We have received many comments wondering “what looks good at Powell Gardens?” since the drought. I can honestly say many things look marvelous. There are flowers and foliage in every color of the rainbow! Here’s a sample of some things that captured my attention today. I just got a new computer so am back in business with sharing photos and continuing the Powell Gardens’ blog.
‘Sizzler Red’ Salvia (Salvia splendens) is the RED in the rainbow terrace garden bed outside Cafe Thyme.
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) is also showing its vibrant red berries that last into winter. This is the cultivar ‘Winter Red’ along the walk to the Rock & Waterfall trolley stop.
‘Profusion Orange’ Zinnia shows riotous shades of orange. It’s flowers fade with age but I actually like the variation in its flower colors. Look for it in the rainbow terrace bed outside Cafe Thyme.
‘Prok’ Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are ripening in the Heartland Harvest Garden and several varieties are now turning beautiful shades of orange. If anyone were to pick and taste these before they are ripe they would learn a good lesson! Watch for these delicious (when ripe!) fruit at the tasting station on weekends. The select cultivars like ‘Prok’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Yates’ have much larger fruit than wild persimmons.
‘Lemon Gem’ Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) are blooming in the Heartland Harvest Garden’s Menu Garden. They are edible but best as a companion plant that attracts beneficial and pollinating insects.
Many species of perennial sunflowers are in bloom throughout the gardens: this is Maximilian’s Sunflower (Helianthus maximilianii) in the meadow. If you visit, be sure and give all these different sunflowers a sniff. Most of them smell like cocoa from sweet cocoa to bitter cocoa depending on the species. This one smells like a wonderfully rich cocoa!
Curly Parsley (Petroselenium crispum ‘Triple X’) was one of the greenest plants I photographed in the gardens today. Grow it for its beautiful texture, garnish, flavor, or as a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly!
Of course green plants come in many shades and the Basil Bed in Rosalind Creasy’s Author’s Garden in the Heartland Harvest Garden is a great place to see a composition or tapestry of these wonderful variations. The mass planting not only looks great but gives off a wonderful aroma and is visited by a plethora of pollinating insects to the basil blooms.
Pitcher’s Sage (Salvia azurea) is about as close to the color of the sky that there is in a flower. This local prairie native was completely unphased by the drought and is being pollinated by a carpenter bee in our meadow (see the Chapel in the background).
There is no blue like gentian blue and the native Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) is now in full bloom in the Perennial Garden. This native is actually easy to grow in moist soil in part shade. Its flowers are pollinated only by big, strong bumblebees that open up the fringe-tipped end of the flower, completely go inside the flower for a major nectar treat and then emerge a happy bee!
The Aromatic Aster (Aster oblongifolius) is beginning to bloom along the Living Wall on the Island Garden. When in full flower it is like a billowing cloud of purple along the east end of the garden.
The vivacious purple berries of American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) are in full fall splendor by the fountain at the Chapel. This shrub is native to the American South and does reach southern Missouri. It has to be seen in person to appreciate!
I had to show a white flower too, the last of the tropical Victoria (Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’) waterlilies are in bloom in the Island Garden’s pools and in a week or two the cool weather will shut down this amazing display.
So come out and experience the colors of September at Powell Gardens. Our gardeners did a phenomenal job of caring for the plants through the summer’s unprecedented heat and drought. Kudos to them!! The refreshing September air and softer sun sure make the garden shine now so don’t delay and miss the late summer/early fall bounty of the garden.