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The Kansas City

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

October 2014

Spooky Plants for the October Garden

Beauty and Diversity with Grasses Orange and Black: Not Just for Halloween Identify Weeds for Better Control Proper Care and Feeding of Newly Seeded Lawn

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6 Good Reasons You Should Aerate Your Pond

• A properly sized aerator Adds Valuable Oxygen To A Pond as effectively, or better, than a typical waterfalls. • Higher oxygen levels Increases The Number Of Beneficial Bacteria in a pond, leading to healthier fish, cleaner water, and less organic buildup on the bottom of the pond. • Replaces the need to use expensive de-icer/heaters in the Winter-Aeration Releases Gases and Adds Oxygen to the pond more effectively than maintaining a hole in the ice. Also, aerators are more Energy Efficient than most deicers, saving money all Winter. • Saves Energy costs of running a waterfall pump. A properly sized aerator can aerate your pond more efficiently and effectively, helping to maintain healthy, clear water while allowing you to turn your waterfall pump off while you’re gone for an extended period of time or when temperatures are too cold to run your waterfall. • Reduces Pond Maintenance By running an aerator with your waterfalls your pond will stay cleaner and healthier. • Fish Love It! Your fish will gather above and enjoy the bubbles coming from the diffusers located on the bottom of the pond.

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CURB APPEAL WITH THESE SIMPLE STEPS: 1. Pay attention to your lawn by keeping grass trimmed and free of sticks & leaves. 2. Prune shrubs & trees to thin them out. Remove dead or dying branches that interfere with other branches or rub against the house. 3. Bring color to your landscape with fall blooming flowers like mums & pansies in borders or containers. 4. Outdoor lighting can enhance your home. Try a new porch light or path lighting. 5. Clean gutters & downspouts by removing leaves, sticks & debris. 6. Keep Holiday decor simple by adding pumpkins, Indian corn or gourds. 7. Add a fresh coat of paint or pop of color by repainting the front door.



May vary, check online for your specific location



October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener



The Kansas City

editor’s notes

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

Time for transformation

Independently owned and operated since 1996 Publisher Michael Cavanaugh Editor Elizabeth Cavanaugh Editorial Assistant Hannah Cavanaugh Contributors Charles Anctil Iralee Barnard Leah Berg Tracy Flowers Diane & Doc Gover Lenora Larson Peter Orwig Dennis Patton Phil Roudebush Distribution Publishers Delivery Solutions, Inc.

How to Reach Us ...

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

See us on the Web:

Don’t Miss A Single Issue! Get a subscription for yourself or your favorite gardener. See page 27.


Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.~ Alfred Austin


ecently in this column, I’ve eluded to the discouraging performance of particular aspects of my garden this season. The hydrangea didn’t bloom, the ash tree lost a huge limb damaging other plant material, and the boxwood didn’t fill out adequately after a harsh pruning, just to mention a few. There are more to list, but as I’ve previously said, I try to see the glass as half full, focusing on the assets of the garden. Namely, our trees and shrubs like dogwood and crabapple, viburnum and yew that always perform despite adverse weather and our admitted neglect. When preparing for this month’s column, I came across the quote above, and boy was I rattled. After reading it twice and letting those words soak in, I thought, “wait a minute, I’m the editor of a gardening magazine. I should know a thing or two (or people who know) about gardening.” Self doubt entered and my confidence and common sense walked out. “Shouldn’t I know enough to be able to maintain some

kind of decent looking garden?” And if I didn’t like what I saw, how can I expect visitors to appreciate it? So what does my garden say about me? Texture is preferred (she likes variety). Evergreens are a must (her defense against winter). Borders are clearly defined (she likes structure). Color is lacking (bland). All plantings receive tough love (she might neglect). Nice wildlife habitat (she likes birds). All true, except ... I’m not bland! To be honest, Mr. Gardener and I have been slowly losing enthusiasm for the front landscape. Call it boredom or frustration, it’s the only place we have full sun for about six hours, and it’s likely we’ve been expecting too much. For years, we’ve tried veggies and herbs in raised beds, and the results have been mediocre. Black-eyed Susans were fine for a couple of years, but then came some sort of soil disease. We’ve planted zinnias at the curb, which are stunning and bold,

but for a limited time. Where’s the color for the rest of the season? If our garden is a reflection of what we are, then we better get busy. We are not as bland as the garden might seem. On the bright side, the foundation plantings are in place which is a good start. Now it’s time to focus on progressive color from early spring to first frost. This way, anytime a visitor walks through our garden they are truly delighted. Until the transformation begins, I will dream of my new and improved garden, filled with successive color, where birds and butterflies feed. And visitors will know that the editor of a gardening magazine lives and works here. I’ll see you in the garden!

In this issue October 2014 • Vol. 19 No. 10 The Bird Brain ......................... 5 Ask the Experts ........................ 8 Tree Keepers .......................... 10 Rose Report ............................ 11 Grasses .................................. 12 Spooky Plants ......................... 14 Powell Gardens Classes ............ 16 Orange and Black; Not Just for Halloween .......................... 17

about the cover ...

Proper Care and Feeding of Newly Seeded Lawn ............. 19 Identify Weeds ......................... 20 GrowNative Top 10 Trees ......... 21 Upcoming Events ..................... 22 Hotlines ................................. 25 Weather ................................. 25 Garden Calendar .................... 26 Professional’s Corner ................ 27

Black-eyed Susan, “what an ugly name for such a beautfiul flower.” See other spooky-named plants starting on page 14.



The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

The Bird Brain Fall Birdfeeding Tips

Doc & Diane Gover


s the season changes, review your backyard birdfeeding setup and make sure it’s ready for your feathered friends. Just ask yourself, “If I were a bird, would I hang out in my backyard?” Most people don’t realize how many different bird species they can attract to their yard. Birds arrive at staggered times of the year so timing is everything. With cool weather upon us, assess your yard for the coming winter while the weather allows it to be an enjoyable task. Following is a To-Do List for Early Fall: • Resist the temptation to totally manicure your yard. Remember to copy nature, no one rakes, prunes or sweeps the forest. Creating a native habitat in your backyard (such as twig piles, leaves under shrub) helps to attract a wider variety of birds. • All nesting materials should be removed from all nesting boxes. This will prevent mites from overwintering in the boxes. Your cavity nesting songbirds will use them as

roosting boxes during cold winter nights. You may also want to add a winter roost box or roosting pockets to the mix. • Move feeding stations in for close viewing and for ease of filling feeders. Consider putting up a window feeder to bring the birds in even closer when you’re stuck inside on a wintery day. Clean all your feeders with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, allow them to dry and fill with high quality, fresh birdseed. As birds find your feeders and the word spreads, the birds will not be in a panic to find a food source as the weather turns cold. • Make preparations to run an electrical connection to a bird bath heater or a heated birdbath. All birds need water for drinking and bathing. • Visit your favorite nursery and choose an evergreen tree or shrub to plant in your landscape. This would be a welcome addition to your yard that will provide your birds a safe haven from predators and inclement weather. • Watch for fall migrants. Keep a field guide and binoculars on hand for a quick ID of your visitors. Your food source is known as a food patch. A bird never relies entirely on one food source and will have several food patches to visit

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fillment of being able to actually make a difference in the quality of their lives makes this a rewarding lifetime hobby for you and your family. Our Certified Birdfeeding Specialists are always ready to answer your hobby questions. throughout the day. Combining the joy of seeing many healthy, active and energetic birds at your feeders and birdbath along with the ful-

Doc and Diane Gover own and operate Wild Birds Unlimited of Leawood at 11711 Roe Avenue, Leawood, Kansas. Contact them at 913-491-4887.

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October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener

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Pets and Plants

Allergic Skin Reactions By Phil Roudebush, DVM, DACVIM


rushiol is the main component of the oily resin that is found on the stems and leaves of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), western poison oak (T. diversilobum), Atlantic poison oak (T. pubescens), poison sumac (T. vernix) and related species. Poison ivy (older synonyms are Rhus toxicodendron or Rhus radicans) is widely distributed throughout North America and is the only such species found in Kansas and Missouri.


