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Gardeners and their Gardens

What’s In Bloom Today?

Physocarpus opulifolius, commonly known as  Ninebark  is currently in full bloom here in Kansas City.     Ninebark is an easy to grow deciduous shrub that adds interest to the landscape all year long . It thrives in average, but well-drained soil in the full sun or partial shade, but will also tolerate dry periods …

Go Native -- In Your Container Garden

I was bound and determined to get my patio pots planted last weekend. I had all ten of them cleaned and ready to be filled, my color scheme picked out and each placement imagined. I knew exactly how many would have to survive in the brutal midwestern sun and which ones would sit in complete …

Not My Mother's Vegetable Garden

  I’ve recently noticed a pattern in our home-buying habits. Each time we buy a house, and we are on our 5th now, our yards get smaller. On one hand that seems like a plus —  much less space for routine maintenance chores. On the other hand, there’s much less space for planting. That’s where …

Invite An Insect: Green Lacewing

A truly Jekyll and Hyde insect, the Green Lacewing is both a fierce predator as a larvae and a delicate beauty as an adult.   Adult green lacewings are slender insects with lacy-looking, transparent wings and round, golden-colored eyes. During the day, green lacewings are usually found resting in open spaces  around grassy or weedy …

The Sounds of Silence -- In Your Own Backyard

The Sunday before Easter was beautiful here — an absolutely perfect day for working leisurely in the yard. About ten minutes into our afternoon, the peace and quiet of the day was shattered by the the deafening roar of a neighbor’s leaf blower running full blast. The first hour was unpleasant but tolerable. The second …

Invite An Insect: Praying Mantis

    Some say that finding  this insect in your home means that angels are watching over you, while others say that if one looks at you with a menacing glare, it foretells your death. The French thought it would lead a lost child home again. Folklore aside, the praying mantis is a fascinating visitor …

Waging War on Wildlife

For the past two weeks  — ever since I planted my first round of pansies (on my third right now) — the resident urban wildlife and I have been in hand to paw combat. They are determined to devour every plant that I put in and I am determined to thwart them. Unfortunately, since my …

Invite An Insect: Bumblebees

Fast moving, noisy, yellow and black bumblebees are part of our native insect population. Here in North America there are currently 46 species of bumblebees, while worldwide there are 250 species. Because of habitat fragmentation and loss, pesticide use and diseases, the number of bumblebees is declining.     Although they are large and look …