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Summer Blossoms & Events

Summer celebrates renewed growth, revival, and relaxation. Check out the information below to get the goods on summertime favorites in the Gardens. Peak times will vary depending on weather.

Top Five Spaces to Keep Cool

Space: The Stumpery
Location: Visitor Center Landscape
Follow the path out of the west doors of the Visitor Center and you will find a shaded area featuring large hardwoods (hickory and oak) and found natural sculpture (gnarled stumps and roots) that have been integrated with woodland plants into an artistic display.

Space: Carl and Jean Chinnery Lower Deck Garden
Location: David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden
After exiting the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden, follow the path into the cool cover of the David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden. To your right you will notice an observation deck surrounded by shade-loving perennial plants and directly adjacent to the flowing water for which the Woodland & Stream Garden was named.

Space: The Bob and Sally West Arbor Garden
Location: The Perennial Garden
This shady spot, near the water’s edge of our 12-acre lake, is covered in twisting wisteria vines that bloom in late-spring but provide interest (and shade) all year long. Enjoy a restful seat under the arbor to enjoy the scenic view across the water.

Space: The Good Earth Garden Stop
Location: The Perennial Garden
A newly renovated space in the Perennial Garden, the Good Earth Garden Stop offers restrooms, a snack shop, seating, and hands-on children’s activities.

Space: The Fountain Garden
Location: Visitor Center Landscape
This 42-foot diameter water feature showcases a refreshing spray for cooling off. Sit on the low walls surrounding the fountain and enjoy the beauty of the display beds in this garden space.

Top Five Spots for Summer Showstoppers

Showy Spot: Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden
Featured Plant: Water Lily (genus Nymphaea)
Best Time to Visit: late-July to August
The tiered pools of the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden display a number of aquatic plants including nearly 40 varieties of water lilies. Watch for colorful goldfish swimming among the plants.

Showy Spot: Arvin Gottlieb Foundation Daylily Path
Featured Plants: Daylilies (genus Hemerocallis)
Best Time to Visit: mid-June to mid-July
The bulk of the Powell Gardens’ daylily collection is installed in the sunny Perennial Garden. You can experience a variety of bold summer color along the winding brick path. Additional varieties of this edible flower are available to view in the Heartland Harvest Garden.

Showy Spot: Heartland Harvest Garden Villandry
Featured Plants: Herbs, Vegetables, Floral Companion Plants
Best Time to Visit: mid-June to late-August
The design of the Villandry in the Heartland Harvest Garden was inspired by the Gardens of the Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley in France. The geometric patterns of the beds are planted with edible material with an attention to aesthetic as well as seasonal interest. This season, the beds reflect themes of global flavors, seed-to-plate education, the farm-to-table movement, and fermentation in conjunction with a new Chef-in-Residence program in the Gardens.

Showy Spot: Native Butterfly Habitat
Featured Plants: Butterfly Bush, Zinnias, Lantana, Coneflower, Milkweed
Best Time to Visit: July to August
Located on the gravel path near the Children’s Education Garden, this space was developed to foster native butterfly species during the season. Live caterpillars and butterflies are installed here to educate on their life cycle and the host and nectar plants needed to sustain them.

Showy Spot: Visitor Center flower beds
Featured Plants: Tropical Milkweed, Zinnias, Vinca, Pentas, Celosia
Best Time to Visit: June to August
The beds around the visitor center are designed for seasonal rotations of plantings to accent the herbaceous perennials and shrubs installed in these areas. Summer plantings feature many long-blooming, plants that can withstand sun and heat while sustaining pollinator populations.

Family Frolic: Buzzed About Bees
Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | FREE
Bring the family out to Powell Gardens to get buzzed about bees during National Pollinator Week. The Heartland Beekeeping Association will be in attendance with an active beehive to teach families about beekeeping. Make native plant seed bombs to take home and start your very own pollinator gardens, create pollinator origami art, embark on a garden-wide search of active pollinators, and plant an eco-pot with an important butterfly host plant. For an additional fee kids can paint and take home their own flower pots, and families can learn how to make tasty treats with a local chef.