Most, but not all, people will become sensitized to urushiol and develop an allergic contact dermatitis (itchy skin rash). This becomes more likely with repeated or more concentrated exposure to urushiol. Fortunately, allergic reactions to poison ivy and related species are very unusual in pet animals. This may be related to the inability of urushiol to reach the skin through the thick hair coat or simply reflect an inherent resistance to its sensitizing effects in dogs and cats.




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Dogs, however, have been reported to develop allergic contact dermatitis after prolonged exposure to perennial groundcovers such as wandering jew (Tradescantia fluminesis) and Asian jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum). These plants are native to South America and Asia so they are primarily used as groundcovers in southeastern states or areas with milder climates. Dogs may develop a rash on unhaired (glabrous) portions of skin such as the abdomen, inner thighs and armpits after lying in the groundcover for prolonged periods. Another group of plants that may cause contact allergic allergies in pets are members of the dayflower or spiderwort family. These include doveweed (Murdannia nudiflora), dayflower (Commelina communis) and spreading dayflower (Commelina diffusa), which are commonly found growing intermixed in St. Augustine sod in Florida or other parts of the southeast. These plants often grow in grass from sod farms and problems are seen in new suburban development areas with professional landscaping. It may require a diligent examination to find these plants since they tend to grow under the wider leaves of the grass. Problems

Allergic reactions to poison ivy (above) and related species are unusual in pet animals. in animals after repeated exposure to these plants are similar to those associated with some of the groundcovers. Clinical problems with all these allergic skin reactions are usually mild and treatment involves avoidance of contact with the offending plant, bathing the entire animal, and topical steroids to control local inflammation and itching. Phil Roudebush is a retired veterinarian, specialist in small animal internal medicine and adjunct faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He is an Extension Master Gardener in Shawnee County, Kansas. He can be reached at

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Ask the Experts! questions from our readers

Dennis Patton WHEN TO PRUNE TREES Question: Oftentimes I hear conflicting information about pruning trees in the fall. A number of tree services prune during the fall months but I’ve read that this is not recommended. What’s up? Answer: This is a really great question and not the easiest to answer as my comments will not make some tree services very happy. This is the recommendation for fall pruning from Kansas State University. “Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are

fine this time of year, more severe pruning should be left until spring. Consider pruning to be light if 10 percent or less of the plant is removed. Dead wood does not count in this calculation.” While fall is not the best time to prune it has become a practice by many services. The reasons include too much work to accomplish in a few short months, work to keep the crews busy and employed, so it helps with the cash flow. Could it be the worst decision you make as part of a tree management program? Probably not, but if you really love your tree then waiting to prune until late winter or early spring is the recommendation. The reason, the wounds created by the pruning cut can seal more quickly.

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VEGETABLE GARDEN CROP ROTATION Question: What is the latest information on crop rotation in vegetable gardens? Is it still considered a good practice? Answer: Rotating vegetable crops is a standard way of helping prevent disease from being carried over from one year to the next. Rotation means that crops are moved to different areas of the garden each year. Planting the same crop or a related crop in the same area each year can lead to a

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WHEN TO PRUNE PERENNIALS Question: Should perennials be cut back in the spring or the fall? I see both practices used by my gardening friends. Answer: Paper or plastic? It really depends on your style as either time is acceptable. Fall is traditionally a time for cleaning up gardens. Normally, we recommend clear-cutting dead stems to help control insect and disease problems. With herbaceous perennials that have been pest free, you might want to consider leaving some to provide structure, form and color to the winter garden. For example, ornamental grasses can be attrac-

tive even during the winter months. But those near structures should be cut to the ground because they can be a fire hazard. Perennials with evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage can provide color. Of course, some perennials are naturally messy after dormancy and should be cut back in the fall. Foliage can be left for other reasons. For example, foliage left on marginally hardy plants such as tender ferns help ensure overwintering of plant crowns. Also seed heads on some perennial plants can provide seed for birds. My recommendation: cut back what you feel comfortable doing in the fall and leave the rest until spring.

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buildup of disease. Also, different crops vary in the depth and density of the root system as well as extract different levels of nutrients. As a rule, cool-season crops such as cabbage, peas, lettuce and onions have relatively sparse, shallow root systems and warm-season crops such as tomatoes, peppers and melons have deeper, better developed root systems. Therefore, it can be helpful to rotate warm-season and cool-season crops. It is also a good idea to avoid planting closely related crops in the same area as diseases may be shared among them. For example, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant are closely related. Also broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts share many characteristics in common. Therefore, do not plant cabbage where broccoli was the previous year or tomatoes where the peppers were. Now with that being said here is the clarifying statement. Many people have small raised bed gardens and crop rotation is not always practical as moving a plant a few feet does not have the same effect as moving hundreds of feet away. So the caveat to these recommendations is to do your best and enjoy the garden even if rotation is not practical. Good fall cleanup will help reduce pest issues and proper soil testing, fertilization and timely applications of organic matter will keep the soil in good condition.

months with the arrival of cooler weather? Answer: Cooler and cold nights are increased in frequency as we transition into fall. These cooler conditions and a frost will end the tomato season. Green tomatoes can be picked prior to a frost and stored for use by following a few guidelines. Leave them on the vine until mature or until a frost is forecast. Tomatoes will ripen off the vine but must have reached a certain phase of maturity called the ‘mature green stage.’ Look for full-size tomatoes with a white, star-shaped zone on the bottom end of the green fruit. Fruits that have not reached this stage will not keep and ripen indoors. When harvesting fruit before a frost, separate tomatoes into three groups for storage: those that are mostly red, those that are just starting to turn, and those that are still green. Discard tomatoes with defects such as rot or breaks in the skin. Place the tomatoes on cardboard trays or cartons but use layers of newspaper to separate fruit if stacked. Occasionally a tomato may start to rot and leak juice. The newspaper will keep the juice from contacting nearby or underlying fruit. Store groups of tomatoes at as close to 55 degrees as possible until needed. When ready to use bring the tomatoes to room temperature and the fruits will ripen in about a week to 10 days.

STORE TOMATOES Question: I had my best tomato crop in years. Is there an easy way to store the fruits into the fall

CAUTION USING SAND AS SOIL AMENDMENT Question: Why can’t I use sand to improve my garden bed? It just

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seems natural that this material will help break up the areas of heavy, poorly drained clay soils. Answer: Sand is sometimes suggested as an amendment material for clay soils. However, there is good reason to be cautious about using sand. In order for sand to be effective in breaking up clay soil, sand grains must touch one another so there are pore spaces between grains that can hold air and/or water. If the grains do not touch, the clay fills in all the voids between the sand particles leaving no room for pores. This is the same principle used to make concrete and the result is somewhat the same. You end up making a bad situation worse. So how much sand does it take for it to be effective? Normally, we consider about 80

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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percent sand to be sufficient. So in some simple to understand terms, for each 2 inches of topsoil you would like to improve through the use of sand you will need about 8 inches of sand worked into the soil. This is impractical for an inground garden bed. Sand if mixed properly can be used as an amendment for raised beds as the soil can be mixed with heavy equipment prior to being delivered to the site. I think now you will agree this makes the use of organic matter a much better choice.

