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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

July 2016

Summertime Green

Glorious Lilies In the garden with Paula Winchester Is It Worth Saving The Ash Tree? Annual K-State Horticulture Center Field Day

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KCG_2016_July.indd 1

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The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

The Joy of Weeding

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Alan Branhagen Nik and Theresa Hiremath Lenora Larson Susan Mertz Dennis Patton Judy Penner Theresa and Jim Platt Rodney St. John Brent Tucker Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

See us on the Web:

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 21.


July 2016 |


nevitably whenever I’m in the front yard putzing around, our neighbor that lives down the street drives slowly by and shouts, “When you’re done, come down to my house.” We both laugh, as I admit that I’ve got plenty of garden chores to accomplish around my own little piece of paradise. Once when he noticed I was weeding, he stopped to tell how much he disliked that duty. “As a small boy, my mother used to make me weed her garden, and I hated every second of it.” Perhaps as a child, working in the garden is not on the short list of fun things to do. If forced to “help”, there better be a frozen reward when finished. That’s why my freezer is full of kid-friendly icy treats for those that choose to help out. I happen to love weeding. It’s a good thing because there are plenty of them in our landscape. Mr. Gardener and I have a similar passion in landscape beautification. His strengths lie in executing a plan. From demolition to installation, he’s my guy. With a sharp shovel and his undeniable fortitude, we have been able to accomplish

major landscaping projects. Conversely, I’m the detailer. While he likes the overall picture, I’ve got my nose in the particulars. From pruning to deadheading and the details inbetween, I get my kicks by performing tasks like smoothing mulch and clearing pesky weeds. When it comes to weeds, Mr. Gardener is a proponent of the tank sprayer filled with an elimination solution. I, on the other hand, am highly opposed to his method. He says it’s safe, but I much prefer the old-fashioned way – on my hands and knees with my favorite tool. I think it’s called a dandelion weeder. Its large v-shaped notch grabs the weed as it’s pried from the ground. An oldie, but a goodie! Of course weeding is best done after a rain shower or when the soil is slightly moist and workable. These are optimal conditions for removing the entire root system intact. Sounds silly, I know, but I

get great satisfaction and measure every removal a success. And while my head is down and my rear aimed skyward, I’m usually close to blooms where the bumble bees are hard at work. Their chorus of buzzing while collecting nectar is happy music to my ears. Yes, there are plenty of distracting irritants. Varied flying insects “bug” me, as well as barking dogs. The mosquitoes don’t sound as nice as the bees. The heat can be oppressive. I could go on. Mostly though, I love the solitude found in the garden. It’s the time and space where I’m free to simply be. Unfettered here, I recognize a magnificent presence that humbles me, and welcomes to me to enjoy this spectacular earthly life. My gratitude for this gift cannot be contained. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue July 2016 • Vol. 21 No. 7 Powell Garden Events .............. 5 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 The Bird Brain ......................... 8 K-State Field Day ..................... 9 Rose Report ............................ 10 Glorious Lilies .......................... 11 Summertime Green .................. 12 Mower Maintenance ................ 14

In the garden with Paula Winchester ..................... 15 Saving The Ash Tree ................ 16 Skippers ................................. 17 Upcoming Events ..................... 18 Plumeria ................................. 19 Garden Calendar .................... 23 Professional’s Corner ................ 23


about the cover ...

The Sassafras tree is one of many with leaves that offer diverse beauty in the garden. Alan Branhagen writes about many of his favorite trees and plants with great summertime green starting on page 12. Photo courtesy of Alan Branhagen.


July Events at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden Booms & Blooms Festival Saturday, July 2 Grab your friends and family, and enjoy a day of dinosaurs, daylilies, live music, food, kids’ activities and fireworks! If you would like to see the Jurassic Garden exhibit, note that portions of it close at 7:30 p.m. Daylilies—See more than 400 varieties blooming in the Perennial Garden, open until 8 p.m. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. MoKan Daylily Society
members will offer advice on growing these beauties. Already a daylily aficionado? Chat with them about joining the group! Live Music: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Ernest James Zydeco 7:30 p.m. Lee’s Summit Symphony 9:30 p.m. Fireworks Bring a picnic (no outside alcohol) or purchase food from one of these vendors: The Bite, Booz’n Cruz’n Barbequ’n, Chartroose Caboose, Ice Cup Ades, KC Deeyas, North Star Events, Ron’s Kettle Korn and Tadley’s Homemade Ice Cream. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Festival admission is $12/adults; $10/seniors 60+, $5/children 5-12, and free/children 4 and younger. Discovery Station for Kids: Prehistoric Plants 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 9-10 Learn about the plants that lived when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and create a piece of art with pre-

$5/member; and free/children 4 and younger. DinoNight

historic plant rubbings. Included with Garden admission. Half-price Admission for Friends of Powell Gardens at KC Zoo July 16-17 Members get half-price admission to the Kansas City Zoo this weekend! Likewise, Friends of the Zoo get half-price admission to the Gardens. Simply present your membership card when you pay admission. Catch a Free Ride to the Gardens! 10 a.m. Saturday, July 16 Kick back and enjoy a relaxing ride to the Gardens! Visit to reserve a seat on the free shuttle, which leaves Kauffman Memorial Garden at 10 a.m. and leaves the Gardens at 2:30 p.m.

5:30-8:30 p.m. July 30: SOIL collective co-founders Calvin Davis, Rick Mullins and Mickey Priolo Prepaid registration required. Visit for details. Dino-Night! 7-9 p.m. July 22 Bring the entire family and take a self-guided tour of Jurassic Garden at twilight! Prepaid reservations required: $15/adults or $10/member; $7/children 5-12 or

Garden Chef Demos Enjoy cooking demonstrations by two chefs who share a passion for sustainably grown, local produce: 2 p.m. July 17: Julie Kendall, Chef/Owner of Café Blackadder in Warrensburg, Mo. 2 p.m. July 24: Brandon Winn, Executive Chef at Webster House in Kansas City, Mo. Stop by to meet the chefs and sample local fare featuring produce from the Heartland Harvest Garden! Included with Garden admission. Save the Date for Festival of Butterflies! The 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies takes place August 5-7 and 12-14. Don’t miss it! Visit for details.

Cooking from the Garden Culinary Classes Learn from some of area’s top culinary talents during our new class series: 6-9 p.m. July 22: Craig Jones, AKA The Grill Mayor

Call us for landscape inspiration!


