Home & Garden

Gardener's almanac

Spring in lovely layers — To drive down the streets of Wichita these days is to be on the lookout for a gorgeous flower painting around every corner. The best are redbuds, cherry trees, crabapples, magnolias and plum trees against backdrops of billowy clouds of flowering pears, fronted by pink quince, yellow forsythia and red tulips. Don't have a spring-blooming picture in your yard? Consider planting one. And if you haven't been out taking pleasure drives, consider doing that, too.

Fertilizer boost — Cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower planted around St. Patrick's Day can use a fertilizer boost so that they mature before summer heat arrives, Ward Upham of K-State says. "A sidedressing of fertilizer about three weeks after transplanting helps plants continue to grow rapidly," Upham says. "Use fertilizers high in nitrogen for sidedressing such as nitrate of soda or blood meal at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 feet of row. You may also use lawn fertilizers that have close to 30 percent nitrogen such as a 30-3-4 or 29-5-4, but the rate should be cut in half to 1 pound per 100 feet of row. Do not use lawn fertilizers that have weed killers or preventers. Fertilizer must be watered in if timely rains don't do that job for you."

Planting calendar _ Seed directly in the ground beets, turnips, collard greens, Swiss chard, carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes. Plant plants of cauliflower, rhubarb. Plant bareroot roses, trees and shrubs.

Garden events

Daffodil show — The Wichita Daffodil Society will have a sale of daffodil bulbs from 1 to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at Botanica. "Our winter weather was really conducive to producing a good crop of daffodil bloom," club member Cathy Minkler says. Admission to the show is free.

Bartlett Arboretum Centennial — The plants at the Bartlett Arboretum seem to know it's the arboretum's 100th birthday, steward Robin Macy says. Many of them are blooming this week — even dogwoods that usually wait till May. The arboretum, on the western edge of Belle Plaine, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday for the celebration, which includes the annual Art at the Arb event and Belle Plaine's Tulip Time celebration. There is a $5 donation at the arboretum, and a $2 button for activities in town.

Schedule of events at the arboretum:

Today: noon: Cherokee Maidens and Sycamore Swing; 1:30 p.m.: Swing Nouveau; 3 p.m.: birthday ceremony led by the Wichita Caledonian Pipe and Drums. A forest service sawmill demonstration and tree tours will follow.

Sunday: 10:30 a.m.: ecumenical community church service; noon: Rochelle Coba and Jerry Hahn; 1:30 p.m.: Wichita Community Concert Band; 3 p.m., Robin Macy performs "Songs From the Garden."

Barbecue will be available for sale both days, and Freddy's Frozen Custard today.

Rose pruning — The public is invited as the Wichita Rose Society prunes Botanica's roses starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Proper pruning techniques will be taught and demonstrated. Bring your pruners or loppers that need sharpening, as there will be a sharpening professional on hand to sharpen for a small fee. Light snacks will be provided.

Botanica plant-sale preview — Botanica horticulturist Janet Gordon will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the unique plant palette that will be offered by Botanica at its second annual plant sale on April 23 and 24. See photos and descriptions of the shrubs, perennials, annuals and more that will be for sale. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission. Truffles will have lunch for sale for $7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Plant-A-Palooza — Botanica is accepting reservations for its first-ever Plant-A-Palooza Plant Sale Preview Party & Rare Plant Auction. It will be from 6 to 9 p.m. April 22 and give attendees first pick of plants from Botanica's collections and local vendors. Unique species of plants will be auctioned as well. The party also will feature strolls through the gardens, gourmet picnic food, desserts, beer, wine, cocktails and live music. The cost is $30, $25 for Botanica members. Make reservations by calling 316-264-0448 by Friday.

Harvey County Home & Garden Show — The show will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the National Guard Armory, 400 Grandview in Newton. There will be speakers and a variety of exhibitors, including farmers market vendors.

Here is the schedule of talks:


50 Years of Gardening by Marilyn Jones, who owns a sheep farm in Peabody, 10 a.m.; Enabling Garden Ideas and Activities about raised beds, vertical planters, container gardens and special tools, by Richard Mattson of K-State, 11 a.m.; Rain Barrels by master gardener Diane Dorsch, noon; Identification and Management of Household Pests by Raymond Cloyd of K-State, 1 p.m.; Managing Landscape Insect and Mite Pests by Cloud, 2 p.m.; Bee Keeping 101 by Lee and Jerry Mellinger, 3 p.m.; Gardening 101 by master gardener Floyd Bartel, 4 p.m.


Welcoming Winged Garden Companions, a pictorial tour about birds and butterflies by Gregg Friesen, 1 p.m.; Garden Close-Up Photography by master gardener Cyril Brown at 2 p.m.; How Color Can Affect Your Garden Design by master gardener Tinian Bennett at 3 p.m.; Medicinal Herbs from Your Pantry by master gardener Paula Sims at 4 p.m.

Daylily meeting — The Wichita Daylily Club meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. The public is invited. The program will be a Bobbie Brooks PowerPoint presentation of Gardening Design Using Daylilies.

Derby club meeting — Herbs will be the subject of the next meeting of the Derby Garden Club, at 7 p.m. Monday at the Valley State Bank Building, 330 E. Madison in Derby. The public is invited.

Family Fun Day: Wind Music — Families can make a set of graduated wind chimes at 10 a.m. April 17 at Botanica. All materials will be provided; cost is $25 per family, $20 for Botanica members. To register, call 316-264-0448.

Shakespeare's birthday party _ Project Beauty will celebrate the bard's birthday from 2 to 5 p.m. April 18 in the Project Beauty. Included in Botanica admission.

EarthFest 2010 — A daylong festival of the Earth April 17 will feature talks, demonstrations, tours, free plants and seeds for the public, and an LED light show at nightfall at Wichita Water Center at Herman Hill Park, 101 E. Pawnee.

The Earth Spirit Kansas Coalition puts on the event with many sponsors, including the city of Wichita's parks and recreation department. Families are encouraged to bring picnics and listen to local musical acts amplified by the sun, participate in kids' activities by Roots & Shoots, and learn about local foods. Ken Warren, managing director of the Land Institute, will speak at noon about perennial polyculture. Vendors will have earth-friendly products, and there will be a fashion show of recycled items. The event is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is free. For more information, see the Web site www.earthspiritkansas.com.