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Kansas TreeKeepers Course


he goal of Tree Keepers is to provide a corps of trained volunteers as a resource for local municipalities, school districts, and neighborhood associations in our region. Tree Keepers lead tree planting, pruning, and maintenance projects in our communities. It has been said that it requires five years to plant a tree: one hour to actually plant it, and the remainder of the time to ensure that it becomes properly established. Research has shown that the average street tree lives less than ten years due to the harsh conditions of the urban environment. While local municipalities are responsible for the preservation, protection and maintenance of all city trees, economic realities have limited the ability of some communities to provide adequate attention to young trees. Small and newly planted trees have the highest mortality rate and therefore need

the most help; committed Tree Keepers are able to address these needs. Tree Keepers receive training in environmental awareness and basic arboricultural principles. Through twelve hours of classroom time and six hours of outdoor training, participants learn about tree identification, site suitability, proper planting techniques, after planting care and pruning. Session details Thursday, Oct. 2: 6-8pm Introduction to Trees Instructor: Kim Bomberger, Forester, KS Forest Service Thursday, Oct. 9: 6-8pm Urban Soils and Basic Tree Biology Instructor: Lynn Loughry, Horticulture Agent, Wyandotte County K-State Research and Extension



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Saturday, Oct. 11: 9am-noon Tree ID Field Day Instructor: TBD Thursday, Oct. 16: 6-8pm Planting Instructor: Sarah Crowder, City Forester, City of Overland Park Thursday, Oct. 23: 6-8pm Pruning Instructor: Jared Lind, Park Supervisor – Forestry and Landscape, City of Shawnee Saturday, Oct. 25: 9am-noon Planting & Pruning Field Day Instructor: Jared Lind, City of Shawnee Thursday, Oct. 30: 6-8pm Tree Problems Instructor: Dennis Patton, Horticulture Agent, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Course cost: $50 pp – includes manual and handouts. All sessions will be held at the Shawnee Parks & Recreation “Shop” located at 12321 Johnson Drive, Shawnee KS 66216. The field sessions will take place on the same grounds (all tools will be provided). If you have questions, please call Noelle Morris at 816-561-1061 ext. 115 or email Noelle.Morris@ and she’ll be happy to help! If you cannot attend all the sessions, you can make them up at a later date (at no charge)!

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In addition to classroom instruction, the Tree ID and Pruning classes have two Saturday outdoor field sessions for hands-on learning. Classes are taught by trained, certified and experienced foresters and arborists, including staff members from the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Kansas Forest Service, the Extension services of the University of Missouri and Kansas State University, local counties and municipalities and local tree care services. Although it presents a great deal of in depth information, Tree Keepers is not intended to be a substitute for professional certification. Graduates are asked to volunteer 24 hours to HTA, primarily in the care for young trees on public property in the Kansas City region. Those who donate 24 hours become designated as Tree Stewards. For more details about Tree Keepers, see

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Rose Report

Charles Anctil


remember way back to the 1930s and ‘40s my mother would throw coffee grounds on the garden. What do coffee grounds have to do with growing roses, annuals, perennials, vegetables, and the like? Coffee grounds are free! Think of all the Starbucks, Wendy’s, McDonalds and others in the Kansas City area who throw away pounds and pounds of coffee grounds on a daily basis. Coffee grounds are packed with good nutrients, reduce soil compaction, improves aeration, decreases insects breeding in the soil and increases the production of worms! Worms! Worms! Worms! Worms love coffee grounds because of their small particle size, moisture retention and their ability to grow micro-organisms. Happy worms make happy plants. For more information, find a copy of the July-August 2014 American Rose magazine, pages 65-66. This article first appeared in Vol. 18, issue 2 (Summer/Fall 2012) of KATnips, a publication of the

Tenarky District of the American Rose Society – Mary Bates, Editor ( KatnipsSummerFall2012-3pdf. pdf). Alfalfa: nitrogen fixing legume, mulch, green manure. I usually use 12 cups of pellets in 32 gallons of water – let it ferment for a week – and boy what a stink! I will add either Mushroom Stuff or Fish Emulsion, sometimes both. Blooms seem to be larger, nice thick canes, and dark green leaves. The plants seem to be more vigorous. The source of the special effect of alfalfa is a substance called triacontanol. It is a fatty acid alcohol which occurs naturally in the waxy surfaces of the plant leaves. Triacontanol is not a fertilizer, but a growth stimulating substance. I usually use one cup of pellets in the fall before mulching and again in the spring after uncovering. Get your iPad out and do a little research for more information. Until next time…works for me…might work for you….

Gardeners Gathering

The Land InstituteInternationally Famous and Locally Obscure Thursday, Oct 16, 6:30pm


he Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: “The Land Institute-Internationally Famous and Locally Obscure” Thursday October 16, 2014, 6:30 p.m. with featured speaker Josh Svaty at Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Mo. The Land Institute is working to reverse the antagonism between agriculture and nature. Using nature as the standard, Land Institute scientists are developing perennial mixtures that can produce food in harmony with the wild. Healthy, natural prairie ecosystems provide the information to direct our paths – information we in large part disregarded when we chose the agriculture of annual grains some ten thousand years ago. Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information, call 816-665-4456.

Charles Anctil has been an active Rosarian since 1958, Kansas City Rose Society, ARS Judge Emeritus, ARS Master Consulting Rosarian. If you need help, call him at Moffet’s Nursery, St. Joseph, Mo., 816-2331223.

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Photos by Iralee Barnard.

Blue grama


Little blue stem and Zebragrass

Sideoats grama

Beauty and Diversity with Grasses By Iralee Barnard


eople in the central U.S. are discovering the attractiveness, durability, and versatility of ornamental grasses. Grasses are being used more and more frequently in home and business landscape designs. Their adaptability and subtle beauty make them perfect companions to traditional

flowering plants and woody specimens. Besides looks, grasses add a dimension of motion and sound to your landscape. The gentle waving motion of their thin, graceful leaves rippling in the breeze is pleasing, and their feathery blooms are incandescent in the sunlight. The

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are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Grasses hold interest all year and are quite dramatic in the winter landscape when they change to hues of red, burnt-orange, or yellow, providing a great winter garden accent. The flower heads are excellent for drying. The North American prairie, with its unique blend of grasses, is one of the world’s richest and most beautiful landscapes. Prairie plants are native to this area, and many are well suited to landscape and garden use, even in the most urban of settings. The advantage of planting locally native grasses is that they are well adapted to the climate, requiring less water, surviving drying winds, droughty conditions, cold winters, and hot summers. They are also attractive to wildlife. Seed heads feed song birds. Some butterflies are specialists to particu-

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soft rustling sound of the grasses is very peaceful and changes with the seasons. Grasses are easy to grow. Fall is a good time to select and plant ornamental grasses. Each grass species has its own unique form. They may be open and airy, upright and contracted, or arched and waving. Grasses are available in a wide range of height, spread, color, textures, and flowering times. They can be planted randomly, meadowstyle, or formally for a contemporary look. Most grasses prefer full sun and well-drained soil, but there are woodland and wetland species as well. Once established, grasses require very little care. Perennial grasses should be cut back to within 3-4 inches in early spring before the new growth starts. If clumps become large, they may be divided and replanted during winter or before spring growth begins. They


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Prairie dropseed

lar grass species, requiring those grasses to survive. There is a wide variety of native prairie grasses from which to choose. Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is a short, narrow-leaved grass with eye-brow heads held aloft on thin, wiry stems. This grass will do well in the driest part of the garden. Blooming late in the season, Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) has a graceful, stately look. Feathery, golden plumes top the bluish-green foliage. Prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) grows tall and likes moisture. It is good for rain gardens or at pond edges. Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a compact bunchgrass 2-3 feet tall. It holds its bluegreen color until fall, when it turns a pinkish-red with silvery white seed heads, remaining showy all winter.

Flower stems of sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) rise above the one-foot high foliage and have oatlike spikelets that dangle uniformly from one side. Switchgrass (Panium virgatum) is a large grass. Its beautiful, airy seed heads look dazzling against a dark background. Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) grows 2-3 feet tall and forms a fountain-like mound about 18 inches in diameter. This grass has an elegant look. Missouri Department of Conservation’s Grow Native! and Kansas Native Plant Society are good places to find information about where to buy native grasses. Don’t overlook planting ornamental grasses in your landscape! Iralee Barnard is a retired Botanist and author of the new book Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.


