It’s Pollinator Month and More

I just learned today that June is National Pollinator Month…better late than never! It  ends on the 30th, but keeps  on going year round just always has. Here’s what it’s about.

  • Every habitat garden is step toward replenishing resources for wildlife locally and along migratory corridors.

  • By adding pollinator and monarch friendly plants when you certify your wildlife garden with National Wildlife Federation, it also gets counted towards the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

To learn more, go to;

And as promised, MORE.

Transcript: Harvesting and Storing Onions

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If you look at these, you ‘ll see that over half of them have fallen over. That means that they are ready to harvest. All you have to do in order to harvest these is to grab one, pull it up, and clean it off a little bit. If you have one where you’ve lost the top and it’s completely gone, then you can use a hand trowel to dig it up.

Then, transport it to a place where they can dry out. You’ll want to make sure that those tops are completely dry before you put them into permanent storage. That will take a little while, so you’ll need a place that is shaded and a place that is relatively cool with good air movement. So, I’m going to put them on the side of a building. If it’s going to rain, I’ll move them inside. They’ll be fine outside as long as they are shaded well. And, as soon as the tops are dried, you can either put the tops together and tie them together to store them that way. Or, you can put them in a mesh bag. We don’t want to put them in a plastic bag without holes. The onions can’t breathe, and it will reduce the storage quality of those onions.

Once they’re in the mesh bag, they will store for quite a while. Just keep them in a cool, relatively moist place. If you have a root cellar, that’s perfect. If you don’t, you’ll need a place that stay’s relatively cool in the house. Then, they’ll last at least six months.

If you have an onion with a soft spot, you can one of two things. First, you can cut it away and use it immediately, or you can just toss it. This is not going to store well, but the part that isn’t rotted will be fine. You need to keep it away from the other onions, because the rot organism that caused this to start to break down will pass to them. So, if it’s in one, it’s going to pass to the rest of them unless you keep it isolated.

What about this one? This is one that has bolted, or gone to seed. The energy in that bulb is going to tend to go the stalk. So, we’ll harvest it just like we do a normal bulb. Let the top dry, and then it should be the first one to use, because it’s not going to store well.

This feature story prepared with Ward Upham, Kansas State University Research and Extension Research Assistant. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at



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Mulch Madness

My apologies for the late notice…








“Mulching Mayhem: The Facts About Mulch” Wednesday June 21, 2017
Do you know the power of mulch? Prevent weeds, save water, and get 2-3 times the amount of plant growth, just by mulching! But only if it is done correctly…
Matthew McKernan, Horticulture Agent for Sedgwick County K-State Research & Extension will present an hour and half program on the power of correct mulching techniques, and help us discover how to achieve these benefits in our own yard or garden today.

This will be 1.5 hours of Advanced Education from 10:0011:30 am following our General Business meeting .*Meetings are held in the Dreher Building located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence, KS.  All General Business meetings will begin at 9am and Advanced Education programs will be from 10:00-11:00am unless otherwise noted. All programs are Free and  Open to the Public

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Back to Work

After the Garden tour, I took a few days off but now I’M BACK!..; ) Today I’m sharing info on bagworms and tomatoes…read, watch and learn.

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Do Not Over-Fertilize Tomatoes

Though tomatoes need to be fertilized to yield well, too much nitrogen can result in large plants with little to no fruit. Tomatoes should be fertilized before planting and sidedressed with a nitrogen fertilizer three times during the season.
The first sidedressing should go down one to two weeks before the first tomato ripens. The second should be applied two weeks after the first tomato ripens and the third one month after the second. Common sources of nitrogen-only fertilizers include nitrate of soda, urea, and ammonium sulfate. Blood meal is an organic fertilizer that contains primarily, but not exclusively, nitrogen. Use only one of the listed fertilizers and apply at the rate given below.

Nitrate of soda (16-0-0): Apply 2/3 pound (1.5 cups) fertilizer per 30 feet of row.
Blood Meal (12-1.5-.6): Apply 14 ounces (1.75 cups) fertilizer per 30 feet of row.
Urea (46-0-0): Apply 4 ounces (½ cup) fertilizer per 30 feet of row.
Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0): Apply 0.5 pounds (1 cup) fertilizer per 30 feet of row.

