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The Kansas City


A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

November 2017

Editor’s Choice

Fall Herb Seeding Add Sparkle to Your Winter Pond Wonderful Winter Visitors When Shrubs Outgrow Their Space

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The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


The Kansas City

editor’s notes


Journal entry

A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Contributors Tom DePaepe Nik and Theresa Hiremath Diana Par-Due Dennis Patton Judy Penner Chelsea Didde Rice Diane Swan 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


e’ve recently returned from a trip to Florida, the west coast to be exact. Those coastal beaches are our nirvana, and the Gulf of Mexico is healing water. Before our scheduled stay, Hurricane Irma was headed up the Florida coast, taunted and threatened with plenty of rain and wind. The anxiety of tracking her every move was exhausting. So much so that we really needed a vacation. Thankfully, the hurricane did little structural damage. However, the landscape in general took a hit. From the airport to our destination, roadsides were littered with 10-foot piles of debris. It was impressive to see exposed root systems of trees that were no match for hurricane force winds. Perhaps, the biggest loss was the revenue from tourists … with a mandatory evacuation, all employees, residents and visitors left, and without electricity and water for 10 days or so, everything was closed for about two weeks. We are grateful that they were up and running at full speed by the time we arrived. While we are gone, our house sitter Taylor comes to stay with the pets, especially the dog who wouldn’t survive being alone.

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tative expressed her gratitude for my call. “We want everyone who receives our bouquets to see them at their very best.” Mission accomplished. Not only did they send another arrangement to the original recipient, but also sent an arrangement to me. Believe me when I say that it was the most incredible arrangement I’ve ever received. Farmgirl Flowers, located in San Francisco, Calif., has set a new standard in the flower delivery arena. It’s novel and innovative. Every point of contact was a dream, from customer service on the phone, to opening their carefully crafted and highly designed product. You must give them a try. Read all about them at Summer is in the rearview mirror and winter is on the horizon. Sustaining me until spring returns are treasured memories of shelling with Mr. Gardener, the kindness of friends, and the beauty of nature. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue

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That’s another story. This time though we needed her to keep an eye on the newly planted landscape too. Translation, if it doesn’t rain, you must water. Rather than laden her with the entire job, the neighbors pitched in, splitting the job three ways. Taylor was responsible for the north zone, Mr. John, next door cared for the east zone, and Miss Amy across the street handled the south. With those delegations made, we were confident that we would return to happy plants. Our neighbors are simply the BEST! While away, a large box was delivered. Taylor, aka Sherlock Holmes, noticed it was meant for someone else at a different address, and texted me with the news. We deduced that there were fresh flowers inside. Indeed, it was the most stunning bouquet of flowers that, sadly, someone didn’t receive. Upon our return, I called the company, Farmgirl Flowers and shared what happened, that the intended recipient did not receive this extraordinary gift. After exchanging details, the represen-

November 2017 • Vol. 22 No. 11 Ask the Experts ........................ 6 Winter Visitors ......................... 8 When Shrubs Outgrow Their Space ......................... 10 Rose Report ............................ 11 Lantana .................................. 12 Add Sparkle to Your Winter Pond ........................ 14 Fall Herb Seeding .................... 15

about the cover ...

Don’t Cut that Stalk ................. 16 Talking Turkey ........................ 17 Upcoming Events .................... 18 Paperwhite Planting ................ 19 Powell Gardens Happenings .... 20 Double Vegetable Harvests ...... 21 Garden Calendar ................... 22 Professional’s Corner ............... 23 Subscription Form .................... 23

Lantana is a super power in the garden from spring to the first hard frost. Read more starting on page 12. Photo courtesy of

November 2017 |



© 2017, The Scotts Company, LLC. All rights reserved

Fall in love with your garden, all over again. It’s time to revisit the garden with fall plantings. Don’t forget to nourish

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When perfection matters, why trust anything else? The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


Ask the Experts Gardeners have plenty of questions about landscape issues, DENNIS PATTON answers a few of them here. CONCERN ABOUT LEAD IN THE HOME GARDEN SOIL Question: I saw your Facebook post about lead in vegetable gardens. Is this a common concern here in Kansas City? Will vegetables pull out lead from the soil and into the produce? Answer: Well, this answer gets my patented “it depends.” It depends on the land use prior to gardening. Local soils potentially have more issues with lead in older neighborhoods in which lead-based paint was used to paint the houses. Lead was banned from paint in 1978. If the home was built prior to this time then lead could be an issue. Lead and other heavy metals are more likely if the soil was once home to an industry that might have used petroleum products such as cleaners and solvents. Native

soils which were used for pasture or field crops are unlikely to have lead issues. The concern for gardening in lead soils is twofold. One is the lead particles in the dust kicked up by gardening. This is the biggest concern. Two is the potential for lead in the produce that is harvested. This does vary depending on crop. Lead issues are long-term exposure and children are more at risk. If you have concerns about heavy metals in your garden soil, then get it tested. Local Extension can provide this service for a small fee. OVERWINTER AN ANNUAL, NOT LIKELY Question: I planted a Browallia named ‘Illumination’ in my shade garden. I know it is a tropical but

It is unlikely that Browallia ‘Illumination’ will survive our winter temperatures. I want to try to overwinter it. If I cover it with leaves and a plastic bucket do you think it will survive our zone 6 winter? Answer: No. Next question. Browallia is hardy to zone 9 which means our winter temperatures must stay above 20 degrees. It’s an annual, and you had a good run this summer with the cooler temperatures and rainfall. Let it go. With that said, it is your time and money. Go ahead and mulch and cover with the bucket. One last thought, I hope you enjoy looking at a bucket all winter long!

LAWN WINTERIZER FERTILIZER ANALYSIS Question: I often see lawn winterizer fertilizer advertised. Is it a special fertilizer I should use for the last November grass feeding? Answer: That is a really good question which is difficult to answer as it depends. The winterizer tag in the name really means nothing. When it comes to fertilizer it is not the marketing information on the bag that is important to read, but the three big numbers printed on the bag called the guaranteed analysis. It is this analysis that