Planting for Pollinators: Container Design
Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | $55
Celebrate National Pollinator Week and learn what plants are best to support various pollinator species and make a portable pollinator garden. Participants will learn the basics of attracting and sustaining pollinators through gardening and will workshop with Master Gardener Lenora Larson to plan, design, and plant their own container to take home. Nectar plants are provided by Colonial Gardens. Participants will receive a coupon for a percentage off plant purchases at Colonial Gardens.

Booms & Blooms: 25th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, June 29, Gardens open at 9 a.m. fireworks begin at dusk | FREE
Rain Date: Sunday, June 30
Join us for the 25th and final installment of this popular Independence Day celebration! Enjoy a beautiful palette of floral color on land and a fantastic display in the air provided by our new fireworks partner, Premier Pyrotechnics.. Plan to arrive early to check out the summer exhibition, Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks and then stake out a lakeside seat to watch the fireworks. Guests can partake in hands-on activities and enjoy the musical stylings of the Lee’s Summit Symphony.

Drop-In Tour: Shady Secrets of the Woodland
Sunday, July 7, 2 p.m. |FREE
Join Powell Gardens docent Margaret Smith-Wisker for a focused look at the design, construction, and cool shade-loving understory of the David T. Beals III Woodland and Stream Garden. Did you know there is off the beaten path access in this garden? This is a great way to escape the heat of summer, appreciate often overlooked aspects of this garden, while visiting Powell Gardens. Meet in the Grand Hall of the visitor center for this walking tour.

Work and Learn: Powell Gardens Iris Collection
Thursday, July 11, 9 a.m.-noon |$25
Did you know that the iris is the official flower of Kansas City and that Powell Gardens has more than 560 named cultivars in its collection? Learn about the history of this collection, the man behind its conception (Dr. Norlan Henderson), and help our horticulture staff relocate iris specimen into a new home in the garden. Participants who sign up for this workshop will learn how to care for, properly cut back, and relocate iris rhizomes (while helping us start this relocation project) and will get an iris cutting or two to take home.

Saturday Rhythm & Blooms
Saturday, July 13, noon-4 p.m. |FREE
Enjoy the rhythm of live music, libations, and the blooms of the season Second Saturdays through the summer. Purchase tasty bites from Cafe´ Thyme or Perennial Gifts, the garden gift shop, grab a drink from the terrace bar, relax and breath in the Gardens.

Species Spotlight: Hunt for Berry Treasure
Saturday, July 13, 10:30-11:30 a.m. | FREE
Join a Powell Gardens docent for a hunt for berry treasure. This family-friendly hike features a short walk (less than one mile) through our forest to our lotus pond in search of blackberries and other woodland treasures. This experience is suited for families with kids aged five to twelve.

SAGES: Water Gardening 101
Thursday, July 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | $35
Deb Spencer, co-owner of Water’s Edge, a regional resource for all things water gardening, will present an illustrated talk about elements of water gardening and inspire you with simple ideas for water features you can easily incorporate at home in a backyard, patio, or even a tabletop. Following the talk, grab a box lunch and walk to the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden with Deb to learn about the aquatic plants on display at Powell Gardens.

Festival of Butterflies
July 26-August 11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily | FREE
Flit and flutter out to Powell Gardens for this annual event focused on our favorite pollinator! Enjoy hands-on activities, interact with expert community partners, and walk among the winged beauties in the tropical conservatory display and Native Butterfly Habitat.

Natural Exposure: Photographs by Wendy Delzeit, Stephanie Ehrhardt, Angie Harris, and Lisa Healey
July 26-September 8, 2019
This special exhibition features four professional artists from the greater Kansas City area whose work depicts aspects of the landscape and garden through the medium of photography. Using a macro lens, Wendy Delzeit shows us a close up look at the world of flowers and insects. Stephanie Ehrhardt’s botanical prints feature scenes from Powell Gardens and a close-up look at particular specimen in the garden. Angie Harris is drawn to photographing ordinary things that most people overlook in the landscape and in nature. Lisa Healey feels a strong reverence for nature and examines the world of a flower from a few inches away. These photographs bring the outdoors indoors and may inspire us to examine aspects of nature more closely in person.

