KC Gardens

Private gardens opened for public viewing during Johnson County tour

Six private gardens will be opened to the public during the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Public Tour, May 16 and 17. Kansas City’s premier garden tour is a biennial event, and the only opportunity to tour some of the most beautiful private gardens in Kansas City. It is a perfect weekend excursion for anyone looking for new design ideas or tips for their own garden and landscape.

Each garden is owned and maintained by an Extension Master Gardener. The homes are selected for their individual qualities, and represent solutions to many gardening challenges commonly found in our region. This year’s gardens feature something for everyone, including eco-friendly water retention systems, a secret hide-a-way, deer proof plants, shimmering poolside retreats, drainage solutions, wildlife habitats and edible landscapes.

This tour is popular because the owners are passionate about gardening and have transformed standard suburban lots into their own personal oasis. The garden owners and Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Visitors receive information about the garden’s development, along with educational tips to take home and incorporate into their own landscapes. Photography is encouraged.

This year’s six garden designs include something for everyone:

Villa But Not Vanilla

This garden owner gets straight A’s for adapting and accommodating to life challenges. Drainage problems? Fixed! Physical limitations? Raised beds. Problem solved! Committed to a healthy butterfly and pollinator population for generations to come? Check! This garden sanctuary has been customized not only to meet the owner’s needs but play host to all types of wildlife. Come, listen and learn from this experienced gardener. Upon arrival you will be enchantingly beckoned to, "Come into the garden, my flowers want to meet you."


Class Act

"Here comes the sun/it's alright" might be a favorite song of this garden owner. You will see the results of a three year transformation — from a heavily shaded, over-matured and unruly landscape to a pristine, stunning garden and pool oasis that will delight all that see it. You'll be amazed at the attention to detail and lovely setting this garden owner has created. Handsome garden art deftly blended with a variety of plants that are so happy in 'just the right place' make this garden a must see! It will be hard to resist lounging poolside while visiting.


Catch it While You Can

Waste not, want not. When it comes to water, not a drop is wasted by this creative and resourceful gardener. A clever cistern and pump system collects water for use in her garden. A beautiful dry creek bed, a grotto, plants and flowers of all types, and a delightful koi pond are features of this charming garden retreat. Enter this garden and you will be greeted by a gentle waterfall, melodic wind chimes and birds chirping happily. This captivating garden has something for all the senses of those who visit!


Designed to a Tee

Dear, oh DEER, what is it that the deer


eat!! Come and see what this garden owner has figured out the hard way! Planters and pots, hanging baskets and fences all make this garden bordering the golf course work like a charm for these garden owners who love to entertain... and it shows! Beautiful flowers mixed with treasured antique pieces grace this garden that has a personality as charming as the garden owners. You will be tempted to sit on the deck, enjoy the view and catch a glimpse of golfers passing by.

I’ve got a Secret

Hidden treasures and imagination abound in this enchanting garden, lovingly tended by this garden owner for over 40 years! There is a surprise around every corner including a 'secret garden' where you will enter another world filled with special treasures and garden delights. This experienced gardener knows what works to make a beautiful garden retreat and it shows! See birdfeeders and birdhouses and very special mirrored garden windows that reflect the beauty all around this inviting garden sanctuary.

Experimental Gardener

TLC = Thrilling Transformation! From a blank slate three years ago to outstanding! You could never imagine how quickly a garden can transform. You will see the results of great planning, determination and hard work (and life lessons learned) from this adventurous gardener. Raised beds sporting favorite edibles and a host of interesting garden art will capture your imagination. You will see every type of plant, from the commonplace to the extraordinary, when you visit this lovely garden that has something for everyone!

While on the garden tour you will have the opportunity to purchase handcrafted garden art handmade by the Johnson County EMGs. New this year is mosaic balls and stones. Each piece is different and sure to be a conversation piece in your garden. Back by popular demand are the sand-cast leaves and hard to find pollinator boxes. The local and national hosta expert will also be selling many of the most popular and latest varieties of this shade loving plant.


This popular event is only held every other year. Tour tickets for this springtime, rain-or-shine event are $15. Tickets are now available through Johnson County Extension, Johnson County Hen House Market or any of the six gardens days of the tour. Maps and directions are provided with each ticket. To learn more, take a virtual tour, at


or call (913) 715-7000.