Friday, February 20, 2009

Powell Gardens Promoting Local

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is opening a new 12-acre expansion in mid-June. The Heartland Harvest Garden will focus on where our food comes from, and we will be growing more than 2,000 varieties of food plants. Powell Gardens is bringing back several food festivals and will be looking for local produces to source local produce this season such as sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers pumpkins, apple butter, winter squash, apples and much more!

Powell Gardens is looking for the names of farmers who might be interested in two things: supplying Powell Gardens with extra produce to serve to visitors on the food festival days, and bringing produce to sell to visitors.

Farmers that are interested in providing produce or other value-added local food products should contact Jill Draper, Marketing Associate with Powell Gardens at 816-697-2600 extension 207.

The following is the 2009 Powell Garden Schedule:

The Heartland Harvest Garden
In June of 2009, Powell Gardens will open the largest expansion in its history—the $9.2 million Heartland Harvest Garden. What began as a simple plan to bring back a vegetable garden well-loved by visitors in the early days of Powell Gardens has evolved into the nation’s largest edible landscape; a place to reconnect with where food comes from and to celebrate the pleasures of eating well. Set on 12 acres, the Heartland Harvest Garden illustrates in spectacular style the journey of food from seed to plate.

The Entrance Gardens
Visitors to the Heartland Harvest Garden will use all five senses to explore the garden treasures to be found within. A visit begins with the Menu Garden, an “appetizer,” if you will, for what lies further down the path. This garden is an example of a potager garden, a kitchen garden in the French country style. Vegetables, herbs and flowers mingle in a tapestry of colors and shapes that also provide food for the table. The adjacent Seed to Plate Greenhouse illustrates the miraculous process of germination and begins the explanation of where our food comes from.

In the Apple Celebration Court, visitors will follow a spiral brick path to encounter an amazing 54 varieties of apples. The Pear Promenade and Peach Plaza will be a delight as spring blossoms transition to delicious fruits ripening throughout the season.

Plantings in the Vineyard evoke images of the South of France and California wine country. Grapes of all types, from red wine to table grapes, will be planted with roses as a practical and beautiful companion. With gorgeous gates, trellises and water features, this space also will be available for private events.

Rotating exhibits in the Authors’ Garden will bring the philosophies of top garden writers to life. Rosalind Creasy, often credited with coining the “edible landscape” term and widely regarded as the leading expert on the topic, will be featured during the opening season. Creasy, who literally wrote the book on the subject with “The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping” published in 1982, has since published a series of 10 edible gardening books as well as a number of award-winning books on cooking from the garden. Barbara Damrosch, author of “The Garden Primer” and a columnist for The Washington Post, will design an adjacent space in the Authors’ Garden.

The Quilt Gardens
Inspired by the famous Villandry gardens in France, the Quilt Gardens will take advantage of the vast textures, architectural shapes and colors of crops, vegetables and fruits. They will be arranged in ever-changing quadrants symbolic of Midwestern fields and classic quilt patterns. Stunningly beautiful, the four, ¾-acre quadrants will serve as a display for the world’s food plants.

One quadrant, planted in a historic Old Missouri quilt pattern, will celebrate the crops of America’s breadbasket, showcasing corn, wheat and soybeans. The Kansas Star Quilt will display the grasses and legumes that feed our livestock. The Missouri Star Quilt is an orchard garden where visitors can pick up tips for growing fruits in their own backyards. The Villandry Quilt is a true vegetable garden inspired by the Renaissance castle gardens of the Chateau de Villandry. Combining beauty and utility, this garden clearly illustrates the beauty of edible plants.

The Missouri barn and its adjacent observation silo put a contemporary spin on traditional Missouri farm building silhouettes and blend with the Midwestern architecture style for which Powell Gardens is known. The barn houses a garden gift shop and outdoor café. Alongside the barn, the Kansas City Power & Light All Electric Kitchen will be home to cooking classes and chefs’ demonstrations. The adjacent Kitchen Garden will showcase a collection of culinary herbs and will give the home gardener plenty of inspiration for plants to grow throughout the seasons.

Youth Education Garden
For the first time, Powell Gardens will have a permanent garden space designed with kids in mind. The youth education garden will increase Powell Gardens’ capacity for school field trips but also offer discoveries and delights to casual visitors. The Water Conservation Courtyard allows for water play while teaching about wise water conservation practices. The Tutti Frutti Maze lets children run and explore in a maze of edible hedge plants. The Honeybee Haven offers an observation hive and teaches the importance of honeybees in the pollination process. Giant insect sculptures give children a place to climb while also introducing the concept of good bugs and bad bugs. An organic garden introduces the concepts of sustainable gardening and a small greenhouse offers space for hands-on lessons following the seed-to-plate theme.

The Fun Foods garden showcases the food plants behind some of children’s favorite treats—from marshmallows to popcorn. In the Living Off the Land area, children can explore a sod house and learn about the foods that sustained Native Americans.

Throughout the Heartland Harvest Garden visitors will have a chance to taste something fresh from the garden. Tasting stations will move with the seasons, ensuring that every visit will yield a new experience!

The Heartland Harvest Garden at Powell Gardens opens in mid-June with a Midwestern food and wine festival for members only, with the public opening the next day. Stay tuned for more details!

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