Free days at Botanica _ If you don't normally visit Botanica or take the family along, you may want to take advantage of a couple of chances: free admission for everyone on Sunday in honor of Mother's Day, and the River Festival Garden Party on Tuesday. A River Festival button will get you into the gardens for the latter event.
Hours for Mother's Day will be from 1 to 5 p.m., and the garden party hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The garden party will feature music, and activities for children under 13: potting a marigold and playing Botanica bingo.
Iris show _ The Wichita Area Iris Club will have its mid-season show of irises from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the show and to the gardens will be free, thanks to the Mother's Day special mentioned above.
Mother's Day concert at Bartlett Arboretum _ Sara Hickman will perform at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine at 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10, and the gates open at 2. Barbecue will be for sale, and picnics are welcome (dogs are not allowed). For more information, go to the website bartlettarboretum.com.
Planting calendar _ Plant plants of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil and other herbs. Seed directly in the ground cucumbers, summer squash including zucchini, okra and melons.
Wind protection _ When you set transplants into the ground, the wind can do a number on them. If you want to protect them, one idea is to cut the top and bottom off a plastic milk jug or a 2-liter soda bottle and push it into the soil so it won't blow away, Ward Upham of K-State says. Still, you may need to stabilize even it with a wooden dowel or metal rod.
Purple martin houses _ Now is the best time to put up a new purple martin house, says Nick Clausen of the Backyard Nature Center at 8336 E. 21st St. The martins have started arriving in our area and will continue to do so for the next few weeks, Clausen says. At least 10 pairs of martins are building nests outside the store, and people can go by to ask questions or learn how to do a nest check.
Talk on how to garden without a backache _ Physical therapist Kathy Elston will be at the meeting of the Wichita Daylily Club on Monday evening to talk about how to garden without incurring back trouble. The public is invited. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at Botanica, and light refreshments will be served.
Container gardening talk at Derby garden meeting _ The public is invited to a container gardening program presented by Diane Dorsch at the next meeting of the Derby Garden Club. It will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the Valley State Bank Building, 330 E. Madison (north door, basement).
Plant a Row for the Hungry _ The Kansas Food Bank picked up its first garden donation of the season this week — 10 pounds of radishes. To donate fruits or vegetables from your garden, go to one of these places during business hours: Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas; Augusta Ace Home Center, 316 W. Seventh Ave. in Augusta; Brady Nursery, 11200 W. Kellogg; Hillside Nursery, 2200 S. Hillside; Hillside Feed and Seed, 1805 S. Hillside; Johnson's Garden Centers, 802 N. Ridge Road, 21st and Woodlawn, and 2707 W. 13th St.; or Valley Feed & Seed, 1903 S. Meridian.
Photography in the Gardens _ Botanica will have a photography class in the gardens from 6 to 8 p.m. May 18. Fee is $25, $15 for Botanica members. Call Karla at 316-26400448 to register.
Derby plant sale _ The Derby Garden Club will have a plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon today at the El Paso Village shopping center parking lot, 800 N. Baltimore in Derby.
FloraKansas this weekend _ The FloraKansas Great Plains Plant Bazaar continues today through Monday at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston. Hours for the plant sale are: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.