Meet the Experts: Photography Demonstration
Saturday, July 27, 2-4 p.m.
Gather tips from exhibiting photographers, Wendy Delzeit, Stephanie Ehrhardt, Angie Harris, and Lisa Healey for shooting insects in motion, florals, and landscapes. Refreshments provided.

Monarch Butterfly Social & Release
Friday, July 26, 5-7 p.m. | $35
The Monarch Bar, 4808 Roanoke Parkway, Kansas City
Join us for a truly unique happy hour featuring a live Monarch butterfly release from the terrace of The Monarch Bar. The drink menu of this Kansas City-based, James Beard Award-Winning cocktail bar and lounge is designed by star bartender Brock Schulte and features specialty creations inspired by the seasonal migratory pattern of the Monarch butterfly. During this exclusive event, sip on a premium butterfly-themed cocktail and learn how to promote Monarch butterfly populations by offering the right host and nectar plants in your home garden or landscape.

Native Butterfly Habitats: The Heart and Soul of Your Garden
Sunday, August 4, 2 p.m. | FREE
Join docent Betty Boyd in the Grand Hall of the Visitor Center for a walk through the Native Butterfly Habitat in the Heartland Harvest Garden. Learn about the life cycle of butterflies and what is needed to create a successful habitat for supporting varied phases of the butterfly life cycle. Following this tour, we hope you will be inspired to help sustain native butterfly habitats at home.

Photographer’s-Only Butterfly Access
Thursday, August 8, 6-8 p.m. | $10
Join us for the golden hour just as the sun begins to set and photograph butterflies in the gardens and our Native Butterfly Habitat. Bring your tripods or monopods to capture the perfect shot of tropical butterfly species in the Martha Jane Philips Starr Butterfly Conservatory. A cash bar will be available.

Saturday Rhythm & Blooms
Saturday, August 10, 12-4pm| FREE
Enjoy the rhythm of live music, libations, and the blooms of the season Second Saturdays through the summer. Purchase tasty bites from Cafe´ Thyme or Perennial Gifts, the garden gift shop, grab a drink from the terrace bar, relax and breath in the Gardens.

Species Spotlight: Perfect Pollinators
Saturday, August 10, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | FREE
Join a Powell Gardens docent on a hunt for Powell Gardens’ perfect pollinators. This family-friendly, features a short stroll through our gardens and Native Butterfly Habitat in search of winged wonders. Families will play a pollinator game and get up close with hungry caterpillars. This experience is suited for families with children aged five to twelve.

Victoria Secret: Lily on the Water
Thursday, August 15, 7:30-10 p.m. | $45
This special educational evening is all about the enchanting Victoria water lily that hails from the Amazon. Learn all about its history and about water lilies featured at Powell Gardens. Join Dr. Chad Miller, Associate Professor of Landscape Horticulture, Kansas State University for a short illustrated talk about Victoria amazonica (the largest of the Nymphaeacea family of water lilies) and then experience the captivating nocturnal blooms in the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden (depending on weather and plant development). Cocktails crafted by Boozy Botanicals, featuring Till vodka and hearty snacks will be provided in this special after-hours event.

Missouri Barn Dinner with Chef Michael Foust
Sunday, August 18, 5-9 p.m. | $75
Enjoy garden bounty and brews in the Missouri Barn with Chef Michael Foust of The Farmhouse and Black Sheep + Market. Join Chef Foust, the featured chef-in-residence in our Farm-to-Table garden, for a welcome cocktail and a chat about the farm-to-table movement, then enjoy a three-course, family-style meal using Powell Gardens-grown vegetables and local meats prepared in the Argentinian style over open flame. The meal will feature beer pairings presented by Michael Crane of Crane Brewing, a brewer-in-residence in our Fermentation Field.