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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

March 2015

Destination: The Flint Hills

Plant Introductions Let’s BUST Lawn Care Myths In the Garden at Jewell Gardens Flying Flowers in Your Garden

Swan’s Water Gardens 2015

Spring Is Rapidly Approaching And We’re Working Feverishly In Preparation For Our First Season Here At Our New Location. We’re Stocking Up With The Largest Inventory And Selection Of Pond Supplies, Aquatic Plants And Flowers In Our Twenty Year History. Notice the Changes To The Front of “The Pond Store”. Our New Belgard Paver Entry With Walls For Our Mini Water Features and Fairy Gardens. The Walkway To The Right Leads You To The Aquatic Plant Area And Greenhouse. We’ve Removed The Overgrown Apple Trees In Front Of The Barn In Preparation For Our Rain Harvesting Classes And Installation this Summer Season.

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3/21 Building Streams and Waterfalls. Proper Placement Of Rock/Boulders 3/28 Planting Your Finished Pond – Aquatic Plants and Flowers, Landscaping The Finished Pond

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Spring Classes In March

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SPRING CONTAINER BULB PLANTING HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY PLANT BULBS: (remember, grow different varieties in different containers)


If you plant bulbs upside down or sideways, you’re asking them to waste time & energy. Examine your bulbs for room remnants at the base – the end goes down.

2. FILL YOUR POT PART WAY WITH SOIL MIX Enough so bulbs placed upright on this layer with their tops 1” below the rim of the pot. Make sure to check the bloom dates of the bulbs you are planting.

3. SPACE BULBS SO THAT THEY’RE GENTLY TOUCHING OR NO MORE THAN 1/2” APART Press the base of the bulbs into the soil to keep them standing straight. Place any larger bulbs at the center of the group.


Use a mix that’s well drained but still holds some moisture. A soil mix with starter fertilizer is adequate, or you can mix in a small amount of bulb fertilizer while planting.


Set at a trickle until the soil is fully moistened. Some spring-blooming bulbs require a special chilling period before they’ll grow & bloom.

NOW HIRING SEASONAL LAWN & GARDEN HELP AT ALL LOCATIONS! Day & evening shifts available, please apply at your local Westlake Ace or forward your resume to

TIPS FOR GREAT RESULTS: Get the most color out of your planted space by planting bulbs or perennials with various bloom times. Mass planting of one color together makes the biggest impact. When the blooms are gone allow the foliage of the bulbs to yellow & dieback on its own before removing it. This is important to allow the plant to continue making food for the bulb’s next season.

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The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Soon enough

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Judy Aull Diane & Doc Gover Lenora Larson Susan Mertz Ken O’Dell Dennis Patton Rodney St. John Diane Swan Brent Tucker Anne Wildeboor 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 31.


March 2015 |

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~ Charles Dickens


ou can relate to a scene like that, right? The forecast entices you. It looks mostly sunny, with a high temperature you haven’t seen for weeks. Okay then, you think, I’ll spend a little time in the garden just cleaning up, looking around, checking things out. Nothing heavy duty. Just exploring and discovering. It’s been so long since we’ve spent considerable time in the garden, it seems today is a good day for a walk. You head out to the garden, first with your face to the sun. The warmth feels good on your skin. Then, head down towards your feet, your eyes are hunting for an indication of growth. All I need is a sign, you think, a little bit of green foliage that forces its way through the soil. Still on the quest for spring, the garden path takes you to the shady part of the landscape. Right away you notice a temperature change. What was sunny and warm has become damp and cold. And that jacket you shed earlier would make this moment more comfortable right about now.

And then the wind starts to blow. That unexpected bluster from the north, is a reminder of winter’s presence, and squashes your enthusiasm. March winds can be rather cruel, forcing your return indoors. Your thoughts are consoling and let you consider that tomorrow’s another day. This is the month I am simply a riot about season change indicators: daylight saving time arrives March 8; St. Patrick’s Day is March 17; first day of spring arrives on March 20. Every year my shorts and flip flops are in the ready position, knowing full well though that winter is not gone. Even though the calendar indicates spring’s arrival, here in the Midwest there are weeks to go before the chance for freezing temperatures and snowfall are entirely gone.

So that riotous attitude of mine must be tempered. The voice of reason enters in reminding me, scolding me, to hold on. Soon enough it will be time to plant those herbs out in the garden. Soon enough the crabapple trees will be awash in delicate blooms. Soon enough the neighbor kids will be able to pick strawberries from the patch in front. Until then breathe deeply the clean air, continue to explore, and be ever watchful for that first harbinger of spring. And when you find it, announce it. Shout it to everyone. We all need a bit of hope that spring will be here soon enough. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue March 2015 • Vol. 20 No. 3 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 BUST Lawn Care Myths ............ 8 Plant Introductions ................... 10 JoCo Horticulture Classes ......... 12 Jewell Gardens ....................... 14 Rose Report ............................ 15 Destination: The Flint Hills ......... 16 Tropical Plant Profile ................ 18 Transition in Water Gardens ..... 19 Powell Garden Events .............. 20

about the cover ...

Ankle-high Groundcovers ......... 22 Flying Flowers ......................... 23 Formal in White ...................... 24 The Bird Brain ......................... 25 Upcoming Events ..................... 26 Hotlines .................................. 29 Weather ................................. 29 Garden Calendar .................... 30 Professional’s Corner ................ 31 Subscribe ................................ 31

The Flint Hills of Kansas is host to a variety of plants like this beebalm. Learn more about this destination on page 16.



Healthy Yards Expo promotes green lawn and garden practices


e all strive for a beautiful landscape with less inputs. The Sixth Annual Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, March 28, aims to help you make greener choices for your yards and homes. This free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Civic Center, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. The expo focuses on Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities (KHYC), a program developed by Kansas State University Research and Extension. KHYC helps homeowners make wise choices on environmentally conscious lawn and garden care techniques. Johnson County K-State Research and Extension is teaming with Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee to present the event. “The expo promotes eco-friendly practices and provides education so that you can do your part for clean water, air and healthy soils while maintaining an attractive landscape,” said Dennis Patton, horticulture agent for Johnson County Extension. “Without proper care the practices that we do to manage our landscape will have an effect on our water supply. Runoff or misapplications of products can move into our rivers, and ultimately in our drink-

ing water.” The expo highlights many simple and easy practices that can be done to achieve a nice yard. The Healthy Yards Expo will feature businesses, non-profits and tips that meet the program’s criteria, helping Johnson County and surrounding area residents become “greener” in their lawn and garden care. The expo is a great place to get new ideas from experts. It’s a onestop learning event on green ideas and services.

water conservation, vegetable gardening and sustainability. • Participate in free, fun and educational activities for children. Free soil tests This year will be an opportunity for Johnson County residents to get a free soil test, complements of Johnson County Stormwater Management and Johnson County Extension. It is important to know the nutrient levels in order to grow

healthy plants and protect the water quality in our local streams and lakes. Go to soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample, and bring your sample to the expo to get your free soil test. (One per Johnson County household.) For more information on the Healthy Yard Expo, visit www. or call 913-7157000.

Visitors to the Expo can: • Enter to win door prizes such as compost bins and rain barrel. • The first 100 visitors will receive a free tree seedling, courtesy of Overland Park. • The first 300 visitors will receive an assortment of native plants to try in their home gardens, courtesy of Johnson County Stormwater Management. • Visit with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners and local plant societies. They’ll offer expert advice on gardening and plant cultivation. • Talk with city representatives to find out what’s going on in your neighborhood. • Listen to informative speakers on topics such as composting,

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The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton USING AGED SEED Question: I have some ‘Rainbow Loveliness’ dianthus seed packets from last year. Are the seeds still good? Can I plant them or should I buy new seed? Answer: I am familiar with this dianthus but looking it up on the Internet, what an interesting bloom, not like other varieties of dianthus in this group. As for the question, yes the seeds should still be good. As a rule of thumb, most vegetable and flower seeds will have a good germination rate even

after three years as long as they are stored properly, dry and cool. My concern is that if these are not started very early (earlier than this publication), they will probably not flower this summer. These plants are often treated as an annual but often come back and are perennial. That requires the plant to be mature enough to develop flower buds. Dianthus seeds are most likely to flower this summer when started early under lights instead of directly sown in the garden. Dianthus are cool loving plants and flower best in the spring and fall and often stop blooming in summer. RELOCATING ROSE OF SHARON Question: I want to move a Rose of Sharon but retain the height of the plant. When should I move it? How do I preserve

Beautify Your Surroundings

deep there should be enough root mass for success. As for cutting the plant back how about this approach. Usually we just cut back all branches to about 1 foot. Instead of cutting all limbs back, try removing out onethird to one-half of the branches to the ground. This will still reduce the amount of top growth but help retain some of the height you are wanting. Hope this helps and you enjoy your cake as well as a cheery Rose of Sharon this summer. enough roots so I don’t have to cut back the height? Answer: So I am hearing that you want to “have your cake and eat it to!” Unfortunately that does not always work in the real world. Transplanting an established plant damages a great deal of the root system. The purpose of cutting back the top growth is to help balance top growth with the loss of roots. The ideal time to transplant is when the plant is fully dormant. This is best done in March prior to the bud break in April. As for how much root ball to move the real question is how much can you manage? Soil is heavy but if you could dig about 18 inches wide and

TREE SPIKES AS FERTILIZER Question: I want to fertilize my young trees. A local nursery recommends tree spikes. They seem an easy way to fertilize. Do you recommend them? Answer: Tree spikes looks like they would be easy to use but often are a pain to get into the ground. Tree spikes need to be driven into the soil at least 4 to 6 inches below the ground if there is grass. If you pound them into the ground and leave at soil level, then the grass just got a good meal. The soil must also be moist, if not they will shatter when impacting the hard clay soil. What is important is not how the nutrients are delivered but the food is supplied to a young tree. Other options for fertilizing young

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trees are just to remove the mulch layer, spread and water into the soil. This of course means no grass. A drill with a bulb bit can also be used to drill holes deeply into the soil to pour in the fertilizer. With that being said the spikes can be used but it is really all about proper application. PRUNING ANNABELLE HYDRANGEA Question: When should I cut back my ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea? I’ve heard conflicting instructions: cut them back to the ground; cut them back to 6 inches. Dennis, which is it? Answer: For all you type “A” personalities out there you really have to dislike my answers. The EMG volunteers tell me all the time that my favorite go-to answer on any subject is —“It depends.” I have to say both to the ground or 6 inches is correct. I like to wait for a nice big plump bud to show green in the spring and then make the cut just above that point. Some of those juicy buds are at ground level and some are a few inches off the ground. I don’t think it is a hard and fast rule. The best way to say it might be cut back somewhere between 6 inches and ground level depending on the location of a healthy bud. Here is the good news the only way you can mess up this plant up is by not cutting back in the spring. Does that help my type “A” readers? PERENNIAL BED CLEANUP Question: The Extension’s March calendar says to “Clean up the perennial bed by cutting

Why settle for this ...

back foliage and removing winter mulch layer.” How far back do I cut my perennials? What do I do with the mulch layer? Trash haulers aren’t picking up yard waste in my neighborhood this early. Answer: Cleaning up the perennial garden in the spring means to remove all dead foliage. Cutting back plants in the spring depends on the growth habit. My recommendation it to remove the dead foliage down to live plant tissue. Plants like mums have a tuft of new growth so remove all stems that are brown, leaving the fresh new growth. Some plants like balloon flowers send all new shoots up from below ground in the spring. In this case everything will be removed. So it really depends (see above comment). As for the winter mulch layer I like to just push it off the plants and into the space between plants. No use getting rid of a valuable organic source. Excess leaves that blow into the garden may need to be raked to prevent the plants from being covered. Lastly the trash issue, you might just need to bag and store until your curbside service starts later in the spring. You might also want to talk to your service about additional pickups. That may not work as here in Johnson County so many trash contracts are controlled by homes associations. 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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niversity of Missouri Extension will be offering a series of Master Gardener classes this spring in St. Joseph and Plattsburg. Master Gardeners are trained through a series of 12 classes, covering all aspects of gardening. Topics include plant growth, soils, diseases, insects, fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, and many others. After they graduate, Master Gardeners are required to fulfill 30 hours of service to the community. Volunteer service can include many types of projects. Many Master Gardener groups focus on beautification projects in their communities. Some teach gardening knowledge through speaking or writing. Youth gardening projects, and working with the elderly are good projects as well. There are many other projects that are possible, and as long as it’s some type of community service, only your imagination is the limit.

