Kansas City gardeners have to be able to handle just about any kind of weather. After almost record rainfall and flooding, we now have to drag hoses around the garden because unseasonable heat and sun.
The chrysanthemums have come to the garden. We order hundreds of these colorful fall favorites to fill in holes where tired summer annuals need to be replaced. Warmer than usual temperatures will make the mums flower faster and finish faster, so we will replacing them with bulbs and our winter annuals before too long.
I was really kicking myself this year because I hadn’t been on any garden tours. There are so many in Kansas City and no matter how big or small, I always find inspiration from seeing what the imaginations of local gardeners have created. Sadly, most of these tours occur in the early summer, so I thought that I was out of luck.
This year the Marais des Cygnes Extension Master Gardeners in Miami County decided to hold a late summer garden tour entitled, ‘A September to Remember.’ I was pretty happy to see a lot of names and gardens on the list of tour stops that I recognized from reading The Kansas City Gardener Magazine.
I made no secret to anybody that I was very excited to visit Long Lips Farm, the garden of Lenora Larson in Paola, Kansas. She too was excited to show how glorious a midwest garden can look in late summer when the painted lady and monarch butterflies are in the garden.
Throughout the Long Lips Farm were outdoor rooms created by “walls” of trees, shrubs and large perennials. Close up, these rooms contained beautiful examples of caterpillar and butterfly host plants. Important specimens were labeled for both the plant’s identity and the butterfly or moth that it will attract.
Ms. Larson uses the color purple, artfully throughout the garden. There were many pieces of whimsical purple sculpture and purple plants. These were accented by colors like pink, red and orange, splashed around the garden to create focal points.
Taking a garden tour is a fabulous way to meet and talk with area gardeners about gardening techniques, favorite plants and anything else that comes to mind.
I was very impressed to see how beautifully all of the gardens on the tour incorporated midwest native plants into an oasis for both man and beast. There is a lot of space in Louisburg and Paola and many of the the gardens were enhanced by animals, prairies for pollinators and luxurious outdoor patio areas.
The Spring Valley farm had a lot of hidden surprises in the back field. From afar it didn’t seem to be any other color than green.
Then when I walked on the paths mowed through the grasses and goldenrod there were so many butterflies.
After visiting most of the gardens on the tour I saw that every stop had butterfly information and often live caterpillars. It was overall a very beautiful and informative day.
I managed to see 5 out of the 6 gardens on the tour. If I didn’t have to run back to the Kauffman Garden, I could have made it to all of the stops. It was time to feed the cat her dinner and check on our own butterflies and butterfly friendly plants on a busy Saturday afternoon.
The pineapples were a hoot in the summer garden. Now the mums have taken their place. Every plant in the garden seems to be putting on its final performance before the frosts begin.