JARS v62n1 - ARS Annual Convention: "I'll Bring Out the West in You"

ARS Annual Convention: "I'll Bring Out the West in You"
Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 16-20, 2008
Len Miller
Grove, Oklahoma

The ARS will hold its spring convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma, hosted by the Ozark Chapter. This convention (gathering of friends) is unique and different from conventions in the past. Tulsa's celebration of spring with its thousands of azaleas will also include entertainment each night with great speakers on rhododendrons from Europe and the US. Wednesday night Tulsa's own Barry Fuggatt, teacher and gardener, will show Northeast Oklahoma gardens. Barry is the founder of the Linnaeus Garden, a teaching garden staffed by two hundred Master Gardeners and is on our tour Saturday. Entertainment will be provided by Oral Roberts University Singers who will do numbers from the musical "Oklahoma." Each attendee will receive a beautiful convention pin.

The Tulsa skyline
The Tulsa skyline.
Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Thursday we will tour Tulsa's museums and gardens. The Philbrook Museum has 23 acres of English style gardens reinitiated just three years ago. It has a mixture of European and Western art. Gilcrease Museum has the finest collection of American Western art in the world and the gardens are full of azaleas and perennials. See the rugged old west in works of Remington, Russell, Catlin and Moran. Lunch will be at the Philbrook. You can seek out some of Tulsa's restaurants for the evening meal. Larry Dushane, an Eastern Shawnee Native American, will wear his native costume and play the Indian flute. Tijs Huisman from Nijensleek, Netherlands, will speak on new European rhododendron hybrids. Tijs Huisiman is a Dutch hybridizer and founder of the Dutch Chapter of the ARS and is learning to say "You All" in Okie slang. He is a language teacher in his hometown.
Four gardens will be on our schedule Friday. Our trip will be to Grove to visit Lendonwood Gardens, Elk Ridge and the combined gardens of Jim and Madeline Osborne and Ronald and Annette Williams. Lendonwood Gardens is a display garden for the ARS. With over 600 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas the garden is always full of color during April. The garden was founded, designed and built by Len Miller, past president of the ARS. It is a botanical garden with seven theme gardens. It has many Japanese influences with three Zen gardens and a Japanese pavilion which overlooks a small pond with the traditional island and three stones. Lendonwood was given an award for design by the Western Nurseryman Association. There are seven collections of plants including rhododendrons-azaleas (600), Japanese maples (75), hemerocallis (500), hosta (125), cornus (25), viburnum (26), conifers (175) and magnolias (20).

Philbrook Museum Gilcrease Museum
Philbrook Museum.
Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Gilcrease Museum.
Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Osborne and Williams are USDA Zone 7 gardens because they live on the south side of Honey Creek arm of Grand Lake. Jim Osborne has been collecting rare and unusual plants for years. Magnolias dominate the front yard among the hundreds of perennials and tulips. The backyard is a steep slope to the lake, made easy by a wood walkway. Rhododendrons are planted throughout the property. ‘Green Giant' arborvitae and a Magnolia ashei greet you as you pass to the backyard. Jim and Madeline have a great view of Grand Lake from their deck. The Williams live next door, with large conifers in their front yard and a large waterfall in their back yard.
Elk Ridge is the home of Len and Donna Miller, which is 19 acres of woodlands with three acres of gardens. There is one-half mile of garden paths with over four thousand plants. The woody collection is around 550 plants with half being elepidote rhododendrons. Their log home sits on an 85-foot cliff over looking Elk River arm of Grand Lake with a spectacular view. The jewel of the garden is a Japanese teahouse built on the cliff. Waterfalls and koi ponds grace the south side of the teahouse. For the adventuresome there is a rough trail cut in a ravine where wildflowers and ferns grow. A tree platform overlooks this area. There is a greenhouse with a koi pond and exotic parrots. There are two conifer gardens, with over 200 varieties; one is a rock garden.
Our Friday night entertainment is Willamae who will take a critical look at our beloved ARS. You will enjoy her comedic philosophy. Steve Krebs from the Holden Arboretum will speak on his hybrids, showing photographs of his plants that are resistant to diseases. This is a new program that will require holding the plants in the greenhouse to get early flowering, allowing us to see his new creations at our April convention.

Woodward Park
Woodward Park.
Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Saturday tours will be private and public gardens. We will visit the Linnaeus Garden in Woodward Park. This garden is a teaching garden named after Linnaeus, the father of botany. The Linnaeus Garden is manned by 200 trained Master Gardeners. A 7-foot bronze statue of Linnaeus is placed at the end of a long paved terrace. Framed on the south by a row of 100- year-old juniper trees, the walk is planted with perennials. A dramatic water feature showcases new plants including roses and trees. A vegetable garden and greenhouse with tropical plants complete the teaching garden. Woodward Park adjacent to the Linnaeus Garden will have thousands of azaleas in bloom as well as spring flowering trees. The Woodward Park azaleas were planted thirty-five years ago. Lunch will be served in the Tulsa Garden Center near the five acre rose garden.
The private gardens will include the garden of Jim and Sharon Baily. They are great gardeners and have a wonderful garden. You are greeted by a large water feature, a series of ponds and waterfalls that are home to beautiful koi fish. The garden has about everything you can grow in Oklahoma. Tulips will be in flower among the dogwoods and conifers. The large lot is bordered with a variety of rare trees and shrubs. In the foreground are perennials that keep the flower show going. In the backyard, you will find shade plants, notably rhododendrons and azaleas. The house and garden is one of the most beautiful in Tulsa.
Forest Hollow Estate is the vision which has become reality for Breniss and Daniel O'Neal (see page 6). Owning a landscape design business has enabled them to bring fantasy to life in their home and gardens which are located on a 1-acre plot in the heart of one of Tulsa's most beautiful areas. This estate has been certified by the state of Oklahoma as a Wildlife Habitat and upon entering there is an immediate sense that this is far more than home and garden; it is an artful preservation of nature in its most complete and natural form. The landscape was created by planting 900 evergreen trees and shrubs and 1800 azaleas, each one lending its special architectural and textured grace to the total scheme. This garden has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and many others.
The Saturday night entertainment will be by Jana Jae, a frequent guest on the TV show "Hew Haw" and an excellent performer on the fiddle. Last, but not least, is Keith Johansson from Fort Worth, Texas. Keith has a Japanese maple nursery and has been president of the Ozark Chapter for many years. Keith is a musician who will perform and speak on his experiences of growing rhododendrons in our climate. He will make you laugh so do not eat too much at the banquet.

Len Miller, a member of the Ozark Chapter, is Past President of the ARS.