Read Our Blog

The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


Ask the Experts Readers share their questions about landscape issues, and DENNIS PATTON gives expert tips and advice. WHY DON’T IRIS REBLOOM Question: I have ‘Immortality’ iris. They’re beautiful in late April/early May but they don’t rebloom later in the summer. Why won’t they rebloom? Answer: ‘Immortality’ would be one of my garden must-have plants. The large white blooms which are lightly fragrant will bring a smile to any iris lover’s face. This repeat blooming plant, in my humble opinion, is one of the best. I have also had issues with reblooming and here are my thoughts. Reblooming occurs best when the plants have even moisture. Drought and heat will prevent or reduce the follow-up blooms. So keep it well-watered during the summer. Many people let iris just go, which is fine for most but

for additional blooms that plant must not be allowed to go dormant. Another issue which may reduce flowering is overcrowding. ‘Immortality’ is a very vigorous grower. It quickly can become overgrown. Divide or thin the plant to make sure the new rhizomes are healthy and vigorous. In my own garden I sometimes do not get a summer bloom but see flower stocks develop into October which may be nipped by a frost. Hope this helps. DOES DEADHEADING HELP HYDRANGEA REBLOOM Question: Will deadheading my Endless Summer hydrangeas after the flowers fade promote new flowers? Answer: That is a very interesting question and one I have never

Booms & Blooms

Saturday, July 2

at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden Dinosaurs and Daylilies Live Music:

• 4:30-6:30 p.m. Ernest James Zydeco • 7:30 p.m. Lee’s Summit Symphony Fun, Food and Fireworks!

(No outside alcohol allowed.)

$12 adults, $10/seniors 60+, $5/children 5-12 Rain date: Sunday, July 3

really thought about. I think you might have me stumped. I will take a stab at answering. This plant will bloom both on old and new wood. The spring flowers are borne on the old growth while the fall show is from the new growth over the summer. Removing the faded flowers should stimulate new growth to emerge as the plant is no longer putting energy into flower development. The question though is will the new growth after the flower head has been removed have time to mature and set a flower bud by fall? My guess is there will not be time for all this to happen before frost. The best hydrangea flowers are set at the end of a strong basal stem. Side shoots off a main stem may not produce large, showy flowers but several that are smaller in size.

I guess give it a try and see what happens. Faded hydrangea blossoms are all you have to lose. Usually the fall flowers on Endless Summer Hydrangeas are not that great. The flowers produced on the old wood, in the spring tend to be much larger and showier. CARE OF ZOYSIA VS BLUEGRASS Question: I just bought a house with a zoysia lawn. Do I fertilize it the same way I did my bluegrass? Answer: Great question as this goes back to the basics of turf growth. There are two types of grasses we grow, cool and warm season. Cool season grasses, like bluegrass and tall fescue, prefer the cooler conditions of spring and fall and can suffer under hot and dry summers. Warm season grasses such as zoysia and Bermuda are mainly dormant in the spring and fall but can tolerate the much

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IS IT OKAY TO PRUNE OAKSß NOW Question: Is it okay to have my tree service cut the deadwood in my pin oaks in July? They never get all of it when they prune in March. Is it okay if they cut live wood in July? Answer: The short answer is no. But read on for the explanation. Oaks in the red oak group which includes pin oak are susceptible to a disease called oak wilt. Oak wilt can quickly kill a beautiful mature tree. The key with this disease is to reduce the potential spread and infection. The fungus that causes oak wilt is spread by insects which are attracted to the wounds on oak trees. As the insect feeds on the wound they infect the trees with the fungus. Once the tree is infected it quickly moves through the tree and control is almost impossible at this point. Pruning creates a wound and entry point.

One of the best strategies to help prevent oak wilt is not to wound the tree during the growing season. The growing season begins when the buds swell in the early spring and ends in the fall when a frost or freeze occurs. In other words, in this area we should avoid pruning from April through October. If you love your tree and want to do everything to keep it healthy, then avoid pruning in the summer. I realize this may make it more difficult to remove all the deadwood but do your best. By the way, a trained arborist up to date on recommendations should warn you of the potential concerns with oak wilt. If someone is ready and willing to trim your oak during the growing season without properly setting the stage you may want to hire a new arborist. Just saying! BECOME EMG VOLUNTEER Question: On your recent garden tour I enjoyed so much talking with Extension Master Gardener volunteers. We talked forever about plants and our common gardening interests. How do I become one of these volunteers? Answer: It is simple, have the desire to volunteer and continue to learn and enjoy sharing with others. The Extension Master Gardener program is conducted by Extension in your county, on both sides of the state line. Call your county office for the application process. Here in Johnson County we are taking applications through midJuly. Our classes are held every Tuesday during the day starting in

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mid-September and ending before Thanksgiving. There are also a few requirements associated with the program. For more information check out our web page at www. HOW TO PREVENT LEAF DROP ON TOMATO PLANTS Question: Last summer my tomatoes started to lose their leaves which I know reduced my harvest. What can I do to prevent the leaves from yellowing this year for a better harvest? Answer: The main cause of leaf drop is a foliar leaf disease. These diseases start attacking the lower leaves first, slowly moving up the plant so that by mid to late summer there is little foliage left to make energy and produce qual-


warmer summer. As a result they have different growth cycles or habits. Cool season grasses are best fertilized in the fall, September and November during their most active growth periods. Warm season turf on the other hand should be fertilized in late spring through early summer. So the answer to your question is no, the schedule is almost reversed. Fertilizing a warm season lawn in the fall may prevent it from going dormant and result in winterkill. The differences in fertilization are just one of the changes in maintenance when switching from cool to warm season grasses.

ity fruits. Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight are the cause. These diseases can be controlled with the use of a fungicide sprayed on at about two-week intervals. The recommended product is chlorothalonil. Other cultural practices to reduce the problem is to avoid overhead watering, space the plants further apart for better air movement and mulch. The disease requires damp leaves to spread so any practice that helps dry the foliage will provide some benefits. 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 | July 2016


The Bird Brain Birds don’t take a summer break, so THERESA HIREMATH tells us what we can do to benefit birds this season.


t’s summertime and the livin’ is easy…. What a great lyric! Hopefully, the longer daylight lets you relax a bit and enjoy the opportunity to watch your backyard birds more than usual. Rest assured, your feathered friends aren’t taking it easy, though. They are busy rearing their young who require more nutrition with every day that passes! Access to abundant and healthy food supplies is important to birds… regardless of the season, and bird feeders provide a portion of these important nutritional needs for your backyard birds throughout the year, including summer time. Recent research shows summer to be the most abundant season for birds to visit feeders. Birds with access to backyard bird feeders benefit greatly from

their ability to spend less time foraging for food and more time engaging in activities that enhance their health and safety and that of their young. Summertime feeding allows the parents to spend more time constructing higher quality nests and protecting their nest, eggs and young from predators. The parents themselves are very vulnerable to predators while searching for food. Less time spent foraging means more time spent being vigilant in spotting a predator in time to successfully evade it. Research studies have shown that birds with access to bird feeders will often lay their eggs earlier than those without feeders. Earlier broods typically have better rates of survival and fledging success than later broods. The extra nutrition provided at feeders can

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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. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information on this service, call 913-715-7000.

