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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

May 2017

Kentucky Wisteria Giants in the Sky For a Pollinator, Consider Borage In the garden with Rob Mortko Moles, nemesis of turf devotee

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The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

a walk in the garden

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Tracy Flowers Nik and Theresa Hiremath Lenora Larson Susan Mertz Terry Blair Michel Diana Par-Due Steve Painter Dennis Patton Judy Penner Phil Roudebush Tom Schroeder Jennifer Slusher Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

P.O. Box 8725 Prairie Village, KS 66208 Phone: 913-648-4728


ore a conversation piece than functional, a tandem bicycle leans against the fence, just behind the garden gate. She’s parked there as if waiting for the next tour. After plenty of miles and family antics though, Big Blue is retired. Her commission now is as garden art. Some would say, “It’s just a junky old bike.” But I say, she’s a family treasure with plenty of life to give. Time has not been kind to her— rust has invaded the royal blue frame and fenders, the seats have lost their shape, and the tires are flat. Nonetheless, her beauty lies in the collection of memories from our family pastime. Nearby a clematis attempts to thrive. I saved it from certain composting when Mr. Gardener was sure it was dead, or it wasn’t performing as expected. To him, sometimes they are one in the same. As the type of gardener willing to nurse plants along, I took possession, replanted, hoped for the best. The least little bit of green growth was a victory. To date, I’ve noticed the clematis has significant growth, which

surprisingly reaches over to the bike. Is it possible that the bike will be covered in blooming clematis vine someday? One can hope. Continue along the same fence line, newly planted wisteria vines are making their journey skyward. A handcrafted pergola will support them, as we direct and train the climbing vines. Tracy Flowers, on the horticulture staff at Powell Gardens, writes an article this month (page 20) about Kentucky Wisteria. After reading her notes, we were glad to learn that we’ve not made any mistakes (so far). Now we’ll eagerly watch for our first blooms. One of my favorite spots is situated a bit farther, deeper in the garden. Under the mature spruce trees, where it is truly a woodland garden, where hosta, hydrangea and ferns seem to fare well. Still plenty of room to plant, we’ve introduced hellebores. Such a natural fit, they look as though they’ve been there all along. They’ll have to compete

for water, so we’ll give them extra care while getting established. Another spring favorite is growing lettuce in containers. When the weather warms, or Memorial Day, we’ll try the same with cherry tomatoes. Now that we know what works and what doesn’t, we’ll scale our efforts accordingly. Why does it take so long to learn lessons? One lesson I’ve learned already is the one about how heavy a very large ceramic container is when full of wet potting soil and plants. And that I should not be single-handedly moving it around! It must have weighed more than 50 pounds, when it crashed down on my foot. Thankfully, nothing broken, but oh my goodness … lesson learned. ’Nuf said. I’ll see you in the garden!

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May 2017 |

In this issue May 2017 • Vol. 22 No. 6 Splish, Splash, taking a bath .... 6 Borage ................................... 8 Ask the Experts ........................ 12 Moles ..................................... 14 Giants in the Sky ...................... 16 Rose Report ............................ 17 The Other Pollinators ............... 18 Kentucky Wisteria ................... 20 Pets & Plants ........................... 22

about the cover ...

Fringe Tree .............................. 23 Free Trees ............................... 27 Native Plants Prepared ............. 30 In the garden Mortko ............... 32 Upcoming Events ..................... 33 Subscribe ................................ 37 Garden Calendar .................... 38 Professional’s Corner ................ 39 Hotlines .................................. 39

American Wisteria is a spring beauty. Learn about others starting on page 20.



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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Splish, Splash, they were taking a bath Birds need more than spring rains when it comes to water. NIK HIREMATH shares his tips for offering water to birds.


ne of the easiest ways to see more backyard bird activity is to provide water. It’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for your birds without having to make a big investment of time or money. In addition to drinking water for hydration, birds also use water along with the oils in their preening glands to keep their feathers clean. Keep in mind that while birds can go for several days without eating, water is a daily need. Having a reliable source of water is especially important during the winter months when shallow natural water sources freeze over. You can provide a heated water bath or other flowing water to meet this need. The array of ways to provide water is limited only by your design tastes and your budget. You

can have a beautiful and lavish landscaped pond and stream with a recirculating pump or you can put out an old trash can lid and fill it with water. The broad appeal of water to every species of bird in your backyard, and many of nature’s other critters, makes it an entertaining way to enjoy nature. Regardless of what type of water “feature” you choose to have in your backyard, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, your birds and critters like fresh water. Just like you and I wouldn’t want to drink stagnant water that’s been there a long time, they don’t like it either. Depending on your water feature, change the water every two or three days, and install a recirculating pump, a fountain, bubbler or an agitator to keep the water fresh and mov-

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ing. Keeping the water changed or agitated also prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs. Mosquitoes lay eggs on still or stagnant water, so with the possible illness borne by mosquitoes, it’s a good idea to keep their breeding in check. If you choose to provide a bird bath, ensure it’s not deeper than 2 or 2 ½ inches, has a gently sloping entry and a little bit of texture. If you have a deeper bird bath or other vessel you’re using as a bird bath, add rocks to elevate the floor of the bird bath or larger rocks to give them a place to land in the middle of the bath. Whatever water element you have, clean it on a regular basis: at least once or twice a week. A stiff nylon bristle brush makes quick work of dislodging any residue, bird droppings or other debris in your water feature. Never use a metal brush, as it might leave behind rust or flakes of metal,

both of which are harmful to your birds. If your water feature is in a shady area or is susceptible to algae growth, cleaning more often may be necessary. Additionally, there are plant enzyme based solutions, which are animal friendly, and can be used to minimize organic growth between cleanings. If you want to use this enzyme solution in your fountain, or any type of recirculation, ensure you buy the formulation that is low foaming. With a little diligence and nominal time to keep your water fresh and clean you might be able to increase bird activity in your backyard. If you have any questions or are interested to see some of your options, come see us soon. Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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For a Pollinator, Consider Borage Passionate about herbs, DIANA PAR-DUE reminds of borage, which is sometimes overlooked.


hen you think of an herb garden, the plants that come to mind are perhaps basil, parsley, sage or even mint, but borage doesn’t come up. That is probably because it isn’t included in recipes or popular in modern medicine. It has virtues in the garden and so I would love for you to ponder the inclusion of this versatile plant in your allotment. So what does borage contribute to a healthy herb garden? First, it draws pollinators with the clusters of star-shaped flowers. Bees and butterflies will flock and not only be nourished by the borage but drawn to your other plants. Why are pollinators so important? Without them, we would not be able to produce any fruits or vegetables. They carry pollen from flower to flower, allowing them to

‘mate’. This works by moving the pollen, which is atop the stamen in the bloom, and transferring it to the stigma, which is the centerpiece of the bloom. Most flowers need help getting the pollen to the stigma and once a bee or other flying bug has moved it, the flower can fruit.

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Because pollinators are endangered due in part to neonicotinoids and other chemical practices in farming, providing a friendly environment for them is important for their future. Every garden matters! Borage grows tall, with a thick stalk and leaves so covered in fuzz they almost appear silver. Cascades of blue, pink or white blooms come from atop every stem. They reseed each year and grow well even in poor soil quality. Sometimes they become too tall for their own support and need a little help. Borage provides more than a haven for bees though. The fuzzy leaves, when dried, can make a tea that is helpful for fevers, inflammation and kidney health. Simply

harvest the leaves after the blooms have come, dry them and brew it as you would tea. On a dewy morning you won’t regret planting this shimmering beauty. For your own enjoyment, health and nourishment but also for the hard working bugs we need to help survive. Borage is the answer. Diana Par-Due is an avid gardener who, when not raising children, raises plants. She dreams of beekeeping and chickens one day when her town makes it legal and until then spends her time writing, reading, and studying as a mature student at a local college and making garden plans she never actually keeps.

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We bid you a Fond Farewell . . .


y friends, the time has come to say “Goodbye”. Nancy and I are very sad, but we both have labored long and hard to achieve the goal called retirement. We will depart Farrand Farms on June 30th to begin a new journey. Where this new path takes us remains to be seen. I am confident that the two of us will discover and enjoy all kinds of new and exciting adventures. I absolutely love this business! I love the good people whom I have been blessed to work with. I love our many customers and great friends. I love this community that surrounds and continues to support us here at Farrand Farms. It has been an honor to have served you during the last 35 years. Thanks to all of you for the many smiles and happy times that you have bestowed upon me and Nancy, our family, and our wonderful staff. We hope you have enjoyed the fun and excitement

our own greenhouses. Our staff are still the same great folks who have always been here to greet you. There is simply no better group of people to be found anywhere! Please join Nancy and me in extending our sincere gratitude to them for doing such a great job through many seasons. It has been a pleasure to have such a remarkable staff with me along the way.

Nancy and Keith Farrand set their sights on new adventures in retirement. of gardening as much as we have enjoyed sharing it with you. Our time together is short. Won’t you stop by Farrand Farms and share a story or two before we depart this place that we love so very much? Thank you for helping us achieve a lifetime filled with opportunity and challenge. Because of such fine folks like you, it is indeed

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a wonderful life we live. We are blessed beyond measure and will sincerely miss our regular and personal visits and conversations. The sharing makes it all worthwhile! Please do not be sad. Instead, let’s celebrate our 95 years of continuous family operation. I am the 4th generation family member to be lucky enough to continue what my great grandfather, Morgan Necessary, and my grandfather, Frederick Farrand, began in the early 1920’s. It has been, and continues to be a remarkable journey. Gosh . . . right now I feel like the luckiest man in the world! Smile a big smile this spring as you select from our many seasonal favorites. We have all been working extra hard to present our greatest crops yet! You’ll be thrilled with what we have waiting for you. There is no experience like the “Farrand Farms Experience”. Life is good here. Nearly all that you see here at Farrand Farms is family grown in

Before we go, here are a few good things to look for: New events and celebrations we’ll keep you posted on what’s happening. Be sure to check out our ‘Throw back Thursdays’ on Facebook. We are sharing many of our favorite pictures from the past. Here’s a great gift for a gardening friend! Our staff has created a commemorative keepsake T-shirt celebrating our 95 years. Let’s take a moment to talk and reminisce together. I’m sure we’ll share many stories and laughs as we reflect on our history together. Let’s have a little fun! One more note for the curious. Many of you inquire as to the future of Farrand Farms. Please do not fret. Be listening carefully and when the time is right, we will share some good news with you. Thank you for the good times. We bid you a fond farewell! Keith and Nancy Farrand, own and operate Farrand Farms, located at 5941 Noland Road, Kansas City, MO 64133; 816-353-2312;; www.facebook. com/FarrandFarms.

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Ask the Experts Readers share their questions about landscape issues, and DENNIS PATTON gives expert tips and advice. OAK LEAVES EFFECT ON GARDEN BEDS Question: Is it true chopped oak leaves will lower the soil pH when used in garden beds? Answer: I love this question. The answer in the short term is no. The long term effect would be yes. The next question: what is considered long term. I would say in 50 to 100 years. A more serious answer would be test your soil periodically and monitor any changes in the pH level. Just before working on these Q and A’s I did about 75 soil test reports. The vast majority had a pH level over 7 which could be considered high. So even if the oak leaves did lower the pH it would be as they say a good thing. Bottom line, chop away, apply away and use up the resource right in your own backyard.

