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June 04, 2013

Day Trip to the Arboretum | A Hunt for Peonies

Emma was on Summer break last week, so we filled the week with local explorations and little day trips.   Peony season is one of my most favorite times of the year - the blooms are just so unbelievably majestic and heavenly scented, I just can't get enough.  So our first trip was to the local (as in 45 minutes south...) Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (Overland Park, KS) on a hunt for peonies - I wanted Emma to be able to experience them in a huge bounty.  

We packed a picnic lunch, put on Emma's most peony appropriate dress, drove alllll they way out there to discover... I had forgotten my wallet.  It was in the swim bag from the day before.  Admission was only $3 (for me, free for Emma) and all I could scrounge up was $1.25 in quarters from my car. 

I asked the admissions lady if they would allow me to mail a check for the remaining fee (I even offered to include an extra donation...) if they would allow us to come in.  A woman near by that seemed to be in charge (she was on a golf cart and sporting gardening gear) come over and said not to worry - she would pay the rest of my fee.  I realize that a $2 handout is tiny by most comparison, but it seemed huge at the moment... the difference between putting my 1-year-old back in the car for 45 minutes after talking about all of the pretty flowers we'd be seeing on the way there!

I never mentioned "who I am" (not that it would've meant anything!) or that I would be sharing our day in the gardens on my blog, but I promised her that I would pay it forward.

We spent a fabulous morning there - I let Emma lead the way, which she loves, of course.  She ran and roamed all over the gardens smelling flowers, looking at fish and testing the boundaries. 

These are my favorite peony -  the palest pink with bright yellow centers.  Very chic.

My favorite area, was of course the peonies...

But the "fishies" were her favorite part.

The gardens are all maintained by volunteers.

The "Monet Garden" was unbelievable.

We wondered on the mulched paths in the woods to find our picnic spot.  While I enjoy the manicured flowerbeds, I felt most at peace in the rustic areas like this one by a stream.

Emma wondering around with her brownie.

Many artists enjoying the blooms.

Starting to wind down...

Here knees look just like mine always do!  We're tough girls.

More gardeners.

Irises in bloom.  

Love how she closes here eyes when she smells the flowers.

Can't wait to go back and visit mid-summer when everything is in its full glory!


Here are some Emma Outtakes from the day...

Dancing on the deck.

The funniest joke.

More groovin'!


  1. What a gorgeous park and gardens. Peonies are my favorite flower, I am jealous that you live somewhere where peonies grow so well.

  2. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Awww, what a wonderful day. Your little Emma is so adorable!! :) Love the kindness of strangers. thanks for the reminder to search for ways to bless others. :)

  3. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Beautiful post...Emma & peonies.

    Thank you very much for sharing!


  4. What a beautiful day trip...I love all the peonies:) Your Emma reminds me of our almost 1 year old Elizabeth, with their skinned knees!

  5. Your little girl is the sweetest!! What a nice day for mommy and daughter!

  6. Love it, peonies are my favorite, your little girl is beautiful. My baby girl is 13, I miss her being little but love the young lady she has become.

  7. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Such a lovely day and post. I have been cutting my own peonies this week. When you make it back to the east coast and see a little bit of Maine, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay is an exquisite experience. Plus, they have the most wonderful children's garden with plantings linked to children's literature. Your family will love it.

    Tonight's dinner at our house included your grilled lettuce (wonderful) and lemon basil shrimp (also wonderful). Delicious!

  8. So glad you got in, that kind of kindness feels big even if it was only $2. Looks like a beautiful place. My peonies are just about to bloom and I'm so excited, I wait all year for it :)

  9. Even though you can't see Emma's precious little face - I love the first photo the best. Adorable!!! Lovely photos...beautiful park. Thanks for sharing!!

  10. I recently found your blog and think it's beautiful. What talent you have and thanks for sharing these gorgeous gardens!

  11. You have such a sweet and happy little girl! Looks like you had a wonderful garden date together. Love seeing all the Peonies in bloom. We're still waiting on them to bloom up here in Ontario - any day now!

  12. Are you familiar with Itoh peonies? I am manager of a flower market and we have the variety Kopper Kettle growing on our bank. The color, size and fragrance stops customers in their tracks. Stunning. For a look at one, you can look on our Facebook page. BB Barns Flower Market, Brevard, NC. It is a favorite.

  13. Very nice to ga walking with Emma and you!
    Kisssssss from Belgium...

  14. Jessica10:38 AM

    I live in the deep south where peonies do not grow...sigh! Loved seeing them and watching your daring child have such a fun adventure! Thanks for sharing.


  15. Absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately they don't grow in our humid climate in Auckland, New Zealand but do grow down the South Island. I purchase Peonies through flower shops in November in NZ and I take many photos for my paintings. I hope you pop over to my blog and look at my paintings page and you can see my huge oil paintings of peonies, hydrangeas and roses.

    Lee :)

  16. I love the OP Arboretum! I grew up down the street from there and it is a favorite spot to go to every time we're in town visiting. We were just there in September and didn't have to pay though, so either that is new or we snuck in!


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