website at

Volunteer Opportunities at Overland Park Arboretum Consider spending part of your leisure time volunteering at Overland Park’s 300-acre Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. New Volunteer Orientation: Thurs, Jan 15, 10am-12pm. Whatever your interests or skills, gardener or not, we’ll explore many opportunities available. Requirement is 40 volunteer hours annually. Train Garden Volunteer Training: Wed, Jan 21, 9-11am. At this training, learn how our train garden works, train history and meet other train enthusiasts. No experience with trains is required, all are welcome. Greeter Training: Wed, Feb 25, 10am-12pm. At this training, learn about all of the workings of the Arboretum. Help us answer the phones, interact with visitors and assist the staff with their daily duties. Registration required, no fee. Go to for more details and to sign up.

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The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


Caring for your trees in the dormant season By Matt Evans


ate fall and winter are some of the most important times of year to care for your trees. There are several things that should be done this dormant season to prepare your trees for harsh weather and the onset of spring. Below is a list of things that should be addressed with your trees this dormant season. PRUNING Trees should be pruned every 2-4 years to encourage good structure and reduce or eliminate low limbs that may be shading out the turf in your lawn, causing bare or thin spots. The dormant season is a great time of year to do this pruning, because the leaves are off the trees and an arborist can see and adjust the structure of the canopy. One thing that many clients overlook is pruning trees when

they are young. By pruning your tree when it is young, an arborist can make small cuts which will have a major impact on your tree’s strength as it ages. Most trees fail where narrow branch unions form in the canopy of the tree. When a tree is young, these defects can be slowed or eliminated. Once a tree reaches a mature size, it is difficult to remove or eliminate narrow or weak branch unions that were not addressed at a young age. However, this should not keep you from having your large trees pruned as well. Things to consider on larger trees include the removal of dead limbs, reduction cuts on weak limbs and removal of low limbs to get light to the yard. If an arborist sees a major defect he or she may recommend removal of the tree entirely or installation of a supporting cable

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January 2015 |

to reduce failure of a weak branch union. Pruning of your trees can be a complicated and dangerous job that requires the skill of a trained arborist to do it properly. If your trees have not been pruned recently, consider having a certified arborist stop by and make recommendations on what pruning should be addressed with your trees. To find a qualified arborist in your area, visit MULCHING The dormant season is a great time to freshen up your mulch. Mulching trees and shrubs has many benefits including moderation of soil temperatures, addition of organic matter to the soil profile, maintaining soil moisture and elimination of competition between turf and tree root systems. Another major benefit of mulch is aesthetics. There is nothing better than a fresh layer of mulch in your beds and around trees to add that finishing touch to a nice yard and landscape. WATERING Watering may be the most overlooked portion of dormant season tree care. Midwest winters can be very dry and this winter is lining up to be no different. At a minimum trees and shrubs that are established should be watered monthly through the growing season with 1-2 inches of water. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered more often to ensure survivability until spring.

If you have evergreens, watering is mandatory for survival through winter months. Evergreens should be watered with 1-2 inches of water every 2 weeks through the dormant season since they continue to lose moisture through their foliage all year long. FERTILIZATION Late fall and early spring are the two best times to fertilize your trees and shrubs. These times of year, tree and shrub root systems are actively growing and absorbing nutrients. Fertilization during these two key times will encourage rapid growth the following spring. Be aware that fertilization is not necessary for all trees and shrubs. There are two main reasons an arborist would encourage fertilization. The first is any time you want to encourage growth and the second is when a nutrient deficiency has been found through soil or foliar testing. The dormant season is an important time of year to care for your trees and shrubs. Pruning, mulching, watering and fertilizing are all steps you can take to ensure your trees continue to thrive in the years to come. Matt Evans is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He is also an American Society of Consulting Arborists Registered Consulting Arborist. He can be reached at 913-381-1505 or