Plant heuchera in enriched, well draining soil. HEUCHERA FAILED PERFORMANCE Question: I have terrible luck with Heuchera (Coral Bells). I have even followed your recommendation and searched out the varieties that have the villosa par-

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Hosta will appreciate organic debris. ent. I mulch them over winter, but each spring all I am left with is dead stumps. I plant them high to prevent wet feet. What am I doing wrong? 
Answer: Don’t take this wrong but I think you are overthinking this. You are searching out the right plants with the villosa strains. All of these varieties are not durable in our climate but they are better than those without these genes. Here is my take. I would prepare a planting bed by enriching with organic matter. This will provide the needed drainage. I have two concerns with your methods. One is mulching in the winter. I don’t mulch mine, all that is around them is the summer wood chip. I would not recommend covering the plant with a winter mulch as this could lead to more rot in a wet winter. I also have concerns about

planting high. This plant has shallow roots and can heave out of the soil over the winter. Planting high would increase this issue and lead to desiccation. I would plant at the same depth they are growing and make sure they have good soil moisture heading into winter and then just let them be. HOSTA BED CLEANUP Question: I did not rake the fall leaves out of my hosta bed. Was this a bad idea? Answer: The old school of thought was to clean up the garden in the spring by removing all the twigs, leaves and debris. The current thinking is to leave this organic debris in place, letting it break down and provide a mulch layer for a healthy garden. Leaving the leaves in place is just fine as long as the piles are not covering

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No simple answer to preventing acorn germination. and smothering out the developing plants. In my own garden I pull them away from the plants and crush them with my hands when cleaning up the garden. I then add a little more mulch to reach my desired two to three inch depth. PREVENTING ACORN GERMINATION Question: Will Preen prevent acorns from germinating? I’ve got a million in my bed. 
Answer: No. Preen works mainly on annual grassy weed seeds. Wishful thinking but there is not a simple answer to prevent the acorns from germinating. I feel your pain as my nemesis is redbud and hackberry seedlings. FERTILIZING TIPS Question: The Extension Master Gardeners have a handy pruning chart on your website outlining when to prune shrubs. Do they have a fertilizing schedule for shrubs? Answer: We do not have such an animal. It would be pretty simple. Here are the guidelines and it works for just about all shrubs. One, most shrubs do not need additional fertilization. Many shrubs become too large for the area requiring pruning. Why feed the plant to make it grow more just

to prune more. Two, only fertilize shrubs that you want to promote additional growth. Three, fertilizer will not make a sick plant healthy. It will just increase the stress on the plant. Four, fertilize in the spring as new growth begins. That one time should be sufficient. As for what to use it depends on the size of the plant but about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of fertilizer such as 30-0-0 or 27-3-3; apply in a circle out and around the plant. More for larger shrubs and less for smaller shrubs. MAIN FUNCTION OF PLANT LEAVES Question: Do plants absorb water and nutrients through their leaves? Answer: In simple terms the main function of a leaf is to manufacture food, allow for gas exchange, and conduct evaporation and transpiration. The main function of a leaf is not to absorb water or nutrients. With that being said they will absorb a little but they do not have a good way to transport the nutrients beyond that leaf, which means it does the plant little good. The real take home message is watering the foliage does not hydrate or water the plant. Foliar feeding does not really feed the plant either. Water and fertilizer are best applied to the soil where it is the function of the roots to pick up, transport and keep the plant healthy. So yes, all those foliar feeding commercials are not based on good science. It is the water that moves the foliar feeding to the soil that really feeds the plants.

It’s Time for the Rose Show

The annual Kansas City Rose Society Rose Show will be held at the Loose Park Garden Center, June 3-4, 2017. All rose growers are invited to bring roses to the show between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on June 3. You do not have to be a member of the KCRS to enter roses in the show, and there is no entry fee. There are classes for all varieties of roses from miniatures to shrubs. All you need to know is the name of rose you wish to exhibit. There will be a youth class for exhibitors 17 years old and younger, and a novice class for any exhibitor who has never won a blue ribbon in a rose show. Sunday, June 4 is officially proclaimed as Rose Day in Kansas City. The rose show will be open for public viewing between 1 and 5 p.m. Formal events begin at 3 p.m. in the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, and will include music by the Mighty Mo Combo Jazz Band, and a performance by the Kansas City Youth Ballet. Free ice cream and lemonade will be provided. Come marvel at amazing prizewining roses in the show and enjoy music, dance and beauty in Kansas City’s world class rose garden. For further information, contact either KCRS rose show co-chairs: Sandy Campuzano, 913-381-5915, or Glenn Hodges, 913-888-0957.

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

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Moles, nemesis of turf devotee STEVE PAINTER, expert in wildlife damage control, examines features and habits of the elusive mole.


months, constantly digging tunnels. The tunnels that are most visible are called feeding tunnels. These are the ridges of soil that are seen in the yard when the moles are actively feeding. Moles also create much deeper tunnels that are approximately 6-12 inches deep. These deeper tunnels are used to escape from the hot and cold, depending on a season. Deeper tunnels are also used for traveling from feeding areas to nesting cavities. Moles breed in late February through March. Gestation lasts four to six weeks. Two to five young moles are born only once a year. Moles are insectivores eating earthworms, grubs, centipedes, millipedes, crickets, beetles, pill bugs, snails, slugs, and all larvae of these insects. Moles will vary their diet using small roots and tubers

here he was skulking behind the Evergreen right next to the house. Face paint, dressed in camouflage from head to toe. He was even carrying what appeared to be a large weapon. I thought I was watching a dress rehearsal for Caddy Shack II. But no, it was my next door neighbor stalking the eastern mole that was digging tunnels all over his lawn. Ah! The ever elusive mole. People try the craziest things to rid their lawns of these formidable foes. Moles live practically their whole lives in the ground only occasionally scrambling topside for whatever reason. This activity leaves them very vulnerable to predators and zealot mole hunters. Unfortunately moles do not hibernate. They are active year round, even through the winter

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May 2017 |

The ears and eyes are completely hidden in the mole’s dense fur. occasionally. In appearance they resemble a shrew but with much larger front feet designed to practically bulldoze through the soil. Average adult size is 5-6 inches long and color varies from almost black to some slightly dark blonde individuals. The ears and eyes of the mole are completely hidden in their dense fur. There are many old wives tales and folklore about moles, particularly about their control. Many suggest things like human hair put in the ground, mothball put in their tunnels, razor blades, broken glass, bleach and my personnel favorite chewing gum. Another good one is the plastic flower that twirls in the wind and the vibration is supposed to send them down the block into the neighbor’s backyard. And then last but not least for the horticulturally inclined, there are the caper spurge and the dreaded castor bean. Another common treatment to rid moles from a yard is poison peanuts or mole pellets. These items consist of 2% Zinc Phosphide and 98% inert ingredient. Inert means “inactive” which is just a granule pellet. Again moles are insectivores. Ninety-eight percent of their diet consists of insects. They really have no interest in a pellet made of grain. And yet another common belief is to spray Diazinon, or similar product. This will kill the grubs, therefore eliminating the mole’s food source. This approach will not only kill a lot of beneficial insects, but also songbirds, reptiles, amphibians and other vertebrates.

It’s also not environmentally correct. It lacks real lasting power. The spray will be vulnerable to elements such as sun, wind, and rain making it cost prohibitive. Unfortunately, there is no research to support any of these techniques. Some people may claim that one of these methods has worked for them but most likely it was just a coincidence that the mole had already left on its own. What has been proven to be the most successful means of removing moles is trapping. The Victor spear-type or harpoon trap is very effective. These traps are found locally at any area hardware store and garden centers. The tunnel should be collapsed with the heel of your foot. The trap is then placed over the collapsed area of a tunnel. Leaving about 1/4 inch between the bottom of the trap pan and the ground. Trap placement should be in the straightest tunnel that can be found. Moles are actually a very beneficial part of the ecosystem. They feed on a lot of damaging insects. They aerate the soil by their tunneling by mixing the deep humus with the subsoil. This is very good for the soil. So try to restrain from hand grenades, dynamite, shotguns, flame-throwers or bulldozers. Your neighbors may think you’re also making Caddy Shack II. Just buy a trap or two and try trapping. It just takes some practice and a little patience. It’s environmentally friendly and very economical. One or two traps are much cheaper than expensive chemicals. Also the family will be excited about checking their mole traps every morning. And you won’t have to start your lawn all over again either from bulldozers, dynamite holes or mole tunnels. Steve Painter is owner and operator of Catch-It Wildlife Damage Control, Inc., serving Kansas and Missouri for 28 years. You may reach him at 816-769-3106.


Become a Master Gardener

ave you always wanted to know more about plants, the environment, and how to be a successful gardener? Do you like to work with people? Become a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City! Master Gardeners are trained University of Missouri Extension volunteers who give back to the community by providing horticulture information and demonstration gardens to the public. The information they share is based on proven research and is specific to our local climate, soils, and plants. The University of Missouri Extension–Jackson County is offering Master Gardener training this fall for those wanting to become Master Gardener Volunteers. In-person classes begin August 16, 2017 and continue on Wednesdays, finishing in late November 2017. There will be several Saturday classes. University of Missouri faculty and local experts teach the classes. The majority of the classes will be held at the downtown KCMO University of Missouri Extension office at 105 E. 5th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106. For those who plan on volunteering with Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City, the class costs $175. This covers the cost of the training, a MU Extension horticulture handbook, and other class materials. Class size is limited. Applications are due June 14, 2017. A limited number of scholarships are available. Those requesting scholarship assistance need to submit a short statement explaining why they need assistance and how they plan to use the Master Gardener training.

Spring Garden Sale

Women from the community work the Ivanhoe Demonstration Garden. Master Gardener in-depth training topics include: • Basic Plant anatomy and pathology • Maintaining healthy soil and Organic gardening • Fruit and vegetable gardening • Lawn care • Tree and shrub care • Landscape design • Growing annual and perennial flowers • Garden Insects To become a certified Master Gardener, 45 hours of volunteer service is required the first year, and 25 hours of volunteer service is required per year in subsequent years to maintain active Master Gardener status. After the first year, six hours of continuing education is also required annually. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like to receive an application, contact Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Educator, or Sara Hill, Secretary/ Receptionist, hillsara@missouri. edu, at 816-252-5051.




The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Photos by Lenora Larson.

Size and dramatic color of the Adult make identification easy.

Caterpillar sitting motionless on Rue looks like bird poo.

Rue is host to both Giant and Black Swallowtails.

Giants in the Sky LENORA LARSON profiles the largest butterfly in North America, the Giant Swallowtail.


oaring on huge wings, a Giant Swallowtail floats through your garden like a magnificent bird. This Kansas City area native is the largest butterfly in North America with a wing spread up to 7 inches. The black and yellow patterned upper surface looks like a clown’s gaping grin, while the undersurface is dusty yellow.

Herb gardeners may see these tropical-looking butterflies because the caterpillars eat the “Herb of Grace” AKA Rue. Caterpillar Host Plants Who would ever guess that, despite their common names, Rue, Orange Trees, Prickly Ash and Hoptree all belong to the Citrus

Straight From Our Farm Stop by our Farm Direct Garden Store this spring. We will have special low every day pricing on select plants grown at our farms.

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May 2017 |

family? The Giant Swallowtail butterfly knows. She lays her eggs on Citrus plants and no others. Citrus growers despise the large caterpillar, known as an “Orange Dog”, and relentlessly spray insecticides. However, in the Midwest, Orange Dogs are not agricultural pests and an occasional chewed leaf is a small price to pay for such a beautiful butterfly. The Best Citrus Plants for Your Garden Obviously, if the Giant Swallowtail is a native butterfly of Kansas and Missouri, we must also have native citrus trees. Prickly Ash, Zanthoxylum americanum, adapts to almost any soil and sun situation, but its thorns are daunting and habits scraggly. The fastidious gardener might better choose the native Hoptree, Ptelia trifoliata, AKA Stinking Ash. The glossy, dark-green leaves exude a citrus smell when crushed and in June, the small white flowers release the fragrance of orange blossoms. Hoptrees grow in the shady understory, so they are perfect in a woodland Hosta garden. If you have a full-sun garden, the perennial herb Rue, Ruta graveolens, is a better choice. Just be sure to dead-head the lovely yellow flowers as it is a prolific self-sower. The Orange Dog Another ugly duckling becomes a beautiful adult: Giant Swallowtail caterpillars look like a bird dropping as a defense against being eaten by birds. The female Giant lays her eggs on top of citrus leaves

and the Orange Dog sits motionless on its silk carpet all day because, well, turds don’t walk around. But once the sun goes down and the birds are sleeping, the Orange Dog fearlessly marches about the plant feeding. By morning it again sits motionless on its silk carpet. A full grown (fifth instar) caterpillar is so large that it resembles a snake, which also terrifies birds. When disturbed, it displays its bright red osmeterium like a snake is flicking its tongue. Our area typically enjoys two broods of Giant Swallowtails each year. The late summer caterpillar over-winters as a chrysalis, disguised as a small twig. Don’t be too thorough in your fall clean-up. You risk killing next year’s butterflies if you remove all debris. The Tropical Touch You don’t need a passport to experience tropical butterflies. Just plant Rue or a Hoptree and follow the other practices for good butterfly gardening: no insecticides and a sunny garden with nectar-rich flowers from March to November. If just one Giant Swallowtail lays eggs that successfully survive to adulthood, these gentle giants will be permanent residents in your garden. Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener, Idalia Butterfly Society and Kansas Native Plant Society member, Lenora Larson gardens and hosts butterflies in the cruel winds and clay soil of Paola, Kansas. She may be contacted at

Kansas City’s expert rosarian JUDY PENNER on rose care.


am writing this during the second week of April and I fertilized my roses today. The first fertilization of the year, I feed my roses with natural fertilizers that have low nitrogen, fish emulsion, seaweed and other natural ingredients so the roses can get off to a good start. My reason for using natural low nitrogen fertilizer instead of a chemical fertilizer is in large part because chemical fertilizers can cause salt build ups in the soil and cause rose leaves to burn. If you are still using a chemical fertilizer be sure to water your soil before and after fertilizing your roses to reduce the risk of burn. I urge you to consider going more natural to improve the health of your soil. Natural fertilizers have improved the health of the soil in the Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden. One easy indicator is the presence of frogs in the garden. The last several years when planting roses in early March, we have

found several frogs hibernating in the soil. Then in the summer, we see them hopping through the garden. Another sign of healthy soil is the abundance of earthworms. I also use a product called Mushroom Stuff which really works well when planting my roses or any plant. I add one ounce of Mushroom Stuff to one gallon of water. Then I pour it into the planting hole. I find it really helps with root development and overall health of the plant. My summer fertilizer program starts in May and goes to August. I fertilize with Sure Bloom 6-7-6 and Earth Right the first week of the month and then I apply Mushroom Stuff in the middle of the month. Remember to always water in your fertilizers whether using natural or chemical fertilizers. Remember to stop and smell the roses! Judy Penner is Expert Rosarian at Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo. You may reach her at judy.penner@

Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society

Annual Spring Plant Sale Saturday, May 13

9:30am – 2:30pm

** NEW LOCATION ** First Lutheran Church, 6400 State Line Rd., Mission Hills, KS There will be a great collection of newer hostas and other shade perennials, Plus, mini-hostas, so wonderful for your troughs and Fairy Gardens. Children older than 4 years, accompanied by a Parent or Guardian, will receive their very own hosta, free! Some quantities are limited, so you will want to arrive early. The public is welcome. For more information, call Gwen at 816-213-0598.

