By: Michelle Booth | Category: Lawn & Garden | Issue: June 2011
Linnaeus Teaching Garden volunteers (L to R): Sandra Whitt, Julie Powers and Anne Soloman.
The Linnaeus Teaching Garden, located at 2435 S. Peoria, will celebrate its 5th anniversary on June 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first 500 guests will receive a one-gallon ever-blooming hydrangea, valued at $15.
New types of annuals from California, Texas and Oklahoma will be for sale under tents located in Woodward Park. Money from plant sales will be used to help maintain the Teaching Garden.
Irrigation, lighting, retail nurseries and people in the garden industry will be available to answer questions. Light refreshments will be served throughout the day.
Renowned perennial authority Dan Heims will offer a free lecture in the Tulsa Garden Center auditorium at 10:30 a.m. He will discuss how to grow perennials and which of the many kinds to select. “This is Dan’s first time in Tulsa,” said Barry Fugatt, director of horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center. “He is knowledgeable, engaging and has a great sense of humor. Guests will not be disappointed.”
Heims is president of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc., a company in Oregon noted for its new introductions to horticulture. He has been deeply involved in all facets of horticulture for 35 years. Heims has hosted a weekly radio gardening show and has appeared on HGTV and the BBC. He has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset Magazine, and Organic Gardening.
The Linnaeus Teaching Garden is maintained with the help of more than 200 volunteers that have undergone 12 weeks of intensive training. According to Fugatt, no taxpayer money was used to create the garden. “The Linnaeus Teaching Garden is a miracle,” he said. “I’ve traveled across the United States, Canada, and some of Europe and have not seen this paradigm.”
The vision for the Linnaeus Teaching Garden began with the idea of educating homeowners about horticultural possibilities for their own backyards. At first, it lacked the components necessary to make it a success. “This whole thing was a venture in faith,” said Fugatt. “To our great joy and amazement, industry was interested in getting involved.”
During 2005 and early 2006, the garden began to take shape. Nearly 3,000 individuals contributed donations equaling more than $800,000. The Tulsa Parks Department provided the location, authorizing the use of 1.55 acres of land in Woodward Park. Industry sponsors donated products and services for hardscaping and planting. More than 180 people volunteered to become the initial group of Linnaeus gardeners.
Fugatt stresses that the garden cannot exist without volunteers and the graciousness and goodness of the public. “Our volunteers are extremely dedicated,” he said. “They have an emotional connection to the Teaching Garden and take a lot of pride in this place.”
The garden areas demonstrate the latest and most successful techniques for growing vegetables, annuals, perennials, woody plants and groundcover. All garden areas are accessible via ramps and paved pathways.
The Linnaeus Teaching Garden was created to inspire, educate and equip people to do a better job of gardening. “We have been blessed with this garden,” Fugatt said. “We want to feed that back to the gardening public.”