Gardener’s almanac (March 2)

03/02/2013 7:39 AM

03/02/2013 7:55 AM

Don’t work wet soil – I’d love to hold all this snow moisture in the soil for a long time. But eventually we’ll want to plant in it. And then you should test it to be sure it’s dry enough. Working soil while it is wet destroys its structure, creating clods that may not break down all summer, Ward Upham of K-State says. Do this test to see if the soil has dried enough: Take a handful of soil at the depth you plan to work and squeeze. It water comes out, it’s much too wet. If it’s not dripping, push a finger into it. If it leaves an indentation, you still need to wait. If it crumbles instead, you’re good to go.

If you know that you are going to be planting a tree, you may want to work the soil as soon as it is dry enough, then cover it with a tarp if rain is forecast near the planting date, Upham says.

Garden events

Outdoor Living and Landscape Show seminars – The latest version of the garden show continues this weekend at Century II, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Here is the schedule of seminars for the two days, including several for gardening in drought:


11 a.m., “Starting Seeds Under Lights: Confessions of a Seedaholic,” by master gardener Charlene Schneider; noon, “Water-Wise Landscape Techniques,” by extension agent Bob Neier; 1 p.m., “Saving Water by Using a Rain Barrel,” by Peter Daniels of Wichita Rain Barrels; 2 p.m., “Exciting New Annual Flowers,” by Rita Arnold of Arnold’s Greenhouse; 3 p.m., “Exciting New Perennial Flowers,” by Rita Arnold of Arnold’s Greenhouse; 4 p.m., “Trash to Treasure for Unique Planters,” by Larry Rogers of Stone Creek Nursery; 5 p.m., “Annuals for Color,” by Dan Parcel of Kaw Valley Greenhouses; 6 p.m., “Growing and Using Chiles,” by Johnson’s Garden Centers.


Noon, “Container Gardening,” by master gardener Peggy Griffith; 1 p.m., “Saving Water in the Landscape – It’s Easier Than You Think,” by Kay Drennen, environmental water specialist for the city of Wichita; 2 p.m., “Growing Great Roses,” by Don Suderman, Cindy Vadakin and Diana Jones of the Wichita Rose Society; 3 p.m., “Critters of the Great Plains,” by Joyce Lent and Patty Marlett of Great Plains Nature Center.

Gathering for Gardeners – Hutchinson’s annual day of free garden seminars, Gathering for Gardeners, will be March 9. As the drought threatens to continue and the city of Wichita contemplates watering restrictions, these occasions are great places to get gardening questions answered for various scenarios.

The Hutchinson Horticulture Club sponsors the Gathering of Gardeners at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 407 E. 12th St. just west of the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and you can come and go as you wish to the talks. Here’s the schedule:

9 a.m., Compost Happens, by James Taylor, retired instructor at Hutchinson Community College; 10 a.m., Plants That Need Less Water, by Scott Vogt, director of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston; 11 a.m., Top 40 Prairie Star Annuals for Color, by Alan Stevens of K-State; 1 p.m., Most Common Plant Problems, by Ward Upham of K-State; 2 p.m., Container Gardens – Succulents, Flowers and More, by Ben Miller of Stutzmans Greenhouse; and 3 p.m., Curb Appeal – Landscaping Your Front Yard, by extension agent Bob Neier.

"Landscaping Do This, Not That" rescheduled – Janet Gordon, horticulturist at Botanica, will lead a garden workshop from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Botanica that has been rescheduled from this week because of the snow. The city’s park and recreation department is offering the “Landscaping Do This, Not That” event to look at common mistakes people make and ways to avoid them. Gordon will cover areas including design, planting, pruning and weed control. Bring a picture or sketch of the area you would like to improve if you want. The cost is $15. Make reservations by calling 316-268-4361.

African violet meeting and sale – The Wichita African Violet Study Club will have its monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Friday in the Fireside room at Botanica. The discussion will be about plans for the club’s annual African violet sale, which will be March 10 at Botanica from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until plants sell out. The meeting and sale are open to the public. Come early to the sale for best selection. Award-winning grower Carol Rice of Bartlesville, Okla., will have some of her prize-winning standard African violets in the sale. The club’s Patty Daniel of Patty’s Plants and Antiques will have her award-winning miniatures and streptocarpus for sale as well as African violets.

Vertical gardening talk – The lunchtime lecture at Botanica on Wednesday will be about vertical gardening, presented by master gardener Susan Holewa. It’s at 12:15 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.

Tree lecture rescheduled – Community forester Tim McDonnell will give his winter lecture on “Trees You Should Plant in Kansas” on March 12 at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. The talk has been rescheduled from this week because of the snow. The lecture will be at 6:30 p.m., with an optional soup supper preceding it at 6 p.m. in the Visitors Center. The cost of the lecture is $2; supper and the lecture are $7. Call 620-327-8127 by noon on Monday before the Tuesday lecture for supper reservations.

Fairy house competition – Botanica will have a contest for best fairy house or gnome home made out of natural materials. The entries will be displayed during the Tulips, Fairies & Friends event in the Downing Children’s Garden from March 23 to April 13. Entries are due by April 12. For more information, go to the website, e-mail or call Gabby Brandt at 316-264-0448, ext. 110.

Prairie-Inspired Art Symposium – Area artists will present and showcase their work at a symposium March 9 at the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. Each artist will give a brief presentation of their art, and works will be on display and for sale.

The artists: Paul Friesen, primitive pit-fired pottery; Gail Lutsch, Stephen Perry and Bob Regier, printmaking; Matthew Richter, painting; Jim Griggs and Mark Feiden, photography; Bill McBride and Steve Murillo, sculpture; Conrad Snider and Terry Corbett, ceramics; and Lorna Harder, botanical illustration.

There will also be an opening of a pit-firing by Paul Friesen and painting demonstrations throughout the day by Cher Olsen, Matthew Richter and Joe Loganbill.

The cost is $45, $35 for arboretum members, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Seating is limited. Register early by calling 620-327-8127 or e-mailing For more information, go to the website

Project Beauty luncheon – Project Beauty’s March luncheon will be at 12:30 p.m. March 21 at the Spiritual Life Center, 7100 E. 45th St. North. The speaker will be Lon Smith, executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum. Guests are welcome and can make reservations by calling June at 316-744-0792 by March 18. Cost is $17.

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