The Grassland Heritage Foundation (GHF) is excited to host our 5th Annual Native Plant Sale at the Trinity Episcopal Church Lawn, 1011 Vermont, Lawrence, KS, on Saturday, May 20th, 2017. GHF plant experts will be on hand to assist buyers in choosing from more than 50 species of native wildflowers and grasses that are great for home landscapes. All plants are locally-grown Kansas natives and are guaranteed to be free of neonicotinoid insecticides which can kill bees and other pollinators. Native plants are beautiful, easy to grow, and they are food factories for local wildlife. Almost all native insects, including most butterflies and other pollinators, must eat the plants with which they co-evolved. Native wildflowers and grasses are also beautiful and can be easy to grow. Because they evolved right here, often below our feet, they are acclimated to our climate and weather conditions. The right plant in


Rose Report

Attend the 5th Annual GHF Native Plant Sale on May 20 and show your support for pollinators, wildlife, and the Grassland Heritage Foundation. the right place will use less water, require less maintenance, and can be gorgeous! With any luck, native plant gardeners will spend less time tending their flower gardens and more time enjoying the wildlife that lives there. The GHF Native Plant Sale will feature common native plants like New England Aster and Black-Eyed Susans as well as more unusual natives like Ox-Eye Sunflower, Cardinal Flower, and Rattlesnake Master. We’ll also have a variety of milkweeds (for Monarchs), coneflowers, grasses, and shade tolerant plants. Take advantage of such a large selection of native plants available locally. All plants will be $4.00 each. This promises to be GHF’s biggest sale yet! For more information about GHF, prairie preservation, and the GHF Native Plant Sale, go to www., follow us on Facebook, or contact us at or 785-840-8104.

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


The Other Pollinators By Tom Schroeder Photos by Tom Schroeder.


he flowers in your garden have many visitors. You probably recognize a bee or a butterfly but what are those other visitors? Do you recognize a Feather-Legged Fly on the Hydrangea flower? How about a Soldier Beetle on the Goldenrod? Do you know any of the harmless wasps that gather nectar from the Sedum? All these native, beneficial insects provide biological control of the pests that would eat the foliage of the plants. They are all safe to be around. Many are quite beautiful and captivating to watch. The most common flower visitors in the garden are the Flies. The problem is many disguise themselves as bees so that predators will avoid them. Others do not look anything like the common house fly. Every garden has Syrphid Flies visiting flowers to feed on nectar and pollen. They are the expert imitators of bees.

Elephant Mosquito on Sedum

Feather Legged Fly Hydrangea

Golden Digger Wasp on Milkweed

They lay their eggs on plant stems near aphids. One of their grub-like larva will eat fifty aphids a day. Just think what a large population of them can do to control aphids on your plants. Another flower visitor is the Feather-Legged Fly named for the growths on its legs. They lay their eggs on the bodies of Squash Bugs and Stick Bugs.

Their larva are parasitoids, consuming the host bug while the larva develops. An odd-looking flower visitor is the hairy Tachinid Fly. They would never win a beauty contest. Their larva feed on plant eating caterpillars. The adult lays an egg on a plant leaf and the egg does not hatch until the caterpillar consumes it. Then the larva hatches and consumes the caterpillar. You will find adult Soldier Beetles wandering around on your Goldenrod and Aster flowers in the fall seeking pollen, nectar and aphids. They are closely related to the Lightening Bugs blinking over your lawn on warm summer nights. Soldier Beetle larva go unnoticed during the summer in the garden mulch and ravenously eat grass-

hopper eggs, beetle grubs and cut worms. One flower visitor that is easy to overlook is the Elephant Mosquito. They look like an oversized regular Mosquito but with a beautiful iridescent body. The adults only feed on plant nectar and do not bother humans. Their larva hatch in water and feed on the smaller larva of regular Mosquitos. They help control the Mosquito larva population in places you would not think to look for standing water. Some of the most beautiful flower visitors are the solitary Wasps. They are passive, solitary nesting creatures that are just seeking nectar. Only the social nesting Paper Wasps and their relatives Yellow Jackets and Hornets are aggressive wasps. One of the most

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May 2017 |

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Long Lasting Fertilizer Now Available!

Celebrating 40 Years of Growing for You! Syrphid Fly Aromatic aster

Tachinid Fly on Rudbeckia

beautifully colored creatures visiting flowers in late summer is the Golden Digger Wasp. They feed their larva crickets and katydids. The Potter, Mud Dauber, and Mason Wasps build little mud nest chambers and feed their larva spiders and grubs. You will see these and several other solitary wasps visiting flowers for nectar. To encourage these beneficial insects, you just need to provide the right flowers for them to feed on April to November, nesting sites, overwintering sites, and limit pesticide use. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recommends native flowers like Spiderwort, Milkweed, Yarrow, Sunflower, Echinacea, Aster, Blazing Star, Rudbeckia, and Helenium. Non-native favorites are Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Basil, Raspberry, and Blackberry. Because these insects have short tongues they recommend open face type flowers. Leaving bare ground patches in the garden or between the grass clumps in your lawn can provide nesting sites. Many of the

beneficial insects over winter as eggs or larva either attached to plant stems or under plant debris in the garden. If you clean up your garden and haul away the stems or plant debris in the fall, you are removing the creatures for next year’s population. Place the garden refuse at the back of the garden or under bushes until next spring and summer. Then insects can mature. With a good population of these beneficial insects you can minimize your pesticide use. The chemicals that kill the bad bugs also kill the good ones. Flower visitors are fascinating to watch in the garden. They can give you the opportunity to teach your children and grandchildren about the balance of nature. They will also control the population of plant eating insects so you can have a lush, beautiful garden. Tom Schroeder is a Missouri Master Naturalist and Kansas City Wildlands volunteer. He gardens for all the pollinators in south Kansas City.

Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Present

2017 Garden Tour “Beautiful Gardens Of Southern Platte County”

June 9 & 10 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Rain or Shine Tickets are $15. Children 12 & under free. Cash and checks only at the gardens. Tickets available May 8 at various outlets and online via PayPal.

From a little 10’ x 16’ hobby greenhouse in 1977…


n 1977, Rita talked George into constructing a 10’ x 16’ hobby greenhouse in their backyard. That first year, they sold tomatoes and marigolds at the weekly sale barn auction and to the local Duckwalls, and fresh produce to the local grocery store. Their hobby blossomed, and a new greenhouse was constructed nearly every year over the next two decades. Those first seedlings were germinated under grow lights in their living room… growing amongst their three girls. Along with George and Rita’s wonderful staff, those three girls learned to transplant, add up customers’ purchases on scrap paper, and were paid a penny for tags they gathered that had blown out of plants grown outside. Word spread all over the Midwest, and customers flocked to rural southeast Kansas, to buy the Arnold’s fine homegrown plants. Each summer, George and Rita travel to trial gardens and plant conferences, seeking out the best new varieties to offer gardeners. Thousands of varieties each year are grown, making them growers of the largest selection of homegrown plants in Kansas! There have been many changes over the past 40 years, but some things never go out of style~ homegrown plants grown with the best Nature’s Source Plant Food, growing environmentally conscious with a keen interest in pollinator friendly plants, offering gardeners a huge selection of plants, and serving our customers with a smile!

We invite you to celebrate our 40th year! We’ll be dishing up Root beer Floats on Saturday, April 29th from noon to 2pm! Arnold’s Greenhouse • 1430 Hwy. 58 S.E., LeRoy, KS 66857 620-964-2463 or 2423 Monday through Saturday, 9am til 7pm

MU: An equal opportunity/ADA institution Proceeds benefit Master Gardener community projects.

Always closed on Sundays

Only 1-1/2 hours from Southwest Kansas City • I-35 to Hwy 75, South 23 miles to Hwy 58, then East 1-1/2 miles (Located 4-1/2 miles West of LeRoy, KS on Hwy 58)

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Kentucky Wisteria merits space in midwest gardens Showy blooms and beneficial to bees and butterflies, TRACY FLOWERS shares her expertise on this vine.


isteria is a genus that can be divisive in the plant world. Their unmistakable blooms can transport you to another land, filled with afternoon tea and romantic whimsy. In the wrong location, wisteria’s long, rambling vines will transport you to the Little Shop of Horrors. Wisteria is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae). Many genera of this family, like redbud (Cercis canadensis), have edible parts that can be consumed with little preparation. Wisteria is the black sheep when it comes to edibility. Its pods are poisonous and should not be consumed. They redeem themselves by fixing nitrogen in the soil like other leguminous plants.


May 2017 |

Many local gardeners have made the change from Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) to Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) for its reliability in our climate, longer bloom time and lower susceptibility to disease. One noticeable difference between Chinese and Kentucky wisteria is that our native cultivars bloom later in the season after the vines have “leafed-out.” This ensures that flower buds won’t be damaged by late freezes and frosts and it increases bloom dependability. The Kentucky wisteria was originally included in the American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) species. A separation had to be

made when it was found that the Kentucky species had longer 6-12 inch blooms, a better cold tolerance and was a slightly less vigorous grower. For wisteria lovers, less vigor is a good thing. Don’t let the description fool you, all wisteria will still need a sturdy structure and room to grow. With the proper site selection and pruning, Kentucky wisteria can bloom three times in a season. Gardeners can get into trouble by planting wisteria on an arbor attached to their house. This is where unruly wisteria gets a bad name and gardeners get overwhelmed. A better location, would be something not attached to a home or dwelling. A few good site

examples are a chain-link fence, a sturdy arbor or an unsightly cinderblock wall. Anything that will support and allow a vine to grow up to 25 feet in length will work. Kentucky wisteria prefers to be grown in full sun with medium soil fertility and moisture. Keep this in mind during the fall season. If there is too little moisture in autumn, it could drastically decrease the flower quantity for the next year. Prune Kentucky wisteria after bloom time or in the winter, and don’t go overboard. Too much pruning will overstimulate this plant and you will get more vine and fewer flowers. Other wisteria species are better suited to create wisteria trees and tolerate heavy

pruning. This is the vine that you grow if you want to cover something ugly with something delightfully stunning. Kentucky wisteria is native to the southcentral United States. Its range can be found reaching up into the bootheel of Missouri. So even though it isn’t naturally occurring in Kansas City, it is considered a native to our state. Like many Midwestern native plants, Kentucky wisteria is important in the lives of beneficial insects. The showy, lilac-blue flowers provide pollen to bees and the leaves are known to be a host for the larva of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus). The Kentucky wisteria cultivar ‘Blue Moon’ is one of the quickest to bloom, sometimes after only two years of growth. This is much faster than Chinese wisteria which can average five or more years before flowering is expected. ‘Blue Moon’ has also been bred to toler-

ate winters with temperatures as low as -40 degrees F. With local origins, ‘Powell Purple’ is the variety of Kentucky wisteria planted at the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. Powell Gardens’ previous head of horticulture, Alan Branhagen, took cuttings from a unique wisteria that he found growing close to an abandoned farmhouse near Blue Springs. Garden guests seem to be just as impressed with the gnarled, twisting trunks climbing the walls, as they are with the delicate blossoms. Kentucky wisteria is a plant that gives year round interest to the Kansas City garden. With the proper space and care, it will give years of pleasure to your outdoor world. Tracy Flowers is on the Horticulture staff at Powell Gardens and she works at The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. You may reach her at 816-932-1200.

