PHOTOS: Unless noted, all photos are by Tom King and the property of My Education of a Gardener. Non-commercial use permitted with credit and link. Don’t make me have to watermark.

Kansas State Symbols
Flower: Sunflower, Helianthus annus.
Tree: Cottonwood, Populus deltoides.
Grass: Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium.
Insect: Honeybee: Apis mellifera
Reptile: Ornate Box Turtle, Terrapene ornata.
Bird: Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta Audubon.
Animal: American Buffalo, Bison bison.
Song: “Home on the Range,” words by Dr. Brewster Higley, music by Dan Kelly.


2012 USDA Hardiness Zone map, Kansas. Click map for link to USDA.

Lawrence (pop. 87,643) is in Douglas County, in the NE corner of the state. Kansas City is a 45-minute drive to the east, Topeka 25 minutes west.

38° 58′ 18″ N, 95° 14′ 7″ W
38.971667, -95.235278

Zone 5b, -15 to -10F, though the 2012 USDA Zone Hardiness map now lists Lawrence as Zone 6a, -10 to -5.

Elevation 866 feet

The major topographic features are the east-trending Kansas and Wakarusa River valleys and the upland cuestas formed by differential erosion of the limestone, shale, and sandstone beds.

Douglas County has a humid continental climate. Nearly three fourths of the annual precipitation falls during the growing season, which averages 196 days. The average date of the last killing frost in the spring is April 10 and the average date of the first killing frost in the fall is October 23.

The mean annual precipitation at Lawrence is 34.57 inches and the mean annual temperature, 56.5° F.

– From The Geohydrology of Douglas County.

Everything is true. Everything is connected.

“The best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.” – Unknown

“The Education of a Gardener,” by British landscaper Russell Page, was published in 1962. “My Education: A Book of Dreams,” by American writer William S. Burroughs, was published in 1995.

Nature bats last.

Louis Copt, “Upwind Flames,” 2005. Click image to link to Copt’s website.




  1. Sonja Lewis said:

    Mr. King, I’m surprised I haven’t come across your blog before. I hope you are able to continue it, but whether updated or not, it is a valuable resource. I especially enjoyed list of common allelopathic chemicals in trees & shrubs, and the physiographic map of Kansas….we East or West folks too easily think the Great Plains are uniform. A request: please consider revamping the policy of NO HYPHENS in names. The hyphen is still correct in our language, and it is essential where used in false common names–e.g. “osage-orange,” “mountain-ash,” and “Douglas-fir.” None of these trees are even distantly related to the second part of their name. Douglas-fir is an important example, because it is arguably the most important timber tree in the Northwest, and it no doubt is the prime load-bearing lumber used in Kansas. But dang, the name has been shortened to “fir”, which is a genus of pretty, fragrant, but WEAK-wooded conifers. Among your contacts, you could ask lumberyards and builders to at least call it “Doug-fir.” THANKS!

    • My Education of a Gardener said:

      Thanks for your comment, Sonja, and for teaching me about false common names. Osage-orange, aka Hedge-apple, is common around here. I’ll use the hyphen from now on. Best wishes to you.

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