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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

May 2018

Editor’s Choice

Coleus champion of shade and sun

The Sycamore Maple Are Butterflies Smart? Start Ferns from Spore Bird of the Month: Baltimore Oriole Bulbs to plant now, savor later

Finally! Water Garden Season Is Here... We’ve stocked our store with the largest inventory and selection of water garden supplies ever. We’ve doubled the size of our aquatic plant and flower area giving you more choices than ever before. We’ve made many changes over the last year adding new water features, paver patios, retaining walls and landscaping with more to come. New this year are sustainable landscapes using native plants that are drought tolerant and low maintenance that create gardens that are just as beautiful as the high maintenance gardens we see throughout the city.

Make plans to visit our “Water Garden Village” Today!

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We Aren’t Hard To Find Anymore. Located Just Two and a Half Miles East of 69 Hwy on 247th St. You Can’t Miss Our Sign.

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The Water Garden Store

Why Swan’s Water Gardens

Pictured above are Kevin and Diane Swan standing We are committed to providing you with the highest in front of their retail store. The Swan’s started their quality in building standards and proven techniques business back in June of 1994. used in the water garden industry. We don’t just say that to get your business, we back it up with a 5 year From their humble beginnings as a design build firm written guarantee that is the longest in the industry. specializing in the creation of naturalistic waterThis guarantee isn’t just for the water features but falls, streams and ponds, they quickly grew into a also all of our paver patios and retaining walls too. leader in the Kansas City area serving business and residential customers with their innovative products We Are Pleased to Announce and artistic craftsmanship, with a commitment of “The Butterfly Lady” transforming boring backyards into magical places Lenora Larsen is coming to Swan’s Water Gardens by designing and building their beautiful water Saturday morning May 12th from 10am-12pm. features. Lenora is a proud “science geek” with a degree in Swan’s Water Gardens has created a unique experi- microbiology from Michigan State University, a ence for all visitors. Arriving at Swan’s is like enter- career in molecular biology and a life-long interest in wildlife. Lenora is a nationally known expert ing a charming “Water Garden Village” complete on butterfly gardening and is a frequent speaker to with bridges, scenic pathways winding through beautiful water gardens, magnificent waterfalls and gardening and community groups. We are thrilled to have Lenora come and demonstrate creating peaceful streams. your very own Butterfly container gardens ... “plant it and they will come.” Limited seating so please You’ll find everything you need to build and mainRSVP to save a spot. You won’t want to miss this! tain your Water Garden. Starting with the highest quality pond supplies including pumps, liners, filtration systems, aquatic plants, fish, land plants and Flower of the Month • Hardy Lily ground covers and more. Hardy lilies love the sun, overwinter well and come in a variety of colors. Visit our website to learn more We’re Just A Short Ten Minute about and see pictures of May’s flower of the month!

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4385 W 247th St, Louisburg, KS May hours: Tues-Fri 9am-5pm • Sat 9am-4pm

We back our Water Garden installations with a 5 year leak free guarantee!


PERENNIALS, SHRUBS AND TREES should be watered one to three times a week during hot weather.


when the leaves start turning brown from the tips inward. A long, slow trickle is best & allows the water to soak deep into the soil without runoff.


early morning or in late evening. Use a soaker hose to insure deep watering to the roots.

VEGETABLE GARDENS need about 1-In. of water per week to keep from getting too dry. Use a rain gauge to see how much water is being provided by rain/sprinklers.


| 20 STORES IN THE KC METRO | STORE HOURS: Mon - Sat: 8am - 9pm Sun: 9am - 6pm (May vary, check online for your specific location)

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


The Kansas City

editor’s notes


transition time

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Nik and Theresa Hiremath Lenora Larson Marion Morris Ken O’Dell Diana Par-Due Dennis Patton Judy Penner Chelsea Didde Rice Phil Roudebush Brent Tucker Scott Woodbury Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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


t this writing we are, yet again, on the heels of what we hope will be the final toodle-oo to winter. I’m not a fan of return performances, encores, or long goodbyes, and especially not fond of winter interrupting spring’s arrival. Winter’s return is as exasperating as hearing Lieutenant Columbo say “ah, just one more thing, ma’am.” “What is it now, detective?!” The same level of discontent rises in me. What is it now, Winter? You have had plenty of time to do your thing. Look at the calendar, Old Man. It’s time for you to move on! Every time winter comes and goes, my mood swings–in and out, up and down. I imagine the plants feel much the same. Sunny and warm encourage waking from dormancy. That’s when we kneel down, pushing leaves and mulch aside, looking hopefully for any sign of life. When dreary and cold return, I suspect they pull back, go back to bed, and send this message, “Y’all let me know when you make up your mind.” Patience is key. Whether waiting for winter to pass or watching plants emerge from seed, being patient is vital We all have methods of coping. For me, I keep my head down

and press through, and try to keep the complaining to a minimum. Oh yes, I know that there is plenty to do in the garden– pruning, planning, clean-up and the like. I’m grateful to avoid my internal conflict between office work and garden fun. For Mr. Gardener, I’ll simply say thank goodness for the greenhouse. Over the winter months he built a greenhouse, intending to grow tasty vegetables and maybe start annuals from seed. So the seed starting is off and running. Tomatoes, microgreens, herbs, zinnias, are growing well, and Mr. Gardener is number one caretaker. Like any new parent, he monitors temperature, circulation, watering, and growth progress like a champ. That kept him occupied for a while, but the need for green– bigger and greener–was taking its toll. He needed tropical. Since a trip to Florida was nowhere near, he resorted to different measures. So once a week for a month, the inventory in the greenhouse grew by one mature tropical. A big yellow Hibiscus. Dracaena. Gardenia. And the biggest Jade plant I’ve ever seen.

Submit editorial questions to Elizabeth Cavanaugh at

In this issue

See us on the Web:

May 2018 • Vol. 23 No. 5

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 39.

Comfrey ................................. 6 Bulbs to plant now, savor later .. 8 The Sycamore Maple ............... 10 Powell Gardens events ............. 11 Become a Master Gardener ...... 12 Ask the Experts ........................ 14 Baltimore Oriole ...................... 16 Pets & Plants ........................... 17 Leavenworth Garden Tour ......... 18 Coleus .................................... 20 Start Ferns from Spore ............. 22

about the cover ...

Then he gets on a coleus kick. Can you guess how many? Suffice to say that there were more than we had containers for. We now have new containers too. Surrounded by plants at every stage of growth, there he would stand in the middle of his self-made paradise and breathe. The only missing elements are sand, the sound of waves, and the serene view of a statuesque great blue heron. Here is where the stress of dreary skies and falling temperatures fade away. Do you have a way to cope? Do you drive to your favorite nursery and walk among the plants? Do you diffuse a “beach blend” of essential oils? Or maybe focus on birding? I have learned to avoid the longterm weather forecast. It does not matter what the weather will be in five days or in seven. What matters is this day, right here, right now. Being present. Being fully present with my focus, attention, thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand. That’s certainly easier than bemoaning the color of the sky. I’ll see you in the garden!

Private Gardens Tour ................ 24 Finding Spot for Turf ................ 26 Rose Report ............................ 28 Are Butterflies Smart ................ 29 Year of the Beet ...................... 30 Celebrity Tomato ..................... 32 Upcoming Events ..................... 33 Hotlines .................................. 37 Garden Calendar .................... 38 Subscribe ................................ 39 Meet an EMG .......................... 39

Great Falls Niagara coleus is quite an eye-catcher. See more coleus on page 20. 4

May 2018 |



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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Comfrey: demonized and underrated DIANA PAR-DUE, local herb maven, reviews the benefits of this useful herb, despite its negative reputation.


omfrey is a powerhouse herb but often is demonized for the fact issue that it is nearly impossible to get rid of once it’s planted. The roots, similar to dandelion, go deep and far. If you try to dig it up and slice the root, each chunk will sprout into a new plant. That’s not all, it also blooms through the entire summer and drops seeds during that time which sprout into brand new plants. However, some varieties are sterile. The plant itself shoots up large, almost tropical shaped leaves that

have a hairy surface, and purple or white blooms that look similar to blue bells in shape. No part of the plant is edible which is another strike against it but listen to the wonderful benefits of having a moderate amount of comfrey in your garden. The blooms are quite beautiful and attract pollinators which are of the utmost importance. More than that, comfrey is a plant very rich in nitrogen. The leaves are highly nutritious for the soil and can be harvested to mulch where fruiting plants (like tomatoes) grow.

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Simply pull all the leaves off of the plant, roughly chop them and spread them around the base of the tomato plant. It is a free and relatively easy way to fertilize your plants. The leaves shoot back up with an almost startling speed. The process of harvesting and mulching can be executed four times per season, providing an opportunity for a very productive and lush vegetable garden. Outside of being a wonderful source of nutrients for the soil, comfrey is a medicinal herb. Most effectively used in salves and applied in place of neosporin or other topical antibiotics. It can also be spread on bruises, to help burns or soothe dermatitis. The method for making salves involves drying

the leaves, and infusing them into an oil and blending with beeswax or another carrier. Comfrey is the easiest herb to grow. It does not require quality soil or specific sun exposure. It can and will grow anywhere. It is a valuable plant when creating a self-sustaining garden. Although it can be frustrating to contain, it’s worth creating a symbiotic relationship with. 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. Until then, she 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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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Bulbs to plant now, savor later In her garden, CHELSEA DIDDE RICE includes bulbs that will deliver months of vibrant color and texture.


ew plants are as beginnerfriendly as bulbs. They are easy to plant, fast growing and transform a landscape without breaking the bank. All bulbs, whether fall or spring planted, come to you ready to bloom, containing the next year’s flower deep within. Fall planted bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, require a cold period in order to bloom. Spring planted (summer flowering) bulbs, tubers and rhizomes like those mentioned here, do not tolerate freezing temperatures and are therefore planted in the spring after the last frost (typically mid-April in the Kansas City area). All of these spring bulbs benefit from supplemental watering during the hot summer and thrive in full sun, although elephant ears can tolerate part shade.

Plant all of these bulbs at the proper depth (see packaging) after soil temperatures are above 55° F (often in late May in our area). Elephant ears Wish you lived in a tropical paradise like Hawaii or Costa Rica? You’re in luck! You can create a similar oasis in your very own backyard with elephant ears. Plant the large bulbs, provide plenty of water and you will be rewarded with a summer full of giant leaves shaped like – you guessed it – elephant ears. Depending on the variety, leaf diameter can range from a few inches to a few feet. Cannas If you prefer colorful flowers with your tropical look, count on cannas. These plants are available

Get inspired this Spring to grow something DELICIOUS

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Elephant ears




in a wide range of foliage and bloom colors, height and width. Another benefit of cannas is that many varieties multiply rapidly but are not invasive. A co-worker of mine gave me four small rhizomes last spring, which I planted in a large pot. At the end of the season, I went to overwinter the rhizomes (more about that process later) and found that they had tripled in numbers. I’m now ready to give some away to friends and family. Dahlias Few plants outrank dahlias in terms of what I call the “work to bloom ratio.” In other words, they require little work and produce blooms for months. Simply plant the potato-looking tubers in the late spring and watch these plants grow. Many varieties can grow quite tall, so I recommend staking to prevent flowers from breaking off. I’ve had plants occasionally suffer from slug damage and spider mites, so keep an eye out for those pests. Deadheading spent blooms will send the plant’s energy into producing more flowers. Gladiolus I adore having fresh flowers in the house. However, without a

lavish fresh flower budget, I have to improvise. One of the stunners I grow every year is gladiolus. These tall, elegant flowers are showstoppers in bouquets and will have your friends and family thinking you’re paying big bucks for a weekly arrangement. Each bulb you plant will put all of its energy into producing one glorious flower stalk. To end up with dozens of flowers at one time, plant dozens of bulbs together. To stagger the harvest for weeks of blooms, divide your bulbs into three or more groups and plant each group two weeks apart. All of these spring planted bulbs, tubers and rhizomes can be treated as annuals, but if you are on a budget, you can dig them up after the first frost, let them sit in the garage exposed to air for a few weeks, then store them in a cardboard box in an unheated garage or basement with good circulation and temperatures above freezing. When spring arrives, begin the cycle all over again! When Chelsea Didde Rice isn’t at work as a communications specialist, she’s an avid gardener who enjoys teaching young and old how easy it can be to garden.


