Ready to get out and enjoy spring? Whether you’re a full fledged garden enthusiasts or just love full immersion among stunning plants – the many public gardens throughout Kansas City certainly dazzle and inspire! Where your curiosity leans toward flowers and gardens or shrubs and trees, there’s so much to see! These meticulously manicured gardens can provide excellent inspiration (albeit on a larger scale) for your home landscaping design plans!
Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden
Located just east of the Country Club Plaza at 4800 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO, the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden is a gorgeous gift left by this philanthropic couple for the enrichment and enjoyment of Kansas City. The inspiration for this garden stemmed from the Kauffman’s many world travels and the famous gardens they toured all over Europe. Plant beds throughout the garden are full of lush local plantings and even some exotic ones not found anywhere else in the Midwest. Staff and volunteers from Powell Gardens work in collaboration with the Memorial Gardens to maintain and switch seasonal displays throughout the year.
The gardens playfully incorporate elegant bronze sculptures created by Tom Corbin, a world-renowned sculptor with famous collectors like Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson, Sofia Vergara, and the late Frank Sinatra. His public installations can be found at the United Nations, Florida State University, The University of Oregon, and The Kauffman Foundation, of course. Additionally, Corbin has been awarded a commission to create a bronze monument of President Harry S. Truman for the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. At the Memorial Gardens, you can view his two striking sculptures, Jazz 1 and Jazz 2 dancing gracefully in the magnificent pool running through the Parterre “Canal” Garden. Surrounding the pool, you’ll find a vibrant collection of annuals and tropicals that are exchanged seasonally.
And it wouldn’t be a true Kansas City garden without some graceful fountains spread throughout that complement their natural setting. The Secret Garden within the Memorial Garden is known for its relaxing atmosphere – highlighted by calming water accents. You can also visit the Orangery on the north side of the garden. This shelter doubles as a gathering place for visitors and is filled with fragrant seasonal flowers and the garden’s famed orchid collection. The Orangery is a must-see spot for Plaza visitors of any season, because, during the winter, the garden’s citrus, camellia, and gardenia (Muriel Kauffman’s favorite flowers) collections are located here.
This garden is free to visit from 8 a.m. to dusk daily (weather permitting). To keep the park open for visitors, no private events are hosted here. Pets are not allowed in the garden unless they are for assistance and the garden is also a smoke-free environment. You may call (816)-932-1200 to schedule a guided tour of the garden for groups of 10 or more.
The renowned Powell Gardens is located 30 minutes east of Kansas City on Highway 50. The garden was established in 1988 on land donated by the George Powell family to provide communities in and around Kansas City with a place for release, rejuvenation, and education.
The 6,000 varieties of plants that thrive throughout the 970-acre garden showcase the spirit of the Midwest and the 225,000 total plants flourish and evolve reflecting the beauty of each changing season. Admire striking stonework and cooling mists at the Fountain Garden. Explore the incredible Heartland Harvest Garden, where plantings are not only beautiful but are also edible (even providing food for visitors!). Relax in the shady Woodland & Stream Garden where babbling brooks are surrounded by abundant native perennials.
Admission ranges from $10 to $13 for Adults depending on special events taking place on the day visited and discounts are provided for Seniors, Military, and Children. Powell Garden also offers a great membership option called The Friends of Powell Gardens. Members receive a slew of benefits that allow them to fully enjoy everything Powell Garden has to offer like unlimited trolley rides and free general and festival admissions – plus discounts on special educational workshops, classes, special events, and reciprocal benefits at over 330 nationwide gardens and arboretums. Additionally, Powell Garden also hosts members-only events, tours, and sales.
The past events hosted at Powell Gardens range from designated Dog Days for furry friends to Jurassic Garden Plants which featured ancient species of plants with a scattering of Guy Darrough’s dinosaurs to discover among the greenery.
Here are some of the exciting upcoming events happening at Powell Gardens:
- May 1 | Artful Gardens: Painted Gardens
- May 7 | Gardening 101: All About Roses
- May 26 – October 16 | Fortopia – a playful outdoor exhibition comprised of awe-inspiring forts that invites explorers of all ages to uncover and enjoy. A jury comprised of educators, architects, horticulturalists, and fabricators selected eight fort designs for inclusion in this exhibition and they give visitors the opportunity to experience the gardens in an entirely new way.
- June 18 | Lunchtime Lecture: Lavender 101 (This Bud’s For You)
- September 25 | Under a Harvest moon – a fundraising event for Powell Garden that provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to connect with the environment and learn the importance of plants in our lives.
- October 21-23 & 28-31 | Dark Forest – an evenings-only immersive, multimedia walk-through installation in the woods. Spooky-lovers are given the chance to uncover the most coveted secrets of the universe and the paranormal!
Click here for a full list of events.
From July 21 till August 7, the famed Festival of Butterflies thrills and delights butterfly and nature enthusiasts alike. Visitors enjoy tropical and native species of butterflies fluttering around Powell Garden’s beautiful collection of botanical displays. You’ll also be treated to hands-on activities and have the opportunity to connect with expert community members. Powell Garden members will be able to enjoy a special preview day on July 20, as well. The event, as a whole, is a fantastic opportunity for the residents of Kansas City to learn more and celebrate one of our most important pollinators!
Loose Park is a beautiful, 75-acre park south of the Country Club Plaza and west of Wornall Road. The park was the site of the 1864 Battle of Westport and was then later used as a golf course from the late 1800s through 1927 when it was given to the city by Ella Loose to be used as a park honoring her late husband, Jacob Loose.
The Laura Conyers Municipal Rose Garden
Within the sprawling urban park, you will find the beautiful Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden just south of the Battle of Westport Monument. The garden was started by the Kansas City Rose Society in 1931 with 120 rose plants and renamed the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden in 1965. The Kansas City Rose Society was founded by a group of citizens under the leadership of Laura Conyers Smith in 1931 with their mission to educate community members and stimulate the growth of roses at the homes of rose enthusiasts around the city.
“A rose for every home and bush for every garden” – Laura Conyers Smith
Today the rose garden covers 1.5 acres and boasts over 3,000 roses of 130 different varietals. The rose garden was awarded a Garden of Excellence by the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2018 after an extensive restoration project returned it to its original design from 1931.
Stop by the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden on June 4th and 5th 2022 to join in the annual rose celebration! June 4th is the Rose Show, where anyone may enter their roses for free! June 5th is Rose Day. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. visitors can admire award-winning roses, vote in the Most Fragrant Rose contest, participate in different family activities, and enjoy live entertainment!
The Traditional Japanese Garden
Adjacent to the Loose Park Garden Center, you will find a striking traditional Japanese Garden open for all to stroll through. The garden holds a small ornamental fountain, large boulders, many shrubs, and ground coverage plants with a pathway leading to the Tea Room (which is currently closed). This beautiful garden was dedicated in July 2006 as a cultural exchange between the sister cities of Kurashaki, Japan and Kansas City, Missouri. This small, peaceful garden is a wonderful place for the public to relax and partake in quiet meditation during Loose Park’s regular hours.