Kansas Gardener’s Garden April-May

This year, my garden did so well that I had to break my tour of it into 4 separate posts. Up first is April through May. I cannot remember a wetter May than what we had this year – 26 inches of rain! Most of the plants handled it by putting on tons of lush, succulent growth, plus all the seeds of a mast year. Enjoy the photos and my comments below!


The above photo is my Monarch Waystation and Native plant garden. This is the first garden that you see coming into my driveway. The purple “signpost” is an idea born from too many episodes of M*A*S*H and Winnie the Pooh. The open area that is mulched above was an addition to the garden in 2018 and was planted to tomatoes in June. The white blooming tree is a Sweet Cherry. There is also many redbuds, a sour cherry, and an apricot in this area.

Blue woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), above, was a great performer in the garden this year as a border plant. I was able to find some soft pink and some white blooming plants and transplanted them in for 2020.

This is my walkway illuminated by path lights. I enjoy the use of these lights in winter and spring to light my way through the garden. No solar lights for me!


Clematis fremontii will do well in full sun to part sun locations. Native to sandstone prairies of north-central Kansas, this shrubby clematis will grow well in heavy clay to sandy soils. I am still trialing some different colors in the garden.



The above garden is what I call the Entry Garden, as it fills the entry space before the house and porch. Forefront in this photo is my Seven-Son tree, just starting to green up for the year.


This is a view from my driveway looking through the top of the Monarch Waystation and into the Entry Garden. The Entry Garden is shaded by silver maple, cottonwood, red maple, crabapple, black oak, and hickory. This year I also added Kentucky coffeetree and a Royal Frost birch to the Entry Garden for added shade. 


From the front of the Entry Garden looking to the east. I use native granite fieldstones for the borders of this garden and all the beds to the south and east of the house. I love this view in early spring as the grass is a soft green and all the new things peeking and poking up out of the ground. The light blue flowers in front are blue woodland phlox.


This is my Woodland Border Garden, first created to be such in late 2018. 99 percent of the plants in this garden are natives to North America, specifically the oak-hickory remnant forests of eastern Kansas. The trees are black walnut, Osage orange, and Kentucky coffeetree. Shrubs in this bed include witch-hazel, hazelnut, nannyberry viburnum, dwarf fothergilla, beautyberry, cutleaf lilac, and Korean spice viburnum.


A view of the Entry Garden looking northwest from the peach tree. The mass beside the wagon wheels is ornamental onion ‘Millenium’, which I removed and divided this fall to the sunny side of the house. 


Looking through the shady Entry Garden. I have used a mix of hostas, ferns, Japanese anemone, wild ginger, columbines, sedges, lamium, and many other shade plants to get that lushness.


Above is my seedling doublefile viburnum, now 10 years old. I dug it up from a landscape on the east side of Topeka, when I worked for a company down there. The yellow is a tree peony from a grower at the Western Nursery and Landscape Association’s show in KC. 


I bought this red horsechestnut from our Pink Flag Sale in fall of 2018. 


I love the color of this dark brown mulch on my walkways! It really makes the path standout among the fullness of the plants. 


My fountain was up and running this spring. I am going to have to replace the cream can in the fountain, it is rusting through on all sides. 



Happy planting!

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