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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

January 2016

Perk up winter grey days with lively Tropicals

Horticulture Classes Winter Mower Storage 101 Professional’s Corner: Meet Josh Farley Take Advantage of Warm Winter Days


The Kansas City

GARDENER

editor’s notes

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Paul Clouse Tom DePaepe Theresa & Nik Hiremath Nancy Nidiffer Dennis Patton Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

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

See us on the Web: www.kcgmag.com

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

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January 2016 | kcgmag.com

Days of peace

T

he garden is mostly quiet, headed for a deep sleep. Most all of the trees have dropped their leaves, revealing the structure of the landscape, from soil to skyline. It’s in this moment that I notice how the trees have matured this year. Also exposed are nests built by resident birds and squirrels. What an undertaking for such small creatures. Leaves, once a canopy of shade from the summer heat, now blanket the perennial bed, offering protection from harsh winter weather. Mother Nature is generous with natural mulch. The final blooms of echinacea and rudbeckia have not been pruned away, in hopes to benefit wildlife with food and shelter in the cold months ahead. From all appearances, doesn’t the garden seem at peace now? When you stand among the trees and shrubs in winter, can you sense the calm? I’ve come to appreciate the pace of winter. Perhaps it’s the permission I need to slow down, or the instruction necessary be quiet. Unlike spring and summer when the garden gives us plenty to do, dormancy in the garden reminds me to pull back a bit, to not be in such

a hurry. These are the days of solitude, reflection and peacefulness. Developing the capacity to be quiet is not as easy as it sounds. Oh sure, I can zip my lip and not say a word, my thoughts gaining speed all the while. But the challenge for me is to quiet the mind as well. Learning to sit in silence, without the influence of television, or music, or iPad, or cell phone is a real test. In the beginning, it was sad. I tried to merely sit still for a minute, and not think about a thing. Twenty seconds into my first attempt, and my mind was clamoring for the next thought. It was as if I had the attention span of a gnat. With practice though, I’ve been able to actually get (and remain) quiet. To be hushed, and only notice my breath is relaxing. Some say it’s a form of meditation. For me, it’s simply a time to allow

the silence to soothe and calm. And that soothing, calm feeling I get makes everything else that comes along in a day a little easier to manage. The garden is my classroom for learning life lessons. Every season presents a new topic, from patience and diligence, to optimism and gratitude. It’s my hope that I remain open to learning, and in doing so, am able to share what I’ve learned with others. So I welcome 2016 with my arms and heart open wide. My goal for this new year is to be an example of the peace our world so desperately needs. May peace be with you. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue January 2016 • Vol. 21 No. 1 Ask the Experts ........................ 4 The Bird Brain ......................... 6 Horticulture Classes ................. 7 Winter Mower Storage 101 ..... 8 Perk up with Tropicals .............. 10 Take advantage of warm winter days ............................ 12

about the cover ...

Healthy Plants begin with Well-dug Holes ........................ 14 Johnson County H&G Show ...... 15 Upcoming Events ..................... 16 Weather ................................. 17 Garden Calendar .................... 18 Professional’s Corner ................ 19

Placing Lemon Lime Dracaena Warneckii in any room is sure to get attention. Learn more wonderful tropical houseplants on page 10.

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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.

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GIVE ‘EM Shelter

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LODGING IS ESSENTIAL IN THE COLD WINTER MONTHS, SO GIVE BACKYARD LOYALISTS A PLACE TO TURN IN ON LONG, CHILLY NIGHTS. CHOOSE FROM A VARIETY OF BIRDHOUSES TO PROTECT ‘EM AGAINST THE COLD & PRECIPITATION. birdhouses with wood chips & dry Tip: insulate grass so birds can plug cracks & holes to

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton GROW IVY AS HOUSE PLANT Question: I keep trying to grow variegated English ivy as a house plant but the plant gets crispy and dies off. I water the plants, being careful not to overwater. What keeps killing the plant? Answer: I am guessing that there are a couple of issues. While English ivy thrives outdoors in our climate, the more tender species that we grow indoors are much fussier. Here are a couple of potential problems. The crispy edges are a result of your home’s dry air.

English ivy would prefer to have a more humid environment to thrive. The brown edges are a result of water loss. There is really no way to overcome this. Old wives tales such as misting the plant or setting it on a try of pebbles with water don’t really work. Another issue is low light levels in the home. While variegated plants prefer shade outdoors as our intense sun can burn just the opposite is true indoors. Plants that lack chlorophyll require extremely high light levels to make energy and thrive. That is why plants with colorful leaves usually turn green indoors. Your best bet might be to love your plants for as long as possible and then discard for a new one. Or maybe you should be clipping one of the half price coupons in

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January 2016 | kcgmag.com

Growing English ivy as a house plant can prove frustrating. Sunday’s paper as they make some really great silk knock-offs. WATER NEWLY PLANTED TREE Question: I planted a large black gum tree this past fall. If we have a dry winter how much water does the tree need each month to get it through the winter? Answer: I am very impressed with your level of knowledge as you are already thinking and should I say, know that the tree will need water over the winter. This is a mistake that far too many people make. Monthly watering is a pretty good guess for the rate of watering based on normal conditions. How much water really depends on several factors such as how much snow fall or rain we will receive. But to keep it simple I would use this rate as a benchmark. For each inch of trunk diameter I would

recommend no less than 10 gallons of water. So a 2 inch diameter tree would need 20 gallons. This assumes that you apply it slowly to soak into the soil. Since it is a new tree the majority of the roots are within the root ball. Make sure you start by soaking the roots and then move out and water the surrounding soil mass. Hope this helps. As far as winter watering goes you can apply any time the temperature is above freezing and the soil is not frozen. If it freezes later that night it will not harm the tree. LEAVE HOSTA UNTIL SPRING Question: I have hostas in a pot that are dormant. I am overwintering in my basement. Can I repot them now while they are still dormant? Answer: The simple answer is yes you could repot while dormant but I think the best answer would