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tells us whether this product is recommended for the November application. Research has shown the last fertilizer application for cool season bluegrass and tall fescue lawns should be fed with a high nitrogen quick release form of fertilizer. So if the product stamped with winterizer contains an analysis similar to 27-3-3, 30-0-3, or 30-0-0, then proceed with the application. Unfortunately, I have seen some winterizer products that contain higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium which do not follow current research. Are they still okay to apply? Probably, but the benefit from the November application is a push of nitrogen to send the grass into dormancy stocked with energy for early spring green up. THE BEST ANIMAL MANURE FOR COMPOST Question: This fall I vacationed in Mackinac Island and got to thinking–what’s the best animal manure I can use to heat up my compost bin? Should it be fresh? Answer: The best animal manure to use would be that which you catch fresh before it hits the ground! Let me know when you go collecting so I can grab some popcorn and a drink to watch. This would be entertaining to watch. On a serious note, the reason to add animal manure to a compost bin is because of the nitrogen (greens) that provides the food for the microbes to feed upon and break down the carbon (browns). Fresh manure is high in salts and we often say it is too hot to apply

directly to soil or plants. As it dries and water leaches out the salts, it’s more desirable for the soil. But in composting which is a breakdown and leaching process either would be good to use. Fresh would require less while dry would need more for the same bang. My take for composting is use the supply you are given. Experienced as a farm boy, I think you would prefer to work with dried as fresher does have more of an aroma. POTENTIAL DAMAGE FROM TREE LIMBS Question: I have tree limbs hanging on my roof, and I am worried about them tearing it up. But it’s not the right time of the year to prune live tree limbs. Should I chance it and wait until late winter? Answer: I sense a theme in my answers. It depends. It depends on your level of risk. You are right, it is ideal to prune shade trees in late winter. But all rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. Sometimes the risk outweighs the benefit. Pruning can start once the tree is dormant, after leaf drop in the fall. So at this point I would go ahead and start the process and put your mind at ease about the roof. Human and structural safety always trumps the ideal time when it comes to tree trimming.

What’s Happening at ... Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015 816-228-3766 For more information email Late Autumn Wild Edibles Discovery Hike Nov 14 ∙ Tuesday ∙ 1–3 PM Registration required (adults) It’s November! Can there still be wild edible plants out there? Let’s discover what delicious gifts of nature we can still find before the snow begins to fly. Soaring Eagles Nov 18 ∙ Saturday ∙ 1–2 PM No registration required (all ages) Some bald eagles stay in Missouri yearround, but many more come to our state during the cold winter months to find food. Find out more about this powerful force in nature and discover where to see bald eagles in the wild. Missouri, Wild & Wonderful with Matt Miles Nov 18 ∙ Saturday ∙ 3–4 PM No registration required (all ages)

Don’t miss out on the chance to meet this amazing photographer and have him sign your own personal copy of his book! (available for purchase in the nature shop) From bluebirds and black bears to copperheads and white-tailed deer: from tall-grass prairies and vistas atop the Ozark Plateau to lowland swamps and the depths of clear streams–Missouri, Wild and Wonderful displays the work of award winning wildlife photographer Matt Miles. Whooo Knows about Owls? Nov 25 ∙ Saturday ∙ 1–2 PM No registration required (all ages) Winter is coming and many of Missouri’s owls will be out hunting after dark over snowy fields and forests. Learn more about these remarkable nocturnal predators and their important role in the ecosystem.

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 | November 2017


Wonderful Winter Visitors Local birding expert, THERESA HIREMATH describes the visitors of winter to your backyard.


s colder weather settles in, I anxiously await the arrival of my reliable “winter” birds at my feeders. Three of my favorite winter birds in our area include the Dark-eyed Junco, the Purple Finch, and the Spotted Towhee. Dark-eyed Junco The most common winter bird at many feeders, Dark-eyed Juncos are often called “snowbirds,” and many people believe that their return from their northern breeding grounds signals the return of cold and snowy weather. Juncos are a medium sized sparrow, approximately five and a half inches in size. Males sport white bellies and dark backs and females have a white belly with a more tan or brownish back. Both sexes have

Dark-eyed Junco white outer tail feathers that can be seen as they flick them at flock mates or fly away from a feeder. Juncos spend the entire winter in flocks of 6 to 20 birds, which return to the same ten-acre area each year. Each winter flock

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Purple Finch has a dominance hierarchy with adult males at the top, followed by juvenile males and adult females, and young females at the bottom. Individuals challenge the status of others with aggressive lunges and tail flicking. To avoid the competition, many female juncos migrate earlier and go farther south than most males. Male juncos spend the winter farther north, reducing the distance they must cover in spring to arrive first on prime breeding territories. Juncos are most comfortable on the ground, hopping around and “double-scratching” with both feet to expose seeds. You can attract them to your feeder with a seed blend containing millet and hulled sunflower. Juncos will also sometimes eat pieces of suet blends or dough, and will take crumbled Bark Butter Bits from a platform feeder. They are also one of the

few birds, other than finches, that will eat niger from a finch feeder. Purple Finch The Finch family of birds is one of the most common and popular group of birds that visit our feeders. They tend to be fast, undulating flyers that gather in flocks and often roam irregularly, depending on annual weather and food sources. A group of finches is called a charm, company or trembling of finches. Doesn’t a charm of finches sound adorable? Purple finches are an irruptive species, traveling south every other winter or so when food supplies are low. If you don’t have them this year, there’s a good chance you will see them next year! Purple Finches are not purple at all…they are more raspberry red than purple. This is one species where the female can be easier

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Spotted Towhee to identify than the male, as she has strong facial markings, with light stripes above and below the eye, which isolate the strikingly dark cheeks. Compared to the male house finch, which has a brown cap, the male Purple Finch’s cap is red. As with all finches, their strong bills can crush oil sunflower seeds, and this is an excellent seed to lure them to your feeders. In winter you may also see Purple Finches eating seeds of low plants like dandelions, ragweed, and cocklebur. Spotted Towhee The male Spotted Towhee is striking, with a black head, red eye, rusty sides, white belly, and white spots on his otherwise black back and wings. Towhees are usually heard before they are seen, as they are shy birds that spend much of their time noisily scratching for food in dead leaves beneath dense brush. They use a hop-and-scratch foraging method, jumping forward with head and tail up while kicking backwards to uncover food. I love to watch them do that little dance! They use this technique on the forest floor and under feeders, even when seed is already clearly vis-

ible. Towhees usually visit feeders singly or in small groups of two to four birds. Even though they are relatively large birds (just a bit smaller than an American Robin), they are often shy at feeders, giving the smaller birds lots of space. If you want to attract towhees to your feeders, try a tray feeder that is low to the ground, or consider sprinkling some seed on the ground, as this is where towhees prefer to feed. Typically, birds that migrate fly south for the winter, and for many species that means they are flying INTO our area. YAY! Other winter birds you can look for include the white-crowned sparrow, sharpshinned hawk, white-throated sparrow, red-breasted nuthatch, rubycrowned kinglet, harris sparrow, song sparrow, pine siskin, and bald eagles (more prevalent in winter). What are your favorite winter birds? Stop by the store or call us with any question, our experts would love to help you enjoy our wonderful winter visitors! Nik and Theresa Hiremath own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

POINSETTIAS We grow many different sizes and varieties.