Above: Chinese wisteria; Below: ‘Blue Moon’

Above: Kentucky wisteria; Below: ‘Powell Purple’ Opposite page: American wisteria

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Pets and Plants – Metaldehyde & Iron Phosphate By Phil Roudebush, DVM, DACVIM


etaldehyde is a common active ingredient in slug and snail poison and is readily available in multiple forms: pellets, liquids, pelleted baits, wettable powders and granules. The use of slug and snail poison is common in coastal, warm or lowlying areas where snails or slugs are prevalent. First registered in 1967, metaldehyde is currently used for a wide range of agricultural crops, as well as in household settings. Metaldehyde is also used as a camping fuel and can be purchased in a tablet form to be used in small stoves. Metaldehyde is readily absorbed after ingestion or through contact with an organism’s skin or lungs. Metaldehyde-containing baits should be used with cau-

tion as they are toxic to people, dogs, cats and other animals. When metaldehyde-containing bait is accidentally ingested by dogs or cats, it can result in severe, rapid clinical signs, including agitation, vomiting, progressively worsening muscle twitches and muscle rigidity, seizures, and severe hyperthermia (body temperatures up to 108ºF). Secondary organ failure can result without immediate treatment. As little as one tablespoon of 2% powder or bait can be toxic to a 20-pound dog. Metaldehyde may also pose environmental concerns. Between 2009 and 2011, metaldehyde was detected in one in eight rivers and reservoirs used for drinking water in England and Wales. The chemical is almost impossible to remove

Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society

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from drinking water using standard treatments. Levels of metaldehyde in this study were not a human or environmental health concern according to public health officials but it emphasizes the need to use less toxic pesticides whenever possible. Newer slug and snail control products contain 1% ferric (iron) phosphate. Iron phosphate is a common chemical with a variety of uses, including as a human nutritional supplement and as an ingredient in fertilizer. Ferric phosphate is not harmful to humans, other non-target organisms such as pet animals, or to the environment. When pests eat ferric phosphate pellets, the chemical interferes with calcium metabolism in their gut, causing the snail or slug to stop eating and die within a few days.

Snails and slugs are more sensitive to the effects of iron phosphate than are other organisms. Ingestion of iron phosphate bait usually only causes mild stomach upset in pet animals. Use metaldehyde containing products with care and consider using safer ferric phosphate products if you have snail or slug problems in the garden. Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian, specialist in small animal internal medicine and adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He is an Extension Master Gardener in Shawnee County, Kansas. He can be reached at philroudebush@ KC’s largest selection of the newest and most popular hostas

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Location: Powell Gardens 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50 Kingsville, MO 64061 (Powell Gardens admission charge will apply.)


Hours: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Come meet club members, who will be showing, selling, and talking about cacti and succulents. For more information, contact Eva at: 816-444-9321 or and on Facebook


May 2017 |

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Tree Talk: Fringe Tree Local tree enthusiast JENNIFER SLUSHER talks about a seasonal favorite to include in your landscape.


igns of spring are infallible in Kansas City, like the flowery show of native Red Buds and Dogwoods. Inevitably, while consulting with customers, they point to the bright pink buds that stand out in the dull woods and ask what kind of tree it is. I reply, “It’s a Red Bud, and if you like it, we can plant more. It’s a great tree for this area.” And it is, but there are other native trees with the Red Bud’s classic characteristics. This brings me to my tree choice for May, the Fringe Tree, also known by its Latin name, Chionanthus virginicus. Similar traits and characteristics include size and character, seasonal color and interest, and the benefits of being native to our area. Let’s take a look at this native stunner. When winter fades and spring enters in, we long for sunshine and color. The woodland areas around Kansas City can be rather dreary before the big trees fully leaf out. Then, you see that much-needed pop of color from the understory. First Red Buds, then Dogwoods, and, along with others, the Fringe Tree. It is a smaller tree growing between 12 to 20 feet in height, with a spread of 12 to 20 feet. Its rounded shape pleases our senses.

It is a great choice for adding variety and texture to your landscape. It’s also an alternative for the normal go-to, small landscape trees such as Magnolia, Serviceberry, White Bud, and Dogwoods. All are fun but having the yard with the most character will set a landscape apart. The character that I refer to includes beautiful airy, drooping clusters of four- to six-inch-long creamy white petals, so delicate they look like fringe. But, before you even walk up close enough to see these blooms, your nose is teased with the pleasant fragrance of the flowers. That is why this is recommended as the flowering tree that will bloom in May and June, when other spring blooming trees have finished their display. In your landscape, wouldn’t it be beautiful to watch the variety of understory trees bloom in succession when this is added to the end of that cycle? Then, it will be a solid green that thrives in our summer heat and gives a nice golden color in the fall. Because it’s deciduous, the leaves will drop in winter. If you like birds, then plant a Fringe Tree. They seem to be attracted to it.

Its number one benefit is that it is a Missouri Native Tree. Did I mention it’s Native?! That is one reason that the Missouri Botanical Gardens ranks it as a Plant of Merit and it receives a full five stars, and is highly recommended by landscape professionals. Being native means it does well with our weather and our clay soils. It does not require much pruning and grows in full sun or part shade; however, it does flower more in full sun. It also adapts well to urban settings. Photo courtesy of Scott Woodbury, Curator of the The Fringe Tree does Whitmire Wildflower Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve. not suffer from serious insect or disease proband Royal-blue baseball.” Be sure lems. It is easy to plant because of to enhance and extend that spring its manageable size, and it is readfeeling with a show of creamy ily available in local nurseries in white fringe flowers in the tried various sizes and price points. and true Fringe Tree, Chionanthus As we look around at the survirginicus. rounding dreary woodland areas in Kansas City and are cheered by Jennifer Slusher, Certified Arborist the lure of the small trees budding and Landscape Maintenance as if to say, “Yep, it’s that time for Manager at Lightning Landscape green landscapes, hot pink buds, and Irrigation.

3823 N Cobbler Rd Independence, Mo 64058

816-257-5523 Open March 1 - Father’s Day Annuals, Perennials, Vegetables, Hanging Baskets, Patio Containers Over 18,000 sq. ft. of covered greenhouse bursting with color! “Experience the Bloomers difference” Located just south of Liberty on Hwy 291. Just north of the Missouri River bridge. The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Unique Gardens to Display Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining


ntertaining Gardens is a rare, one-day opportunity to see four of the most outstanding gardens in Kansas City and take a peek into a fifth garden with a delightful boutique. Entertaining Gardens is a project of The Westport Garden Club. The beneficiary of the event will be the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative. The tour is ONE DAY ONLY, Saturday, May 13, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets may be purchased online at General admission is $45.00, or $50.00 at the door. Patron tickets are $100.00, which includes one ticket and recognition in the program and on the website. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the serenity of a 20-year-old peaceful family garden in Fairway. Nestled within its lyrical lines is a uniquely designed vegetable gar-

den highlighted by the gardener’s handmade wattle fencing and trellised supports, an idyllic woodland garden and a long, lush perennial herbaceous border. A charming brick pathway leads to a classically designed herb garden edged in boxwood and centered by a 30-year-old Bay Leaf tree residing in a lovely terra-cotta urn. Enjoy the handsome patio and small pond edged with the gardener’s ceram-


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ic leaves as you enter the oldfashioned screened porch featuring hand-stenciled floors, antique wicker furniture, and a festive table displaying the gardener’s ceramic dinnerware and unique handprinted tablecloth. As you leave, the fragrance of the David Austin Abraham Darby rose bids you a joyful adieu!   Next on the list is an homage to Italy. Enter this spectacular estate in Mission Hills through the grand entry of the house with its handcarved stair railing, Italian frescoes and gouache paintings. Visitors will view the living room and adjacent sunroom, family room and dining room, where the ceiling features a hand-painted scene surrounded by plaster latticework. Fortuny fabrics, Venetian plaster and terrazzo floors add to the Italian ambience. Exit the house on the upper terrace to an expansive view of the grounds, which include two large diamond parterres inspired by Russell Page’s gardens at the Villa Silvio Pellico in Moncalieri. A magnificent double staircase leads

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to the pool with its dazzling water feature, and two garden houses linked by a semicircular columned arbor. Sculptures of the Roman gods Diana and Apollo add to the atmosphere, reminiscent of a villa in Italy. The garden is an original plan by the venerable landscape firm of Hare & Hare. A hilltop delight nearby, also in Mission Hills, sits dramatically overlooking a creek. Visitors will survey a wide variety of unusual plantings. View the tiered garden covering the hillside from the street and as you ascend the driveway over the creek. From roses clambering on trellises and surrounding the circular drive, every inch of ground is covered with unique specimen plants. Through the garden gate a pathway winds below birdhouses and a fairy house; a pond features a floating garden; a cozy screened porch is set for a children’s party. Exit this garden through the eclectic interior of the home. The family has skillfully combined Asian, French and English influences with their

The Garden Club of Shawnee

Garden Sampler Tour

T eclectic collection of contemporary art along with fourth-generation family heirlooms to delight the eye. Summers on the Cape and years of world travel combine to make this Mission Hills garden unforgettable. A 30-foot Kansas Champion Big Leaf Magnolia provides shade and structure to the front courtyard while a whimsical white picket fence keeps unwanted guests from nibbling in the kitchen garden. Through the wrought-iron gate is a brick terrace lined with Northstar Boxwood and variegated liriope on one side and a covered veranda and stone fireplace on the other. Ship navigation lights passed down through the family flank the fireplace. A nearby pool is surrounded by the beauty and fragrance of age-old roses and guarded by a bronze Xi’an Terracotta Warrior from recent travels. Exit this garden through a beautifully remodeled kitchen. End your tour with a visit to the Garden Boutique in a sophisticated estate setting of its own just a few blocks away. The shop will be full of treasures for the garden.

Planted containers will be ready to go, along with outdoor lanterns to enhance your patio or deck. Native plants and tomatoes will be ready to plant. Garden art and other items will make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day or a personal treat. Wander through the beautiful grounds as you shop. Proceeds from the tour will support the exciting new Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, a diverse group of partner organizations from Missouri and Kansas including nonprofits, private businesses, conservation organizations and community leaders and influencers. KCNPI Partners are collaborating to celebrate the beauty of native plants, increase knowledge of how to expand their presence, and cultivate opportunities to work together. Ongoing projects include educational programs for professionals and the public, population surveys of native plants and bees, Monarch gardens in schools and parks and an interpretive mural in the River Market that celebrates the relationship between butterflies and native plants.

he Garden Club of Shawnee will present the Garden Sampler Tour from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2017, rain or shine. The tour features six unique and beautiful gardens, all in Shawnee. One has a miniature train that winds through an area accented by tiny buildings, a pond, and a waterfall. Another features a swimming pool and a complete outdoor kitchen. A third garden on an acreage in Enchanted Lake Estates offers flowing borders of native plants to attract pollinators and birds. Yet another has a fairy garden you won’t want to miss. Proceeds from the tour are used for the club’s grant program, which provides funds to Shawnee schools, churches, museums, and non-profit organizations to support their gardening projects.

Tour proceeds are also used to maintain the Shanna Morrison Memorial Rose Garden in West Flanders Park, which will also be a stop on the tour. Tickets for the tour, which provide maps and directions to all the gardens, are $10 and may be purchased on our website: www., or at any of the six gardens on the day of the tour. You may also buy tickets ahead of time from garden club members, at Family Tree Nursery, or Wild Birds Unlimited in Shawnee. You will also have the opportunity to win dozens of prizes donated by local merchants by purchasing raffle tickets at any of the gardens. To learn more, and to see photos of some of the featured gardens, please visit our website:

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Douglas County Garden Tour Photo by Diane Guthrie Photography.


he 2017 Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners’ Garden Tour is planned for Saturday, June 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you attend the tour on Saturday, start at the Extension Office at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence, where you will find a huge sale of neonicotinoidfree native plants. The sale is on Saturday only from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Plants are $4 each or three for $10. The gardens on the tour show what homeowners can do with inspiration and hard work, so bring your camera along with paper and pencil. You’ll want to capture great ideas to apply to your own gardens. Both neatly manicured and casual landscaping are included so you can easily find gardens that match your style.