This Downey Woodpecker appreciates easy access to the cylinder-style seed. also increase the nestling’s rate of growth and reduce aggression among nest siblings. Most backyard feeder birds molt from July-September. Some molt through October like Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves and Eastern Bluebirds. American and Lesser Goldfinches can molt through December. Every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation. They need extra fats for energy to grow feathers and provide proper coloration to best attract a mate. If they lack these proper nutrients, it could be a difficult winter and a lonely spring without access to summer feeders! Summer bird feeding also allows us to experience the many fun and fascinating wild bird “family life” activities. By mid-summer, fledglings will begin leaving the nest and are being fed and taught to eat from feeders by their parents, a fascinating interaction to observe! Fledglings are about the same size as adults, but often their plumage color is muted and similar to adult females. In some species, fledglings’ tails are shorter than the adults’, because the tail feathers are still growing. You can recognize Downy and other woodpecker fledglings by their fresh and dapper plumage, whereas that of the adults is worn and dusky from their repeated

trips in and out of the nest hole. Chickadee fledglings follow their parents to the bird feeder and perch nearby as the parents go to get food. They either wait, looking like they are waiting to be served, or they call incessantly “teeship teeship” and flutter their wings until fed. After one to three weeks, the parents stop feeding their fledglings and may even peck at them if they persist in begging for food to get them to feed themselves. See if you can observe this behavior at your feeders! Feeding your birds in the summer will not make them too lazy, too dependent, or keep them from migrating at the appropriate time. These misconceptions have been dispelled by modern research and observation. Remember, the food you provide not only brings you the joy of watching the birds in your backyard, it also can make a significant difference in how well your birds thrive and survive. We’d love to hear your stories about summertime bird feeding experiences, as well as answer any questions you may have. Come visit us at the store! Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

Annual K-State Field Day July 30


ome see the hottest and newest plants while enjoying cool classes in air-conditioned comfort and ice cold water while wandering the field trials. Learn about the latest and greatest before it ever hits the garden centers. It’s all here at the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center’s Field Day, Saturday, July 30, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. It’s your chance to peek behind the scenes, talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving growing success. This year we are celebrating 20 years of the research center in its current location. Admission is $5 per person, which includes ice cold bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations. K-State Research and Extension horticulture research develops its list of recommended grasses, flowers or vegetable varieties through university research conducted in Olathe to determine what grows best in our Kansas City landscapes. What you’ll see The Center conducts research in flowers and vegetables. Visitors can speak with university professors heading up the research and Johnson County Extension Master Gardener volunteers. Highlights – Flower Area • Annual flower trials - Companies from around the world submit their newest developments. This year 600 cultivars have been planted for evaluation. The research trials show which flowers can withstand the Kansas City climate. The trials illustrate that not all varieties are created equal. Check out the container plantings as some annuals are only meant for use in pots. • Year of the Begonia – come see 45 varieties growing in containers or the soil. There are many new cool introductions. • Dwarf Cannas and Coleus – bigger is not always better. These hot new introductions are great for in-ground gardens but also shine in containers. • Pollinator Friendly – more annuals are being introduced for attracting butterflies and pollina-

the soil. It is important to know the nutrient levels to grow healthy plants. Go to www.johnson.k-state. edu to learn how to take a soil sample. At least two cups of dry soil are needed for a proper test.

How to get there The Research Center is located at 35230 West 135th Street, Olathe. OFF*1 The entrance is approximately nine 5E Series miles west of Highway 7 on 135th 5045E and 5055E –– ORAdmission –– Street. is $5 at the gate.2015 mod MFWD, Lunchforwill be available for purtest per Johnson County address, chase during the event. months financing complements of Johnson County more ––For –– information call 913AND Stormwater Management. A soil 715-7000, or visit www.johnson.kOFF test determines the nutrients in Bonus*1



tors. See what’s new with Salvia, Agastache, and Lantana cultivars. Highlights – Vegetable Area – Growing Local Food Come and find out what K-State Research and Extension is doing to assist local farmers to support the growing local food movement. While at the research center, you will learn about many of the innovative things that local farmers are doing. Projects include: • High tunnel production systems with tomato, pepper, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, and brambles • Vegetable grafting • Soil health and microbiology studies using cover crops and notill systems • All-America Selections Variety Trial program • KoolKat Mobile Produce Cooler • Growing Growers: Training first-generation farmers in the KC/ Lawrence area Extension Master Gardeners Backyard Garden Demonstration Garden Vegetable gardening is as popular as ever. Join the craze of “foodscaping.” That is incorporating vegetables into the landscape. This Extension Master Gardener’s project demonstrates various methods of growing vegetables from raised beds, vertical gardening and a new spin on the square foot concept. The garden also features a wide variety of herbs, a colorful flowering cutting garden and extensive fruit plantings.





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The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


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Rose Report Kansas City’s expert rosarian JUDY PENNER shares her methods for excellent care of the rose garden.


e have had more than our fair share of rain this year which has made it a challenge to spray the roses for blackspot and insects. I sprayed early as a preventative in April and in May when I could dodge the rain long enough to keep the product on the plants. The wet weather conditions may have you seeing a lot of blackspot in your garden. I recommend you pick off the blackspot leaves that are on your rose bushes and then pick up all the rose leaves and debris that are on the ground in your rose bed. Blackspot spreads by spores so keeping the diseased leaves out of your rose bed and out of your compost is critical. Next pay attention to when you water your roses. Watering (although this spring no watering was needed)

should be done early in the day so the leaves on your roses will dry by evening. Watering late in the day or at night will increase the chances of blackspot so be sure to water early in the day. A fungicide for blackspot should be sprayed every 10 to 14 days to kill spores and prevent new spores from forming. Remember to alternate fungicides every other spray. The exception to this rule is if you have a bad case of blackspot then I would recommend a contact fungicide such as Daconil and spray this 3 times in a nine day period as well as following the cultural information given in this article. Remember if you have wonderful rose bushes without blooms you may have rose midge. Don’t panic you will need to apply Merit to the soil one time per month during the

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growing season and spray every 10-14 days with an insecticide that contains the active ingredient Imidocloprid. You should begin seeing buds develop within two to three weeks of this spray program. The climbing roses at Loose Park have performed beautifully this year. If you missed them here are some of the best performing Large Flowered climbing roses in our garden. New Dawn, light pink; Fourth of July, red with white stripes; Blossomtime, medium

pink; Rosarium Utersen, deep pink; Raspberry Cream Twirl, pink blend; Pierre de Ronsard, pink blend; New Dawn, light pink; Soaring Spirits, pink blend; John Davis, medium pink (a Hybrid Kordessi) that we grow on a chain. Remember to stop and smell the roses! Judy Penner is Expert Rosarian at Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo. You may reach her at judy.penner@

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Glorious Lilies SCOTT WOODBURY tells of his ideas and experiences with native gardening. the end of 18-inch stalks. Bright red berries are showy, visible, and edible. In some years the foliage is riddled with holes, no doubt the result of an abundant hatch of a sawfly or moth species. My loss in the native garden is the gain to a clutch of fat and sassy baby birds. They are, after all, for whom I am gardening. Happy lily gardening!