If you wish to sign up for our classes in Plattsburg or St. Joseph, the deadline is March 12. We will be meeting on Thursday evenings, from 6 to 9 p.m., starting on March 19. Master Gardeners receive a USB thumb drive containing an electronic version of the Master Gardener core manual from University of Missouri Extension. A hard copy of the core manual is available for an additional charge. The cost for the training classes will be $110.00. If spouses attend together, the cost for the couple will be $195.00. For more information about Master Gardening, and a registration form, please call Tim Baker in Gallatin at 660-663-3232, or Tom Fowler in St. Joseph at 816-279-1691. You may also download a registration form and find more information on our website at: nwregion/hort/

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Let’s BUST Lawn Care Myths

Rodney St. John


s with most things today, there is a proliferation of information available about lawn and tree care. It is difficult to sort through all of the fiction to get to the facts. Today, I want to expose some common myths about lawn care so that you can get your lawn on the right track this spring. Myth: To mow it short or not mow it short, that is the question. With this spring mowing question, I have heard strong opinions on both sides. The main argument against telling homeowners to lower their mower a notch in the spring, has been that some people believe, ‘if you tell them to lower

it, they will forget to raise it. And keep it low all summer long.’ Or the other argument is that you will lower it too short, scalping the lawn, damaging the mower and the lawn. But I have more faith in you than that. I frequently advise people to lower their mower one notch in the spring and then raise it back up for the rest of the spring. When it starts to get hot, I advise them to raise it another notch for the summer. And then lower it back down one notch in the fall. For cool season lawns (tall fescue, bluegrass), there isn’t a major agronomic benefit to lowering it one notch for the first mowing. It is mainly for aesthetics. By lowering it one notch, you will remove much of the brown leaf tissue making it easier to see the new green blades, which makes your lawn appear greener, quicker. For warm season lawns (bermuda, zoysia, buffalo), mowing it a notch lower will allow more sunlight to reach the ground and warm up the soil quicker, thus

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decreasing the amount of time it takes for the grass to green up and get growing. Now for the caveat. Like stated above, lowering the mower one notch will increase the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground. So if your lawn is thin and weak, this could allow more weeds to germinate. So make sure you lawn is thick and healthy and use a preemergent. The bottom line is, you don’t HAVE to mow it shorter, but doing so can improve the appearance of your lawn. Just remember to raise it back up after that first mowing. Myth: Grass clippings cause thatch. Bag it. The facts are that grass clippings do not cause thatch. Thatch is made up of decomposing stem, root, rhizome, and stolon tissue. Don’t bag your clippings because you think you will prevent thatch. Let them lay in the yard. It is beneficial to recycle your clippings; they contain small amounts of nutrients that can help your lawn maintain health and color. I think the main reason many people bag their clippings is because they don’t mow often enough. When you mow infrequently, the grass is too tall to be easily dispersed across the lawn. When mowing, follow the 1/3 rule. Which means ‘never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue when you mow.’ So if you are maintaining Kentucky bluegrass at 2 inches, don’t let it grow taller than 3 inches before you mow. If you are keeping your tall fescue at 3 inches, mow it before it reaches 4.5 inches. This

will keep your clippings small and easily dispersible. It will also be the least stressful on the grass. But this means you will have to mow more often during those rapid growing times (in the spring and fall for cool season grasses and in the summer for warm season grasses). It might mean mowing every 4-6 days instead of the oncea-week most people mow. Mow your lawn frequently when it is growing rapidly, so you can recycle your grass clippings into the yard. Don’t bag them. I’m happy to help homeowners bust lawn care myths and grow the best lawns possible. With a little know-how, most of us can have a great canvas for our kids to play on and enjoy. Dr. Rodney St. John is an agronomist at Ryan Lawn & Tree. Have questions about a lawn care myth you have heard? Give him a call at 913-381-1505 or contact him at

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Interspecific Impatiens Big Bounce Lilac

Coleus ‘Electric Slide’

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Photo by Katharine Garrison.

Ornamental Peppers planted in the Arboretum entryway garden.

Vinca ‘Jams ’N Jellies Blueberry’

Plant Introductions:

The Hope that Springs Eternal at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens By Anne Wildeboor


s gardeners we patiently endure the cold winter months. We sit in our cozy homes and dream of warm days that will soon be back. We dream of how we can make our gardens that much better in the new year. One thing that helps with that blissful picture of new perfection is the influx of garden catalogs. Every day the mailbox has at least one periodical stating that they have the newest thing you must have. Here are a few things that are going to be must-haves at the Arboretum in 2015.

Big Bounce Interspecific Impatiens from Selecta is a cross between old fashioned Impatiens walleriana and Impatiens hawkerii (New Guinea Impatiens). Basically you get the bloom power and vigor of the good old standard but the downy mildew resistance of New Guineas. They come in six colors. This year, 2015, has been deemed the year of the coleus according to the National Garden Bureau. If you haven’t tried a coleus in your containers or landscape you must! They are easy and there are so many options of color, leaf

texture and size to choose from. Two fun new varieties that I can’t wait see are ‘Electric Slide’ from Terra Nova and ‘Lime Time’ from Proven Winners. Electric Slide is a creamy yellow with spidery red veins and an electric green scalloped edge. We are going to pair it with Red Cora Vinca. Lime Time has amazing chartreuse foliage, and what can I say—I am a sucker for anything chartreuse. The ornamental peppers that we planted at the front gates last summer were a hit. Ornamental peppers are great for our area

because they love it hot and dry! Two varieties to look for when you come to the Arboretum are ‘Conga’, a purple leaf variety that sports purple fruits that mature to orange, and ‘Nu Mex Easter’, an AAS winner for 2014. With Nu Mex Easter you get a rainbow of pepper colors on top of bright green foliage. Vinca and lantana are staples in our summer landscapes. They thrive in our climate. Vinca ‘Jams n Jellies Blueberry’ is the new sibling of ‘Jams n Jellies Blackberry.’ Blueberry sports a rich purple

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Salvia nemorosa ‘Violet Riot’ color with a dark center. Lantana ‘Marmalade’ from Proven Winners has bright tangerine colored blooms. It is a mid-sized lantana, so it can work well in the landscape or in containers. I didn’t forget about perennials I promise. We all are in search of perennials that give us a long bloom time. I for one am excited about Salvia nemorosa ‘Violet Riot’ from Walters Gardens. Supposedly it is an improvement over ‘May Night’, with more concentrated violet blue color. Time will tell if it truly is as good or better than May Night, but I am willing to give it a whirl.

Ornamental grasses, in my opinion, are a no-brainer option. They give you texture, color, winter interest and they are EASY! I am a big fan of new varieties of some of our native grasses. ‘Smoke Signal’ Little Bluestem gives you that nice blue color in the summer, then turns deep reddish purple in the fall. I think it is important to remember that growers are always going to tell you their product is the best ever. You cannot be 100% sure about something until you try it. It may not be hardy, it may only last three years, they may have photo enhanced the color, and it may not take the full sun in August. The list can go on and on, but you never know until you try. Which I think is the nice thing about gardening, it can be an adventure. Happy planting and have fun trying new things in 2015. Anne Wildeboor is the horticulturist for the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. She can be reached at Anne. and 913-685-3604.

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Johnson County Extension Horticulture Classes The Details All Times: 7–9 p.m. (unless noted) Fee: $10 per person Registration requested at least one week in advance. Enrollment limited. To enroll go to www. and click on All Extension Classes, Horticulture. Classes are held at the Extension offices (except where noted) located at 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe, KS 66061. For more information, please call 913-715-7000.

class will show you how to incorporate permaculture concepts into your home landscape with the goal of making your garden more balanced, more abundant and less work. Speaker: Jim Crist, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener

Tuesday, March 3 Trees for Johnson County Note this session is free of charge; registration will be handled through the City of Lenexa. As Emerald Ash Borer continues its spread throughout the area, trees will begin to die and many of our tree-lined streets will

Long blooming perennials, like Echinacea pictured above, can color your garden for multiple weeks. Learn about other perennials that can give you a season of color on Tues., March 24. vanish. This will be a loss to our neighborhoods, but a great travesty if we do not replant for the future. The class will show which trees should be planted and which

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March 2015 |

ones to avoid. Each participant will receive a copy of the list to assist with finding the right tree for the right location. Location: Lenexa Conference Center, Thompson Barn, 11184 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66215 (SW corner of College and Lackman Road) Pre-registration required. Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp (click on adult classes to find link) Speaker: Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Tuesday, March 10 Permaculture – A New Trend Permaculture is a set of principles or tools for designing landscapes that are modeled after nature yet include humans. This

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Monday, March 16 Hardscaping, Paths, Walks and More When you think about a beautiful landscape the plants probably come to mind. Often overlooked is the importance of the hardscape that defines and sets off a planting. This class will cover the basics of the hardscape to help create a delightful setting. Tips on layout and simple construction will be covered so that you can make wise decisions. Speaker: Jack Carson, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Tuesday, March 24 Long Blooming Perennials Perennials have long been a garden favorite. Unfortunately many only bloom for a few days or weeks. This informative class will help you search out those that have multiple weeks of color in the garden. Extended blooming perennials and the use of a few smaller shrubs can give you that season of color we all look for. Speaker: Merle Sharp, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener


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Entertainment will include performances from Eco-Elvis, StoneLion Puppets, the Green Swing band, and a student choir from Belinder Elementary. Delicious lunch, snacks and beverages will be available for purchase from three local food trucks: CoffeeCakeKC, Prairie Fire Oven, and Taco Republic. In addition to Earth Fair festivities, Shawnee Mission East High School’s service organization, SHARE, will host its annual garage sale fundraiser in the auxiliary gym. Now called the SHARE 3R (ReCycle, RePurpose, ReUse) Sale, event proceeds will benefit the organization’s mentoring and tutoring programs in Shawnee Mission School District elementary schools with the greatest need for assistance. The Earth Fair is free and open to the public. But bring money to shop for great products. For more information, visit, check out the Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @ PVEarthFair.


he 14th annual Prairie Village Earth Fair is Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Shawnee Mission East Gymnasium, 75th and Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS. This celebration of the planet is brought to you by the City of Prairie Village and Shawnee Mission East High School and is open to the entire community with fun for all ages! As part of this year’s theme, “(en)Lighten Your Footprint… because the Earth matters”, the fair will feature several presentations to help attendees connect what they learn to immediate actions they can take. Topics will include green consumerism, fair trade, xeriscaping and support of natural pollinators such as bees and monarchs. Visit for schedule and more information. With over 50 exhibitors each year, the fair features a mix of environmental resources, earthfriendly products, youth-friendly craft activities and live animals, including birds of prey, lizards and snakes. Want to catch a peek at the newest in hybrid, electric and environment-friendly cars? You’ll see those at the fair, as well.