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Repotting hosta is best left until spring. be waiting until you are ready to move back outdoors in the spring. Messing with the roots could send a signal to the plants to break dormancy. Since it will be in the dead of winter it would be best if the plants stayed dormant and did not wake up from a winter slumber. For that reason let’s wait on this project. Then you can also divide if needed and you will be ready for another season. WHEN TO TREAT IRON CHLOROSIS Question: I have a Flowering Dogwood that gets iron chlorosis. I usually put down Ironite in the fall but forgot. Can I still apply it to the ground around the tree or should I wait until spring? Answer: Iron is often unavailable to our plants because of the high pH of local soils. The result is a condition known as chlorosis which causes light green to yellowish leaves. Iron is usually abundant in our soils except with the high pH. Treatment is either to lower the pH or add iron, or the best recommendation is a combination of both. Iron does not move into the soil so a surface application is not the most effective, it needs to get to the roots. It does not really matter fall

COMPOSTING Question: I built a compost pile with leaves and used lawn fertilizer as the green. The pile got hot and I turned it, but now they don’t heat up anymore. Should I throw in some more fertilizer? I want them to breakdown quickly so I have compost come spring. Answer: Using garden fertilizer is a great trick to add the needed nitrogen or green to go along with the carbon or brown leaves. My hunch is that the composter used up all the green fertilizer and just ran out of steam. You will probably need to apply more nitrogen to kick-start the pile. Unfortunately with winter conditions it might be difficult to heat up a cold pile. Give it a try as you have nothing to lose. One last comment, the first heating of a new pile is usually the highest temperature the bin will reach. Each turn will be a little cooler until the batch is finished. The nice thing about leaves is they will still mold and breakdown over winter. Don’t forget the water, as a dry pile will not cook either. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.

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or spring, just get it down. I would go ahead and apply and let winter freezing and thawing help move it ever so slowly into the soil. Another option would be drill holes in the ground and place the Ironite and sulfur in the holes to help get the iron to the roots. Fall, or even winter, is a good time to do this as hopefully some will become available before the plant breaks bud in the spring and the result will be dark green leaves.

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The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

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The Bird Brain

Help Birds Beat Their Winter Woes

By Nik and Theresa Hiremath

N

ow that cold weather is settling in for the winter, it is time for us all to put on at least one extra layer when we venture outdoors. When we get too cold, we can come back inside to our nice heated buildings, enjoy a warm beverage, and maybe even sit in front of a comforting roaring fire. Needless to say, our feathered backyard friends do not have the same luxuries available to them. While birds are equipped to withstand most winter weather, they obviously can’t turn up the thermostat, throw on an extra blanket or whip up a warm cup of cocoa. However, there are a number of ways you can help make survival easier by providing food, a heated, open source of water and protection from the elements. If you pos-

sibly can, provide food, water, and shelter this winter to help the birds survive the cold weather. One study by University of Wisconsin scientists showed that Black Capped Chickadees in extremely cold winters with access to feeders had an over winter survival rate of 69% versus 37% for those that didn’t. Keep Feeders Full Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights! This fat must be replaced everyday. During periods of temperate weather, birds that come to feeders typically obtain only about 20% of their daily calories from food

offered in feeders; the rest come from natural food sources. When severe weather impacts wild food supplies, some species of birds will turn to bird feeders as a critical food resource. It is during these times that feeders play their most vital role. If a storm or very cold spell is of long duration or extreme impact, a feeding station may mean the difference between life and death for birds. Reliable, Open Source of Water Birds continue to need a source of water for drinking to maintain their metabolism during dry, cold weather. Additionally, clean feathers help birds stay warm. A bird bath is often the only way for some birds to quench their thirst and keep their feathers in top condition when it’s cold. Most birds adjust their feathers to create air pockets, which help them keep warm. The soft, fluffy down feathers are puffed up with air to create a warm blanket around the bird. The body feathers lie on top of each other, overlapping like shingles on a roof. Small interlocking barbules, or “hairs,” zip their feathers together to create an airtight windbreaker. Also, most birds preen their feathers with the oil produced by a gland on their backs near their tails to create a waterproof rain coat. Research has

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January 2016 | kcgmag.com

shown that a chickadee with wellmaintained feathers can create a 70° (F) layer of insulation between the outside air and its skin. Isn’t that amazing? Protect from the Elements Birds need a place to escape the chilly, damp elements. Installing roosting and nesting boxes in your backyard can give birds a warm, dry place to stay overnight. Shelter is also necessary for protection against natural predators, such as birds of prey and cats. An added bonus to installing nesting boxes during the cold weather is that it increases your chances of having nesting birds to entertain you during the warmer weather that follows! Another way to provide shelter for the birds is to make a brush pile in the corner of the yard. Put logs and larger branches on the bottom and layer smaller branches on top. You can also rake leaves up under trees and shrubs—and leave them there. The resulting mulch will make a lush environment for the insects and spiders that birds like to eat. Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.