Photos by Scott Woodbury.


ike children, the summer lilies in the native garden are painfully slow to grow. That’s why when we finally produced a lovely show of flowers, it gave a sense of accomplishment, like when our son began using the words “please” and “thank you”—oh the relief. My colleagues and I have been nurturing patches of Michigan lily (Lilium michiganense) and bunchflower lily (Melanthium virginicum) for over a decade in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve. In recent years they have become glorious. The Michigan lily was grown from bulbs and bulb scales propagated by division, thanks to lily-gardener friend and Wild Ones member Kathy Bildner who has the most impressive patch of lilies in town. Expect plants to bloom in three to five years when grown from scales. Scales are like cloves on a head of garlic. The thin outer-edge pieces are the scales. The heftier center is the bulb. Michigan lily is happy growing in a half-day of full sun with no deer. Lilies are a deer’s best friend and so deer are excluded from our garden by a nine-foot tall fence. Bunchflower lily (Melanthium virginicum) came to us by seed collected in a wet prairie in Rosati, Missouri. From seed it takes about five years to begin flowering and more years to flower well. In the first three years the seedlings look like weedy grass and so care must be given to keep the weeds out. Once you have flowering plants I recommend leaving them alone. Though you can divide decadeold clumps, division will set them back years. Leaves are like boldtextured bows tied to the earth. The creamy-white flowers are densely bunched on the tops of four-foot stalks. The late Cindy Gilberg described the scent of the flowers

Michigan lily

Bunchflower lily

to me once. Cindy was an equestrian and so easily picked up the subtle resemblance to wet horses. Memories and scents form tight bonds; if I forget all else, the memory of her description will surely stay with me. Into the Woods, a favorite movie of mine, reminds me of two other lilies, great Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum caniculatum) and Solomon’s plume (Maianthemum virginicum). Both grow in woodlands and are as immune to deer browse as Bissinger’s chocolate is immune to my wife. It is deer candy. At Shaw Nature Reserve I find both species growing on the steepest slopes at the edge of the Meramec River where deer prefer not to trek. Great Solomon’s seal blooms in May, but fruits in summer. A less common name is dropberry, which adequately describes the hidden round purple fruits that dangle beneath horizontal stems and leaves like earrings on an African queen. Seedlings take many years to mature and so plants are typically grown by rhizome division. Plants spread moderately into substantial colonies with stalks three feet tall. The bold-textured wide leaves stand out in the woodland garden.

Solomon’s plume, which is also called false Solomon’s seal, differs by having flowers in spring and berries in summer clustered at

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. For a Resource Guide of vendors of native plants and native plant services, visit

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Photos by Alan Branhagen.

Post oak

Northern catalpa

Above: Compass plant; Below: Honeylocust


July 2016 |

Cup plant surrounded by Virginia mountain mint

Above: Ohio buckeye; Below: Umbrella magnolia

Shagbark hickory

Devil’s Walkingstick

Tulip tree

Summertime Green Leaf diversity in the landscape, ALAN BRANHAGEN explains, enhances the overall beauty of your garden.


e gardeners can get carried away with always focusing on colorful flowers and foliage. Yes, such is important to a beautiful garden and landscape but don’t forget the GREEN! I find myself enamored with summertime’s green leaves, the sizes and shapes of leaves, and level of translucency in the leaves. Our intense summer sunshine (we’re at the latitude of Lisbon, Portugal) illuminates this attribute to a tee. Some plants have leaves with unique symmetry and architecture, or an arrangement that really makes them stand out. Other plant’s leaves function almost as canvas for a painting, with an everchanging display of light and shadows. From prairie to woodland, there are certain plants that stand out and should be selected in good garden design for these little discussed characteristics. Leaf sizes from small to large translate into the “texture” of how a plant is perceived in a landscape. Fine textured plants have tiny leaves while coarse textured plants have larger leaves – each really stand out from the average or medium texture found in an elm tree for instance. Honeylocust is a favorite finetextured leaf of mine, along with ‘Amersfoort’ yew (Taxus baccata cultivar) with its shorter, widened evergreen needles. Catalpas and some magnolias are favorite coarse textured trees. Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) exemplifies coarseness in an exceedingly graceful way as they float in umbrella-like swirls near the end of each stem, undulating in a breeze.

If botany class made your eyes glaze over when talking about a plants leaf arrangement, it does matter in plant aesthetics! If plant leaves are set alone, alternating along a stem they are called alternate. Leaves paired along a stem are called opposite, while leaves set in clusters of 3 or more radiating from a node of a stem they are

yes, some plants are doubly pinnate creating wonderful patterns reminding me of living herringbone pattern – Kentucky coffeetree, and the underutilized Devil’s Walkingstick (Aralia spinosa). Shapes of simple leaves that grab attention include sassafras (cover photo) as leader of the pack with its 3-shaped leaves from simple to mit-

Pawpaw called whorled. The latter two often create a marvelous repeated pattern while alternate leaves can zig and zag down a stem in a similar synchronized way. Leaves are also classified as simple or compound – simple leaves have one blade but vary widely in shape. Compound leaves comprise multiple leaflets that may come off the leaf’s stem (rachis) like a feather (called pinnately compound) – think walnut and hickories; or like your fingers (called palmately compound) as in buckeyes and horsechestnuts (Aesculus). And

ten and ghost (2-thumbed) leaves. Post oak with its outlandishly rounded lobes look almost like a jigsaw puzzle when one looks up through their leaves. Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is another that really stands apart in this class – there is nothing else like it. All plants’ leaves are there to capture the sun’s light energy but some stand out in how it illuminates the leaf when viewed from below. Those held in horizontal plains, often understory plants that need to capture ambient light are especially memorable. Red mul-

berry and pawpaw really stand out here with their large simple leaves and hickories (especially shellbark hickory Carya laciniosa) with their pinnately compound leaves. Symmetry and architecture in foliage is most striking in sturdy perennials. I find tall coreopsis, Culver’s root, cup plant, and Virginia mountain-mint showcasing this extraordinarily well in my own garden. They have sturdy vertical stems with repeating pairs of opposite leaves (whorled in Culver’s root), as fine as the structure of a skyscraper. Prairie dock is the artist capturing the lights and shadows of its prairie home with its large, sail-like leaf as canvas. Defying the laws of nature with a big leaf in a bright locale, it has tufts of hairs that help hold a cool layer of air at its surface (touch one on a hot day and feel this air conditioning system). Its relative the compass plant also excels here but has wonderfully lacerated (botanically called laciniate) leaves that break up the captured composition. So don’t forget to pay closer attention to all the green leaves in your yard or garden. Do you have a great diversity of leaf textures, shapes, and patterns? If not, add some that will contrast with what you have and you will be amazed how your garden will be enhanced – and an increased appreciation for the often overlooked beauty around you. Alan Branhagen is Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden.

The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


Mower Maintenance Lawn mowers get a lot of use this time of year, so THERESA PLATT shares important maintenance tips.


ain is a wonderful thing, promoting fabulous new growth in the landscape, especially your lawn. This usually means, however, that you need to mow more often, creating increased wear and tear on your mower. We’ve put together a few important tips on mower maintenance to improve the longevity of your equipment. 1. Fuel is probably the biggest issue in keeping your mower running properly. You should consistently use Non-Ethanol or premium unleaded in your mowers as regular unleaded (Ethanol) attracts moisture from the atmosphere forming an ethanol/water solution mixed in gasoline. Excessive water in the fuel tank causes engines to run rough, stall and can lead to internal damage to engine components.