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The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Photos by Susan Mertz.

In the Garden at Jewell Gardens

Susan Mertz


ext stop: Gold Mining My husband arrived in Skagway with thoughts of a gold rush reality show. Quickly into a tourist stop in Skagway, Alaska, he realized the allure of gold mining as portrayed in the brochure on the cruise ship wasn’t going to pan out in real life. We told the driver that we were going to skip rest of the bus tour and we headed to town on foot to explore on our own. The road took us to Jewell Gardens. Obviously, I hadn’t done my homework prior to boarding the


March 2015 |

cruise ship. I thought an Alaskan cruise was going to be all about seeing glaciers and mountains. We did and the views were extraordinary! However, there is so much more to see, including some beautiful gardens. Jewell Gardens was one of my favorites. The setting with the backdrop of a mountain may be part of the reason. The bright and bold colors in the garden are probably the main reason. A combination garden and glassblowing studio, Jewell Gardens shares many plants in common with our Midwest gardens. Jewell Gardens has daisies, columbine, roses, lady’s mantle, petunias, snapdragons, nasturtiums, junipers and spruce. Better than that, they also have Hungarian blue poppies, forget me nots, and delphiniums that actually thrive. I fell in love with orange globeflowers and their combination in the garden with blue delphiniums. I’ll

never be able to grow either one successfully since they both require rich, moist soil. My gardening style is more about neglect. Giving visitors a garden to table experience, production gardens are also on the property and provide some of the ingredients for items served in the Jewell Gardens’ restaurant. Herbed cream cheese with edible flowers. Yum! Unlike any produce garden I have seen in my ‘former spinach capital of the world’ hometown, their gardens have beautiful blown glass adorning the ceiling of a hoop house. On our walk back to town, we passed a charming log cabin with a pretty flower garden. For a fleeting moment, I thought about how wonderful it would be to live there and grow things I can’t grow in Kansas. And, to take pictures of flowers in light that isn’t as harsh as ours. However, the snowcapped mountains in the background brought

me back to reality. I would love the long days but would hate the short season. Final stop: Skagway Brewing Company, Spruce Tip Blonde Ale With the temperatures in the upper 80’s, we were parched from our journey and wanted to try a pint of Spruce Tip Blonde Ale. Unfortunately, too many others off the cruise ship had the same idea and got there ahead of us. They were sold out of the spruce tip ale but had Boulevard Wheat on tap. We discovered our bars have something in common too. Jewell Gardens, Klondike Highway, Skagway, Alaska Open daily May 5 through September 29 Susan Mertz, Garden Writer and Director of Marketing at Loma Vista Nursery. Join her for tours and photographs of gardens at

Rose Report Attention beginners, this is for you.

Charles Anctil


his month I thought I’d address some basics about planting new roses in the landscape. Location Roses should be planted away from trees and in an area that will receive at least 6 hours of sunshine. Morning sun is best because it will dry your plants faster from dew or rain. If establishing a new rose bed, make sure you call the utilities and have them flag your yard so you will know where not to dig. Too many people wind up in the hospital when coming into contact with power lines. Bare-root/dormant roses You can purchase bare-root/ dormant roses through mail order nurseries or wait until the potted roses are ready at your local garden center. With the bare-root roses, you can plant earlier, weather permitting, or you can put them in 2 or 3 gallon pots and plant them in the ground when they are leafed out and growing. When removing the plant from the pot, be careful to not break the ball of soil. When they are leafed out and tender, it is quite a shock.

Also, consider planting on a cloudy day or early evening. If you buy mail order roses, make sure you trim the roots back about 2” to open the roots again. That way they can start growing feeder roots ASAP! Soak the roots overnight. These roses were harvested back in November and December and stored in huge warehouses with misting systems, but by the time they reach you, who knows – be on the safe side. There are many potting mixes available. I use Baccto Potting Soil because it’s what we have at the store and it contains all of the necessary ingredients needed for a good start. Shop around and read the labels. Get one you will be happy with. Site prep Although my beds are established, I still dig large holes, 13” X 13”, and prepare the site for my new rose. I mix 1 oz. Mushroom Stuff, 1 oz. Earthright to one gallon of water. This goes in the bottom of the hole. Then I let it drain. I mix the soil I dug up with the Baccto, 50%/50%. I refill the hole so the bud union will be about 1”–1 1/2” below ground level, then I very carefully remove the pot, set the ball down, then water deeply. I like to see the water bubble up then watch it drain. When I am through watering, I mix brown sphagnum peat moss in a bucket of water and mix it until it is real thick like mud.

take your finger or a screwdriver and scrape some of the peat moss away – see how the new growth is coming along. If the new growth is maybe 1/2” to 3/4” you can leave it uncovered. Remember to uncover only 1/3 at a time. Do this before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. as the new growth is very tender. Do this on the dormant roses only. Water normally every 3-4 days. Don’t use fertilizer until the rose is through blooming the first time. This is a guide, and it works for me. Then I completely cover the canes so nothing shows. The outside of the peat moss dries, but the inside acts like a little greenhouse and makes the plant break dormancy faster. Maybe in ten days or so

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The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Konza hill in north central Flint Hills. Photo by Mike Haddock.

Autumn in the Flint Hills. Photo courtesy of David Welfelt Photography.

Orange Butterfly Weed

Indian Hemp

Pink Evening Primrose below; Sunflower above

Above: White Evening Primrose. Photo by Glenn Fell. Below: Kansas Symphony performs in the Flint Hills. Photo by Phyllis Scherich.


March 2015 |

Photo by Phyllis Scherich.

Destination: The Flint Hills Ken O’Dell


any people drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas numerous times before the extraordinary beauty of the area begins to make its indelible impression. Once the traveler is hooked, the Flint Hills can be a source of endless scenic enjoyment. The Flint Hills is the largest tract of true prairie in Kansas. This prairie covers more than four million acres and stretches from the Nebraska border in northern Kansas into the northern edge of Oklahoma. The Flint Hills form an oval shape about 200 miles from north to south and as wide as 60 miles from east to west, covering all or part of about 20 counties in Kansas with no consistency in defining the boundaries. Zebulon Pike, the explorer after whom Pike’s Peak is named, chose the name Flint Hills because of its predominantly cherty (i.e., flinty) soil and its gently rolling topography. The climate is variable, and temperatures range from -32°F to +118°F. Rainfall is not reliable, as the 30” to 35” of average yearly rainfall may come early some

years, not at all for some months, or in several downpours over a period of just a few days. Vegetation in the Flint Hills had not changed for 11,000 years. Then, in the mid-1800s, white settlers came to the area. Plows were nearly useless, as the thin soil did not support crops except in a few pieces of bottom land. But raising cattle was very successful, as the rich nutrients in the millions of acres of bluestem grasses could put enough weight on the livestock in one summer to make them ready for shipment to eastern markets. There were huge cattle drives in early spring from Texas to the Flint Hills of Kansas. After the cattle had fattened on the prairie bluestem they were loaded in boxcars and shipped to all points east. The word “ramrod” was coined because the foreman would take a long pole, poke it through the sides of the boxcar, and prod or ram the cattle so more could be crowded in. The foreman was referred to as the ramrod. Kansas became a state in 1861. That same year my great grandfather S.C. O’Dell came to Kansas from Michigan as a homesteader. White settlers continued to move into the state and brought with them many varieties of grasses and plants they had grown back east. Some of these plants survived and are now considered to be either naturalized or invasive, depending on whether they are mixing unself-

ishly with our native plants or are invading and taking over our yards, gardens, roadsides and prairies. Our great native cottonwood tree Populus deltoides was here, patiently waiting for the settlers. Many homesteaders moved tree seedlings from nearby ravines, gullies and streams closer to their homes and gardens. The cottonwood is now the state tree of Kansas and grows well in every Kansas county. The state flower of Kansas, the sunflower, also grows in every Kansas county. Little bluestem grass is the state grass and is abundant in the Flint Hills. A trip through the area in August and September will delight the traveler with millions of bright golden yellow sunflowers towering above many of the other prairie forbs and grasses. The average prairie in the Flint Hills is full of grasses, forbs and a few subshrubs such as the leadplant. Records from forty years ago, the most recent statistics I can find, show the average prairie in the Flint Hills is made up of 97.8% grasses. This includes little bluestem (34.4%), big bluestem (38.9%), Indian grass, switch grass, and more than 100 other species of grass. Hundreds of varieties of forbs such as blazing star, pitcher’s sage and goldenrod make up only 2.2% of the vegetation in the Flint Hills. Of the 987 species of plants there, about 25% reach their east-

ern or western limits in Kansas in the Flint Hills. The Flint Hills does not have any plants that are endemic to the area. There are many opportunities for you to enjoy the Flint Hills up close. As they have for several years, the Kansas City Symphony will present The Symphony in the Flint Hills on June 13, 2015. Tickets can be ordered online. You might also enjoy visiting the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, KS, as this is less than a two-hour drive from Kansas City. Guided tours of the Flint Hills are also available. Check with the Kansas Native Plant Society (KNPS) at and click on Events. This will take you to the schedule of tours and walks that will be offered in different areas and at various times throughout the year. The KNPS Annual Wildflower Weekend is September 25-27 in Manhattan (Riley County), which is smack dab in the middle of the northern part of the Flint Hills. Check out the KNPS website for more information. Ken O’Dell is a long-time volunteer at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. He serves on the board of directors of the Kansas Native Plant Society and is its Kansas City regional leader.