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More blooms. More color. More Thewow. Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


The Sycamore Maple KEN O’DELL, local plantsman and top-notch tree expert, highlights this oddly-named tree. Photos by Ken O’Dell.


worldly tree which originated in central Europe and western Asia eons ago, this oddly named tree has survived time and humans. It’s not a sycamore but a maple tree that is called sycamore in England and called sycamore maple or planetree in other parts of the world. The scientific name is Acer pseudoplatanus (ayser soo-doe-plat-an-us). Pseudo meaning false and platanus is the Latin name referring to sycamore, pseudoplatanus, false sycamore. Sycamore Maple was brought to England about year 1500 and was used as a street tree and a park tree. It is a large tree growing to 100 feet high, with irregular scaly bark that will flake off and show some orange coloring to the inner surface. The leaves are tough and leathery, dark green above and

Sycamore Maple

Tough and leathery leaf

Flowers in April

lighter color below. The 4 or 5” wide leaves have three large middle lobes and two smaller basal lobes. Coarse, dull teeth line the edges of the leaf. Autumn leaf color is rather blah. Colorful yellowish-green flowers in May hang down in 4 or

5” clusters. When pollinated these flowers will produce seed (samaras) with wings that help the wind disperse the seed away from the mother tree. The sycamore maple was brought to New England for horticultural purpose in about 1870. It is not tolerant of shade but thrives in sunny locations. It is reseeding in New England in forest edges, roadsides, pastures and vacant lots. It will grow in a variety of soils. Looking at the history of this tree, it would survive in most of Kansas and the Kansas terrain, soil and moisture but would totally love the New England climate as long as it gets full sun. New England rainfall and great soils should make the sycamore maple grow really fast. This tree is in the Sapindaceae family as are all of the true maples. The greater Kansas City champion

sycamore maple tree is in Loose Park in Kansas City, Mo. It has a ground level marker about 6’ on the east side of the tree. The sycamore maple is often tapped for the sweet sap in late winter. The flowers in mid spring give nectar to honeybees. Maple lumber is used to make musical instruments, furniture, light colored wood flooring and is burned for firewood. Propagation is easy from seed picked when it turns brown on the tree and also from soft wood tip cuttings of current seasons growth when taken in mid June.

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Ken O’Dell is a lifetime member of the Friends of the Arboretum. He is a long-time volunteer at the arboretum and is the Kansas City regional leader of the Kansas Native Plant Society.

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May 2018 |

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Powell Gardens in May Architecture of Powell Gardens Sunday, May 6, 2 p.m. Join Powell Gardens docent Terry Davis on an outdoor walking tour that examines the unique architecture of E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings. Dress for the weather. Free with garden admission. Limited availability. Public Plant Sale Sat & Sun, May 12-13, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Join our expert horticulture staff and make purchases for your home landscape for the upcoming season while also supporting Kansas City’s botanical garden! the Powell Gardens annual plant sale offers a wide selection of: • Species carefully selected for beauty, noninvasiveness, and resilience (summer heat tolerance and winter hardiness) • Native selections; grasses, perennials and shrubs • Plants leading new design trends and new cultivars of grasses and perennials Family Frolic: The BIG Backyard, Saturday, May 12, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Spend the day at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s backyard and explore the featured exhibition BIG Backyard an installation of interactive, oversized objects. Become a backyard naturalist while exploring our gardens and learn about and1bugs you5:06 can Tesselaar Maybirds ad_Layout 2/12/18 PM

find in your own yard from staff and volunteers from the Missouri Department of Conservation Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. A musical performance by Kansas City’s Mr. Stinky Feet (Jim Cosgrove) will take place at 1 p.m. Badminton stations and free handson activities will also be featured throughout the day. Pack a picnic or purchase food on-site for this special day celebrating the outdoors. Mother’s Day Sunday, May 13, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mothers are FREE. Enjoy Yoga in the Vineyard. Free chair massages (sign-up upon arrival) and get access to the BIG Backyard an interactive exhibition featuring oversized backyard objects. Edible Flowers: Work & Learn Thursday & Friday, May 17-18, 9 a.m.-noon each day This hands and knees in the soil opportunity provides experience to integrate edible flowers into your home garden while helping us plant some in ours. Work with horticulture staff who oversee production in The Heartland Harvest Garden to learn which flowers you can eat and spacing requirements for planting edible flowers and herbs. Gather design ideas to plant your Page 1

own edible flowers and herbs at home. All participants get a plant to take home. COST: $35 Fungi & Fermentation Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Celebrate mushrooms and all things fermented with a daylong event featuring tastings, demonstrations and classes. Learn to cook with mushrooms, observe an artist painting images of mushrooms or learn how to make kimchi. Enjoy FREE classes with topics such as growing mushrooms, composting, and making mead (advanced signup required, space is limited). Live music, food vendors, and a ticketed beer garden showcasing regional microbrewers are also part of the fun (admission to the beer garden is limited to those 21 years and older–ID required). A free make-amushroom hat activity is available for families during the day. Please visit for more information.

Missouri Barn Dinner: Kaw Point Meadery/Fox and Pearl Saturday, May 19 | 6:30-7 p.m. cocktail, 7-9:30 p.m. meal (ticketed event by advance reservation) “Game of Thrones” introduced mead, a wine fermented from honey, into popular culture but, throughout history, the drink has been made mostly for home consumption. Now a 20-something group of entrepreneurs have started Kaw Point Meadery, a tasting room featuring mead made from local honey. Sample their semi-sweet Lavender Lemonade, Dry Hopped session, hibiscus and cinnamontinged Flowers & Bark and a barrelaged Trojniak dessert wine. For this three-course, family-style meal, we asked Vaughn Good, formerly of Hank Charcuterie in Lawrence, to create a honey of a meal you won’t soon forget, enjoyed on the terrace of the Missouri Barn as part of our summer-long Barn Dinner Series. Good will be opening his new Kansas City restaurant Fox and Pearl in September. Daniel Bauer, head brewer and “yeast herder”, will be on hand to lead us through the tastings, providing a unique sneak peek of what their tasting room will offer when it opens later this summer in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood. COST: $75 per person

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Grassland Heritage Foundation 6th Annual Native Plant Sale Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, May 19, 9am-1pm This year’s sale will feature up to 50 native milkweeds, grasses, sedges, and wildflowers, including 14 new species that we’ve never sold before. All plants are locally grown Kansas natives and are neonic free. A full list of plants available at the sale is posted on the GHF website ( and Facebook page ( GrasslandHeritageFoundation/). Discounts are available for GHF members who order ahead of time and pick up at the event. Email us at for ordering instructions and to verify your membership. Not a member? Join online at Gardening experts will also be on hand to answer questions and make suggestions for what to plant in your yard. Are you new to gardening with natives and not sure what to plant? Simplify the process and order a Garden to Go! G2G kits contain pre-selected plants for sun or partial shade, a sample garden design, and planting instructions. Kits are available to members and nonmembers for pre-order only and are discounted from our regular sale prices. The sun kit is $49.00 and the partial shade kit is $35.00. Email us at for ordering instructions and a list of the plants available. Learn more about how to garden with natives! GHF will host short presentations during the sale covering a variety of fun topics. All presentations will be held on site and an RSVP isn’t needed. Attend a presentation, learn more about your favorite plants, and go home inspired! Check out the GHF website and Facebook page often for updates and information about the plants available at the sale. General questions about the event can be sent to 

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Become a Missouri Master Gardener


re you interested in learning more about gardening, the outdoor environment, and best practices in horticulture? Are you interested in helping others become better gardeners? If the answer is yes, consider joining Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City (MGGKC)! • Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City are under the auspices of University of Missouri Extension and share Extension’s goals and mission of improving the quality of life for all Missourians. • Master Gardeners receive 16 weeks of intensive training by University faculty and staff and local experts • Master Gardeners help educate the public by providing researchbased horticulture information Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City volunteer with children’s gardening programs, historic gardens, community gardens, wildflower gardens that benefit pollinators, staff the Gardeners’ Hotline, and many other exciting programs and activities. In-person Master Gardener training starts this fall, 2018. Classes are on weekday evenings and Saturdays. The cost is $175. If you are taking the course for personal enrichment and do not plan on volunteering, the cost is $350. In Year One, Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City provide 45 hours of volunteer service for local Master Gardener projects and programs. In Year Two, Master Gardeners do 25 hours of volunteer

service and 6 hours of continuing education. Master Gardener in-depth training includes: • Basic Plant anatomy and physiology • Maintaining Healthy Soil • Fruit and Vegetable gardening • Tree and shrub care • Beneficial Garden Insects and Insect Pests • Organic Gardening • Landscape Design • Ornamental Perennials • And more Applications will be available on May 1, 2018. Go to www. and click on “How to Join” to access the application. Applications are due by June 15, 2018, 5pm. Contact Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Educator, or Sara Hill, Receptionist and Secretary,, University of Missouri Extension, 1600 NE Coronado, Blue Springs, MO 64014, 816-252-5051 more information.

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Spring Tune up: Get your mowers and equipment in for a SPRING TUNE UP before you need them. Tune ups include changing the oil and filter, replacing spark plug, air filter, and sharpening blades.

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Ask the Experts Gardeners have plenty of questions about landscape issues, DENNIS PATTON answers a few of them here. RECOMMENDED TOMATO PLANT VARIETIES Question: I have a limited amount of space to grow vegetables. Which tomato plant produces the higher yield, per bush: determinate or indeterminate tomatoes? Answer: A determinate tomato has the most compact plant, but it also tends to produce most of its tomatoes all at one time. Indeterminate tomatoes will produce a much bigger vine but give tomatoes all season long. Since we like a constant supply of tomatoes throughout the season how about the best of both worlds? A semideterminate or a hybrid of the two, smaller plants and a longer season of production. This type of plant would provide the most fruit and be respectful of space.

The easiest way to find this publication is to simply search K-State Recommended Vegetables. Enjoy your homegrown tomatoes!

K-State Research and Extension has updated a list of recommended vegetable varieties, including tomatoes, available online with a simple search: K-State Recommended Vegetables. There are true dwarf plants on the market bred for container use but unfortunately, they tend to produce mostly small, cherry type

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May 2018 |

tomatoes or low yields. K-State Extension just updated our listing of recommended vegetable varieties with a great list of tomatoes.

CHICAGO PLANT TRIALS COMPARED TO KANSAS CITY Question: There are several interesting plant trials coming out of the Chicago Botanical Garden, including clematis, salvia and perennial geranium. Is this research applicable to Kansas City? Answer: The Chicago Botanical Garden is one of my favorite display gardens to visit. It is a playground for the gardener or those that just enjoy beauty. While Chicago is about eight hours away I would say that research conducted there is pretty close to our conditions. If the plant performed well

Phlox mildew in the Chicago climate it should also do well in KC gardens. There are variations in soils, temperature and rainfall but overall trials in this area for the most part should correlate to growing conditions. Even if they are not a perfect fit, plants that did well there in general should perform better in any location. Personally, I follow their research and look for their star performers. COMPACTED LAWN RECOVERY Question: We had construction work done in our backyard that required a heavy truck to drive across our lawn. Unfortunately, it rained prior to the work. The workers put down plastic to protect the lawn. The tracks are still compacted. Is there anything I should do to help the lawn recover? Answer: Unfortunately, plastic sheeting provided no protection

from soil compaction. The best recommendation to protect the lawn from tire compaction is either to use plywood sheeting or a thick layer of mulch. These materials help absorb the weight and spread it out reducing the effects. There is little to be done now. Heavy aeration this fall is a start. Sprinkling a thin layer of compost into the tracks will also help to level out the soil over time. Just add a thin eighth inch layer from time to time. The lawn will adjust to the new soil level and over time the compost will work into the soil. A side note; add more compost after the aeration as it will filter down into the plug holes providing more benefit. PERENNIAL AGASTACHE OPTIONS Question: Can you recommend a perennial Agastache variety that will survive long term in our KC climate? Answer: This is a difficult question to answer as there are a number of varieties on the market. There are several species and cultivars on the market and as you indicate they are all across the board on how long lasting in the garden. My take, any Agastache that blooms in shades of orange or pink are short-term perennials or in some case even annuals. The purple (blue, lavender) flowering types tend to be longer term. Recommended varieties to try include: Blue Fortune, Honey Bee Blue, Purple Haze or a chartreuse leafed one called Golden Jubilee. But if you desire the orange or pink shades then enjoy them for the

time you have them and replace as needed. We have tried a number of these in our demonstration gardens with little lasting power. TREATMENT FOR LEAF SPOTS Question: Can you suggest a fungicide treatment protocol for preventing powdery mildew or other leaf spots on perennials in the garden? Answer: That is easy, don’t grow perennials that are acceptable to foliar diseases. That is the best method of prevention. Being serious there is no one size fits all. There are multiple disease organisms at work as each plant has a different strain infecting the plants. Fungicide treatments would require repeated applications about every 10 to 14 days throughout the entire

season. This is not practical or worth the amount of chemicals it would take. Personally, if the disease effects the plant to the point you cannot tolerate, then just stop growing that plant. Breeders have made some progress in coming up with newer varieties that show less susceptibility to some foliar diseases. But with rainy and humid weather these plants still can show some symptoms as they have less susceptibility, not resistance. Enjoy and don’t worry about a few imperfections. 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 2018


