I first found the garden in the fall of 2012. I had been photographing the same old places for five years and was looking to add some new destinations that were close to home to my rotation of places to photograph. I happened to come across a write up about the garden online one day and decided to go looking for it that next weekend.
Many of the people I know who have lived in Kansas City most (or all) of their lives don’t even know it exists. When I mention that it is only two blocks south of the Nelson-Atkins Museum and directly across from the Kauffman Conference Center they look at me with a puzzled expression. “It’s on Rockhill Road, you say? Between the Nelson and UMKC? But I’ve driven by there a hundred times and I’ve never seen a garden there.”
If you were in a hurry, you could probably walk through the entire place in 10 minutes – but I’ve never managed to get out of the garden in under three hours. Everywhere you turn, there’s something new growing for you to look at, study (and photograph). It’s not nearly as large as it’s counterpart, Powell Gardens, but then it’s not a 45 minute drive to get there, either. I can be out of my home in the Northland area and be pulling into the garden’s driveway in 15 minutes.
And, although I love walking through the garden at any time of year, spring is THE time to visit. Between the thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and pansies stand two rows of flowering Crabapple trees that will literally take your breath away when you first see/smell them. It is an intoxicating place to sit and just “be” for a while.
Once you’ve seen the garden in the spring, you’ll be back to see what the other seasons hold as well – everything from lilacs, hydrangeas, roses, clematis, magnolias, flowering quince and dahlias…it is an endless parade of what grows well in Kansas City.
And every time I make the trip there I walk out feeling renewed, refreshed and at peace. To some, it is just a garden, but to me – it’s become a sanctuary.
When life deals the hard blows or work becomes overwhelming, I know its time to pull out the camera bag and head south to the Kauffman Garden on an early Saturday morning.
If I get there early enough, I’ll have the whole place to myself (well, except for the feline protector of the garden – she’s always there to greet me when I come.)
If you live in the greater Kansas City area, stop in for a peek sometime. There’s never a bad time to be there. If you go in the next week or so you’ll get the added bonus of seeing the Crabapple trees in bloom beneath the clear blue Kansas City sky.
(Now don’t you feel better already?)
The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden is located at 4800 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110 and is open every morning at 8 am year round. Although professional photo sessions are no longer allowed, you are always welcome to photograph the beauty of the garden.
Whether you take your camera or not, you’re sure to walk away with a special place in your heart for this wonderful attraction that lies in the heart of Kansas City.