Home & Garden

Gardener’s almanac (July 20)

Iris trifecta — It’s time to divide irises. That means it’s time for the members of the Wichita Area Iris Club to divide their irises at home and at Botanica and to sell the divisions at their annual iris sale next weekend. Before that, there will be a lunchtime lecture at Botanica on Wednesday about the irises being grown there. See information about the lecture and sale below.

Dividing irises every three to five years rejuvenates them and increases flowering, Ward Upham of K-State says. Late July through early August is the best time to do it. It’s pretty easy to dig the fairly shallow clumps; use a sharp knife to cut the rhizomes apart so that you have a fan of leaves and a section of rhizome in each division. If a rhizome has borer damage that’s not too severe, you can remove the borers and replant. If a rhizome has a mild case of soft rot, you can scrape out the bad tissue and leave the rhizome to dry in the sun before dipping it in a 10 percent solution of bleach. Rinse the rhizome with water and allow it to dry again before replanting.

To replant divisions, cut the leaves back by two-thirds. Remove weeds from the planting area and fertilize according to soil test recommendations or with a complete fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10, assuming the area has not been heavily fertilized in the past. Apply the fertilizer at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet and mix it in 6 inches, Upham says.

When tomatoes need shade — If you have a tomato plant that lost leaves to disease, hail or hornworms, tomatoes on the vine could suffer from sunscald, Upham says. Sunscald causes a light yellow to white sunken spot that eventually can let in black mold, causing the tomato to rot. You can shade exposed fruit with cheesecloth, Upham says. Remove tomatoes that are already scalded to encourage more fruit to set. Tomatoes with only a little sunburn can be used if the damaged areas are cut out, he says.

Plant — Green beans, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, endive, cauliflower, beets.

Garden events

Composition: A Family Arts and Music Festival — Botanica is rolling out a new event for the family this weekend, featuring 35 artists, actors and musicians, with activities designed to draw children into the artistic process. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be music, dance performances, theater, athletic performances and cultural storytelling. Tickets are $7 for ages 3 and up, or $10 for both days. Proceeds will go to Botanica's education outreach. Go to the website www.botanica.org for a schedule of the weekend’s events.

Water conservation info — Kay Drennen of the city of Wichita will be at the next meeting of the Prairie Winds Daylily Society, at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. She’ll be talking about water conservation, drought and the city’s directives about water. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Botanica garage sale — The Friends of Botanica will have an indoor garage sale on Thursday in the Terrace Room of Botanica. The sale will feature a wide variety of items, but not clothing. It is a fundraiser for the Friends of Botanica. Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to the sale is free.

“Iris Grown for Beauty” — Sherryl Fitzpatrick of the Wichita Area Iris Club will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the irises grown in the gardens. Some of them will be available at the club’s sale next weekend. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Iris sale — The Wichita Area Iris Club will have its annual iris sale next weekend in two locations: July 27 at the Extension Education Center, 21st and Ridge Road, and on July 28 at Botanica. The sale July 27 will be from 7 a.m. to noon in the Bison Room during Tomato Day activities. On July 28 the club will be at Botanica from 1 to 4 p.m. Lots of bearded iris, including several newer varieties that were grown at Botanica this past year, will be among the irises for sale. Admission to the sale is free.

Tuesdays on the Terrace — Tea Roses and Tequila Sunrises is the theme for Tuesdays on the Terrace on Tuesday at Botanica. Shantel Leitner will perform, and dinner and drinks will be for sale, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gardens will be open until 8. The cost is $7, or $3 for Botanica members.

Want to be a master gardener? — An informational meeting will be held Aug. 6 for people who are interested in applying to be a master gardener. At the meeting, which will be at 10 a.m. at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road, applications will be handed out, and current master gardeners will talk about their experiences. To apply to be a master gardener, you must be a Sedgwick County resident who is available to take classes during the day and to volunteer in the community. The cost is $100 for the class; need-based scholarships are available.