Bird of the Month: Baltimore Oriole Local birding expert, THERESA HIREMATH describes the characteristics and habits of the Baltimore Oriole.


n Kansas City, one of the most beautiful songbirds of summer, with one of the most beautiful songs, is the Baltimore Oriole. Orioles sing from the tops of trees and their song is strong and rich, announcing the arrival of Spring. Most male Baltimore Oriole songs vary as to be unique to each bird. It is believed females can identify and locate their mate by its distinct song. Orioles are a member of the Icteridae family, meaning that their closest bird relatives include meadowlarks, blackbirds, and bobolinks. Bright orange plumage of the male can be easily spotted in the uppermost branches of trees. Because Orioles are fond of fruit, nectar, and insects, with a little effort, you may be able to lure them to your backyard feeders. The Baltimore Oriole is a fairly

common, yet exciting, inhabitant of suburban landscapes due to its preference for open settings bordered by mature trees. The first Orioles usually arrive near April 1st. They migrate at night, and are known to be victims of collisions with buildings and communication towers. They search for food sources in the early morning as they look for a place to rest for the day. If they don’t find food, they continue their migration northward. As such, one of the best ways to encourage Orioles to visit your yard is to ensure bountifully full feeders early each morning. They usually stay hidden in the trees eating and singing their beautiful whistling notes. They can be drawn down from their perches with foods like orange slices, grape jelly, mealworms and nec-



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tar feeders. When not feeding on nectar, orioles seek out caterpillars, fruits, insects, and spiders. Unlike many insect-eating birds,

One of the most beautiful songbirds of summer Baltimore Orioles will eat spiny or hairy caterpillars, including such pest species as fall webworms, tent caterpillars, and gypsy moths. Orioles appear to be sensitive to the spraying of pesticides, with birds succumbing directly from the poison and from the loss of their insect food sources, so please avoid these products. The female Baltimore Oriole builds her nest with little or no help from her mate. Only the female incubates and broods, while both feed the young. The Oriole nest is an engineering masterpiece. They weave a hanging-basket nest with plant fibers, grasses, vine and tree bark and sometimes string or yarn placed out on the small twigs of a branch 6-45 feet in the air, often over water such as ponds, lakes, creeks, and rivers. This keeps them safe from most predators. It takes as many as 12 days for an Oriole to weave its nest. One Baltimore Oriole was observed spending 40 hours building a nest with about 10,000 stitches and the tying of thousands of knots, all with its beak. While modern day Oriole nests are made primarily of plant fibers, Oriole nests collected in the late 1800s, before the age of the automobile, were made almost exclusively of horsehair. Orioles will lay four to five eggs anywhere from April to June. The young will fledge as late as 30 days after egg laying. Baltimore Orioles are found across much of Eastern North America in the summer. Most

Baltimore Orioles spend their winters in southern Mexico, Central America and the tropics, but some will stay in the southern states of the U.S., with a few reports as far north as New England. Baltimore Orioles start their southerly migration as early as July, with August being the prime southern migration month. While in their tropical winter habitats, Baltimore Orioles feed on nectar from numerous flowering trees, which explains their attraction to nectar feeders upon their springtime return to North America. The Baltimore Oriole plays an important role in pollinating several tree species as they transfer pollen from tree to tree while eating nectar from their flowers. The oldest banded Baltimore Oriole recaptured in the wild had lived 11 years and 7 months. If you have any questions about Baltimore Orioles or other backyard birds, or would like help attracting these lovely creatures to your yard, our backyard birdfeeding experts would love to help you! Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

Pets and Plants: Onion/Garlic By Phil Roudebush, DVM, DACVIM


Trauma to plant materials, such as chewing, releases the sulfurcontaining organic compounds, which are responsible for the odors, flavors, and pharmacologic effects of these plants. Cooking, drying or spoilage of Allium species does not reduce their potential toxicity. No specific antidote is available. Treatment involves gastrointestinal decontamination, treating the anemia, and providing general supportive care. Enjoy the culinary delights of onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and in animal poisoning if ingested. The most commonly incriminated native plants include meadow garlic (A. canadense), nodding onion (A. cernuum), Pacific onion (A. validum) and wild garlic (A. vineale). Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to be destroyed or rupture) and gastroenteritis (nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, elevated heart rate, increased breathing rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Onion and garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset with problems not appearing for several days.

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lants in the genus Allium are commonly used for culinary purposes and are hazardous to dogs and cats if fed in large amounts. Onion (Allium cepa), garlic (A. sativum), leek (A. ampeloprasum), shallot (A. cepa var. aggregatum), chive (A. schoenoprasum) and garlic chive (A. tuberosum) are all potential health risks for pets. Raw, cooked, dried or powdered extracts of all these plants contain organosulfur compounds such as allicin and ajoene, which can cause gastrointestinal upset or damage to red blood cells. Powdered onion extract is also commonly used as a flavoring agent in commercial human baby foods. These foods are often used by pet owners to feed sick and debilitated animals that are not consuming normal amounts of regular pet food. Consumption of any human food containing Allium species plants or extracts, including baby food, is potentially dangerous to pet animals. Cats and certain breeds of dogs (Akita, Shiba Inu) seem to be more sensitive to the adverse effects of these plant materials. Onion toxicosis is consistently noted in animals that ingest more than 0.5% of their body weight in onions at one time. Wild Allium species native to North America can also result

chives, but please remember to avoid sharing them or their wild relatives with your beloved dogs and cats. Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian and specialist in small animal internal medicine. He was an adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and is now an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Buncombe County, North Carolina. He can be reached at

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Leavenworth County Garden Tour

Entertaining Garden


oin the Leavenworth County Master Gardeners as they host the biennial garden tour June 9, 2018. Tour nine beautiful and diverse gardens in the city of Leavenworth, lovely examples of urban entertaining gardens, tranquility and organic gardens and cottage gardens. Urban Garden The Hartjen’s comfortable urban garden is a product of a dozen years of work. Ray has owned the home since 1987, but Helen’s influence since 2006 can be easily seen. They have enjoyed working together to create what they have now. The back yard has a clean and simple style which demonstrates the overall approach to their home’s classic comfort. Entertaining Garden Robin and Robert Frank’s garden has been a work in progress since 2002. The home is over 100 years old and the garden needed

Cottage Garden

Four Corners Garden

Tranquility Garden

updating to accommodate family and friends. The garden theme is colonial courtyard, and is excellent space for entertaining. While the Franks have done most of the work themselves, they did have help planting trees and laying the brick sidewalk. Their favorite plants are geraniums, hostas and the climbing Euronamous. The favorite part of their garden is the Euronamous wall created over their fence.

stands of zinnias and Shasta daisies are yearly favorites.

path that leads you through trees, shrubbery, flowers, homemade benches, islands, cathedral birdhouses and many more discoveries. The garden has over 200 shrubs and trees. George hand made the 20,000 bricks that make up the garden paths. The garden is planned around a sketch George made in a trip to Germany 30 years ago. Lonnie has added color and texture with the flowers she adds each year.

Remembrance Garden John and Connie Anderson purchased their 1883 home in 1991. They immediately set forth to capture a bit of the English gardens remembered from John’s youth in Northumberland County in England. A stone wall, white picket fences, walkways, statuary, fountains and flowerbeds have all been added. John’s favorite plants are Knock Out roses, purple salvia and cone flowers. Connie enjoys creeping phlox, wave petunias, million bells and verbena. Large

Four Corners Garden Julie Tevebaugh has been planting and adding shrubs, perennial flowers and bulbs for almost 20 years. The front and side yards are filled with Shrub roses, Wisteria vine, Yellow Bird magnolia and hostas. The garden is resplendent with tulips. There are also a miniature Burning Bush, St. John’s Wart, Hostas, Elderberry and Red Choke Cherry. Each corner of her garden has a special meaning. The northeast corner of her garden is called Kayla’s corner named for a little girl who used to live there. There you will find more tulips and bird houses. Tranquility Garden Tranquility and peace are the first feelings you have when you walk into Lonnie and George Tupa’s garden. Then you feel amazement at the circuitous brick

The Organic Garden Ted and Pat Rea’s garden is an example of how to garden with a “small footprint”. Using few chemicals and very little water, this garden is a great example of organic gardening. The owners installed a Fertigation system (irrigation and fertilization) a few years ago and are particular where they buy their seeds, root stock and plants. Raised beds were put in after frustration with poor soil. The Reas grow several varieties of blueberries, as well as strawberries and blackberries. A

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small orchard of apple and peach trees was planted several years ago.

garden, fish pond and his berry bushes.

Victorian Garden The Bower garden is all about living the simple life. This active couple spends weeks on end traveling throughout the year and so they need a “care free” garden. It may be low maintenance, but it’s high on style. Bobby and Ken’s vintage home, built in 1889 by a cousin of Abraham Lincoln, is well suited to showcasing old fashioned plants such as bleeding heart, peony, clematis, hosta and geranium.

Cottage Garden Trish Klima has been working on her garden for a dozen years, adding and taking away plants. This simple cottage style allows the flowers to tell the story without pretentious patterns or design. Trish loves the flowers which add a sense of warmth and coziness to her vintage home. The white picket fence in front of this house is surrounded by sun loving plants that attract bees and butterflies. Her favorite part of the garden is the south side path because it winds through hydrangeas and hostas. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at The Pot Rack, Homestead Greenhouse and the Leavenworth Extension office in Lansing starting May 1st. Tickets can also be purchased at the gardens and the parking lot of Nettie Hartnett Education Center on the day of the tour. Vendors and a Gardeners Flea Market will be available. For more information follow us on Facebook at leavenworthmastergardeners under events, or at

Sanctuary Garden As the name implies, this Sanctuary Garden is a place of refuge for owners Mary and Richard Noll. The garden occupies as much yard space as possible since the couple dislike yardwork. Enjoying the outdoors is a pleasure whether on the brick patio in front of the house, under the canopy of one of the oldest holy trees in Leavenworth or on the side patio surrounded by Mary’s favorite childhood plants; hydrangeas, peonies, roses and coneflowers. Richard has his favorite too, including the vegetable



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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Above: Strawberry Drop Below: Kong Red


May 2018 |

Above: Gay’s Delight Below: Dipt in Wine Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.

Kiwi Fern

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.

Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.

Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.

Wizard Select Mix Great Falls Niagara

Florida Sun Rose

Kong Mosaic Above: Under the Sea Copper Coral Below: Special Effects

Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.

Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.

Editor’s Choice

Coleus champion of shade and sun Photo courtesy of Ball Flora Plant.


ast-growing and full of color from spring planting to fall frost – that’s coleus. While traditionally grown in shady areas to brighten up a garden, newer varieties are more sun tolerant. With colors so diverse and combinations so unique, words seem inadequate when describing these incredible annuals. So we asked a few locals professionals to weigh in with their coleus experiences. “I like to use coleus in the landscape for its versatility in sun and shade, as well as the bright colors it can bring to containers and landscapes,” says Sean Holland, Annuals / Perennials Assistant Manager at Suburban Lawn & Garden, Kansas City, Mo. “Of course, the Kong® series is one of the most popular varieties; its large, bright leaves add a nice bold statement to a shady area where bright colors can be a challenge.” Sean also is a fan of the ColorBlaze® series by Proven Winners for its endurance in the heat. When he creates combination containers, “I buy a flat of ‘Wizard Select Mix’ every year to mix in with other plants for a splash of uncommon color and interesting foliage.” “Our most favorite coleus types are the low-growing, trailing ones like ‘Great Falls Niagara’ and ColorBlaze® ‘Strawberry Drop.’ They have smaller leaves, grow easily and are beautiful spilling over the edge of a container, or vigorously spreading on the ground,” says Pat Teeter of Haling’s

Trusty Rusty Greenhouse in Prairie Village, Kan. “Another coleus fascination of ours is the Under the Sea™ Coleus varieties that have wild, unusual forms and remarkable colors, reminders of underwater coral formations. As an upright variety, ‘Florida Sun Rose’ is gorgeous. This one too likes shade and sun, and the medium sized leaves are an eye-catching blend of rose-pink with burgundy and green specs.” “Notable coleus here at Soil Service Garden Center include Kong® ‘Red’”, comments flower pot designer Heather Barnett. “As

with any within the Kong® series, it is an ultimate performer for any shade garden or container. It can grow 18-24”, pairs well with sweet potato vine and bold flowering annuals. ‘Lime Light’ is a mounding, 12-16” tall and wide plant, with near neon green leaves that will shout Look at Me when put with darker colors in a shady area. ‘Kiwi Fern’ grabs our attention too. These leaves have a mixed color that will lead to a single hue when standing afar, an upright variety, 12-24” tall, and does well in sun/shade.”