2. Make sure your air filter is clean and not full of debris. If your air filter is paper, you should be able to see light through it when holding it up to light. If you can’t see light, you should change it. If your air filter is foam, you may clean it with mild soap and water. Make sure air filter is completely dry before re-installing it on your mower. If the foam filter is old and crumbling, then replace it. 3. Keep the blades sharp. A dull blade will tear grass instead of cleanly cutting it. Tearing blades leads to discoloration and torn blades loose moisture. 4. Keep grass clippings cleaned out from underneath the deck. If you have a wash-out port on the deck of your mower, simply screw your garden hose into the wash out port, turn your mower on and

engage the blades and the water will wash out the deck. If you don’t have a wash out port, lay your mower on it’s side, air filter side up and spray the under side of your deck with a hose. Do not turn mower on or engage blades this way.

5. Avoid large objects in your yard such as tree roots, stumps, sprinkler heads or water main covers. Hitting these with a mower can cause damage to the blade or crankshaft which could cause costly repairs. 6. Try not to mow when the grass is wet. Grass clippings clump when wet and can be thick enough to prevent sunlight from reaching the ground underneath, creating dead spots underneath. Follow these simple steps and you can get your mowing done faster and enjoy your summer! Theresa and Jim Platt own and operate Northland Feed of Kansas City, Mo., where their team of professionals can answer questions about mower service and repair. Contact them at 816-452-8393.

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“The Pros You Know in the Clean Red Trucks.” 14

July 2016 |

Photos by Susan Mertz.

In the garden with Paula Winchester Sharing time with a fellow gardener, SUSAN MERTZ describes a Saturday morning garden inspiration.


ur paths have crossed many times. Paula Winchester, both an avid gardener and artist, is a regular at the garden symposium in Kansas City. She is also at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from time to time selling her beautiful silk charmeuse scarves of her pastel designs. I was at the Nelson on Mother’s Day weekend that we visited about her scarves and she invited me to visit her gardens. Of course, I said yes. A painted sidewalk was one of the first clues that this was no ordinary garden. Though well thought out, Paula’s garden has a carefree attitude about it. From the street to the back fence, it is full of plants and, perhaps, not a blade of grass. I enjoyed learning about the plants she grows, the seasons of interest, her garden of edibles, and her enthusiastic focus on making certain that the songbirds have a place to call home.

A plant in her garden that was new to me is Iris fulva or Copper Iris. Paula is encouraging a colony of it to grow in a shady spot by her back porch. Copper Iris does well in full sun to part shade and in sites with poor drainage. It doesn’t mind being in standing water, making it a great choice for containers in water features. I’m definitely going to have to find some and add it to my garden. I bet it would look beautiful with a yellow variegated hosta with some coral bells close by. Her artistic approach to gardening is inspirational. For someone like me who tries to have everything just so in the garden, it was fun to spend time in a more relaxed and creative setting. Towards the end of our visit, we sat on the back porch and Paula talked about a flower arranging class she had recently taken. While explaining the how to’s, she effortlessly created a beautiful cake of flowers cut

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from the garden. Floral foam, sheet moss, hair pins, colorful foliage, a few flowers and the eye of an artist is all it took. I’m grateful for the time on a Saturday morning in Paula’s garden and the experience of enjoying gardening through the eyes of an artist. There were many lessons

learned including letting go and being a bit carefree. I’m looking forward to the next time our paths cross and new inspirations for the garden sparked by her creativity.


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The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


Is It Worth Saving The Ash Trees? Ash trees are in decline, and DR. RODNEY ST. JOHN gives items for considering what action to take.


he Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), has been a hot topic in Kansas City lately, and with good reason. These tiny pests are going to kill over 4 million ash trees in Kansas City in the next five years. First discovered in the United States in June 2002, this destructive borer has already destroyed between 150 and 200 million ash trees in North America alone. The bottom line – if a tree is not protected, it is going to die. So then the question for homeowners comes down to whether they want to save their ash trees, or remove them. If you want to save your trees, you must be proactive and get a protection plan in place. A treatment application will likely fight off the beetles for two full years. If you decide you want to remove

the tree, you should do so quickly. Having a dying tree in your yard presents a huge safety hazard. Tree limbs can and will break, endangering you, your neighbors, and anyone walking by it. The first step in deciding whether or not to keep a tree should be to assess its overall health. If a tree is too far gone, there’s no point in trying to protect it. Common signs of EAB infestation are canopy dieback, epicormics shoots, D-shaped holes in the trunk, and S-shaped galleries underneath the bark. If you’re seeing all these signs in a tree, most of the time, it’s too late. But if your tree isn’t experiencing any of these signs, and is in a good location and adding value to your home, then it may be worth treating. A certified arborist can help you decide.

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So what makes a tree valuable? First, consider its curb appeal. Trees that are a focal point of your landscape, or provide ample shade to your home are valuable. So are trees that create privacy. Older trees may be worth saving because of their size. Young or poorly formed trees may not when considering the cost of treatment every two years for the life of the tree against the cost of removal. Online calculators like the one found at attempt to assign a value to the economic and environmental benefits individual trees provide annually. This is a fun tool that can give you some idea of what a tree may be worth. I would give more weight to your personal feelings about the tree when considering the question of protection versus removal. It may also be helpful to consider the costs of treatment or removal against the amount of time you are planning to live in the home. Now, bear in mind, trees are replaceable. Many homeowners form attachments to trees and almost let themselves forget that they are living things with a useful life. Sometimes I find myself start to fall into this line of thinking. If you lose an ash tree from EAB, your landscape will look different. But it can be an opportunity to plant something fun and take your

landscape in a new direction. The possibilities are endless. Our lawns are really a canvas for the trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials we can plant. Every once in a while I will redecorate a room in my house. I’ll give it a fresh coat of paint and maybe bring in some new furniture, or artwork for the walls. Once I’m finished, I’m so happy with the way it looks and find myself enjoying the change. If you decide to remove your ash tree, look at it as an opportunity to redecorate and remodel your landscape. If you have questions about the Emerald Ash Borer, you can visit This website has a lot of great information for homeowners, including a flow chart that may help you decide if saving your ash tree is the best decision for you. The site also has tools to help you identify ash trees and signs of EAB infestation. You can also contact an ISA certified arborist to evaluate your tree. Visit to locate a certified arborist in your area. Dr. Rodney St. John is an agronomist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. Ask Dr. Rodney your questions by E-mailing or calling 913-3811505. You can also follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Skippers: Personality Plus! LENORA LARSON educates butterfly enthusiasts about the life cycle, identification and personalities of Skippers.


irders have their LBBs, Little Brown Birds. And we butterfly enthusiasts have our LBBs, the Little Brown Butterflies called Skippers. We also share the same difficulties as birders in identifying these little

caterpillar that forms a leaf nest, then feasts non-stop and grows by shedding its skin five times. Then it forms a chrysalis, the magical chamber wherein the caterpillar is transformed into the winged adult whose only purpose is procreation.