The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Tropical Plant Profile

Begonia prismatocarpa, when happy will never quit at the top of my list – Begonia prismatocarpa. Begonia prismatocarpa is indigenous to tropical jungles of Africa where it’s warm, bright and humid. The same climes that dart frogs require. It is a small creeping plant with green leaves about the size of your thumbnail sometimes variegated in white, as seen in the picture. When this begonia is happy it seems to never quit producing its golden yellow flowers with hints of red. Just as with dart frogs, Begonia prismatocarpa is home in a warm, humid, and brightly lit environment. It will creep along the surface of the substrate and relish the high humidity found in enclosed containers. If wanting to grow this begonia sans the frogs, any enclosed container of glass or plastic will do allowing for lateral growth. Plant your container with equal parts long fiber sphagnum moss

Brent Tucker


t seems of late that I’m meeting more and more people who are creating vivariums for reptile husbandry. Perhaps this is the next step in terrarium evolution and it’s certainly a step that I plan to take. The setups I’ve seen can be truly artistic, much like a painting using plants such as peperomias, ferns, mosses, begonias, orchids, and bromeliads. These vivariums are home to some of the most stunning species of dart frogs in colors of red, blue, yellow, green, and black. When asked for suggestions as to what to plant in these vivariums one plant is typically

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and coarse perlite. Place your container in a warm and bright windowsill out of direct sun. I personally grow mine under fluorescent lights. Water your container only when the moss is dry but never allow it to dry so much that the plant wilts. This may be every two weeks to a month depending on location and remember not to flood

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your container with water. Feed your begonia with a very dilute mixture of plant food every other watering. Pinch your begonia back when needed and root those pieces you’ve pinched! These you can grow for other containers or share with friends. So, where do you find Begonia prismatocarpa? I suggest the local begonia enthusiast group, Mid America Begonia Society, or you can order them online. Check this publication’s plant group calendar for meeting dates or look for the MABS show and sale in the fall. Whether you’re creating a tropical jungle for frogs or just growing a jewel of a plant, Begonia prismatocarpa is awesome! Brent Tucker is Horticulturist of Seasonal Displays and Events at Powell Gardens. He can be reached at

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Transition Time in Water Gardens What will you hear and see in your backyard?

Diane Swan


ater transforms an ordinary backyard into an extraordinary backyard. Each season brings with it a whole new aspect of nature. Now begins the transformation from winter to spring. When spring arrives … what will you hear out your back door; • Birds chirping happily. • Bees buzzing gathering nectar. • Waterfalls splashing on rocks. • A babbling brook flowing to the pond. • Frogs croaking while they rest on water lily pads. • Fish jumping to catch flies. ... what will you see? • Lily pads floating on the pond’s surface. • Flowers reflecting bright colors off the pond’s surface. • Birds bathing in the stream. • Dragonflies darting to and fro around the pond like little helicopters. • Grasses behind the waterfalls swaying in the breeze. • The sweet scent of the Lotus blossoms rising high above the water. A water feature brings a surprising amount of life to the backyard along with the sense of peace and tranquility. Water is the main

source of life and a water feature draws life to it like a magnet. Ponds will thaw and slowly fish and frogs will become more active. Don’t start feeding fish too early! When water temperatures are consistently 55°F or warmer, feed your fish with small servings of Spring Fish Food that is easily digested. Spring is also the season when you take a good look at your pond and decide if it needs a cleanup or not. If you used a leaf net and there is hardly any debris, you can take the excess debris out with a net and jumpstart your pond with coldwater bacteria. Treat your pond with a pond sea salt treatment to jumpstart the immune system of your fish so they can fight parasites during the winter-spring transition. There are products like spring beneficial bacteria and sludge away that help also aide in getting rid of excess debris on the bottom of the pond. But if there is excessive debris and muck buildup in the bottom of the pond, you may want to do a complete cleanup. It involves draining, cleaning and refilling the pond. In either case, your pond will look fresher and be ready to take on the new season. Spring is also a good time to divide and replant any aquatic plants that need refreshing. For those who do not have a water feature yet and cannot hear all the backyard sounds, Spring is a great time to plan out your feature. Visit area Lawn and Garden shows for ideas. For more inspiration, search for water feature videos on the Internet. Aquascape, a

huge player in the water garden industry, is just one company that features hundreds of wonderful videos showcasing water features. See the range of small container gardens and bubbler rocks to massive waterfalls and ponds, and every size in between. Build a wish list. Identify favorite aspects of a water feature and visualize them in your backyard setting. Keep in mind to scale your project to what will actually fit comfortably in your yard, while

maintaining a natural look. You want it to look like it has been there a long time and blends in with the rest of the yard. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or opt for a professional install, you too will be able to open your back door… and hear the sounds!



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The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Out of the Blue: Morpho Butterflies visit Powell Gardens in March


brilliant wave of blue brings an early spring to Powell Gardens during “Out of the Blue,” a new exhibit featuring one of the world’s largest butterflies— the Blue Morpho. From March 7 through March 31, visitors will experience the conservatory as a tropical rainforest filled with these magical butterflies, best known for their sparkling iridescent blue wings and flashy flight patterns. The Blue Morphos come from El Bosque Nuevo, a Costa Rican butterfly farm that uses 100 percent of its proceeds for reforestation, rainforest conservation and research. As rainforest inhabitants who spend most of their time in the understory, Blue Morphos sport clever camouflage on the underside of their wings that protects them as they feed on fermenting fruit and tree sap.

The rainforest theme in the conservatory lends itself to a full display of tropical plants in Powell Gardens’ collection — which includes orchids, begonias and more. Timed to coincide with spring breaks across the area, the exhibit also will include hands-on learning about rainforest and butterfly conservation both locally and around the world. The exhibit will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily March 7 through March 31. Admission is $10/adults, $4/children ages 5-12 and free for Friends of Powell Gardens. Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in a shimmering sea of blue! Plan Your Visit Take a closer look at the science behind these mystical butterflies and learn more about their critical

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Blue Morpho butterflies from Costa Rica will fill the conservatory in March. role in conservation during special activities throughout the exhibit. Daily, you’ll find information about the Blue Morpho, a look at what’s going on with local butterfly species in March and an interactive art project. Special weekend events include: March 7-8 Why Rainforests Matter Discover the wonders of the rainforest and understand how conservation efforts affect our lives at this discovery station, with hourly chicle gum-making demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday. March 14-15 Where Tech and Nature Meet Find out how high-tech innovations and life-changing inventions

were inspired by nature, including the light-refracting wings of the Blue Morpho. March 21-22 Local Flying Gems Learn more about the beautiful butterflies and moths that make our region their home during this discovery station. Make a butterfly seed bomb to take home from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday. March 28-29 Fancy Nancy Storytelling Storyteller extraordinaire Dawnna Morris returns as Fancy Nancy to share stories at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. This weekend also features a discovery station to show how plants and animals of the tropics adapt for their survival.

Gardening is All About Discovery It’s Time You Discovered Farrand Farms! It’s different, it’s better. You’ll love the unique presentation of our healthy ‘homegrown’ Flowers, Vegetables and Herbs of all kinds. You’ll be amazed at the organization and how neat and clean the greenhouses are. Our smiling staff and easy shopping will make your visit a pleasure. Come and celebrate spring with us.

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March 2015 |

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Summer Youth Gardening Program

niversity of Missouri Extension Master health care, human nutrition, food value, food needs in the local community, and horticultural Gardeners of Greater Kansas City is concareer opportunities. Each Master Gardener ducting a summer gardening program for youth ages 9-13. In the Garden ‘N Grow Program, is trained by University of Missouri Extension youths learn not only vegetable gardening, specialists. but also “cultivate” other science, math, and The Garden ‘N Grow Program will be held on Mondays and Thursdays from 9-11 language arts skills and have fun! The goals am from June 1 through August 6, 2015 at of this program are to experience the fun of gardening, to enjoy a feeling of success, and Fairview Christian Church in Gladstone. Cost to have the satisfaction of sharing harvested of the 10 week program is $45 per single food with family and/or local food banks. child or 2 siblings atOFF $70.*1Enrollment fees Series The development of the whole child is include student workbooks, games and5E crafts, 5045E and 5055E emphasized as well as team building as they vegetable ‘N –– ORgarden –– supplies, and a Garden MFWD, 2015 mo garden. Master Gardeners use cooperative Grow t-shirt. For for more information on the program conteaching skills to educate youth about seeds, financing tact the Jacksonmonths County University of Missouri transplants, garden planning and design, site –– AND –– preparation, soils, plant growth and developExtension Center, 1600 NE Coronado, Blue ment, costs of production, garden pests, plant Springs, MOOFF 64014, at 816-252-5051.




Storyteller Dawnna Morris will share Fancy Nancy stories relating to butterflies on March 28 and 29 during “Out of the Blue: Morphos in March” at Powell Gardens. March 28-29 Begonia Weekend Begonias are one of many flowers with origins in the tropics. Visit between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 29, to learn about these beauties from members of the Mid-America Begonia Society. March 28-29 Tropical Animals and Their Adaptations Meet some live animals from the tropics and learn how their special adaptations help them survive life in the jungle. You can meet dart frogs, crested geckos, a tarantula and hissing cockroaches. You’ll also learn how different cultures around the world have adapted to using tropical insects in their diets and will have a chance

to taste some creepy crawly cuisine. Scheduled talks and tastings take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 28 and 29. And in the Heartland Harvest Garden There is a series of potato growing demos in the Heartland Harvest Garden: Hot Potatoes If You Dig Them, Grow Them! Heartland Harvest Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier shares everything you need to grow tasty tubers at home during demonstrations at 2 p.m. on three Saturdays: March 21, March 28 and April 4. She will also have a great assortment of seed potatoes available for sale. Fresh Bites sessions take place in the open-air Missouri Barn and are included with admission.

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Sedum ternatum, Phlox divaricata, Iris cristata, Senecio aureus.jpg is self explanatory; at the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve. that sway in the wind while foliage lays flat on the ground an inch high. Plants sucker and fill in stepping stone gaps. They also grow thick, crowding out most weeds. Other stepping-stone toeknockers include woodland stonecrop (Sedum ternatum), crested iris (Iris cristata), and James sedge (Carex jamesii) for shade, and minty smelling Ozark calamint (Calamintha arkansana) in sun. Unfortunately, some introduced groundcovers are highly invasive in the Midwest like wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunii) and English/ Baltic ivy (Hedera helix). I can’t walk twenty steps in the woods in any direction at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, Missouri without finding wintercreeper. Euonymus fortunii was introduced in 1860 by Scottish plant explorer Robert Fortune and it has really taken off since. If only he had known then how devastating this plant would become to natural woodlands and river bottoms, I suspect he and his colleagues never would have moved it from China. It has since been a topselling evergreen groundcover and is easy to find at many garden centers. Fortunately there is a native evergreen alternative that grows in shade called golden groundsel (Senecio aureus) that has bright yellow flowers topping out at 16 inches in April. Dark evergreen foliage grows 6 inches high and suckers to form dense weed barriers. This one is even tolerant

Photo credit to Scott Woodbury.


can think of many good reasons to use low-growing native groundcovers. They promote healthy natural diversity in the garden by attracting bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, bugs, flies, spiders and much more. Prairie pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) is off the charts with its late March or early April flowers that attract copious amounts of tiny wild bees and flies. Flies you say, really? Yes, amazing flies. Not just houseflies, but native flies with iridescent wings and eyes that bristle, shimmer, and diversify the garden. Wings, heads, bodies, hair, and

Erigeron pulchellus, Carex jamesii, and Senecio obovatus growing in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve. Photo credit to Mervin Wallace.