Jeanne Johnson of Johnson Farms Plants and Pumpkins, Belton, Mo., says, “My favorite feature about coleus is the easy maintenance color they provide. It’s taken some getting used to the fact that the propagated varieties (not from seed) can actually take a good deal of sun, even hot sun! On our short list for thrillers in pots have been ‘Gay’s Delight’ and ‘Trusty Rusty’. Stunning varieties for color are ‘Special Effects’, ‘Pineapple Beauty’, and the good ol’ shade loving Kong® Mosaic.” Caring for coleus is easy. When you plant your coleus, water them until the soil is saturated. Avoid over-watering, as coleus can develop root rot and fungus diseases quickly in poorly drained soil. Avoid allowing coleus to wilt due to lack of water. Not required, however you can fertilize just once a month with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer, one of the 10-10-10 formulas. Remove flower spikes as they start to grow by pinching off the flower stems at the plant’s base with your fingers. The flowers are not the plant’s main attraction, and removing the flowers helps to direct the plant’s energy into producing leaves. With the scope of combinations across the color spectrum, assorted leaf shapes, and easy sun versus shade requirements, the most challenging part of growing coleus is choosing one. The experts at your local garden center are eager to help you. Good luck!

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Starting Ferns from Spore With a passion for tropicals and eagerness to teach, BRENT TUCKER explains how to grow your own ferns. Photos by Brent Tucker.


ne of my biggest joys this time of year is watching new spring growth emerge from winter dormancy in my perennial shade garden. Especially when the stirring plants are perennial ferns that I have started from spore. What a great sense of accomplishment. Would you like to try this yourself? I’ll explain the process that works for me. While it might seem lengthy, it is not hard. So, let’s get started. To start, as spring and summer progress, I’ll search for mature fronds with fresh spore on my perennial ferns. Once located, just snip the frond. Have ready several paper envelopes and a pencil. Place the frond in the envelope, then write the name of the fern and the date on the envelope.

A study in color using Heuchera Caramel and Giant Autumn fern. Wait several days for the frond to dry and the spore to fall to the bottom of the envelope. Sometimes I place the frond on top of a sheet of paper and place it where it won’t be disturbed. After a few days, fern spore will have dropped onto the paper.

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Next, I separate the spore from the chaff. The chaff is debris from the frond that surrounds the spore. The spore is very tiny and dustlike that sticks a bit to the paper. That way I can tap the sheet of paper or envelope at a slight angle and allow the chaff to tumble off into the trash. The spore is what remains. I sow fern spore inside of clean plastic “to go” containers with a clear lid, creating a moist, humid environment for the spore to germinate. Have handy vinyl plant labels to write the name of the fern and the date of sowing. You

could use masking tape to write on and then stick to the side of the container. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe container, place ordinary container potting soil (soil-less mix) and add distilled water to moisten the soil, not soggy. Then microwave on high for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of soil. Microwaving the soil helps kill mold so that it doesn’t grow inside the container and potentially kill germinating spore. Once the microwaved soil has cooled, fill the container about half way with soil and add more dis-

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Sori that are almost ready to release spore on this Giant Autumn fern.

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This Holly fern was grown from spore received from the American Fern Society.

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tilled water if the soil seems a bit dry. You want moist soil. Now it’s time to sow. To sow the spore, gently tap on the envelope or paper dispersing the spore over the surface of the soil. A little goes a long way!

shelf. It will take several weeks to a couple of months for the spore to germinate. Once a mat of green appears, start misting these prothalli every week with distilled water. This encourages fertilization. After sev-

What a nice contrast of texture and color with this Japanese Holly fern and Pink Maidenhair fern.

A nice play of lime green with Formosa Wood fern and Hosta Designer Genes.

If I have a lot of spore, I don’t use all of it at once since I’m using a small container and only want a few ferns to grow. I will save the remaining spore to sow later by placing it in the refrigerator. This is why I use envelopes so to store the spore for later use. Now I place the vinyl plant label inside and place the lid on the container making sure it fits snuggly and airtight. Once the fern spore is sown, place the container in a medium to brightly lit spot. Keep out of direct sun, which will bake the contents, killing the spore. I place mine under fluorescent lights on a

eral more weeks expect to see true leaves growing. When the leaves are an inch tall, transplant clumps of sporelings into cell packs or tiny pots using the same type of container potting soil, water, and place in a seed starting tray with a clear dome. These can be purchased at a local garden center. When watering, I use tap water at this stage and add a pinch of fertilizer. In several months, the ferns will likely reach 4-6 inches tall, then it’s time to transplant into 4-inch pots. At this point, start to harden off the ferns by partially placing a taller dome over

the ferns and allow some fresh air in. This reduces the high humidity and allows the ferns to become acclimated to lower humidity. Over several weeks I slowly open the dome to allow more and more air in. I often check the young ferns for water and never allow them to totally dry out. I also fertilize the ferns from time to time to keep them growing. These young ferns will need to grow and mature for several more months and by now it may be the following spring or summer. I like to place my young ferns out in the shade during the summer months to grow on. Sometimes this quickens growth and I’m able to plant out my young ferns in the early fall. Otherwise, when winter approaches I bring my young ferns back inside under lights and care for them until the following spring. By now these ferns are large enough to plant out in the spring. I keep them watered until they are well rooted into the

garden over the summer months especially if it’s hot and dry. This is a bit of a long process and by no means is it quick like growing annuals. Although for me, bringing these ferns through this whole process is quite fulfilling. There are several books that describe this process more in full, and you’ll find other ideas of starting ferns from spore online. Work out the best way for you. Consider joining the American Fern Society ( to source fern spore from, or perhaps a friendly neighbor would allow you to snip a spore-laden mature frond to help get you started. Soon you might have enough ferns to share. Good growing! Brent Tucker is Horticulturist of Seasonal Displays and Events at Powell Gardens. He can be reached at

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The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Carhart ~ Pathway to Paradise

Cox ~ Let Me Entertain You

Graham ~ Peaceful Spirit

Private gardens opened for public viewing during popular Kansas City garden tour


even beautiful private gardens await you during the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Public Garden Tour, May 18 and 19, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Kansas City’s premiere garden tour is a biennial event, and the only opportunity to tour some of the most intriguing gardens in Kansas City. It is a per-

fect weekend excursion for anyone passionate about gardening. Each garden is owned and maintained by a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener (EMG). Fellow EMG volunteers help prepare the gardens for the tour to ensure they are at their peak. These gardens were selected for their individual qualities and

Carolina Wren

the creative way the homeowners blended their suburban lot and gardens for their particular enjoyment. The garden owners and Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be on-hand to answer questions. Visitors receive information about the garden’s development, along with educational tips to take home and incorporate into their own landscapes. Photography is encouraged. This year’s seven garden designs include something for everyone. Carhart ~ Pathway to Paradise Take a stroll along inviting pathways and experience a little slice of paradise at this old-world Tuscany-style villa. Inspired by English gardens and Italian countryside, you will be delighted by

the welcoming courtyard, and feel the desire to sit and relax around the patio and firepit. Charming clematis and striking giant junipers grace the area. Abundant and unique planters filled with colorful and textural plantings will inspire you and ignite your own imagination! Cox ~ Let Me Entertain You Guests to this lovely garden and pool sanctuary are in for a real treat! A flair for hospitality is genuinely reflected in the welcoming garden oasis that is a must for all to see. Fun colors and textures are used in planters and décor artfully placed throughout the garden. Vignettes of entertaining space give a sense that the garden is an extension of the home. The owner’s lively per-

Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society

Annual Spring Plant Sale Saturday, May 12 LARGEST SELECTION of wild bird supplies in the KC area, including bird seed, feeders, houses and hardware. FREE seed delivery of 20 lbs. or more on Wednesdays in Johnson County.

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May 2018 |


Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave, KCMO 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! The public is welcome.

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Heinz ~ Suburban Secret

Jackson ~ Plant Lovers Gallery

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Sloan/Thomas ~ Step by Creative Step

sonality and artistic flair are found around every corner!

Lyman ~ Harmony by Design Harmony with color and nature describes the personality of this charming old Leawood garden. Combine a talented artist and a passion for gardening and what do you have… a landscape that is truly a piece of art! A unique pergola is the homeowner’s own creation which artfully frames a large Japanese urn in the background. Flagstone walkways, fabulous planters and a shady creek are just a few more of the treats you will enjoy as you stroll through this lovely and peaceful garden.

event are $12 prior to May 1, and $15 after. Tickets are available through Johnson County Extension, online, Johnson County Hen House Markets after May 1, or any of the seven gardens on

the days of the tour. Maps and directions are provided with each ticket. To learn more, take a virtual tour, at or call (913) 715-7000.

Graham ~ Peaceful Spirit This personal retreat space will nurture your spirit in wonderful ways! You will feel a true sense of serenity when you stroll through this lovingly created garden sanctuary. Mature trees, an inviting pool and plenty of space to entertain are hallmarks of this garden venue. Peaceful sights and sounds of a soothing rock waterfall will greet you on your stroll, all adding to the tranquil character of this garden home. Heinz ~ Suburban Secret There is so much to see in this lovingly tended suburban retreat, it’s easy to see why this gardener calls this her “happy place”! You will find a comfortable and inviting patio and outdoor kitchen, a charming fairy garden village and unique hypertufa planters. Beautiful planters and garden ornamentation throughout add flare. Don’t miss the mosaic fish swimming in the dry creek bed along the garden’s edge. Whimsy and creativity abound in this welcoming garden not to miss!




Highway 150

Highyway 71

State Rte D


Holmes Rd.


State Line Rd.

Jackson ~ Plant Lovers Gallery If unusual and ‘hard to find’ plants are your thing, then be sure to come and see all the wonderful specimens and plant combinations this plant lover has collected over the years! A welcoming brick patio and graceful fountain invite the visitor to stay and enjoy all the sights, sounds and fragrances of this wonderful garden. Garden décor is paired artfully with plantings and gives the guest so much to see you will surely want to take your time and enjoy it all!

Sloan/Thomas ~ Step by Creative Step Creativity abounds in this beautiful garden retreat! See artwork created by the homeowner such as mosaic borders, stepping stones and repurposed plate and cup ‘flowers’ that decorate a staircase wall. Don’t miss the beautiful hydrangeas and viburnum along with the rock fountain the birds love to bathe in. Planters, fountains and trellises are all artfully integrated among charming plantings. You will see why a personal touch makes all the difference in this landscape overflowing with personality and creativity. While on the garden tour be sure to check out the one of a kind hand-crafted garden art created by the EMGs, including, back by popular demand, sand-casted concrete garden leaves. Each piece of art is unique – not to be found at any garden center – and will be a conversation piece in your garden. But hurry... these sell out quickly! A local national hosta expert will also be on hand, selling the most popular and latest varieties of this shade-loving plant. This popular event is only held every other year. Tour tickets for this springtime, rain-or-shine

Plants & Pumpkins

Highway 58 177th Ave.

Plants & Pumpkins

17701 S. State Route D (Holmes Rd.), Belton, MO 64012 • 816-331-1067

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Finding the Sweet Spot for Turf Grass


urf grass has a place in the native garden when you get it just right. Too much lawn and you may spend too much time behind a mower. Too little and you may end up with more garden than you can care for. If it’s too weedy the neighbors may complain, and if too perfect (weedfree) you may risk harming wildlife. So where is the sweet spot for turf grass? For starters, as a country we mow a lot of grass. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, states that we mow more than 40 million acres of turf in the United States—more land than all of the national parks com-

bined. Nationwide the landscape is dominated by turf grass probably because land managers and owners have done it this way for so long. Our tendency to grow low-clipped grass dates back hundreds of years to Europe where it began with the original lawn mowers: grazing sheep. These original intentional lawns kept views open across the landscape to create emphasis on the house. They still do this to a large extent, though the average house today has a much smaller lawn. Lawns also became useful places for sport.

Photo by Chan Mahanta.

Native plant guru, SCOTT WOODBURY describes the basics of mimicking a natural shortleaf pine grove.