Horticulture Classes

W

hen it’s cold outside and you’re looking for garden-related things to do, why not take a class. Johnson County Extension offers these evening horticulture classes for gardeners looking to broaden their gardening knowledge. Class time is 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will be held at Johnson County Extension Office Room 1060, 11811 South Sunset Drive, Olathe, KS 66061. The fee is $10 per person, per class. To enroll: http://www. johnson.k-state.edu/classes-events/index.html or call 913-715-7000. Soils 101 Tuesday, January 19 Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Good gardening starts from the ground up. If you can grow a strong root system the rest will be easy. This class looks at what soil is and its role and relationship to gardening. Learn how with a little knowledge and understanding of basic soil science you can turn a ho-hum garden into a showpiece. Managing the soil applies to all aspects of gardening whether vegetables, flowers or shrubs. Everything starts with the soil. The Art of Pruning Shrubs Tuesday, February 2 Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Unravel the mysteries of pruning. Pruning is as much an art as it is a science. It is really fairly simple. By knowing a few basics you can become a master pruner. Don’t be like most people and fear pruning, instead embrace the cut. Avoid the common mistake of not pruning until it is too late and then more drastic measures must be taken.

Maintaining a Lawn with Less Inputs Tuesday, February 16 Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Lush and green is the goal for many lawn keepers. But times are a changing and many of us question lawn care. Do we really need all that fertilizer, water and pesticides? The answer is not really. This session will cover how you can have a great looking lawn for less. Flower Garden Basics Tuesday, March 1 Presenter: Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Claude Monet said “I must have flowers always, and always.” Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? Come and learn the basics of flower gardening: when to plant, fertilize, water, divide, deadhead and more. This session will be chalk full of tips to get the most out of your garden. *The Artistic Garden Tuesday, March 15 Presenter: Lenora Larson, Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener Mixing art objects among your plants can be daunting; however,

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Winter Mower Storage 101 prepare for spring with preventive measures now By Paul Clouse

S

I work at a dealership service department that knocks out about 3,000 mowers a year. The problems are 80% fuel related. ETHANOL.

ee if your snow blower or chain saw starts. That is your priority now. If they do, that’s awesome; sadly, most won’t. No starts after storage are caused by an evil enemy of your power equipment. Its name is Ethanol. Ethanol destroys everything it touches that’s made of rubber (that would be your chain saw, string trimmer, power blower’s entire fuel system). Your mower doesn’t have much rubber. It has a little bit of fuel line, that’s about it. Your mower’s problem is the stuff they have to add to fuel so the Ethanol doesn’t settle to the bottom. Fuel from the pump is ‘fresh’ for 30 days. That’s it, 30 days. After 30 days the gas and Ethanol start to evaporate. Sadly the additives don’t. The additives don’t burn, and will sit in the bottom of your fuel system and build up.

Here’s how to put away your mower so you know it starts next year. Step 1. Run the mower until it is out of gas. Step 2. Change oil. It’s easy. Take out the dipstick, turn the mower on its side and pour the oil out of the dipstick tube. If it is a walk behind mower it generally holds 20 oz. of oil. Not a quart. Step 3. Now that your mower is on its side, you have the air filter pointing right at you. Check it out. Is it clean? Disclaimer, if you don’t know where your air

cleaner is, stop right here. Take it to a dealer. It’s worth the investment. Step 4. Hey, I see the blade! Take it off. Lefty Lucy. Get it sharpened or replaced. The cost to sharpen versus replacing is worth considering. You make the call.

Step 5. This is the most important step—use TruFuel. TruFuel is precision-engineered premixed fuel with synthetic lubricants and advanced stabilizers that are specially made for your 2-cycle and 4-cycle outdoor power equipment. The highoctane ethanol-free fuel protects your investment, saves you time, and helps your equipment run the way you need it to, especially as you look forward to spring. It comes in quart cans, and is sold everywhere. It will last 3 years. Fill the tank and run for 2 minutes. Paul Clouse is Service Manager at Reynolds Lawn & Leisure, located in Shawnee, Kansas. You may reach him at 913-268-4288.

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Gardeners Connect presents

Let’s learn more in 2016 Exotic Plants for Spring at Powell Gardens

Jeff Oberhaus will talk about “Exotic Sizzle for Our Midwest Gardens” Saturday, Jan. 16

G

et a glimpse of some of the new and exotic plants that we could plant this spring at a free gardening program on Saturday morning, Jan. 16. Jeff Oberhaus, owner of Vintage Hill Farm greenhouse, plans to talk about “Exotic Sizzle for Our Midwest Gardens” at 10:30 a.m. at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. This free program, and the rest in the series of free programs presented by Gardeners Connect, are financed by membership dues and fund-raising events, including the Kansas City Garden Symposium. Oberhaus’ Vintage Hill Farm is a 100-acre farm atop a rolling hill on Highway 87 about 2 hours east of the Country Club Plaza.

The greenhouse business opened to the public in 1993 and has evolved into a mecca for the plant enthusiast. Oberhaus also raises horses and cattle, and Vintage Hill Farm is home to peafowl, chickens and an ever roaming pack of Welsh Pembroke corgis. The greenhouse there holds more than 1,700 varieties of annuals, tropicals, perennials, hardy roses and shrubs. Most of them are grown there, and many are tried and tested here in gardens in our area before being proclaimed worthy for the gardens of our challenging Midwestern climate. Jeff and his crew strive to offer underutilized heat-tolerant, tough plants to give your gardens and containers “WOW” factor. The greenhouse is open March 1 through October 31. Vintage Hill Farm offers an extensive selection of cactus and succulents and also begonias, herbs, roses, annuals, perennials, conifers, trees and shrubs. The collection of brugmanias at Vintage Hill Farms may be the largest you will see anywhere. Gardeners Connect is planning a Plantaholic Frolic bus trip to Vintage Hill Farm and other garden stops on Saturday, April 30. This program is a preview of some of what we will see at Vintage Hill. Watch for details on the trip in the Gardeners Connect newsletter and email newsblasts.

