Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Spring spruce-up

Master gardeners really dig Magnatech Park

May 23, 2001

Master gardeners at Tonganoxie's Magnatech Park are cultivating a new look.

Susan Quisenberry, a master gardener since 1999, heads up the crew that's planting, weeding, mulching and watering to bring the land up to shape.

The park is one-half block east of First and Main streets. A walking bridge over a creek connects with Chieftain Park to the north, and across the street to the south is the entrance to the Reusch Memorial VFW Park.

The master gardeners who are working at Magnatech Park have completed an eight-week master gardener course sponsored by the Leavenworth County Extension Office and taught by K-State faculty.

After graduating from the course, the master gardeners are asked to complete at least 40 hours of volunteer work in the community and continue to take more gardening classes.

Until last year, the master gardeners had to go to Leavenworth to fulfill their community service hours. Now they can go to Magnatech Park.

The land for the park was donated to the city by Bill and Kathy Graveman, owners of Magnatech Engineering.

Working three mornings or evenings a week, now for the second year, about eight master gardeners are beginning to see the results of their labors.

Quisenberry, who is heading the Tonganoxie group, said that last summer the group concentrated on three areas a verbena bed along the walkway to the bridge, a bed of about 70 hostas in a shady sloping area, and an area near the street planted with drought-resistant native Kansas plants, such as purple coneflower and Kansas gayfeather.

This year the gardeners planted bushes, including purple-leafed sand cherry and burning bushes, to the east of the sidewalk, as well as an annual flower bed.

The area, which floods during heavy rains, is a concern to the gardeners, Quisenberry said.

"The one problem we have is erosion from the water that washes in off the street," she said. "The other thing about the park is that when we get a really heavy rain, it floods and water comes up in the park and covers the sidewalks."

The gardeners have more plans.

"We just want to keep adding to it every year and maintaining what we have," Quisenberry said. "We'd also like to have a hummingbird garden."

A hummingbird garden, she said, would be planted with plants that have red flowers and tubular plants that attract hummingbirds

Quisenberry said the park is the result of donations, as well as workers. She noted that the Gravemans pay the cost of the plantings. She credited Bill Graveman's parents, Don and Aggie Graveman, St. Charles, Mo., too.

"They were the ones who were really instrumental in getting this going," she said.

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