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October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener


Black Bat Plant

Eye Ball Plant

Above: Hardy Orange; Below: Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Pearl’

Above: Love Lies Bleeding; Below: Black-eyed Susan

Below left: Snake Palm; Below right: ‘Dracula’ Orchid


The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

Spooky Plants for the October Garden

Tracy Flowers


ctober is the climax of garden drama in Kansas City. Saturated fall colors and fun textures ring in the last hurrah before frosts and cold weather set in. Along with the cheerful blooms of chrysanthemums, dahlias and pansies, there are some plants that bring out the spookier side to the garden this month. Plants with dark and mysterious foliage can be paired with more traditional flowers to achieve a special effect. Anne Wildeboor, Horticulturist at the Overland Park Arboretum is a fan of using unique plants to create interesting textures and combinations in the garden. She says, “I love the ornamental Pepper ‘Black Pearl’ with its dark foliage and shiny black fruit.” If you are looking to decorate your haunted house she suggests Pennisetum ‘Vertigo.’ “The dark color is great. One year we had an early frost and they turned grayish and a little limp.” On their post-frost texture she adds, “They looked a little ghost-like.” Wildeboor also recommends Spilanthes, also known as the Eye Ball Plant, to complete a fall look. Spilanthes are dark-leaved annuals that creep along the ground and the blooms look like kooky yellow and red eye balls peeking out of the garden. These garden wonders sporadically re-seed in the garden and spooky eyeballs will pop out around the garden in surprising places. David Bird, owner of Bird’s Botanicals, knows all about spine-

tingling garden thrills as he runs his business out of a cave. In that underground lair he grows hundreds of beautiful orchids, as well as many unique succulent plants. Succulents are known to have many different textures and shapes that seem out-of-this world. Among the spikes, twists and oddballs succulents have eerie names like gummy worms, hobbits and

culture for these creatures of the night. Brent Tucker, Powell Gardens Horticulturist, has a passion for tropical plants, but sometimes it is the unusual plants that make the most memorable specimens. Tucker loves the Black Bat Plant (Tacca chantrieri), a tropical from Southeast Asia. He says, “It has an awesome flower that resembles a bat with long whisker-like

Bleeding Heart gollums. David recommends the Haunted Tree (Euphorbia platyclada). “It looks like a dead tree, perfect for people who kill plants, because it looks dead all the time.” What David is really known for are his orchids. One orchid genus ‘Dracula’ has an appropriate name for this time of the year. He grows the species ‘vampira’ as they are the blackest of all of the Dracula orchids. Bird describes them as “having many hairs on long triangular petals and they look like a fungus to encourage pollinators.” The cold, damp conditions of Bird’s orchid cave are the perfect

October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener

tails.” These extraordinary flowers can get up to 12 inches across and the tails can be up to 30 inches long. Another tropical that can slither its way into your garden is the Snake Palm (Amorphophallus konjac). Tucker is impressed by this member of the philodendron family. He says, “These bulbs flower first with a 3-foot tall, blood-red flower that puts out the most disgusting odor of rotting flesh.” He also mentions how the plant gets its common name, “After flowering, the bulb produces a stalk that looks like snake skin with a canopy

of leaves. What a great oddity of nature.” Horticulturist Duane Hoover, of the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, is also a fan of plants that have unusual and disgusting names. Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) tops his list because, “it has a great performance in our summer heat as well as the unusual texture of the blossoms. Also, the seeds are favored by the birds in the garden.” Speaking of bleeding, Hoover also adores Bleeding Heart (Dicentra or Lamprocapnos spectabilis). “Often if our summer isn’t too hot, the foliage will turn a bright yellow later in the season.” The ferny yellow leaves add great texture to the garden. For added texture he also likes the Hardy Orange, (Poncirus trifoliata) also known as The Flying Dragon. “The stems stay green most of the winter and create a bold silhouette,” he says. There are also citrus fruit that persist into the winter. The birds don’t bother the fruit as they are very bitter. The midwest native, Blackeyed Susan is a fall favorite of Hoover’s. He says, “What an ugly name for such a beautiful flower that comes in many shapes and sizes.” Like many Kansas City gardeners, he appreciates their tolerance of our hot summers and their ability to reseed for enjoyment for years to come. Some plants have spooky names or an unusual appearance, but don’t let that stop you from planting them in your garden. You might just get the chill of a lifetime! Tracy Flowers is on the Horticulture staff at Powell Gardens and she works at The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. You may reach her at 816-932-1200. 15

Fall Classes at Powell Gardens

seed collecting, pumpkin sculpting and more Native and Garden Seed Collecting 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 25 Learn the basics of collecting, storing and starting native plants and hard-to-find garden perennials. You will harvest seeds (weather permitting) and prep seeds for germination. Take home seeds to start for spring plus a lot of useful information. A portion of this class is outdoors so wear walking shoes and bring sunglasses and sun block. $24/person, $17/member. Registration required by Oct. 20. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Great Pumpkin Sculpting Workshop 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26 Come craft a jack-o-lantern that will be the talk of the town this

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Halloween. You will shape and sculpt a 3-D pumpkin face that looks as great unlit as it does lit. Choose a grimacing ghoul or a happy jack design. Each participant will leave with a completely sculpted jack-o-lantern and a set of carving tools. Tips on extending

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the life of your carved pumpkin included. $49/person, $42/member. Registration required by Oct. 20. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Herbalicious Holiday Meal 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 8 This year make the holidays special by incorporating fresh herbs and taking a new twist on old favorites. Bring your appetite! During this class, you will get to sample at least three dishes that will delight your taste buds and change the way you cook your holiday dinners. A handout with recipes is included. $35/person, $29/member. Registration required by Nov. 3. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at

Make a Pysanka Ornament 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 15 Pysanka are colorful, rich in symbolism and beautiful when used as Christmas tree ornaments! Make a pysanka ornament using an egg, beeswax, dyes and a kitska (the writing tool). All supplies, ribbon hanger and instructional materials provided. Create one pysanka egg-ornament in class, and take home the kitska so you can create more pysanka ornaments at home! $39/project, $35/member. Registration required by Nov. 10. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Gourd Birdhouse and Ornament (Ages 6 & up) 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 22 Using a dried, cleaned and pre-drilled birdhouse gourd, you will paint and decorate a perfect abode for a bird. If you want to give it as a gift, a gift bag will be included. As a bonus, paint a miniature “birdhouse” gourd to use as a tree ornament or to attach to the gift bag. Please dress for messy creativity and painting. $39/project, $34/member. Registration required by Nov. 10. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses.

Saturday, Sept. 27 doors open at 9:30 a.m. program begins at 10 a.m.

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A Male Monarch flaunts his orange and black wings.

Pesky orange Oleander Aphids frequently infest Milkweeds, Quinces and Roses.

The Large Milkweed Bug, wearing his black belt. The similar Small Milkweed Bug wears a black heart.

Milkweed Bug nymphs dine exclusively on the pods so they don’t compete with Monarch caterpillars.

Orange and Black: Not Just for Halloween Lenora Larson


hy is the Halloween season painted with the colors orange and black? Historians tell us that the ancient Celtic tribes celebrated the autumn harvest with the orange of pumpkins and fall leaves. And their late October ‘Festival of the Dead’ was marked with cats, witches and warlocks cloaked in somber black. When Christian missionaries arrived, the two celebrations were combined to become “All Hallows Eve”, now Halloween, the night before All Saints Day on November 1st. Coincidentally, orange and black are also the colors of Milkweed diners. Mammals and birds do not eat

Milkweed because of the poisonous cardiac glycosides, although evil rabbits may chomp off and discard a newly sprouted seedling. However, several insects relish Milkweeds and are unpalatable to predators because they ingest the cardiac glycosides and become poisonous themselves. These insects all wear orange and black during at least one stage of their life cycle. This color combination serves as a warning to possible predators, “You’ll be sorry if you eat me!” Where do the colors come from? The Milkweed diners eat the green plant material and metabolize the molecules to form their own tissues, including the pigments of the caterpillar, chrysalis and adult. The orange and black colors of these very different insects are another example of convergent evolution, i.e., different species independently evolved the same solution to a life problem. The classic example:

butterflies, birds and bats separately evolved wings to fly. This is no Halloween trick or treat because these insects are not playing tricks. The orange and black coloration clearly tells predators, “we are not a treat.” On the other hand, many butterflies mimic the Monarch’s orange and black to

fool potential diners. Very tricky. Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardener and Kansas Native Plant Society member, Lenora Larson gardens and hosts butterflies in the cruel winds and clay soil of Paola, Kan. She may be contacted at

