Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A great weekend to visit Powell Gardens

Finishing up the stop at Powell Gardens, Lyman Whitaker's wind sculpture exhibits ends in June at Powell Gardens.  The large sculpture to the left greets visitors at the entrance of the visitor center.  

I spent last Sunday strolling along the gardens with my husband.  The morning was windy and the sculptures were fun to watch moving in the breeze.  

The one pictured on the right is one of my favorites. It is in a garden close to Cafe Thyme.  
In addition to the wind sculptures, Powell Gardens has been preparing for the next feature attraction.

Big Bugs, by Dave Rogers, are on display through October 3.  Throughout the gardens, you will find the bugs. We saw ants marching across the Meadow towards the chapel, a giant spider web in the Rock and Waterfall Garden, and a praying mantis in the Heartland Harvest Garden.  

The overlap of the two exhibits makes Memorial Day Weekend a great time to visit Powell Gardens. 

It had been ten years since my husband last visited Powell Gardens and he was amazed at all the changes.  Our first visit to Powell was over 20 years ago when the lakes were being dug and the old visitor center had a vegetable garden featuring plants from around the world. 

Today, visitors to Powell Gardens are fortunate to experience edibles from around the world at the 12 acre Heartland Harvest Garden.  Viewed from the top of the silo, the quilt garden is shown below.

At the tasting station we ate strawberries, carrots and the flowers from nasturtiums.  Though this garden peaks later in the season, there is much to experience right now.  I love the lines of this iron fence with the flowers in the herb garden.

And, not limited to the Heartland Harvest Garden, vegetables used throughout Powell Gardens:

After winding through the Island Garden past the living wall, we spent some time at the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel.  Here's a few of my favorite views of the chapel:

Throughout the gardens we saw roses, peonies, iris and poppies flowering:

I'm looking forward to my next visit to Powell Gardens and bringing along my husband.  I can't wait to show him what rice looks like.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Prairie Center

The Lenexa Field and Garden Club finally made its way to a field for one of our meetings!  

Fortunately, there was a break in the weather.  The skies cleared a bit during a very rainy week and we met Tuesday evening for a tour of The Prairie Center.  Located in Olathe, Kansas, the 300 acres of tallgrass prairie, riparian woodlands and wetlands are maintained by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. 

We learned about the family that originally farmed this property and even lived in the chicken coop for a while.  


We only hiked a portion of the six miles of trails making it to the original homestead and back.  Along the way, we learned about maintaining a tallgrass prairie and the challenge of fighting off the encroaching woodlands such as the Black Locust and Redbuds. 

Since it is early in the season, we saw only a few wildflowers along the way including Phlox and Spiderwort.  The seedheads of Illinois Bundleflower lined one of the paths.

The large leaves of May Apple were visible in a grassy area by the lake.


At the site of the original homestead, our guide pointed out rows of cedars.  Lining the drive to the house, the cedars made it easy to find the path to the house even in snowy weather.

The evening ended with the beautiful setting sun.  The garden club is planning to meet again this summer at The Prairie Center and we are looking forward to exploring more trails, enjoying the summer flowering native and naturalized plants, and seeing for ourselves how tall the native grasses grow.