29 August 2008
Day 2 in Kansas City: Powell Gardens and thunderstorm
Whew. We had such a full day yesterday that by the time we got back to my friend's place, put our assorted stuff away, downloaded photos, answered email etc...it was time to get a few hours sleep because today is another hectic one. So I'm going to essentially post a pile of pics and promise to write more later.
First adventure today was to go out to Powell Gardens, about half an hour's drive outside the city. Wow. All I can say is any of you from here who haven't been there...GO. At any time. It was breathtaking in late August and with some things winding down, so it must be incredible throughout the year. There's a travelling show of Zimbabwean sculptures and sculptors installed at the Gardens for the season, and these magnificent, magical, whimsical pieces are casually installed throughout the garden, and they just work.
The hummingbird garden was a riot of colour and sound and scent, as hummers and pollinators rushed from flower to flower.
My favourite part of what we saw--and we didn't take it all in because the trolley wasn't running and it was HOT walking from one place to another--was the water gardens/island garden.
I love living walls. Someday, I hope to have one myself. Talk about the ideal way to grow plants demanding perfect drainage!
The 'Living Wall' at Powell Gardens is 600 feet long, the longest of its type in North America. And it's wonderful, with brilliant bursts of colour and wonderfully textured plants all along its perimeter.
The waterlilies, lotus and other plants were being tended by a staff person who was cleaning out the big pond.
A nice display of prairie plants and others showed what the natural colours of the prairie are like. I was completely fascinated by the plantings of giant Luna-type hibiscus along water edges, which were all blooming like crazy.
This chapel, across a swathe of prairie grasses and wildflowers, is a popular site for weddings. Not surprising, that.
Okay, this? Is a new annual to me. I've never seen it before, and of course the red isn't perfectly captured, but what IS it? Anyone?
I loved the huge size of the grasses, and the counterpoint of their textures and grace against other plants. Stuff sure does grow right some big here..."
There are hints of autumn in plants, though, such as the foliage colour change in this blue leadwort.
But there was still plenty in bloom, and everything was drenched in colour--and in some cases, in water, as the sprinkler system was running in the perennial garden area.
On the way back, we waved as we went past the exit to Blue Springs.
We had a couple of personal things to do, so it was later in the afternoon when we landed at Union Station, which we'd seen from the Liberty Memorial the day before. Union Station is a remarkably beautiful edifice in the heart of the city, not far from the Liberty Monument and other attractions.
When we came back out of there, I remarked that it looked like a thunderstorm was building. In a matter of minutes, it wasn't just building. It was here. Along with torrential rains. It was quite remarkable, and it went on and on and on and on for hours. We got to appreciate it while heading out to a mall to do a little shopping, coming back to my friend's place, going back out to go meet another friend for a late supper. Have I mentioned being totally smitten with the sky here? To say nothing of everything else?
Today, however, has dawned clear and warm and lovely. And we're off for a full day of enjoying more of the city, and of course tonight we have a concert to attend. The hometown guy from here? Is going to see a LOT of love from his hometown people, if the buzz in the papers, etc is any indication. He'll be one Soggy Cookie. And not from rainstorms.