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Recycle Garden Products


hen fall arrives, gardeners are in cleanup mode. Pruning perennials, raking leaves, and collecting other garden debris are typical tasks in preparing the garden for winter. Once those chores are done, it’s time to organize the tools and garden products. The gloves and clippers, lopers and handsaw all find their proper homes. You can’t help but notice an old bag of fertilizer, a pesticide bottle that is unrecognizable, and an out-of-date can of insect repellant. Where are you going to put those? If these types of products are accumulating in your garage or

garden shed, disposing of them can be a challenge. Pesticides, fertilizers and other garden products are considered household hazardous waste like paint, bleach and mothballs, and should not be added to regular trash. Products like these must be disposed of properly. RecycleSpot is greater Kansas City’s one-stop spot for recycling information. There you will find what materials can be recycled and a list of collection facilities near your address. Take care of your home and environment by proper recycling. Check it out at


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Botanical Biergarten Comes to Overland Park


f you enjoy an ordinary beer on your own patio or deck but are interested in knowing what interesting beers are out there, you are going to love the brand new beertasting event at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Early fall will be in the air when Friends of the Arboretum (FOTA) hosts The Botanical Biergarten on October 11 from 6 to 10 p.m. This very large party in a very large garden will feature beer tasting, music, food and fun. According to Event Coordinator Katharine Garrison, “We will have mostly seasonal beers, featuring something for everyone—fruity ales, heavier stouts and light lagers.” The normally quiet Gardens will be rocking to the sounds of Kansas City’s premier party band, Lost Wax, while party goers enjoy appropriately German food. From

the chefs at Whole Foods Market of Overland Park will come Apple Chicken Bratwurst, German Pork Bratwurst and an Apple Sage Field Roast Vegetarian Bratwurst, along with bread from Farm to Market Bread Company and German Potato Salad. Tickets are $50 per person or $90 per couple and can be purchased online at Reserve yours now, as ticket numbers are limited. Everyone will take home a souvenir beer tasting glass. Sponsors of the event are Standard Beverage Corporation and Whole Foods Market of Overland Park. For more information contact Katharine Garrison at Katharine., or call the Arboretum at 913-685-3604. The Arboretum is located about 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway on 179th Street.

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Proper Care and Feeding of Newly Seeded Lawn Peter Orwig


r. Rodney St. John wrote about fall seeding back in August. Hopefully, many of you have taken advantage of cool September temperatures to touch up your lawns; if not, there is still time. A general rule of thumb is to seed up until the middle of October; seeding a little late in the fall is likely to be more successful than spring seeding. Water is VERY important to new seed. In fact, failing to water accurately is the number one reason seed fails. You should water newly seeded areas at least once day for the first 3-4 weeks, so that the ground is kept continually moist. For weeks 4-6, water every other day. Six weeks after seeding, you may be able cut back to watering twice a week until temperatures start to drop drastically. You should plan to water over winter on days when temperatures are above freezing and we haven’t received much moisture from Mother Nature. (Those of you with automatic sys-

tems – this means you will have to drag out a hose and sprinkler to water manually). Speaking of automatic systems, if you have one that hasn’t been inspected recently, make sure you move through it zone by zone to make sure you are watering evenly. If your system misses spots, you will notice that seed does not germinate in these areas. This is because the seed was able to dry out due to lack of water. In general, turf-type tall fescue seed should germinate in approximately 5-10 days, provided you have been watering. Sometimes seed germinates faster, in as little as 3-4 days, and sometimes it takes a little longer – as much as two weeks. How fast seed germinates depends on soil temperatures as well as watering. You may need to mow your lawn yet this fall, including newly seeded areas. Wait until seedlings are 3” tall before mowing and mow at 2” with a sharp blade. Be very careful when attempting to control broadleaf weeds – new grass is tender and you don’t want to harm it while trying to get rid of weeds. Wait to attack weeds until the young grass is well-established. More than likely, you put down a starter fertilizer with your grass

seed. This is great! Fertilize again approximately 6 weeks later with a complete fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A final fertilizer treatment is made late in the season after top growth has significantly slowed or stopped. The grass will still be producing food (carbohydrates through the process of photosynthesis) but due to the colder temperatures, be unable to consume that food making leaf tissue. The unused carbohydrates will be stored in the grass plants over the winter. In the spring, you will notice your lawn greens up faster than the lawns of those who didn’t winterize, and

your new grass seed will be on full display. As fall progresses, you will have one more factor to contend with – falling leaves. Use a leaf blower or mow leaves with a bag attachment (if the grass is at least 2 inches tall) to get them off the lawn. If leaves are allowed to pile on the lawn, they will suffocate your new grass and you will have dead spots this spring. Leaf cleanup isn’t strictly a fall affair. If leaves fall later than usual, or wind blows stray leaves from here and there into a pile on your lawn, take care of it right away. New grass just will not survive winter under a ‘blanket’ of fallen leaves. Seeding your lawn can take a lot of work. Protect your investment by not skimping on the aftercare, and don’t forget to water, water, water. If you have a few spots where the seed didn’t come in as well as you were hoping, you can touch up in the spring. However, seeding large areas of your lawn in the spring takes even more diligence and even more water. Peter Orwig is an agronomist with Ryan Lawn & Tree. He can be reached at 913-381-1505 or at


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Identify Weeds for Better Control

Leah Berg


n this year of good rainfall and moderate temperatures, many annoying weeds grew vigorously along with desirable crops! A week of out of town travel or keeping up with deadlines indoors allowed the enemies to surround the plants we care about. Often depressing to tackle alone, it’s more fun working with a friend to liberate a bed of perennials or annuals from the competitors. My close gardening buddy and I talk and brainstorm while we pull weeds together, and feel satisfied viewing what we accomplish. The big pile on a tarp after just an hour of teamwork boosts our morale!

Some people feel satisfied after ironing or vacuuming carpets or mowing turf. Others may see and appreciate the instant results of these activities. I prefer pulling weeds to housework, especially when it’s quiet outside with birds conversing in the background. It’s important to know which weeds require special treatment to control, whether individuals tackling them at home or a professional grounds manager. Certain weeds have developed resistance to chemicals that previously controlled them – similar to antibioticresistant strains of bacterial infections in humans. Pre-emergent chemical applications help in certain parts of the landscape, and mulching works well in others. But increasingly, many people choose to minimize chemical use, especially where growing food by organic methods. Vegetable and fruit growers producing for farmers markets or CSA

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This is just one variety of ragweed common in this area. (Consumer Supported Agriculture) members, home gardeners and volunteers for community gardens use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods as well as preventive plant health care strategies to reduce problems ever developing. The IPM method stresses using the least toxic methods first, with chemicals as the last resort. Examples of mechanical control include hand-pulling or using hand tools like a simple pronged dandelion digger. Learning to tolerate a certain percentage of pests is also part of the equation, whether weeds or insects. Effective controls rely significantly on the ability to identify the weed species and understand growth habits. Read chemical labels to determine effectiveness on particular species, and follow time-sensitive and temperaturesensitive guidelines. Many gardeners can’t name the weeds they recognize. Sometimes

that doesn’t matter, but it does backfire at times if the usual control method does not work. One example where hand-pulling is not recommended concerns a nuisance commonly called “nutgrass” (not a GRASS but actually yellow “nutsedge”) that thrives in moist sites and in years with ample rainfall. While discussing a new landscape bed at the Kansas City Zoo in August with horticulture manager Crystal Broadus-Waldram, we noticed a nearby zoo volunteer with helpful intentions reaching down to pull a clump of nutsedge. We startled her by simultaneously saying “Don’t!” and then explained that this weed usually persists with small pieces that break off from the main stalk at the base below ground. These unseen pieces often called “nutlet” may survive in soils for several years, germinating most actively in moist heat.