A wonderfully diverse panel of experts has been lined up to answer your gardening questions at the Nov. 4 Gardeners Connect meeting. The free program, presented by Gardeners Connect, is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium of the Discovery Center; 4750 Troost; Kansas City, Mo. 64110. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend. Here is the panel of experts: • Kristopher Dabner, landscape designer and owner of The Greensman, will field questions on design, plant selection and garden maintenance; • John Gordon, with Boys Grow, will cover edibles and growing ingredients for cooking; and • Samantha Sanchez, head of grounds at Linda Hall Library and owner of Inspired Spaces, will share her expertise with cut flowers, berry and foliage plants along with seasonal designs. And, of course, trees! Gardeners Connect is a nonprofit gardening education organization that will celebrate 60 years of inspiring and serving the community next year. Find out more about the group at

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The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


When Shrubs Outgrow Their Space To prune or not is a tricky decision this time of year, and TOM DEPAEPE offers his expertise on what and when.


okay to cut back the entire shrubs to within inches of the ground. Healthy shrubs will bounce back the next growing season. The major benefit to this type of pruning is that the overgrown shrub is immediately brought back into check. The downside is that the shrub is less aesthetically appealing pending new growth. Dogwoods, forsythia, rose of Sharon, hydrangea, privet, honeysuckle, elderberry, spirea and lilac can all tolerate rejuvenation pruning. (Evergreen shrubs will not tolerate rejuvenation pruning.)

Rejuvenation Pruning Believe it or not, many varieties of shrubs can tolerate severe pruning in the fall to reduce overall height. Homeowners can really get aggressive here – it’s perfectly

Renewal Pruning Renewal pruning is more subtle than rejuvenation pruning, but will also bring shrubs back in line. Instead of cutting an entire shrub back at once, you can remove one-


hrubs play an important role in our landscapes. They are great for screening foundations, creating borders and adding interest through dramatic foliage or delicate blooms. While shrubs can be utility players in home landscapes, homeowners often underestimate their mature heights and breadths. One day a shrub is the perfect addition to your entry way, the next it is the size of a small tree and visitors brush up against it on their way to your front door. What can homeowners do when shrubs outgrow their intended space?


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third of the shrub each year over three years. In order to do this effectively, you will remove about one-third of the old branches back to the crown or main stem. Your goal is to maintain the overall shape of the shrub while reducing its density and height over time. Although this process takes longer than rejuvenation pruning, it is more aesthetically pleasing in the short term. Barberry, pyracantha, forsythia and weigela are good candidates for renewal pruning. It is important to remember that removing branches from some species at this time of year will decrease or completely prevent blooming next growing season. The above methods apply to shrubs that have already outgrown their site. What can you do to prevent shrubs from getting overgrown in the first place? Regular thinning and heading cuts will help you manage shrub growth, size and health. A heading cut involves removing the topmost growth of a branch back to a healthy bud or branch. This technique will encourage growth below the cut, making the plant more dense (increasing the need for thinning). Thinning cuts are made by cutting off a branch at its point of origin from the parent stem, to a lateral side branch, to the “Y” of a branch junction, or to ground level. Generally, you can remove a stem back to a lateral that is one-third the diam-

Spirea tolerates rejuvenation pruning. eter of the branch being removed. Thinning and heading cuts are best used in tandem. Proper shrub pruning should involve the intentional removal of branches while maintaining the natural shape of the plant. It is not the same as shearing off the tips of all branches with hedge trimmers on some arbitrary schedule. A good pruning job is subtle. Before pruning, consider the natural form of the plant and remove branches that don’t fit. This approach takes more time, but is better for the plants involved both aesthetically and physiologically. Tom DePaepe is an ISA Certified Arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 816-2461707 or at tomdepaepe@ryanlawn. com.

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November Rose Report JUDY PENNER, local expert rosarian, talks about sustainable rose growing and healthy practices in the garden.


he new buzz word in the rose world is Sustainable Rose Growing, and creating a good definition for sustainable rose growing is a bit challenging. Renowned rosarian Robert B. Martin Jr., wrote that “Sustainable rose gardening is managing our gardens with minimal effects on the environment. A sustainable rose garden is one that is adapted to and managed without extraordinary demand for chemicals and care while maintaining a healthy balance and emphasis on healthy soil.” This definition describes what The Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Garden has been working on since 2008. Starting in 2008 we began reducing the amount of chemical that we use in the Rose Garden with the use of natural products and reduced the amount of chemicals we spray on the roses by 75%. In fact in 2016, we received The Environmental Achievement Award for the Reduction of Chemical Use by The Kansas City, Missouri Environmental Management Commission. Using fewer chemicals in the garden is not only great for our roses but the thousands of guests we have in the garden yearly and for staff. We also mulch the roses so we reduce water and weeds.


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Mechanically weeding the rose beds cuts down on the herbicides used in the beds. The combination of good fertilization and soil practices along with this gives us the advantage in reducing chemicals. W h e n choosing new roses for the garden we look for hardy disease resistant roses that will not be as susceptible to blackspot or our fluctuating temperatures in winter, while keeping in mind growing different types of roses, as well as choosing fragrant roses. Watering is another way we are being sustainable, by monitoring the weather forecast we only water when needed. It is so frustrating to see sprinkler systems running in the middle of a rain storm. This is not an acceptable practice and is something we can all improve upon. We had many Japanese Beetles visit the garden this year and we really worked on removing them by hand instead of spraying and damaging many beneficial insects. We took baggies or jars with soapy water out to garden and tapped the beetles into the container. It takes a little practice but is well worth the effort! We seemed to have good success with this technique.


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.

We also have a good natural environment for frogs, toads, bats, birds, and other insectivores which help with the destructive insects. Maintaining good garden sanitation helps reduce pests and disease as well. Removing the blackspot leaves from the plants or blowing them out of the beds with a backpack sprayer has helped with disease and pests.


off *

I encourage all gardeners to use more sustainable practices for the sake of our earth and all of us living on it! Remember to stop and smell the roses! Judy Penner is Expert Rosarian at Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo. You may reach her at judy.penner@

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The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


Lantana Editor’s Choice

the bold and the beautiful


uch of our landscape consists of trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous. Of course, there are plenty of perennials too. Then in strategic locations, we use bold annuals to add that important wow factor. These annuals just don’t look good one day, they must be impressive any time of day, every day!

This year Lantana stole the show. Planted were the trailing and mounded types, both were equally impactful. Outperforming other annuals called for the same duty in seasons past, Lantana has earned a spot on my Favorites list. We were intentional about selecting Lantana this season. Lantana was a constant in our Florida landscape, where the colors were vivid and

Luscious® Bananarama


November 2017 |

blooms relentless year round. Here in the Midwest though, they are considered annuals; our winter temperatures often drop below 25 degrees. Nevertheless, it’s that color that grabs attention. With names like Luscious® Citrus Blend and Marmalade, the color spectrum is widely represented. From solids to multicolor combinations, Lantana comes in yellow/white, yellow, grape, pink, red, and orange. Lantana are available in many shapes, sizes and habits. Check size and habit information for the specific variety you are choosing to make sure it fits your needs. Be sure to plant in welldraining soil, and in full sun. I planted some in full sun/part shade, and they did well. In comparison however, the Lantana grouping planted in all-day full sun, at the garden’s edge against the street, were spectacular and put on a better show. At this writing, they are still flowering and I expect them to continue until a hard frost. While newly planted Lantana require frequent watering, once established, these plants require little maintenance and are even tolerant of dry conditions. If rainfall is minimal then a good soaking once a week should do. This drought and heat tolerant annual thrives on neglect.

