I was supposed to take some dear friends to Bustani Plant Farm last Saturday. Then, we discovered it was Dad’s Day at Oklahoma State University, and since I already brave Dad’s Day at Oklahoma University every year. I just couldn’t face the traffic. The weather was also chilly and raining. Our oldest daughter also requested a carrot cake for her birthday we were celebrating on Saturday night. I was burning the candle at both ends and in the middle too, and I felt a bit like the pollinator in the photo above. See the bright, gold pollen on her little legs? These are the things she carries.
Then came Sunday. I had the Oklahoma Horticultural Society’s fall meeting and garden tour at the OSU Botanic Garden in Stillwater. Steve and Ruth Owens invited the members back to Bustani after the meeting. I followed Steve along the backroads until Bustani’s greenhouses came into view along with all the plants.
Steve and Ruth are able to grow this garden next to their greenhouses because they make use of several Scarecrow Motion Activated Animal Deterrants. These turn on at night and keep the deer from munching the entire place. Who could blame the deer? After all, it’s a beautiful buffet set out just for them.
At least from their point of view . . . .
Steve and Ruth grow the gardens so that people can envision what these plants will do in their own landscapes. Of course, it takes a certain touch to make it all come together as beautifully as it does. Someone in the family has a very good eye for design.
They also grow plants to take cuttings in the fall. These cuttings will grow into plants we can buy next spring, but they also have plants now. I bought several, and when I go back with my friends on the 29th, I’ll probably buy more.
Here is what I brought home Sunday:
A purple heath aster, Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Bustani Purple.’ It’s unusual because heath asters are normally white. This one will be fun.
Eupatorium maculatum ‘Gateway,’ Joe pye weed. I think I need another Joe, and at five to six feet, this one is a bit smaller than the species.
Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibralter,’ Gibralter bush clover. I like anything with pea-like leaves, and I love the blooms on this plant. They are a luscious purpley-pink, and in a moist setting, it likes the heat. I have just the spot.
Three pacifica mums, Ajania pacifica. These are my latest blooming mums, and although I like the gold blooms, I enjoy the foliage even more.
Mary Nell aster. Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ‘Mary Nell.’ This is another aster native to Oklahoma, and Steve named it after his mother.
Boltonia asteroides ’Pink Beauty,’ another plant I’ve never grown.
Vernonia lettermannii, Letterman’s ironweed. I grow one of the tall ironweeds, but this one is smaller with ferny foliage.
All of these are perennials of course, and, as you can see, many are native to the United States. I don’t grow just natives. I grow garden worthy plants that sustain my need for visual beauty along with the creatures who visit my garden.
As I strolled the gardens, I listened to the horticulturalists and a botanist discuss identification of a seedling Steve found somewhere in rural Oklahoma. These guys were all in their element considering the plant from every side and top to bottom. It was fun to listen in as I snapped photos. A couple of hummingbirds buzzed me several times arguing with each other as hummingbirds do. I tried to capture a picture of them, but they were way too fast and furious to pay any attention.
It was the perfect day, and I can’t wait to go back with my friends who have never been there. Fall is a more casual time to visit Bustani. The crowds are fewer, and that’s just fine with me.