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Pre-emergents and broadleaf weed control chemicals typically used in mowed turf area do not control this species: Cyparus esculentus, not a grass. A specific chemical product does the job best (sold under product names like SedgeHammer® that reflect its design to work on the SEDGE species). The selective product will not damage the desirable turf fescue or bluegrass in the area. We can use NON-selective chemicals like Round-up® to kill all the herbaceous plants in a hopelessly overgrown area, or when intending to convert a turf area to a vegetable garden. Desirable plants nearby need protection from any non-selective chemicals. The Master Gardener hotlines and county extension offices in our region help assist in weed identification and advise best methods for control. An interesting and helpful feature to browse is the “Wild Thing of the Week” which also leads to alphabetical listings of common regional weeds and other pests with several images for each: http://

• • • • • •

The University of Missouri Plant Sciences division developed a very useful weed identification “app” for mobile devices, perfect for use in the field. A section of their website offers a browsing library of images plus written descriptions to help determine what species might be in a landscape: http://weedid. Other top herbaceous offenders this year include crabgrass, johnsongrass, prickly lettuce, broadleaf plantain, chickweed, henbit and several varieties of ragweed. The lists include woody species like poison ivy and assorted re-seeding trees. Skim the weed ID lists and notice plenty of species sometimes planted on purpose! The old saying endures: “Weeds are just plants showing up in places you don’t want them.” Some have value to wildlife, and some are beautiful – but “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” also holds true. Leah Berg is a landscape designer with a conservation emphasis. She also teaches at MCC-Longview. To consult privately, contact her at 816-353-7170.

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Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

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Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Wild plum (Prunus americana)

8-12 Feet; Red, tube-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds. Sun to shade. Medium growing. 10-15 Feet; White flowers in March/April before trees leaf out. Pt. shade. Slow growing. 15-25 Feet; Host plant to zebra swallowtail butterfly. Shade to pt shade. Medium growing. 10-20 Feet; Pink flowers March/April. Prefers well-drained soil. Sun to pt shade. Fast growing. 10-15 Feet; Fragrant creamy-white flowers April/May. Sun to pt. shade. Slow growing.

8-12 Feet; Blue berries eaten by birds in summer. Shade to pt. shade. Medium growing. 15-20 Feet; Orange clusters of fruits a favorite food of birds. Sun. Medium growing. 8-12 Feet; Yellow fragrant flowers October/ November. Pt. shade. Medium growing. 15-20 Feet; Narrow, upright small tree. Pt. to full shade. Medium growing. 10-15 Feet; Host for red-spotted purple and tiger swallowtails. Sun to pt. shade. Fast growing.

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October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener

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74th & Prospect, Kansas City, MO


Club Meetings African Violets of Greater Kansas City Tues, Oct 14, 6-8pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Bonsai Society of GKC Sat, Oct 4, 9am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Workshop. 816784-5300 Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society Sun, Oct 26, 1-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America Mon, Oct 6, 8:30am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300. Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Wed, Oct 8, noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st St and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Benjamin Aaron of the Prairie Soap Company will speak on herbal soaps. Visitors are welcome. Luncheon will be served so please call for reservations at 913-592-3546.

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Made in the Shade Gardens 16370 W. 138th Terr., Olathe, KS 66062 Please call for appointment:


Fri (3-7pm), Sat (9am-4pm), Sun (1-4pm) Tour our extensive shade gardens

Greater Kansas City Iris Society Mon, Oct 13, 6:30pm social, 7pm meeting, 7:30pm program; at Trailside Center, 91st and Holmes. 2014 National Iris Convention photos presentation. Contact Debbie Hughes at dhughes936@gmail. com for additional information. Independence Garden Club Mon, Oct 13, 6:30pm; at the Sermon Center 4th floor, corner of Truman and Noland Rds, Independence, MO. Our speaker will be Keith Wheeler. He will have a slide show on making hypertufa containers. Refreshments will be served and visitors are welcome. For more information please call 816-3731169 or 816-812-3067. Visit us

at our website Kansas City Cactus and Succulent Society Sun, Oct 19, 1-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership meeting. 816-784-5300 Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group Tues, Oct 14, 7pm; at Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N 1100 Rd. We explore all aspects of an herb: growing and harvesting, historical lore, culinary virtues, medicinal merits, and aromatherapy, household, and cosmetic applications. Our gatherings are fun and educational, and jam-packed with useful information, including relevant demonstrations. Everyone with an interest in herbs is welcome. There is a $2 charge to cover costs (KVHSG is a non-profit group; no charge for students). No pets. Nursing babies and children over 10 are welcome. herbstudygroup@ Leawood Garden Club Tues, Oct 28, 10:30am; at Leawood Presbyterian Church, 2715 W 83rd St. About noon, Elaine Giessel will present How the Urban Gardener Can Help Save the Monarch Migration. Ms. Giessel is a Biologist, Master Naturalist, Master Composter and active in the Sierra Club. The meeting is open to everyone and guests are most welcome. Bring a sack lunch – beverages and desserts provided. For more information, please visit our website www.leawoodgardenclub. org, send an email to or call 913642-3317. Lee’s Summit Garden Club Tues, Oct 14, 7-9pm; at Winterset Park Community Center, 2505 SW Wintercreek Dr, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081. Attracting Birds to Your Backyard by Ardys Stone of Wild Bird Center in Independence. Refreshments will be provided, visitors are always welcome. Visit or call 816-540-4036 for additional information.

The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

Mo Kan Daylily Society Sun, Oct 5, 11am-4pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 Northland Garden Club Tues, Oct 21, 7pm; at Sherwood Bible Church, 4900 N Norton, Kansas City, MO (just south and west of Penguin Park). This month will feature a presentation on “Forcing Bulbs for Your Winter Enjoyment”, by our members Dee West and Vicki Schwickerath. Please check website for additional information: Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Sun, Oct 12, Beginners Group starts at 1:30pm. General meeting and presentation at 2:15; Lenexa Senior Center, 13420 Oak St, Lenexa, KS. Francisco Miranda, “Brazilian Orchids Habitats, the Amazon.” Open to the public. Overland Park Gardeners of America Mon, Oct 13, 6:30pm; a special tour of the greenhouses at Farrand Farms in eastern Kansas City. Farrand Farms, while known for all of their quality plants, are prominent growers of Pointsettias. They fill their greenhouses every year with an unimaginable array of colors, shapes and sizes of these beautiful Holiday flowers. We will meet in the Colonial Presbyterian Church parking lot at 71st and Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS and carpool to the greenhouses. All are welcome and we encourage the public to join us for this event. For further information please contact Sallie Wiley 913-236-5193. Sho Me African Violets Fri, Oct 10, 10:30am-2pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Membership. 816-784-5300 South Johnson County Garden Club Thurs, Oct 16, 6pm; at Rolling Meadows Garden Center, 12501 W 151st St, Olathe, KS. Meetings are relaxed, fun with a friendly group of fellow gardeners. Cost is $15 for the rest of the year. Meetings include a topic for discussion and light refreshments. Email jennah. turner@rollingmeadowslandscape.

com to RSVP your spot, or call 913-897-9500.

