Linnaeus Garden History

The Vision

Barry Fugatt at Dedication Ceremony

Barry Fugatt addresses Grand Opening crowd

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden was a gift to northeastern Oklahoma. On June 8, 2006, a standing-room only crowd of over 200 people gathered under a tent for its dedication.

The speakers expressed their gratitude for the time, money and effort expended by the many people who helped make the garden a reality. Bonnie Hammond, then executive director of the Tulsa Garden Center, said it all started with a vision first voiced by Tulsa Garden Center horticulturist, Barry Fugatt.

The vision 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 – funds, location, plants, products, and volunteers.

It All Comes Together

Entry Walk - 2005

Before - 100 year old Eastern Red Cedars next to a grassy field

Entry Walk - 2009

After - The Linnaeus Garden Entry Walks greets garden visitors.
Special steps were taken to protect our red cedars.

Slowly but surely during 2005 and early 2006 the pieces fell into place:

  • 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 prime real estate located in Woodward Park.
  • Industry sponsors donated products and services for hardscaping and planting having a value of more than $500,000. More than 4,000 individual plants comprise the garden, and they have all been donated. These donations have been ongoing over the life of the garden.
  • Over 180 people volunteered to become the initial group of Linnaeus Gardeners. It was these volunteers who contributed their time and effort to prepare the beds and plant the trees, shrubs and flowers that grace the garden.

On June 9, 2007, the public turned out in force to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Linnaeus Teaching Garden.

Garden Namesake

Statue of Carl Linnaeus

Rosalind Cook and Barry Fugatt unveil our centerpiece statue of
Carl Linnaeus, the father of botany.

The garden was named in honor of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish naturalist and the father of botany. Tulsa sculptor Rosalind Cook created a six-foot tall full-figure bronze statue of Carl Linnaeus which she unveiled in the garden pavilion as the finale of the dedication.