In case you missed it, last weekend was the Oklahoma Horticultural Society’s annual Garden Tour for Connoisseurs. At one time, the tour was held each spring, but now, it is a fall treat.
And, what a treat it was. Eight gardens, seven of which were individually owned by people just like you and me. I volunteered in one of the gardens in the morning, and then toured in the afternoon.
I love garden tours, but even more, I love working one. I was in Ernesto and Lin Sanchez’s garden, and I enjoyed meeting so many people from all over Oklahoma. It’s such a special moment when you tell someone a particular detail about a garden, and their face lights up. For example, from the front of this urban location, it appears the backyard will be cramped and small, but when you come to the end of this manicured space you realize their entire property opens up into an abandoned trolley line easement they purchased ten years ago.
A small travel trailer sits next to the pool, and a rescued chicken (their neighborhood allows them) has the fanciest coop I’ve seen outside of Martha Stewart’s Palais de Poulet.
The first part of the back garden was designed by John Fluitt many years ago.
Lin and Ernesto were wonderful hosts and remained in the garden all morning answering questions and showing people every aspect of their garden.
Getting that personal touch from your guide is the best scenario, but what about when you’re on vacation, and you want to visit some local garden hotspots? It is good to have a guide, if not in the flesh, then on paper. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp’s, The Visitor’s Guide to American Gardens: Garden Walks, Garden Talks, Garden Events, which Cool Springs Press sent me to review, looks to be just the ticket. The guide is organized by state and also in Canada to assist in locating gardens while you’re on vacation, or any type of tour. In my own state, Jo Ellen listed the best of the best. Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge, for example, just underwent a huge restoration and recently reopened. I was pleased to see she also listed the new Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden located just outside of Tulsa. Because three of the five gardens listed in Oklahoma are in Tulsa, it made me wonder why Oklahoma City and her surrounding suburbs don’t do more to establish great gardens. Then, I remembered the smaller gardens in Edmond which I walk three or four times a week: Mitch Park and Hafer.
At the back of the book is a list of garden tours and events. I wish the OHS tour was listed, but oh well.
All of the gardens in the book are, of course public, but if you attend the OHS’s garden tour next fall, you will be escorted into a world of private gardens you don’t normally see.
In addition, tomorrow night, I’m speaking at the local OHS meeting at 7:00 p.m., OSU- OKC Horticulture Resource Center, 400 N. Portland, Room 226, on the north side of the building. My topic is: Daylilies: More than a Pretty Face.
The meeting is open to the public, and I really hope you’ll come.