I love the French gardens that are being sold at garden centers to decorate graves for Memorial Day. Before we take a solemn pause Monday for that holiday, the weekend offers prime gardening and garden-related events. Some of the events start with breakfast Saturday morning, so it’s time to get cracking.
Breakfast is only one thing for sale Saturday as the Wichita Hosta Society has its shade-garden version of Herb Day — a new event called Hostapalooza — from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Unusual items along with hostas can be purchased, and growers from Arkansas and the Kansas City areas will be here to give talks. See more details below.
Don Buma, Botanica’s first director, is in town for the gardens’ 25th anniversary celebration. If you’d like to stop by and see him, you can do so from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Botanica. Admission will be charged only if you’re going out into the gardens.
And you should, especially on Monday: Botanica is opening its butterfly house for the season on Memorial Day, and the Bugs and Balloons husband-and-wife team from New York will perform at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on the Terrace. The wife makes woven insect costumes, and the husband makes balloon art. Other events during the day: sidewalk chalk, caterpillar crafts, butterfly education and butterfly tattoos. Oh, and real butterflies, of course. Hot dogs, popcorn and beverages will be for sale. Botanica is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Monday, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Botanica is among 1,500 attractions across the country taking part in Blue Star Museums, offering free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Wichita Art Museum also is among the number.
Check out the farmers markets for locally grown and baked picnic supplies. The Old Town market at First and Mosley has free coffee from the Spice Merchant this morning at the information booth in the center of the market (goes great with cinnamon rolls from baking vendors, the market points out).
The market also will have a dance floor for dancing to the Midian Jazz/Swing Band from 10 a.m. to noon, and a chef’s demonstration at 9 a.m. tended by Paul Freimuth, executive chef of the Harvest Kitchen at the Hyatt Regency. A commuter clinic about bicycling in Wichita will be at the “bike cave” near the information booth at 9 a.m., and activities for kids will run from 9 to 11 a.m., including story time at 9:30. The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon.
In between events, pick up mulch at the garden center — it’s warm enough to mulch tomatoes, K-State tells us, and it’s a task that should be done — and buy any plants that you need. Apparently we’re not going to get that late freeze of May!
On Sunday, it’s time for a day of rest, and Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open for an afternoon concert by Grammy winner Tim O’Brien, formerly of Hot Rize. Gates open at 3. The show starts at 4. Pack a picnic or buy barbecue from the Lyon’s Den or Tuscan cuisine from Luciano’s. No dogs are allowed. Tickets are $10 at the gate.
The Wichita Hosta Society will sell hard-to-find hostas during Hostapalooza on Saturday, and there will be shade and hosta companion plants and caladium plants for sale, along with hypertufa and papercrete containers and stands, Joann Ryan’s Metal Mamas garden sculptures, a birdhouse vendor with a twist, mosaic pots and fairy garden components.
Here is the speakers schedule:
• 8:15 a.m.: Ferns – Perfect Companions for Hostas, by Wichita grower Duane Petersen
• 9 a.m.: Papercrete and Miniature Landscapes, by Lee Coates, grower, writer and speaker from Highlandville, Mo.
• 10 a.m.: Hypertufa and Keith’s Amazing Stands, by Keith Wheeler of Kansas City, Kan.
• 11 a.m.: Japanese Maples, by Lee Coates
• Noon: Cool Hostas for a Hot Summer, by Rob Mortko of Made in the Shade Gardens in Olathe.
The Kansas Grown farmers market will be going on in the parking lot from 7 a.m. to noon.