Gardener’s almanac

08/10/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2013 2:34 PM

More snake-plant blooms — After one reader wrote me about his blooming snake plant, Judy Rasmussen wrote to tell me about her experience: “I have eight snake plants I inherited from my grandmother in 1980. Most of them have bloomed every year for at least the last 20 years. I don’t know if they ever bloomed for her. I didn’t even know they had a bloom. This year there were six of them which just finished blooming. They produce a very sweet smell. I keep them outside on the north side of the house in the summer and move them into my glass atrium for the cold months. I also keep my geraniums and other supposedly ‘annual’ plants in the atrium and they bloom all winter. It’s great to look past the blooms and see the snow falling.”

I think I need an atrium!

Plant — Carrots, broccoli, endive, cauliflower, kale, beets.

Bitter cukes — Bitter cucumbers can have a number of causes, including heredity, moisture, temperature, soil characteristics and disease, Ward Upham of K-State says. Sometimes just the stem end is bitter, and sometimes the whole cucumber is. Newer varieties can be better tasting. Otherwise, be sure that you control diseases and insects; have well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 and plenty of organic matter; mulch; and provide adequate water, Upham says.

Hard-core tomatoes — Right up there with bitter cucumbers is the tomato whose core is hard. JetStar tomatoes when stressed have a tendency toward the condition, Upham says; again, newer varieties are less likely to do so. Often, only the early tomatoes on a plant are affected, and later ones are fine.

Garden events

Chinese night market — Botanica will have a new event, the Chinese Night Market Festival, on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. The festival, based on nighttime markets in China, will be a benefit for Botanica's planned Chinese garden and will feature 15 vendors offering Asian food, entertainment including dancers, and arts and crafts. The cost is $7, or $5 for Botanica members. Children 12 and under get in free.

Daylily hybrizer talk — Daylily hybridizer Nan Ripley of Walk About Gardens in Iowa will be in Wichita on Sunday to talk about her hybridizing. The Wichita Daylily Club is sponsoring her visit, and the public is invited to her program from 2 to 4 p.m. at Botanica. Admission to the talk is free. An auction of Ripley’s registered daylilies will follow the program.

Cactus show at Karma — The 16th Annual Rare and Exotic Cactus Show and Sale is this weekend at the Plant Shop at Karma Konnections, 1123 E. Douglas. The “cactus guru” from Midwest Cactus will be on hand to answer cactus- and succulent-related questions, to show rare cactuses from his collection and to sell smaller rare and exotic cactuses. There will be free refreshments and a free starter cactus for children. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Daylily meeting — The Wichita Daylily Club will have its monthly meeting at 6:30 Monday at Botanica. It will be the club’s birthday meeting and will start with a potluck dinner. There will also be a Chinese auction of plants.

Tree talk — A member of the Derby Tree Board will give a talk Monday at the meeting of the Derby Garden Club. The role of tree boards and suggestions of trees to plant in this area will be part of the talk. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Derby Public Library, 1600 E. Mulberry. The public is invited.

Program on winterizing roses — You read me right. The Wichita Rose Society will have a roundtable discussion on preparing roses for winter at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Botanica. Rosarians Norma Kemp, Bob Burrill, Betsy Latta and Don Suderman will lead the discussion about preparing roses for the first hard freeze of the season, and the public is invited to attend and bring any questions about roses. Admission to the meeting is free, and there will be a meet-and-greet with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

Coneflowers and Cuba Libre — That’s the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m Tuesday at Botanica. Wayne Long and Arthetta Faye will provide live music on the Terrace, and food and drinks will be for sale. Admission is $7, or $3 for Botanica members. The gardens are open until 8 p.m.

Saturday Sampler on eggplant — You can learn about growing and cooking eggplant at the Saturday Sampler with extension agents from 9 to 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at the Extension Center demonstration garden, 21st and Ridge Road. The program is free.

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