As a member of the Oklahoma Horticultural Society and a tour volunteer, I’d like to personally invite you to the 2010 Garden Tour for Connoisseurs, to be held this Saturday, September 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If fantastic gardens aren’t enough to bring you, think about the all the good you’ll be doing by purchasing a ticket. The tour is the OHS’s biggest fundraiser and helps support their scholarships for deserving horticulture students.
The tour gardens for this year are:
- Barbara & Melvin Thompson: This is the garden where I will be volunteering. If you get a chance while visiting, please come up and say hello. Although it is a new home, visitors will encounter specimen evergreens, deciduous trees, along with easy-care shrubs and perennials. There is a large ‘Tuscarora’ crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) an Amur maple (Acer ginnala), along with assorted deodor cedars (Cedrus deodara) ‘Electra Blue’ ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Gold Cone’ in front. Strolling around back you’ll find a beautiful infinity edge pool and spa, along with intricate wrought iron railings and a terrace. The lower garden is crafted to blend with native trees along the creek and is filled with Autuman Blaze® maples (Acer x freemanii ), live oaks (Quercus virginiana) and red oaks (Quercus rubra .)
- Jennifer & Hugh Stout: I’ve been to Stout Gardens at Dancingtree many times as it is only one-half mile east of Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City, but I always enjoy seeing their garden change through the seasons. Although they are in the city, their garden of rolling hills, koi ponds and eclectic art encompasses nearly five acres and is brimming with irises, daylilies and statuary created from reclaimed items on the property. Ornamental deciduous trees and evergreens, like red Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), purple smoke trees (Cotinus coggygria ) and loblolly pines (Pinus taeda) are garden backbones which are then layered with roses, dwarf peach trees, and junipers, along with other trees and shrubs.
- Ellen & Richard Orthwein: After a short journey over a double hung bridge, welcome to this suburban retreat of approximately 140 acres, forty to fifty of which are exquisitely manicured with six waterfalls, ponds, and a grotto bar. The owners’ Cape Cod inspired home sits atop a large hill landscaped with shrubs and trees like deodor cedars (Cedrus deodara), Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), and a ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’ white pine (Pinus flexilis). Behind the home is a large terrace, swimming pool and grotto bar, fully landscaped with three young sequoias (Sequoia spp.) rarely grown in Oklahoma, weeping Blue Atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’), Chinese fringe flowers (Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum), hostas and other shade perennials.
- Shouna & Gary Olson: In this large garden in the Dutch Forest addition, a brick and stone house sits on a large acreage. In the front yard, the scene is set with perennial borders surrounding the house, and large raised beds near the street. A large koi pond is the centerpiece of the back garden. Curving beds and borders surround the home with large shrubs and swaying grasses providing both grace and structure in the fall. Colorful crapemyrtles grow throughout, and in the spring and fall, Encore® Azaleas bloom. Shabby Chic® styled art, like the bed of a old pickup truck and a second hand bicycle, adorn the garden, and winding through the paths you discover points of interest throughout.
- Tom Cronin: One outstanding design feature of this six-year-old garden is the dry creek bed planted with xeric plants, which runs the length of the front of the house. It was created to divert water away from the home which sits below the surface of the road. This garden was influenced and inspired by Tom’s wife, Beth, who was an avid gardener and plant collector. Around the house are numorous trees and shrubs like southern magnolias, ‘Claudia Wannamaker’ and ‘Symmes Select’ (Magnolia grandiflora) which, unlike some other southern magnolias only shed their leaves at one time in spring. On one side of the garage, the owner built another dry creek bed, and the back of the garden is designed in two tiers. In back is an extension of the house with a gracious fireplace that gives the feeling of living within the garden. Notable plants in back are the weeping spruce which adorns the stairway (Picea pungens pendula) and several cultivars of deodor cedars (Cedrus deodara) including ‘Divinely Blue’, with its distinctive mounding habit. In the lower tier, purple chokecherry (Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’), a Proven Plants selection for Oklahoma, which has disease resistant burgundy foliage. Another outstanding plant is the ‘Thunderhead’ dwarf Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’) in the back garden.
- Karen & Warren Filley: This three-quarter-acre plant collector and art lover’s paradise began in 1987 so many of the trees and shrubs are mature specimens. The garden was designed to have plants in bloom most of the year with most plants being partial to shade. Walking the pathways will take the visitor through a series of garden rooms much in the style of Hidcote Manor with focal points at nearly every turn. Certified as a wildlife habitat by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation since the 1990s, Dr. Filley is an allergist, and the garden is continually being planted and maintained to have less pollen. In the rear right corner, a section of the garden is dedicated to growing vegetables. A large back deck makes the garden an enjoyable living and entertaining space even when experienced in winter. A list of notable plants will be onsite, but two are the China fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) in the front garden and the harlequin glorybower (Clerodendron trichotomum), a passalong plant from renowned landscape architect, Wolfgang Oehme. There is also a variegated leaf Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Tricolor’), a dawn redwood (Metasequoia glypostroboides), a weeping Serbian spruce (Picea omorika ‘Pendula’) and so many other treasures. Visitors should take their time as they journey through in order not to miss any of the artwork, plants or statuary placed tastefully throughout.
Tickets can be purchased at any of the gardens, and you will need to hold your tour ticket (which also has the garden descriptions) throughout your tour. OHS members will be staffing the gardens and can answer your questions.
Maybe you’ll enjoy the tour so much, you’ll even decide to become a member of OHS. I can attest to how much the society has taught me over the years and how many friends I’ve made. I hope to see you there.