This Weekend at the Gardens


Sunflowers on a sunny day.

We’re so excited for the beautiful weather forecast for this weekend! Bright blue skies and a nice breeze are the perfect backdrop to a Powell Gardens visit.  As always, we have a little something for everyone that’s a little out of the ordinary.


This weekend is your last chance to see the incredible tropical butterflies in the conservatory.  Without the festival crowds, enjoy seeing shimmering Emerald Swallowtails, Blue Morphos and more as they flutter through a lush tropical landscape.


On Saturday at 2 p.m., catch a spicy Fresh Bites demo with Barb the Gardener at the Missouri Barn. She and special guest Grace Radillo will explore cooking with a Mexican flair. Fresh Bites is included with general admission. Come hungry!


Can’t make it out this weekend? Consider joining us at one of our upcoming special events:


Our popular Booms and Blooms festival has been moved to Saturday, September 3rd. After being rained out in July, we decided to share this fun event over Labor Day weekend instead! Let us bring the fun to your family with live music, hot food, crafts for the kids, and of course – a spectacular fireworks show!


Looking for a change of pace? Join us for a rustic yet elegant dinner at the Missouri Barn. Our signature fall fundraiser, Under a Harvest Moon, takes place on September 18th. This expertly-crafted, farm-to-table meal by Chef Cody Hogan of Lidia’s will feature produce fresh from the Heartland Harvest Garden. Enjoy a raffle to win an exclusive wine tasting, and a special silent auction to win dinner in the beautiful landscaped garden at the home of Chef Cody Hogan. All proceeds support Powell Gardens’ youth education programs.

Powell Gardens’ 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies Is Now Open!

Here are a few scenes from the 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies, which opened today at Powell Gardens. The fun continues all weekend (and the following weekend, Aug. 12-14). Come on out and have a close encounter with some spectacular butterflies!

8.5.16 Palamedes Swallowtail

8.5.16 White Peacock butterfly 

8.5.16 Scarlet Mormon swallowtail 

8.5.16 Malachite butterfly

Butterflies pictured above include (top to bottom): Palamedes Swallowtail*, White Peacock, Scarlet Mormon Swallowtail (male)* and Malachite*. *Photo by Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens

8.5.16 Monarch release butterfly breezeway

These lucky kids got to help Alan Branhagen release monarchs in the butterfly breezeway.

8.5.16 parade around fountain garden

Each day at 11 a.m. Ms. Frizzle leads a costume parade around the fountain. This year, we welcomed a new parade participant: Linda Williams created an amazing spicebush swallowtail caterpillar (below) especially for the festival’s 20th anniversary!

8.5.16 spicebush swallowtail caterpillar

There’s much more festival fun ahead this weekend. See the schedule at



Sneak Peek: 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens

Emerald Swallowtail butterfly with wings open

Emerald Swallowtail butterfly

Several species of butterflies that have not been exhibited at Powell Gardens will be featured at the 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies, which is open August 5-7 and 12-14, 2016. Horticulture Director Alan Branhagen took these photographs inside the conservatory where just a few butterflies are fluttering about.

Pictured above is the Emerald Swallowtail, one of a few known green butterflies. The bands on the top of the wings appears emerald green, blue or even yellow depending on the lighting. The color is structural or iridescent and not from pigment.

The undersides of the wings are quite different (see below) and are comprised of dusty grays with some blue and orange dots on either side.

Emerald Swallowtail with wings closed

Another butterfly making its first appearance at the festival is the Scarlet Mormon Swallowtail (pictured below), a large, tailless swallowtail from Southeast Asia. Several different wing patterns have been discovered in the females of this species. This polymorphism, which is restricted to the females, is thought to help protect the butterflies because the patterns mimic other species that are unpalatable to predators.

Scarlet Mormon Swallowtail female

Scarlet Mormon Swallowtail (female)

We hope you will join us for the 20th Annual Festival of Butterflies. It’s open the first two weekends in August: 5-7 and 12-14. Visit for details.


Garden Chef Demo Series:

Do you love having a big vegetable garden, but find yourself wondering, “What in the world do I do with all of these onions/tomatoes/herbs/etc.”? Wonder no more! The finest chefs in the region are here to help. Our Garden Chef cooking demos bring together local chefs and the fresh produce found in our 12-acre edible landscape, the Heartland Harvest Garden – all in order to inspire you in your own garden and kitchen.

Chef Brandon Winn

On July 24th, we welcomed Executive Chef Brandon Winn of Webster House to the Missouri Barn. He created a delicious meal of tomato and radish salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette, beef short ribs with polenta and pesto, and a refreshing ratatouille with just the right amount of spice. His food was so good, we just had to share the recipes!

For even more recipes from great chefs, visit us here.

For more information on the Garden Chef series, visit us here.

Basil Pesto    Yield: 2 cups

2 cups picked basil leaves

½ cup pecorino romano (salty sheeps milk cheese)

½ cup toasted pine nuts

5 cloves garlic

1 cup grapeseed oil

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until a paste is achieved.  This can be as rustic or smooth as you want it.


Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette    Yield: 1 qt

1 cup roasted garlic puree

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 ½ cup grapeseed oil

½ cup evoo

Pinch chili flake

1 T honey

1 T smooth Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

 Place mustard, vinegar, garlic puree and honey in a stainless steel bowl and whisk together.  Slowly add grapeseed oil to the mixture until it begins to thicken.  Add a small splash of water if it becomes too thick.  Once the oil is incorporated whisk in the olive oil, add the chili and season.  Store in the fridge for up to a month.


Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs    Yield: (8) 6 ounce portions

10 # bone in beef short rib

1 quart balsamic vinegar

2 quarts chicken stock

2 oz thyme

1 cup garlic cloves

 Trim excess fat and silver skin off of the short ribs.  Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper and in a cast iron or on a medium high heat grill sear the short ribs off after they have been seasoned for 30 minutes.  Combine other ingredients and submerge short ribs for 24 hours to marinate.  Place in a 300 degree oven for 4 hours (until the bones are loose).  Leave in the liquid for an hour at room temp to retain moisture.  Remove from the liquid and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, remove bones and connective tissue attaching them.  You can shred at this point but we allow them to cool in the fridge so we can portion them neatly.  Cool the broth down remove fat and it makes an excellent sauce when reduced and buttered out.


Ratatouille Provençal      Yield: 4 qts

1 cup evoo

1 quart medium diced summer squash

1 quart large diced eggplant

2 cups medium diced onion

2 cups medium diced pepper

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes

1 cup torn basil

½ cup chopped oregano

1 oz chopped thyme

2 cups red wine (the bigger the better)

½ cup garlic, slivered

2 pinches chili flake

 In a heavy bottom pot (at least 8 qt) heat evoo over medium heat.  Allow to heat for 30 seconds then add onion and garlic.  Season liberally with salt (it breaks down the onion faster), freshly ground black pepper and chili stirring constantly to ensure even cooking.  Once tender add peppers and tomatoes allowing to cook for 3-4 minutes to slightly tenderize.  Add the wine and reduce by half.  Add squash and cook for 2 minutes, then add eggplant.  Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  Fold in the herbs and check the seasoning.  Store for up to 5 days in the fridge.

This Weekend at Powell Gardens

Reciprocal Weekend with the Kansas City Zoo: July 16 and 17, 2016 

715 FOTZ16 reciprocal weekend 400

It’s our reciprocal weekend with the Kansas City Zoo! Show your Friends of the Zoo member card to get half-price admission to Powell Gardens this Saturday and Sunday! And Friends of Powell Gardens’ members who show their membership card at the Zoo get 50 percent off of admission, too! Photo: The Kansas City Zoo


blackberries sm

Fresh Bites with Barb: Burstin’ Out with Berries!
2 p.m. Saturday, July 16 

If you’re coming to the Gardens on Saturday, don’t miss Fresh Bites. Barb is talking raspberries and blackberries—both of which have been plentiful in the Heartland Harvest Garden this season! She even baked blackberry cobbler, so stop by the Missouri Barn for a sample. Included with admission.

Julie Kendall 320

Garden Chef Cooking Demonstration by Chef Julie Kendall 
2 p.m. Sunday, July 17

Julie Kendall is chef/owner of Cafe Blackadder in Warrensburg, Mo., where she serves up flavorful fare using as many local ingredients as possible. On Sunday afternoon at Powell Gardens, she will create a tasty dish featuring produce grown in the Heartland Harvest Garden—the nation’s largest edible landscape. Join her in the Missouri Barn at 2 p.m. Included with admission.

Playing Pokemon Go? 

Powell Gardens has several PokeStops and three gyms! Show your Pokemon Go app at the gatehouse to get $2 off an adult or senior’s general admission to the Gardens. This offer is good now through August and applies to general admission only (no festivals or special events).

Have a wonderful weekend!


Cooking from the Gardens: New Culinary Class Series

Join us for an evening of delicious learning at the Missouri Barn as Powell Gardens launches a new series of culinary classes led by area chefs and fresh-food enthusiasts.

Our summer series kicks off on Friday, July 22 at 6 p.m. with Craig Jones, owner of Savory Addictions Gourmet Nuts.

Enjoy reverse seared Korean steak, bacon-wrapped smoked dates, smashed potatoes, broccoli and produce fresh from Powell Gardens, plus dessert—all prepared over live fire before your eyes. Craig will show you how to grill, roast and bake on your grill. He will even show you how to turn your kettle grill into a smoker. Learn lighting methods, charcoal choices, heat management, how to use wood as a spice and when NOT to use wood. Discover how to build a two-zone fire and how to keep your grill in tip top shape.

Register by July 15.  See more details and register.

Fresh Bites: Kimchi Made Easy

Cassie Doolittle (left) and Barbara Fetchenhier served two types of kimchi to Fresh Bites attendees.

Cassie Doolittle (left) and Barbara Fetchenhier served guests two types of kimchi during Fresh Bites.

Barbara Fetchenhier (AKA Barb the Gardener) brought in a special guest to lead today’s Fresh Bites. Cassie Doolittle, who is a gardener in Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden, lived in Korea for four years. She is a fabulous cook and today she shared two kimchi recipes with guests.

Cassie prepared Kkakdugi, a radish kimchi, and a cabbage kimchi called Baechu Geotjeori. Both are incredibly flavorful and easy to make. Below is the recipe for Cassie’s cabbage kimchi, which does not require fermentation.

Baechu Geotjeori Kimchi 

Baechu Geotjeori Kimchi is a quick and incredibly flavorful kimchi that requires no fermentation.



  • 14 cups coarsley chopped Napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek or Thai chile paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil


Place cabbage and salt in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Weigh down cabbage with another bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, tossing occasionally. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and squeeze dry.

Combine cabbage, sesame seeds and remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Cassie serves this as a side (it’s perfect for a picnic), in stir fry, or added to rice or noodles. Enjoy!

Thank you to Harper (left) for helping Cassie with today's Fresh Bites demo!

Thank you to Harper (left) for helping Cassie with today’s Fresh Bites demo!