Smaller turf area allows room for wider diversity of plants. In the United States, schools, parks, churches, corporations, golf courses, and homes have more turf than any other type of plant, much of which has little function

other than looks. Too much of a good thing? Perhaps. Let me state for the record, I’m a big fan of mowed grass because my family uses it constantly for ball playing

Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City Presents h t 25 rsary Water Gardens 2018

ve i n An Tour

25th Annual Water Garden Tour • Saturday, July 7 • Sunday, July 8 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, Good Earth Water Gardens 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, Sutherlands/Wornall 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 and all Westlake Hardware stores. 26

May 2018 |

Photo by Scott Woodbury.

Walking paths through the garden make it easy to maintain, and experience comfortably. and frisbee. But could some of it be converted to different kinds of plants? We don’t use the whole mowed area so the answer is definitely yes. We could convert about 20 percent and still have plenty of space to run around. One lowmaintenance option is native, small flowering trees. Focus on difficult to mow areas first. Poorly drained sunny sites are suited to buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), and green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis). Buttonbush and winterberry holly are shrubs when young, but grow into small trees over time, especially when pruned. For drier areas plant redbud (Cercis canadensis), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), or fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). Use of these types of trees reduces some mowing and increases wild-

life habitat, because many birds nest in low trees like these. Another low-maintenance option is native groundcovers. These are plants that grow low and fill in densely to reduce weed growth. In shady wet areas plant golden groundsel (Packera aurea), a native evergreen alternative to the highly invasive and over-used non-native wintercreeper, vinca, and English ivy. In sunny dry areas prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) makes a solid groundcover (plant them 16 to 18 inches apart). For those who have more ability and time to garden, I recommend replacing 15 to 20 percent of your lawn with a diversity of perennials, grasses and shrubs, plus small flowering trees and groundcovers. Keep in mind, though, that the more area you convert and the greater the diversity of plants, the more time it will take to plant and

care for. If you are unsure what you are capable of, start small (100 to 200 square feet). Expand the garden after you get your feet wet. Include walking paths around (if small) or through (if big) the garden so you can easily see and care for it. Place a bench nearby in shade so you can experience it. After all, native gardens should be experienced, not just seen. Build a compost bin because you will be generating leaf and stem debris. Take a Native Plant School class at Shaw Nature Reserve and study resources at to learn what to plant. Get involved with a local gardening or nature organization so you can begin learning about the world

around you from others just like you. Soon you will be sharing ideas across the fence and around the neighborhood. You may even enjoy getting involved in your community as a volunteer. There are plenty of unused and unloved lawns in your neighborhood just waiting for you to convert. Horticulturist Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO, where he has worked with native plant propagation, design, and education for 27 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers of native plants and more at, Resource Guide.

Join us on June 3rd 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 17th at 9 AM. Accept only Original Earth Right Products for the health and beauty of your lawn and garden!


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!

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Nursery • 816-333-3232

Earth Right: (913) 492-2992 - The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Rose Report

Find Birds, Plants and Friends Anita B Gorman Discovery Center

JUDY PENNER talks about the devastating disease rose rosette.

4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110 816-759-7300 For more information email

Attracting Hummingbirds May 5 ∙ Saturday 10 AM–2:30 PM Walk-in (all ages) The rubythroated hummingbird is one of Missouri’s most intriguing birds! Would you like to learn how to attract these summer visitors by providing food sources for them in your yard or garden? Join us as we learn about the native plants, sweet nectar and insects loved by this tiny creature, also known as nature’s helicopter! Native Plant Sale May 19 ∙ Saturday 9:30 AM–2:30 PM Walk-in (all ages) Missouri Prairie Foundation will be on site for Go Native to offer a native plant sale. Missouri Wildflowers Nursery will be providing a variety of native flowers, grasses,

shrubs and trees to purchase. If you wish to preorder your choices for pickup on the 21st, contact Missouri Wildflowers Nursery: 573-496-3492 or email: by the 18th. A percentage of proceeds from plant sales will benefit prairie conservation in Missouri. Troost Festival May 19 ∙ Sat ∙ Noon-4 PM Join the Discovery Center staff at the 14th Annual Troost Avenue Festival located at 31st Street and Troost Avenue. This family friendly street fair will have a diverse mix of music, dancers and other performances, children’s activities and food. Discovery Center staff will be at the festival from noon until 4 p.m. so stop by, say hello and enjoy a fun nature activity.

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his time of year many of the as a whole across the country. The phone calls and e-mails from website is rose growers are mostly conThe website has an extensive cerns about Rose Rosette Disease list of Rose Rosette Disease sympinfecting their beautiful roses. toms as well as great pictures of Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a the disease. Rose gardeners may devastating disease also submit pictures of roses. It makes of their roses that are the rose unsightly showing symptoms because of abnormal of RRD to the webgrowth of the rose site. The experts that plant tissue. There is analyze the pictures no cure once a plant will give a response is infected. or may ask for a samRose Rosette ple of the rose if they Disease has been need more informaaround for decades. tion to determine if However, in the last your rose has RRD. eight years, scienThe website also Rose rosette disease tists have identified has a map showing the cause for RRD the locations where as a virus transmitted by the microRose Rosette Disease has been scopic eriophyid mite. This is an reported. Unfortunately Jackson airborne mite that travels by wind County and Johnson County do not and can move 300 feet per year. have any reports on the map and I The symptoms of Rose Rosette know that we have had RRD in our Disease mimic the burgundy, garden and many other growers in healthy new growth on roses in the the area have had RRD as well. spring, which is why many people I would encourage you to go to think that they may have RRD. the website to get help with idenThis causes much confusion and tifying and learning about Rose concern for rose growers not familRosette Disease as well as reportiar with the disease symptoms. ing any RRD that you have had in Fortunately, in American Rose, your garden. The Magazine of the American Remember to Stop and Smell Rose Society, an article about the the Roses! National Research Team studying Rose Rosette Disease in the Judy Penner is Expert Rosarian at United States has a website that Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo. You should help not only individual may reach her at judy.penner@ rose gardeners but rose gardeners The Northland’s Largest Selection of High Quality Wild Bird Seeds and Supplies! May is THE most beautiful month for birds at your feeders!

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Are Butterflies Smart? LENORA LARSON reports on butterfly behaviors that clearly demonstrate the modern definition of intelligence.


What is Intelligence? For centuries, humans defined intelligence to demonstrate our superiority over other animals. We would not do so well on an IQ test designed by a dog or an octopus! Modern definitions are far more inclusive and focus on the ability to learn, remember and accordingly change behavior. Intelligence does not require a brain, it can also reside in ganglia or even individual cells. As expected, social insects not only have complex instinctive behaviors, they also learn and apply information from new stimuli. Honeybees are the brainiacs, famous for their ability to communicate with hive mates through uniquely created dance patterns that describe the quality and distance of flowers. Wasps have such powerful facial recognition skills that they can differentiate between individual humans and judge them as friend or foe. Ants build complex civilizations and even farm fungi and raise animals for food. If astronauts met any of these insects on another planet, they would declare the discovery of alien intelligent life! Examples of Butterfly Intelligence Butterflies learn about flowers each day and make discerning choices. Like bees, they compute and remember the most efficient path between nectar sources and

The Persistence of Memory Memories can last for weeks; butterflies will hold a grudge and avoid any place where a nosy scientist previously caught, tagged and released them. The most astounding lepidopteran learning feat: new behaviors learned as a caterpillar, like avoidance of an odor, persist through the process of metamorphosis. Adult butterflies also avoid that odor! Yes, butterflies do learn from experience and that’s just plain smart.

Photos by Lenora Larson.

utterflies flutter about, seemingly aimless. Are they merely following their instincts without independent thought? Many of the complex courtship behaviors seen in butterflies imply intelligence, but research confirms that they are instinctive rituals depending on triggered responses. After all, when you have only a week to find love and lay eggs, there’s no time for mistakes about your partner’s gender or species! However, other butterfly behaviors clearly demonstrate the modern definition of intelligence. This Cloudless Sulphur establishes a flower route each day based on quality and ease of nectaring.

Mating Pipevine Swallowtails remember where they first had sex and males frequently return to that same spot.

establish a daily “trapline” based on learning which flowers have the best nectar and how long it takes for the flower to re-fill a drained nectary. And they remember which flowers only release nectar during the morning and which are afternoon dispensers. Extensive experiments have been performed with Pipevine Swallowtails and Lantana, whose flower changes color once fertilized. The center of a newly opened Lantana is yellow and nectar-rich. On day two the center is orange and by day 3 the center is red and devoid of nectar. Freshly emerged PVSTs (Pipevine Swallowtails) instinctively go to the yellow-centered flowers and probe for nectar. However, they will quickly learn to probe a red, blue or green center of a manipulated Lantana flower. Scientists can repeatedly switch the color of the nectar-rich center and within 10 visits, the PVSTs learn the new color and adjust their behavior. Scientists also manipulated the color of a Pipevine leaf extract that initiates egg-laying. Naïve pregnant PVSTs instinctively go to green; however, they can be taught that red or blue, etc. is the color associated with a Pipevine leaf. They can even be simultaneously taught an unnatural flower color and unnatural leaf

extract color and quickly go to the right source, even when the colors are frequently interchanged!

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

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gorgeous plants, wonderful staff, unique garden store The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Year of the Beet

Beet Avalanche

Beet Lutz Green Leaf

from an antioxidant called betalain, which was used as an ingredient in makeup that produced the ‘red as a beet’ coloring and saying. Betalain is an excellent source of red color pigment and can be used as natural dyes or food coloring agents. Today, beet juice is being marketed as a natural energy drink, powders are encapsulated as nutritional

enhancements and slices are being dried as chips. More conservative approaches are to roast the beet or thinly slice it in a fresh beet salad.

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May 2018 |

Photo by Territorial Seed Co.

Photo by Bejo Seeds.


rom its humble beginnings around the Mediterranean, the table beet (beta vulgaris) has spread to all continents of the world, although information on Antarctica is surprisingly hard to come by… Historically, beets have been consumed in many ways: medicinally in ancient Rome, fresh (both the greens and the roots) in salads, made into soups (think borscht), pickled slices and shreds to name just a few. In some parts of the world, it is a menu staple. Today, beets are popular as a processed product sold in stores or as fresh greens and roots. Yes, sugar beets, a rough, white cone-shaped relative, are of the same family but are mostly grown commercially for sugar production since sugar beets require much less water to produce than sugar cane. Beets are high in fiber, vitamins A and C and have more iron than most vegetables. They are also rich in antioxidants, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and folic acid. A beet’s red color comes

How To Grow Although beets are a biannual crop (they flower in the second year of growth), the roots can be grown annually in 50-95 days depending on climate and desired root size. Plant seeds directly into the soil, ¼-½ inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in rows or blocks and keep evenly moist to encourage germination. Beet ‘seeds’ are actually little clusters of 2-4 seeds. Thin out (and be sure to eat) seedlings by pinching or snipping when they are 1-2 inches tall to encourage larger well-shaped roots for harvest. After thinning, plants should be spaced about 3 inches apart. They prefer slightly acidic soils with some boron content and limited nitrogen. Beets like about 1 inch of water per week. They will

tolerate cool temperatures and are usually planted in the spring or early fall and can withstand cooler temps before harvest. Roots are normally harvested either by gently pulling the tops or digging the roots when they are about 2 1/2” to 3” in diameter (but can be harvested larger or smaller as desired). Root size is strongly determined by sowing density. Beets grow well in containers also. Beets are typically red to purple in color, both internally and externally, but some varieties are yellow or red with white rings internally, like Touchstone Gold and Chioggia Guardsmark. Avalanche, a recent AAS winner is pure white and very sweet. Traditionally, beets have fairly low sugar content, 6-8% brix, with some varieties as high as 15% brix. Table beets can come in multiple shapes. The most common is the globe shape, (like AAS Winner Ruby Queen) but they can also be cylindrical (like Cylindra, Alto or Rodina), top-shaped, flattened (Crosby Egyptian types) or blocky. Some traditional varieties in the USA include Detroit Dark Red (great for canning or pickling), and Early Wonder Tall Top for greens and roots. Beetroots store well, both in the ground and after harvest and every part of the plant is eaten making them a gardener and kitchen favorite. It is a perfect food for the health conscious as well as easy and fun to grow in the garden. Source: Article and images courtesy of National Garden Bureau,

Get Your Green Thumb at the Overland Park & Botanical Gardens

Spring Plant Sale


o doubt you’ve survived yet another dreadful winter by daydreaming about your 2018 garden. Soon it will be time to shop for plants at the Overland Park Arboretum plant sale, held each year on the first weekend in May. The sale is open to the public under a big-top tent, rain or shine, on Friday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and— new this year—on Sunday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be limited quantities of some of the more unusual plants, and Friends of the Arboretum members will have first dibs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. “Shoppers enjoy supporting this important Arboretum fundraiser while purchasing plants they might have difficulty finding elsewhere,” said Pat Blanchat, plant sale chair. “Gardeners instinctively want to share what they know and love about our natural environment, and that’s one thing that makes our sale special—knowledgeable folks are always on hand to ‘talk plants’ and happily assist shoppers.” The 20th annual sale will feature butterfly host and pollinator plants; colorful annuals, hanging baskets and planters; native plants

and unusual small shrubs and trees. There will also be a wide selection of perennials for shade and sun, including varieties featured in Arboretum gardens; great herbs, veggie t r a n s plants, and small fruits for cooks. All are locally g r o w n plants that have proven their suitability for our climate. “We’ll have many of the most interesting new varieties this year,” noted Anne Wildeboor, Arboretum horticulturist. “This is your chance to support the Arboretum while adding some unique appeal to your 2018 garden.” Proceeds go toward expansion of the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. “The timing is perfect to shop for Mother’s Day,” added Karen Kerkhoff, Arboretum Supervisor. “It’s also a good opportunity for you to introduce a fellow nature-lover to the Arboretum and learn about the exciting things happening here.” Located a half mile west of Hwy. 69 at 179th and Antioch, the Arboretum is a year round retreat and inspiration for everyone who enjoys the outdoors. For more information visit the FOTA website at or call 913-685-3604.