Five out of the seven gardens on the tour belong to Master Gardeners. Most of the gardens contain a water feature, ranging from a dry creek bed that only fills up when heavy rains occur, to bubblers, ponds, a creek and a view overlooking a lake.

You Are Invited To

A Rare One Day Garden Tour May 13, 2017 10am-3pm Rain or Shine

An opportunity to tour four gorgeous private gardens, in Fairway & Mission Hills, each dressed up for a party, and peek into a fifth at the charming Garden Boutique.

Photo by Marianne Seuferling.

hosted by the Extension Master Gardeners

One amazing country garden offers a dazzling array of plants including a variety of clematis and climbing roses, magnolias, a Seven Son tree, many native plants, blueberry bushes and lots of perennials. You definitely want to allow plenty of time to visit this truly lovely garden. The neatly manicured garden has lovely hostas, columbine, and a hydrangea bed. Enjoy the sounds in this garden created by the pond and waterfall. Don’t miss the custom iron gate at the back of the property. A beautiful shade garden includes a large variety of plants, a bubbler and a creek at the bottom of the yard. Check out the tall raised garden beds if you have rabbits raiding your veggie garden. The garden that overlooks a lake also has a water feature on the

patio and various yard art pieces to spark your interest. The backyard is terraced and will be an inspiration for anyone who has to deal with a sloped yard. One must-see garden has a gorgeous pie-shaped backyard filled with an unusual variety of plants, a beautiful pond built by the homeowner, a giant bubbler, and many daylilies. Another garden offers both sun and shade garden areas with well-established plant specimens, numerous hellebores, large trees, a huge berm surrounded by rocks, a pond and garden art. The last garden is the home of a self-confessed plant collector. If you are always trying out new plants, or if you take over more of your yard for flowerbeds each year, this is a garden for you. It offers a variety of perennial and native plants, a decorated path, dry creek bed and small bridge, and an arbor built by the homeowner. You may purchase tour tickets at the plant sale on Saturday morning, in advance at the Extension Office, online using PayPal at (click on Extension Master Gardener Tour 2017 link), at local nurseries and garden centers, or at the private gardens during the tour. Tickets are $10 per person. Carried infants are free. No strollers. For more information visit or

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Shading the City with Free trees for KCMO Residents


housands of trees are lost annually within Kansas City to disease, old age, or storm damage. The infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer, an exotic beetle killing ash trees, will significantly increase the number of trees lost over the coming years. Understanding the impact of this loss, Kansas City Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Heartland Tree Alliance (HTA) to plant trees along the streets within Kansas City Missouri. Through this partnership, qualified Kansas City, Missouri residents could receive FREE trees! Studies show that mature trees can increase property values by up to 10%, filter air pollutants reducing asthmatic incident, reduce crime by encouraging a more inviting and walkable neighborhood and act as a traffic calming device by slowing speeding traffic. To make

Volunteers planting trees for KCMO project an impact on the tree canopy, it is vital the newly planted trees reach maturity. HTA works to engage the community to adopt the trees by pledging to water the tree for 2 years during dry times. This small investment, approximately $15-20 a year in water, will pay back the property owner tenfold in benefits provided by these maturing trees.

Proud owners of a new tree in Scarritt neighborhood Volunteers and HTA staff plant the trees once placement is finalized. Following strict ordinance guidelines, HTA is scouting the city looking for adequate sites and interested residents. Before a tree

can be planted it must meet these requirements: Must be planted within public right-of-way, typically the area between the sidewalk and the street or within approximately 10 feet of the street. Adequate planting space; at least 5 feet by 5 feet of greenspace, 15 feet from street lights and 30 feet from existing trees. The adjacent property owner must take a pledge to water the tree, once a week during dry times, for at least the next two years. Help us shade Kansas City, one tree at time! To find out more information about the program or request a FREE tree, visit https:// Don’t have room for a tree but would love to get involved? Volunteer to help us plant trees! Contact Sarah Crowder,

Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City Presents

Water Gardens 2017

24th Annual Water Garden Tour • Saturday, July 8 • Sunday, July 9 9am - 5pm • Rain or Shine • Bus tours available. Buy early to plan your personal driving tour of 40 plus gardens in Greater Kansas City and nearby communities and Lawrence. There are a variety of private gardens and Water Garden Society constructed educational water gardens for schools and nature centers. Tickets are $10 per person (ages 14 and older). A tour book with maps, driving directions, and host written descriptions of the gardens are included. Proceeds benefit construction of educational and restorative water gardens and other educational programs in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Call: 816-305-5963 • 816-861-3449 •

Tickets available the first of June at these locations. KANSAS

Kansas City, House of Rocks Lawrence, Water’s Edge Leavenworth, Homestead Nursery Leawood, Suburban Lawn and Garden Lenexa, Suburban Lawn and Garden Overland Park, Family Tree Nursery Shawnee, Earl May Garden Center Shawnee, Family Tree Nursery


Blue Springs, Colonial Nursery Independence, Wild Bird Center Lee’s Summit, Randy’s Lakeview Nursery Liberty, Family Tree Nursery Kansas City, Brothers Fish Kansas City, Heartland Nursery Kansas City, Kansas City Pond & Water Gardening

Kansas City, Planters Seed Co. Kansas City, Soil Service Garden Ctr & Nursery Kansas City, Suburban Lawn and Garden Kansas City, Van Liew’s Kansas City, Waldo Grain Company Martin City, Rosehill Gardens Raymore, Creekside Market

Smithville, Full Features Nursery Spring Hill, Swan’s Water Gardening

Tickets also available at all Hen House Markets, all Westlake Hardware stores and all Grass Pads. The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Beautiful Hillside Gardens “Rock Roost” Garden By Terry Blair Michel


riving up to the “Rock Roost” garden, visitors may think of the house and grounds a bit like a castle on a mount. Three layers of huge rock walls surround the very steep front slope. These keep the soil from washing away and provide space for a beautiful layering of evergreen shrubs, boxwood, grasses and multiple colored bushes such as Burning Bush, and beautiful flowering plants. A dry creek bed extends out to a lower area directing water around the yard and allowing it to slowly seep further toward the lower yard where it can be absorbed rather than washing the soil away. On the upper curve of the yard near the street, Red Buds and small flowering apple trees line the driveway to provide a lovely entrance in the spring.

there were given to them by family and friends … no plan, just a sharing of things they loved and the owners found a place for them as a reminder of people and places. These include tulips (a favorite of the owner), daffodils, lilies, lilacs, sedum, hosta, and iris. A beautiful clematis climbs over the fence and the owners wish they had more.

Entering to the front of the house gives one the view of more shrubs and flowers next to an iron fence that overlooks the three levels below. Many of the old flowers and shrubs were dug up when the owners moved in. Most of the beds now include perennials, lil-

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ies, mums, and hostas, but also are punctuated with a variety of annuals and bulbs. A beautiful courtyard at the entrance to the house features boxwoods, yuccas and grasses that provide a welcoming effect. On the back of the house are steps that lead down to a small gated area where a raised bed adds more shrubs and to a lovely patio area circled by evergreens, shrubs, and flowers. The back area of the yard is forested with local trees that have been there before the house was built. The owners now are clearing small paths and plan to add more flowers. Many of the plants over the seven years the owners have lived

“Styled to Perfection” Garden Welcome to this beautiful pristine garden with lots of color that is aptly named “Styled to Perfection”. Situated on the side of a hill, visitors will first notice the serviceberry trees, Little Henri Itea shrubs, and red Knock-Out Roses that surround a circle drive leading to the gazebo-style entrance to this home. A seating area to the side is bordered by Green Velvet boxwood, a bubbling fountain, and colorful Creeping Jenny which makes for a welcoming sight. Several beautiful urns filled with annuals and ferns are present in both the front and back of the home. For many years, the backyard landscape consisted of two concrete slabs, a soggy yard, and unsightly, unorganized plants. The garden owners wanted a yard their grandchildren could enjoy and remem-

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Rose Photography contest at the Kansas City Rose Show

ber. They also wanted low-maintenance and a trimmed and organized look. Today the back yard features a waterfall and pool that create a calming effect in the sunny garden. Red Knock-Out roses, purple salvia, iris, catmint (Nepeta), and Little Princess spirea provide lots of color in the spring and summer. Varieties of Maiden grass, juniper, viburnum and large blue spruce provide privacy and a backdrop for the waterfall and pool. The owners admit to several lessons learned while creating their garden. Originally Bradford pear trees were planted in the front yard, but they grew so large and had to be removed as they blocked the view to the home, plus they were easily damaged by storms and winds. They also note that the tall grasses do require trimming and once established are hard to move or eradicate. Some of the top plants that the garden owners love include

the Boxwood, Green Velvet and Common, which stays contained and organized; Junipers and Blue Spruce for privacy, Knock-Out Roses, Little Princess Spirea, and Chicago Lustre Viburnum for color in the spring and summer, Creeping Jenny for a colorful limegreen ground cover, and Service Berry. Join us for the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Garden Tour, June 9 and 10, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For further information about the gardens on the tour, visit under the “Garden Tour” heading. Tickets will be available May 8 at various sites in the Kansas City area. A listing of these sites will be available on the website at that time. Master Gardeners is a program of the University of Missouri, an equal opportunity/ADA institution. Terry Blair Michel is a Master Gardener of Greater Kansas City.

Along with live roses, the Kansas City Rose Show will be accepting photographs of roses during the annual show on June 3, 2017, in the Loose Park Garden Center. The rose show photography classes include photos of single blooms, sprays (two or more blooms on one stem), pictures of the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, and other special views of roses or rose parts. The photos must be 5x7 in. prints with no frame or matting.

For the single bloom and spray classes, you must know the name of the variety of the rose in your photo, and what group of roses it belongs to, such as hybrid tea, shrub or climber. Entries will be accepted from 9:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. on June 3. Assistance will be available to place your photo in the correct class. For further rose show information contact Glenn Hodges at 913-888-0957 or visit the Kansas City Rose Society website, www.

Join us on June 4th in The Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden! CHRYSLER IMPERIAL in the foreground is always a good bloomer. MARIJIKE KOOPMAN, the pink rose in the background, has had very strong canes and great bloom. Go to Earth Right website for details on how to use Earth Right products on roses.

On Rose Day enjoy the beautiful garden, activities, attend the Rose Show and talk about your roses with Rose Society members and Park Director Judy Penner. Hope to see you there - 51st Street and Wornall. For those who would like to volunteer in the rose garden, contact Loose Park at 816-513-8590. Volunteer training is being conducted May 4th at 9 AM. Accept only Original Earth Right Products for the health and beauty of your lawn and garden!

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Earth Right Products proudly supports The Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden. In the rose garden all of our products have been applied (including our professional products). We hope you have as much fun in your garden as we have at the park. MADE IN THE HEARTLAND! To have Earth Right products applied at your location: Tobin Lawn & Landscape (816) 765-5565 or Sonshine (816) 525-7111 Earth Right: (913) 492-2992 - The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Native Plants Prepared and Served


ne of my favorite books and titles is Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. In it, he says that a half cup of chopped violet leaves, Viola spp., has the vitamin C content of four oranges. Not bad for a weedy native plant. This is the time of year to harvest violet leaves because they get tough in summer. Small tender leaves are delicious added to salads or wilted in a stir fry. This alone is a good reason to stop killing the weeds in your lawn. That, and you will attract more bee pollinators to your garden. Violet flowers are also edible and really dress up salad in spring as do the blossoms of redbud (Cercis canadensis). Another yummy spring green for fresh salads is spiderwort, Tradescantia spp. Again, gather leaves in spring when they

are tender and tasty. The flavor is similar to Romaine lettuce. Once upon a time, early settlers gathered spring greens growing wild in prairies, woodlands and river bottoms. I can imagine the excitement in spring of eating something other than preserved and salted food all winter. Plants like pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, (toxic if not prepared correctly), golden glow, Rudbeckia laciniata, fiddlehead ferns (nursery-propagated ostrich, Matteuccia struthiopteris and cinnamon, Osmunda cinnamomea), and common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), (when stalks are less than 8 inches high) were harvested, steamed, and eaten. Keep in mind that golden glow is a mild laxative. I’ve tried them all and like the poke and milkweed stems the best steamed and served

Little bird


Photo by Scott Woodbury.

Spring greens to wild plums, SCOTT WOODBURY talks about native edibles fresh, dried, steamed and preserved.

Common violet with butter. Be sure to peel the thin red pokeweed skin off before cooking since this is where most of the toxins exist and then steam or boil it in two separate water baths to be safe.