Whether in the landscape, edging a bed, or in a container, Lantana is one tough plant. There were four planting sites in our landscape: one at the edge of the street (previously described), one in a container underneath a standard hibiscus, another at the edge of bed outlined with rock, and the last in a bed with the new butterfly bushes. In each of those spots Lantana flourished, and not once did they wane or fade. Here is another plant for your garden that attracts birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. I’ve seen plenty of Monarchs stopping in for fuel while on their southbound journey. They also are not heavy feeders so an application of controlledrelease fertilizer at the beginning of the season and a second one mid-summer should be all of the fertility they need. While some steadily blooming annuals benefit from a mid-season dose of fertilizer, Lantana never faded in my garden. According to the Humane Society of America Lantana leaves can be toxic to pets. This means that the plants are generally identified as having the capability for producing a toxic reaction. If you’re new to gardening, and need a confidence boost, then give Lantana a try. Whether in a container or the front of the garden, this jewel will not disappoint. Even though you can’t plant them now, remember to put Lantana on your list of must-haves for next growing season.

Photos courtesy of

Above: Luscious® Lemonade

Above: Luscious® Citrus Blend

Above: Lantana berry blend; Below: Luscious® Bananarama

Above: Luscious® Grape; Below: Luscious® Marmalade

Above: Lantana yellow/white; Below: Luscious® Pinkberry Blend

The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


Add Sparkle to Your Winter Pond DIANE SWAN presents Step Seven, completing her October article on getting the pond ready for winter. Step Seven: Getting your pond ready for Winter with Night Lighting. The days are getting shorter and therefore it is getting darker so much earlier that we miss the evening views of our ponds. Instead of keeping your pond in the dark, you can light it up. Landscape lighting is an excellent way to light up your pond, the plantings, walkways and special garden accents. Path lights and spot lights can be used to highlight or create shadowing which will give a whole new dimension in your garden that you won’t even notice during daytime hours. Underwater lights in your pond can give you a wonderfully new perspective of your fish swimming and the rocks under the water. The interaction of light and water yields marvelous reflections and

sparkles that dance on the pond’s surface and waterfalls, as well as shining off the rocks and plantings. Your fish will love to play around the underwater lights. When ice sculptures form on the waterfalls and pond and when there is fresh snow, underwater lights will create a whole new scene reminding you of a winter wonderland postcard. During the Christmas holidays, you can take it to another level by adding lighted Christmas trees, reindeer, snowmen, Santa and sleigh and colorful lights to create your own winter backyard Christmas scene. Here are some guidelines for placing your landscape and underwater lights to get the most out of your lighting project: 1) When placing your light fixtures, they should be pointed away

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from where people gather to view your pond. You do not want the lights shining directly into your eyes. 2) Keep water garden lights as natural as possible. Use your colored or bright lights for highlighting garden accents and for Christmas decorating. 3) A light aimed at a special planting or accent on the edge of the pond will reflect into the surface toward the viewer. The area where you want the reflection needs to stay black to get the full effect. 4) You can use a flat rock placed on top of a light to help shield you from the glare. 5) To highlight objects, place your lights closer for a more intense effect. 6) Underwater lights can be used to highlight your waterfalls to give a dramatic effect. You can also place them to shoot across the

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pond, giving the fish a perfect place to play. 7) When placing underwater light, place them higher in the pond for easy access for maintainenance. 8) Professional quality lighting packages will cost more up front but reward you with longer warranties and many less problems. 9) When placing any of your lights, leave extra wire when possible for future adjustment . When you are done you will have created a lighted environment that will enable you to enjoy your pond for many amazing extended hours. Hours you would have missed in all that darkness.

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Fall Herb Seeding Passionate about herbs, DIANA PAR-DUE teaches us how to make the most seeds from the herb garden.


he weather is cooling down, soon the frost will come and your herbs will either die or go dormant. A crucial event happens just before it all ends and that’s what I’m going to talk about. If your herb garden has many waning flowers in it, there’s a good chance that a lot of them are producing seeds. There are several varieties of herbs that are sterile but most will drop seeds. Sometimes those seeds will naturally grow the next spring. Having the expectation that they will seed evenly or in a certain place is naïve though. The seeds have to survive birds, moisture, deceiving weather fluctuations and the disruptions the gardener may make in the soil. The surviving seeds are often in crevices and cracks, sprouting up outside of the garden beds or even quite far away. Gathering these seeds and spreading them yourself either late fall or early spring can prove much more effective for some varieties. Other’s will need to be gathered and sprouted indoors before being planted after the danger of a frost. I’m going to talk about three herb seeds to sow now, as they fall, so you can have an effective regrowth in early spring.




Cilantro is a cool weather herb that can grow and go to seed up to four times a year. If you’d like an early crop in the spring around February or March at the latest, it’s time to sprinkle seeds on the patch where you’d like a cilantro carpet. Somewhere a bit shady and protected is best because cilantro doesn’t like heat at all and you want to prolong their growing season. Borage reseeds pretty well on its own but when the large stalk goes to bloom it generally falls to the side and reseeds at the end of the stalk, about two to three feet away from the original plant. If let to reseed on its own it will ‘walk’ across your entire garden. Gathering the seeds or placing the bloom head at the base of the original plant can help control where they sprout back up.

Calendula produces seeds by the bucket and gathering them is simple. When the bloom dies it forms many curved, C-shaped, spikey seeds. Sprinkle them around garden beds and mulch so the seeds aren’t blown away or eaten. It’s worth investing time because the return can be high. Earlier growth and multiple plants from one plant are some of the rewards but beyond that there’s a sense of sus-

tainability, an understanding of the process of plants and cycles of nature. Diana Par-Due is an avid gardener who, when not raising children, raises plants. She dreams of beekeeping and chickens one day when her town makes it legal and until then spends her time writing, reading, and studying as a mature student at a local college and making garden plans she never actually keeps.

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Wait, Don’t Cut that Stalk!


took my first steps in horticulture walking down a narrow path of age-old gardening traditions. I learned to care for vegetable gardens, a rose garden, a lilac screen, and perennial borders each with squarely trimmed hedges and edges. The lawn was cut in a diamond pattern using an old-style reel mower. Here weeds were banished, soil was cultivated (not mulched), yew and privet were sculpted, edges were straight as a yard-stick and not a blade or stalk strayed out of place. The compost piles were huge, especially in autumn when the garden was “put to bed.” You get the picture...formal garden. I spent my first-ever job in 7th grade here, raking leaves, cut-

ting down stalks, and starting a new compost pile. I’ve been raking leaves and cutting dead stalks ever since. Well, almost ever since. I’ve recently learned that plant stalks in gardens—as in nature—have value. They are home to overwintering bee larvae. They are ambush perches for migrating flycatchers and seed stores for hungry birds (and mammals) when it snows. They are life-saving wind screens from the bitter cold and building materials for nesting birds. Heather Holm, author of Pollinators of Native Plants, says that bees need standing plant stems and prefer cut stems because it’s easier to access the pithy center

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SCOTT WOODBURY details several reasons to leave plant stalks in the garden.