This Common Checkered Skipper is a “spread-wing” type, with a typical plump furry body and crochet hook antennae. rascals since most lack the unique colors and patterns of the larger butterflies. However, in flight they are very distinctive, skipping about with rapid, darting movements. Halfway on the evolutionary path from moth to butterfly that commenced 70 million years ago, Skippers have a moth’s stout furry body and many rest with wings spread like moths. But the crochethook at the end of the Skippers’ antennae tells the truth: these are butterflies that fly by day and visit flowers to drink nectar. Butterfliers agree: with their proportionally huge eyes, fuzzy faces and fun personalities, Skippers are really cute! Life Cycle People sometimes assume that the diminutive Skippers are baby butterflies. No, adult butterflies do not grow larger once they leave their chrysalis; they emerge fullgrown. Caterpillars are the “baby butterflies” that do all the eating and growing. Like the other Lepidoptera, Skippers live their lives in four stages, a life style called “complete metamorphosis”. Females lay their eggs on the host plant, usually a grass. The egg quickly hatches into a

field guide such as A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Region, authored by Betsy Betros. She points out distinguishing marks for both top and side views of our area’s 30 species of Skippers. However, many Grass

The splash of white makes this Silver-spotted Skipper easy to identify.

The adults only live a week or two, so they get right to the important business of finding mates and laying eggs. Although a few species, like the Fiery Skipper, migrate to the Gulf States in fall, most Skippers spend the winter in your yard as caterpillars snuggled in their leaf nests. As always, don’t be too fastidious when cleaning up your garden in the fall; you risk killing over-wintering butterflies if you remove all debris.

ger, flashier Swallowtails and Monarchs. And the males are exceptionally persistent and amusing in their pursuit of the ladies. Since about half of our Kansas City area butterflies are Skippers, you will have many opportunities to

A male Fiery Skipper does his best to impress the lady, but she’s more interested in her nectar drink.

Skippers can only be identified by dissecting and examining the genitalia. I refuse to get that personal with an insect and am content to simply say ‘Grass Skipper’ for the more inconspicuous species. Perky Personalities Just as small dogs are more active than large dogs, the Skippers seem much busier than the big-

enjoy the antics of these adorable little butterflies. Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener, Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society member, Lenora Larson gardens and hosts butterflies in the cruel winds and clay soil of Paola, Kansas. She may be contacted at

Skipper Identification Two major groups of Skippers live in the Midwest. The larger, more colorful Spread-wing Skippers are usually easier to identify since they often bask in the sun with wings outspread, holding still long enough for a photo and consultation with a field guide. Many, like the Common Checkered, the Sooty Wing and the Indigo Dusky Wing, are very beautiful, worthy of notice. Look for the easy-to-spot caterpillar leaf nests on their host plants. Identification of the host plant tells you which species of Spread-wing you have found. The smaller Grass-skippers are a bigger challenge, confounding even the experts. You will need a good The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


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Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Jul 23, 9am-5pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Free bonsai exhibit open to the public. If you are interested in learning more about bonsai, you are welcome. There will be members working on trees, so feel free to come by and ask questions. 816-513-8590 Bonner Springs Garden Club Tues, Jul 19, 9am; meet in the parking lot on the SE Corner of Third St and Cedar St, Bonner Springs, to carpool to Wayne Rhodus Backyard Garden. The Garden is located at 2108 N 155th St, Basehor, KS. Wayne, an avid wildlife photographer, will share with us his development of his home garden. His garden is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat and as a Bird Friendly Habitat and Monarch Watch certified waystation. All visitors are welcome. Any questions, contact Nicky Horn 913-441-8078. GKC Dahlia Society Sun, Jul 10, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. There will be a demonstration on topping plants to attain a bushier plant with more blooms. A short business meeting will follow the demonstration. Anyone with questions on growing dahlias is welcome to attend. 816-513-8590

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GKC Herb Study Group Wed, Jul 13, 12-2:30pm; in the Rose Room at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. As we assess our gardens and try to address any bug issues, our class will appropriately be “Beneficial Bugs, and Beneficial Herbs for Keeping Bugs Away” presented by Wendy Pemberton. Learn what bugs to invite into your garden that will benefit the environment and what herbs do best when their best buddy is a flower. We will be sharing a potluck with a picnic theme. So bring one of your favorite picnic foods to share. We look forward to seeing you, and friends and visitors are welcome. Please respond by calling Barbara at 816-523-3702 or email Nancy at

Heart of America Gesneriad Sat, Jul 16, 10am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816513-8590 Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Sep 10, Hospitality beginning at 9am and a brief meeting, followed by the Program at 10am; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St (67 & Roe), Prairie Village, KS. Bob Solberg, prominent hosta hybridizer and owner of Green Hill Farm in Franklinton, NC will be our speaker. His presentations are always sure to please, and I’m sure “Hosta Trick or Treat” will be no exception. He will have some choice varieties along for sale. There will be a potluck with the society furnishing the meat and members bringing a dish to share. Door prizes will be awarded. Come and bring a friend – everyone welcome! For more info – call Gwen 816-213-0598. Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Jul 14, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. The meeting will will be a round-table discussion led by the ARS Rosarians around the question of “What’s Buggin’ Me?”. The discussion will focus on diseases and pests that may be showing up in rose gardens in the summer months. Members and visitors are welcome to bring pictures or samples of problems they are experiencing for help with identification and tips on how to manage the problem. All JCRS meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments are provided. Members and guests are welcome to take advantage of the “Consulting Rosarians Corner” – a free individual consultation with a Consulting Rosarian. Bring your questions and concerns about any aspect of growing and caring for roses! The Consulting Rosarians will also give timely tips about caring for roses “This Month In The Rose Garden”. For more information about the meetings, programs and other activities of the Johnson County Rose Society, visit KC Cactus & Succulent Society Sun, Jul 17, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall

Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For information on Garden Center events, 816-513-8590. Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Jul 11, 9:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Jul 12, 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd, Lawrence, KS. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including 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. Babies-in-arms and children over 10 are welcome. Info: Leavenworth Co Master Gardeners Wed, Jul 13, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Kahla Wheeler, an herbalist from Prairie Wise Herbal School will talk about the many remedies already growing in your garden, she will focus on herbal bitters. In addition to the healthful and historic aspects of these herbs, she will illustrate how they are used in cocktails and refreshing summer drinks. The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome. For more information contact Melony Lutz at 913-484-4568 or the Leavenworth County Extension office at 913-3645700. Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Jul 16, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816513-8590 Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Jul 19, 12:30pm; at 12051 Bass Pro Dr, Olathe, KS. Design Elements Demonstration/Hands on. Visitors are welcome. Inquiries are also welcome about our meetings at Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Jul 11, 6pm; at the home of Holly Ramsay, 9239 Craig, Overland Park, KS. We’ll learn how to make Hypertufa pots. Each attendee should bring a plastic pot no larger than 6”. We will mix up the ingredients and discover how to form the pots around

your forms and you will go home with a different, lightweight pot for your own use. The club will provide the supplies for this program, but you probably should bring some rubber gloves. The public is invited to this fun exercise and if you need additional information please call Sallie Wiley at 913-236-5193.

