Easter Floral Treats

Spring has returned to Powell Gardens much to the delight of gardeners who can now play catch up with such a phenomenally early spring (caused by a few weeks that felt like summer!).  Enjoy the predicted seasonal temperatures in the 60s while they last!  It also makes the flowers last much longer and plants at Powell Gardens are showing a glorious array of flowers and fresh green foliage perfect for an Easter-time stroll.

The Visitor Center’s terrace garden beds are full of fresh, springtime flowers blooming in colors and patterns worthy of the art world’s finest masterpieces.  Here Pansies and ‘Ruby Perfection’ cabbage create a gorgeous composition of cool colors on the South Ramp that leads toward the trolley stop.

Most of our Kales are in full bloom!  They were planted last fall and survived the winter and have bolted into gorgeous bloom.  The flower buds taste delicious too: like a broccoli with a touch of honey (the flowers own nectar).  This is ‘Winterboor’ Kale near the entrance to the Heartland Harvest Garden’s Menu Garden.

It’s hard to believe how early the lilacs are flowering this year!  Here’s the lovely cultivar ‘Wonderblue’ which is a classic lilac (Syringa vulgaris) with a fragrance we all love.  This lilac is part of the blue and yellow color scheme to the Menu Garden — a lilac in an edible garden?  You bet, edible flowers though they tasted best when they first opened and are now a bit bitter.

Peonies are another “May” classic garden flower already in bloom.  This is a Tree Peony but some of the early herbaceous varieties are also in bloom in the Perennial Garden!

And YES, even roses in bloom already!!!  Here’s a Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa) in bloom in Heartland Harvest Garden’s Apple Celebration Court.  The scent of these old fashioned roses brings me back to childhood memories in Iowa.

Some of our plants’ flowers get no respect!  Look at these — yes, the gold and pink in this picture are conifer flowers.  ThisTanyosho Pine (Pinus desiflora ‘Umbraculifera’) is in bloom in the Conifer Garden north of the Visitor Center. The golden yellow are the male pollen cones and the pink tips to the new growth “candles” are the female cones which will mature into more familiar pine cones.

Missouri’s state tree started blooming in March this year and the beautiful bracts surrounding the tiny flowers should hold through the weekend.  Dogwood blossoms might be the most beloved flower of springtime in Missouri and are putting on a wonderful show at Powell Garden this year.  This is the cultivar ‘Cherokee Brave’ which is a super pink-flowering selection.

Nope, not Gardenia but the lovely, ‘Springtime Double’ Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Springtime Double’) in bloom.  Look for this gem along the Dogwood Walk just before its hairpin curve around the Swamp White Oaks.

The Weeping Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Pendula’) has the oddest, pendant flowers, many of which look like Chinese lanterns.  We do not recommend this dogwood because it just doesn’t look right after its leaves emerge (it always looks dry or impacted by herbicides!) but does look nice in the winter landscape.

The Azaleas are starting to set the woodlands ablaze in the Rock & Waterfall Garden (usually the last week of April or first of May).  Here a mass of fiery scarlet ‘Stewartsonian’ Azaleas light up the garden.

The Yodogawa Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense) is in bloom with its double purple flowers — this was the favorite of the late Andy Klapis who donated the original masses of azaleas in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.  His spirit lives on with me every time I see these beautiful shrubs in bloom.  The Korean Azalea is the wild form of this azalea but it has a varietal name because the Yodogawa Azalea was described by Western Science before the wild Korean Azalea. Japanese Gardeners have known and grown this beauty for centuries.

We have just a few American native Azaleas but they have an awesome fragrance and delightful and exquisite forms (though are not so overall colorful as the Asian azaleas): here’s a selection of the Piedmont Azalea (Rhododendron canescens ‘Varnadoe’s Phlox Pink’ growing along the path in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Like a purple snow, the Oriental wisterias currently adorning the Perennial Garden arbor are beginning to fall. This is the Texas Purple Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis ‘Texas Purple’) which should have some flowers holding through the weekend.  I could run this blog with many, many more images of the current floral display at Powell Gardens — currently in bloom with mid-late spring flowers throughout the grounds.  Come walk the gardens and enjoy these springtime treasures and experience our benevolent spring.

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