May 5-Sept 29 7am–1pm

WEDNESDAYS Kid ies Activit

June 6-Aug 29 5–8pm

Fresh produce, baked goods, honey, plants, handmade arts and crafts, and more. Wednesdays… Farmers & Food Trucks Happy Hour!

5740 Merriam Drive – Johnson Dr. Exit

Need a speaker for your church, civic group or garden club? The Johnson County Extension Speakers’ Bureau have the speakers you are looking for on just about any topic like environmentally safe lawn care, or perennial flower gardening. To schedule a speaker for your group, please contact the office. For more information on this service, call 913-715-7000.


Properly Dispose Hazardous Products

ocused on environmental responsibility, gardeners are likely to recycle garden debris into the compost pile, or leave it for pickup at the curb. But what about garden products that are unused, outdated, and considered hazardous? If you’re cleaning out the garden shed or garage, and it’s time to dispose of old herbicides, fertilizers, stains and paints, what do you do with them? There are regional household hazardous waste collection facilities and are available for residents to safely dispose their household hazardous waste. A list of these locations, along with directions and hours of operation, is available on the Mid-America Regional Council web site ( htm). Here’s an abbreviated list for easy reference. In Missouri: Kansas City: 4707 Deramus; 816-513-8400 Lee’s Summit: 2101 SE Hamblen Road; 816-969-1805 In Kansas: Wyandotte County: 2443 S. 88th Street; 913-573-5400 Olathe: 1420 S. Robinson; 913-971-9311 Johnson County: Mission; 913-715-6900 Leavenworth County: 24967 136th St., Leavenworth; 913-727-2858 Miami County: 327th Street and Hospital Drive; 913-294-4117 Many of these locations operate by appointment only, so be sure to give them a call first. Thank you for properly disposing of hazardous materials and for protecting people, animals and landscapes of your community.

Leavenworth County

GARDEN TOUR Mother’s Day Specials

Hosted by Leavenworth County Master Gardeners

Hanging Baskets

Nine Beautiful Leavenworth Gardens

Sunshine’s Seasons

Saturday, June 9 9am to 3pm• Rain or shine

Spring to Winter: seasonal bedding plants, vegetables, herbs, tropicals, succulents, hanging baskets, and all your gardening needs June 29-July 4th: Fireworks! July-August: local seasonal produce Sept-Dec: mums, pumpkins, firewood, Christmas trees, Poinsettias, forced bulbs, and Handmade Seasonal Crafts by Carrie.

Please no strollers or pets

Tickets $10 (cash or check only)

Tickets can be purchased at the Pot Rack, Homestead Greenhouse and Leavenworth County Extension office. Tickets also available day of tour at the gardens and parking lot of Nettie Hartnett Education Center, 1000 3rd Ave., Leavenworth. Vendors will be available.

For more information


phone 913-364-5700 Facebook @leavenworthmastergardeners web

4509 Rainbow Blvd, KCKS 66103 ph 913-384-5034 • fax 913-766-3894

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


Bird Facts

Plant Profile

ED REESE talks about habits of the American Goldfinch.

MARION MORRIS tells of growing Celebrity Tomato in a container.


ontainer vegetables provide a lovely, fresh abundance of fruit from a sunny deck. While there are a huge variety of vining tomatoes, one of the most popular choices for a container is the bush tomato, sometimes known as “determinate” tomatoes. One such favorite is the Celebrity. They require little-to-no pruning, while providing a bumper crop at canning time. To start out you will need to fill a large pot, good-quality potting soil and a cage. A five gallon bucket with holes drilled into it works well. Leave at least one inch of space between the soil and the top of the pot for a good soaking while still keeping the deck beautiful! Raise the pot to provide cooling air circulation. Trim up

lower leaves at least 6 inches from the soil. Leaves touching the ground are a highway for bacteria! As the plant grows, only remove suckers (a leafy start that peeps out at a 45° angle from the main stem and a side branch) that appear below the first flower cluster. Water consistently. The soil needs to be moist but not wet. Later, when the fruit is red and firm, grab your salt shaker, go out to the deck and taste the best tomato you’ve ever eaten in your life! There are so many wonderful varieties. Celebrity is one of my favorites! Marion Morris is a longtime gardener and staff member at Farrand Farms, Kansas City, MO, 816-353-2312.

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lot of folks assume that these bright yellowed birds have returned from migration. Actually Goldfinches are here year around. The males just change color prior to starting mating. The American Goldfinch couple is a prime example of color difference between sexes, or Avian Sexual Dichromatism. Goldfinches completely molt usually beginning in September, where both male and female have a dull olive colored plumage. Starting in late winter, males develop their signature bright yellow coloring, while the females remain a dull olive color. This is a partial molt. The difference is vivid however. Females are attracted to the males’ bright plumage as well as his flight, and song patterns. Goldfinches are late nesters, usually starting in July when plant sources have matured far enough to provide seed and nesting mate-




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rial, thistles in particular. Females build the nest, assisted by the male gathering nesting material. The nest may hold 7 to 10 eggs, which incubate for 10-17 days. The young leave after 10 to 14 days. Goldfinches are complete vegetarians, so it’s easy to see a lot of feeder activity during mating and nesting. When breeding and nesting, they may be found with two or three other pairs. They do so to communicate foraging information, and for defense. After nesting, they will form up with flocks comprised of house finches and Pine siskins for defense and foraging.

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

Safe Digging starts with

Club Meetings African Violets of GKC Tues, May 8, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, May 19, 9am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816-513-8590 Bonner Springs Garden Club Tues, May 15, 9:30am; will be a tour of the Overland Park Arboretum. The Group will carpool from the parking lot at the SE corner of Third and Cedar in Bonner Springs. We will meet about 9:30am. The group will do a self-guided tour of the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. There is a café on site for snacks, drinks and lunch. Everyone is welcome. For more info email Garden Club of Shawnee Thurs, May 3, 7pm; at the Shawnee Town 1929 Town Hall, 11600 Johnson Dr, Shawnee, KS. Dan Foster, vice president of Schlagel & Associates, will talk about landscape architecture. We will also hold our plant, seed and bulb exchange. As always, we will serve drinks and snacks, door prizes will be given away and guests are welcome. Please visit our website and our Facebook page for information about our club.  Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, May 7, 5-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, May 9, noon; at Rose Room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Program: Garden Fun Day. Each member bring an herb that you would like to add to our herb garden at Loose Park. The soil has been prepared, and we will plant our herbs, mulch them, and water. This is always a fun afternoon with lots of sunshine and smiles. Lunch: Pack a sack lunch and bring a drink. Bring: Garden tools and gloves, your herb plant/s, water bottle, and wear something comfortable. We invite anyone interested in Herbs to join our group. We meet the 2nd Wed of each month. Dues are $15, we have an Herb garden at Loose Park we maintain, and have wonderful classes and luncheons to learn all aspects of herbs and how to use them in our lives. We sometimes take field trips so be sure to check with us for each meeting. We hope you will join us. Friends & visitors are always welcome. Questions: call Nancy at 816-478-1640. Heart of America Gesneriad Society Sat, May 19, 9:30am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, May 20, 1:30-4pm. at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. We’re looking forward to a special presentation by Mr. Kunso Kim of Powell Gardens. Visitors are welcome. Looking ahead, there is no club meeting in June, but we hope to see cactus and succulent enthusiasts at the MidStates Conference in St. Louis. For informa-

tion on the Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society, Kansas City Garden Club Mon, May 14; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Plant sale 9am-noon. Program by Julie Perez, club member and Miami Co Extension Master Gardener. Julie will present ‘Hummingbirds: Jewels of the Garden.’ She will give us guidelines of attracting the birds, nesting, brooding, feeding, and ultimately hand feeding. 10:45am Business meeting. 11:15am Bird information by Martha Baker. Adjournment for dessert and drinks in the Fern room. Leavenworth Garden Club Wed, May 4, 10am; at the home of Charlotte Van Wormer, 24985 159th St, Leavenworth, KS. This a garden meeting. This is also our annual club plant sale so bring plants, $$$ and a lawn chair. Contact Mary Sue Winneke, 913-682-7480. Come see us! Mid America Begonia Society Sat, May 19, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, May 20, Beginners Group for new growers 1:30-2:15pm; Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St. Orchid Problem Solving, a panel discussion. Bring in your orchids for diagnosis and advice. General meeting and presentation at 2:15pm. Panel Discussion 3pm. Ribbon Judging of locally-grown orchids. Come join the fun. For more on the KC Orchid Society: And find us on Facebook. Open to the public. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, May 14, 6pm to carpool; meet at Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS. Carpool to visit the gardens of Rob Mortko, The Hosta Guy. Will return to the Church by dark for carpoolers. Any questions please call Holly Ramsay at 913-302-2014.



Call or Click 3 Working Days Before You Dig.


Wait the Required Amount of Time.


Confirm Utility Response.


Respect the Marks.


Dig with Care.

Sho Me African Violets Club Fri, May 11, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

Events, Lectures & Classes May Native Perennials of the Mid-West Tues, May 1, 4pm; at Lansing Community Library, 730 1st Terrace, Suite1; Lansing KS 66043. Duane Horne, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on native perennials that grow well in the Kansas climate. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Plant Sale Tues, May 1, 4-7pm and Wed, May 2, 8amnoon; at 18505 West 114th St, Olathe. Olathe Garden & Civic Club annual plant sale. Purchase annuals and perennials to enhance your garden. Public is cordially invited to attend this event. For information, email Cathy at

(continued on page 34)

1-800-DIG-RITE or 811 The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


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

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

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.

locally grown • hand picked • extraordinary selection

(continued from page 33) 49th Annual Plant Sale Wed, May 2, 1-7pm; Thurs, May 3, 9am-7pm; Fri, May 4, 9am-7pm; and Sat, May 5, 9am3pm; at Gomers Shopping Center, 99th & Holmes Rd, Kansas City, Mo. Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America presents this sale. Annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables will be for sale. The sale is a fundraiser for horticulture scholarships and community grants. Spring Plant Sale Thurs, May 3, 3-7pm; Fri, May 4, 9am-7pm; Sat, May 5, 9am-3pm; at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St. Find your unique healthy plants here, and ask our experts about your garden. Free to shop. Contact: or 913-685-3604 Annual Plant Sale to Benefit Cross-Lines Thurs, May 3 and Fri, May 4, 8am-7pm; Sat, May 5, 8am-1pm; at Shawnee Presbyterian Church, 6837 Nieman Rd, Shawnee, KS. The sale will be held rain or shine under a tent. New varieties of perennials and annuals along with hostas, herbs, and tomatoes will be available. There will be a large variety of hanging baskets and patio planters fur sun or shade along with succulent and flowering pots. Volunteers will be available to custom design pots for you. Bring your own or buy them at the sale. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Cross-lines Community Outreach Inc. For further information call Kelley Carpenter at 913-281-3388 or email her at Kelley@ Birding Hike Thurs, May 3, 8-10:30am; at Martha Lafite Nature Sanctuary, meet in the Nature Center Parking Lot. If you are planning on attending, please fill out the form on our website (http:// Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816-746-1113. Join us for one of 3/16/18 1:43 PM our Thursday morning bird hikes! Annual Wyandotte County Master Gardeners Plant Sale Fri, May 4, 9am-5pm, and Sat, May 5, 9am2pm; in Wildcat Rm, Extension Office, 1200 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by Extension Master Gardeners in Wyandotte County. There will be many varieties of vegetables grown by the Master Gardeners specifically for this sale, and a large variety of annual and perennial plants and flowers suitable for our Kansas City climate. Cash and checks accepted.

