Cool Color

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Cool Color

Categories: Blog, Newsworthy

It may be Novemberrrr but there are still many colorful, cool weather-loving flowers and foliage to decorate our gardens with!

Though this is a scene from the Powell Gardens Visitor Center Conservatory, it does depict the colors of the season. The red foliage is Sedona Coleus (frost tender) and the Chrysanthemum is ‘Carilion.’



Outside, in the terrace beds of the Visitor Center the cool loving, freeze tolerant plants are shining stars this fall. This is a beautiful “specimen” of Kale ‘Chidori Red.’ Remember that ornamental “flowering” kales and cabbages are delicious to the eyes and the palate too! They are hardy to +10F too.

Tall Kale ‘Red Ursa’ hugs the wall behind colorful Kale ‘Nagoya Red’ for a wonderful contrast of form, texture and color.

Gorgeous Kale White Peacock struts its stuff between vivacious ‘Racquel’ mums for quite a color contrast.


Kale ‘Komome White’ has the most ruffled edges of any: and stitched in green for marvelous visual effect. The purple in the foreground is a waning aster and the white “daisies” behind are Vanilla Butterfly Argeranthemum.


The camera can’t quite capture the subtle blends from blue-green to violet and pink in the intricate leaves of Kale ‘Red Peacock.’ The contrasting flowers are Stocks ‘Hotcakes.’


Cabbage ‘Tokyo White’ divides ‘Mammoth Blue-ti-ful’ Pansies (yes that’s its name) from more Stocks ‘Hotcakes’ and the Red Peacock Kale in the far back. The fragrance of this bed is as good as its color from the sweet pansies and the spicy stocks.


Mustard Greens also are not necessarily green: ‘Giant Garnet’ Mustard is stunning with vivid ‘Red Rocket’ Snapdragons in the bed south of Cafe Thyme.

Flowers that bloom from early spring, all through summer and all through fall are simply rare or unheard of — until now. This is stellar ‘Snow Princess’ Alyssum whose delicate white flowers scented in honey have been blooming since MARCH! Through frost and freeze and heat and humidity, this annual is a winner all year in Kansas City gardens. NO, typical sweet alyssums will fry in our summer heat and need to be replanted for fall, but not this one.


The Encore Azaleas are also putting on their namesake fall bloom. This Encore Azalea is ‘Autumn Royalty’ which is my favorite of the series. The large, vivid flowers of spring are repeated a bit all season with an encore for the autumn. Autumn Royalty Encore Azalea is not quite fully hardy here though has done well the past few years in sheltered sites outdoors. We still grow ours in containers and put them in our cool greenhouse for the winter. A great container plant.
You may think the gardening season is over in Kansas City but there is a still a beautiful array of colorful plants that thrive in the cool weather and shrug off light freezes. We usually have lively beds around the Visitor Center through Thanksgiving and occasionally into December as Mother Nature allows. Embrace and enjoy this encore of living beauty as a final act of the 2010 outdoor Gardening Season.