Monthly Archives: January 2013

Meet the Staff: Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier

If you’ve visited the Heartland Harvest Garden during the past year, chances are you may have tasted some of the wonderfully creative concoctions developed by Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier.

As the interpreter for the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible landscape, Barbara shares her passion and enthusiasm for growing edibles with visitors through informal tours, ‘Fresh Bites’ demos, workshops and fresh-from-the-garden fare she develops–from popsicles to relishes.

Away from work, Barbara is a beekeeper and farmer. She and her husband Jeff run Fetchen’ Honey Farm, where they grow fruits, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms, and raise poultry. She is also a Master Gardener with the Master Gardeners of Johnson County, Missouri. Barbara’s farm has been featured in publications, including Nature’s Garden (a Better Homes and Gardens’ magazine) and was included on the Master Gardeners of Johnson County, Missouri Garden Tour in June 2012.

Barbara recently planned the menu for Powell Gardens’ newest tradition: The Wassailing of the Apple Trees. Here she shares some of the recipes served during the Wassailing dinner: Continue reading

Busy and Beautiful Birds of the Winter Garden

Nothing enlivens the winter garden more than its bird-life.  If you’ve never taken time to watch their busy activities and observe their beautiful plumage, now is the best time to do so as they are easily attracted to feeding stations for an up close and personal look.  Powell Gardens’ Visitor Center is a great place to observe a marvelous diversity of birds, readily viewed from the warm comfort of the building.  We have set up a special observation area as part of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s (study of birds) Citizen Science project. 

The most popular winter bird is the cardinal, its official name is the Northern Cardinal because other species are found in the Southwest and South America.  This bird was once found only in the American South but spread into the Midwest and Northeast with settlement and the planting of evergreens.  It’s favorite wintertime food are black oil sunflower seeds so it is easily attracted to feeding stations.  Only the adult male bird has the gorgeous red plumage. Continue reading

Midwinter Moments in the Greenhouses

I wanted to do a blog to show what’s going on in midwinter at Powell Gardens. Sort of like the “Day in the Life” photographic journals. I thought I would start at the greenhouses so headed down to capture what was going on. It’s a bee hive of activity, producing plants for the 2013 season and all these images were taken within a half hour’s time of perusing our eight greenhouses.

Horticulturist in charge of greenhouse production Donna Covell and Senior Gardener Eric Perrette were discussing watering and germination details in Greenhouse #4.  With over 800 varieties of plants in production the needs of each is a bit different and some are quite tricky, requiring tedious procedures to make them grow properly. Continue reading

Winter Garden Workhorse: Switchcane

Switchcane (Arundinaria gigantea) is the only species of bamboo native to Missouri & Kansas and is a very underutilized evergreen shrub. Yes. this grass has woody perennial stems so is classified as a shrub! It is such a garden workhorse: providing screening year round in full sun or shade.

Here’s an image of Switchcane at Powell Gardens near the entrance gatehouse (which you can see in the background).  Its purpose here is to screen the parking spots for the employee or employees working in the gatehouse and it fulfills its purpose well!  Switchcane does spread by underground stems (rhizomes) like many running bamboos and creates a thicket. Continue reading

Meet the Staff: Anne Wildeboor

Happy New Year from everyone at Powell Gardens! This year we’d like to introduce you to some of the great people who make the Gardens a place for all to enjoy. In the midst of winter, one of the favorite spots at Powell Gardens is the conservatory. Today we introduce you to the person in charge of this luscious space, Anne Wildeboor, Horticulturist for Seasonal Displays & Special Events:

Anne has the distinction of being the only person in the Powell Gardens horticulture department to have worked in every position available! After interning in the summer of 1998, Anne was hooked. The next summer she volunteered on the Island Garden and after graduating became the gardener at the Visitor Education Center. Soon after, she took the senior gardener position in the Perennial Garden, where she worked for four years. After a brief hiatus to work at a private estate in Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Anne returned to Powell Gardens in 2008. Continue reading

Our League of Ivies

Ivy is more than just “Any of a genus of climbing or trailing plants having lobed or evergreen leaves.”  This usually means the ubiquitous English Ivy (Hedera helix), which is grown indoors as an ironclad house plant or outdoors mainly as a groundcover. English Ivy is a native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. Besides English Ivy, there are actually two other hardy species of vines known as ivies that are common in Greater Kansas City.

Here is a picture of Powell Gardens’ Visitor Center terrace walls cloaked in English Ivy cultivars.  These plants survived from a past seasonal display and look nice as a backdrop to the bed outside Perennial Gifts. They are the cute juvenile form of English Ivy often used as house plants too.  Recent mild winters have allowed them to thrive, including a more tender variegated variety.  We have had to reduce their size by two-thirds this season. Continue reading