Events, Lectures & Classes October Attention Peony Lovers Sat, Sep 27, Doors open at 9:30am Program begins at 10am; at Sylvester Powell Community, 6200 Martway, Shawnee Mission, KS. Come explore the most admired tree peonies from Nassos Daphnis, And the Peonies of Europe and The Mediterranean. A program presented by world renown Swiss peony expert Walter Good. Sponsored by Heartland Peony Society. Open to the public. FREE admission. Landscape Re-Design and Rehabilitation Thurs, Oct 2, 11:30am-1:30pm; in the Sunflower Meeting Room, Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1208 N 79th St, Kansas City, KS. Does your current landscape need a make-over? Has it grown out-of-control? Do you want a change? Jamie Hancock, horticulture specialist from K-State Shawnee County Extension, will give a 2-hour presentation on $5.00 fee. Registration not required. Sponsored by the Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners. You are welcome to bring your lunch. Call 913-299-9300 for more information. Fall Rose Demo Sat, Oct 4, 10am-noon; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Time to Wind Down your Roses, presented by Judy Penner. Sponsored by Kansas City Rose Society. Public welcome. 816-784-5300 Lake Lotawana Homes Tour Sat, Oct 4, 10am-5pm; We hold Homes Tours every two years and typically have six houses on tour, different from previous years. Boats rides are available for Homes Tour from 10am-4pm and depart from the Marina Grog and Gallery. Tickets $15. Ticket information contact: Rita Goppert 816-5784344. General information contact: Natalie Byard 816-730-9007. GeoArboretum Sat, Oct 4, 10-11:30am; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Adults $5; Children $5 -

Kids Invited to Discover Burr Oak Woods Babes in the Woods: Backdoor to Bethany Falls October 7 • Tuesday • 10–11 AM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (babes under 36 months) Don’t miss out on the fun! Hike out with your little one to one of the most popular trails in Kansas City. We will meet at the Nature Center. Don’t forget your camera! Conservation Kids Club: Batty about Caves October 7 • Tuesday • 6:30–8 PM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (ages 7–13) Caves are dark and full of adventure. The truth they tell is as incredible as the legends that have been created about them. Discover this fantastic hidden world in the Burr Oak Woods portable cave! Little Acorns: Habitat Sweet Habitat October 8 • Wednesday • 10–11 AM or 1–2 PM October 25 • Saturday • 10–11 AM Registration required at 816-228-3766 (ages 3–5) What do we call neighborhoods that animals live in? Habitats! We will learn about the different habitats of Burr Oak Woods and what animals live in each one. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center 1401 NW Park Rd., Blue Springs MO 64015 816-228-3766 For more information, email


Fall vegetables • Playgrounds • Jumping Pillow • Wagon rides • Farm animals

2 mazes included in admission

Adult Season Pass available for $15. Perfect for grandparents!

HUGE FARM GROWN 3 GALLON MUMS Visit early for best choice: 3/$30.00 or $10.99 ea.

Plants & Pumpkins Check our website for fall hours, events, and specials. 177th and Holmes 816-331-1067

(continued on page 24)

October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener


October brings Scarecrows, Harvest Celebration and GLOW, a new Jack-O-Lantern Festival


all celebrations at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, begin the first weekend in October when antique tractors rumble in for the annual Harvest Celebration, which includes the antique tractor, engine and equipment show, a scarecrow display, an art gourd exhibit, a children’s pedal tractor pull, pumpkin painting and more. The fall fun continues with a beer dinner in the Heartland Harvest Garden and the introduction of GLOW: A Jack-O-Lantern Festival. The details: Harvest Celebration & Antique Tractor Show Preview Day: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3; Festival Days: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4-5 This fall festival offers a slice of vintage Americana with an array of antique tractors, engines and other farm equipment, hayrides, tractor parades, an alpaca exhibit, children’s pedal pull and barrel train rides. On Saturday, Oct. 4, the festival features a concert by The Knobtown Stragglers from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Missouri Barn. On Sunday, Oct. 5, the Garden Chef Series concludes for the season with demos by cookbook author Beth Bader and Cody Hogan Weir, chef de cuisine at Lidia’s. Festival pricing applies on Saturday and Sunday: $12/ adults, $10/seniors and $5/children 5-12. Three-day passes are available for $15 per person and may be purchased at the gate. Scarecrows in the Garden 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1-31 View the results of Powell Gardens’ annual Scarecrow Contest and vote for your favorite icon of autumn throughout the month of October. Show Me State Gourd Society Display 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4-5 Admire a variety of carved and painted gourds and chat with some of the artists who


created them at this display inside the Visitor Education Center during the Harvest Celebration. Missouri Barn Series Beer Dinner 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12 The series of seasonal dinners served by guest chefs in the open air Missouri Barn concludes on Oct. 12 when chefs Mickey Priolo and Rick Mullins of Gram & Dun present a sevencourse dinner served with local brews from Boulevard Brewing Company. Chefs Priolo and Mullins have served up innovative and delicious menus around Kansas City for the last two years, working together in the kitchens of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Bluestem while preparing pop-up dinners and treats on First Fridays at MOD Art Gallery. The duo embraces unique and playful flavor combinations with seasonal, farmfresh ingredients. Tickets are $90 or $80 for members. For reservations visit powellgardens. org/October12Dinner or call 816-697-2600 x209. GLOW: A Jack-O-Lantern Festival 6-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19 GLOW: A Jack-O-Lantern Festival debuts the weekend of Oct. 18 and 19. This spell-binding experience features more than 700 jack-o-lanterns, making it the largest display of its type in the Kansas City region. Festival-goers will follow a jack-o-lantern-lit trail through the Gardens, encountering costumed characters and incredible carved pumpkin displays along the way. The evening also includes face painting, crafts, storytelling, hayrides and more. Food and drink will be available for purchase. For more details and tickets, visit or call 816967-2600 x209.

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

(continued from page 23)

Arboretum Admission FREE this weekend. Bring the entire family out for a fun-filled adventure at the Arboretum! Find out why over 5 million people throughout the world hunt for containers, called geocaches, using hand-held GPS devices. Brief classroom presentation followed by a search for two geocaches. Adult presence required for ages 13 and under. Preregistration required. For more information contact Katharine Garrison at Katharine.Garrison@, or call the Arboretum at 913-685-3604. 10th Annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour Oct 4 and 5. 27 farms in 6 counties. A self guided tour to meet local farmers and visit farms. More information and tickets at www. Watercolor Workshop: Greeting Cards Sat, Oct 11, 9:30am-3:30pm; at Powell Gardens. Using watercolor techniques, you can create your own greeting cards. Learn painting techniques and methods for reproducing your work from a skilled professional from the greeting card industry! References and demonstrations provided. You may bring your own references for ideas. We will keep the paintings simple so you can create a variety of designs for your cards. All skill levels are welcome. $45/person, $39/member. Registration required by Oct 6. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. Infused Vinegars, Oils and Butters Sat, Oct 11, 10am-noon; at Powell Gardens. Using herbs, fruits and more, you will learn how to make flavorful infusions and how to use them in recipes. This class will review (and taste test) several infusions that are easy to prepare and use as toppings, in baking and even in grilling. Learn about the fresh herbs that you can grow, harvest

and use to accentuate your cooking in new and unique ways. Taste several infusions and leave with recipes. $35/person, $29/member. Registration required by Oct 6. To register call Linda Burton at 816-697-2600 ext. 209. Or register online at AdultClasses. KC Walk for Farm Animals Sat, Oct 11, 11am-2pm; at Theis Park. Early adult registration is $15 and event-day registration will be $25. Children under 18 are FREE. Check in time is at 10am and Walk will start at 11am. We will have live music and an array of vegan food to sample after the walk from Mean Vegan Products to Door to Door Organics. This is a family event and dogs are welcome. Walking events are held each year in cities across the United States and Canada raising vital funds for Farm Sanctuary. For more information: KC Walk for Farm Animals Facebook page Hallow FUN FEST Sat, Oct 11, 10am-3pm; at Rolling Meadows Garden Center, 12501 W 151st St, Olathe, KS 66062. Pumpkin painting, scavenger hunt, games, goodies and more. Come and join us for a fun filled day with the family and enjoy special event promotions! Botanical Biergarten Thurs, Oct 11, 6-10pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 1/2 mile west of 69 Highway on 179th St. $50 one reservation; $90 two reservations. Purchase online at Featuring over 10 craft beer varieties, including limited time winter seasonals. Enjoy the gardens while you sip from your complimentary souvenir tasting glass and listen to Kansas City’s premier party band Lost Wax. Thank you to Standard Beverage Corporation for their generous support. Event will occur rain or shine! For more information contact Katharine Garrison at, or call the Arboretum at 913-6853604.

