In the spirit of Earth Day, get thee to a plant sale!

What’s new at our area garden centers? Here’s what’s happening:

By Jill Draper

Suburban Lawn & Garden

The garden center is offering its largest collection yet of plants from the “Pollinator Buffet” and “Monarch Café” lines. According to Matt Stueck, vice president, last year was a watershed moment in public recognition of the crucial role that bees and other pollinators play in the environment.

“In years past, people asked for flowers that wouldn’t attract bees. Now they’re looking for these. They understand that bees are actually important,” he says. The center also sells other native plants, including a variety of “cousins.” Customers can ask for a handout that suggests combinations and planting patterns to create a mosaic of colors throughout the season, he adds.

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This is the first spring that the garden center is selling cordless EGO products, including walk-behind mowers, blowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers and chainsaws for residential use. Stueck says the increased battery power and lowered pricing for this type of equipment finally has reached a critical threshold where the tools are convenient for individual use.

“If you can mow your yard in 40 minutes or less, you can get a cordless mower,” he says. “For a landscape company, this would not be practical, but for a homeowner—absolutely. We expect to sell a lot of these for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.”

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Every spring for the past 10 years Suburban Lawn & Garden has sponsored a series of events to help fund local nonprofits and worthy causes. Called Charity Fridays, these events are scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. on five successive Fridays at both garden center locations: 4 W. 135th St. at the Martin City Greenhouse in Kansas City and 10501 Roe Ave. in Overland Park.

Shoppers will enjoy beverages, light hors d’oeuvres and music as they browse throughout the store, and 10 percent of all sales (including phone orders) will be donated to a rotating list of recipients. At the Martin City location these will be:

April 27    St. Thomas More School

May 4       Hope*Faith*Love*Win                

May 11     Friends of the KCMO Mounted Patrol   

May 18     Kamp Ketchum

May 25     Hope Haven

Rosehill Gardens

Two new initiatives are opening at Rosehill Gardens this spring—a landscape showcase area and an onsite winery. A patio, deck, walkway and outdoor fireplace have been completed for the showcase, and the pond is slowly beginning to fill, says Curtis Stroud, owner. The area has been sodded and most of the plants are in the ground, although employees are still building a bridge and water feature.  He says the area features trees and shrubs, but also native perennials and grasses, which are becoming increasingly popular.

“We’re seeing this trend for both commercial and residential work,” he says. “These plants require less maintenance than others and they’re more hardy. We’ve got tons of varieties.”

Rosehill Gardens will be installing hanging baskets of petunias along 135th Street in Martin city between now and Mother’s Day. This year a number of additional baskets will decorate the street between the railroad tracks and Holmes Road.

Johnson Farms

Strawberries have been added to Johnson Farms’ lineup of u-pick fruits and vegetables this year. Owner Jeanne Johnson says she is growing three varieties for early, mid and late-season picking. The first crop should be ripe by the last week of April and the berry plants should produce through June. The children’s playground (with giant jumping pillows) also is open for the first time in the spring, and visitors can purchase strawberry donuts, strawberry fry pies and other snacks. There is an admission fee, Johnson says, but adults get their money returned if they come between Monday and Thursday and purchase a flat of berries.

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Shopping at the farms’ retail store and greenhouse does not require a fee. Johnson is selling strawberry plants for those who want to grow their own, plus “our normal large quantities” of fruits, vegetables and potted tropicals. New this year are goji berry plants (touted for weight loss) and Proven Winner varieties of yezberry (honeysuckle family) and aconia berry (choke cherry family) plants.

As in previous years, customers can visit the custom potting arena where a staff expert will design a container based on your preference for size, color, price and shade or sun.

Euston Hardware

New suppliers and more variety can be found at Euston Hardware this spring. Over 100 hanging baskets for both sun and shade are for sale, plus a collection of succulent bowls for tabletops or back porches. Herbs include several types of basil, mint and oregano in addition to a dozen other herbs, and customers will find an assortment of annuals and perennials including different types of shade hostas, roses and azalea bushes. Lemon and lime trees are on order—check with the store at a later date on their availability.

Customers can beautify their gardens and support a good cause on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, when Euston will donate 15 percent of all live plant purchases to Saint Catherine of Siena Parish. And just for fun, the store points out that April is National Kite Month—ask about kites for sale.

Thyme for Kids Plant Sale

Cornerstones of Care will hold its annual plant sale on Friday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ozanam Campus. The sale will be in the greenhouse at 421 E. 137th St. and is free and open to the public.

The sale features a variety of annual and perennial plants, flowers and herbs, with most in the $2 to $8 price range. Proceeds benefit the organization’s horticultural therapy program, which gives youth the opportunity to spend time in a greenhouse and garden nurturing living plants. Through this program they gain work experience as well as a sense of pride and accomplishment as they watch their plants (and hopefully, their own lives) flourish. Many of the youth involved will be on hand to help with the sale and answer horticultural questions.

Gardeners of America Plant Sale

The Greater Kansas City Gardeners of America will hold their 49th annual plant sale at Gomer’s Shopping Center, 99th Street and Holmes Road, beginning on May 2. A variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs will be sold to help fund horticulture scholarships at K State and grants to places like the Kansas City Community Gardens and Ozanam at Cornerstones of Care. KC Gardeners of America is a nonprofit organization that meets first Mondays at Loose Park, except this Saturday at 10 a.m. members will meet at Ozanam for a tour of the greenhouse and horticulture program there. For more information, call 816-942-8889.

Hours of the plant sale are:

Wednesday, May 2, 1-7 p.m.

Thursday, May 3, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Friday, May 4, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, May 5, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

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