Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden, Delights in All Seasons

Discover the Midwest Landscape at Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens
October 11, 2023

Located just 30-minutes from the Kansas City metro, Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden is the perfect one-tank trip for the whole family! Gather gardening inspiration for your own backyard or simply enjoy the peaceful serenity the Midwest landscape has to offer.  

Established in 1988, Powell Gardens is Kansas City’s destination for education, exploration, and recreation. Below, you’ll find a guide to Powell Gardens’ variety of gardens and landscapes.  

Byron Shutz Trail System

Through a generous donation from Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz and the Shutz Foundation, Powell Gardens is home to two unique trails, the Family Discovery Loop (1-mile loop) and the Prairie Ridge Trail (3.25-mile trail with different start and end locations).  

Both provide snapshots of different landscapes including, but not limited to, woodland and aquatic ecosystems (Family Discovery Loop), savannas, glades, and remnant prairies (Prairie Ridge Trail) to name a few. Keep your eyes peeled for special native species such as American lotus, prickly pear cactus, Osage orange, honey locust, and more. 

Protecting these elements of our native Midwest landscape is paramount to sustainable stewardship for generations. Discover the restoration of prairie communities through invasive species removal and woody encroachment management along the Prairie Ridge Trail or the beauty of the American lotus pond along the Family Discovery Loop. 

Learn more about these special hiking trails with our latest blog post.  

Children’s Garden

Located in the Heartland Harvest Garden, adjacent to the Education Building, the Children’s Garden is a family-friendly favorite. Upon entering the Heartland Harvest Garden, pass the Celebration Apple and make a stop at the Pollinator Playground, complete with climbing milkweed, life-sized honeycomb, and more!  

Continue along the path toward the Missouri Barn & Silo, turn left, and you’ll be at the Education Building and Children’s Garden. This garden is full of sensory wonder with larger-than-life Adirondack chairs, potting shed, garden tool balance beams, raised beds, and a small pond.  

Learn more about the Children’s Garden. 

David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden

After traveling past the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden and the Meadow, you’ll enter an oasis of plants that thrive in shade—the David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden. The Carl and Jean Chinnery Lower Deck Garden or the Natalie Prussing Upper Deck Garden are perfect viewing spots for the flowing streams and shade-loving plants. 

Don’t forget to search for log planters featuring aesthetic botanical displays on the main path or venture along the secret trail to search for fairy houses.  

Learn more about the David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden. 

Fountain Garden

The Fountain Garden pays homage to Kansas City, which is also known as the City of Fountains.  

Centered between the Visitor Center and Heartland Harvest Garden, this space boasts a 42-foot diameter, 56-spray head, interactive water feature. The fountain’s basin is designed with a floral motif composed of different colors and granite textures.  

While you enjoy the Fountain Garden’s water features, don’t forget to enjoy botanical elements such as Powell Garden’s iris collection. Did you know the iris is Kansas City’s official flower? In fact, the Kansas City tall, bearded iris was one of the first dark iris hybrids cultivated by renowned iris expert and hybridizer Doctor Norlan Henderson. 

Many of the irises visitors see at Powell Gardens today are Merit Award irises cultivated by Doctor Henderson himself.  

Learn more about the Fountain Garden.  


Heartland Harvest Garden

Garden Galleries
Garden Galleries is a must-see feature on your way through the Heartland Harvest Garden. Positioned at the entrance to this garden, each house provides a different experience. One side is comprised of rotating botanical displays to fit the season while the other side features plants from Powell Gardens’ tropical and arid collections with fun additions like the succulent wall and more.

Pollinator Playground
A more recent addition to the Heartland Harvest Garden, the Pollinator Playground is the perfect spot for imagination and play! Can you traverse honeycomb like a bee? Or perhaps jump from milkweed plant to milkweed plant like a butterfly?  

Missouri Barn & Silo
Designed by Maurice Jennings Architects, the Missouri Barn and Silo is built of cedar wood with room for many under its eaves. This is the perfect spot to take a rest and enjoy the Powell Gardens scenery such as the Villandry Garden and Children’s Garden.  

