September 2018 Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter

Chair’s Corner – Linda Patterson

This has been a challenging summer for attendance at the Arboretum.  April and May were exceptionally cold and then we transitioned to extremely hot weather, and what a lot of it we have had this year!  All summer, however, there have been some hardy souls who have ventured out and have been rewarded with spectacular flowers.  I don’t think the Arboretum has ever been prettier than it has been this year.  The plants look like they are on steroids, but according to Anne Wildeboor, our horticulturist, they just loved the hot weather.  Now that it’s cooling a bit, the beauty should continue well into fall.

This last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Leach Botanical Garden, a 16-acre garden in Portland, Oregon.  It was originally the private home of botanist Lilla Leach and her pharmacist husband, John.  The garden was started in 1931 as landscape for their home.  At their deaths, the property was donated to the City of Portland.

It’s primarily a woodland garden with lots of elevation and mostly mulched paths.  It contains 2,000 species of plants, including an extensive collection of Siskiyou Mountain/Wilderness and Pacific Northwest natives.  Lilla spent many summer in the Siskiyou Mountains collecting plants to bring home.  She is credited with the discovery of a number of new plants.  It also features southeastern U.S. plants such as azaleas and camellias.  The garden is divided by Johnson Creek and part of it is closed right now as a new bridge is being built.  Once the bridge is finished they will begin work on some new developments including an Aerial Tree Walk.  I hope I can return again to see what that will be like.

Portland also has the Hoyt Arboretum which I didn’t have time to visit.  They also have a rose garden and a Japanese garden, but these are all at separate locations.  Once again, I urge you to take advantage of the American Horticulture Society’s reciprocal program which is a benefit of your membership in the Friends of the Arboretum.

And, please, if you haven’t been out to the Arboretum lately, take advantage of the cooler weather and visit soon.

See you at the Arb!


Summer 2018 Favorites in the Garden – Anne Wildeboor

Every year is different when you garden. Some years, it’s cool and wet. Others are the complete opposite. Which is what we had this year – hot, dry & windy! Picking annuals from year to year is fun but can be difficult because of our weather. We try to pick the newest and coolest but also plug in things that consistently perform well. Despite our toasty summer we had some beautiful displays. These are my favorites from this summer . . .

Coleus ‘Redhead’is always a great performer for us. Its deep, rich red foliage goes well with any color combo, cool or warm.  This year we planted it at the amphitheater. It made a very striking statement from across Margaret’s Pond. This coleus thrives in full sun but can also perform in part sun. Redhead is not a small coleus, ours is around 30 inches tall.

The lime green of ‘Flame Thrower Salsa’ was a burst of color in front of Erickson water garden. The leaves of this coleus are long and linear with scalloped edges. It’s smaller than Redhead, topping out at around 24 inches. One thing that both of these coleus have in common is that they have yet to set a flower, which is awesome. It’s the leaves of this plant we want, not the blooms.

Another shining star in the front of Erickson was Salvia ‘Rockin Playin the Blues’. It’s a vegetative salvia, which means it’s started from a cutting instead of a seed. It has beautiful blue flower scapes that are quite long. I would say almost 12”. The plant itself is almost 36” tall. The bees, butterflies and moths are all over these flowers. They love it! We will most definitely be selling this at our plant sale next spring

We have received a lot of questions about the silver-leaved plant in the herb garden. It has a vase shape with deep jagged cutouts.  It’s quite a large statement plant. The Cardoonor the French Artichokehas edible leaves. It does produce a flower in the second year but no artichoke comes from it, just a gorgeous purple blue flower. We are going to give them a little extra mulch this winter hoping that they’ll come back and give us blossoms.

Pink was the color of choice for the patio at the Visitors Center. Maybe I was psychic and knew it was going to be a hot year but I just felt like we needed something cool. Caladium Artful Fire & Icepaired with Sunpatiens Shell Pinkand Sunpatiens Spreading Pink Kissdelivered the cool we needed. The awesome thing about these caladiums is that they perform in full sun or full shade. Great versatility from a tough plant.

If you have not visited Children’s Hill this year I would highly suggest it. We themed the beds in different colors. Red and orange at the top, yellow and green in the middle, and pink, blue and purple at the bottom. The beds were a great success. So many great performers! I loved the Lantana Marmaladeat the top of the hill, the Basil ‘Boxwood’in the middle and the Salvia ‘Black & Bloom’at the base with the Pentas Honeycluster Pink. The hummingbirds can be found in that lowest bed every day drinking from the Salvia. It truly is quite spectacular.

This summer had some challenges, but I have to say the plants loved it hot. They are summer annuals for a reason! We hope you can still come out to see some of them before the cooler temps set in.


Spotlight on Volunteers

This month’s featured volunteers probably aren’t recognized enough, especially considering the importance of their job. Their work is physically demanding. Footing can be uneven. They stand/walk the majority of the time. They have few breaks and because their assignment takes place outside the party, they often miss the festivities! But, don’t let this fool you . . . they still have fun! They are our parking volunteers. Bob Shea, Mary Moreau, Don Grundy, Marsha Purinton, Moe Cougher, Rhonda Noah, Larry Jiskra, Steven Londerholm, Orb Overly, Frank Reichart, Troy Brasher, and others work with staff members Don Tetzlaff and Kevin Finch to ensure guests get in and out of the Arboretum without harm or incident. This dedicated group of women and men is made up of unassuming, task-oriented individuals whose main goal is to safely and efficiently direct guests. It is an enormous responsibility and vital to the success of every event.