Cut stems 15-20 inches tall in late winter.

Bees lay their eggs in the exposed end.

where they dig in to lay eggs in spring. Eggs develop into larvae in summer that overwinter inside the dead plant stem. Heather recommends cutting stems 15–20 inches tall in late winter. If you happen to cut all the stalks down in winter you can cut stems from elsewhere and bring them into your garden in March. Sumac and sunflower stalks work well because they last into the second season better than wild bergamot and goldenrod. Simply cut an armful of stems being sure to get the thickest portion low to the ground. Stab them into the soil at least four inches deep leaving 15 to 20 inches standing above ground with a cut end exposed. Bees are attracted to the cut ends where they drill into the soft pith to lay their

eggs. Feel free to get creative with your arrangement of 10 to 20 stems per cluster. I was amazed this past spring to see so much bee activity April through June. It really worked. Another spring activity in the garden is bird nesting, and it turns out that birds often use seed heads to build a nest. One recent survey of nests found that there were 150 species of seeds discovered in the nests of one bird species. Here is another great reason to keep some of those stalks standing into spring. Finally, standing stalks hold a significant amount of seed going into winter, I’d guess between 5-10 percent. The rest has fallen to the ground where birds tend to browse the most, except when it snows. With snow on the ground birds

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shift gears and begin feeding on the tops of the plants. Plants that hold some seed include blazingstar, black-eyed Susan, aster, goldenrod, mountain mint, wild bergamot and native grasses. On cold snowy days it’s fun to watch sparrows and

Juncos feed on the blazing star seed. finches working seed clusters high up on the stem while juncos feed on seed in the snow. That’s teamwork in action; one of the reasons why birds flock in mixed species during winter. Reading all this you might be tempted to keep every stem standing in your garden, but three things will likely happen. One, many stems aren’t strong enough to remain standing and they flop over either in winter or spring. Cut these stems off when they become unsightly at ground level. Second, if you began leaving all your stems, you would probably receive a complaint from a neighbor that would result in a citation to cut it

down. Thirdly, you may not want some species spreading aggressively from seed like Joe-pye weed, goldenrod (most species), golden Alexander, New England aster, river oats, and switchgrass. If you want to prevent them from spreading, deadhead them just after they are done blooming. Birds won’t be able to eat them, but if you leave the stalks standing in spring you will attract bees. Here are some tricks to creative “stalking”: In winter, cut flopping stalks out, keeping the sturdier ones that remain standing. You will find that plants like ironweed, blazingstar, Joe-pye weed and sunflower are sturdy and stand up well through winter and into the following spring and summer. In late winter cut these species and others like them to 15 to 20 inches in height. You don’t have to leave every clump standing. Select perhaps 25 percent or more of the total number of plants. When you mulch around them in late winter or early spring they will look like a traditional flower bed and will go unnoticed by persnickety neighbors. Happy gardening! 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 26 years. He also is an advisor to the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Find suppliers of native plants at, Resource Guide.

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e’re talking about the American Wild Turkey. November is set apart from other months, by the Thanksgiving Holiday, or as its affectionately referred to as “Turkey Day.” Oddly enough, there’s no recorded mention of Turkey actually being served at that feast. A pilgrim, Edward Winslow, did write in a letter about doing a Turkey hunt days prior to the feast. Ben Franklin thought the Turkey should be the National Bird, due to its proud demeanor, and protective instincts. Franklin thought the Eagle to be more of a scavenger, a robber of other birds and animals for prey. Turkeys are usually noted for their Tail Fan, comprised of only 18 feathers. A group of these birds are called a “rafter”, or a “flock.” These birds can fly too! Wild

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Turkeys have been recorded flying at 55 mph. They aren’t slouches on the ground either, with recorded speeds of up to 25 mph. Wild Turkeys may weigh anywhere from five to 20 pounds, about half the size of domestic turkeys. Wild Turkeys typically live three to five years, but sometimes as long as 13 years. Wild Turkeys also have excellent daytime vision, seeing three times better than humans, with a “panoramic” view that covers 270 degrees. The Male Gobble can be heard up to a mile away when looking for mates, now that’s talking!

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The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


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November 2017 |


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

Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Nov 14, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Garden Club of Shawnee Thurs, Nov 2, 7pm; at the Town Hall at Shawnee Town 1929, 11600 Johnson Dr, Shawnee, KS. We will be making holiday wreaths this month. Please bring a wire wreath form, available at craft stores, and wire cutters for thin wire. The club will supply the rest of the materials for the wreaths. 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 more information, or call Janet or Don at 913-962-5221. Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Nov 6, 6pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st & Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Le Potager, Kitchen Garden Design. Potager gardens feed both our body and soul; learn to design your own! Shara and Jim, who both joined Master Gardeners in 2011, are primarily vegetable gardeners. If you ask them about healthy dirt, health and its relationship to the food we eat, they may have a lot to say and talk your ear off! The soul of the modern home is often our kitchen. Many home vegetable gardens are still miniature versions of old family farm plots; by contrast, a potager is a kitchen garden different both in its history and unique design. Let’s travel back in time to medieval France where the potager originated. We’ll explore potagers designed for functionality as well as beauty. With the ‘nuts and bolts,’ resources, and lots of inspiring photographs, you’ll be motivated to design your own potager, yes, even if your potager will be limited to a small balcony! Refreshments will be served. Greater KC Herb Study Group Wed, Nov 8, noon; at Rose room of Loose Park Garden Center, 52nd & Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64112. Program is Herb Based Crafts. Lynn Soulier will instruct on herb based crafts. This will be a hands-on opportunity to create something one-of-a kind for the season, for a gift, or for yourself. There will be a list of items to bring. Lunch: Bring your own lunch and drink. Facebook: check us out at Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. Friends and visitors are always welcome. Questions: call Nancy at 816478-1640. Heart of America Gesneriad Sat, Nov 18, 1oam-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590

KC Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Nov 19, 1:30-4pm; at the Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 816444-9321 or visit Kansas City Garden Club Mon, Nov 6, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Annual Bake Sale 9am. Program by Bob Lane, Johnson County Master Gardener, on ‘How to circumvent common garden mishaps.’ Bob’s presentation is for all levels of gardening experience. We will smile at our mishaps and learn new ideas and get some good advice. Guests are welcome. Bring a bag lunch and join us for drinks and dessert after the meeting. 816-741-3705 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Nov 14, 7pm; meet near Lawrence. We meet bi-monthly to learn about herbs. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. We meet every 2nd Tuesday in Jan-Mar-May-Jul-Sept-Nov. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. For more info and to RSVP, email Leawood Garden Club Tues, Nov 14, 10:30am; at Cure Of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS 66206. 10:30 General Membership Meeting; 11:30 Break for lunch (bring your own sack lunch) we will provide the drinks and desserts; 12:00 Program: Elizabeth Cavanaugh, editor of The Kansas City Gardener Magazine. She will share her journey of how the magazine was created. Guests are welcome to attend. For more information, call Mary at 913-642-0357 or email, Mid America Begonia Society Sat, Nov 18, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 MoKan Daylily Society Sun, Dec 3, 11:30am-2:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816513-8590 Northland Garden Club Tues, Nov 21, 7pm; at Sherwood Bible Church, 4900 N Norton, Kansas City, MO (just south and west of Penguin Park). This month the Northland Garden Club will have a Q&A with fellow gardeners, including several Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City, MO.

