The Oklahoma Horticultural Society holds a garden tour each fall showcasing Oklahoma gardens in various parts of Oklahoma City, or its surrounding suburbs. The ticket price goes to scholarships for horticulture students at universities throughout the state. You can buy tickets for $15.00 the day of the tour at the gardens, and beforehand at the reduced prices of $10.00 for OHS members to $12.00 for nonmembers at various retail outlets listed in the above link. This year the tour is on October 17th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and I’m proud to say my garden is one of the six on tour. Mine is the furthest northern garden, and last Friday, I got an early sneak peek at three of the other gardens on tour. Mine is the only one designed by the gardener with her husband’s substantial help.
I am not a professional landscape designer, and I’ll be honest, I’m a little intimidated. One reason I didn’t get to my September Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post was because I’ve been toiling in the garden nearly everyday to get it ready. Fortunately Kari Walls from Tender Hands Gardening came over nearly every other week to help except when I was in Pasadena for the Garden Writers Association’s annual symposium. I lost a week of work there.
In the midst of all this prep, Bill decided we need a pond outside our bedroom so he’s worked very hard for two weeks straight creating and installing one. On Friday, he organized a crew of employees to help place rock. He’s considering adding pond building to the company’s repertoire. I would say the pond is two-thirds of the way finished. It should be completed by the tour, although he did mention the dam isn’t high enough to please his aesthetic sensibilities. I am staying out of his way and concentrating on other things. If it isn’t finished by the tour date, just know that gardens are always a work in progress and cut us some slack, okay?
Because Bill was working so hard on the pond/water feature, for the first time, we hired a friend to mow the grass and weedeat. Thank goodness I convinced Bill this was necessary.
Unfortunately, our friend didn’t understand how tender and sensitive a fescue lawn is. He used a string trimmer to tidy up my front lawnette. I nearly cried, but instead, I put out more Crossfire fescue seed and fertilized with Milorganite. The whole place smells like a sewer, but I hope the lawnette recovers in two weeks. If not, again, please forgive me.
Helen Weis–bless her sweet heart–of Unique By Design Landscaping and Containers, volunteered to rehab my front pots. They are now scrumptious and full of Helen’s signature style. Nobody does containers or designs like Helen.
Kari and I busted our butts to deadhead and mulch all the beds. We added pansies to empty spots like stickers covering up mistakes in a photo album. Mid-October is rather late for a garden tour, and plants are shrinking daily. The best piece of news is the trees. With the cooler weather, the post oaks and blackjacks are becoming golden yellow and burnished bronze. Oklahoma sumacs are turning red in the pastures, and I’ve let one grow at the end of the back garden where a rose once grew and bloomed. It should be in fine form.
I hope so anyway. I can’t control the weather.
Ornamental grasses, especially the pink muhly and maiden hair grass, are looking fab. Panicum virgatum, switchgrasses, are starting to show pretty colors of vibrant yellow gold and dark red. When Oklahoma Gardening came out last Friday to profile my garden among others, Brenda Sanders and I talked about grasses, berries and other autumnal highlights. The show will air next Saturday. The Oklahoman is doing a profile of the gardens in their Saturday paper published October 10 in the real estate section. They came today to interview Allan Storjohann, president of the society, and me. I’ll post links when they are live.
Don’t expect to see the cutting garden on the tour. The zinnias finally mildewed, and I pulled them and the large veggie garden down on Friday. The potager and cold frame are still growing and producing though.
I am weary, yet exhilarated. I’m doing the tour because I want horticulture students to get the money they need to finish their degrees. If you ever thought about going into horticulture, now is a good time. Across the U.S., jobs are plenty, and students are few. Think about it. We need the next generation to carry on.
Two more hort society friends are coming out to deadhead Friday before the tour. There’s plenty to deadhead here. I’ve left stands of Phlox paniculata as long as I possibly can to give butterflies strength as they wing their way to winter quarters. Now, the phlox is looking sad and out of sorts. Time to cut it back, but I’ll leave the stems for overwintering insects like native bees.
I’m sharing all of this because it’s good to know what it takes to put a garden on tour just in case you ever decide to do it. I’ve postponed taking cuttings for the greenhouse, but I may cut some of the coleus in back of the clumps because I’m afraid we’ll have a cool night that ends their reign. My summer garden would be sadly lacking without its wonderful coleus.
In honor of the tour, I bought a new piece of Talavera pottery. She’s a little pumpkin witch with stars in her hat. Look for her in the front border. She makes me smile and joins my other gorgeous Talavera fall jack o’ lanterns. Since fall is my favorite garden season, I’m glad the tour is coming soon. I hope you’ll come visit even though I live north of Edmond. It’s not that far, and there’s a map on the tickets–plus, we’ll have signs directing you my way.