The Desert Blooms this January at Powell Gardens

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isitors can easily travel to warmer climes when “Desert in Bloom” opens Jan. 10 at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. The glass-topped conservatory gracing the Visitor Center will showcase diverse shapes and sizes of cacti and succulents, ranging from the towering Century Plant to the scarlet-flowered Crown of Thorns. The exhibit, on display through Feb. 22, is part of regular winter Garden admission of $7/adults, $6/seniors and $3/children 5-12. Visitors also can learn how to bring the beauty of the desert to their homes during these related activities: Jan. 10-11: Succulent Dish Garden Make and Take Visitors can stop by from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday or 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday to create a small succulent dish garden. Participants can choose from a variety of succulents for this low-maintenance project and will receive information on how to care for the plants at home. Cost is $15 per project. Jan. 24-25: Supertufa® Cactus Planter Make and Take From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, visitors can learn how to mold Supertufa® into a 6-inch planter perfect for a single cactus. The planter will be ready for gentle handling within an hour. The cost of $15 per project includes potting mix and a small cactus.

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The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


2015 KC Remodel & Garden Show February 6-8 American Royal Center


ind fresh inspiration, helpful tips, innovative products and fantastic deals. The KC Remodel + Garden Show is the largest show in the region (over 500 exhibitors), featuring home and garden products. Show attendance in 2013 was more than double all other consumer home and remodeling shows in the region. The KC Remodel + Garden Show is dedicated to the home improvement industry, featuring the leading contractors and top products and service providers for improving the home. The Show targets project-minded consumers who are seeking to enhance their homes and lifestyles. The Show’s stage features a variety of home improvement, decor and design experts who share their expertise to help turn your home into the home you envision! SHOW HIGHLIGHTS Come meet Kevin O’Connor, host of the popular PBS television programs This Old House and Ask This Old House. Kevin will offer a behind-the-scenes view of the current season where the crew heads to New Jersey to see and deal with devastating effects of super storm Sandy. Learn how the crew restored three homes destroyed by Sandy and get lesson on how to storm proof your own home. Also, hear how the TV show is made and get all you home improvement questions answered. After each presentation Kevin will answer questions, shake hands, sign autographs and give away free copies of the This Old House magazine. Kevin O’Connor is the host of the award winning series This Old House and Ask This Old House. He is currently in his tenth season and also serves on the editorial board of This Old House Magazine. In 2010 Kevin also began hosting his third series called This New House, which airs on the DIY network. In September 2011 Kevin published his first book, The Best Homes of This Old House. Also on Stage will be Leanne Lee, Kansas City’s own DIY Diva and 2015 Home + Garden Trendsetter of the Year. Leanne is a DIY blogger that loves to share ideas about transforming those spaces and/or items that you love. In addition to her blog she can be seen every Wednesday on Kansas City Live, a local lifestyle/news program on KSHB TV-NBC in Kansas City. Butterfly House Tour the BUTTERFLY HOUSE and learn how to design gorgeous gardens that will attract hundreds of butterflies to your own backyard. Don’t forget your camera! Water Gardens: Snapshots of Nature The Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City will once again build a free standing water garden, showcasing the many aspects and benefits of water gardening. The displays emphasize the use of natural rock featuring new and innovative materials, and the latest in statuary and creative design ideas. For all the details, go to 16

January 2015 |

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

Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Jan 13, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Jan 31, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-784-5300 GKC Gardeners of America Mon, Jan 5, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Speaker is Jesse Nelson of Family Tree Nursery. Have you ever looked at your house plants and wondered how to prune them and how to propagate them? Bring a plant and be ready for hands-on learning. Non-members are always welcome. Bring your gardening questions, come join us, while making a new gardening friend. We will be serving light refreshments. For additional information, contact Betty Faye Watterson at 816-561-5308. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Jan 14, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. GKC Herb Study Group invites you to preview meetings for 2015, by ‘Getting to Know You’. Visitors always welcome in meet and greet. Bring a brown bag lunch, (drinks provided) and join us for installation of Officers of the 2015 & 2016 term. Yearbooks with 2015 event calendar will be available. For information, contact Charlotte at Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 21. The Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society will be kicking off Spring with an exciting meeting at the Faith Lutheran Church, 67th & Roe, Prairie Village, KS. Hospitality will begin at 9:30am, followed by a short business meeting at 10am, after which Jeff Miller, owner of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm, Milton, WI, will present ”Hostalicious”. The Club will provide barbecue for a potluck at noon. Everyone is welcome, bring your favorite dish to share. Following lunch, we are fortunate to have our own Phil Alley sharing his lively presentation “Evolution of a Garden”. Come share a fun day with fellow hostaholics! There will be great food, many door prizes and best of all, two great speakers! For information call Gwen at 816-213-0598. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, Jan 17, 10am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Independence Garden Club Mon, Jan 12, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center, corner of Noland and Truman Rd, 4th Floor, Independence, MO. Our snack food will be potluck, so please bring a dish. Our speaker will be Paula Diaz of the Master Gardener, and her subject will be “Native Plants in our Landscape.” For more information please call 816-373-1169 or 816-812-3067. Visit us at

Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Jan 18, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Jan 13, 7-9pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence (1263 N. 1100 Rd.) Meet the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. Information & Monthly Newsletter: Leawood Garden Club Tues, Jan 27, 10:30am; at the Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. About noon, Stephen Painter will present “Meet the Neighbors -- Wildlife Neighbors and Habitats.” Mr. Painter is the owner of Catch-It Wildlife and Pest Control. He has been in business since 1989, serving Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka. Meeting is open to everyone, guests are welcome. Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts are provided. For more information, www.LeawoodGardenClub. org, send an email to leawoodgardenclub@, or call 913-642-3317. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Jan 13, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 S W Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit MO 64081. Our speaker will be Gil Manda. The topic will be “Bees in Our Environment”. Refreshments provided, visitors are always welcome. Visit our website or call 816-540-4036 for more information. Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Jan 11, 1:30-4:30pm; “Orchids Underground”, at Birds Botanicals, “The Cave”. Come see this unique setting where hundreds of orchids are being grown and flowered in an underground facility with artificial light. Open to the public. For directions, go to or Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Jan 12, 7pm social, 7:30pm program; at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Kitty at Wild Bird Center will tell us everything we need to know about feeding the birds this winter. Guests are welcome. Questions? Contact Sallie Wiley at 913-236-5193. Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Jan 17, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Sho Me African Violets Fri, Jan 9, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300

Events, Lectures & Classes January

Gardening Workshop Sat, Jan 24, 8am-12:30pm; at the Olathe Community Center. Sponsored by Olathe Parks and Johnson County Extension. Registration information is available at publication/?i=228916&p=23 or by calling 913-971-8563. The workshop is packed full of great topics and speaker. The keynote speaker is Ben Sharda, Executive Director of Kansas City Community Gardens. There are also breakout sessions ranging from herbs, starting transplants, fruit gardening, garden planning and insects. You may also call Johnson County Extension for more information 913-715-7000. Home Herbalism Series 4th Saturday of each month (Jan-Oct) from 10am-noon. 1st Class: Jan 24, 10am-12pm ($32 per class or $295 for 10-month series). This series of 10 monthly classes will be a hands-on exploration of everything you need to know to be an effective home herbalist. We’ll lead you seasonally through growing, harvesting, preserving, storing and using many herbs. A bit of aromatherapy and wild food foraging will be included. We will journey around the Wheel of the Year with herbs, respectfully using what we grow and what Mother Nature offers, honoring both the wisdom of the ancestors and the current information available. Instructors: Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael and Twila Fairbanks. Information and Registration: 3rd Annual Winter Seed Exchange Sat, Jan 17, 11am-2pm; at Anita B Gorman MO Dept of Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110. Join us for our 3rd annual organic, non-GMO seed exchange! This is a place to bring something and get something. Items featured in this event include: organic, heirloom, non-GMO vegetable, herb & flower seeds, starter plants, shrubs, vines, bulbs, fermentation starters like kombucha, kefir grains, food grade essential oils, skin products, soaps, free range eggs, honey, bread starters, seed jewelry and much MUCH more - door prizes and free samples too! Please bring a little, take a little, bring a lot, take a lot. Items brought to share must be packaged, labeled and dated. All are welcome, come learn about our expanding Seed Library, proper seed harvesting, saving and planting. Join the Revolution and promote organic biodiversity in your community, your yard and your home. Free with suggested donation at the door. Contact Dayna McDaniel – 816.356.9892. Email: For more information, visit our Facebook page: Seed-Savers-KC. Build a Grow Light Frame Sun, Jan 25, 2-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Come build a frame of PVC pipe to support a grow light for indoor seed starting. This frame allows you to adjust the height of the grow lights and is easy to take apart for storage. All tools and precut materials are provided. (Light fixture and fluorescent bulbs not included). The finished frame will measure 4 ft long and stand 2 ft tall when assembled. $59/project, $52/member. Registration required by Jan 14. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209.

