Spring Planting Day in Belleville, Kansas gives gardeners the chance to learn
Eleven-year-old Jonan Bush, has a green thumb, even if it’s still little.
He likes helping his mom plant new flowers in her garden. When the pair attended Spring Field Day April 24 in Belleville, Kan., hosted by Kansas State University’s River Valley Extension District, he got the chance to learn about new plants, something he was very excited about.
That joy about nature is something his mom, Jen Bush, passed on to him. She recently graduated from Kansas State University’s River Valley Extension District’s Master Gardener program. That means she’s more than a hobby gardener — she’s been trained in seed starting, lawn care, tree pruning, flower selection, planting and more.
Another Master Gardener, Annette Bredthauer of Belleville, was helping out at the event. She loves the Master Gardener program, she said, and she also loves helping at events like the Spring Field Day.
“I get to offer planting advice, and it’s very rewarding,” she said.
As Master Gardeners shared their knowledge, aspiring horticulturalists wandered around, ready to pick each other’s minds.
“Just now coming out of production is the drought-tolerant ‘Caryopteris Sunshine Blue II’ which I really like. It’s a fast-grower, it’s a happy plant and deer-resistant,’ said Brooke Stamm, assistant production manager for Loma Vista Nursery in Ottawa, Kan., during her presentation. “Another shrub I like a lot is the Double Play Red Spirea with its red foliage, and ornamental grass like the Little Bluestem. All three are plants that come back yearly.”
Stamm works with a propagation crew of seven women who take thousands of cuttings daily, then plant them to see how they grow.
Officials with the River Valley Extension District are also one of several extension units participating in Flower Trials.
“We are involved in the Flower Trials, so we grow and rate the flowers, and then the companies use that information to decide whether to actually release those flowers out to the public,” said John Forshee, director of the River Valley Extension District.
Following those trials, another field day will be held in the fall to introduce the new flowers.
“I learned a lot today,” said Bonnie Elliott, who attended with her friend Ilah Taylor, both of Belleville. “I learned that I can dig up my tulips when they first turn brown, whereas I used to wait until the fall season.”
Elliott and her husband grow wave petunias and raspberry and blackberry bushes, as well tomatoes and cucumbers.
Rosemary Anderson of Concordia, Kan., said she also enjoyed attending the ‘Spring Field Day. The event may even have opened her eyes to a new opportunity.
“I’m also considering becoming a Master Gardener,” Anderson said. ❖
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