A favorite spring past time for me is gathering wild strawberry leaves (Fragaria virginiana), and sassafras roots (Sassafrass albidum), for tea. Both are steeped in 180-degree water (not boiling).

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Big fruit plum The strawberry leaves are best dried before steeping. The color of the tea is yellow, and the flavor is delicate. Although there are warnings against drinking too much sassafras tea, I drink a cup or two a year. Roots about a half inch thick are dug up, washed and cut into thin slices. At this point they can be steeped to make a wintergreen-like tea. Later in the spring Linden trees bloom and if you can reach them, the flowers dried make an aromatic tea that reminds me of Jasmine blossoms.

 Over the years I have enjoyed mayapple and violet jelly, black chokeberry, blackberry and black raspberry jams (all delicious), but wild plum preserve always ranks number one in my book. I can’t keep enough. It can be made from any of the American plum species, but the big fruit plum (Prunus mexicana), is the easiest because the fruits are bigger than other wild plums. I use three quarters the sugar in whatever recipe I use or add fresh quince because I like extra tartness.

There is one food that my family cannot do without. That is steamed persimmon pudding from a recipe in the Fields of Greens cookbook by Annie Somerville. We harvest persimmons in late September or October and purée them in a Foley’s food mill. This makes the work of separating seeds from pulp much easier. At this point the pulp may be frozen in one-cup measurements. Every November I make a persimmon pudding on my wife’s birthday to take on a hike or inhale after dinner with whipped cream. It is our favorite dessert. Yum! The Grow Native! program emphasizes that proper identification of any native plant is critical before consuming it. This article is for information purposes only; Grow Native! makes no warranties as to the safety of consuming any wild foods and accepts no liability or responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information in this article. Some of the plants listed above may be purchased by Grow Native! professional members—see see www.grownative. org, Resource Guide. Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked for 25 years. Shaw Nature Reserve is planning a new wild food garden and is seeking financial support. If you would like to help make this dream a reality please contact Scott at Scott.

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


In the garden with Rob Mortko SUSAN MERTZ talks to local hosta expert about his garden and the art of growing plants.


t was late February when Rob and I sat in his kitchen talking about gardening. Through a window, we could see a tree trimmer swinging on a line pruning. Outside in the garden, large branches were falling on a mature Mohawk viburnum. Inside the house, Rob was calmly telling me about the Midwest Regional Hosta Society Convention scheduled for June. Preparation was underway for Rob and his wife Sheri’s garden to be on the convention’s summer tour. With his usual decorum, Rob didn’t appear to be fazed by it all. Rob Mortko, owner of Made in the Shade Gardens, started renovating the garden last year. Surprisingly, he found he was putting their property back to the way it started years ago with a very similar design. However, taking

Hosta ‘Fire and Ice’

An early spring view of the garden that will be at its peak at the time of the June convention

advantage of the lastest genetics and reblooming plants, he updated with newer cultivars. Rob replaced a common purple lilac with a Bloomerang® lilac. Instead of

Northern Lights azaleas, he planted Pink Adoration™ and Purple Spectacular™ ReBLOOM azaleas. Newer plants with colorful foliage have also earned a place in the updated garden. Burgundy foliage Shining Sensation™ weigela has replaced Red Prince weigela. Newly planted Morden Golden Glow elderberry brightens up an area by a pond with water lilies and contrasts well with an Orangeola Japanese maple and variegated redtwig dogwoods. Of course, with hostas being both his passion and business, Rob has plenty of them in the garden, too. In fact, about 100 varieties of the 500 he grows, join other favorite shade loving plants. Rob prefers colorful “plants that hold their own when not in flower.” Lungwort (referred to as a “hosta with spots” by a customer), variegated Solomon’s seal, tiarella, and heucherellas are some of his favorites. Lamium is used as a groundcover in a shady area. Though many high maintenance and invasive plants were edited out when he renovated, turtlehead (chelone) got to stay. Rob doesn’t mind battling it as he values the summer flowers that last until frost. While some plants have been replaced, many tried-and-true plants still have a home in the garden and property. A Butterflies magnolia is in the front and Royal

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May 2017 |

Star in the back. Annabelle, macrophyla and oakleaf hydrangeas add summer flowers and serve as a backdrop for the smaller perennials. Three dozen easy to care for floribuna roses are planted in raised beds in a sunny area. Rob has found that he enjoys pushing the boundary on sun and shade recommendations and learning for himself what plants can really tolerate. Rob has also enjoyed learning about the art of growing plants. Over the past 17 years, his business has certainly evolved with the purchase of a greenhouse and tissue culture lab about seven years ago. New introductions from top hybridizers are in production at the lab. Some are planted out in trays of 96 cells, rooted and shipped to be finished by other growers and nurseries. Other plants are potted up in containers, grown in the nursery and available for sale under the lathe house in his garden or shipped mail order. Though I enjoyed our conversation in the winter, I’m really looking forward to visiting his garden in the summer and shopping for hostas. After all, there’s always room for a hosta or two. Maybe it will be one I saw getting its start in the tissue culture lab! Join garden writer Susan Mertz for tours and photographs of gardens at

Upcoming Garden Events places to go, things to do, people to see Club Meetings African Violet Club of GKC Tues, May 9, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Garden Club of Shawnee Thurs, May 4, 7pm; at Old Shawnee Town Hall, 11600 Johnson Dr, Shawnee, KS. Meg Mullett, a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener and Kansas Master Naturalist will give a talk on Gardening for Wildlife and Pollinators. Meg has been gardening for more than 40 years, growing food organically and maintaining a welcoming environment for insects, birds, and wildlife. The meeting is open to everyone. Refreshments will be served and door prizes given away. In conjunction with our upcoming garden tour, discounted raffle tickets will be sold. Learn more about our club and the tour by visiting: Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Jun 11, 1-3pm; at Rose Room, Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Meeting and demonstration. There will be a demonstration on getting your dahlias off to a good start. Members will be available to answer any questions on dahlias. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, May 1, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Leavenworth Garden and Civic Club Thurs, May 4, 10am; in the garden of a club member. There will be a speaker and a light lunch will be served. For details, contact Mary Sue Winneke, 913-682-7480.


Lenexa Field and Garden Club Tues, May 9, 6:30-7:30pm; will tour the Johnson County Extension Garden Gallery, located on the east side of the Johnson County Extension Center at Ridgeview and Sunset in Olathe, 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, 66061. Learn more about the club at Mid America Begonia Society Sat, May 20, 1-3:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590



Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, May 7, Beginners Group for new growers 1:30-2:15. General meeting and presentation at 2:15. Film at 3:15; at the Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St. “Wild Orchid Man in the Ghost Orchid Swamp,” a film about the elusive Ghost Orchid with Stig Dalstrom, a true adventure film! The film is 50 minutes. We will also have other fun activities including a display of blooming orchids. Open to the public. Ribbon Judging of locally-grown orchids. Come join the fun. See us on the web at, and find us on Facebook! Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, May 8, 7pm social, 7:30pm meeting; at Colonial Church, 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS, lower level. Our program will be presented by THE Hosta Guy, Rob Mortko, Owner of Made in the Shade Gardens. Rob will speak on all things Hosta, specifically how to keep them happy and healthy during KC summers. Come learn more. Visitors of all ages are welcome. Questions, contact Karen Clark 785-224-7279.

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Highway 150

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Highyway 71

Kansas City Garden Club Mon, May 1; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. The public is invited. 10:15am business meeting; 10:45 program, “Favorite Gardens, Nurseries and Plants from around the USA” by Brian Chadwick-Robinson, KC Garden Club member, garden wizard and Gardeners Connect executive director. Brian will show photographs from his extensive travels and give garden tips along the way. Bring a sack lunch and join us for drinks and dessert furnished by the club members. “In the Merry, Merry

Leavenworth County Master Gardeners Wed, May 10, 11am; at Riverfront Community Center, 123 Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Charlotte Van Wormer and Candy Dials, two Leavenworth County Master Gardeners, will give a presentation about Monarch Butterfly Waystations. The meeting is free. Visitors are welcome. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913240-4094.

State Rte D

Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society
 Sun, May 21, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, May 9, 7pm; at Unitarian Congregation of Lawrence building (1263 N 1100 Rd, Lawrence, KS). We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a nonprofit group; no charge for students). No pets. Babies-in-arms and children over 10 are welcome.

Holmes Rd.

Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, May 20, 10am-12:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Plants & Pumpkins

State Line Rd.

Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, May 10, 12pm. Meeting is not at Loose Park this month. Program: Lunch at Kingston Lake Park and Shop and Get Garden Ideas at Red Cedar Gardens. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy at the beautiful Kingston Lake Park and then a short drive to Red Cedar Gardens to browse among the herbs and flowers, shop for plants, and get wonderful landscaping ideas. We had such a good time there last year, we have to go again. Location: Kingston Lake Park: 15239 Lowell Ave, Shawnee Mission, KS 66223; Red Cedar Gardens: 7895 W 183rd St, Stilwell, KS 66085. Lunch: Sack lunch; bring your own lunch and drink. Don’t forget to join us on Facebook: Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. Friends and visitors are welcome. Questions: Nancy, 816-478-1640

Month of May” Flower Show featuring both horticultural exhibits and floral designs that will be open for viewing to the public from noon until 1pm. 913-341-7555

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May 2017 |

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

(continued from page 33) Sho Me African Violets Fri, May 12, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes May Annual Tuber Root Sale Sat, Apr 29; at Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. The Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society will hold its annual root (tuber) sale on: Fri, Apr 28, 1-4pm - Members only preview (a good reason to join for only $5/yr). Sat, Apr 29, 8am-3pm - Open to the public. Kansas City Garden Club Flower Show Mon, May 1, 10am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. 816-513-8590 Raised Bed Gardening Tues, May 2, 6pm; at Lansing Community Library, 730 1st Terrace, Suite 1, Lansing, KS 66043. Randy Oberlin, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation how to start raised bed gardens and their advantages. Meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Kansas City Garden Club Plant Sale Fri, May 5, 9am-5pm; Sat, May 6, 9am-3pm; at 400 W 119th Terr, Kansas City, MO 64145. This is our annual sale of annuals, perennials, and vegetable plants. Overland Park Arboretum Spring Plant Sale Fri, May 5, 9am-7pm, and Sat, May 6, 9am-3pm. Preview sale for Friends of the Arboretum members on Thurs, May 4, 3pm7pm. Special emphasis on native, butterfly, and pollinator plants, with knowledgeable gardeners on hand to assist shoppers. Support the Arboretum as you choose the perfect plants for your 2017 garden. The Arboretum is located a half mile west of Hwy 69 at 179th and Antioch. For more information visit the FOTA website at or call 913685-3604. Wyandotte Co Annual Plant Sale Fri, May 5, 9am-5pm and Sat, May 6, 9am2pm; in the Wildcat Room, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1200 North 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. The plant sale features vegetables, herbs, perennials, annuals, ornamental grasses, and native plants. The Master Gardeners, who have grown most of the plants available for sale, will be available to assist you with your needs and to answer your horticulture questions. For more information, call 913-299-9300. Vegetable Garden Basics Fri, May 5, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens Office, 6917 Kensington, KCMO 64132. This workshop is helpful for beginning and experienced gardeners. Learn the fundamentals of successful vegetable gardening including: site selection, soil improvement and preparation, garden planning, planting tech-

niques, variety selection, garden maintenance and harvesting. FREE! We do ask that you let us know you are coming. Reserve your seat at or 816-931-3877. Central Missouri Master Gardeners 20th Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 6, 7am-noon; at Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Rd, Jefferson City. Follow us on Facebook:, or on our website: Admission is free and open to the public. For questions about the sale, contact Yolanda at 573-619-5368. Making a Rain Barrel Sat, May 6, 10-11:30am; at the Barn, The Gardens at Unity Village, 150B Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. For those who are environmentally conscious, rain barrels are another way to assist the planet and save you money as well. Rain barrels give you free water from which to water your lawns, flowers and vegetable gardens, and even wash your car and pets. Mark Morales of Bridging the Gap, will provide the equipment needed and the expertise to assist you in making a rain barrel for your own use. Join us, rain or shine. $75.00 ($65.00 members), Cash or check. Call 816-769-0259 for reservation. MPF Native Plant Sale Sat, May 6, 9:30am-2pm or sell out; at Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110. Vendors donate a generous portion of proceeds to help MPF conserve vital pollinator habitat on its native prairies. A variety of native wildflowers, sedges, grasses, trees and shrubs suitable for shade, partial shade, sun, dry or moist conditions from two vendors will be available. This is a great opportunity to buy native plants that will look great in your home landscape and will provide essential habitat for native pollinators and birds. Many species of plantsboth host and nectar plants-for pollinators, including monarch butterflies will be available. Cash, check, and credit card accepted. Questions? Call 816-716-9159. Herb Gardens Wed, May 10, 7pm; at Basehor Community Library, 1400 158th St, Basehor, KS 66007. Joyce Caratura, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on how to start and maintain Herb Gardens. The meetings are free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. What’s going on with bees? Thurs, May 11, 11:30am; the Sunflower Room of the Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 North 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Honey bees and native bees are important pollinators for food crops, but their populations have been negatively affected by human activities. This appears to be due to a combination of factors including pesticide usage and farming/gardening practices. The good news is that there are some things we can do to protect our bees. Elisabeth Kasckow, an Associate Professor of Biology at Kansas City Kansas Community College, will present this class sponsored by the Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. She raises bees to help with pollination at her local community garden. Fee: $5.00 payable at the door (waived for active certified Master Gardeners). No registration

