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The hottest, newest plants will be on view and classes in air-conditioned comfort will be available at the K-State Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center’s Field Day, Saturday, July 25, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. It’s a chance to peek behind the scenes, talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving growing success. Herb recipes and high-tunnel strawberry research will be showcased at this year’s event.

Admission is $5 per person, which includes cold bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations. K-State specialists develop their lists of recommended grasses, flowers and vegetable varieties through research conducted in Olathe to determine what grows best in our Kansas City landscapes.

What you’ll see: The Center conducts research in flowers and vegetables. Visitors can speak with university professors heading up the research and Johnson County Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

Flower Highlights
Annual flower trials – Companies from around the world submit their newest developments. The trials show which flowers withstand the Kansas City climate. Not all varieties are created equal. Check out the container plantings as some flowers are only meant for use in pots.
New annual introductions – ‘Monarch Promise’ Milkweed is an ornamental with variegated foliage that enhances butterfly habitat. New to the market is Echibeckias, a cross between Echinacea (Coneflower) and Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) — two prairie natives which make it appealing for Kansas gardeners.
Cut your own flower bouquet area – a cutting garden is a fun way to bring the garden inside. Learn which plants work for providing summer enjoyment.
Impatiens Downy Mildew – this disease is continuing its spread into Kansas City. See what’s new in impatiens to help fight this disease.
Year of the Coleus – come see 21 varieties, including three terra-cotta colored cultivars, and the Under the Sea® varieties with wildly serrated leaves. Foliage is hot.

Vegetable Highlights – Growing Local Food
Find out what K-State Research and Extension is doing to help local farmers support the growing local food movement. Learn about the innovative things local farmers are doing. Projects include:
High tunnel systems with tomatoes, peppers, spinach, strawberries, blueberries and brambles;
Vegetable grafting;
Soil health and microbiology studies using cover crops and no-till systems;
All America Selections Variety Trial program;
“Pack n’ Cool” Mobile Produce Cooler;
Growing Growers: Training first-generation farmers in the KC/Lawrence area; and
Off season strawberry production system: Sample berries as part of the research effort to expand the fresh season of strawberries.

Extension Master Gardeners Backyard Garden Demonstration Garden
Vegetable gardening is as popular as ever. This project shows various methods of growing vegetables, including raised beds, trellises, and different planting methods along with a fruit garden. Featured displays include:
Incorporating native plants into the landscape
Perennial “border wars” purple and white verses red and blue
Basil, over 10 varieties.
Free soil tests for Johnson County Residents