We plan to have a chili cook-off with several members participating. Please check website for additional information: Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Nov 12, 1:30-4:30pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Glenn Decker, Piping Rock Orchids, Galway, NY. A fascinating speaker, Glenn will discuss and show how to grow Paphs, or Ladyslipper Orchids. Plants will be available to purchase. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Nov 13, 7pm social, 7:30pm meeting; at Colonial Church, 71st & Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS, in basement, rear entrance. Presentation will be “Build a Worm Composting Bin”. We will cover worm composting from beginning to harvest. We will have worms and supplies to build up to 10 bins. Visitors of all ages are welcome. Questions, contact Karen Clark 785-224-7279. Raytown Garden Club Tues, Nov 7, 10am; at Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church, 6429 Blue Ridge Blvd, Raytown, Mo. Program is “2017 in Our Beautiful Missouri Gardens, What Worked?, What Didn’t Work?”, a roundtable discussion by Raytown Garden Club members, Cerise Harris*, Alice Lewis, Anne Sereda, and Mary Wood*; *Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City. Refreshments will be served. Visitors are most welcome. Questions? Please call 816-353-8699 or visit our website at fgcmwestcentral/raytown Sho Me African Violets Club Fri, Nov 9, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-513-8590 Water Garden Society of Greater KC Tues, Nov 21, doors open at 5:30pm for snacks and socializing; at 2552 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108, in lower level meeting room at Our Lady of Sorrows. Our first speaker at 6:30pm is Jamiel Yameen from CM Mose and Son. Since 1954 CM Mose have been providing HVAC, water heater service and backup Generac generator installations. Don’t be without power for an hour, let alone for days. Our 2nd speaker is a surprise and you will need to check us out on Facebook for updates. Membership is $35 for a single person and $45 for a 2-person household. We publish a monthly newsletter called Reflections, do fish rescues, demonstrate creative ideas at the Home Shows, build ponds for nonprofits, host a public tour and monthly members only tours. Membership has so many benefits! Visitors are always welcome!

Events, Lectures & Classes November 10-Month Home Herbalism Course Good Earth Herb School’s Home Herbalism Course is a comprehensive, hands-on exploration of everything you

need to know to be an effective home herbalist. Within 10 monthly classes, you will learn seasonally the best times and methods of planting, harvesting, preserving, storing and using many herbs. This course will provide you with experience working with herbs in practical, useful ways. You will make tinctures, oils, salves, infusions, decoctions, and a variety of other herbal preparations. Wild herb identification, wild food foraging, and some Aromatherapy will also be covered. Whether you are a beginner or a home herbalist wanting guidance in putting all the pieces together, this course will give you a practical foundation so you feel comfortable and confident growing and using herbs for yourself and your family every day. Just south of Lawrence. More info & enroll: (Register now, this course fills quickly) Orchid Society of GKC Show and Sale Sat, Nov 4, 10am-5pm & Sun, Nov 5, 10am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. FREE. All are welcome. 816-513-8590 Gardeners Q&A: 2017 Edition Sat, Nov 4, 10:30am-12pm; at Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110. This is your chance to get your gardening questions answered and hear about all the questions gardeners like you have. A panel of experts plan to answer our questions about gardening. The free program, presented by Gardeners Connect and open to everyone, is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium of the Discovery Center. Coffee and some treats will be served the half hour before the program in the Lewis and Clark Room. Everyone is welcome. Winter Sowing Tues, Nov 7, 6pm; at Lansing Community Library, 730 1st Terrace, Suite 1, Lansing, KS 66043. Mikey Stafford, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on Winter Sowing. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information call Paula Darling at 913240-4094. Japanese Beetles Wed, Nov 8, 7pm; at Basehor Community Library, 1400 158th St, Basehor, KS 66007. Patrick Paden, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will lead a discussion about Japanese Beetles. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. The Local Food Movement: Then & Now Sat, Nov 11, 9am-12pm; at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. Did you know Johnson County’s leading industry once was dairy farming? Now JoCo is part of Kansas City’s active food and farmer movement. Explore our farming roots and discover the myriad of resources that connect us to our local food growers including farmers’ markets, (continued on page 20)

Gardeners Connect presents Paperwhites Planting Party Our Paperwhites Planting Party has become a tradition for Gardeners Connect, and we would like you to join us this year.


oin us at the Paperwhites Planting Party for homemade soup, garden banter and lots and lots of paperwhites. Plant a few and let them brighten the bleak days of winter for you. This is a hands-on workshop with materials provided to take home a pot of paperwhites. Our Paperwhites Planting Party is planned for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 18, in the Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Missouri 64112. The cost for this event is $20 with Gardeners Connect members receiving a $5 discount. This includes a pot, five bulbs and soil mix, and also Gardeners Connect will provide a soup luncheon. Learn a few tricks from people who for decades have celebrated the holidays by planting paperwhites, like how to keep your paperwhites from being tall and floppy. Participants may purchase extra pots and bulbs online or at the event. You may also bring your own pots. Sign up online or mail a check made out to Gardeners

Connect to 6911 NW Blair Road, Parkville, Missouri 64152. Please include a note with the mailed check that this is for attending the paperwhites workshop. Thoughtful Gifts Paperwhites can be planted in almost any container, from ones with drainage holes like flower pots to containers without drainage holes, which are often preferred as they provide a reservoir of water to keep your plants from drying out between watering and keep any surfaces you place them on dry. All you need is 3-4 inches of depth for the roots to anchor in and keep your plants upright. Bowls, vases, even that old gravy boat you never use all make good planting containers. Plant up paperwhites to give to family and friends as gifts. A pot will brighten anyone’s day. Even think about tailoring the planter to the recipient. A candy dish filled with bulbs for that sweet tooth you know or how about a pint beer glass from your favorite local Kansas City brewery planted with even a single bulb.