Or register online at AdultClasses. DIY – Lawn Care Tues, Jan 27, 7pm; at 11811 S Sunset Dr, Room 1055, Olathe, KS. Come and learn the basics of lawn care. Topics covered will include fertilization, mowing, water and weed control. Having a great lawn is not that difficult as long as the basic rules of care are followed. Once you have the basics down you are on the way to a lush, green lawn without all the fuss. $10 per person. Speaker: Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent. Call 913-715-7000 to register.

February Attracting Backyard Birds Sun, Feb 1, 2-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Learn how to attract an array of bird species by understanding basics from seed selection to providing water. Participants will mix and take home a batch of peanut butter-based suet sure to please the most discerning nuthatch. A laminated backyard bird identification guide with more than100 species is also included. $24/person, $19/ member. Registration required by Jan 26. To register call Linda Burton at 816-6972600 ext 209. Or register online at Honeybee Keeping—Traditional & Organic Approaches Sat, Feb 7, 10am-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Hobbyist beekeepers across America keep bees for many reasons, from a scientific fascination with bee colonies to honey production and use. In this class you will learn the basics of beginning beekeeping, including traditional and organic approaches, equipment needed, where to obtain bees, how to manage bees and how to harvest the honey. $24/person, $20/member. Registration required by Feb 2. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at African Violet Annual Spring Sale Sat, Feb 14, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st Street & Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by African Violet Club of GKC. For more information, 816-373-6915, Great Backyard Bird Count Sun, Feb 15, 9am-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Join Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Be part of a team that identifies and counts the wealth of birds that visit the Gardens. The morning session begins indoors and will focus on counting the birds that frequent our feeders around the Visitor Center. In the afternoon, Alan leads a hike of the Byron Shutz Nature Trial. The fee includes either or both sessions; please register for each session you plan to attend. $8/adult, $3/youth (ages 5-12), free/ member. (Members can RSVP directly to Linda Burton at lburton@powellgardens. org.) Registration required by Feb 11. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at To promote gardening events, send details to: Deadline for Febuary issue is January 5.


Weather Repor t

Highs and Lows Avg temp 30° Avg high temp 39° Avg low temp 21° Highest recorded temp 75° Lowest recorded temp -20° Nbr of above 70° days 0

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 10 Avg nbr of cloudy days 15

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 5.8” Avg rainfall 1.3” Avg nbr of rainy days 7 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases Full Moon: Jan. 4 Last Quarter: Jan. 13 New Moon: Jan. 20 First Quarter: Jan. 26 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

Plant Above Ground Crops: 1, 4, 23, 24, 27, 28

Plant Root Crops: 4-6, 12

Control Plant Pests: 17, 18

Transplant: 4-6

Plant Flowers: 23, 24

The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015



garden calendar


• Avoid walking on frozen lawns as it may injure the grass. • Rake fallen leaves that pile up on the lawn to prevent the grass from suffocating. • Proper mower maintenance is important, tune-up now. • Scatter snow instead of piling up on the lawn next to drives and walks. • Talk with lawn service company now about summer contracts. • Dormant seed following a light snow or rainfall.


• Scan nursery catalogs for new introductions. • Still have bulbs to plant? Get in the ground now. • Start seeds throughout the winter depending on growth requirements. • Water fall-planted perennials as needed to prevent desiccation. • Watch for signs of frost heaving and cover tender roots. • Replace mulch layers as needed. • Check stored bulbs for rot and decay and discard damaged ones. • Curl up with a good book and learn more about gardening.