Scott Woodbury

legs of all sorts reflect the soft spring light that March offers, to those who take time to observe. Small patches of this tiny groundcover are audible with the sound of music…wings buzzing in the air. In full sun or part shade and dry soils this one will bloom at 3 to 4 inches in height and remain a half-inch tall the rest of the year. Its cousin—round-leaved pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii)—is similar but is looser in habit and prefers more shade. Try these under Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelus vernalis) or pawpaw (Asimina triloba) to complete the ultimate early spring fly-pollinator garden. Diminutive native groundcovers like spring daisy (Erigeron pulchellus) prefer gravely soils and can soften dry-laid stone paths. This early bloomer looks like summer daisies but blooms in April and is pollinated by tiny digger bees. Flowers sit on 10-inch stems

Photo credit to Scott Woodbury.

Low growers that knock your socks off

Antennaria neglecta of water so makes a great shady rain garden groundcover. Its cousin round-leaved groundsel (Senecio obovatus) is also shade-loving but prefers drier soils. You can find sources of native groundcovers to purchase by consulting the list of plant suppliers at, Resource Guide. Horticulturalist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for more than 20 years. He also is an advisor the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

Flying Flowers in your Garden

Lenora Larson


o we all agree: you can never have too much chocolate in the pantry or too many butterflies in the garden? These ‘flying flowers’ bring color, grace, motion and a sense of wonder for both adults and children. As spring approaches, let’s review the basics for attracting butterflies to your garden. A Butterfly’s Life The beautiful winged adults are only one of four stages in this insect’s life, and for most species it is the shortest stage. With few exceptions, the adults only live a week or two and have just one goal: procreation. In a few days, they must find love, mate and lay the precious eggs that will become the next generation. Adult butterflies do not eat—they don’t even have mouths! But they do have a tongue and many species sip nectar. Masses of nectar-rich flowers will attract them; however, flowers are not critically necessary. They are merely a nectar-bar, serving adult beverages to battle-weary males and ravaged females. Our ladies

may stop at the bar for refreshment, but they are focused on finding the really important plants: their future children’s food plants. The males establish their breeding territories over these host plants, knowing that’s where the ladies will gather. After laying their eggs on the leaves, the females die. And the males die after they have expended all their sperm impregnating as many females as possible. Caterpillar Food Plants You choose which butterflies will hang out in your garden by which caterpillar foods you plant because most species of butterfly are very host-plant specific. For instance, unless you or a neighbor has Paw-Paws, you will never see Zebra Swallowtails in your yard. The caterpillar does ALL the eating. In the three to four week process, the caterpillar sheds its skin five times as it increases in weight 2 to 4,000 times! Once fullgrown, it stops eating and chooses a spot to pupate and metamorphosize. Depending on the species and time of year, the adult will emerge in about three weeks to six months, ready for love. Garden Requirements First, NO INSECTICIDES! Butterflies are insects and just as vulnerable to poisons as the pests, pollinators and beneficial predatory insects. A sunny garden with nectar-rich (not sterile hybrid)

flowers blooming from late March to late November will attract the adults. Then, to maximize your resident butterfly populations, each desired species must have its caterpillar host plant. There are many resources to help you match the plant to the butterfly, including A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies of the Kansas City Area by Betsy Betros. Betsy helps you identify your visitors and describes their life cycles including the caterpillar food plants. Where to find the necessary “cat foods”? Nurseries specializing in native plants are a good start, as are the Extension Master Gardener spring plant sales. The Marais des Cygnes Extension (formerly Miami County) plant sale will be held in Paola on April 23, 24, 25 and will feature caterpillar food plants. Other requirements include a wind break to shelter our delicate aviators and flat rocks for basking in the sun. Since the males of some

species sip mineral-rich moisture, a wet puddling spot is needed. And for the many species of butterflies that do not sip nectar, trays of rotten fruit will be popular and more sanitary than the other favorite beverage, fresh fecal material like cow plops. Finally, do not be too fastidious when cleaning up in fall. Most butterflies spend the winter in our gardens as the caterpillar, chrysalis, adult or egg. You risk killing next year’s butterflies if you fastidiously remove all fallen leaves and debris. However, with attention to these requirements, your garden should be full of flying flowers every year. Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener 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 lenora.longlips@

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Formal in White Don’t miss seeing this garden during the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Garden Tour in June. By Judy Aull


broad tree-lined boulevard in a charming Brookside neighborhood is the perfect setting for this magnificent traditional two-story home. The home’s exterior colors of soft muted blue and crème set the stage for the French décor and garden of this house. Six years ago the owners moved into the house and found a garden in need of a total redo. This gave them the opportunity to use their own taste and personality. The new owners love everything French so they wanted to incorporate French garden accents into their design both outside and inside. This included using order and symmetry as the foundation of the basic design. The use of clipped boxwood hedges and the row of European hornbeams emphasize the French formality of the garden. They said, “We wanted

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They went a step further in their unique garden design by segmenting their available space into stylish outdoor rooms. One of the most appealing “rooms” is the alfresco dining area placed under a pergola. Beside their new pool is a serene seating arrangement that is ideal for entertaining guests or can be enjoyed in quiet moments by the family. The various plants in the garden are predominately white bloomers but accent colors of pink, blue and purple are added in limited amounts to reflect colors typical of French gardens. Some of their favorites are the New Dawn climbing rose for its color and ease of growing, Incrediball and Annabelle Hydrangeas for their beautiful blooms and formal look, white Rose of Sharon for its pro-

fuse flowers and the fall blooms of Clematis Paniculata. Also on their special list are Globe Blue Spruce, Green Mountain Boxwoods and Milwaukee Calatrava Rose. Even though space is at a premium, the owners feel it is possible to create a formal garden in a limited amount of space and in an urban setting. Don’t miss seeing this garden during the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City 2015 Garden Tour on June 5-6, 9 am to 4:30 pm. For further information about the gardens on the tour, visit www. under the “Garden Tour” heading. Tickets will be available May 8 at various sites in the Kansas City area. Judy Aull is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

The Bird Brain

Bird of the Month: American Robin ‘The Early Bird’

Doc & Diane Gover


he American Robin can be found throughout North America some time during the year. They reside in the Kansas City area year round. Male robins have a dark gray to almost black back and tail with a rust/brick colored breast. The female is paler all over. The juvenile robins have a spotted breast. Only the male robin sings, but both sexes have calls and alarm notes. You typically hear the robin in the spring first thing in the morning and last thing before dark. Robins are attracted to open lawns and gardens with mature shrubbery and trees. While they eat a variety of insects and berries, it has been noted that robins can eat up to 14 feet of earthworms in a day! Robins find earthworms by cocking their head to the side so that they can see. They have monocular vision, which means their eyes are on the sides of the head, and each eye can be used independently. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t hear the earthworms. You will likely find robins in your yard after a rain, after the sprinkler has been on, or even after the lawn

has been mowed, as this brings out the worms and insects. Worms make up about 15% to 20% of the summer diet for robins. Because a robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution. Robins can be attracted to a feeding station by offering mealworms, Bark Butter & Bark Butter Bits, chopped over ripe fruit and a birdbath filled with fresh water. It’s especially fun to offer mealworms during nesting season when the robins can stop and pick up a mouthful of tasty worms to take back to their babies. They will fill their mouth until you think nothing else could possibly fit inside and still continue to try to pick up more, dropping some in the process, and then trying to pick those back up. It can be very entertaining! Robins live on average about one-and a half years, but can live up to five years. They typically nest April through June and can have two to three broods in a season. The female chooses the nest sight. A robin’s nest is usually built 5’ to 15’ above the ground in a tree or shrub. The nest may also be found in a gutter, under an eave of the house or on an outdoor light fixture. You can also offer a manmade robin shelf, which offers a strong support for the nest. The female does most of the nest building. It typically takes about five to six days to build the nest which is made up of pressing dead grass and twigs into a cup shape using

one wing to aid in the formation. Other materials may include paper, feathers, rootlets and moss. Put out a small pan of mud and nesting materials (short strings, yarn, dry grasses) and watch the robins collect materials to make their nests. Once the cup is formed, she reinforces the nest using soft mud to make a heavy, sturdy nest. She forms the mud cup with her breast and then lines it with fine grasses. The finished nest is 6”-8” across and 3”-6” high. Robins lay three to

five sky blue eggs in each clutch. The female incubates the eggs for 12-14 days. Both parents guard the nest from danger. The babies are fully feathered in about 10 days and leave the nest in 14-16 days. In the summer, females sleep at their nest sight and males gather at roosts. As young robins become independent, they join the males. Female adults go to the roosts only after they have finished nesting. Be sure to watch for these “Early Birds” and all of their antics right in your own backyard. Stop by the store if you have questions about robins or any of your backyard birds, our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists will be glad to help you. Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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



Johnson County K-State Research and Extension is looking for a parttime person to assist with our educational programming. Background in horticulture (degree preferred) and experience will be considered. Responsibilities include assisting with the gardening hotline, supporting Extension Master Gardener projects, developing and implementing programs and projects part of Extension programming. Must enjoy working with people and support research based education. Send a cover letter with your interest and resume to dennis.patton@ For more information contact Dennis Patton at 913-715-7000.


Find the oasis from the ordinary

Club Meetings

many door prizes and best of all, two great speakers! See you there! For infor, call Gwen at 816-213-0598.

African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Mar 10, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Independence Garden Club Mon, Mar 9, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center, corner of Noland and Truman Rd, 4th Floor, Independence, MO. The program will be brought by Jim Hedgecock of Cherokee Iris Gardens. Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information please call 816-373-1169 or 816-812-3067.

Bonner Springs Garden Club Tues, Mar 17, 1pm; at Bonner Springs City Library Meeting Room, 201 N Nettleton Ave, Bonner Springs, KS 66012. Ken O’Dell, board member of the Kansas Native Plant Society and Kansas City Regional Leader of the KNPS, will give the featured PowerPoint presentation, “Wildflowers of The Flint Hills”. This program will be about 45 minutes in length, followed by a short club meeting. We will briefly discuss why native plants are so important to the planet; this includes insects, reptiles, rodents, animals, and humans. We will see some of the 900+ species of native plants growing in the Flint Hills with some emphasis on how they reproduce and grow. The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information call Ruth at 913-728-2806. Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Mar 7, 9:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Mar 15, 9:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 2, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Our speaker is Renee Yankovich of Suburban Lawn and Garden. Is your garden looking a little tired? Are you interested in bringing it into shape? Do you want your garden to be absolutely gorgeous? Do you want to incorporate new and interesting plants? If you answer yes to any of these questions, come join us. Non-members are always welcome. For additional information, contact Betty Faye Waterson at 816-561-5308.

