Powell Gardens takes visitors on a journey through a series of peaceful, charming meadows with at least 6,000 varieties of plants to discover.

The gardens originated in 1948 when Kansas City businessman George E. Powell, Sr., bought the land that is now the city’s botanical centerpiece.

Years later in 1984, the Powell Family Foundation partnered with the MU School of Agriculture and began to develop a horticultural and natural resource facility called Powell Center.

Official ties with MU ended four years later, and the nonprofit organization Powell Gardens Inc. was established.

The gardens offer quality curation of nature to help visitors escape briefly from their busy lives.

“It gets them out, especially people that might be in the inner core of the city, to have a rest from that city life and to get out and enjoy the plants, flowers and wildlife,” said Brent Tucker, the lead horticulturalist.

Within Powell Gardens are seven themed sections, all featuring an array of plants and landscapes: The Children’s Garden, David T. Beals III Woodland and Streams Garden, Fountain Garden, Heartland Harvest Garden, Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden, the Memorial Garden, the Perennial Garden, and the Visitor Center Landscape.

The Fountain Garden is a popular attraction where visitors can beat the summertime heat.

The fountain’s 56 spray heads create the impression of an opening flower when activated, offering visitors a refreshing dusting of water. The fountain is surrounded by hydrangeas, colorful annuals, burgundy ninebarks and cannas.

The Perennial Garden provides colorful flowers that return each year depending on the season, including peonies, baptisia and iris in May.

In June, the summer flowering perennials will be in bloom, including fragrant garden phlox, catmint, salvia, spiderwort, and yarrow. Daylilies begin to show themselves in a range of colors during the month of July.

For upcoming events, Fortopia is a summer exhibition that taps into the nostalgia of building a fort. The exhibition showcases a number forts built by a design team of preschool children, artists, landscape designers and architects.

The exhibition runs from May 26 to Oct. 16. Tickets for Fortopia are included with the purchase of a general admission ticket.

Powell Garden also schedules Dog Days, where you can bring a pup along to tour the gardens. Upcoming Dog Days are June 19 and July 17.

Dogs must have current vaccinations and remain on a leash at all times. Tickets for Dog Days are included with general admission.

“You know, there’s always something to see out here,” Tucker said.

  • Community reporter, spring 2021 Studying editorial journalism Reach me at tmwmh5@umsystem.edu, or in the newsroom at 816-778-9134

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