• Gently brush off heavy snow from tree and shrub limbs to reduce damage. • Prune storm damaged limbs quickly to reduce damage and prevent tearing of the bark. • Allow ice to melt naturally from limbs. • Bring twigs of flowering trees and shrubs indoors for forced spring blossoms. • Avoid the temptation to prune on a warm winter day. • Water fall-planted trees and shrubs when soil is dry and not frozen. • Watch out for rabbit damage to bark of trees and shrubs.


• Peruse seed catalogs and prepare order. • Check stored seeds for decay. • Soil test and prepare for spring planting by making required additions. • Start vegetable transplants for the garden under grow lights. • Order fruit trees. • Pick up fallen fruit before spring arrives and discard. • Be on the lookout for damage by rabbits and rodents to fruit tree bark.


• Wash dust off plant leaves to allow more sunlight to reach the leaves. • Water plants with room temperature water. • Insecticidal soap sprays can be used to remove pests. • Mealy bugs and scales can be wiped off with a swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. • Rotate plants to develop a well-rounded plant. • Keep new plants separated to be sure they do not harbor insects. • Reduce fertilizer use until spring when more sunlight is available for growth.


• Repair garden tools. • Sand and seal tool handles to prevent splinters. • Brightly colored paint applied to tool handles makes them easier to spot in the garden. • Keep bird feeders and water supplies filled for feathered friends.

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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• Archive Issues to review • Garden Destinations to visit for inspiration • Garden Groups to join • Find a Professional for your project • Timely Articles on plants and people

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

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

Meet Mae Christenson, Johnson County Extension volunteer. Name: Mae Christenson Organization: Johnson County Extension Master Gardener, a volunteer educational service of Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. Title and duties: As the Speakers’ Bureau Coordinator, I connect the requesting organization to the appropriate speaker who can meet the learning objectives of the members of the group. The Speakers’ Bureau: Members share up-to-date researchbased horticulture practices they have learned from advanced trainings. Topics vary per volunteer’s availability and expertise, from specifics such as ‘Soil’, ‘Emerald Ash Borer’ to ‘Virtual Garden Tour’ designed for those who can’t part with gardening, yet find it too physically challenging. It’s the art and science of gardening information. The best part, I think, is the gardening conversations to be had and questions to be answered which will shorten any gardener’s learning curve for the topic of interest. For the EMG speakers, it’s the gardening “AHA moments” they witness that inspire them to do it again and again. It’s a very positive experience for both parties. In a way, my true job is being the matchmaker. We serve local gardening organizations, social, civic groups, area home associations, JOCO Library patrons and occasionally our fellow EMGs from surrounding counties plus countless other groups. Tell us what’s in your garden: I’ve been gardening since the early 1990s. Generally speaking, I love plants that are drought and heat tolerance, happily growing once established and beneficial to many lives. I also appreciate plants that get along with other plants. If I must choose a favorite genus, it will be Salvia. Favorite local garden destinations: The Garden Gallery at the Johnson County Extension office has so much to see in so little space. The Biennial JOCOEMG Garden Tour is something I look forward to every even year. The Linda Hall Library in early spring has a fabulous collection of Tree Peonies in bloom. And Kauffman Memorial Garden is ideal for a lazy mid-summer afternoon retreat. Words of wisdom: The Joy of being in the Garden and the Peace that comes as a result of that can only be felt by understanding and supporting the balance in that ecosystem. A thriving garden needs less care. MC Other Interests: I love to eat, therefore, I cook. I also appreciate art, dance and music. For more information about the Speakers’ Bureau, call 913-715-7000 or email The Kansas City Gardener | January 2015


Create Your Indoor Oasis

ALL Tropicals & Houseplants



Don’t Forget the BIRDS

20% Off

25% Off Colorful Foliage & Blooms to Brighten the Winter Days

10% Off



Bird Feeders

Small Scapes Workshop in February

135th & Wornall 20

January 2015 | (816) 942-2921

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy Closed for Winter Season

105th & Roe (913) 649-8700

KCG 01JAN15  
KCG 01JAN15  

houseplants, trees, birds, chickadee, dormant, snapdragon