Linda Hall Library - A Jewel in Kansas City

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

The metro Kansas City area has a hidden treasure for gardeners. This little-known private library is also graced with beautiful grounds that include many specimen trees and a large collection of tree peonies. This research library specializes in science, technology and engineering. A not-for-profit, privately funded institution, the Library is open to the public free of charge. Although the Library is private, it is located in the center of the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. When it was built, in the early 1940's, the school was nearby. Over the years, the University has acquired all of the land surrounding the Library, which sits like an oasis in the middle of the campus.

The tree peony collection is extensive, with several individual beds, each containing different varieties of tree peony. Each spring I hope to see the collection at its peak. I visited today, but unfortunately, the majority of the plants had finished blooming.

Here are a few varieties that still have blooms on April 17:

Photo #1 - Age of Gold
Photo #2 - Banquet
Photo #3 - Golden Vanity
Photo #4 - Hepestos
Photo #5 - Hesperous

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Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Here are a few more that were still in bloom today:

Photo #1 - High Noon
Photo #2 - Sinfuso
Photo #3 - A seedling from the Library's propagation program

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Oh my, those are beauties!!!! Wow, are there any tree peonies that have a nice fragrance? I usually go to the Denver Botanic Gardens Sale on mother's day weekend and the tree peonies are usually in full bloom (may 10-15th ish every year). I not sure, I might need to go earlier this year. Are you going to plant any tree peonies in that new bed of yours? Thanks for the post!!

Oskaloosa, KS(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info. I think I will have to make a trip into KC and look. Are they all tree peony or do they have herbaceous too? Is there anywhere to look this place up online?

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Kathy - yes, some of the varieties are very fragrant. I was disappointed that so many varieties had finished for the year.

Redrock - the Library is one of many 'garden stops' you could make on a weekend in Kansas City. You might check their website (http://www.lindahall.org/about_lhl/grounds.shtml) or contact them to plan a visit around the peak bloom time. The collection is exclusively tree peonies.

Other potential visits in the area include Powell Gardens (http://www.powellgardens.org/) and the Kauffman Memorial Garden (http://murielmcbrienkauffmanfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=56). Of course no visit is complete without visiting the Country Club Plaza, which has exquisite landscaping year 'round, the Nelson Gallery, with its extensive Henry Moore sculpture garden and iconic "Shuttlecocks" by Claes Oldenburg (http://www.nelson-atkins.org) and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (http://www.kemperart.org/) with its giant spider sculpture.

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