HHG: Behind the scenes at Powell Gardens

Being a Friend of Powell Gardens, I was offered an opportunity to check out the progress of the new Heartland Harvest Gardens, due to open in 2008. The idea is to create an edible garden landscape showcasing both Missouri’s traditional quilting art, but also the crops it can grow.

This is Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, showing off one of the 1000+ young fruit and nut trees being propogated for the new Heartland Harvest Garden.

About 20 folks showed up for this event (Julia pointed out that she and I were one of about four people under the age of 60), and we were trollied out to the non-public gardens and introduced to Barbara (whose last name I didn’t get), who is the head gardener for Powell.

We saw some trees that you’d expect for this area (apples, hazelnuts, chestnuts, peach) but also some pretty interesting and odd varieties: paw-paws (also called the Missouri Banana), true (not flowering) quince from Russia, and jujubes from China… many of these were brought here via One Green World, a nursery in Oregon that brings plants from overseas to similar enviromental areas. Apparently the Kansas City, Missouri, area is quite similar to that of Russia, so lots of those trees were doing great here.

A nibbled-on purloined jujube… Julia wants to try to grow one of our own!

This is going to be one of the coolest gardens when it’s up and growing. The plan is to have little carts near each of the trees and plants that are in season, with tastes of the fresh produce ready for visitors to sample. Familiar and exotic fruits and vegetables, eaten right in the garden they were grown in!

It sounds like this garden could be fertile soil for developing a love of fresh produce.



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2 responses to “HHG: Behind the scenes at Powell Gardens

  1. whoa, them some interesting trees.
    never heard of a purloined jujube, what does it taste like?

    • well, purloined just means “swiped off the ground!”

      it tasted like a very sweet apple, this one was a bit dried out though. they look sort of like dates, but not nearly as chewy or sticky. they have one big seed in the middle.

      i really want to try a paw paw!

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