Tropical Plant Profile Plumeria

Events, Lectures & Classes July Garden Photography Thurs, Jul 7, 11:30am-1pm; at Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1216 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Many of us would love to consistently take beautiful photographs of our gardens, including close-ups of flowers and the wildlife that visit. How can we move from relying upon luck to being more sure of our skill in capturing the beauty of nature? Bruce Hogle will share his knowledge with us so that we can start capturing the beauty around us, including information on utilizing different lenses, filters and other tools of the art of photography. After having owned some kind of camera all his life, Mr Hogle took up photography as a serious hobby in 1992. Since then, he has participated in classes plus more than 3 dozen workshops in varied parts of the country, learning from some excellent teachers. His images are regularly published in KANSAS! magazine and calendar. This class is being hosted by the Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. Pre-registration not required. Fee: $5.00 payable at the door (waived for currently certified extension master gardeners). For further information, call 913-299-9300. Night Garden Tour Fri, Jul 15, 7-9pm. Northland Garden Club is hosting the second night garden tour. Come see how to expand your gardening enjoyment thru lights and plants. Cost is $10 each. Call Dee West 816-455-4013. Or check the website at for further information, addresses and maps. Kathy and Larry Barnhart welcome you to their Gladstone garden from daylight thru dusk. Healing Power of Nature Workshop Fri, Jul 15, 9am-3pm; at Powell Gardens. Discover the healing qualities of essential oils, common weeds and more. The program is approved for 5 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) valid in both Kansas (continued on page 20)


rangipani, what an odd name for anything really, so I guess that’s why most of us just call it, Plumeria. This is a genus of tropical trees and shrubs from South America, which is related to mandevilla vine and milkweeds. Most everyone is familiar with its popular use for creating Hawaiian leis - those flower necklaces placed over your head as soon as you get off the plane. Or at least that’s how they do it on television. Plumeria flowers come in a rainbow of colors and the scent heavenly. So this must be why so many gardeners want to grow it. I’ve had many brought to me by tourists coming back from Hawaii handing me a cutting and asking, “Now what?” I love the architecture of this plant especially when a large specimen adds unique structure to a summer combo of annuals. So how do you grow it? Plumeria likes full sun and warm to hot temperatures so they quite like our summers. They need at least 6 full hours of direct sun to grow and bloom well, and don’t place your plant outside until temperatures are reliably above 50F. Watering is of particular importance so water only when your plant has dried some but not completely. When your plant is sitting in direct sun, and it’s hot, water more freely. However, if it’s shady and cool, don’t water unless your Plumeria is dry. During winter your Plumeria will be dormant and probably leafless so no water at all. Plumeria requires a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, which is the second number in the fertilizer analysis. Don’t feed until your plant is actively growing and feed every few weeks through the summer season. At the end of summer, stop feeding and allow your plant to dry out more and bring indoors before cold temps arrive. When repotting use a soil that drains well like a cactus mix, or add extra perlite or sand to a container mix. Terra cotta pots are great to help with drying and weight to help keep Plumeria upright. Keep it in a warm and bright spot during winter. Keep an eye out for white fly and spider mites that hide out on the backsides of the leaves. They can be controlled by spraying the leaves off with water routinely or use insecticide soap frequently. Remember to follow the directions. Plumeria is easier to grow than most people realize so brace yourself. You just might be buying a ticket to Hawaii in search of Mr. Roarke and Tattoo! In the short term, visit a local garden center to find Plumeria. Brent Tucker is Horticulturist of Seasonal Displays and Events at Powell Gardens. He can be reached at The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


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

(continued from page 19)

and Missouri by the Kansas State Board of Nursing and the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. $59/person, $52/member (Add $10 for CEU’s). Registration required by July 11. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at

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July 2016 |

A Morning with... Magnificent, Magical MINTS Sat, Jul 16, 10-11:30am. Fee $15. We kick off our new “A Morning with...” herb series with delightful Mints. Join us as we explore Mints in-depth, learning and enjoying the tastes and attributes of different Mints. This class will be entertaining and educational, and like all of our classes, there will be hands-on experiences with our herb allies. Information: How to Keep Gardens Weed Free Thurs, Jul 21, 7pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Sponsored by Leavenworth County Master Gardeners. Mikey Stafford, a Leavenworth Co Master Gardener will give a presentation on “How to Keep Gardens Weed Free”. The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information contact Melony Lutz at 913-484-4568 or the Leavenworth County Extension office at 913-364-5700. Cooking from the Gardens: Culinary Classes Fri, Jul 22, 6-9pm; at Powell Gardens. Join us for a new series of culinary classes focusing on cooking from the garden. Tonight, Craig Jones, owner of Savory Addictions, will demonstrate how to grill fresh produce from the Heartland Harvest Garden and more to create tasty dishes. Come hungry as there will be lots of sampling. $74/person, $69/member. Registration required by July 15. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at culinary-classes-2016. Bonsai Exhibit and Demonstration Sat, Jul 23, 10am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Exhibit: Rose Room (upstairs); Workshop/demon-

strations: Fern Room (downstairs). The Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City will be hosting a free exhibit of members trees. Members will be on hand to answer questions about the trees. There will also be a member workshop and ongoing demonstrations in the Fern room that will be open to the public. Visitors will have opportunities to ask questions about what each member is doing as well as asking questions about growing, pruning and styling in the classical Japanese styles. Do you have a bonsai or maybe lost a purchased bonsai? Come and share your experience or get advice about these small plant treasures! Annual Butterfly Count Sat, Jul 30, 9am-5pm; at Powell Gardens. We will have a morning and afternoon count session. At 9am participants will be divided into guided groups for the morning count. At 1pm there will be a 4-hour hike on the 3.25-mile Byron Shutz Nature Trail. Attend either or both parts. Wear sun protection and hiking shoes, and bring a water bottle. Garden admission plus $3/participant. Registration required by July 27. Call Linda to RSVP at 816-6972600 ext 209. Introduction to Bonsai: Lecture & Learn Sun, Jul 31, 11am-12:30pm; at Powell Gardens. New to bonsai or want to learn more? Using a PowerPoint presentation we will review all the key aspects of this ancient art: the origins, basic techniques, horticultural needs, Japanese styles and seasonal care. We will conclude with different tree species (picture examples). $19/ person, $12/member. Registration required by July 18. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Introduction to Bonsai: Guided Practice Sun, Jul 31, 1:15-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Take your interest in bonsai deeper! We will begin with a wiring exercise, soil and pruning discussion, and explore creating the basic styles. Then, using plant material, learn how to evaluate and choose nursery stock for your own use. The workshop will wrap up with after-care, bonsai pots and questions/answers. Plant mate-

rial may be available to purchase for an extra fee. (The Lecture & Learn session is a prerequisite for this session.) $39/person, $32/member. Registration required by July 18. To register call Linda Burton at 816697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at Cooking from the Gardens: Culinary Classes Sun, Jul 31, 5:30-8:30pm; at Powell Gardens. Join us for a new series of culinary classes focusing on cooking from the garden. Tonight, Rick Mullins, Chef/Partner at SOIL Collective, will demonstrate how to use fresh produce from the Heartland Harvest Garden to create tasty dishes. Come hungry as there will be lots of sampling. $74/person, $69/member. Registration required by July 22. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at culinary-classes-2016.