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Vermicomposting: The Dirt on Worms Saturday, Jan. 24, 1-2:30 p.m. Turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer for your plants. Learn how to use red wiggler worms to create vermicompost for your plants and garden. Assemble a worm bin complete with a starter kit and the know-how to care for it. $39/person, $32/member Registration required by Jan. 18. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. Make a Hypertufa Container Saturday, Feb. 6, 1-3 p.m. Learn techniques for working with hypertufa and make a hypertufa container to take home. The inside of the container will measure approximately 4 by 4 inches. Take it home on the day of class, along with a succulent plant. Bring a pair of rubber gloves and a dust mask. $32/person, $25/member Registration required by Feb. 1. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses.

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The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

9


Above: Dumb Cane; Below: Chinese Evergreen

Below: Lemon Lime Dracaena Warneckii

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January 2016 | kcgmag.com

Above: ZZ

Below: Ponytail Palm

Below: Peacock Plant

Below: Snake Plant


Perk up winter grey days with lively Tropicals Nancy Nidiffer

D

reary winter days can weigh heavily this time of year. To lift the doldrums and brighten any room in the house, try adding tropical house plants. They are bright and beautiful, and many are undemanding and easy to care for. Available in varieties too numerous to list here, this article suggests a few of my favorites. For someone like me who is passionate about house plants, it’s incredibly difficult to select favorites. That’s like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. Simply impossible. To narrow the field a bit, the criteria for selection are ‘easy care’ and ‘not fussy’. This way you’ll experience success from the start. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) This colorful plant has to be my favorite, with many different cultivars such as Siam, Etta Rose, Happy Valentine, and Sparkling Sara. There are many colors to choose from. All the different varieties have the same requirements: Low to medium light, medium water, but be careful not to overwater them. With minimum care, this beauty will give a splash of color to a darker space. Peacock Plant (Calathea lancifolia) These plants feature unusual patterned leaves and great color, as if someone actually painted it. The Peacock plant does very well in medium to lower light. Keep

this plant evenly moist but not wet. It does appreciate humidity so a pebble tray with water is a good idea. The surprise is that the leaves close up at night, revealing their purple underside! ZZ (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) If you are a member of the “oops I forgot to water my plant” club, this plant may be for you. Also known as Ariod Palm, this plant has beautiful, glossy thick leaves that resemble a palm frond. The real draw, however, is its ease

your house. The long spiked leaves feature a snake-skin pattern, which gives the Sansevieria its nickname. There are many different cultivars, which range in size from 1-3 feet in height. They prefer to be root-bound, so repotting is hardly necessary. Although they can go for long periods without water or sunlight, this greatly reduces their lifespan. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata) A cute name for a cute plant, the Ponytail Palm is also known as

Above: Pothos of care. Low light and low water requirements make this an ideal plant for an office or any place where the plant can be left on its own for a while. It is better to err on the side of too dry than too wet. Snake Plant (Sansevieria) This is a plant that your grandmother probably had in her house. In fact, you may have inherited one from her due to their longevity. This characteristic makes the Sansevieria a must-have plant in

an Elephant Foot Palm, although it isn’t a palm at all. This plant is actually classified as a succulent. It stores water in its trunk, which prefers to be so root-bound that it touches the sides of its pot. Being very adaptable to varied conditions, the Ponytail Palm is a fun and easy addition to your outdoor garden during the summer. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia ‘Camouflage’) Like most of the plants on this list, the Dumb Cane is an easy

plant to take care of. It requires medium to low light. It is a good idea to let it dry slightly between waterings, and use a well-draining potting soil. This particular cultivar has amazing coloration (hence the name Camouflage), but there are variations that are equally colorful. Pothos Plant (Golden) Yes, I know “it’s been done” but there is a reason for that. These are colorful, hardworking, and easy plants that deserve a second look from curious gardeners. You can put it anywhere, as it will grow up or down depending on how you choose it. They can be grown quite easily from cuttings, and you can pinch it to the shape you desire. Once again, these may seem like common lowly plants but you would do well to give one a chance. Low to bright light is required, and keep the soil evenly moist. ‘Warneckii Lemon Lime’ (Dracaena deremensis) Striped plants, you gotta lov’em! Lemon Lime is just one of the many varieties of Dracaena available. They can range in color from the dark green of the ‘Janet Craig’ to the variegated ‘Song of India’. Let the pot dry slightly between waterings, and give it medium to low light. Also keep in mind that some plants are toxic, so educate yourself, and be careful when placing them around children and pets. If you’d like more house plant suggestions, give me a call. Nancy Nidiffer, tropical plant extraordinaire, is team leader in the tropicals department at Suburban Lawn & Garden, Inc, on Roe, in Overland Park, Kan. You may reach her at 913-649-8700.

The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

11


Take advantage of warm winter days

Tom DePaepe

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hile January in Kansas City is typically cold and potentially snowy, we are usually lucky enough to enjoy a few warm days. (I got married in January 2009 and the temperatures on my wedding day were in the 60s.) When these days fall on a weekend, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get outside and get a few landscape projects checked off your list. Pruning Ornamental grasses do provide some winter interest, but they can be cut back any time. I usually do this shortly after the New Year. If you have a bigger stand of grass,

you may find it easier to clean up if you tie a piece of twine around the base before pruning. This way, you have the clippings bundled and they are easily composted or placed in a landscaping bag. Rodney mentioned last month that winter is a great time to prune large trees because you can see their structure and easily identify rubbing or crossing limbs, and limbs that could be hazardous to your roof or other personal property. This is also a good time to remove deadwood. Clients often ask me how our arborists can identify deadwood when there aren’t any leaves on the tree. Trained arborists really don’t have a problem with this, and you shouldn’t worry about companies removing live tissue if you hire a professional. (Visit www.treesaregood. com for a list of ISA certified arborists.) If you haven’t already, consider some pruning. A lot of tree companies will offer discounts at this time, and your wait to have the work done will typically by