Visit the water garden specialists

Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Mar 11, noon-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Imagine! Learn to create your very own herbal and floral designs to wear. Our special guest speaker will be teaching us how-to’s of ‘bundling’ and ‘hammering’. Grit Vece, of Grit’s Pasture is a unique textile designer with an abundance of knowledge to share. Enjoy a springtime potluck lunch provided by our members. Guests are more than welcome to attend, it’s free! To RSVP please contact Charlotte at or phone Barbara at 816 523 3702, as we need an accurate count of those for lunch. What a great way to welcome the coming spring-great ideas for spring wardrobe, great information, great friends. Please join us. Greater Kansas City Iris Society Mon, Mar 9; at Trailside Center, 91st and Holmes, Kansas City, MO. Social 6:30pm, meeting 7pm, followed by a forum on Hybridizing Iris. First meeting of the year. Non members welcome. Free of charge. For more information, contact Shelley Clements at 913-226-5580 or Heart of America Gesneriad Fri, Mar 14, 10am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

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Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, Mar 21. The Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society will be kicking off Spring with an exciting meeting at the Faith Lutheran Church, 67th & Roe, Prairie Village, KS. Hospitality will begin at 9:30am, followed by a short business meeting at 10am, after which Jeff Miller, owner of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm, Milton, WI, will present ”Hostalicious”. The Club will provide barbecue for a potluck at noon. Everyone is welcome, you may bring your favorite dish to share. Following lunch, we are fortunate to have our own Phil Alley sharing his lively presentation “Evolution of a Garden”. Come share a fun day with fellow hostaholics! There will be great food,

Johnson County Rose Society Thurs, Mar 12, 7pm; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS. “In Spring, Our Fancy Turns to Roses.” As spring approaches, we think of all the wonderful things we would like to do with our gardens. Maybe this is the year you decide to add some beautiful roses your landscaping. This year the Johnson County Rose Society celebrates 60 years of helping gardeners grow and enjoy roses. To begin this year, Brian Hobbie, Landscape Designer, and Kent Maughan, Horticulturist, from Soil Service Garden Center, will be the first guest presenters. Their program will focus on using roses in our landscapes, companion plants for roses, planting new roses, and transplanting roses that may need a new home. The winner of the 2014 JCRS Little Rose Show will also be announced and the award presented. 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 meetings, programs and other activities, visit Also on Facebook at Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Mar 15, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Mar 2, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Public is invited. “Preserving Blossoms and Plants for Flower Arrangements and Other Presentations” by Flona Frank. She will show you how to dry flowers with silica sand for life-like color and beauty in addition to how to press flowers for cards and crafts. To speed up the drying process, Flona will also teach you how to use a microwave. Betty Bonness will discuss floral designs and horticultural specimens brought to the meeting by members. Bring a sack lunch and join us for drinks and dessert after the meeting. 913-341-7555 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Mar 10, 7-9pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence (1263 N. 1100 Rd.) Meet the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. Information & Monthly Newsletter: Leawood Garden Club Tues, Mar 24, 10:30am; at the Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St, Leawood, KS. About noon, John Riley will present How to Grow Roses in Kansas City. Mr Riley is the American Rose Society Central District Roses-In-Review Chairman and a Certified Consulting Rosarian. He is active in the Johnson County Rose Society and the Kansas City Rose Society and he is the Loose Park Rose Garden Chairman and winner of three trophies in the 2014 Kansas City Rose Show. We will also be holding our annual fund-raising auction, featuring donations from local merchants. The meeting is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts are provided. For more information, please visit our website www., send an email to, or call 913 642-3317.

Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Mar 10, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 S W Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081. Our speaker will be Neva Mistretta (from Bannister Gardens), her topic will be “Peonies”. Refreshments will be provided, visitors are always welcome. Visit our website or call 816-540-4036 for additional information. Lenexa Field and Garden Club Sat, Mar 7, 1pm; at Shawnee Family Tree Nursery, 7036 Nieman, Shawnee, KS 66203. Representatives from the nursery will share new plants and garden ideas for 2015. Learn more at Mid America Begonia Society Fri, Mar 14, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Northland Garden Club Tues, Mar 17, 7pm; at Sherwood Bible Church, 4900 N Norton, Kansas City, MO (just south and west of Penguin Park). This month the Club will have Judy Pigue of Kansas City Cactus & Succulents provide a presentation. Check website for more info: www. Olathe Garden & Civic Club Tues, Mar 17, 1:30pm; at the Bass Pro Shop, 119th St and I-35, Olathe, KS. The program will be Container Gardening for Vegetables and Flowers presented by member, Gerry Buehler. Public is invited. Any questions, please call Joan Shriver at 913-492-3566. Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Mar, 8, Film (1 hour), Stig Dalstrom in “Wild Orchid Man in the Mountains of the Amazonas”, an adventure film in Peru. Open to the public. Beginners Group for new growers 1:30-2:15. General meeting and presentation at 2:15. Ribbon Judging of locallygrown orchids. Come join the fun at the Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St. For more info, www. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Mar 9, 7pm social, 7:30pm program; at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Have you ever stood in front of a wall of tools at the big box store and hardware wonder what would work for your problem? Members will be bringing in their favorite tools and explaining why they love them. Could be good information for everyone. Guests are welcome. Questions? Contact Sallie Wiley at 913-236-5193. Raytown Garden Club Tues, Mar 3, 10am; at Raytown Christian Church, 6108 Blue Ridge Blvd, Raytown, MO. The program will be “Planning and Planting Your Garden” presented by Jim and Vicky Hart, Master Gardeners. Visitors are welcome, and refreshments will be served. For more information, visit our website at or call 816-257-0049. Sho Me African Violets Fri, Mar 13, 11am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes March Free Workshops • Beginning Vegetable Gardening, Thurs, Mar 5 • Caring for Fruit Trees & Bushes, Thurs, Mar 12 • Growing Herbs, Thurs, Mar 19 • Rose Care, Thurs, Mar 26 All the workshops start at 6:30pm and last an hour plus time for questions. All are held at Clinton Parkway Nursery, 4900 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS 66047. Handouts and snacks will be provided. FREE, but Seating is limited, so please RSVP. 785842-3081 Plant Propagation Thurs, Mar 5, 11:30am-1pm; at the Sunflower Room, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City KS. Presented by Lynn Loughary and Grace Troeh. This class will give us a look at various methods available to propagate plants. This will be a hands-on class and will cover things to consider in starting plants from seed, and various vegetative propagation methods including cuttings, air layering, and plant division. Lynn Loughary is the Wyandotte

County Extension Horticulture agent and Grace Troeh has been an certified Master Gardener since 2002. Registration is not required. Free admission to active Master Gardeners. $5.00 per person, all others.

NOW HIRING FOR SPRING! • Garden Center Associates (sales experience required) • Nursery Sales Associates (experience required) • Greenhouse Laborers • Landscape & Irrigation Laborers

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church Garden Ministry Kickoff Sat, Mar 7, 8-11am; in the West Wing, 1600 N 291 Hwy, Liberty, MO 64068. Free breakfast. Speakers on Vegetable Gardening, Landscaping and New Plants for 2015. Children’s Workshop for Grades K-5. Free giveaways including seed potatoes and onion sets. Vendor resource tables. Door prizes. 816.781.5959 The Medicine Garden Sat, Mar 7, 9:30-11:30am. Learn the What, Why, and How of planning and planting your Medicinal Garden. Whether you’re growing in a pot or a plot, these herbs are easy to grow and easy to use. Learn the herbs everyone needs in a medicinal garden and more! (Class) $24. Instructors: Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael and Twila Fairbanks, Founders of the Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group and Good Earth Gatherings. Details & Registration: Herbal Healing Garden: In a Pot or a Plot Sat, Mar 7, 9:30-11am. There are so many useful herbs – how does one choose what to plant for a healing garden? Twila is planning her third medicine garden (she moved), and she will share her “musthaves” – those easy-to-grow plants for making tinctures, salves, and other natural remedies. Creating your own space for medicinal herbs is easy to do, and they are easy to grow. It is wonderful to have our medicine growing right outside the door! Twila will de-mystify the hows and whys of growing the “musthave” healing herbs, and she will share tips, stories, seeds and sources, empowering you to plan and plant your medicine garden this spring! Class $15. Instructor: Twila Fairbanks. Details & Registration: Aging Gracefully with Herbs Sat, Mar 7, 1-3pm. Growing older is a fact of life – if we’re lucky! We need not dread growing older. In many ways being an elder can be the very best time in our lives. Growing old gracefully can be supported by herbs which have been revered for their anti-aging properties. In Asia, an entire branch of Oriental Medicine is devoted to long life and the herbs which aid in living longer – and better. In this class, Ocoee will share these ancient longevity secrets. Learn which herbs may help to keep a spring in your step and a song in your heart for many years to come. Class $29. Instructor: Ocoee Miller. Details & Registration: The Art of Dormant Pruning Sat, Mar 7, 1-4pm; at Powell Gardens. Thoughtful removal of branches and limbs can be easy and encourages good growth in the spring. Classroom time is blended with hands-on time to teach you the basics of pruning, including proper technique, the optimal time to prune each plant and basic care for pruning tools. Part of the class will be outdoors, so dress appropriately. Tools will be provided. $29/ person, $22/member. Registration required by Mar 2. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Growing Old is GREAT with Herbs Sat, Mar 7, 1-3pm. Growing older is a fact of life – if we’re lucky! Growing old gracefully can be supported by herbs which have been used traditionally for their anti-aging properties. Learn which herbs may help to keep a spring in your step and a song in your heart for many years to come. (Class) $29. Instructor: Ocoee Miller. Details & Registration: Gardener’s Book Discussion Group Sun, Mar 8, 2-3pm; Barnes and Noble-Country Club Plaza, 420 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112. Join your fellow gardeners and garden lovers in a conversation about the best tried and true and upcoming titles focused on gardening and landscaping! Discuss old favorites and find new ones, learn about the local gardening community and share some knowledge! This free event is hosted by Leah Berg with bookseller Pam Marshall to showcase some great titles for readers with green thumbs and spring fevers. Bring a list of your favorites! 816-753-1313 Garden Planning Workshop Sat, Mar 14, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Get the jump on the gardening season and plan your vegetable garden now. Learn when to plant your veg-

(continued on page 28)

(CDL & non–CDL)

• Landscape & Irrigation Foreman (experience & CDL required)

Apply at the Garden Center.

• Landscape Design & Build Consultant (at least 10 years past experience required)

• Assistant Greenhouse Manager (experience required)

We have full- and part-time positions available. Working weekends in the spring season is required.