Call us for your landscape and maintenance needs.

816-941-2332 Spring Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8am-6pm, Sun. 11:30am-5pm

311 East 135th St. • Kansas City, MO 64145

Plant Sale Presented by the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Fri, May 4, 4-7:30pm, May 5, 8am-until Sold Out. Tent at Independence Center Mall, 18801 East 39th St S, Independence, MO 64057. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City began the Annual Plant Sale in 2010 and it has “grown” every year. If you have attended one of the sales in the past, you know that we have built a solid reputation for offering great plants at reasonable prices. In either case, come early for best selection as quantities are limited. Central Missouri Master Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 5, 7am-noon; at Jaycee Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Rd, Jefferson City, MO.


May 2018 |

Indoor plant sale featuring tomatoes, vegetables, peppers, herbs, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, container plantings, natives, shrubs, and trees. Proceeds from sale fund scholarships, community garden projects, and the River City Gardens. Free and open to the public. For more, call 573-556-6650. Sho-Me African Violet Club Show and Sale CANCELLED Sat, May 5, at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St. and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Native Perennials of the Mid-West Wed, May 9, 7pm; at Basehor Community Library, 1400 158th St, Basehor, KS 66007. Duane Horne, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on native perennials that grow well in the Kansas climate. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. Wyandotte County Soils & Soil Mapping Project Thurs, May 10, 11:30am; in Sunflower Rm, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. The Soil Conservation Service in Wyandotte County offers many services to residents, including soil mapping, soil erosion, pollution and storm water management. Come find out how to utilize the soil mapping information as it pertains to your own property. Presentation by Lonnie Miller, Soil Scientist. Registration is not required. Fee: $5 payable at door (waived for certified Extension MGs). For more information, call 913-299-9300. Birding Hike Thurs, May 10, 8-11:30am; at Weston Bend State Park, meet at the front gate. If you are planning on attending, please fill out the form on our website (www.backyardbirdcenter. com/weston-bend-state-park-3). Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816-746-1113. Join us for one of our Thurs morning bird hikes! Reading in the Roses with Writer’s Place Sat, May 12, 2:30-3:30pm; at Loose Park Rose Garden North Pavilion, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO. Poetry and prose in the rose garden. FREE Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society Annual Spring Plant Sale Sat, May 12, 9am-2pm**NEW LOCATION** Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO. 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! The public is welcome. For more information check out our web or Facebook pages.; HeartlandHostaAndShadePlantSociety/ Or call Riley at 913-638-1184. Iris Flower Show Sat, May 12, Set-up and Judging 8am; Open to the public noon-4pm; at Trailside Center, 9901 Holmes, Kansas City, MO. The Greater Kansas City Iris Society invites you to their annual Iris Show. There’s sure to be a beautiful display of the latest varieties and well

Spring Open House & Plant Fundraiser Sat, May 12, 8am-2pm; at 2021 Constant Ave on the West Campus of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66047. We will have more than 10,000 butterfly plants (both annuals and perennials), including seedlings of thirteen milkweed varieties. These plants are ideal for starting butterfly gardens or adding to established gardens. Monarch numbers have been declining and we need to plant milkweeds to sustain the monarch migration. A list of available plants is posted on our website ( At the Open House you can learn about creating Monarch Waystations and see the magnificent butterfly and pollinator garden maintained by the Douglas County Master Gardeners. There will be games for the kids inside and out and they can make “seed balls” containing seeds of milkweeds and other butterfly plants that can be used to create habits for monarchs and other butterflies. They can also see lots of different insects and spiders, watch videos, or complete a variety of activities. All are welcome to tour our garden and lab space. We will have live demonstrations, and, of course, monarch butterflies! Refreshments will be provided. Miami County Farm Tour May 12-13, 2018 Miami County farms will welcome visitors from across the region May 12-13 for a fun look at rural life in Eastern Kansas. This is event attracts families, young couples, retirees, aspiring farmers and just about anyone who would like to enjoy some time in the country. All stops will be open to visitors 10am-4pm Sat and Sun. Info about the tour and a map of sites is available at www. 
The farm tour offers families an opportunity to spend time outdoors enjoying the more rural aspects of Miami Co. Each site offers activities for the whole family. Animals range from alpacas to Hereford cattle and horses. Most stops offer picnic and rest area amenities. 
Weather plays a big role in the weekend, so visitors are encouraged to watch the forecast. Warmer weather may limit the activity level of some animals. So visitors may want to schedule those stops earlier in their day. 
Several stops will have products for sale that may require refrigeration, so participants are encouraged to bring a cooler. Products include cheese, pecans, fresh vegetables, wine and blackberries. 
This self-guided tour celebrates the county’s diversity and highlights local farm products found on the back roads of Miami Co. 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. 
 Mother’s Day Bird Hike Sun, May 13, 7-11am; at Weston Bend State Park. Not only is this a special day for Moms, it is pretty close to peak migration. We always accumulate a nice list of birds that include warblers, vireos, thrush, orioles, tanagers and more. Most years we hear and sometime see a Pileated Woodpecker and Barred Owl. Wear your walking shoes and meet at the front gate at 7am! Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816-746-1113. Rose Garden Groomer Training Thurs, May 17, 9am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. Groomers needed on Thurs morn-

ings during the growing season. Native Perennials of the Mid-West Thurs, May 17, 7pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Join us as Duane Horne, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on native perennials that grow well in the Kansas climate. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094.

Top Soil • Mulch • River Rock • Sand • Gravel Fireplace Materials • New & Used Brick • Pavers

Birding Hike Thurs, May 17, 8-9:30am; at Amity Woods Nature Sanctuary, meet in the parking lot on Amity Rd just south of HWY 152. If you are planning on attending, please fill out the form on our website ( Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816746-1113. Johnson County Extension Master Gardener Public Garden Tour Fri, May 18 and Sat, May 19; 9am-5pm. Rain or shine! Buy Early and Save Tickets Apr 1-30: $12; Regular Tickets May 1-19: $15. Hosted by Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs), this beloved biennial event is your chance to peek inside and tour seven of the most beautiful private gardens in Kansas City. This year’s tour is a plant lover and landscaping dream. Garden owners and university-trained EMG volunteers will be available to answer all your questions. Get educational fact sheets at each garden. Photos welcomed! One-of-a-kind hand-crafted garden art and a wide selection of the newest hosta varieties will be available for purchase. Visit or call 913.715.7000 for complete details. Understanding How Pesticides Impact Pollinators Sat, May 19, 10-11:30am; at Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St, Dreher Bldg, Lawrence, KS. Douglas County Master Gardeners Class. Presented by Dr Raymond Cloyd, of KSU. Open to the Public. 785-8437058

9108 W. 57th Merriam, KS 66203 (1 blk E. of Merriam Dr.) Hrs: Mon.–Fri. 7am–5pm • Sat. 8am–12pm

913-432-8092 FLOWER PLANTING TIME! • • • • •

Update, clean, rearrange On-going bed maintenance New & existing gardens Landscape design/install Professional ser vice


Planters Seed Co. • Since 1927 •

Annual Clinton County Master Gardeners Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 8am-2pm at the Clinton County Youth Building, 251 E 116 Hwy, Plattsburg, MO. Sale will include a variety of annual plants grown in partnership with the Gower High School FFA students, and perennial plants and vegetables grown by the Clinton County Master Gardeners. All of the plants will be suited to our growing zone. Cash and Checks accepted. For more information, contact the Clinton County Extension Office at 816-539-3765. Plant and Flower Giveaway Sat, May 19, 8-10am (or until out of plants) at Rotary Plaza at the corner of Gallatin and Franklin Street in Liberty, Mo. Once a year Liberty Town & Country Sponsors a Plant Share Program. Bring a plant and take one home. Garden members will share plants from personal gardens. (In cooperation with Farmers Market.) Contact Gail Pruett for more details 816 550 5064. No Early Birds Please. MPF Kansas City Native Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 9:30am-2:30pm; Hosted by the Anita B Gorman Discovery Center. Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Gaylena’s Garden, and Green Thumb Gardens will sell a wide variety of natives and will donate a portion of proceeds to support MPF’s prairie conservation work. Customers may place pre-orders with these vendors. Some vendors accept credit (continued on page 36)

Large selection of certified organically grown Vegetable and Herb plants!

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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 www. for more information. Mark your calendars as the date of Aug 18 has been set for our annual public sale.

Must present this ad at time of purchase for 10% off entire purchase of retail priced products at Planters Seed Co. No ad reproductions, duplications, or electronic coupons accepted. One per customer. One-time use only. Expires 06/30/18.

MAY PLANTING DATES Plant Above Ground Crops: 15, 18, 19, 25-28 • Plant Root Crops: 1, 4-6 Plant Flowers: 15, 18, 19 • Control Plant Pests: 7, 8, 12, 13 • Transplant: 25-28

Retail • Wholesale • Lawn • Garden • Farm

513 Walnut KCMO • 816-842-3651 The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018



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

(continued from page 35) cards; some only cash or check. More details at GHF Native Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 9am-1pm; at Trinity Episcopal Church Lawn, 1011 Vermont, Lawrence, KS. 50 species of locally-grown, neonic-free native species! This sale benefits GHF’s prairie education programs.

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

Celebrating our 91st year in business 816-523-1760 74th & Prospect, Kansas City, MO

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Have a lawn and garden question for the Gard’n-Wise Guys? Go to Facebook and ask them your question. NOW AVAILABLE AT: Jacksons Greenhouse & Garden Center, Topeka v Doctors At the Lake, Lake of the Ozarks v Manns Lawn & Landscape, St. Joe v Gronis Hardware and Seed, Leavenworth v Clinton Parkway Nursery, Lawrence v Barnes Greenhouses, Trenton, MO v Soil Service Gdn. Center, Kansas City, MO v Loma Vista North, Kansas City, MO v Skinner Garden Store, Topeka v Full Features Nursery, Smithville v Springtime Garden Center, Lee’s Summit v Heartland Nursery, Kansas City, MO v Planter’s Seed, Kansas City, MO v Penrod’s Greenhouse, Kearney v North Star Garden Center, Liberty v Grimm’s Gardens, Atchison v Moffet Nursery, St. Joe v Suburban Lawn & Garden, Kansas City, MO


May 2018 |

Herbs for Beginners Sat, May 19, 9am-12pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. May is the perfect time to plant more herbs! Become more familiar with growing herbs, their many culinary and medical uses with this hands-on class. Learn which are perennials or annuals and how best to grow each in your garden. In addition, learn about medicinal uses, useful recipes for the kitchen and the many ways to preserve the herbs you grow. Fee: $39. To enroll go to https://ce.jccc. edu or call 913-469-2323. Birding Hike Thurs, May 24, 8-9:30am; at Parkville Nature Sanctuary, meet in the parking lot below the Platte County Health building on HWY 9. If you are planning on attending, please fill out the form on our website ( Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816746-1113. Propagating Plants Wed, May 30, 1pm; at the Mr and Mrs FL Schlagle Library & Environmental Learning Center, 4051 West Dr, Wyandotte County Lake Park, Kansas City, KS 66109. Ken O’Dell will give a one hour PowerPoint Presentation on Propagation of Plants. Walking trails are nearby on this beautiful 400 acre lake so come early and stay late. We will highlight softwood cuttings, hardwood cuttings, divisions, seeding for natives and non natives, fern spores, perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees. This will be a good class for advanced training credit for the EMGs as well as for advancing your propagation skills. Until his retirement a few years ago Ken was propagating well over one million plants each year for his wholesale and retail nurseries. Reservations are not necessary as we will have seating for 50 people. This is indoors at the nature center. If you have not been here before, you will love it! Sponsor: Kansas Native Plant Society, Kansas City Region

June and July Kansas City Rose Show Sat, Jun 2; at Loose Park Garden Center. Anyone can enter their roses in the show. For entry information: Hermann, MO 24th Annual Town and Country Garden Tour Jun 2-3, 10am-5pm. The Garden Tour includes both a walking tour of gardens in downtown Hermann and a driving tour to several country gardens. The tour is $10; ticket price includes visits to at least four private gardens and the Garden Demonstration Area. Garden Tours may be spread over Sat and Sun, but the Country Gardens are only open on Sat.