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It’s okay to prune ornamental grasses now. much shorter than if you wait until spring or summer. Bed Cleanup Inevitably, more leaves fell after you were done raking for the year. Now is a great time to go in and get those stragglers out of your landscape beds. Another little task that many people forget, is removing stakes from young trees. Stakes are great for trees that are still getting establish, but by a year post-planting, they should really be removed. Trees are constantly growing, and neglecting this step compromises the health of the tree, namely because the wires used to attach the stake can girdle the tree, interrupting the flow of water and nutrients within the trunk. Mower/Equipment Maintenance Now is also a great time to beat the rush and get your mower blades sharpened. If you have the tools to do it yourself, that is great. Otherwise, most small engine shops can do this for you. Mower blades should cut the grass, not tear it. If you noticed

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that your freshly cut grass has jagged edges, your mower blades need sharpened. Torn grass edges could invite disease into your lawn under the right conditions, and they also make the grass look a bit yellow or wilted. You should sharpen your mower blades once a year. If you use string trimmers or blowers, this is also a good time to do some routine maintenance on those tools. Wipe down trimmers and blowers to remove grass clippings and other debris. Regularly clean or replace air filters and replace spark plugs. You should also periodically flush old gas and oil from your blower and replace it with a fresh mixture. (Especially if you have stored the machine for a longer period of time with the gas and oil in it.) Taking the time to perform these routine maintenance tasks will extend the life of your equipment and help them run better. Plus, these tasks are a good excuse to get out in the garage and alleviate some of the cabin fever that sets in every winter, especially for those of us who enjoy being outside. It is difficult for gardeners and green industry folks to be indoors, so winter presents some challenges. Thankfully, Mother Nature understands us and usually gives us a few nice days to get outside and get working in the landscape. Let’s take advantage of these days in 2016!

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Lauritzen Gardens Botanist Helps Revive Wildflower Classic

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n acclaimed but out-of-print book on the wildflowers of the Great Plains has been revived thanks to the efforts of Jim Locklear, director of conservation at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens. Claude Barr homesteaded a parcel of South Dakota prairie in 1910, hoping to make a living as a farmer. What transpired over the next 72 years is a remarkable story, culminating in the book Jewels of the Plains. Barr’s wonderfully written personal account of the wildflowers of the Great Plains grew out of decades of observing these plants in the wild and growing them for his mail-order nursery, Prairie Gem Ranch. Jewels of the Plains won immediate acclaim in botanical and horticultural circles when it was published in 1983 and is

considered a classic of American garden literature. Out of print for many years, the book was republished in 2015 by the University of Minnesota Press in a revised edition edited by Jim Locklear. Locklear reviewed and updated the scientific names of over five hundred plants discussed by Barr and contributed a new introduction and notes section. The revised edition includes sixtytwo color photographs of Great Plains wildflowers and landscape scenes, mostly taken by Locklear. Copies of the revised edition of Jewels of the Plains are available for $27.95 in the Lauritzen Gardens Gift Shop, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit www.lauritzengardens.org.

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Integrated Landscapes for 21st Century Horticulture • Listen to some of the best industry speakers • Explore existing and emerging career opportunities • Visit with professionals at information booths • Learn about JCCC career certificate and degree programs Certain presentations are eligible for pesticide recertification credits and CEUs for STAR members. 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Register at jccc.edu/horticultural-sciences • For more information, contact Dr. Lekha Sreedhar at 913-469-8500, ext. 3763, lsreedha@jccc.edu

The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

13


Scott Woodbury

I

’ve dug a few holes over 35 years. Mostly for plants, but occasionally for posts, and I am happy to report that I’ve learned the difference. Posts are forgiving. Plants are not. Posts rot slowly and are stronger when planted deep. Plants rot fast when planted too deep. Plants turn crispy when planted too high or when water is forgotten. They turn yellow when mulch gets mixed into the hole or, heaven forbid, when they are planted straight in the mulch. They don’t grow at all when planted in compacted soil—but don’t tell that

to a post planter where compaction is king. Number one challenge with gardening I find is that people plant plants as if they were posts. Like most things worth doing, they are worth doing well. Successful planting is a tad complex. It is as much about the hole as it is about the plant and the soil you are working with. Let’s take a closer look. It might seem obvious how to dig a hole, but there are a many ways to do it. Here is my preferred method: A day or two before planting, water the space for an hour or two. Moist soil will make digging much easier. On the day of planting have all of your ducks in a row. Water container plants first so they don’t dry out on a sunny day. Gather your favorite tools. I prefer to use a mattock or sharp-shooter to dig with and a hand trowel to plant with. Occasionally I’ll use a bulb auger and a drill when plant-

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Photo by Scott Woodbury.