is necessary. For more information, call 913299-9300. Liberty Town and Country Garden Club Plant Share Fri, May 12, 8-10am; a Plant Share for area residents in Liberty, at Rotary Plaza, (corner of Gallatin and Franklin Streets, 1 block West of the Liberty Square). Garden Club members will share plants from their personal gardens with the community. Area gardeners are also encouraged to bring their own divided perennials, shrubs or annuals to share. NO EARLY BIRDS PLEASE! The plant share is an annual community service provided by the Town and Country Garden Club which has been in existence in Liberty since 1947. Miami County Farm Tour All stops will be open to visitors Sat, May 13, 9am-4pm and Sun, May 14, 10am-4pm. Information about the tour is available online at The farm tour offers families an opportunity to spend time outdoors enjoying the more rural aspects of Miami County. Each site offers activities for the whole family. Animals range from alpacas to Hereford cattle and horses. Products include pecans, fresh vegetables, wine and blackberries. Several stops will have products for sale that may require refrigeration, so participants are encouraged to bring a cooler. Most stops will have picnic and rest area amenities. This self-guided tour celebrates the county’s diversity and highlights local farm products found on the back roads of Miami County. Watch for directional signs the day of the tour and visit as many of the tour stops as you like. Parking areas will be designated at each stop. While parking is available at each site, please be aware that weather and terrain may create some physical challenges. Although this event is child friendly, each site is a working farm. Guardians are asked to encourage their children to respect the farm’s operations, plants and animals. For more information about the farm tour or to receive a map of the sites please call 913-294-4045. The tour’s web site,, features a map of the sites and a copy of the tour’s brochure. Container Water Garden Sun, May 13, 10am-12pm; at Swan’s Water Gardens, 4385 W 247th St, Louisburg, KS. On Mother’s Day, bring mom and build your own patio container water garden. We have all the supplies you need on hand for the type of garden you want, including mini-fountains, aquatic plants and fish! Workshop instruction is free, supplies available for purchase. Space limited, call to reserve your seat today. 913837-3510; Fairy Gardens and Fairies in the Garden (Ages 7 & up) Sat, May 13, 1-3pm. Enjoy a program of everything Fairies – learn Fairy lore, history and traditions, learn about the Fairies’ favorite plants, see a fairy garden demonstration, and gain inspiration for creating your own Fairy garden at home. Our Fairy party will feature Flower mints, Fancy Fairy Cakes, Fruit Magic Wands, Lavender Cookies, & Flower Petal Fairy Punch. Who makes a Fairy Garden and why? How is it done? What attracts the Fairies to a garden? Bring a friend and have some Fairy fun together! ($18) www. Easy to Grow “Super Foods” Sat, May 13, 9am-12pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Growing your own “superfoods”, those considered to be powerhouses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals, can offer you super health benefits. Discover which plants are the easiest and hardiest to grow in our midwest climate. Learn which garden choices are highly nutri-

ent dense and even medicinal. Discuss methods to preserve them for year-round health benefits. Fee: $39. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-469-2323 and provide CRN 50892. Iris Flower Show Sat, May 13, Set-up and Judging 8am; Open to the public 12-4pm; at Trailside Center 9901 Holmes, KCMO. Theme: “Show Tunes”. The Greater Kansas City Iris Society invites you to come see “All That Jazz” blooming in many gardens throughout the area. There’s sure to be a beautiful display of the latest varieties and well as heirloom varieties for your enjoyment. Participation is open to the public. If you would like to enter specimens or designs in the competition, call 913-406-2709 or visit for more information. Mark your calendars as the date of Aug 19 has been set for our annual public sale. Annual Spring Plant Sale ***New Location*** Sat, May 13, 9:30am-2:30pm; First Lutheran Church, 6400 State Line Rd, Mission Hills, KS. Sponsored by Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society. There will be a great collection of newer hostas and other shade perennials, including, Bergenia, Heucheras, Heucherellas and Cimicifuga (Actaea), plus, mini-hostas, so wonderful for your troughs and Fairy Gardens. Children older than 4 years, accompanied by a Parent or Guardian, will receive their very own hosta, free! You won’t want to miss this sale! Some quantities are limited, so you will want to arrive early. The public is welcome. Bring a friend! For info - Gwen 816-213-0598

One free, easy call gets your utility lines marked AND helps protect you from injury and expense. Safe Digging Is No Accident: “Always Call Before You Dig in Kansas” Call 811, 1-800-DIG-SAFE, (800-344-7233) or visit us at

Herb Gardens Thurs, May 18, 7pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Joyce Caratura, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will present how to start and maintain Herb Gardens. The meetings are free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Cooking with Spring’s Greens Fri, May 19, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens Office in Swope Park, 6917 Kensington, KCMO 64132. Everyone is talking about super foods—kale, collards and other leafy greens—but not everyone knows how to prepare them. Learn some easy and delicious recipes as well as how to put together simple salad dressings. We will focus on whatever produce is ready to harvest. Come ready to sample some delicious foods. FREE! Let us know you are coming. Reserve your seat at or 816-9313877. 5th Annual Grassland Heritage Foundation Native Plant Sale Sat, May 20, 9am-1pm; at Trinity Episcopal Church Lawn, 1011 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS. Show your support for pollinators, wildlife, and the Grassland Heritage Foundation. All plants are locally-grown Kansas natives and are guaranteed to be free of neonicotinoid insecticides which can kill bees and other pollinators. GHF members get a discount when they order ahead of time and pay and pick up at the event. Not a member? Pay online at then email us at to learn how to order. The GHF Native Plant Sale will feature some common native plants like New England Aster and Black-Eyed Susans (yes, they are native!) as well as more unusual natives like Ox-Eye Sunflower, Cardinal Flower, and Rattlesnake Master. We’ll also have a variety of milkweeds (great for Monarch butterflies!), coneflowers, grasses, and shade tolerant plants. This will be one of the few times this year that such a large selection of native plants will be available locally. All plants will (continued on page 36)

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


Happenings at Powell Gardens Apocalypse Plants: They Will Survive and Thrive Friday, May 5 | 2:00-4:30 p.m. Learn how to select plants that will thrive in these “apocalyptic” conditions. Garden professionals will teach students how to identify conditions in their yard and recommend plants to survive them. Participants will learn about Powell Gardens favorites on a short tour, obtain a personal garden plan worksheet, and develop a custom plant shopping list for their own yard. A classroom question and answer session with light wine and refreshments will wrap up this experience and members can hustle into the plant sale at 5:00 p.m. and fulfill their shopping list. Fee: $45 (members 10% off) Members-Only Plant Sale Friday, May 5 | 5:00-7:00 p.m. Enjoy an exclusive opportunity to select plants for your garden before the public sale. Public Plant Sale Saturday and Sunday, May 6 & 7 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Unique garden varieties not available from your average garden retailer! Admission includes entry to the Fungi & Fermentation Festival Fungi & Fermentation Festival Saturday and Sunday, May 6 & 7 |10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. This all-day festival celebrates mushrooms and beer providing opportunities to learn about and enjoy these tasty items in a variety of ways. Festival admission applies and includes entry to the Annual Plant Sale. Cooking Demo with Barb the Gardener | Riots of Color: Salads and Dressing in the Garden May 13 | 2:00-2:30 p.m. On the second Saturday of each month, drop into Fresh Bites in the Heartland Harvest Garden (under the eave of the Missouri Barn) for a short cooking demonstration with Barb the Gardener. Each month reflects a different theme related to what’s growing. Gather ideas and inspiration for integrating seasonal produce and herbs onto your plate at home. Free with garden admission.

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May 2017 |

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

(continued from page 33) be $4.00 each. All proceeds from the sale will be used for prairie preservation and education efforts. For more information about GHF, prairie preservation, and the GHF Native Plant Sale, go to, Follow us on Facebook, or contact us at or 785-840-8104. All in Bloom Photography Workshop Sat, May 20, 9:30am-Noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. The Kansas City Rose Society is proud to present this unique workshop featuring Hallmark Cards, Inc. photographer Kevin Hosley! Kevin will share ideas and tips on rose/flower photography in the Rose Garden at Loose Park. This is a hands-on class. Bring your camera of choice. Fee: $15 for KCRS members or $25 for non-members. Learn more and register online at For more information email Arlyn Silvey at KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sat, May 20, 9am-4pm; at Powell Gardens, Hwy 50, Kingsville, MO. A whole weekend of cacti and succulents—it is our ‘Mini’ Show and Sale. Meet club members, who will be showing, selling, and talking about cacti and succulents. Powell Gardens admission charge will apply. The next club meeting will be Sun, May 21, 1:30-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For more information on either event, contact Eva at: 816-4449321 or Idalia Butterfly Society: Prairie Restoration in Johnson County Sat, May 20; at Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd 66208; 5:30pm Potluck Dinner and 6:45pm Presentation. Prior to European contact, the Kansas City region was dominated by vast expanses of tallgrass prairie dissected by wooded riparian corridors and sheltered mesic slopes. Now, a fraction of a percent of the original prairie remains. While protecting and managing our remnants should always be our number one priority, restoring the prairies we’ve lost is very important, especially for our native butterflies, bees and moths. This presentation will cover the importance and benefits of prairie restoration projects currently happening in our own community, the challenges that we face, and the inherent difficulty of rebuilding complex ecological systems. Brett Budach is a recent graduate of K-State University with a major in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Brett currently works for the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department and Kansas City WildLands doing fieldwork ranging from managing volunteers to burning prairies. Free to the public. Questions? Contact lenora. Gardening for Little Sprouts Sat, May 20, 10-11am; The Gardens at Unity Village, 150b Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. Join gardeners Ellen Callen and Heidi Odie who will assist children from ages 4-12 to plant seedlings. There will be a “take home” plant as well as a trip to our garden to plant seedlings in a raised bed. Children will be able to tend their take home plant and visit our garden to care for the one planted there. Cost: $5.00 for one child, $10.00 for two or

more. Cash or check. Call for reservation: 816-769-0259 Native Plant School: Native Plant Maintenance Sat, May 20, 9am-noon; at Powell Gardens. This hands-on workshop will teach participants basic information about native plant care. Following a quick overview of plant varieties in the multipurpose room of the Visitor Education Center, participants will spend time at various locations within Powell Gardens examining native plants on site with our experts. Dress for the weather, bring gloves and wear sturdy shoes. Fee: $45 (members 10% off) Spring Plant Sale MG Johnson Co MO Sat, May 20, 9am-1pm, at Blind Boone Park, 402 W Pine, Warrensburg, MO. The Master Gardeners of Johnson County Missouri are having their Spring plant sale. Always a nice selection of plants and plenty of gardening advice!

