Astronomical Event of the Year: Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse

A rare supermoon total lunar eclipse is coming this month, and the dark skies of Powell Gardens afford the perfect spot to watch the stellar event unfold. It is the first supermoon total lunar eclipse since 1982 and the last until 2033. Sunday’s supermoon eclipse is only the fifth since 1900. Catch the first one of the 21st century during a special viewing on Sunday, Sept. 27!

(Photo by Richard Sanderson)

A supermoon is a full moon or new moon that appears larger than normal because of the moon’s closest approach to earth along its elliptical orbit. This one also will be a complete lunar eclipse, causing the moon to appear blood red. And what’s more, this will be visible at a convenient time — early evening on a weekend. How perfect is that?

The astronomy program starts at 6:45 p.m. with a short introduction by the astronomers followed by a beautiful, full moon rising at 6:59 p.m. and a breathtaking sunset at 7:06 p.m. Shortly after, the main event begins. Don’t be late.

Registration continues through Thursday, Sept. 24. To reserve your spot, register online or call Linda at 816-697-2600 ext. 209.

Explore the Joy and Beauty of Ikebana with Sensei Meghan Rowswell

Meghan Rowswell is a visual artist and a sensei in the art of Ikebana. She joins our team of instructors this fall to present a series of classes on the Japanese art of flower arranging.

“The core of Ikebana’s beauty is the combination of colors, graceful lines, textures and latent meanings that suggest a season or an emotion, thus making it more than a mere decoration,” Megan says.

There are many different philosophies of Ikebana and subsequently many different schools.

“I became a sensei in the Ohara school of Ikebana while I was living in northern Japan,” Megan says. “The Ohara school introduced larger shallower vases that were more suitable for shorter stemmed western flowers. It is one of the more conservative schools for it adheres very closely to proportions and forms. Once you have mastered the basic concepts you are then able to explore the more experimental free form styles.”

Ikebana is more than just a one-time experience. It is a skill that is refined and deepened through repeated immersion in the art form. Powell Gardens will offer Ikebana sessions in September, November and December. You can sign up for one, but are encouraged to take multiple sessions. Each session will use different floral material.

Call Linda at 816-697-2600 ext. 209 or see Adult Class  for a complete list of Ikebana sessions and to register. Sessions will fill fast.

An Olfactory Treat on the Island, Dazzling Dahlias and a Last Look at LEGO Art

It’s not often you have the chance to stop and smell the waterlilies, but thanks to a temporary viewing tank in the sunken garden area of the Island Garden you can do just that. Through Labor Day weekend you can see (and smell) a special waterlily collection that came to Powell Gardens as part of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society’s 2015 symposium in August.

The raised tank allows you to get up close to experience the amazing fragrances from this collection, all of which are hybrids developed by Florida’s Craig Presnell, one of the top waterlily hybridizers in the world.

Here are a few gems from the collection:

‘Zolfo Star’ (photo by Alan Branhagen)

‘Finn O’Hagen’ (photo by Alan Branhagen)

‘Foxfire’ (photo by Alan Branhagen)

The waterlilies in the rest of the Island Garden will continue to shine through September but the temporary tank comes down after Labor Day.

Labor Day weekend also brings your last chance to see the 27 LEGO brick sculptures by New York artist Sean Kenney.

While you’re on the Island Garden, check out the family of LEGO brick ducks. Their habitat has changed dramatically since the exhibit opened in May!

A visit on this Saturday or Sunday also includes a look at the award-winning dahlias grown by members of the Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society.

We look forward to seeing you in the Gardens! Plan your visit today.

Bim Willow Returns to Powell Gardens for a One-Day Workshop

Travelling Master Furniture Builder Bim Willow returns to Powell Gardens this September. It’s easy to spot Bim. Just look for his brightly colored bus.

Bim travels the Midwest sharing his stories and passing on the tradition of bent-willow furniture making. Saturday, Sept. 26, is the only day you can make a bent-willow heirloom under his master instruction.

You will leave with a unique bent-willow project of your choice. Choose to build a historical bent-willow chair, a love seat, a garden bench, an end table or two garden trellises. Advance registration is required so that materials can be collected.

This workshop will fill quickly, so don’t miss out. Registration is required by September 7. Call 816.697.2600 x209 or register online today.

Booms and Blooms 2015

Booms and Blooms attracted almost 7,000 visitors to Powell Gardens on Friday night, July 3rd.  It was fulfilling to see so many folks enjoying the grounds and landscape — it was a perfect day with sunshine and moderate temperatures.

I couldn’t help but think that our “natural” landscape was working. People were enjoying the lawns verdant green from the abundant rainfall and filled with blooming white clover flowers.  The gardens’ flowers were riotous in colors set among lush growth of other plants.  The harvest garden was brimming with those looking at our tasty food plants. Continue reading

Garden Glory in a Rainy Season

And the rain, rain, rain; came down, down, down … seems I recall that line from a classic Winnie the Pooh episode. Precipitation fell 22 days in May for a total of 8.5 inches of rain at Powell Gardens weather station and  we know we were on the low-end of rainfall amounts in the region. Day five of June and we already have 2.7 inches of rainfall for the month.

Karen Case took this shot from the Heartland Harvest Garden’s silo looking down on the Villandry Quilt Garden on one of our lovely rainy days. Consider bringing an umbrella and walking the gardens in the rain!  It’s a memorable experience. Continue reading