Healthy Plantings Begin with a Well-Dug Hole

ing plugs. Also have on hand a bucket—or buckets—of good topsoil to backfill the hole. This is especially important when planting in poor clay or rocky soils. Never backfill the hole with compost or peat moss as this is too rich, it may not be fully decomposed and may severely wilt the plants. Keep in mind that many products labeled on the bag as “garden soil” is often all compost. Always backfill with loose topsoil and never with clods or clumps of clay. With a sharp-shooter or mattock begin digging, turning, and chopping soil in an area about two times the size of the container. It’s easier done with a big tool rather than a hand trowel. You are only loosening the soil at this point. Once you get the soil loose and crumbly, dig the hole with the trowel for small containers or a shovel for trees and shrubs. It should be as deep as the root cube you are planting, but no deeper or the plant may sink too deeply and develop problems. Next, prepare the root mass by first pulling the plant out of the pot. This can be tricky if the plant has grown out of the pot. You may have to cut the roots away or cut the pot off of the plant. Remember to recycle the pot at a local garden center. Next, pull out any weeds that exist along with any loose soil on the top of the pot. Also, if the roots are circling toward the outside of the root cube, cut into the lower third of the root mass with a hand pruner on two sides and discard any loose roots. Now in the hole goes a little loose topsoil in the bottom, then the plant and loose

topsoil around the sides. Keep in mind that if you removed some of the loose container soil on top, you will be replacing that with an equal amount of topsoil on top of the root cube. Final planting step is to firmly press the whole loosened area with your hands for small containers or feet for trees and shrubs to compact the soil a little. Mulch the bare soil area with shredded leaf mulch to a depth of about two inches. I like to do this by hand using buckets. Leaf compost can smell a little when fresh, but the smell goes away. Do not mix leaf mulch (or any type of mulch) into topsoil as this product is not fully composted and will starve plants of nutrients, turn yellow and possibly die. I prefer leaf mulch over bark mulch for aesthetic reasons and plants seem to thrive more. Incorporate only fully composted materials into topsoil. This may seem like a lot to think about, but after you get the hang of it it goes quickly. Happy planting! For sources of native plants to plant in your well-dug holes, as well as the services of landscape design and land care professionals, consult the Grow Native! Resource Guide at www.grownative.org. Horticulturist 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.


Johnson County Home & Garden Show Friday, January 22 through Sunday, January 24, 2016 Overland Park Convention Center

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ore than 20,000 homeowners attend the Johnson County Home + Garden Show annually seeking helpful advice, new products, the latest in décor, and inspiration for renovation and landscape projects. The Johnson County Home Show features high-interest exhibits, industry personalities, and offers the latest trends with thousands of products, and decorating, construction and remodeling ideas for guests to gather and compare. Water Garden Society Discover the benefits of water gardens on your home. The Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City will showcase a freestanding water garden made with natural rock features. Relax by the tranquil display and learn how to create a water garden in your own backyard. The Water Garden Society will amaze you with their creative and ecological techniques to transform your backyard into relaxing escape for the everyday life. Two Chicks and a Hammer HGTV’s, mother-daughter duo Karen Jensen and Mina Starsiak buy run down homes and transform them into stunning urban remodels in their hometown of

Online: Check out the Johnson County Home Show website at johnsoncountyhomeshow.com and get $2 off

a valid ID, and come enjoy the Johnson County Home Show on opening day! Tickets: $8 Adult (Online) $10 – Adult FREE – Children 12 and under Show Times: Friday, 1/22, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, 1/23, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday, 1/24, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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

Club Meetings Cyclamen (left) and African Violet (right) are sure to brighten any winter day.

Romance Blossoms at Powell Gardens this January

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ibrant colors of spring fill Powell Gardens’ glasstopped conservatory, where “Winter Romance with Victorian Flair” is on display Jan. 9 through Feb. 21. Visitors can escape winter’s chill and enjoy an array of flowering plants displayed on antique Victorian plant stands. Cheerful cineraria, cyclamen, calceolaria, kalanchoe, stock and more will chase away those those winter blues. The exhibit is included with regular winter Garden admission of $7/adults, $6/seniors 60+, $3/ children 5-12 and free/members. Visitors can bring some spring color indoors and get advice on caring for houseplants during these activities: Jan. 16: The Joy of African Violets Visitors can stop by from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see some gorgeous African violets grown by members of the African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City and the Sho-Me African Violet Club. The members will be on site to answer visitors’ questions about caring for these plants. Plant care guides and leaf cuttings will be available while supplies last. Jan. 23: Houseplant Clinic Visitors with houseplant problems can drop by from 10 a.m. to noon to get expert advice from a horticulturist. Plant care sheets and plant cuttings will be available while supplies last. Jan. 30-31: Romance in Bloom: Blooming Hyacinth Vase From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, visitors can learn how easy it is to force hyacinth bulbs using a vase and water.

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January 2016 | kcgmag.com

Step-by-step instructions will be available. For $10, visitors can take home a pre-chilled hyacinth bulb in a forcing vase, and look forward to the fragrant show to come! Wassailing & Winter Feast Powell Gardens’ staff and guests will come together to wassail the orchards of the Heartland Harvest Garden during the fourth annual Wassailing & Winter Feast at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. Wassail, which comes from the Anglo-Saxon greeting “wes hal,” means “be of good health” and is perhaps best known as a wintertime drink of spiced wine or ale. But the tradition of “wassailing” to encourage a productive apple harvest dates back at least to the 1500s. Participants will learn more about this tradition before the group moves into the Apple Spiral to sing to the health of the apple trees, scare away the evil spirits and imbibe some “old recipe wassail”—all with a goal of ensuring a more productive harvest for 2016. After the outdoor festivities, visitors will return to the warmth of the Grand Hall for a buffet-style country dinner featuring roast pig and traditional wassail. The price is $45 per person and space is limited. Make reservations online at powellgardens.org/wassailing or by calling 816-697-2600 x209. Powell Gardens is a not-forprofit botanical garden located 30 miles east of Kansas City on Highway 50. The Gardens are open daily year-round except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

