Partners Plant More Gardens with Native Plants in Loose Park

Due to inclement weather, the gardens will be planted on Tuesday May 30th, with May 31 as rain date.

Adjacent to the existing Monarch Demonstration Garden, the Jean Mary Love Blackman Native Plant Gardens will display native plants well suited for planting in part shade.

What?:  Two NEW native plant gardens, designed by former Powell Garden Director of Horticulture, Alan Branhagen, are being planted by volunteers from The Westport Garden Club in front of the Loose Park Garden Center Building.  The gardens are named in memory of Jean Mary Love Blackman, who throughout her life enjoyed the gardens at Loose Park.  Included in the design for these gardens are 700 native plants. All these plants have benefit to wildlife, attracting birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

Where?: These gardens flank the main, north-facing door of the Garden Center and are right across the sidewalk from the existing Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.

When?:  Tuesday, May 23 (rain date is May 25) from 11am-2pm.  NEW PLANTING DATE: May 30, May 31 rain date.

Who?:  Volunteers from The Westport Garden Club, a 55 member local club that is a part of The Garden Club of America.  Eric Tschanz, former President and Executive Director of Powell Gardens, will be laying out the plants based on Alan Branhagen’s design and supervising the Westport GC volunteers.

Alan Branhagen and Eric Tschanz review plans for Monarch Demonstration Garden, May 2016.

Why?:  Native plants support the nature we love.  Butterflies, pollinators and birds depend on native plants to survive.  How can you make your own yard an oasis for monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and the like?  The gardens planted in front of the Garden Center demonstrate how.  The new gardens next to the building showcase many shade plants.  The Monarch Demonstration Garden displays an array of plants that thrive in the sun.  Learn about plant selection and garden design from these gardens.  Alan has selected plants that are appropriate for urban and suburban gardens.  Choose native plants that come with the added benefit of being low maintenance.  Most non-native plants have little or no value to the nature we love and the natural services we depend on; these plants help control storm water and keep water clean, sequester carbon and clean the air.  In addition, every third bite we eat is dependent on the pollinators that native plants feed.  Bring interest and beauty into your own yard.

Westport Garden Club volunteers planting milkweeds and other native plants in Loose Park

Background:  In 2015 Burroughs Audubon was awarded a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Monarch Conservation Fund, which paid for all the plants and the interpretive signage at the Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.  Partners in the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative (KCNPI) worked together to made this garden a reality.  Powell Gardens’ Alan Branhagen designed the garden and has supervised the maintenance over the first year of its life.  KC Parks provided the space and has also provided maintenance support.  The Westport Garden Club members volunteered to plant and maintain the garden.  The Grow Native! organization helps citizens plant their own native gardens by working with local retailers to make native plants available and by providing information on their website.

The interest and enthusiasm in the Monarch Demonstration Garden led several private donors to contribute the funds to create an example of how to use native plants in shady areas.  These are the gardens that will be planted on May 23.  The Partners continue to work together in the same roles to bring more native plant gardens to our Kansas City Community.

Education is a part of these gardens. On September 23 from 10am to 1pm KCNPI partners will host a Monarch Migration Look & Learn at the Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.  Partners are working together to give the public an opportunity to learn about the monarch, its life cycles, its amazing migration and the plants it needs to survive.

Newly planted Monarch Demonstration Garden in Loose Park, May 2016.

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