Oklahoma's parks, gardens and preserves
The books about America’s gardens focus on the east coast, Florida, CA and the northwest. The gardens in those areas are well-funded and have been in operation for decades.
Oklahoma’s history with public gardens is shorter, but the state’s gardeners and environmentalists are creating a number of places to visit, whether you love gardens or hiking, or just want a day trip to a beautiful destination.
This list provides a starting point for several weekends of free or low cost outings. Contact gardens or check their website before going. Ask about hours, fees, parking, other local attractions, or handicap access.
A local option:
Muskogee Garden Club’s tour of
5 residential gardens will be June 18 from 10 to 5.
Bivin Garden, 501 W 1st ST, Shidler, http://thebivingarden.com, 918-793-4011, 6-acres, 12 miles from Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Ray and Mollie Bivin began their garden on uncultivated prairie land in 1981. Weekends only.
Cann Memorial Garden, Hwy 77 and Grand AV, Ponca City, www.poncacity.com/cann_garden.htm, 405-767-0430, 10 acres.
Central Gardens of UCO, 100 University DR, Edmond, http://ucogardens.com, 405-974-2000, 10 gardens.
Elk Ridge Garden on the Elk River in Grove, www.elkridgegarden.com, is the new project of Dr. Leonard Miller, the founder of Lendonwood Gardens. Half mile of walkways with shade loving plants, 918-791-1733.
Honor Heights Park and Arboretum, Park DR, Muskogee, walking trails, picnic areas, www.cityofmuskogee.com/shell.asp?pg=409, 918-684-6302, 132 acres.
Jo Allyn Lowe Park, Price and Locust RD, Bartlesville, 918-338-4154, www.bartlesvilleparks.com/Pages/joallenlowe.html, 31 acres.
Lendonwood Gardens, 1308 W 13th ST, Grove, www.lendonwood.com, 918-786-2938, 6 acres.
Linneaus Teaching Garden at the Tulsa Garden Center in Woodward Park, 2435 S. Peoria AV, www.tulsagardencenter.com/htdocs/LGC/index.htm, 918-746-5125.
Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W Reno, Oklahoma City, www.myriadgardens.com/index.html, 405- 297-3995. Open after a 1-year renovation.
Oklahoma State University, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture Dept. Garden, 358 Ag Hall, Stillwater, 405-744-5414, www.osubotanicalgarden.okstate.edu, demonstration and display gardens, 100 acres.
Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, http://www.ocbg.org, is under construction on 160 acres north of Tulsa at 5323 W 31st ST. 918-728-2707.
Stout Daylily & Iris Gardens, 432 NE 70th ST, Oklahoma City, www.stoutgardens.com, 405-642-4190. May 7 & 8 and by appointment.
Washington Irving Memorial Park, 13700 S. Memorial Dr, Bixby, 918-366-4430, www.bixby.com/washington_irving_park.php, 32 acres.
Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and J.T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/oklahoma/index.htm
Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, highway 60, Pawhuska, is 39,000 acres. Largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie. 918-287-4803.
J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve, Hwy 10, NE of Tahlequah, 918-456-7601. 15,000 acres, self-guided trails. Largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks. Tips on hiking the preserve - www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=167824.
Oxley Nature Center, www.oxleynaturecenter.org, 5701 East 36th ST North, Tulsa, 918-669-6644, wildlife trails.
Redbud Valley www.oxleynaturecenter.org/redbudtrails.htm is my favorite.
Gilcrease Museum, 1400 North Gilcrease Museum Road, Tulsa, www.gilcrease.org/gardens.aspx, 11 gardens, including Pioneer, Native American, herb, colonial, and Mr. Gilcrease’s private garden. Guided and audio tours. 918/596-2700.
Hambrick Botanical Garden, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, 1700 NE 63 ST, Oklahoma City, http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/default.aspx, 405-478-2250.
Kirkpatrick Garden and Greenhouse, Science Museum OK, 2100 NE 52 ST, Oklahoma City, 405-427-5461. Gardens, greenhouse, orchard and Living Wall Gazebo.
Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum and Apothecary Garden, www.drugmuseum.org/GARDEN.html, 214 West Oklahoma, Guthrie, 405 282-1895, medicinal plants.
Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S Rockford RD, Tulsa, www.philbrook.org, Italian Renaissance gardens with sculpture and terraces, 918-749-7941. 23 acres.
Will Rogers Horticultural Gardens, http://www.okc.gov/Parks/will_rogers, NW 36th at Grand Boulevard, 405-943- 0827, 130 acres with several gardens.
Woolaroc, 1925 Woolaroc Ranch RD, Bartlesville, www.woolaroc.org, 918-336-0307. Former retreat of Phillips Petroleum founder. Museum, Native American Heritage Center, petting zoo, wildlife preserve.
Tulsa Zoo, 6421 E 36 ST North, 918-669-6600, www.tulsazoo.org, 78 acres.
Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, www.okczoo.com, 405-424-3344.
More ideas at http://www.travelok.com.
Sometimes I call ahead and ask for an interview/tour. It takes a lot of time but is always worth it.
Which gardens have you visited lately?