African Violets of GKC Tues, Jan 12, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Jan 9, 9:30am-2pm AND Sat, Jan 30, 9:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Jan 13, noon; in the Rose Room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 GKC Water Garden Society Tues, Jan 19, doors open at 5:30pm for snacks and socializing, formal portion of the evening begins at 6:30pm; at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. Park in the Northwest parking lot beside the Planetarium. Follow the WGS signs to meeting rooms. Parking for members is free with their parking pass. Our first speaker, Jo Domann, comes to us from Operation Wildlife in Linwood, KS. Operation Wildlife is the largest non-profit wildlife hospital in Northeast Kansas. She will be speaking to us about “Backyard Hospitality”. There will also be information presented about how to become a certified wildlife habitat. Their water garden was the first installed by the Water Garden Society over 20 years ago. Our featured speaker is Mike Parmley, from Anything Aquatic in Lawrence, KS. Anything Aquatic is a custom design, build and maintenance firm serving customers in Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka. It’s that time of year when water garden enthusiasts are dreaming of spring, tweaking their water features and making some new plans or adaptations to their pond. Mike Parmley will be presenting about his favorite topic, “Bogs and Plant Filters”. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, Jan 16, 10am-12:30pm; at at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816513-8590 Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 19, Hospitality at 9am; Meeting and Program at 10am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4801 W 67th St (67th & Roe), Prairie Village, KS. Kim Dyer will present an innovative program on Shade Perennials, sharing tips we all need to know, some that will both please and surprise you! Potluck will follow, Club provides meat, drink and utensils. You may bring a dish to share. There will be a raffle and door prizes. Following lunch,

Keith Wheeler will share his presentation on Hypertufa containers. Come and join in the excitement of Spring! Visitors are always Welcome! For more info, call Gwen at 816-213-0598. Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society
 Sun, Jan 17, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 816-513-8590. Leavenworth Co Master Gardeners Wed, Jan 13, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth KS 66048. There will be a video presentation of Leavenworth County Master Gardener projects. Following this presentation Pat Matthews, Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation; Favorite Perennials- Why We Love Them. The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome. For more information call Melony Lutz at 913-484-4568 or the Leavenworth County Extension office at 913-364-5700. Leawood Garden Club Tues, Jan 26, 10:30am; at its NEW MEETING PLACE, Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS. At about noon, Linda Lehrbaum, from Bridging the Gap KC Wildlands, will present “Explore Kansas City Wildlands and Native Flowers.” The meeting is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts provided. For more information, please visit our website www. leawoodgardenclub.org, send an email to leawoodgardenclub@gmail.com or call 913-642-3317. Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Jan 16, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Jan 10, 1:30pm; at the Orchid Cave. Escape the winter doldrums. Thousands of blooming orchids to see and buy. Demonstration of how to mount an orchid. Come join in the fun. Open to the public. More information at www.osgkc. org or www.birdsbotanicals.com. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Jan 11, 7pm; at Colonial Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. We will have a slide show of the award winning photos taken by members from all over the country, including three of our own members. These photos were chosen by our National organization to be on the calendar they produce each year. In addition, we will have a fun word search game to play also. Anyone with


questions may contact Sallie Wiley at 913-236-5193. Sho-Me African Violet Club Fri, Jan 8, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes January, February, March We Love You Kansas! A Celebration Sat, Jan 9 and 30, 12-4pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS 66013. Ditch the drab of winter with a lively birthday party for Kansas! It’s the month our State entered the union, and we’re celebrating our Kansas heritage with storytelling, reenactments, music, a history fair and more. Sponsored by Freedoms Frontier National Heritage Area and Johnson County Library. No pre-registration necessary, included with admission. www.opabg.org Seasonal Hike: The Bones of Winter Sun, Jan 10, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Join Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen and discover the beauty in the winter landscape! See the sublime beauty of tree silhouettes, dried grasses, evergreens, winter seeds and berries. What winter birds will we encounter? Join us and find out. $9/person, $5/ member. Registration required by Jan 7. To register call Linda Burton at 816697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at powellgardens.org/AdultClasses. What’s New for 2016 Thurs, Jan 14, 10am, in the Sunflower Room at the Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by the Wyandotte County Master Gardeners Association. A presentation about new releases in flowers, vegetables and other garden plants. Fee: $5. SeedSavers-KC 2016 Annual Winter Seed Exchange Sat, Jan 16, 11am-2pm; at the Hampton Inn and Suites on the Country Club Plaza, 4600 Summit, Kansas City, MO. We are a nonprofit all volunteer organization that teaches the age old skill of saving open pollinated seeds from harvest to use at planting time. www.seedsaverskc.org Johnson County Home & Garden Show Fri, Jan 22 thru Sun, Jan 24; at Overland Park Convention Center. For more information, call 816-931-4686 or visit the Show website at johnsoncountyhomeshow.com.

New Volunteer Orientation Thurs, Jan 28, 9am-11am; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS 66013. It’s not just gardening! Consider spending part of your leisure time volunteering at Overland Park’s 300acre Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Whatever your interests or skills, gardener or not, we’ll explore many opportunities available. Requirement is 40 volunteer hours annually. The Art of Bonsai Thurs, Feb 4, 11:30am-1pm; in the Sunflower Room at the Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. If you’ve ever admired bonsai, the Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers, and wondered how to get one started and then how to maintain it, this is the class for you. Wyandotte County Master Gardener Rev. Dexter White has been creating and caring for bonsai plants for 11 years, and will share his knowledge and experience. Fee: $5 (waived for Extension Master Gardeners). 913-299-9300. Horticultural Sciences Day Fri, Feb 12, 8am-6pm; at Johnson County Community College. To register and view the scheduled program details along with speakers and topics, go to www. jccc.edu/horticultural-sciences. There is a registration fee of $40 for the general public to attend lectures on Feb. 12. Lunch and breaks are included. JCCC faculty, staff and students can attend free with a valid ID (lunch not included). Annual Spring Sale Sat, Feb 13, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Sponsored by African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City. Join us for our annual Spring sale. There will be lots of blooming and starter plants and potting supplies. Open to the public with no admission fee. Info: kskd1@juno.com