If you cannot find the above materials, you can use a lawn fertilizer that is about 30 percent nitrogen (nitrogen is the first number in the set of three) and apply it at the rate of 1/3 pound (3/4 cup) per 30 feet of row. Do not use a fertilizer that contains a weed killer or weed preventer.

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Going native


You can shop for plants while the tour is on.

Please join us for our annual Native Plant Sale this spring at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, on Saturday, June 3rd. Don’t miss this opportunity to introduce a few native pollinator and bee friendly plants into your landscape and/or garden. Plants are $4 each or 3 for $10. This sale is sponsored by the Douglas County Master Gardeners and is open to the public.

If you would like to pre-purchase plants from the sale, you may do so on Friday, June 2nd at the Extension office between 1:30 and 2:30. You will not be able to pre-order and pick up later, you must come to the Fairgrounds to purchase and take your plants.

Here is the list of plants that will be available for purchase:

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star)
Baptisia australis (Blue Indigo) Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)
Baptisia bracteate var.leucophaea (Cream White Indigo) Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower) Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Slender Mountain Mint)
Eupatorium purpureum (Purple Joe Pye Weed) Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)
Glandularia canadensis (Rose Verbena) Salvia azurea (Blue Sage)
Helenium autumnale (Sneeze Weed) Solidago speciose (Showy Goldenrod)
Heliopsis helianthoides (Ox-Eyed Sunflower) Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)
Liatris aspera (Rough Blazing Star) Zizia aurea (Golden Alexander)

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the Last Peek at the Gardens

Here are the two gardens left to be previewed. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!

When Diane and Bob Oakes moved into their home 25 years ago, they had a large sloped yard, mostly grass, with a few large trees. Water runoff was an issue. They now have a beautiful woodsy wonderland garden that takes advantage of slope and waterflow.

The unique stone circle on the front of their house is surrounded by blooms. As you stroll through the garden, notice how their cleaver use of rock and stone accents the garden. Their front, sunny yard greets visitors with lots of color. Native plants line the drive way, including native primrose, poppy mallow, tatarian daisy and native plumbago. A knock out rose and perennials provide color and work well with shrubs such as weigela, variegated euonymus, hibiscus and butterfly bush .

Then descend into the shaded side yard. The big boulders of the retaining wall create a lovely valley dropping down to an urban stream. The beds in front of the wall are planted with hosta, bee balm, snake plant and blazing star. If you’re lucky a five-lined skink may be peeking out from amid the boulders.

Enjoy the stone terraced flower beds descending along the Oakes house. This helps control water and is a pleasant stair step of blooms, planted with cone flower, black eyed susan, daisy, yarrow, peonies and indigo.

In back the Oakes have wonderful vantage points to enjoy their garden. A high deck is up in the tree tops. Listen to the lovely sounds of the urn fountain on the stone patio in the midst of the garden. Down by the stream the lower seating area looks up at the garden. When the deck and patio were built, the Oakes used the excess dirt, creating a berm to surround the patio and add height to the garden. The berm is planted with astilbe, foam flower, ligularia, butterfly balm Russian sage a and oak leaf hydrangea.

They noticed that the berm was directing the water to an area making it marshy. As Diane says, “You go to these garden workshops and get ideas and a rain garden was born!” Bob built a wall to further slow the water runoff. Native plants, such as turtle head, native penstemon, golden rod, swamp weed and bleeding heart, fill the rain garden with blooms and can handle the extra moisture.

The Oakes used native stone, ground covers and wild flowers such as Danes Rocket to line the stream to prevent erosion and give the area a natural feel. Hosta, hydrangeas, sweet spire and a mulberry tree also naturalize the area.

The one sunny area in their back yard is devoted to their vegetable and herb garden. The use raised beds, again leveling the slope. A clever use of cider blocks to makes a gate into the garden. Chives and other herbs love to grow in the blocks. Bob built a wooden dividing wall between the ornamental and vegetable garden. The wall has spaces to plant lettuce, herbs and flowers and provide a lovely, living screen.

Favorite plants:
Snow on the Mountain (Aego Podium) ground cover of verigated leaves and white flowers, a prolific bloomer
Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstromia) white elegant bush with white flowers
Purple Cone Flower (Echinaceas) long blooming, birds love it
Teucrium (Lamiaceae) hardy low impact ground cover with pretty purple flowers
River Oats (Chasmanthium) native plant, low to ground, blooms in summer

If you watch for sunny spots and other micro climes, you can grow sun loving plants in a shady garden.
Observe! Then, adjust. As you change the water flow in the garden, observe how your changes affect the garden. Observe and adjust until garden works.
Rocks are beautiful and naturalizing. They accent the garden, provide erosion control and will “grow” where other plants might not.


