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Annie Calovich: Daffodils equal spring

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 7:46 a.m.

When daffodils don’t bloom

When daffodils don’t bloom, there can be any number of reasons, according to the American Daffodil Society. They include:

• A lack of nutrients. Bulbs may need a slow-release 5-10-10 fertilizer (too much nitrogen benefits foliage, not flower). But don’t feed them now, feed them when foliage emerges next spring.

• Bulbs are competing with other root systems.

• Bulbs lack good drainage.

• Bulbs have a virus.

• Bulbs have suffered bad growing conditions the previous season.

• Bulbs need dividing. Find more details at www.daffodilusa.org/daffodils/blooming.

After daffodil bloom

When bloom time is done, daffodil foliage yellows and browns, a look that is not attractive but is necessary. This four- to six-week process helps the plant manufacture food for next year’s flowers. Much of that food is transported to the bulb below ground. Removing, braiding, rubber banding or tying the foliage interrupts that important process because it limits the amount of green that is getting sunlight. An easy disguise is to interplant daffodils with hostas, coral bells, lilies and other perennials that leaf out in early spring.

Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Spring brings so much joy.

I tried to be upbeat about this past winter – for the first time ever – and it helped. It really did.

But once the sunshine started washing over green grass, yellow daffodils and pink cherries, I had to wonder where we got the fortitude to get through the short, cold, dark days.

No need to worry about that again for a while.

But, in contrast to last year, when Botanica had to start its extended hours in March in order to give people access to all the early blooms, this spring is a little more normal. (I hesitate to throw around the term “normal” very much anymore, because nothing ever seems normal, but we have to have something against which to measure the current weirdness.) Botanica waited until April to start extended hours (the gardens are now open until 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.), and, while daffodils are smiling all over, the tulips are just opening up.

Botanica landscape supervisor Pat McKernan said that the ornamental pears seem to be a bit early in blooming over the past week, but fescue overall seems a bit slow on the green-up around town.

While the sun is constantly coaxing more tulip flowers out of their buds, Pat expects them to be at their peak at Botanica around midweek. We have some chances for lots of wind and rain before that, though. More rain – can you believe it?

In the meantime, Saturday brings Tree Fest and a daffodil show, the return of the farmers market and the Harvey County Home & Garden Show in Newton, and the Tulips, Fairies & Friends event at Botanica. On Sunday, Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open for a bluegrass concert.

Throw in an important basketball game Saturday evening, and I’m not sure exactly when I’m supposed to start on my income taxes.

Tree Fest

Tree Fest will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Extension Education Center, 21st Street and Ridge Road. It will feature free seminars and demonstrations; vendors from around the region selling trees, plants, garden-related supplies and services; tours of the arboretum on the grounds; and a pancake and sausage breakfast for $4. Sharpening of garden tools will be available for a fee. Admission is free.

Here are the times and topics of seminars and tours: 8:15 a.m. – Protecting Your Trees From Drought, by extension agent Bob Neier; 9 a.m. – Proper Planting Techniques, by Gary Farris, arborist for the city of Wichita; 9:30 a.m. – Coffee, Compost & Chocolate; 10 a.m. – Drought Tolerant Trees, by Jason Griffin, director of the K-State John C. Pair Horticultural Center; 10:45 a.m. – tree-planting demonstration on the grounds; 11 a.m. – Pruning Trees, by master gardener Danny Oliver; 11:30 a.m. – arboretum walking tour; 12:15 a.m. – walking tour of the Riparian Woodland Nature Trail on the grounds.

A Saturday Sampler program on growing and preparing salad greens will be from 9 to 10 a.m. in the demonstration garden.

Farmers market

The Kansas Grown Farmers Market opens for the season from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Extension Center parking lot at 21st and Ridge Road.

Daffodil show

A rainbow of daffodils in all forms and sizes will be on display Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Minisa Park Shelter Building, 704 W. 13th St. Admission to the Wichita Daffodil Society show is free.

Tulips, Fairies & Friends

The fairy-house entries have been coming in for Botanica’s Tulips, Fairies & Friends event, which continues this Saturday and next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On tap this Saturday: performances by the Wichita Children’s Theatre on the Terrace patio at 11 a.m.; performances by Magic Mama (“organic hip-hop and world beats” with an ecological bent) at 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. in the children’s garden; crafts in the children’s garden, making musical percussion instruments from around the world using recycled materials; and a tulip scavenger hunt.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12.

Harvey County Home & Garden Show

Garden seminars, home and garden vendors, a farmers market, an art show, door prizes, and a magazine and book sale will be part of the Harvey County Home & Garden Show on Saturday and Sunday at the National Guard Armory, 400 Grandview, in Newton. Admission is $1, free for children 12 and younger. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Kids can attend a gourd-birdhouse-making class at 2 p.m. both days, and there will be a youth butterfly garden class at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Here is the seminar schedule for Saturday: 9 a.m. – Frustrated With Fescue? by Butler County extension agent Larry Crouse; 10 a.m. – Beautiful Plants That Need Less Water, by Scott Vogt of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston; 11 a.m. – Hellebores: The Gardeners Dream Plant, by master gardener Helen Pauls; noon – Soup It Up! (how to grow, freeze and use produce to make soup), by master gardener Gerre Brown; 1 p.m. – Attracting Bees and Butterflies, by Kay Neff of Neff Family Farm; 2 p.m. – Planting a Succulent Dish Garden, by master gardener Lisa Barland; 3 p.m. – Watering Plants and Not Your Sidewalk, by Riley County extension agent Greg Eyestone; 4 p.m. – Fantastic Fragrant Shrubs, by Riley County extension agent Greg Eyestone.

And the seminars on Sunday: 1 p.m. – Plant Mafia! (plants that are incompatible), by Lee Llammas of Harvest Greenhouse and master gardener Becky Freund; 2 p.m. – Landscaping for the Birds, by Geary County extension agent Chuck Otte; 3 p.m. – Hummingbirds of Kansas, by Geary County extension agent Chuck Otte; 4 p.m. – The Coolest Way to Compost! by Harvey County extension agent Scott Eckert.

Bartlett Arboretum concert

Rhonda Vincent, the “queen of bluegrass,” will perform at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine at 4 p.m. Sunday. Gates open at 3 p.m., and the tickets are $10. You can also buy a season ticket to all 10 Treehouse Concerts at the arboretum this year for $75. More information: bartlettarboretum.com.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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