• Mulch • Topsoil • Compost • Yardwaste Drop Off $5off Any Purchase of $20 or More Expires 1/31/16

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Weather Report

Annual Seed Fair Sat, Feb 13, 9am-3pm; at Douglas County Fairgrounds, Bldg 21, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence. FREE. 7th Annual Kaw Valley Seed Fair. Seed exchange, local producers, environmental info, seed saving workshops, and children’s activities. www.facebook.com/kawvalleyseeds Wildflower Nursery Sale Sat, Mar 28, 9am-4pm; at Kansas City Community Gardens, Swope Park, 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO 64132. Sponsored by The Westport Garden Club, Member Garden Club of America. Open to the public.

(First 2 paper waste bags)

Expires 1/31/16

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: WeatherReports.com

From the Almanac Moon Phases Last Quarter: Jan. 2 New Moon: Jan. 9 First Quarter: Jan. 16 Full Moon: Jan. 23 Last Quarter: Jan. 31 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

Plant Above Ground Crops: 9, 10, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23

Plant Root Crops: 23, 29, 30

Control Plant Pests: 7, 8

Transplant: 22, 23

Plant Flowers: 13, 14

The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

17


January

garden calendar

n LAWN • Review lawn service contract and make necessary adjustments. • Tune-up or repair lawn mowers now to beat the spring rush. • Avoid heavy traffic patterns on frozen lawn. • Remove wind-blown piles of leaves to reduce winter suffocation. • Evenly spread snow from walks, do not pile to prevent winter diebacks. n FLOWERS • Enjoy the arrival of nursery catalogs and glean for new ideas or prepare orders. • Leave emerging spring bulb foliage alone, no need to cover or mulch. • Check bulbs in storage for rot and decay, discard as needed. • Water the garden if it is a dry winter. • Frost heaving occurs when the soil freezes and thaws, cover crowns to prevent injury. • Start seeds of early spring planted flowers or slow growers.

n TREES AND SHRUBS

• Remove snow from limbs by gently brushing to reduce breakage. • Prune storm damaged limbs to reduce bark tears and start quick healing. • Water newly planted trees and shrubs, especially evergreens as needed. • Check for rabbit damage on tender barked trees and twiggy shrub growth. • Cut branches of flowering trees and shrubs for indoor forcing.

n VEGETABLES AND FRUITS • Prepare seed orders and review garden catalogs. • Store unused seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. • Soil test now to avoid the spring rush and apply needed amendments as soil conditions allow. • Start vegetable transplants for spring planting such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. • Order fruit trees. • Take advantage of mild winter days and begin pruning grapes and other fruit plants. • Check fruit plants for rabbit damage and protect as needed.

n HOUSEPLANTS

• Keep plants out of heat and cold drafts. • Wash accumulated dust from leaves to allow sunlight to reach the leaves. • Water with room temperature water. • Withhold fertilizers from house plants during winter months. • Check for insects and treat as needed with products such as insecticidal soaps. • Turn plants toward the sun for a more balanced look.

n MISCELLANEOUS

• Repair garden tools. • Sand and seal handles to prevent splinters. • Treat the birds, keep feeders stocked and water available. • Pick up a good book and learn more about this great hobby, gardening.

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

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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.

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A true outdoorsman, meet Josh Farley, has been inspired to be in the landscape since childhood. Name: Josh Farley Company: Greenleaf Garden Services Job title: Landscape Design-Install Consultant Education and experience: I received a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture & Regional Community planning from Kansas State in 2013. While at K-State, I gained experience as a maintenance associate with Howe Landscaping where I learned more about why taking care of what we have is so important. Professional internship led me to Beloit, Kansas with Ken and Joyce Benedick at Great Plains Landscape & Design, learning everything from outdoor kitchens, decks, and patios, to landscape lighting, irrigation, and planting. After graduating from K-State, I moved to Kansas City and have been working as a landscape design consultant for 3 years. Since joining the Greenleaf team in 2014, I have participated in design work, client communications and marketing, project management, and installation operations. What inspires your work in the green industry: I grew up near and spent a lot of time wandering around in the Mark Twain National Forest that surrounded our home in New Bloomfield, MO. This appreciation was taught to me through my mother and father. When the chores were finished and they said, “Go play!,” that is what I did. I felt at home more so when I stepped out the door and got lost on yet another adventure hiking through the woods while listening to the wind make sweet music with the canopy above me. Favorite tree: Awwww, I have to choose?! Haha, I’m going to say the Salix alba or White Willow. I know it has a lot of drawbacks with invasiveness, weak wood, and shallow roots but the same could be said for everything and everyone. Give me a hot summer day, a cool breeze, a hammock and a White Willow, and I’ll see you when I wake up. Favorite garden destination: They’re all my favorite! The stroll through, over or around is where I find most of my joy. The experience becomes a destination within itself with several more along the way. What every gardener should know: The sun still shines on those rainy days. Non-green industry interests: Reading, writing, playing music, cycling, trail-riding, and hiking. Little known secret: I like to eat all my french fries before I even touch my burger. There, I said it! Contact information: Greenleaf Garden Services, P.O. Box 7527, Shawnee Mission, KS 66207; phone (816) 916-5171; website: greenleafkc.com; email: Joshua@greenleafkc.com The Kansas City Gardener | January 2016

19


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