13 November 2008

Russell Studebaker To Speak in Muskogee OK


Next Thursday, November 20, Russell Studebaker will be the speaker at Muskogee Garden Club’s monthly meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Studebaker retired as senior horticulturist from Tulsa Parks and Recreation Department several years ago. A well-known garden writer and speaker, In Our Gardens is the Tulsa World garden column Studebaker has written for 28-years.

(Bluebell seeds and plants are available from Prairiemoon Nursery online and 866-417-8156. Photo used with their permission.)

The topic of his slide presentation and talk for the garden club will be, Beyond Hostas: Other Socially Acceptable Perennials for Shade Gardens.

I have a small garden at home with more shade than sun, Studebaker said. I grow lots of native perennials. Spring flowers in my garden begin with ephemerals such as, Blood Root, Trilliums, Virginia Bluebells and Gold Heart Bleeding Heart.

Studebaker knows plants. During his tenure at Tulsa Parks and Recreation, over 75,000 bedding plants were grown and planted yearly, an azalea garden of 15,000 plants was established in Woodward Park, and Woodward Park's Municipal Rose Garden was increased to 9,000 rose plants.

I love cannas and have 8 or 10 varieties in my garden, Studebaker said. I have terrific perennial, narrow-leaf sunflowers in my garden, Helianthus angustifolus that becomes a 5-foot tall blaze of yellow in the fall.

Studebaker will be autographing and selling his books for $20 after the Garden Club meeting.

Jackson & Perkins Beautiful Roses Made Easy - Great Plains Edition is 224-pages of useful information and photographs for beginning and experienced gardeners. Topics include everything a gardener needs to know to grow all types of roses in our area.

I have a few roses in my garden, Studebaker said. The ones that require no spraying are the only ones that make the cut because I do not seem to have the time for weekly disease and insect spraying.

Studebaker’s other book, Jackson & Perkins Selecting, Growing, and Combining Outstanding Perennials - Great Plains Edition will help gardeners select, plant, grow and maintain perennials. It includes a directory of plant profiles and perennial garden designs.

Other reliable perennials in Studebaker’s Tulsa cottage garden include: Grasses such as Muhly Grass, Porcupine Grass, Hellebores, Senecios, heirloom and species Iris, Lilies, Hardy Begonias, Celadine Poppies, several kinds of fall Asters and the Oklahoma native Palm, Sabal minor.

This year I made a new rock garden, Studebaker said. It has Hostas, Ferns, Acorus, Chinese Gingers, Hardy Orchids, Sedges and a few summer annuals that needed the same type of bed.

Gardeners may have seen Studebaker’s writings in magazines such as Horticulture, The American Gardener, Fine Gardening and the Oklahoma Gardener. He is the chair of the Winter Lecture Series for the Oklahoma Horticultural Society, which annually brings national garden authors to lecture in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

In the early spring, Russell leads a group of 30 or more garden enthusiasts on an heirloom daffodil tour that travels by car around the Tahlequah area, ending up at the Murrell Home in Park Hill.

His home greenhouse and studio are filled with plants that over-winter here only with protection. That collection includes citrus trees.

Citrus trees give you fragrant flowers, you can crush the leaves for nice scent and then you have fruit, Studebaker said. I’m very fond of growing them.

With 40-years of gardening experience and award-winning writing, Studebaker has grown most everything you can grow.

Gardeners should have fun with gardening, Studebaker said. We don’t have to be serious and get stuck by the rules. We can learn by making mistakes and from what we observe in other gardens.

IF YOU GO Muskogee Garden Club Thursday, November 20
Coffee at 9:30 business meeting at 9:45, speaker at 10.
Kiwanis Senior Center at 119 Spaulding Blvd., one block behind Okmulgee
More information Oyana Wilson 918-683-5380, Anita Whitaker 918-687-6124, Lora Weatherbee 918-682-9276

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