Barry (left) and I hang with our homey, famous botanist Carl Linnaeus. Carl looks a little stiff, but that’s only because he’s shy.
If I asked you to identify the “City of Gardens,” how many of you would say Tulsa? Not many, I’ll bet. And up until a few days ago, I wouldn’t either, but then I paid Tulsa a visit.
I was there to speak at a fancy, high-class banquet that people of my ilk seldom get invited to, except that, well, I’m so darn funny. Plus, I don’t charge very much.
Everything’s Bigger in Oklahoma
The purpose of the banquet was to show appreciation to the most generous donors to the future 240-acre Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden. It’s currently under construction (they’ve already dug a 7-acre lake that’s over 100 feet deep – you could hide Jimmy Hoffa in there) and when these people say they aim to create a world-class botanical garden, they’re not just smoking hay. The City of Tulsa has already provided $44.7 million worth of infrastructure and completing the Garden will cost about another $40 million. When completed, it will feature a slew of theme gardens, including:
• Oklahoma Wildflower Garden
• Children’s Garden
• Rose & Fragrance Garden
• Oriental Garden
• Folk Garden
• Mexican Garden (my favorite – never seen this anywhere else)
The site for the garden is really spectacular in the Osage Hills overlooking downtown Tulsa. I look forward to seeing it when it’s complete and they’re officially dedicating my statue. Thanks to Pat, Pearl, and Carrie for making my visit so enjoyable. To learn more about this garden, go to www.oklahomacentennialbotanicalgarden.org.
Hanging with Barry
The morning following the banquet, I got to talk plants and gardening with Tulsa’s Maharishi of Horticulture, Barry Fugatt. Long-time garden columnist, teacher, and Director of Horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center, Barry is almost a cult figure to Tulsa gardeners. If he says do it, they will. Stay away from the purple Kool-Aid, Barry.
Barry gave me a tour of the most recent addition to the Garden Center, the Linnaeus Garden. It’s named for Carl Linnaeus, the “Father of Botany,” who’s responsible for the binomial system for naming plants in Latin, which allows all of us who know our Latin names to look down on those who don’t.
Only two years old, this is one great garden. All of the plants in it are donated by the horticulture industry. Its purpose is to teach both expert and novice gardeners about all kinds of plants – trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs, and even agronomic crops like sorghum and cotton – and how to incorporate them into a pretty garden. A highly trained group of volunteers that I spoke to briefly during my visit maintains it.
If you get a chance to visit Tulsa, a trip to the Linnaeus Garden at the Tulsa Garden Center is a must. For more info, go to www.tulsagardencenter.com. Here are some photos I took while I was there.