August/September 38th Annual Show and Sale KC Cactus & Succulent Society Aug 13-14; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Hours: Sat, 8/13, 9am–5pm (judged show opens at 11am) Sun, 8/14, 11am–4pm. Vendors: J&J Cactus & Succulents of Midwest City, OK; Jimmy Black of San Antonio, TX; and our own KCCSS club members. It is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, contact Eva at 816444-9321 or; www. and on Facebook. Annual and Perennial Weed Families and How to Send Them Packing Thurs, Aug 18, 6:30pm; at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801

Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: “Annual and Perennial Weed Families and How to Send Them Packing.” Lynn Loughary, Horticulture Extension Agent for Kansas State Extension and Research, will talk about the weed families in our yards and gardens and ways to control them. Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information, call 816-665-4456 or visit our website at and browse Gardeners Gathering. Cooking from the Gardens: Culinary Classes Fri, Aug 19, 6-9pm; at Powell Gardens. Join us for a new series of culinary classes focusing on cooking from the garden. Tonight, Executive Chef John Smith will demonstrate how to use fresh produce from the Heartland Harvest Garden to create tasty dishes. Come hungry as there will be lots of sampling. $74/person, $69/member. Registration required by August 12. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at culinary-classes-2016. MO Master Gardener State Conference Sept 16-18: Three days of trips, tours, advanced and continuing education highlighting horticulture in the Kansas City metro. Conference is hosted by the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City and held at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, Independence, MO. It is open to all garden enthusiasts. Registration required. Conference details can be found on the website:

Promote your club meetings, classes, seminars and other gardening events! Send all the details to: E-Mail: Deadline for August issue is July 5.

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Celebrating 85 Years of Roses UPDATE


he rains came in May, and rose growers, who planned to exhibit rose at the Kansas City Rose Society Rose Show on June 4 and 5, 2016, were concerned with the rain’s effect on the quality of blooms for the show. In spite of the weather, there were 476 entries from 28 rose growers to “Celebrating 85 Years of Roses” at the Garden Center in Loose Park. The exhibitors ranged in age from 5 years to over 80 years. This was the first time to enter roses for several exhibitors and several exhibitors have been exhibiting for over 30 years. The show was dedicated to long time member of the society and rose show exhibitor, Norma Sutherland. For the rest of the story, including winners, see KCGMAG.COM.


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th ly G ui de to Su A Mon thly cc es Guid e to Suc October 2014 sf ul cess ful Gard Garde ning G ar de enin g to Succe ssful August 2015 ni ng A Mont hly Guide

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ity with Grasses Beauty and Divers een Not Just for HallowCall 811 Orange and Black: Lemon rd of Digth Control BeforeBiYou Daylily: Beau Park eM ty for fy Weeds for Better Identi Decis ThanBu ion Time: ShouSeeded Lawn More a tte Dayrfl onth: Blue In the bird y Ask andExpe Feeding of Newly ld You Remove YourGaAsh rdenTree Conserva rts about weed Proper Carethe with tories control, oozin g sap and more Marvin Snyder

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.

The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016



garden calendar n LAWN

• Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3- to 3-1/2 inches. • Mow zoysia at 1-1/2 inches. • Fertilize zoysia to encourage summer growth with a high nitrogen fertilizer. • Let grass clippings fall to return nutrients to the soil. • Be on the lookout for summer diseases such as brown patch; treat areas where it has been a problem. • Sharpen mower blades. • Replace lawn mower air filter and change lawn mower oil per owner’s manual. • Prepare to control perennial grassy weeds such as zoysia, fescue and nimblewill. • Take a soil test to prepare for fall lawn renovation. • Water deeply and less often for deep roots and a healthy lawn.


• Water newly-planted shrubs and young trees (planted within the last three to five years) during dry weather. • Keep plants mulched to conserve moisture and cool roots. • Remove sucker growth from the base of trees and along branches. • Prune diseased, dead or hazardous limbs.


• Harvest fruits of your labor and enjoy. • Control weed growth to preserve water and nutrients. • Fertilize vegetables to encourage plant development.

• Watch for foliar disease development on lower tomato leaves and treat with a fungicide. • Prepare for fall gardening. Plant potatoes, broccoli and other fall crops. • Spray sweet corn to control corn earworms as silks emerge. • Be on the lookout for pests in the garden and control. • Remove old raspberry canes after harvest.


• Remove faded flowers from annuals to stimulate more flowers for late summer color. • Deadhead perennials to prevent seeding and encourage plant growth. • Replenish mulch layers. • Cut fresh bouquets for enjoyment. • Lightly fertilize annuals. • Dig, divide and replant crowded irises. • Fertilize roses for fall blossoms. • Fertilize and water container gardens. • Complete the final pinching of chrysanthemum tips for bushier plants.


• Keep compost pile moist for fast processing and turn occasionally. • Take photographs of the garden to document success and for future planning.

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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Gu id e to A Mon thly Su cc Guid e to SuccOctober 2014 es sf ul essfu l Gard Garde ning Ga rd enin g to Succe ssful en August 2015 in g A Month ly Guide

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ity with Grasses Beauty and Divers een Not Just for HallowCall 811 Orange and Black: Lemo rd of Digth Control BeforeBiYou n Park ly: Beau for Better WeedsDayli eM ty for More Identif Decisyion Time: ThanBu a tte Dayrfl onth: Blue ShouSeeded In the Newly ld You Lawn bird of g y Remove Ask Feedin andExperts YourGaAsh rdenTree Conserva Proper Carethe about weed with tories control, oozin g sap and more Marvin Snyder

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• See where to pick up the current issue • Hotlines to answer your questions

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Spring or Summer Breaks

• Weather report and planting dates • Look for garden clubs • Upcoming events

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Professional’s Corner Name: Michelle Van Liew Smith Company: Van Liew’s Home & Garden Job description: I’m Vice President, and have been involved in the family business in various capacities for 23 years. Currently, I am involved in all the day-to-day operations – product purchasing, purchasing and organizing 4 shows, assisting with retail and wholesale clients, and fountain design. In a small business, we all wear a lot of different hats. Products and services offered: We have the largest selection of fountains and concrete planters in Kansas City! We also carry statuary, pumps, outdoor furniture, home décor, and a very large variety of garden décor. We offer delivery and set up on all of our items. We also can service your existing fountain. Our delivery and service teams have over 80 years in combined experience! Favorite fountain: My favorite type of fountain is one that has lots of water movement and sound. Adding water movement and sound makes a huge impact on an outdoor living space! What every gardener should know: Birds are attracted to moving water. If you like to bird watch, add a fountain to your yard to see what kind of fun birds start visiting you. If you already have a birdbath, you can add a Water Wiggler to move the water around in your birdbath so that it will attract more birds and keep the mosquitoes away at the same time. Other interests: This time of year, my active 7-year-old twins keep our family busy with soccer, swimming, and taekwondo. So watching them engage in sports, and enjoying Royals games together is great family fun. Little known secret: Certain varieties of boxwoods will live in a potted container year round. Many customers don’t know what to do with their concrete planters in the winter time to spruce them up. Try planting a boxwood shrub in your planter and then just leave it there all winter! You can add flowers around the bottom of the boxwood for spring and summer color. We also have fabulous winter arrangements that can be placed right down in your existing planter and the last all winter long! Contact information: Van Liew’s Home & Garden, 7347 Prospect Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64132; 816-523-1760;; The Kansas City Gardener | July 2016


SUMMER in Bloom

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