Except for groups of 10 or more, tickets do not need to be reserved ahead of time. Ticket Sale Site is the Hermann Welcome Center on the Market Street Plaza; tickets are sold from 10-4 on Sat and 11-4 on Sun. There is also a By-Reservation-Only Luncheon/Silent Auction on Sat, 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 The Garden Tour is always the first full weekend in June. Kansas City Rose Day Sun, Jun 3; at Loose Park Rose Garden. FREE public event. Family-friendly activities and rose show display. Tallgrass Prairie Birding at Dunn Ranch Sun, Jun 3, 6am-4pm. If you want to take a step back in time and see what northern Missouri looked like before European settlement, this is trip for you. Dunn Ranch is a 3,258-acre property owned by the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in northern Harrison County and protects the largest remaining track of unplowed deep soil, tallgrass prairie remaining that we know of. We will see a herd of genetically pure bison roaming the treeless landscape and many unique species of birds native to the tallgrass prairie. We should easily find Bobolinks, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Sedge Wrens and many, many more. Pack a sack lunch and snacks. We will meet at the Liberty Park and Ride Lot just north of the Liberty Hospital at 6am. We should be back to town around 4pm. Sponsored by Backyard Bird Center, 6212 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64154, 816-746-1113. Leavenworth County Garden Tour Sat, Jun 9, 9am-3pm. Leavenworth County Master Gardeners will host 9 beautiful gardens in the city of Leavenworth. This event will occur rain or shine. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at The Pot Rack, Homestead Greenhouse and Leavenworth Co Extension office. For more information contact the Leavenworth Co Extension office at 913364-5700. Johnson County Missouri Master Gardeners Garden Tour Sat, Jun 9, 9am-3pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $5.00 for adults, children under 12 are free and can be purchased at any of the four gardens on the tour in Warrensburg MO. More details including garden addresses can be found on the Facebook page for Master Gardeners of Johnson County Missouri as the date gets closer. Please contact Jennifer Bradford at 660-864-9688 for more information. North Riverside Garden Stroll Wichita KS Sat, Jun 9, 10am-4pm. Tour 5 gardens for $5.00. Our 7th biennial tour will feature gardens large and small, shaded and sunny, and homeowners will be present to welcome you and answer questions. Proceeds support neighborhood landscape and improvement projects. North Riverside Neighborhood is just west of Wichita North High School, north of 13th

Street and between the Little Arkansas and Arkansas rivers. Tickets are available beginning May 13 at Johnson’s Garden Centers, at Seasonal Decorating, 2828 W 13th, and the day of the Stroll at the neighborhood gardens. 23rd Annual Union Hill Garden Tour Sun, Jun 10, 11am-3pm. The self-guided tour starts at 31st St and Grand Ave. Walk through over a dozen residential and community gardens. Free parking is available in the KCPT lots at 31st St and Grand Ave and garage parking will be available adjacent to the new Café Europa and Underdog Wine Co located on the west side of Gillham Rd. Admission is $10.00 for adults and free for kids under 12. Half of the proceeds will benefit the Historic Union Cemetery. This is one of Kansas City’s most unique garden tours in a historic Victorian neighborhood, just south of Crown Center. Tickets are available in advance online at or We also like to invite you to the “Historical Epitaphs, Voices from the Past” in Union Cemetery on Jun 9. During this guided tour/theatrical event, visitors will learn the history of Kansas City’s oldest public cemetery and some of the well-known, and not so well-known people who helped found and develop this area. Actors portraying a few of these characters will be at certain graves, where they will talk about their place in Kansas City’s history. The tour, which includes dessert and drinks, will start at 5pm. Suggested donation is $25.00/ person. A special combo ticket of $30.00 will allow attendees to both events. Reservations are required for the Epitaphs. This special event, a fund raiser for the Union Cemetery Historical Society is produced in conjunction with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. How to Attract and Nurture Bluebirds Mon, Jun 18, 6:30pm; at the Clinton County Youth Building, 251 E. 116 Hwy, Plattsburg, MO. Program sponsored by Clinton County Master Gardeners and presented by Larry Dobson, President of the Missouri Bluebird Society. Everything you need to know to attract bluebirds to your yard, and provide them with what they need to become longterm residents. Session will include a set of plans for constructing a Bluebird House. Free. For more information, contact the Clinton County Extension Office at 816-539-3765. Creating and Maintaining a Naturalistic Garden Wed, Jun 20, 10-11am; at Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper Street, Dreher Bldg Lawrence, KS. Douglas County Master Gardeners Class. Presented by Jill Kleinberg, Douglas Co EMG. Following the presentation there will be a garden tour of Jill’s home gardens. Open to the Public. 785-843-7058 Tour of KC Water Swope Campus Green Infrastructure Thurs, Jun 21, 6:30pm. A parking lot usually means cars and asphalt, but KC Water’s parking lot is a lesson in stormwater management. Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City for a tour of KC Water’s Swope Campus Parking Lot, located at 4800 E 63rd St, Kansas City, MO. The parking areas and rain gardens

are designed to catch, infiltrate, and slowly release the 10% probability storm (that’s 5.25 inches of rain in less than 24 hours!) to reduce stormwater runoff from the site. Learn how different types of porous pavements, native plantings, and raingardens are performing and being maintained while enjoying an evening walk along the paved walking trail or sitting in the outdoor plaza designed to promote a healthy work environment for employees. Guided tours of green infrastructure, including native plantings, pervious concrete, porous asphalt, grasscrete, permeable pavers, rain gardens, and bioswales will be conducted by KC Water employees. The tours begin at 6:30pm, and the event is free, but registration for this event is required on Eventbrite and begins on May 1, 2018. For more information, call 816-665-4456 or visit our website www. and browse Gardeners’ Gathering. Wonders of Discovery Fri, Jun 22, 9am-2pm; at Pollinator Prairie, 320 S Blake St, Olathe, KS 66061. The Pollinator Prairie will host a family-friendly event at the garden in Olathe in conjunction with National Pollinator Week. This event is free and open to the public. People of all ages are invited to learn about pollinator species with activities including: Caterpillar Petting Zoo, Bat Exhibit, Caterpillar and Butterfly Exhibits, Birds of Prey Exhibit, Native Bees vs Honey Bees, Building Native Bee Houses, Bringing Nature Home, “Get Your Fingers in the Dirt”, Arts & Crafts, Coloring Books and much more. Contact: Nancy Chapman 913710-0623 or Marilyn Jordan 913-693-1906. Breakfast & Blooms, Breakfast & Bingham Waggoner Estate Garden Tour Sat, Jun 23, 8am-3pm. Anytime between 8am and 10am, enjoy the simple pleasures of a home style breakfast–eggs, sausage, country potatoes and all the trimmings. The American Legion Band of Greater Kansas City will provide entertainment during breakfast. Garden tours begin at 10am. The grounds of the Bingham will look lovely and will be the start of the tour. The tour will feature private local gardens, all of which will be a pleasure to visit! Tickets for Breakfast & Blooms are $25 - this ticket includes breakfast, the garden tour and a tour of the Bingham Waggoner Estate to be used the day of the garden tour or any day by Oct 31. Tickets for breakfast only are $11. Tickets for the gardens only are $20. Tickets may be purchased by calling Shireen at 816461-3491. Come hungry and leave well fed! Water Gardens 2018 25th Anniversary Tour Sat, Jul 7 and Sun, Jul 8, 9am-5pm, rain or shine. Tickets available early June. Sponsored by Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City. 816-305-5963; www.kcwatergardens. com Edible Landscaping Sat, Jul 21, 10-11:30am; at Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper Street, Dreher Bldg Lawrence, KS. Douglas County Master Gardeners Class. Presented by Sherri Thomas, Johnson Co EMG. Open to the Public. 785843-7058

More must-see events are posted on our website, KCGMAG.COM, and click on “Events.”

Promote meetings, classes, and other gardening events!

Send details to: Deadline for publishing in the June issue is May 5.

Hotlines for Gardeners Extension Master Gardeners are ready to answer your gardening questions.


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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;


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Ask a Rosarian;;

It’s Time for the annual KCRS Rose Show at Loose Park Garden Center, June 2-3


ll rose growers are invited to bring roses to the show between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on June 2. 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. You can also enter photographs of roses. The rose photography classes are growing in popularity and will be expanded for 2018 to include youth and novice classes. The rose show booklet listing the show rules and classes is available online at www.kansascityrosesociety. org. You will also find helpful information about preparing for the rose show and tips for show success. Sunday, June 3 is Rose Day in Kansas City. The rose show will be open for public

viewing between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. In 2017, there were 448 roses and 81 rose photographs entered in the show by 28 different exhibitors. It is one of the largest rose shows in the mid-west. The public will be invited to vote on the “Most Fragrant Rose” entered in the show, and the winner will be announced during Rose Day Festivities. Enjoy familyfriendly activities like face painting, balloon animals and an art experience table while enjoying free lemonade, ice cream and bottled water. Formal events begin at 3 p.m. in the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, and will include a brief awards ceremony, music by the Mighty Mo Combo Jazz Band, and a performance by the Kansas City Youth Ballet. For further rose show information contact Kansas City Rose Society rose show Chairwoman Laura Dickinson, 913-449-9377 or

The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018



garden calendar n TURF

• 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 only if watering during summer with a slow-release fertilizer. • Mow bluegrass and tall fescue at 3 inches. • Withhold 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 drives 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 that have been 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 and annual gardens for weed control and 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 by gradually increasing the exposure to sunlight. • 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 6 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.

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Purple De Oro Daylily Hemerocallis x ‘Purple De Oro’

Photo courtesy of Monrovia.

Loads of lavender-purple flowers with chartreuse throats rise above a neat, compact foliage clump of slender, green, grasslike leaves. Blooms freely throughout the summer. Read more about this lovely at KCGMAG.COM.

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A Mon thly Guid e to Suc October 2014 cess ful Gard Garde ning enin g to Succe ssful 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.

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

Meet Extension Master Gardener, Rick Wyatt

What first drew you to gardening: Growing up on a farm, and watching my parents garden, the love of agriculture is in my DNA. I am still amazed to see a seed, weighing less than a gram, turn into a plant that can reach heights taller than me, as well as produce fruits that can feed not only a family but also a community. How long have you been an Extension Master Gardener: This is my second year as an EMG. I like to think it was a natural progression as

like-minded individuals tend to find each other. Being an EMG has been an enlightening experience to share ideas and learn new ones from fellow EMGs. What is the most valuable bit of information you have learned: The most valuable information is that there is always something to learn. Gardening in its simplest form is plant a seed, water it, and watch it grow. It is fun to learn about soil ph, nutrients, pesticides, etc., and the complexity of elements in order for plants to thrive. Favorite tool: My favorite tool is the stirrup hoe. I enjoy an aesthetically pleasing garden and the less weeds there are the better it looks. The stirrup hoe can get under a root weed without disturbing the soil too much. Favorite plant: I am a fan of all fruit trees. I have apple trees and blueberry shrubs. The goal is to add any and every kind of fruit tree that will survive in our growing zone. Do you have a specialty: I love to grow edibles. Vegetables, fruits, and herbs are what my personal garden primarily consist of. The flowers I grow have a purpose strictly for bringing in pollinators. What are you passionate about: Horticulture as a whole is a deep passion, particularly sus-

tainable agriculture. It has almost become an obsession. I love the idea of being in harmony with Mother Nature and utilizing things found in nature to enhance a garden, from compost made in the backyard to worm castings from vermacompost. When I am not in the garden, my mind is in search of ways to improve results. I am currently enrolled in a Horticulture Master program at Kansas State University specializing in Urban Food Systems. Being able to incorporate sustainable practices in traditional agriculture is exciting for me. Not only does it allow us to have more nutritious food like yesteryear, but also to reduce the carbon footprint that has been a challenge over the years. It is a win/win situation. Challenges you face: As an organic gardener, pests are a challenge. There are chemical methods that would easily fix the problem. However, I choose a more natural remedy – simply removing pests like squash bug and Japanese beetle. Yes, it’s labor intensive, and yes, you have to stay on top of it. But it is well worth the effort. Plus nothing compares to that peace of mind in knowing no chemicals were used and that we can freely enjoy the goodness from the garden. It’s the price organic gardeners pay for healthy living. The Kansas City Gardener | May 2018


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KCG 05May18  

gardening, Kansas City, coleus, ferns, oriole, sycamore maple, butterflies, bulbs, summer blooming, Grow Native, comfrey, Powell Gardens, ga...

KCG 05May18  

gardening, Kansas City, coleus, ferns, oriole, sycamore maple, butterflies, bulbs, summer blooming, Grow Native, comfrey, Powell Gardens, ga...