When Teri Guntert, a Landscape Designer, and her husband, David, began designing their garden, their goal was to keep it as natural as possible, finding inspiration on their hikes in woodland areas.

A large white pine next to the driveway, one of the first trees the Gunterts planted, marks the beginning of a stone pathway into a remarkable garden full of color, variety and surprises. Near the white pine, an upright juniper and crepe myrtle are planted with groundcovers and perennials, including pachysandra, lamb’s ear, iris, mums, false indigo, more upright junipers, and bee balm. Several varieties of sedum grow among the rocks. Many of the rocks used in the path and the rock wall came from the former Clinton town site, and were salvaged by the couple.  The Gunterts also developed the landscape design by collecting and harvesting much of the glacial rock seen throughout the garden, obtaining permission and collecting rock on many hikes near Clinton Lake and other rural properties.

Teri likes to do a lot of foundation planting, filling beds all around the house with a colorful mix of shrubs and perennials. A large ash tree provides welcome shade on the patio. A Golden Smoke tree, Tamarisk tree and climbing honeysuckle on the fence provide the backdrop for more perennials, including herbaceous and tree peonies, and a variety of Asiatic and oriental lilies, as well as daylilies. She enjoys relaxing on the patio, listening to the sounds of the waterfall and birds, and enjoying the fragrance of the lilies and calico garden of Coral Bell Collection.

The centerpiece of her garden is the self-designed and self-built waterfall with double streams feeding into a huge pond, which are home to koi and goldfish, with lotus and waterlilies blooming in the summer. Several interesting specimen trees grow near the water garden: a magnolia, several serpentine and upright conifers, and a Harry Lauder’s walking stick with its characteristic gnarled and twisted branches. Along the rear fence, lilacs and dogwoods provide privacy and a feeling of enclosure around the water garden.

In the rear of the garden, Teri has reserved space for a fruit and vegetable garden, which includes raspberries and blackberries, a red currant shrub from which she likes to make jam, tomatoes, rhubarb, herbs and other edibles with Winterberry shrubs and another Gold Smoke tree in the backdrop, mixed among the upright conifers.

Throughout the garden, Teri has artfully placed found objects, such as twisted tree limbs and interesting rocks and built numerous berms,  Peonies, roses columbine and other perennials fill the area around the shed and along the vintage iron fence and a couple of vintage water pumps. In the front of the house, a welcoming statue is accented with perennials including hostas, hollies and astilbe. Solomon’s seal grows under the windows and a tall brilliant red-flowered weigela strategically placed to anchor the northeast corner of the house while hiding the gutter and downspout. Teri says the weigela is “the most colorful attractive thing in the garden when it’s in bloom as it takes on it’s natural growth habit.  A recently planted Black Gum tree in the front yard will eventually replace the 32-year-old Bradford Pear near the curb.

“My goal is to keep it as natural as possible,” she says. “and while in and around the house, during the day and most evenings, I rarely turn music or TV on,” she says. “I prefer to listen to and watch the waterfall and birds.”



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The Tour is Almost Here

The tour is this coming weekend.

Nestled in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Lawrence is the beautiful home and garden of Larry and Jacqueline Gadt. Larry retired as a line officer in the U.S. Forest Service and Jacqueline is a retired economist from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The couple has lived in their home for 15 years and has dedicated much of their time creating a “four season” garden retreat.

Begin your tour in the front of the house. Admire the colorful curved beds lined with azaleas, barberry, dianthus and spirea. A metal sculpture of a heron invites you to explore the gently sloping side yard. Notice the beautiful tumbled river rock that simulates a creek bed and acts as a drainage trough. More tumbled stones line the side yard to keep plants safe from soil erosion.