The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


Powell Gardens Happenings After the Harvest Workshop: Taking Care of the Bounty Saturday, November 4, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. After a productive growing season what do you do with all of the bounty? Attend this workshop and learn about traditional techniques and recipes for preserving and utilizing the harvest. Explore the history of Victory Gardening and learn about the changing nature of society from agrarian to industrial. Participants will learn the latest in safe canning practices, and learn to process high acid foods using a water bath. Participants will also learn the craft of live culture foods including sauerkraut and pickling fundamentals as a form of food preservation and take home a vinegar starter. Visit powellgardens. org to register.   Missouri Gourd Society Display Saturday, November 4, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Learn all about gourds! The Missouri Gourd Society will set up in the Grand Hall and be available to answer your questions about growing and drying gourds. Visit for details. Forever Evergreens  Saturday, November 11, 9:00 a.m.-noon Enrich your landscape with conifers that thrive in the greater Kansas City region. This workshop will highlight varieties that are easiest to find and grow in our clay-like soil and will share tips for planting and placement, proper drainage and watering, and advice for fending off insects and disease. An in-depth look at the conifers in the Powell Gardens collection is part of the experience. For Master Gardeners, a certificate for 3 hours of Advanced Education will be available. Visit to register.

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

(continued from page 19)

farm to table, organic, urban and local trends. Learn about organizations collaborating to feed our city and the key programs that are training our next generation farmers and chefs. Fee: $39. To enroll or more information, 913-469-2323. Great Trees of the Kansas City Region Wed, Nov 15, 1pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 8909 W 179th St, Overland Park, KS 66013. Included with admission, registration at Please join us at the Overland Park Arboretum for the Great Trees of the Kansas City Region (and where to see them) PowerPoint presentation by Jim Earnest, a member of the Kansas Native Plant Society and the Education Committee at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Jim, a former cardiologist, retired 17 years ago and has been working with trees in this area since his retirement. Affectionately known as The Tree Doctor, he will show slides and talk about some of the greatest trees in this area. Registration is appreciated, Winter Sowing Thurs, Nov 16, 7pm; at Leavenworth Public Library, 417 Spruce St, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Mikey Stafford, a Leavenworth County Master Gardener, will give a presentation on Winter Sowing. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information contact Paula Darling at 913-240-4094. 2017 Lake Quivira Holiday Bazaar Fri, Nov 17, 1pm-8pm, and Sat, Nov 18, 9am-4pm. 50 local vendors featuring boutique home décor, jewelry, clothing/accessories, toys, gifts, pet items & more! Monster community bake sale and raffle. Dickens Carolers strolling Friday evening. Cash Bar during shopping hours; dining available. All in our festively decorated 1930 stone clubhouse overlooking Lake Quivira. Free and open to the public. Lake Quivira is located 1 mile East of I-435 on Holliday Drive (Exit 8A), the Clubhouse is located at 100 Crescent Blvd. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted. Paperwhite Making Party Sat, Nov 18, 10am-1pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Sponsored by Gardeners Connect. Join us at the Paperwhites Planting Party for homemade soup, garden banter and lots and lots of paperwhites. Plant a few and let

them brighten the bleak days of winter for you. This is a hands-on workshop with materials provided to take home a pot of paperwhites. The cost for this event is $20 with Gardeners Connect members receiving a $5 discount. This includes a pot, five bulbs and soil mix, and also Gardeners Connect will provide a soup luncheon. Participants may purchase extra pots and bulbs online or at the event. You may also bring your own pots. Sign up online or mail a check made out to Gardeners Connect to 6911 NW Blair Road, Parkville, Mo. 64152. Please include a note with the mailed check that this is for the paperwhites workshop. Holiday Luminary Walk Stroll down candlelit trails through the gardens and woods at the 19th annual Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Luminary Walk. This major fundraiser features a mile of candles, holiday lights, live entertainment, Santa Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cider around a campfire and mystical Gnome and Fairy Villages. Volunteers and staff members are transforming the Arboretum into a wonderland of candles and lights, music and holiday fun. Thousands of candles line the walkways and trails. Holiday lights will be on display from trees, buildings and bridges. Children will be thrilled to see Santa’s Woodland Depot in the Train Garden and chat with him nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., three weekends, Friday and Saturday, Nov 24-25, Dec 1-2, and Dec 8-9. 2017 eTicket is $9 per person; children 5 and younger are free. Purchase tickets online. Tickets can also be purchased the night of the event for $10 per person. Kansas City Garden Club Annual Holiday Auction and Luncheon Mon, Dec 4, 10am; at Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Everyone is invited for bargains and to bid in a live fast action auction for a grand selection of treasures at our fundraiser auction. Some of the at least 140 lots include bundles of fresh holiday greens; plates of homemade cookies and other baked items; wreaths and swags; farm fresh honey; a wide variety of merchant gift certificates including restaurants; garden books and tools; plants; dried flowers; vases and many other miscellaneous items. After all the good humor bidding is completed, join us for a delicious potluck luncheon. For details 913-636-4956.

Olathe, KS (913) 780-4848 Belton, MO (816) 331-0005

Promote club meetings, classes, plant sales and other gardening events!

Deadline for publishing in the December issue is November 5.

November 2017 |

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Double Vegetable Harvests with Super-pollinators


id last summer’s vegetable garden not give you as much produce as you had hoped? A lack of pollination might be the reason! Planting the right flowers encourages roaming bees, butterflies and other pollinators to stop by and visit, but what if you could house super-pollinators right in your own backyard next spring and summer? You may be surprised at the amazing results! Hive-less, solitary bees like the mason and leafcutter bee are easy to raise, gentle and talented pollinators. In fact, solitary bees pollinate fruit and vegetables up to 100 times more effectively than honey bees. Super-pollinators Solitary bees, unlike their relative the honey bee, are inefficient at gathering pollen and nectar, which makes them excellent pollinators. They fly around in no discernable pattern, landing on whatever bright flower catches their eye. And by “land,” I mean they belly flop and climb around in the pollen. Some dry pollen gets stuck to their fuzzy little bodies, but they don’t pack it neatly, so most of it falls off when they flop in the next flower. Because of this, it takes them many trips to gather a sufficient amount of pollen for their nest, and they pollinate the majority of flowers they visit. Now I know what you’re wondering. While raising solitary bees, will you actually see the result of this pollination in your own garden? Last summer, I did! The summer leafcutter bees especially pulled their weight. My squash, cucumber and pepper harvests were astounding and it seemed like every single flower the plants set was pollinated and matured to a tasty fruit. Comparing the extra money saved from produce I would have bought at the store to the cost of starting the bees last year, I estimate the bees will have paid for themselves after the 2018 summer season.

Leafcutter bee pollinating. Raise your own Raising solitary bees is both easy and inexpensive. Total upkeep takes about an hour of time per year, and I’ve seen kits with a house, tubes and bee cocoons (mason and leafcutter) for about $55. My favorite resource for education and materials is Crown Bees ( I don’t have any affiliation with the company, I just think it’s a great small business run by people who really know and love bees. When shopping for nesting materials and bee houses, it’s important to note that you need to be able to open the tubes at the appropriate time of year to harvest and clean the cocoons. I love a good Pinterest project, and drilled blocks of wood or bamboo tubes may be cheap, but since you can’t easily open the tubes and harvest cocoons, pests and disease can harbor over and wipe out your whole bee population after two or three years. Opt for tubes specifically made for native bees or wooden trays. Solitary bee lifestyle While honey bees have a hive, and their paramount goal is survival of that hive and production of honey by gathering pollen and nectar, mason and leafcutter bees don’t have a hive to support. Rather than honeycomb chambers, they make their homes in thin, long, strawlike tubes or openings. Their goal in life is to lay a series of eggs in the tube to further next year’s bees. Because of this, they don’t defend their home or get aggressive if you stand right next to it, and only

Photos courtesy of Crown Bees.

