Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Combining Daylilies with Daffodils

Growing daylilies with daffodils is an easy combination to grow and enjoy. After the daffodils have bloomed, then the management of the unsightly yellow and brown foliage begins. When planted closely together, the daylily leaves emerge and cover-up the daffodil aftermath. White Flower Farm has been advertising such a combo for at least 10 years. However, their package contains 24 daylilies and 100 daffodils to cover 100 square ft. for about $120. The smaller garden can have a similar impact with four daylilies and two dozen daffodils.

For a designer display, I recommend sticking with one variety of daylily and daffodil. This fall, I'm working with Lady Elizabeth daylily on the farms of two friends. So you can see them from afar, I'll be choosing some large cupped daffodils. And as both plants draw closer, you'll have a more seamless display for over five months.

Image: White Flower Farm

Monday, August 13, 2007

We're in Zone 6, Really!

Just got off the phone with Scott Kunst of According to the Arbor Day Foundation, based on 10-year trends, they believe we are now in zone 6. Scott owns an heirloom both company in Ann Arbor, MI and his sexperience validates this. I'll let Al Gore speculate why this phenomenon is happening. But this is great news for Kansas City gardeners. I know you're probably not getting too excited considering the Easter freeze, but that's not going to stop me from experimenting with plants from the traditional zones 6.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hollyhocks and Foxgloves

Plant a biennial one year and the scattered seeds will bring forth many generations. So it got me to thinking, if you scatter some packet seeds in the fall you'll probably get great plants next spring. So on the farms of the few friends , I'm going to scatter hollyhocks and foxgloves to see what happens.
Happy Lights hollyhocks are superior to the old barnyard strains with excellent rust protection. And Pam's Choice foxgloves have been on my short list for many years. Hopefully I'll have some glowing pics for you in the spring.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Morning and Evening

Another one of chance recommendations was to plant the morning glory and moonflower in the same pot to have white flowers all day long. It's working particularly well and I would recommend it to anybody.

Friday, July 27, 2007

e. pallidia and memories of Lady Bird

While searching for information on Lady Bird Johnson, I came upon this phenomenal looking Echinacea. It's these kind of images that forced me to track these types of plants down. I have the perfect spot for it and I found it at American Beauties Native Plants and I'll be buying it this fall.

Lady Bird

The best thing to come out of the Johnson administration was Lady Bird Johnson. She was a complete class act in the White House. And when she left, wildflowers in Texas and beyond had a savior. She led the passage of legislation to plant wildflowers in the medians of highways all over Texas. And then state-by-state she led the campaign to roll out to other states.

And it's the wildflowers that she will be remembered. To the right you will see her Center for Wildflowers. I had never seen us beautiful image before. I would like to think one day when I can travel I would like to check it out. Anyway as I write this I'm getting a warm and fuzzy feelings over what this one woman accomplished in her life. Goodbye Lady Bird!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

$11.99 on eBay!

I have mentioned before my passion for antique watering cans. This fountain showed up under vintage watering cans but it had been made from scratch. I have seen this same type of thing in garden gift shops for about 60 bucks. But the husband of the seller built this from actual piping and faucet pieces. So I expect it to last for a very long time. So try eBay for the garden and see what you can can get for $11.99!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Managing sun and shade

I've struggled with the front garden bed to strike a balance with the shade and sun on opposite ends of the front garden. This year I'm experimenting with contrasting colors of sun and shade Coleus with the punches of Coconut Cooler Vinca and white Accent Impatiens to help the whole thing explode with color. Still on bedrest and only allowed to spend one hour up, I directed Mum in about 15 minutes where to place it all for best effect. Quick work to deliver a fast impact.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Master Gardener Hotline

One of the most valuable things you can do for your garden is to use the resources of the Johnson County Master Gardener's Hotline. Trained MGs can answer your questions. If they don't know the answer, they'll get back to you in a short period of time. The volunteers are backed by k-state research and extension.

