The Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the Douglas County Fairgrounds serves to provide inspiration and education for a variety of landscapes. Kevin Nelson, Coordinator of the Demonstration Garden, explains, “Whatever your interests are, there is an example. We are here to demonstrate how plants grow in Kansas. The ten themed beds can provide ideas to make the most of your landscape.”
The Xeriscape Garden that showcases drought-tolerant plants is a wonder this year, as the abundance of rain has allowed the plants to really show off. The garden runs along the entryway of the fairgrounds and contains milkweeds, shasta daisies, peonies and liatris. However, the real treat has been the orange flowers of the yellow horned poppy plant next to the purple blooms of catmint. Yellow irises gave the area an extra dose of color early in the season.
Do you have an area that gets too much runoff or drains poorly? The purpose of the Rain Garden is to contain, filter and soak up rainwater runoff. Signage provides information about constructing your own rain garden.
Located in the center of the Fairgrounds Demonstration Garden, the Pollinator Garden features an array of plants that are attractive to pollinators, such as butterfly flower, varieties of milkweed, coneflower, bee balm and phlox. Different plants are always in bloom, and during any trip to the garden you will be sure to find our winged friends hovering over whatever is in season.
The Rock Garden is a new addition at the Fairgrounds Demonstration Garden. Basket of Gold (alyssum aurinia) lights up the area in early spring, and gives way to various stonecrop and columbine that are situated among the rocks.
Kansas is known for its grasses, and a bed provides examples of different options to ponder for your own garden.
The Herb Garden demonstrates how easy it is to have fresh herbs for your kitchen.
Just down the sidewalk is the Shade Garden, which presents a variety of shade tolerant plant ideas and inspiration. “If you can’t get grass to grow under a tree, then stop trying,” suggests Kevin Nelson. “Come to the demonstration garden and see what you can grow under a tree.”
A big project for the Master Gardeners is building a fence around the vegetable garden. “We wanted a long-term solution for keeping the critters out,” said Jim Blom, one of the Master Gardeners who tends the grounds.
QR codes are a recent addition to the garden, and are available to provide additional education on various plants. As Kevin noted, “People come to the garden for ideas, but also for resources.” Hover your smartphone camera over the QR code, and a link from a trusted resource will appear on your screen.
“People talk about mindfulness, and there is no better way to be mindful than to be gardening,” explains Kevin. “If you don’t want to be alone with your thoughts, put on a podcast. The best part is that you’ll have something beautiful to show for your efforts.”
The Master Gardeners Fairgrounds Demonstration Garden is always open, and there is no admission fee. Master Gardeners work in the garden from 9am to noon on Tuesdays from April through September. They welcome visitors to ask questions or even help! The garden is located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper Street, Lawrence, KS.
If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, application information can be found under the “About Us” tab on the website.