Roxie McGee holding silk cloth that was dyed using rose verbena leaves from the Native Medicinal Garden.
When did you start gardening?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t garden. I grew up on a farm and my mother made me do the weeding, which I hated because I wanted to be out on the prairie with the cattle instead of standing in one place in the garden. As an adult, whenever I had soil, I would plant butterfly milkweed, blue false indigo and white yarrow because those were the plants in the prairie when I was growing up.
What are your favorite plants?
As of right now, these are my favorite plants:
- Anise Hyssop. If you have this plant in your garden, you’ll never be alone because it is always surrounded by pollinators. You can also eat the leaves, which taste like licorice and raise your spirits when you are hot and tired.
- Indian Hemp. I’m curious about this plant. At the Native Medicinal Garden, we are trying to figure out what dye color it will produce.
- Rose Verbena. It’s beautiful and has a mind of its own.
What is your favorite gardening tip or advice?
Be intentional about gardening, because the place defines the plant. Research how the plant wants to grow and match it to the environment. Find the place you want to plant in, and then find the right plant for that place.
Describe a gardening mistake you’ve made.
Getting upset when things don’t work. It’s not worth the effort!
What Extension Master Gardener activities have you participated in?
I became a Master Gardener in 2012. I’ve worked the Master Gardener Hotline, as well as both the Garden Tour and Garden Show in alternating years. I volunteered at the Monarch Watch garden for two years, and now I am the coordinator at the Native Medicinal Garden, which is located at 1865 E 1600 Rd in Lawrence, Kansas.
What is/was your career outside of the Extension Master Gardener program?
I owned a fiber artist studio. I also did design work in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in which I helped homeowners in the historic district design their homes to be historically appropriate.
What is the focus of your garden?
Native plants, with a special focus on plants that can be used for dyeing. Scarves made from dye gathered from plants at the Native Medicinal Garden can be purchased at Good Earth Gatherings. All proceeds support the Native Medicinal Garden.
If you are interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener, application information can be found under the “About Us” tab on our website.