The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

The Color Autumn Mon, Oct 15, 1-3pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, ? mile west of 69 Highway on 179th St. FREE FOTA members; $3 non-members. This presentation emphasizes autumn color for both native and non-native trees and plants. You will learn how the trees start and change during the season. Ken O’Dell, our native plant specialist, will lead this spectacular class. Preregistration required at Gardeners Gathering Thurs, Oct 16, 6:30pm; at Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO. The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present: “The Land Institute-Internationally Famous and Locally Obscure” with featured speaker Josh Svaty. The Land Institute is working to reverse the antagonism between agriculture and nature. Using nature as the standard, Land Institute scientists are developing perennial mixtures that can produce food in harmony with the wild. Healthy, natural prairie ecosystems provide the information to direct our paths - information we in large part disregarded when we chose the agriculture of annual grains some ten thousand years ago. Free and open to the public. No registration required. Door prizes. For further information call 816-665-4456. New Moon Walk at the Arboretum Fri, Oct 17, 8-10pm; at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. FOTA members - Free; $3 non-member - Adult; $1 nonmember (6-12). New moon walk! Star gazing, nighttime sights and

sounds, bring the family and flashlights. No pre-registration necessary. Honey Harvest Sat, Oct 18, 9:30-11:30am; at The Gardens at Unity Village 150-B NW Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO (1/4 mile west of the Douglas/ Colbern intersection). Rick Drake, resident beekeeper, returns to provide a fascinating hands-on workshop on the history, harvesting and many benefits of raw, local honey. Attendees help extract the honey and go home with their own jar of golden goodness. Cost: $15.00 ($5 to Gardens members). Call 816-769-0259 and leave a message to make a reservation, check for workshop updates, etc.

November African Violet Club of Greater Kansas City Annual Judged Show and Sale Sat, Nov 1, 9am-3pm & Sun, Nov 2, 10am-3pm; at Loose Park Garden Center, 51st Street and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. Info: Fred and Pat Inbody, 816-373-6915; E-Mail:

December Winter Wreath Workshop Fri, Dec 5, 6-9pm; at Rolling Meadows Garden Center, 12501 W 151st St, Olathe, KS 66062. Get some of your friends and join us for a festive Holiday get together! We will assemble a beautiful winter wreath to enjoy throughout the season. Snacks, drinks, and creative design assistance will be provided. Preregistration is required. $45 for the class; due by 11/29 to ensure your spot. Limited availability. Sign up soon. 913-897-9500

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

E-Mail: Deadline for November issue is October 5.

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Weather Repor t

Avg temp 60° Avg high temp 69° Avg low temp 48° Highest recorded temp 98° Lowest recorded temp 17° Nbr of above 70° days 16

Clear or Cloudy Avg nbr of clear days 13 Avg nbr of cloudy days 11

Rain and Snow Avg snowfall 0 Avg rainfall 3.0” Avg nbr of rainy days 8 Source:

From the Almanac Moon Phases First Quarter: Oct. 1 Full Moon: Oct. 8 Last Quarter: Oct. 15 New Moon: Oct. 23 First Quarter: Oct. 30 Source: Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac

October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener

Highs and Lows

Plant Above Ground Crops: 2, 3, 6, 7, 23-26, 29, 30

Plant Root Crops: 10, 11, 14, 15

Control Plant Pests: 17-21

Transplant: 2, 3, 6, 7

Plant Flowers: 23-26, 29, 30



garden calendar


• Recommended mowing heights for bluegrass and tall fescue in the fall are 2 to 3 inches. • Core aerate if not already done to help loosen heavy clay soils and break down thatch. • Fertilize now if not already done so once this fall. • Dandelions, henbit and chickweed are easy to control in the fall, treat as needed. • Sharpen mower blade if it is not making a clean cut. • Rake leaves as they fall to avoid winter suffocation on turf. • Seeding this late will usually give poor results.


• Fall is an ideal time to plant tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs. • Clean up faded annuals. • Trim perennial stems to tidy garden and keep disease and insects in check. • Pot bulbs for winter forcing. • Dig tender bulbs such as glads, dahlias, and cannas and store in a cool, dry place over winter. • Update the garden journal for successes and failures while somewhat fresh in your mind. • Take advantage of fall sales and plant new perennials. • Divide overgrown perennials.


• Plant new trees and shrubs. • Water establishing plants over the winter during dry spells. • Seedlings of trees and shrubs can be safely transplanted once dormant. • Prune damaged and dead wood from trees and shrubs.

• Wrap the bases of young trees and shrubs to protect from rabbits. • Rake leaves and compost, or use as garden mulch. • Remove tree stakes if in place longer than one year.


• Store unused seeds in a cool, dry location. • Pick up and discard fallen fruit to reduce disease and insects for next year. • Fall planted garlic gets a jump over spring planted. • Dig sweet potatoes and cure for a week or two in a warm location then store for winter. • Harvest peanuts and roast. • Harvest apples and pears and store for winter use. • Store winter squash and pumpkins in a cool, dry place. • To prepare for next spring, till garden soil to help control insects and disease. • Make notes of successes and failures. • Soil test and make improvements.


• Begin long night treatments for poinsettia re-blooming. • Check plants for insects and treat as needed. • Wash dust from leaves by placing in a shower or wiping with a damp, soft cloth. • Reduce or stop fertilization over the winter months. • Keep plants away from hot and cold drafts of winter.


• Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers for winter. • Spruce up the compost pile for winter by adding new materials promoting decomposition. • Clean, sharpen and oil garden tools for winter storage.

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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Free Estimates 913-208-7364 The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

Check out the October Garden Giveaway!

Professional’s Corner

A flat of cold hardy pansies


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

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

GARDENER A Monthly Guide to Successful Gardening

For convenient mail delivery, complete the form below and send with your check for $20.00. You will receive a one-year subscription to The Kansas City Gardener. Name: Address: City, State, Zip: Phone: E-mail: Where did you pick up The Kansas City Gardener? Please enclose your check payable to The Kansas City Gardener and mail with this form to: P.O. Box 8725, Prairie Village, KS 66208 The Kansas City Gardener is published monthly Jan. through Dec.

October 2014 / The Kansas City Gardener

General Manager at Kat Nurseries in the Northland, Matt Nelson encourages gardeners to plant a diverse landscape. Name: Matt Nelson Company: Kat Nurseries Job title: General Manager (Kat Northland) Describe the type of operation: The Northland location is a wholesaler of quality plant material. Wholesale prices for the retail public: Although 95% of our business is with Landscape professionals, we offer a membership similar to Costco or Sam’s Club at the Northland location which allows individuals to purchase at a wholesale rate. Cost of a membership is $75 for 2 years. Members will receive access to our catalog as well as seasonal specials. Selection of available plant material: We sell B & B trees, container trees, specialty conifers, evergreen and coniferous shrubs, grasses, perennials, groundcovers, ferns, a limited selection of annual color, edging, Lodgepole tree stakes, weed mat, and pine straw mulch. What inspires you in the green industry? The need for better diversity in our plant palette. As landscape professionals we need to do a better job educating people about the need for a diverse landscape. As the Emerald Ash Borer takes hold in the Kansas City area, I ask myself what happens when we have a pest or disease that affects Red Maples or Burning Bush or Boxwood? What’s your favorite garden destination: Having been away from Colorado for the better part of a decade, I think I finally have the mountains out of my system. The subtle beauty of the native grasses and wild flowers in the Flint Hills have really started to grow on me. What’s hot in plants this year? Anything columnar especially Taylor Junipers which is the closest thing we have to an Italian Cypress. Blooming shrubs with a small footprint like Little Devil Ninebark and Lil’ Kim Rose of Sharon. Also Red October Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii ‘Red October’) which is my new favorite in the ornamental grass category. Little known secret: I passed up a career as a model to pursue horticulture. Contact information: 5840 NW Prairie View Rd., Kansas City, MO 64151; 816-912-2810; (really a great resource);; Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 8am-4pm, closed Sunday. 27



Great Spring gardens start in the fall. Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, and more. PLANT them NOW !



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135th & Wornall 816-941-4700

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

105th & Roe


The Kansas City Gardener / October 2014

KCG 10Oct14  
KCG 10Oct14  

spooky plants, grasses, weeds, seeded lawn, birds