New Oklahoma Botanical Garden Near Tulsa OK

Pearl Garrison, communications director for the new Oklahoma Botanical Garden is slated to speak in Muskogee Thursday January 17 at 10 a.m.

Here is all the infomation from my column this week

Oklahoma garden official to speak in MuskogeeJan 17 10 a.m. at Kiwanis Senior CenterPublished January 09, 2008 06:20 pm -

The public is invited to hear a presentation of the plans for the new 240-acre Oklahoma Botanical Garden northeast of Tulsa. By Molly Day

Oklahomans will soon have another reason to be proud of their state's commitment to plant diversity and the development of its natural resources. The Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden is a remarkable addition to the education of young horticulturists and will contribute to the preservation of native plants. The garden, which also will be a research and education center, is on 240 acres northwest of downtown Tulsa on the Persimmon Ridge in the Cross Timbers of the Osage Hills.

The public will have an opportunity to hear about the Garden on Thursday, Jan. 17, at Kiwanis Senior Citizens Center, Spaulding Park Drive, in Muskogee. Pearl Garrison, director of communications, will preview the garden for members and visitors of Muskogee Garden Club. At Thursday's meeting, coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. There is a brief business meeting at 10 a.m. and Garrison's presentation will be shortly after.

"I will describe the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden's master plan, what we are working on and how Muskogee residents can help achieve our dream of a premier botanical garden and education facility," Garrison said. "We are very excited about developing a world-class botanical garden," Garrison said.

"Community support, including the donation of the land, has been tremendous." Garrison said that when it is completed they expect the $40 million garden will have 300,000 visitors a year. Construction of the centennial phase is scheduled to be completed this spring, including a seven-acre lake with an island, a temporary visitor center, roadbed and parking lot. The $15 million Phase One includes an amphitheater, permanent visitor center with terraces and surrounding gardens, a main lawn and horticulture therapy, children's, watercolor and pattern gardens.

Oklahoma State University provided funding for the master plan developed by Marshall Tyler Rausch of Pittsburgh. The firm has worked on the development of 50 botanical gardens, including the U.S. National Arboretum and the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

As one of four founding members of the steering committee in 1999, Barry Fugatt, director of horticulture for the Tulsa Garden Center and former director of OSU Extension-Tulsa, is a key contributor to the progress of the garden.

Last May, Osage Indians prayed, danced and sang of the peace for the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden. Assistant Osage Nation Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle asked for a blessing of the land.

A mature grove of more than 100 persimmon trees is an official Centennial Grove commemorating the first 100 years of statehood. The "mother trees" in the grove are estimated to be 75 years old. Creators of the Garden's Master Plan realigned an access road to preserve these trees. The Centennial Grove project is sponsored by the OK Tree Bank in recognition of the vital role trees played in environmental well being of the state and the importance of tree planting as a living legacy for future generations.

Last September during an Oklahoma Centennial celebration event, the garden dedicated two miles of walking trails and presented more than 100 programs and demonstrations typical of what will be available at the garden. The trails have been closed temporarily due to tree debris from the December ice storm.

Gardens in the final plan include: Oriental Islands, Shade Garden, Rose and Fragrance Garden, Demonstration Gardens, Mexican Garden, Cultural Gardens, Woody Guthrie Terrace, Oklahoma Wildflower Garden, Cross Timbers Prairie and Woodland, Folk Garden.

Plans also include an interfaith chapel, education buildings, three-story observation tower, conservatory, orangery and tram service.

Tulsa voters approved bond issues in 2005 that included more than $12 million for water and sewer lines and improved roads to the botanical garden site.With matching federal and state funding, more than $44 million is available for the projects. The money also will contribute to a Gilcrease Expressway extension.

Membership in the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden supports the establishment and growth of the garden's facilities, trails, education programs and gardens. Information about the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden/Research and Education Center is available at and from Garrison and Pat Woodrum, executive director, at 728-2707. They also can be reached at and

Membership information: Send $35 for an individual or $50 for a family membership to Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, 5323 W. 31st Street North, Tulsa, 74127, or call Carrie Henderson, development director at 728-2703.

Muskogee's Honor Heights Park, The Oklahoma Botanical Garden in Tulsa, and Lendonwood Gardens in Grove are part of a larger system of botanical gardens, called the Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum (OBGA) established in 1991. Oklahoma is one of only two states with a statewide arboretum system. OBGA is a membership organization that plays a vital role in the marketing and promotion of horticulture and landscape architecture in Oklahoma. Donna Dollins at Oklahoma State University oversees OBGA membership. Annual dues are $30 per year and information is available through OBGA, 360 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, 74078-6027, Donna Dollins at Oklahoma State University, and (405) 744-6460.


The Diva said…
Wow! I'd not heard about the Centennial Garden. Probably if I'd gone to any of the Ok Hort. Society meetings, I would have known. Thanks for the info. I can't wait to review the garden on my blog.
Anonymous said…
The open house in September was marred by awful rain and cold weather.
Those of us who went anyway attended incredible workshops.

When will it open? Who knows. Stay posted. Maybe Pearl Garrison will say at her talk on Jan 17th in Muskogee.

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