You can call 913-715-7050 or write to The questions run the gamut from what does the term perennial mean to what is the best pH for blueberries. I cannot stress enough how accurate the answer to your question will be. You can get an answer Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 pm. The Master Gardeners can have a huge impact on creating the garden of your dreams.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

manic gardening

Being bipolar has its up and downs. The plus side is ongoing creative ideas and we don't need to go into the downside. My situation is under control until I get to0 inspired and it turns into -- MANIC GARDENING!
I just can't help myself. Impulse buying (my wife manages this part), big plans with no money and complete overanalysis when I forget nature is involved.
So, van Gogh and I wanted to share this because it may help understand why sometimes I just get too excited about all things garden.

So manic gardening is a good thing until you get your MasterCard bill.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gardening With Pressure Sores

As a quadriplegic who would like to sit in his chair all day, the two words you do not want to hear are "pressure sores". Very simply, the extreme pressure of your butt bones on your seat cushion can cause the skin to breakdown into a sore. Just as the gardening season was taking off last April, a pressure sore began that I battled all year until a skin graft surgery in January. I had been thinking all winter that I would have this wrapped up and off to a brand-new season in the garden. At the Wound Care Center last week, my doctor informed me I have a new one that is 3 cm deep. So once again, Brenda and I have a battle on our hands.

But with the help of my family and my friends, the garden goes on. Clarence Kelly, a dutiful Knight of Columbus, delivered some beautiful topsoil from his soybean field. Even though it had a tarp on it, the rain turned it into some type of black cement. My brother Chris chipped away at it and gave me 5 or 6 inches of the topsoil on some previously unimproved earth. My friend Ted brought his tiller and blended the topsoil with some peat moss. The soil has never looked better but the doctor is only allowing me up one hour a day.

Today Brenda, Jackson and Colin worked on the south side of the house. Brenda untangled the tomato cages for three heirloom tomatoes. My previous post mentioned the ornamental peppers that nine-year-old Jackson planted with a genetic touch. And Colin wanted nothing to do with it so he could show me something in his new treehouse. So that's how we spent the rest of my time up. Three generations in the garden. I am a happy man.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

James Underwood Crockett

I emigrated to the United States in November 1978 when I was 13 years old. My father made us leave one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, Sydney Australia. A semi-tropical gardener's paradise, everything grew so lush and the Australian native plants are unlike anything in the plant world.

So from this we moved to Lenexa, Kansas -- a suburb of Kansas City. Never having seen snow, we arrived in one of the harshest winters on record. How on earth could I create a garden in this godforsaken place. One Saturday morning, my father caught a gardening show on PBS. A rather gentlemanly soul, Jim Crockett was the host of a show called The Victory Garden. From a rather humble beginning, the garden was a small lot of land next to the WGBH studios. After each week, it became clear to me that here was my savior. Under grow lights, I began with his favorite, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and went from there. I didn't have the lights close enough to the plants so my tomatoes and others were quite langey but they quickly made up for it in the garden.

Jim, an author of over 26 books, penned what has become a gardening classic, Crockett's Victory Garden. While some of the agri-chemicals recommendations are no longer relevant, the basics are still there. I don't know how I could have so quickly become a Midwest gardener with out it. You can pick up used copies on Amazon that could be of value to especially novice gardeners.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Torenia OCD

Well, my wife finally let me go to Family Tree Garden Center in Shawnee. I am a prone to headaches when my mind is overstimulated. So I try to "keep it in first gear" when it comes to my excitement. I was doing really well until I came upon Torenia Yellow Moon. I've always liked Torenia Clown Mix since I helped introduce it when I was handling the advertising for PanAmerican Seed Co. a division of Burpee. Also known as the Wishbone Flower for the little stamen inside the flower that looks like a wishbone. I also like it for its adaptability from shade to part sun.

