Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (120 hectares / 300 acres) is a relatively new arboretum and botanical garden located a mile west of U.S. Highway 69 on 179th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. It is operated by the City of Overland Park, and open during daylight hours.
The arboretum includes mature trees and limestone bluffs, with almost 5 miles (8.0 km) of trails and two bridges across Wolf Creek, a major tributary of the Blue River. The first garden was dedicated in 1996. As currently planned, the arboretum will be developed over 20 years, with nearly 85 percent of the site set aside for natural ecosystems. The remaining property is earmarked for gardens, buildings, etc. At present, 8 ecosystems have been identified within the arboretum:
- Dry-Mesic Prairie - grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass.
- Dry Oak-Savanna - widely spaced oaks in a prairie invaded by woody species.
- Dry Oak-Hickory - shagbark hickory, black oak, and post oak.
- Mesic Oak-Hickory Forest - white ash, bitternut hickory, shagbark hickory, hackberry, leatherwood[disambiguation needed], bur oak, red oak, chinquapin oak, pawpaw, and black walnut.
- Riparian Woodland - green ash, eastern cottonwood, elm, hackberry, bitternut hickory, silver maple, honey locust, red mulberry, bur oak, osage-orange, sycamore, black walnut, and black willow.
- Wooded Draws - juniper, rough-leaf dogwood, red elm, and buck brush as well as pale purple coneflower, milkweeds, prickly pear, and grasses.
- Dry Wooded Swales - Similar to the Wooded Draws but with dryer, shallower soil.
- Old Field - a severely disturbed zone due to over-grazing and cropping.
Gardens developed to date are:
- Erickson Water Garden (1996) - unusual aquatic and bog plants, a Buddleia collection, wildflowers and ornamental grasses.
- Marder Woodland Garden (1999) - a woodlands trail through ferns, dogwoods, native understudy, and a rhododendron and azalea garden.
- Legacy Garden (2000) - plants native or naturalized to Kansas.
- Children's Discovery Garden (2000) - a story tree, frog pond, mulberry wood, and other amusements for children.