As you step into the back yard, you will be struck by the elaborate terracing. When the Gadts purchased the home, the yard was a straight slope leading directly to the neighborhood pond. Larry and Jacqueline designed the layout of the terracing and oversaw its construction, which lasted about eight months. They continue to make changes and additions but Larry admits “I can’t really think of anything I would do differently, except maybe becoming more familiar with what plants are suitable for this area. This is mainly because we moved here from the east coast where the climate is a little different.”
Examine the upper concrete patio attached to the basement walkout. A three tiered fountain is gracefully surrounded by statuary and more spirea. The patio curves mimic the curves of the front flower beds. Descend the large stone staircase into a meticulously manicured grassy space bordered by another stone terrace. One can imagine playing a game of croquet or badminton here on a sunny afternoon. The lower wall was constructed with stone native to the property and serves as the retaining wall for an elaborate perennial and wildflower border. Farther along, the lower neighborhood pond is the perfect backdrop for the lush border.

Head back up the staircase and under the deck to see the amazing recirculating waterfall and pond. If you are lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse the resident bullfrog! This serene space is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea.

As you continue to explore, keep your eyes out for the ornate iron garden sculptures nestled throughout the property. Look for butterflies and bees in the border garden and listen to the bullfrogs in the lower pond.

Favorite Plants:
Eastern Redbud
Maiden Grass
Stewartstonian Azalea
Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Tip from Larry:
“My main advice is to be patient and if something doesn’t work the first time, try something different. Gardening is kind of a journey with a loosely identified ending point.”


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More Treasures From the Tour

More gardens to see …only FIVE days until the tour!

The large pie-shaped lot at the end of a cul-de-sac might present a daunting landscape challenge to some people, but not for Dale and Marianne Seuferling. When the couple decided to build their home 20 years ago, they had already created, and left behind a well-tended garden at their previous home.

When they moved into this home in 1996, one of their first tasks was planting a variety of trees, which now include a weeping willow, ginkgo, sunset maple, pin oak, swamp oak, river birch and several evergreen trees.

Taking advantage of the sloping front yard, the Seuferlings hired Lawrence Landscape to build a rock wall that extends the garden into the front yard, while defining and enclosing a front courtyard to accent the home’s entrance.

The Seuferling’s stylish garden is graced with many beautiful plants, including varieties of hosta, columbine, hydrangea and sedum. In the front courtyard, a viburnum is a strong vertical element in the corner with holly and boxwood anchoring the foundation planting. A dogwood tree takes center stage in front of the window and a mix of flowering perennials including hosta, iris, coralbells, and columbine are accented with an iron feature.A borderof variegated liriope lines the sidewalk leading to the front door.

The transition from the front to the backyard is smooth with a thick Vinca ground cover, Spirea , Live Forevers and Lithrum in the narrow strip separating the two driveways. Shade-loving hosta, columbine, hellebore and bleeding heart thrive in the foundation bed along the north side of the garage, sheltered by the shade of a nearby Bradford pear tree.
The centerpiece attraction of this garden is a waterfall and pond, which were added in 2014. The adjacent patio comprised of “Crystal Ridge flagstone” is the perfect place for outdoor entertaining. The rocks bordering the water garden include rose quartz, moss rock, and a distinctive meteor boulder that was found in Wyoming. Crepe myrtles and dwarf burning bushes grow on the berm behind the waterfall. Other perennials growing on the berm include coneflowers, daylilies, ajuga, varieties of sedum and ornamental grasses. The edging around the back of the pond is native Kansas limestone. Double Rose Lotus, three varieties of water lilies, bull rush, pickerel rush, Yellow Flag and Louisiana iris are some of the plants that thrive in the water garden.

The wide backyard provides ample room for garden beds, which have been enlarged, and occasionally reduced in size as trees grow and as needs and desires change. The island bed near the water garden is planted with a yellow Knock Out roses, variegated willow shrubs, peonies, boxwood, arborvitae, Baptisia “False Indigo” and purple iris “Black Gamecock”.
Along the backyard a cedar fence has 3 limestone posts and 2 limestone pillars that frame a custom iron fence section that the Seuferlings helped design, was crafted by Lawrence metalsmith Walt Hull. This section provides the backdrop for a raised bed filled with daylilies, four varieties of sedum, coral bells, perennial geraniums, giant allium, bee balm, cleome, iris and mums that bloom in the fall. The bed is flanked by two dwarf Alberta Spruce trees. Additional foundation beds next to the house provide space for more perennials and a vegetable garden, where Dale likes to grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables.

The large blue spruce on the south side of the house, which was originally obtained as a seedling from the Arbor Day Foundation, has grown 20 feet in the past 20 years.

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