27610 East Wyatt Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64014 I-70 to 7 Hwy., South on 7 Hwy. 4.5 Miles to Wyatt Rd. Then East 3/4 Mile. Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00-6:00 • Sunday 11:00-5:00

816-229-1277 •

WAKE UP YOUR GARDEN THIS SPRING WITH EARTH RIGHT NATURAL AND ORGANIC PRODUCTS. Join Judy Penner, Director of the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden and Jacob L. Loose Memorial Park on March 21, 10 AM till Noon. Learn “How to Grow Roses in the Midwest” from someone with over 27 years of experience growing them in KC.


Clears Ponds Quickly- Healthier Ponds Maintains Clear Water Supply Relieves Murky Conditions SAFE FOR YOU & WILDLIFE TOO!

1 Pint Treats 8,000 -16,000 GAL

EARTH RIGHT SUPER STUFF is the perfect product to apply in March, especially before a rain. Prepare the soil now for a better lawn and great garden. Planting with THE MUSHROOM STUFF will quick start your springgarden, containers & shrubs or trees you plant now. Our SURE BLOOM NATURAL & SURE BLOOM 6-7-6 contain vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes & organic acids not found in commercial fertilizers. Experience great results in your garden, around trees & shrubsand on the lawn with less chemicals when using our natural products. POND STUFF warms up to help prevent algae and keep your ponds clear. Use in ponds 3 feet or deeper for best results. Maintains a clear water supply and safe for all wldlife! NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT KEEP YOUR GARDENS, LAWNS & PONDS HAPPY & HEALTHY

Pond Stuff™ is Available at: Arbor Creek Ace Colonial Nursery Feldman’s all locations Olathe Ace Ranch Mart Strasser Trails West Ace

Ben’s Lawn & Garden Farmers Union all locations Moffett Nursery Porter’s all location Smith Brothers all locations Suburban all locations Select Westlake Locations

For information on all Earth Right products call us at 913-492-2992 If you want to have our products applied contact Tobin Lawn & Landscape at 816-765-5565 or Sonshine Lawn at 816-525-7111. The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


Now Hiring

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

for Spring (continued from page 27)

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

Cashiers Phone Operators Hardgoods Sales People Plant Sales Horticulturists Landscape Maintenance Truck Drivers, (CDL & non-CDL) Autobody Technician Equipment Operators Laborers

Full & Part time positions available For more information please contact our Human Resource Department phone: 816-941-4700 fax: 816-941-3838

applications available on line at

etables and how to keep your garden healthy. You will sketch garden design plans with expert advice and take home a collection of seeds. (This workshop is also perfect for teachers looking to revamp schoolyard gardens.) $29/person, $24/member. Registration required by Mar 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Carrots for Butterflies Sat, Mar 14, 5:30pm Pot-luck Dinner, 7pm Presentation; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd. Free to the public. By Lenora Larson. Butterfly gardeners know that if you plant members of the carrot family, you will have Black Swallowtails. Unfortunately, many of these plants, like Dill, Fennel and Queen Anne’s Lace, are selfsowing thugs, determined to take over your yard. Come meet some less common, polite family members, plus learn how to manage the overly-rambunctious species for garden beauty so you don’t have to apologize to every garden visitor except the Swallowtails. Lenora Larson is a Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener and member of local chapters of both the Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society. She maintains a 2 acre NABA (North American Butterfly Association) certified garden on her property, Long Lips Farm, in rural Paola, Kansas. Questions? Contact lenora. Spring Container Gardening Clinic Thurs, Mar 19, 4-6pm; at Green Streets Market, 112 E Green, Clinton, MO 64735. If you are ready to play in the dirt and want some early color or veggies for the still cool season this is for you. Refreshments, plants, soil and containers will be provided. Cost is $20 and space is limited. Call 660-885-3441 to reserve your spot. Rain Barrel Workshop Sat, Mar 21, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Using rain barrels can be an easy, inexpensive way to have beautiful gardens all growing season. Learn how to use a rain barrel and make your own rain barrel to take home. Your rain barrel will be made with a 55-gallon barrel, so bring an appropriately sized vehicle to haul it home. $67/project, $59/member. Registration required by Mar 9. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext 209. Or register online at Naturescaping Workshop & Native Plant Sale Sat, Mar 21, 8am-12:45pm; at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015. Registration required beginning Feb 3 (adults). Call 816-228-3766 to register. Beautify your landscape with some of Missouri’s best natural resources, native plants! Learn how to save time, money and create wildlife habitat with educational sessions on native rock gardens, pressed plant art, butterfly gardening, wild edibles, treescaping and many more. The Native Plant Sale is open from 12:45–1:15pm for workshop participants and 1:15–3:45pm for the public. Check out the description for Dr. Tallamy’s lecture later in the day! (Registration is separate for these two programs.) Bringing Nature Home with Doug Tallamy Sat, Mar 21, 1-3:30pm, at Burr Oak Woods, 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. 1-2:15pm Meet and greet, and book signing; 2:30-3:30pm Program. Registration required. Call to register: 816-228-3766. You won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to meet special guest speaker, Doug Tallamy as he helps us to understand the importance of nature at home. This event is sponsored by MDC, the OsageTrails Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists and the Missouri Wildflower Nursery. You won’t want to miss out on the drawing for door prizes donated by the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City. Bringing Nature Home with Doug Tallamy Sat, Mar 21, 7:00pm; at Woodruff Auditorium, University of Kansas. Sponsored by Monarch Watch. Book signing to follow program. No registration required for KU program.


March 2015 |

KC Food Circle’s Annual Eat Local (& Organic!) Expo Sat, Mar 28, 9am-2pm; at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Gym. Do you know your farmer? Meet and buy directly from local organic and free-range farmers and vendors. Snatch up early flower and garden seedlings, fresh greens, herbs, free-range meat and eggs and get our free Directory of local organic and free range producers. Getting a subscription to a farm (a CSA) gets you top pick of the best food in town. Workshop at 10:0010:45am for kids of all ages: “Little Sprouts - The Joy and Wonder of Learning How Things Grow”. Admission and parking are free. www.kcfoodcircle. org

April KC Food Circle’s Annual Eat Local (& Organic!) Expo Sat, Apr 11, 9:30am-2:30pm; at Penn Valley Community College Gym. Do you know your farmer? Meet and buy directly from local organic and free-range farmers and vendors. Snatch up early flower and garden seedlings, fresh greens, herbs, free-range meat and eggs and get our free Directory of local organic and free range producers. Getting a subscription to a farm (a CSA) gets you top pick of the best food in town. Workshop at 10:00-10:45 am for kids of all ages: “Little Sprouts - The Joy and Wonder of Learning How Things Grow”.Admission and parking are free. Families are welcome. www. Spring Wild Flower Walk in Miami County Thurs, Apr 16, 1pm; at Hillsdale State Park, 26001 W 255th St, Paola, KS. Hillsdale State Park in Paola, KS has 32 miles of hiking trails, meandering through multiple habitats from the shore of the 5,000 acre lake, including native prairie to oak/hickory woodlands. Our first exploration will be the 1.5 mile “Hidden Spring Nature Trail” (Yes, there is a hidden spring!). While the terrain is steep in places, it is well graded with steps for easy walking. We will meet at the Visitor Center parking lot at 1pm. The Visitor Center has an excellent small museum, so allow time before or after our hike to enjoy the educational displays. Directions: The Visitor Center is at 26001 W 255th St. Turn west on the Hillsdale exit from K-7/169. Contact: Lenora Larson 913-2843360. Sponsor: Marais des Cygnes Extension District Master Gardeners Pollinators: Feel the Love Thurs, Apr 16, 6:30pm; at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, KCMO. Presented by the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City. Betsy Betros, author and active citizen scientist will talk about the birds and the bees and a thing called love. Learn about the fascinating world of pollinators and learn why and how your garden can become a safe home for the most important group of pollinators....insects! Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information call 816-665-4456. Horsing Around with Violets Sat, Apr 18, 9am-3pm and Apr 19, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd. Park entrance is West driveway immediately South of 51st St. 30th Annual Show and Sale of Sho-Me African Violet Club. First, you are invited to attend our annual Show and enjoy the beauty of African Violets and related plants competing in this Judged Show. Then visit the Sale Room which allows you to add beauty to your home by owning member grown plants. Members are open to visiting with you and answering any questions as well as learning by hearing your experiences. Free admission. 816-513-8590 Sho-Me African Violet Club 30th Annual Show & Sale Sat, Apr 18, 9am-3pm and Sun, Apr 19, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Info: Fred & Pat Inbody, 816-3736915, Orchid Society Annual Orchid Auction Sun, Apr 19, 2-4:30pm; at the Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. Annual fundraiser, an Orchid Auction, Sales plants will be available, start-

ing at $5.00. For more information about our society and auction, visit Annual Native Plant Sales Sat, Apr 18, 8am-1pm; at the City Market, 5th & Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Missouri Wildflowers Nursery and Forrest Keeling Nursery will have plants, vines, shrubs, and trees for sale. To preorder wildflowers, grasses, sedges, vines contact Missouri Wildflowers: 573-496-3492. Preorders of shrubs and trees can be made to Forrest Keeling Nursery, Eric Lovelace: 314-719-9248 or email: elovelace@ Cash, check, and credit card accepted. A generous portion of proceeds is donated by vendors to benefit MPF’s prairie conservation work. Questions? 816-716-9159 Spring Plant Sale in Paola Thurs, Apr 23, noon-5pm; Fri, Apr 24, 8am-6pm; Sat, Apr 25, 8am-noon. The Marais des Cygnes (formerly Miami County) Extension Master Gardeners annual spring plant sale will feature Annuals, Perennials, Butterfly Host Plants, Natives, Vegetables and Hanging Baskets. Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions. You can also pick up handouts explaining butterfly gardening. We?ve moved! The Plant Sale will be located at 300 Baptiste Dr, former site of Heritage Tractor. Take the Baptiste Drive Exit off Hwy 169 and turn right, drive 1.3 miles. Call 913-294-4306 for more information. Mo-Kan Daylily Society Spring Sale Sat, Apr 25, 8am-1pm; at Cave Springs Park, 8701 E Gregory, Kansas City, MO. A large variety of locally grown daylilies will be available for sale. Club members will be on hand to answer questions and help with selection. We encourage all gardeners to visit the sale. Annual Native Plant Sales Sat, Apr 25, 8am-1pm; at the City Market, 5th & Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Missouri Wildflowers Nursery and Applied Ecological Services will haveˇplants, shrubs, vines, and trees for sale. To preorder wildflowers, grasses, sedges, vines from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, call 573-496-3492. To preorder prairie wildflowers (including milkweeds)/grasses from Applied Ecological Services, contact ElliottˇDuemler at 785-594-2245 or email:ˇ Cash, check, and credit card accepted. A generous portion of proceeds is donated by vendors to benefit MPF?s prairie conservation work. Questions? 816-716-9159 Interested in joining Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City? Sat, Apr 25, 10-11am; at Univ of Missouri Extension Office, 105 E 5th Street (Corner of 5th and Walnut, River Market, KCMO) Kansas City, MO 64105. Join us for a brief information session and learn more about the Univ of Missouri Extension Master Gardener volunteer program. The Mission of Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City is “Helping Others Learn to Grow”. This Master Gardener chapter is very active at projects and programs in the three county – Clay, Jackson, Platte – region. Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City maintain demonstration gardens, community gardens, and historic gardens. They educate the public about gardening topics, sponsor a garden tour every other year, and much more! Master Gardener Training will be available locally during the fall, 2015. Call Cathy or Sara at 816-252-5051, for more information. More information is also available at these websites: http://;