So here I am at the greenhouse just wheeling along and then I saw it. A cutting propagated torenia with yellow outer petals leading to a violet throat. In my overs 35 years of gardening, please note I started at age 6, I have never seen anything like it. I immediately started thinking where I could use it in my pots. Since I don't plant anything until the first week of May, I reluctantly didn't buy it. But now I have some sort of buyers remorse and now I'm obsessively thinking about it. Well not excessive, just a lot. Like any gardener, I just can't wait to grow it. With this kind of plant OCD, can anybody help me?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Top Five New Annuals

Lavender Serena

Below are my picks for the top 5 new annuals culled from area garden pro nominations. You can find detailed descriptions in my May column in The Kansas City Gardener Magazine

Angelonia Serena - Eric Nelson of Family Tree Garden Center
Nemesia Opal Innocence - Jan Vinyard of Longview Garden Center
Zinnia Magellan -- Judy Keith of Suburban garden Center
Euphorbia Diamond Frost -- Jan Vinyard of Longview Garden Center
Torenia Summer Wave -- Judy Keith of Suburban Garden

You'll find copies of The Kansas City Gardener at area garden centers, grocery stores and where other free publications are distributed. You can receive a year's subscription to The Kansas City Gardener by sending a request to Happy reading!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Contact Patrick

Email >>

9700 W 62nd Street
Merriam, KS 66203
(913) 789-7591

Speaking Requests
If you'd like Patrick to speak at an upcoming event, contact him.

About Patrick

My gardening experiences range from the Australian outback to the prairies of Kansas. I grew up in subtropical Sydney with grandparents in Narrabri, NSW. In 1978 at age 13 my family moved to Kansas.

I was terribly distressed on how I could learn to garden with a climate of such extremes. Up until moving here, I hadn't even seen snow before. But my solace was to be found with the host of a new PBS show named Crockett's Victory Garden which was a precursor of today's Victory Garden. Between Jim Crockett's books and appearances on the show, I did learn how to grow flowers and veggies and his lessons became my springboard to learn so much more.

I'm a proud graduate of KSU with a degree in Agricultural Economics & Marketing. I spent 15 years in the advertising business with both agricultural and horticultural clients. My hort clients included PanAmerican Seed (Breeders of Super Elfin Impatiens and Vinca Coolers) and Ball Seed (Madness Petunias).

While working as a Global Marketing Communications Leader for one of GE's insurance companies, a tumor in my spinal chord ruptured ten years ago rendering me a quadriplegic. Much to my despair, I could no longer have a professional career.

Today, I'm a recently divorced Dad of two great kids living in a nursing home. But it's a great place with a staff that includes some of my best friends. While I lost my own beloved garden, today I have my own grounds here at Trinity. We have two large patio areas and 14, yes 14 windowboxes. This year I'm replacing two old tired daylily beds with all new donated hybrids. And I'm hitting up vendors to supply me with "donated" trees.

I'm an Extension Master Gardener with Kansas State University and I volunteer on two very diverse gardens. The Wonder Why Children's Garden and the Monet Garden at the Overland Park Arboretum. My job is to build awareness of these fine projects in the Kansas City area primarily through this blog.

This blog also documents two gardens at Powell Gardens, Kansas City's botanical garden. The Heartland Harvest Garden and the Island Garden.

I write a monthly column on new plant introductions in the Kansas City Gardener. My gardening efforts are enabled by a close group of friends and family. While there are a lot of gardening things I can't do, there is the upside of avoiding weeding and watering. Life has been pretty complicated lately but I can't wait to see what blooms for me tomorrow.

Patrick's Picks Retailers

The following retailers strive to stock Patrick's Picks Outstanding Plants selections.

Audrie Seeley
9300 Holmes Road,
Kansas City, MO

Earl May Shawnee
21700 Midland St.

Family Tree Nursery, Liberty
830 West Liberty Drive

Family Tree Nursery, Overland Park
8424 Farley St.

Family Tree Nursery, Shawnee
7036 Nieman Road

Flower Farm
20335 South Moonlight St.
Gardner, KS

Full Features
13518 North Highway 169

Heartland Nursery
10300 View High Drive
Kansas City, MO

Malone Lawn & Landscaping
7114 North Oak
Kansas City, MO

Red Cedar Gardens
7895 183 St.
Stilwell, KS

Rosehill Garden Center
311 E 135 St.
Kansas City, MO

Soil Service
7130 Troost St.
Kansas City, MO

Suburban Lawn and Garden
10501 Roe.
Overland Park, KS

Suburban Lawn and Garden
135th & Wornall,
Kansas City, MO

The following recommended varieties are not provided to the Patrick's Picks retailers in advance.
• Cut Flowers
• Flowering Trees
• Reblooming Iris
• Hostas


Coming Soon