KC Gardens

Answering your gardening questions from asters to zoysia

Julie Robinson starts seed library to facilitate home gardens

Julie Robinson is the manager of the Ruiz branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Robinson is heading up a new seed library program that allows patrons to “check out” packets of flower, herb and vegetable seeds and, at the end of the growing season, “return” seeds collected from the plants they grew.

A kickoff event is 2 p.m. May 3 at the Ruiz branch, 2017 West Pennway. Star reporter Mike Hendricks and his wife, Roxie Hammill, authors of “Mike & Roxie’s Vegetable Paradise,” will talk about growing food in an urban setting. This conversation took place at the library.

How did you get the idea to start a seed library at a book library? Are you a gardener?

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By CINDY HOEDEL. 3 days ago

How late can I plant florabunda roses this spring?

How late can I plant florabunda roses this spring? We are having our house painted the last week in May, and my husband thinks we should wait until after the painters are finished so they don't get paint on them, as the flower beds that they will be planted in are right up against our house. Also, how often do I feed/fertilze them once I get them planted? - Lisa


Roses should be planted as early as possible in the spring, but you have a special situation. I would wait to put in the rose until the house is painted. You can plant a container grown rose almost any time, but special care should be taken to prepare the bed, mulch and provide adequate water all season long. When you plant the rose, use a starter fertilizer. Here is the link to the KSU bulletin on rose care, which includes more information, including the fertilizing schedule: Click here. Good luck. - Carole-Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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4 days ago

What are these plants growing in my butterfly garden?

These plants are growing in my butterfly garden. I'm not sure what they are, and don't remember them from last year. Any ideas? (I might have a native type of liatris planted there, but have had for several years, and don't remember these leaves.) –– Debbie


From the photo it would appear that the plants growing are a common weed called Prickly Lettuce. It appears to have a leaf structure of the seedling stage. If you want you can leave it a few more weeks and sees what develops. If it’s no acceptable to the garden then remove it. It does not look like liatris. Dennis – Johnson County Extension

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4 days ago


We've changed locations on the web. You can find us now at http://www.kansascity.com/gardens/. Or to click a link, go to:

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6 days ago

Dennis says: Now is the time to start pruning your roses

Roses have long been a popular plant in the landscape. The use of roses has changed dramatically over the last 10 to 20 years as we have moved from growing the large flowering hybrid teas to the easy care shrub roses. No matter what type you grow both types benefit from proper pruning in the early spring, just as growth is starting.

How you prune roses really depends on the type of bushes you have. I am going to make it simple and break it down into two groups. (Sorry consulting rosarians, but I want to use the KISS approach.) The two types are the larger flowering hybrid tea types and the newer landscape shrub roses.

For the traditional types such as hybrid teas, grandifloras or floribundas, we start by removing any tissue that has been damaged by the winter conditions. Make the pruning cut at least 1 inch below the black discoloration so that the live tissue remains. Once the deadwood is removed it is now time to shape the bush. Remove pencil size canes to the ground. These small shoots will not develop nice flower buds.

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April 8

Gardeners, get ready to start your tillers as the chance for last freeze approaches

If your green thumb is getting itchy, be patient.

The median last freeze date is fast approaching. But while warmer days are coming, the National Weather Service in Kansas City warns on its Facebook page that “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

For most of the cities in the Kansas City area, the median date of the last freeze falls between April 11 and April 20, based on temperatures from 1981 to 2010. In Kansas City, the date is April 11. For Kirksville and Sedalia in Missouri, it’s April 20, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

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April 8

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About the Blog: Send us your questions

Kansas City can be a challenging area for gardeners and homeowners with lawns and landscaping. We're here to help with resources, advice and answers. Email us questions at kcgardens@kcstar.com and you'll get answers from Johnson County Extension Master Gardeners and other experts.

Our bloggers

Dennis Patton
Patton is a Johnson County Extension horticulture agent and majored in horticulture at Kansas State University. He calls himself a plant geek and says his own garden is one of dreams and hope. Patton enjoys perennials and says if he had the time, hecould envision a large vegetable garden.

Carole Brandt
Brandt has been a Johnson County master gardener since 1990 and works on the Master Gardener hotline, which gives her an opportunity to research a great variety of garden questions and learn from all the people who contact her.

Craig Nienaber
Nienaber is a Star Metro editor and author of “Flower Gardening in Kansas City,” a book that profiles more than 20 of the area’s best gardeners. Each year, he tries to make his Shawnee yard a little bit better and keep it from backsliding.