Raising bees in her garden, CHELSEA DIDDE RICE harvested astounding amounts of vegetables.

Mason bee covered in pollen. sting as a last resort if they’re being squished by accident. In fact, it’s fun for kids and adults alike to stand just a couple of feet away from the bee house and watch the bees come in and out of their tubes. Another bonus? A rare sting from a solitary bee hurts less because their sting lacks the strong venom that honey bees produce, which lessens the fear of anaphylactic shock or allergic reaction.

Invite native bees to your yard Even if you don’t decide to purchase and raise bees in your backyard, you can invite native bees to nest there. Because they nest in tubes, places like old, cut raspberry bush canes and sumac are great natural habitats for nesting bees. Plant flowers around your vegetable garden and you’ll give bees a reason to stay in or around your yard. Annual flowers like zinnias, sunflowers and bee balm, to name a few, not only provide visual interest and beauty to the gardener, they also attract pollinators right to the area you need them! 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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913-422-9300 The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017



garden calendar


• Rake fallen leaves from the lawn to prevent winter suffocation. • Fertilize cool season lawns, bluegrass and tall fescue with high nitrogen fertilizer to promote root development and early spring green up. • Water turf to provide winter moisture for improved vigor. • Control dandelions, henbit and chickweed. • Mow at 2 to 3 inches. • Drain gas from lawn mower engine or add a stabilizer for winter storage. • Beat the spring rush by taking lawn mower to the shop for repairs and blade sharpening.


• Water newly-planted trees and shrubs for winter soil moisture. • Protect young plants from rabbit damage by wrapping or making a wire screen. • Continue to plant new trees and shrubs. • Rake leaves. • Check mulch layers and replenish as needed. • Prune dead or hazardous limbs. • Do not prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs until after bloom. • Water evergreens so they are moist during winter months for improved hardiness.


• Sort apples that are in storage and remove spoiled fruit. • Clean and remove fallen fruit from around trees to reduce insects and disease next year. • Treat peaches for peach leaf curl while dormant. • Review garden notes about successes and failures. • Start planning for next year. • Take a soil test and make needed adjustments. • Till garden soil and add organic matter. • Plant a green manure crop such as winter wheat or rye for added organic matter.

• Remove all debris from the garden area to reduce insects and disease next year. • Clean tomato cages and store.


• Check plants for insects such as aphids and spider mites. • Keep plants away from heat vents and cold drafts. • Locate plants about 1 foot away from windows to protect from winter cold. • Reduce or stop fertilizing until spring. • Water as needed and avoid letting roots stand in water. • Rinse to remove dust from leaves. • Continue dark treatment of poinsettias for holiday blooming. • Plant and water amaryllis bulbs for Christmas blooms.


• Clean up rose bed to help reduce disease for next season. • Remove frost-killed annuals. • Till annual flowerbeds and add organic matter to improve soil tilth. • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. • Dig and store tender bulbs, cannas, gladiolus and others in a cool, dry area. • Cut back tall rose canes to 24 inches to prevent winter breakage. • Cut back perennial stocks to 4 to 6 inches. • Mulch perennials after several hard freezes. • Mulch tea roses with a cone of garden soil about 6 inches deep over the plant.


• Clean and oil garden tools, sprayers and other equipment for winter storage. • Drain garden hoses and sprinklers and store indoors for increased life. • Start a compost pile with fall leaves. • Turn compost pile to hasten breakdown.

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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Shade Loving Bulb: Wood Hyacinth


Plant Profile


Hyacinthoides hispanica, commonly called Spanish bluebell or wood hyacinth, is a bulbous perennial that is native to Spain, Portugal and northwest Africa. Each bulb produces a clump of 2-6 strap-shaped leaves from which rises a rigid flower stem typically containing up to 12-15 hanging, bell-shaped, bluish-lavender flowers held in an upright raceme. Read the entire article at KCGMAG.COM.

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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.

Professional’s Corner

Sandy Greene

Experience: For more than 10 years, I have worked in the horticulture industry. Formally at retail garden centers and horticulture at Kansas City Country Club. In doing so, I have been able to pair what I’ve learned hands

tropicals expert, Suburban Lawn & Garden

on in the field with my training in younger days. My parents, both horticulturists, were instrumental in my horticulture education. So my love of plants and all things tropical, must have been planted in my DNA. Family affair: My mom once worked for Suburban, in the interiors department back in early ’90s. To this day I have a Norfolk Island Pine that she started from a seed when she worked there. It’s considered a family heirloom now, my aunt had it for a while, and then it came to me to be the Christmas tree at my first place. It is definitely one of my favorite plants because it also looks great out on the patio during the growing season. Favorite public garden destination: With plenty of trails to walk, and plants to discover, the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a favorite place to visit. Another special location is Shawnee Mission Park, a perfect place for walking my dogs. Favorite tropical plant: There is such a variety of plants in this category that I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Best, easiest indoor plants: Easiest house plant has to be the sansaveria. I have

multiple varieties in my house because you can put them anywhere. It also does a great job cleansing the air. What every gardener should know: Take it easy on yourself. The beauty of gardening is learning. With so many plants to choose from, learning how to grow them is the fun part. Don’t be afraid to fail; even great gardeners kill things! When you are not playing with plants: Other than horticulture, I do love fitness and being outdoors. Whether riding horses or conquering crossfit, I always want to be on the move. Little known secret: Personally, I keep my mind, heart, and body in check at all times, and live life day to day the best I can. My everyday goal is to share my joy of plants with people, helping them realize gardening success. Contact info: For now, Sandy works at the 135th location. She is scheduled to be the tropicals manager at the Lenexa location when it opens. Suburban Lawn & Garden, 135th & Wornall;;; 816-942-2921

The Kansas City Gardener | November 2017


Fall Into Color Fall Conifer Sale

Tree & Shrub Sale


Large Blue Spruce Trees plus new Specimen Spruce, Pine, Fir, and Cedar. Up to

Through November

40% off

*Large trees on sale at our 135th & Wornall and K7 & Prairie Star Pkwy locations. While supplies last.

Fall Color Winners Ginko, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, and Pear. Great prices on even more selected trees and shrubs while supplies last.

Fall Into

Inspiration 24

with Fresh Fall Decor

November 2017 |

105th & Roe (913) 649-8700

K-7 & Prairie Star Pkwy (913) 897-5100

135th & Wornall (816) 942-2921

#suburbanlg //

KCG 11Nov17  

lantana, fall herb seeding, pond, water garden, night lighting, birds, shrubs

KCG 11Nov17  

lantana, fall herb seeding, pond, water garden, night lighting, birds, shrubs