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Wichita gardener’s almanac for April 30, 2016

Dick Weidenbach, one of the orginal Botanica board members, is shown walking with Dorothy Ryan in 2004 during Botanica’s holiday Illuminations.
Dick Weidenbach, one of the orginal Botanica board members, is shown walking with Dorothy Ryan in 2004 during Botanica’s holiday Illuminations. File photo

Remembering a Garden Star — If you’ve visited Botanica for any particular event, you’ve probably been greeted by its biggest cheerleader, a teddy bear of a man with a sweet broad smile under which he might slide a persuasive pitch for supporting the Joyland merry-go-round restoration at Botanica.

Many visitors probably did not know that the man, Dick Weidenbach, was one of the founders of Botanica who had championed it since its inception. Dick, who was 88, died last week, and a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. May 11 at Botanica.

Dick was a landscape architect who worked in various capacities at Botanica over the years, including on the Board of Trustees, as editor of the newsletter and originator of concerts there. He also helped develop the Kansas Association of Arboreta and Botanical Gardens, and organized bus trips for the group every fall and spring to area garden destinations — always including a surprise dinner stop on the way back home.

Garden lovers also visited his huge, gorgeous garden on North Oliver when it was on garden tours. Recently he had been involved in a trip down memory lane that was also a monumental task: tracking down the 750 charter members of Botanica from 1985 and 1986.

Lovers of beauty owe a debt of gratitude to this Garden Star, who was awarded the title by the Friends of Botanica in 1998.

Storm-damaged plants — Hail seems to have fallen all over Wichita on Tuesday, but only parts of the city saw damage to plants from it. Here are some of the things to help gardens recover, according to Ward Upham of K-State:

▪ If heavy rain crusts over the soil, lightly scrape it after it’s dried.

▪ Most plants can survive 24 hours of standing water, but more than that can damage them, especially if the weather turns hot and sunny enough to cook the plants. There’s not much to do unless you can cut a channel that allows the water to drain.

▪ Plants whose leaves are damaged by hail should recover quickly, but the situation is more serious if stems and fruit were damaged. “The plant can recover from a few bruises,” Upham writes in the Horticulture 2016 newsletter, “but if it looks like the plants were mowed down by a weed whip, replanting is in order.”

▪ Wind or water can cause plants to lean. They should straighten up after a few days and should not be forcibly bent back as they may break.

Plant — Collards, chard, carrots, melons, lettuce, beets, sweet corn, pumpkins (plant closer to July 4 for a Halloween harvest), tomatoes, cucumbers.

Garden events

“Transforming Joyland’s Merry-Go-Round to Botanica’s Carousel” — Marlene Irvin, who is restoring Joyland’s merry-go-round horses for what will be a new attraction at Botanica, will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the history of the carousel and the process of restoring it. The lecture will be at 12:15 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for $8.

Hutchinson Iris Club show — The Hutchinson Iris Club will have its annual iris show from 1 to 4 p.m. April 30 in the north parking lot at Trinity United Methodist Church at 17th and Main in Hutchinson. The show is free.

Annie Calovich

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