Heartland Harvest Garden Bounty

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Heartland Harvest Garden Bounty

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

Now that the summer solstice has passed and the long days of summer have provided abundant sunshine, the Heartland Harvest Garden’s bounty is coming into fruition. The staff’s masterful selection and care of this unprecedented array of edible plants in a public garden has really provided a remarkable and beautiful produce experience for our visitors. (Many thanks to Horticulturist Matt Bunch, Gardeners Barbara Fetchenhier, Caitlin Bailey, Ginger Johnson, Katie Scott and Dallas Stephens for all their work in making this garden a GARDEN!)

A brief look at the produce in Horticulturist Matt Bunch’s vehicle was a literal feast for the eyes! This colorful harvest of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant was on its way to Chef Nick and Fresh: A Garden Cafe. Fresh, located in our Missouri Barn, is now open and if you haven’t tasted its menu then you are missing out!


Another crate of colorful produce shows more tomatoes, peppers and even peaches and Asian pears towards the back.

Here’s some fresh picked green beans, the purple striped one on the right is the most flavorful cultivar ‘Dragon’s Tongue,’ which Matt had me taste right on the spot. Delicious!!!!

Here’s a larder of cucumbers including the unusual hit at the tasting stations: the large, light green Armenian cucumber.
The Insectaries Garden at the entrance to the Heartland Harvest Garden is exuberant with colorful plants that attract all the good bugs and pollinators to the garden. This garden is also a great butterfly garden and will be interpreted during our Festival of Butterflies on August 7-9 & 14-16. We have observed the benefit of this garden and the other companion plantings throughout the Heartland Harvest Garden. There is a plethora of honeybees, bumblebees, and other native bees; and they have done their job by providing the plants and us with fruits of their labor.
Near the Millstone Entrance Fountain the Stanley Plum is laden with gorgeous ripening plums.
Our young apple trees are showing ripening apples. This colorful red beauty is the cultivar ‘Royal Empire,’ which is noted for its bright red skin and white flesh. Red skinned apples actually are the best for you as they are highest in antioxidants. Lodi, the first apple to ripen has long since been picked.
There are more than 50 varieties of apples in the Apple Celebration Court and this GoldRush‘ apple is a real beauty too. GoldRush apple is noted as being tart and tangy but does sweeten with age.
The grapes in our vineyard are also gaining size and a few are ripening. This is a Neptune Grape, which is a white grape for wine and juice. Remember that the color of a grape does not necessarily mean it will be that color of wine. Our Melody grapes are ripening purple (in the row of white wine grapes closest to the arbor) but they are used to make a WHITE wine.
Here’s a picture of the Garretson Persimmons, which are showing an interesting complex of colors. This cultivar of native persimmon is noted for its early ripening and good fruit color. I can’t wait to try it in about 6 weeks. Not all persimmons need frost to ripen!
The Colossus Chestnut shows some of its spiny burs are filling out with nuts. This chestnut has been a good producer for us so far — most of our fruit and nut trees have been in the nursery for three seasons prior to being planted in the Heartland Harvest Garden.
In the Peach Plaza the Contender Peach tempts visitors with gorgeous classic fruit. There is no substitute for a locally grown, tree ripened peach! The Contender peach has greater frost resistance (while in bloom in dicey April) than most, so is a good choice for our area.
The marvelously crisp and tasty Asian Pears are ripening up throughout the garden. This Honsui Asian Pear is noted for its golden brown skin and delicious flavor. Asian pears are star performers in our climate and are a fantastic ornamental tree as well. Their white bloom in spring is followed by these delicious and beautiful fruit in summer and their fall color is a dazzling blend of oranges and reds.
We have European pears too and this Colette Pear shows the classic pear-shaped fruit. Colette pear is known as an “everbearing” pear as it has pears ripening on the tree from August until frost. Look for this pear in the Missouri Star Orchard Quilt Garden.
The Missouri native Pawpaws are also showing their unique fruit. In about 6 weeks the first of these tropicalesque fruit will ripen and sure to be a hit at the tasting stations.
The day neutral or Everbearing Strawberries are still going strong with a new flush of bloom and fruit. This is the popular Tribute Everbearing Strawberry and it too can be seen in the Missouri Star Orchard Quilt Garden.
Make sure to stop in and see the bounty of the Heartland Harvest Garden. It will be in peak production from now until freeze this fall. The more than 500 varieties of summer seasonal vegetables on display along with hundreds of varieties of fruit trees will really give your palette a new experience at our tasting stations or in Cafe Fresh.
Tonight (sold out) Powell Garden’s Heartland Harvest Garden is pleased to be hosting the nationally renown Outstanding in the Field dining experience by Jim Denevan (http://www.outstandinginthefield.com)%20with/ guest chef Jonathan Justus of Justus’ Drugstore in Smithville. The mission of Outstanding in the Field is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.