If you traverse to the top of the Silo, which is modeled after traditional Missouri barn silos at 45 feet tall, you’ll capture one of the best views in the Gardens.  

Villandry Garden
This special garden features rotating botanical displays that coincide with the seasons. Staff’s favorite way to view The Villandry Garden is from the top of the Silo. Not only is the view of our Midwestern landscape spectacular, it also reveals the hidden quilt patterns that are special to the Villandry Garden.  

Learn more about the Heartland Harvest Garden. 

Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden

A visitor favorite, the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden is the centerpiece to Powell Gardens’ 12-acre lake. Featuring a variety of aquatic plants and designed garden beds, the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden is the perfect place to discover our certified lotus and waterlily collections 

For a more secluded space, seek out the Sunken Garden, which is enclosed by stone walls, flower beds, and a two-tiered pool housing lotus. Or, to experience an expansive and beautiful view, Powell Gardens suggests the viewing deck near the arbor. Can you spot the sculpture known as the Blue Sentinel standing proudly in the water? 

Learn more about the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden. 

Meadow & Meadow Pavilion

Designed by E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings Architects, the Meadow Pavilion is nestled among native prairie grasses and flowers. This structure is located at the most centrifugal location in Powell Gardens and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.  

The Meadow is undergoing restoration, which includes grazing goats, seasonal burns, and mowing to improve soil health as well as plant and insect diversity. The billowing grasses offer a peaceful backdrop by which to enjoy your visit to Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden.

Learn more about the Meadow and Meadow Pavilion. 

Memorial Garden

Adjacent to the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel, the Memorial Garden is tucked into the Midwest landscape. It features a serene environment for reflection, including a trickling fountain and seasonal plantings. 

Learn more about the Memorial Garden. 


Perennial Garden

The Perennial Garden is undergoing a transformation and has been closed during the 2023 season, but will reopen again soon. The original 3.5-acre landscape is being reimagined with emphasis on sustainable design and a planting mix of shrubs and perennials. 

Learn more about the original Perennial Garden design. 


Visitor Center Landscape

Dennis & Annette Young Magnolia Walk
Powell Gardens’ magnolia collection is nationally recognized and certified by the North American Plant Collections Consortium. This winding walk located near the Visitor Center features a variety of cultivars from the Powell Gardens collection.

Dogwood Walk
Winding south from the Visitor Center to the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island garden, the Dogwood Walk displays flowering trees adaptable to our region. A perfect place for a leisurely stroll.  

Stumpery Garden
Featuring shade-loving perennials alongside stumps and logs, the Stumpery Garden is a peaceful stop just off the Visitor Center terraces. In 2023, Powell Gardens added a brand-new display, the Staghorn fern wall, which displays two groups of ferns growing epiphytically (on trees). This display is made from recycled oak slabs and models the ferns’ natural habitats.

Conifer Garden
Did you know, the sandstone and subsoil excavated from the Fountain Garden was repurposed as the perfect base for the well-draining soil preferred by conifers.  

Featuring almost all hardy genera of conifers from around the world, the Conifer Garden, is a certified reference garden by the American Conifer Society. This garden began from a special dwarf conifer donation, given by Marvin Snyder, an avid gardener and past president of American Conifer Society. It features beautiful foliage textures and colors in all seasons. 

Founder’s Garden
Tucked into the remarkable architecture on the north end of the Visitor Center, the space feels like a secret garden, rarely crowded and the perfect place to go for quiet reflection. This delightful spot honors George E. Powell Sr. and his wife, Hilda, whose foresight and generosity led to the establishment of Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. 

Learn more about the Visitor Center Landscape. 

Discover the Midwest at Powell Gardens

As a non-profit botanical garden, your visit supports the Midwest spirit of place and the importance of plants in our lives. Powell Gardens’ Conservationist Julie Copley said it best, “You don’t need to go to a coast to see something beautiful because we have something beautiful right here—Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden.” 

Whether you’re interested in hiking near Kansas City, gardening classes with horticulture experts, or discovering Missouri’s natural landscape, there’s something for everyone at Powell Gardens.