Bob Shea and his wife Beth relocated to Overland Park from Ohio with Sprint in 1990. Bob is very active in the community, donating his time not only to the Arboretum and Farmstead, but to other organizations like the Ohio State Alumni Club of Greater KC, Usher & Greeter Ministries at Ascension Parish and the Knights of Columbus.  He just completed his final term as Treasurer with the The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park and joined the FOTA Advisory Board. Bob has a positive outlook and uses working as a parking volunteer as “an opportunity to greet guests, make them feel welcome, solicit feedback and promote the Foundation on a personal level.” He recognizes the importance of volunteerism, saying, “I fully understand the role volunteers contribute to making Overland Park one of the best places to live in the greatest country on earth.” He is exceptional at advocating our events and facilities and enjoys his time at the Arboretum, saying “what’s not to like about volunteering at the OPABG?” Thank you, Bob, for being such a good steward of the Arboretum.

Mary Moreau has been volunteering at the Arboretum for about 8 years. Before retirement, she worked as a nuclear medicine technologist for 37 years. Her involvement at the Arboretum includes Geo Committee, Kansas Day and Wednesday morning gardening with Dianna. She says she really enjoys helping the kiddos during the Geo classes. When asked about parking duties, she says she’s not quite sure how she became involved, but says it is quite a challenge. She says that once an event is done, “we breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the next parking challenge.” Mary says that spending time with friends and family bring her the most joy – she has 5 grand kids that she absolutely adores. She goes on to say, “anyone who has met me would say that I enjoy talking and if you are within about a mile of me when I laugh you can hear me (sorry, everyone). I very much enjoy the people I have met as a volunteer at the Arb and I love being part of such a beautiful place and contributing my little bit to make it that way.” Mary, we appreciate you and are so happy you enjoy a good challenge!

Don Grundy has been an Arboretum volunteer since about a year after we broke ground. During his tenure, he has helped with prairie restoration, given cart tours, was Santa for 7 years, worked in the  greenhouse, assisted with gardening, and has helped with parking on and off “for more years than I can remember.” He also volunteers at the Kauffman Center and says “I enjoy meeting people and I like giving back to the community.” Don is currently working at Sprint, although according to him, “not for much longer.” Don, we are grateful for your service and hope to see even more of you after retirement.

Marsha Purinton has been volunteering with us for almost seven years and has been helping with parking duties since day one – and she is already signed up for Brewfest! She is a solid parking crew member. Although her volunteer activities range from gardening to working special events and outreach assignments, she says she really enjoys prairie work and wine tastings. Prior to retirement, Marsha worked as an administrative assistant to Telecom Management at Black & Veatch. She says that “being around family and friends” makes her most happy. Marsha, thank you for all you do to keep our gardens beautiful and running smoothly.

Moe Cougher has been volunteering almost 6 years at the Arboretum. Besides helping park vehicles, he has donated his time at Kite Fest, Plant Sale and several other special events. Unfortunately, Moe says that his days of parking duty are over because of back issues. I’m sure we will see Moe in other volunteer roles in the future.

Rhonda Noah and her husband moved from Charlotte, NC, in 2012 where she worked for Wells Fargo. Shortly after they moved, she retired and decided that gardening at the Arboretum would be fun. She says, “believe it or not, I truly love to pull weeds. I find it to be a calming experience.” She also offered to do parking. She eventually returned to work which didn’t leave her much time to garden but states, “I’ve enjoyed helping with parking for our largest events.” She says that “parking isn’t nearly as boring as it may seem. We have a great crew that is dedicated and we would love to show some new folks just how easy it is. When people give you an enthusiastic ‘thanks’ at the end of a fun event, you will find that it was all worthwhile.” Thank you Rhonda for your positive perspective and your continued help.

Larry Jiskra is one of our most tenured volunteers, serving at the Arboretum since 2003. He is familiar with the various lots and often helps Don with parking preparations like flagging and marking off spots prior to large events.  He is also a member of the Legacy of Greenery Committee, the Overland Park volunteer tree board.   He is reliable, dedicated and a great recruiter.

Steve Londerholm has been volunteering at the Arboretum for almost 10 years. He is a regular Saturday gardener as well as parking volunteer. He is a dependable, steady worker and we are so fortunate to have him. Thank you for your reliability, Steve.

Frank Reichart has been volunteering at the Arboretum for almost 12 years. His service includes Plant Sale, Kite Fest, Hedge Apple Day, prairie restoration, and, of course, helping with parking at special events. Frank also recruits his son John to help. Thank you, Frank, for your service throughout the years.

Orb Overly has been volunteering for almost 5 years. He, too, is one of Don’s “go to” volunteers for parking and prairie restoration work. He is a reliable, hard-working volunteer. Thank you for your service, Orb.

Troy Brasher has been volunteering at the Arboretum for almost 6 years. Troy is very involved, serving on the Bird & Education Committees. He is a regular greenhouse volunteer and helps at our annual Plant Sale in addition to event parking. He is willing to help where needed. Thank you for your diverse expertise, Troy.

As you can see, this elite group of volunteers is dedicated to keeping our special events running smoothly and our guests unharmed. They are resolute in their duties but light-hearted when interacting with guests and each other. Getting thousands of visitors safely in and out of the Arboretum is a tremendous responsibility. We are grateful for their service! If you would like to be a part of this select group, they would love to show you the ropes. As always, to get more information about volunteering at the Arboretum, reach out to Kim or Cindy at the Arboretum.