May/Jun Central Missouri Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 2, 7am-noon; at Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Rd, Jefferson City, MO. Follow the plant sale progress and see what’s for sale on www. or on our website For questions about the sale, please contact Julie Long at 573-295-6263 or by email at Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 9, 8am-2pm or sold out; at Parking lot of Bass Pro located at I-70 and MO 291 in Independence, MO. St Joseph Herb Gardeners Herb & Plant Sale Sat, May 9, 9am-1pm; at Wyatt Park Christian Church, 27th and Mitchell, St Joseph, MO. Herbs, perennials, garden décor, plants of every kind available for sale. Come early for best selection. Herb gardener’s club meets monthly. Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Sat, May 9, 9am-2:30pm; at Faith Lutheran Church, 4805 W 67th St, (67th & Roe) Prairie Village, KS. Annual Spring Hosta & Shade Plant Sale featuring a great collection of lovely new hostas and other shade perennials, including but not limited to, a nice selection of Heucheras, numerous Fern varieties, Brunnera, mini hostas and heucheras which are great for your troughs and fairy gardens. You will not want to miss this sale! Children over age 4 who are accompanied by parent or guardian will receive their very own Blue Mouse Ears! The public is welcome! Come and bring a friend. For info call Gwen 816-228-9308 or 816-213-0598. Hermann, MO 21st Annual Garden Tour and Plant Sale Jun 6-7, 9am-5pm. Two Tours in 2015: the popular Town Tour, a walking tour of gardens in downtown Hermann, and a Country Tour, a driving tour to country gardens.ˇEach tour is $10; ticket price includes visits to at least four private gardens and the Garden Demonstration Area.ˇ Town & County Garden Tour Combo ticket for $15. Garden Tours may be spread over Saturday and Sunday and, except for groups of 10 or more, do not need to be reserved ahead of time. Garden-themed Flea Market at the Plant Sale. Special Ticket By-ReservationOnly Luncheon/Silent Auction on June 5th. Visit the Hermann Garden Tours website at for up-to-date events, ticket prices, contact numbers and photographs of past tour gardens.ˇ Visit the FAQS page on the website for answers to all your questions. ?Like? us on Facebook at ?Hermann Garden Club Tours ?ˇ Call Hermann Welcome Center at (800) 932-8687 for questions about lodging/restaurants or go toˇ Dates for 2016 are June 4th and 5th. Save the Date: Lotawana Garden Tour Sat, Jun 13. Rain or shine. The Lake Lotawana Community Club Garden Tour will feature five stops with eight gardens that you can view either by road or by pontoon boat. More details to come.

Promote your gardening events! Send information to: The Kansas City Gardener P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 or

Deadline for April issue is March 5.

Hotlines for Gardeners Extension Master Gardeners are ready to answer your gardening questions. Get your garden growing. DOUGLAS COUNTY

785-843-7058;; Mon-Fri, 1-4pm


816-833-8733 (TREE); Mon-Fri, 9am to noon


913-715-7050; Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm;


660-747-3193; Wed, 9am-noon


913-364-5700; Apr 15 thru Jul 1, Monday 10am-1pm, Thursday 1-4pm


913-294-4306; Mon-Fri, 9am-noon


913-299-9300; Mon, Wed, Fri, 9am-4pm

March Weather Report

Highs and Lows Avg temp 44° Avg high temp 53° Avg low temp 34° Highest recorded temp 91° Lowest recorded temp -2° Nbr of above 70° days 5

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 7 Avg nbr of cloudy days 16

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 3.6” Avg rainfall 2.5” Avg nbr of rainy days 10 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases Full Moon: Mar. 5 Last Quarter: Mar. 13 New Moon: Mar. 20 First Quarter: Mar. 27 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

Plant Above Ground Crops: 1, 20, 23, 24, 27-29

Plant Root Crops: 7-11

Control Plant Pests: 13, 14, 17, 18

Transplant: 1, 27-29

Plant Flowers: 20, 23, 24

The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015



garden calendar n LAWNS

• Spot spray for dandelions, henbit and chickweed. • Apply crabgrass preventer in late March through mid-April. • Seed the thin areas in bluegrass and tall fescue lawns. • Apply fertilizer to bluegrass and tall fescue if no fall application was made. • Lower mowing height about one-half inch to remove winter debris, do not scalp. • Soil test to determine fertility needs. • Tune up lawn mowers for another season. • Sharpen blades for a quality cut.


• Remove all broken branches and bark tears from storm-damaged trees by pruning to the next lower branch or fork. • Prune trees, except birch, maple and walnut, which are best pruned after they leaf out. • Prune spring flowering shrubs after they bloom. • Mulch trees and shrubs plantings up to 3 inches deep, avoiding trunk contact. • Fertilize young and establishing trees and shrubs. • Plant new trees in the landscape. • Remove tree wraps from young trees for summer growth. • Rake and clean ground cover plantings. • Tree stakes should be removed after one year.


• Plant pansies, snapdragons, calendulas and other cool loving annuals. • Clean up perennial bed by cutting back foliage and removing winter mulch. • Prepare soil for annual planting by adding organic matter such as compost. • Fertilize gardens as growth begins. • Take a soil test if one has not been done in the last five years. • Start seeds under lights indoors for transplanting to the garden. • Remove winter mulch from roses and prune as needed, late month.

• Cut ornamental grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground. • Plant new roses. • Divide and plant perennials. • Fertilize spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils before flowering. • Cut seedpods from spent bulbs. • Help control iris borers by destroying old foliage before new growth begins. • Mail order plants should be unwrapped, kept cool and moist until planting.


• Prepare soil for spring planting. • Soil test if needed. • Fertilize gardens before planting with 3 to 4 pounds of 27-3-3 or similar per 1,000 square feet. • Plant broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in late March. • Plant potatoes, peas, onions, lettuce and other salad crops. • Plant asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. • Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and other warm season vegetables. • Sharpen garden tools and repair. • Apply dormant oil to fruit plantings to reduce scale and mite insects. • Control peach leaf curl with a fungicide application while the tree is dormant. • Prune fruit trees, grapes, raspberries and blackberries. • Remove mulch from strawberries. • Turn the compost pile.


• Begin fertilization to encourage rapid spring and summer growth. • Repot crowded plants in a 1-inch larger pot. • Shape plants by pruning and trimming. • Remove winter dust from leaves with a damp cloth or by placing in a warm shower. • Check for insects. • Take cuttings or divide overgrown plants.

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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March 2015 |


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.

Green Industry Directory now available for CONSUMERS! Do you have a LANDSCAPE PROJECT and need HELP or ADVICE from an industry professional? Consider a member of the Hort NetWORK, which membership consists of professionals in all aspects of the green industry. To connect with a professional, go to

for a membership directory.

• Rabbits, chipmunks, moles, groundhogs, mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums, snakes and bats • Woodpeckers, starlings, pigeons, sparrows and geese • Repairs and chimney caps • Wildlife biologist on staff • Licensed and insured • Celebrating 23 years of service NOW OFFERING: Attic Insulation & Removal GENERAL PEST CONTROL: Specializing in Termite Control and Termite Treatments. Termidor or Hex-Pro Baiting Systems.

MO 816-769-3106 • KS 913-338-3330

ENTER TO WIN a $25 gift card

Professional’s Corner

There will be two lucky winners in March! (You don’t have to be Irish to enter.)


Visit KCGMAG.COM to learn how you can win. • Archive Issues to review • Garden Destinations to visit for inspiration • Garden Groups to join • Find a Professional for your project • Timely Articles on plants and people

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

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

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

Kim Dyer, greenhouse manager at Colonial Nursery. Name: Kim Dyer Company: Colonial Nursery Corp Location: Blue Springs, Mo. Job title and description: Greenhouse Manager. I am responsible for the planning, ordering, planting, growing and selling of our annuals, perennials, tropicals, herbs and vegetables. And I answer a lot of questions! Education and length of service: This is my 4th year as Greenhouse Manager and my 12th in the greenhouse. I have a BS in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Missouri – Columbia. My background is in accounting and retail sales which have both proved helpful in what I do every day. It has taken me awhile to find my true passion and land my dream job but I’m finally here! How did your romance with plants begin: Gardening is in my heritage but I didn’t catch the bug until I began growing herb seeds under a grow light in my studio apartment many years ago. Watching new life happen is addicting for me. I still have a passion for herbs and seeds to this day. Favorite tree or plant: My favorite is whatever is in bloom at the moment since that’s what brings me joy. Actually, I only have a couple of plants I don’t care for but I try to keep that information to myself. Favorite garden destination: I love the Pennsylvania side of the Brandywine Valley. It’s so beautiful there with so much to see. I was in heaven while touring the glass greenhouses of Longwood Gardens. What every gardener should know: Perseverance is not over-rated and is mandatory in the Midwest. Just keep trying…and learning. Growing tips for the home gardener: It’s great to have your ‘tried-n-true’ plants that you trust, but try something new every season. I’m also a big proponent of spacing. Don’t crowd too many plants into a given space; give them room to grow and be healthy. Little known secret: Almost all annuals and perennials benefit from pinching back, especially when young. Cutting back creates a fuller and more floriferous plant. It’s hard to do but the rewards are worth it. Contact information: 27610 E. Wyatt Road, Blue Springs, MO 64014; Hours: Monday–Saturday 8am–6pm (winter close time is 5pm) and Sunday 11am–5pm; 816-229-1277; The Kansas City Gardener | March 2015


2 Year Guarantee on most trees & shrubs

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Start your garden today

Spring Flowering


PRIMROSE Pansies & other cool weather plants for your spring garden arriving 1st week of March

Best Seed Best Selection now

Lots of Sizes & Lots of Varieties

up to

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Sale starts March 15!!

Bring glorious spring blossoms to your landscape Freshly Dug Trees arriving from our farms Every Week @135th & Wornall

135th & Wornall 32

(816) 942-2921 March 2015 |


K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy reopens in April

Your lawn this March 816-941-4700 for P Spring clean up P Mulching P Pre-Season weed control

105th & Roe (913) 649-8700

Profile for The Kansas City Gardener

KCG 03Mar15  

the flint hills, plant introductions, lawn myths, jewel gardens, butterflies, birds

KCG 03Mar15  

the flint hills, plant introductions, lawn myths, jewel gardens, butterflies, birds