June, July and beyond Pests, Keep Out! Fri, Jun 2, noon; at Kansas City Community Gardens Office in Swope Park, 6917 Kensington, KCMO 64132. Best Practices for Deterring Animal Pests: How do I keep the squirrels out of my tomatoes? Voles out of my sweet potatoes? Although there are no sure-fire solutions to keeping pesky pests out of your garden, this workshop will discuss best practices for deterring animal pests. FREE! We do ask that you let us know you are coming. Reserve your seat at workshops or 816-931-3877. 23rd Annual Garden Tour, Plant Sale & Garden Art Flea Market Jun 3-4, 9am-5pm, Hermann, MO. Two Tours in 2017: the popular Town Tour, a walking tour of gardens in downtown Hermann, and a Country Tour, a driving tour to country gardens. Each tour is $10; ticket price includes visits to at least four private gardens and the Garden Demonstration Area. Town & County Garden Tour Combo ticket for $15 includes 8 or more gardens. 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. Great deals at the Garden Art Flea Market at the Ticket Sale Site in the Germann School parking lot. Special Ticket By-Reservation-Only Luncheon/Silent Auction on Fri, Jun 2 at the Historic Hermann Rotunda. Visit the Hermann Garden Tours website at for up-to-date events, ticket prices, contact numbers and photographs of past tour gardens. Visit the FAQS page on the website for answers to all your questions. “Like” us on Facebook at “Hermann Garden Club Tours”. Call Hermann Welcome Center at (800) 9328687 for questions about lodging/restaurants or go to Beekeeping 101 – Grades 8-12 Fri, Jun 9 & 16, 8am-12pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. You will be introduced to the fun and exciting world of beekeeping. In today’s world, there are many beekeeping opportunities and challenges. Gain a good understanding about beekeeping and learn about the many products that come from bees,

like honey, pollen and wax. You will also visit the JCCC Bee Yard and explore a working hive. Identify the honey, baby bees, pollen and find the Queen! This course is for students entering grades 8-12 fall 2017. Fee: $99. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-469-2323 and provide CRN 51167. Herbs for Beginners Sat, Jun 10, 9am-12pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Become more familiar with growing herbs and their many culinary and medical uses. Learn which are perennial or annuals in our region and how best to grow each in your garden. In addition, share medicinal uses, useful recipes for the kitchen and ways to preserve herbs. Fee: $39. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-4692323 and provide CRN 51829. Garden Sampler Tour Sat, Jun 10, 9am-5pm. Presented by the Garden Club of Shawnee, rain or shine. Featuring 6 beautiful and unique gardens, all located in Shawnee. Proceeds fund our grant program which supports gardening projects in the community. Tickets are $10 and are available on our website:, from club members, and starting May 1 at the Shawnee and Overland Park Family Tree Nurseries, Wild Birds Unlimited, Hartman & Sons Hardware, and Earl May, all in Shawnee. They can also be purchased the day of the tour at any of the gardens. Visit our website for more information and photos. Cooking with Spring’s Greens Tues, Jun 13, 5:30pm; at Ivanhoe Community Center, 3700 Woodland, KCMO 64109. Everyone is talking about super foods - kale, collards and other leafy greens - but not everyone knows how to prepare them. Come learn some easy and delicious recipes as well as how to put together simple salad dressings. We will focus on whatever produce is ready to harvest. Come ready to sample some delicious foods. Fruit Tree and Small Fruit Maintenance Thurs, Jun 15, 6pm; at Blue Hills Community Services, 5008 Prospect, KCMO 64130. All fruit plants require some sort of maintenance, from pruning to thinning to pest management. Learn what to do, why to do it and when to do it. The site features peaches, apples, pears, Asian pears, bush cherries, raspberries and blackberries all planted in 2013. The workshop is recommended for those with young fruit trees. This workshop will take place in Prospect Community Garden and Orchard on the west side of BHCS. Please park on Wabash. Garden and Pioneer Home Tour of AtkinsJohnson Farm Thurs, Jun 15, 6:30pm; The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City will guide you through a “Garden and Pioneer Home Tour of AtkinsJohnson Farm” located at 6607 NE Antioch Rd, Gladstone, MO 64119. Once home to many people from 1824-2004, this small family farm stands as a wonderful reminder that farms of the past are still present and will always have stories to share. Discover a home that began as a single-room log cabin with a half-story sleeping loft. Enjoy the beautiful

acres of preserved farmland, walk the trail to the historic Big Shoal Cemetery and look for wildlife along the way. Explore what’s growing as you visit the heirloom garden, apple orchard, or pumpkin patch. Free and open to the public. No registration required. For further information call 816-665-4456 or visit our website @ and browse Gardeners’ Gathering.


It Ain’t Easy Being Green – What Makes Your Garden Grow? – Grades 8-12 Fri, Jun 23, 10am-4pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Learn the knowledge and skills required to grow plants from seeds, cuttings, leaves, runners and slips. Propagation techniques such as air-layering and serpentine layering will be covered. Additional hands-on activities will include growing microgreens and herb gardening indoors. You will study basics of setting up hydroponic and aquaponic systems and observe existing systems in the Horticultural Sciences Center at JCCC. You will also learn about soilless growing media, potting methods, liners, fertilizers, plant growth regulators and much more. This course is for students entering grades 8-12 fall 2017. Fee: $79. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-469-2323 and provide CRN 51150.


Fountains - Planters & Urns - Bird Baths - Statuary - Tables & Benches Garden Accents - Home Décor & Much More!

Celebrating our 90th year in business

Freeze! Your Garden Produce Fri, Jun 23, noon; Kansas City Community Garden Office in Swope Park, 6917 Kensington, KCMO 64132. Freezing is one of the easiest, cheapest and safest ways to preserve many crops harvested from your garden, including beans, peppers, tomatoes, collards and corn. Find out which of your garden’s crops store well in the freezer. We will demonstrate best methods for some of the most popular and abundant crops. Workshop is FREE! We do ask that you let us know if you are coming. Reserve your seat at www. or 816-931-3877. Sustainability Leadership – Grades 8-12 Fri, Jun 30, 8am-3pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Do you want to make a difference at your school and in your community? Learn best practices for starting a small and manageable recycling, composting, gardening and farming program. Ideas for mitigating storm water runoff and planting bio swales will also be discussed. In addition, discover how easy it is to implement alternative energy options while enjoying bike blender smoothies and solar s’mores. This course is great for students in environmental clubs, scouts, etc. This course is for students entering grades 8-12 fall 2017. Fee: $79. To enroll or to get more information please call 913-4692323 and provide CRN 51179. Master Gardener 2017 Garden Tour Sep 8-9, 9am-5pm. Sponsored by the Marais des Cygnes Extension District Master Gardeners. Driving tour to visit various locations in Miami County to view some amazing garden creations by our Master Gardeners. Visit us on Facebook mdcemg or call 913-294-4306. Visit the Marais des Cygnes Extension District website for more information

Promote your club meetings, classes, seminars, plant sales and other gardening events! Send details to: Deadline for June issue is May 10.

816-523-1760 74th & Prospect, Kansas City, MO


GAR G A RENEDREN E R N D E D R A G ER Beyon The K T ty K an sa Cihe s C it y a n s a s C Th e Ka ns as ity A M on

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

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.

d the W ate Butterflies and Bee s Love These rlilies Spooky Plants



r Garden

for the Octobe

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

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

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017



garden calendar n TREES AND SHRUBS


• Core aerate zoysia to reduce thatch layer. • Sod or sprig zoysia lawns. • Fertilize zoysia with high nitrogen fertilizer to promote green up and summer growth. • Mow zoysia at 1 to 2 inches tall. • Fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue if watering regularly in summer with a slow-release product. • Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3 inches. • Withhold early summer watering until needed to promote more drought-tolerant lawns. • Let clippings fall to return needed nutrients to the turf. • Keep mower blade sharp for a clean cut. • Spot treat summer broadleaf weeds such as spurge or clover to help with control. • Sweep walks and driveways after fertilizer and pesticide applications to reduce runoff.


• Plant tomato, pepper, and eggplant transplants in early May. • Seed sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, beans and other warm season vegetables. • Lightly cultivate soil with a hoe to control weed growth. • Mound soil around potato plants to encourage tuber formation. • Harvest fresh asparagus until the spear size decreases. • Remove rhubarb seed stalks to encourage leaf growth. • Plant kitchen herbs for summer use in dishes or food preservation. • Treat fruit trees with needed pesticides to control insects and disease. • Thin heavy fruit set on apples to increase fruit size and next year’s crop. • Harvest salad crops and enjoy. • Keep broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage well fertilized for big yields.

• Plant new trees and shrubs. • Prune spring flowering shrubs after bloom to shape plant and encourage flowers next year. • Mulch around young trees and shrubs to conserve moisture and control weed growth. • Water young ornamentals as needed. • Remove tree wraps for summer growth. • Remove tree stakes in place more than one growing season. • Fertilize trees to help increase growth rates. • Caution, use line trimmers around trees and shrubs so as not to damage tender bark.


• Plant annual flowers for summer color. • Continue to plant and divide perennials. • Mulch perennial, annual gardens for weed control, moisture retention. • Begin pinching chrysanthemums and other perennials for a more compact plant. • Do not remove foliage from spring bulbs until it dies down naturally, this develops stronger blooms for next year. • Plant container gardens and hanging baskets using a good quality potting mix. • Keep a garden journal for permanent reference. • Watch for weed growth and control while small for ease of removal.


• Move plants outdoors for summer, gradually increasing sun exposure. • Fertilize plants to promote summer development. • Rotate plants to develop a well-rounded plant. • Wash dusty leaves in the shower under room temperature water. • Four to six inch cuttings are a great way to start new plants. • Repot plants into a one-inch larger pot. • Check for insects.

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. EST.2007

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

816-380-8460; Wed, 9am-noon

Dig for more at GAR RENEDREN GAR DGEANRED ER Beyond The K Th e Ka ns as Ci ty C ity a n s a s C Th e Ka ns as ity A M on

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

the Wa te Butterflies and Bee s Love These rlilies nts Spooky Pla for the October




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

Magazine archives


816-833-8733 (TREE); Mon-Fri, 9am-noon; River Market, 105 E 5th St, KCMO, 1st and 3rd Sat, May-Sep, 8am-noon


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

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

ity with Grasses Beauty and Divers een Not Just for HallowCall 811 Orange and Black: Lemo rd of Digth Control BeforeBiYou n Park ly: Beau for Better WeedsDayli eM ty for More Identif Decisyion Time: ThanBu a tte Dayrfl onth: Blue ShouSeeded Lawn In th bird y Cons e Gard Ask andExpe Feeding of Newly ld You Remove Your AshenTree rts about weed ervato Proper Carethe with control, oozin ries g sap and more Marvin Snyder


• Find a Professional for the next project

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



An attractive landscape design focuses on tall plants in back, medium height plants in the middle and low-lying varieties in the front of the garden bed.


Learn more about plant combinations in the landscape on our website at KCGMAG.COM.


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


913-364-5700; Apr 4 thru Sep 29, Mon 10am-1pm, Thurs 1-4pm 913-294-4306; Thurs, 9am-noon 913-299-9300; Mon, Wed, Fri, 9am-4pm

Photo courtesy of

Professional’s Corner

Springtime Garden Center

Pictured here are Vincent and Maria Scire, with their sons, Michael (left) and Eric (right). Company: Springtime Garden Center Owners: Vincent and Maria Scire Established: 1977 Walk down memory lane: In the beginning, it started as a fruit stand in downtown Lee’s Summit. Growing vegetable plants and flowers was next. As customers requested more, we offered more, eventually dropping

fruit sales in order to focus on nursery stock production and sales. Then came landscaping and lawn maintenance. In 1983, we expanded to second and third locations, staying in our Lee’s Summit community. Ultimately, we grew into a full-service garden center, with plenty of room to grow Maria’s famous Belgian mums, and more. Today: We are still family owned and operated, where products and services have expanded. What we like to say is, “If it happens in your yard, we do it.” The garden center continues to offer new products, while maintaining high standards with quality products our customers have come to depend on—like healthy plants, beautiful containers and statuary, and gorgeous blooming shrubs. Our outdoor services like mowing and maintenance, landscaping, and irrigation, have become increasingly important due to customer demand. From insect control, yard aeration, or a complete overhaul, the landscaping crew manages a variety of projects. Our services are available for both commercial and residential properties. Little known secret: The independent retail garden center is your local resource for

Celebrating 40 years!

gardening advice, tips, diagnosis and much more. When we started growing our own plants, we were learning. Now that we grow a wide variety of plants from seed, our knowledge has grown by leaps and bounds. We are eager to share what we’ve learned with customers, so that they experience success in their gardens. Unlike those big box stores, where it’s rare to get professional advice from someone with any garden wisdom. So remember, if you’re looking for information and advice, visit your local garden center. We are dedicated to helping gardeners everywhere. What does the future look like for Springtime: It is definitely looking bright. We have built Springtime Garden Center for 40 years, with enthusiasm for vigorous gardens. Now it’s getting time for the kids to keep it going for another 40 years. So we will be here helping many more generations of customers when they come in our doors and we will get to watch them grow as well. Contact: Springtime Garden Center is located at 1601 NE Tudor Rd., Lee’s Summit, Mo 64086. Hours: Mon. thru Sat. 9am-7pm, Sun. 10:30am-5pm; 816-525-4226. The Kansas City Gardener | May 2017


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KCG 05May17  
KCG 05May17  

wisteria, butterflies, borage, hosta, in the garden, moles, plant sales, club meetings, events, natives, prep and prepare natives, birds, fr...