Linnaeus Gardener Field Trips - Fun and Educational

Garvan Woodland Gardens & P. Allen Smith Garden Home, Hot Springs, AR

The crystal displays (here under Full Moon Bridge) were beautiful.

A crystal chandelier under Full Moon Bridge

Garvan Gardens is very lush, very natural.

Garvan Gardens is very lush, very natural.

Enjoying the Garden of the Pine Wood Stream area.

Enjoying the Garden of the Pine Wood Stream area.

The bus ride was a little rough, at least according to one Linnaeus Gardener. "We drove through every back road imaginable. The roads were rainy, slick, and narrow. Three people got sick. It took 5 hours," reports John King. Others thought it wasn't that bad. When asked "Would you go again?" "Absolutely," responds John.

Garvan Woodland Gardens is the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. It is nestled in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains of Southwest Arkansas. Over 150 Linnaeus Gardeners got to spend a social and educational overnight trip to Garvan Gardens and the P. Allen Smith Garden Home.

"This trip was one of the more enjoyable I have been on," says Sandi Rebman. "We got to see different things both days, and we had time on our own to socialize and get to know other Linnaeus Gardeners."

"Garvan is a very different, woodsy, and natural," notes John. "The crystal display was beautiful. There is a children's garden with huge boulders, a cave and waterfall. And the children can actually climb all over it."

Garvan Gardens has 210 acres of garden. Besides the Children's Garden, other notable areas are the Joy Manning Scott Ful Moon Bridge made of rock with a circular opening and the glass Anthony Chapel complex.

"I really liked the Bonsai Garden," notes Sandi. "They've been adding to it. It was kind of cool."


Our group spent the night at the Embassy Suites in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Friday morning found us on the bus again for a one hour ride to our next stop: the P. Allen Smith Garden Home.

A giant post oak tree adorns the front lawn of the P. Allen Smith Garden Home.

A giant post oak tree adorns the front lawn of the P. Allen Smith Garden Home.

The breezes in the third and fourth floor sleeping verandas were heavenly.

The breezes in the third and fourth floor sleeping verandas were heavenly.

John King and others relaxing on the porch.

John King and others relaxing on the porch.

Paul Allen Smith is a television host, designer, and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, and P. Allen Smith's Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens.

"When you first come up to the P. Allen Smith Home," says John "there is a huge post oak tree that looks like a live oak. I've never seen a post oak that large. P. Allen greeted us and talked about the place. It is a working farm and his actual home."

P. Allen built this home five years ago to resemble an 1840's home. The summer veranda sleeping porches built off the third and fourth floors overlooking the Arkansas River valley to the north caught many people's fancy.

"They took me right back to my childhood at my Uncle's house in Ohio," says Marc Schreiber. "We didn't have air conditioning and we loved spending the night on my Uncle's sleeping porches."

"The view up there, and the breezes coming through. It was absolutely wonderful," notes Sandi. "I'd just have to live right there."

"Lunch was absolutely delicious. I imagine all the salad ingredients came right from the gardens since it is a working farm," says Sandi.

Any last words? "We've got to get that dessert recipe - that buttermilk pecan pie just melted in your mouth."

Photos by John King, Marc Schreiber, and Su Waner

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, AR

Crystal Bridges entrance and tree sculpture

Entrance to Crystal Bridges Museum set off by a
silver tree sculpture.

On a very warm two days in June, some 65 Linnaeus Gardeners enjoyed an overnight trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville on a Friday and the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville on Saturday.

After a short two-hour bus ride, we arrived at the spectacular Crystal Bridges. We started by following the circular path through the exhibits that took us through works of American masters from the Colonial era to twentieth-century abstract expressionism and popart, ending back at the Museum's restaurant where we had started.

Crystal Bridges architecture

The architecture of Crystal Bridges is truly unique.
Some of the exhibit halls are suspended over water.

We relaxed with orange honey smoothies and delicious lunches. Those who dared the heat explored some of the many outdoor walking paths such as the 1/3 mile Art Walk.

"The architecture and layout and art were fabulous," said Linnaeus Garden Horticultural Assistant Julie Powers. "From the comments I heard, everyone had a good time."

After a rewarding four hours at the museum, we left to check into the Embassy Suites near by. We enjoyed games and drinks at their happy hour and dinner at the Bonefish Grill or another of the many restaurants in the area.

Linnaeus Gardeners enjoy fellowship at the Embassy Suites.

Linnaeus Gardeners enjoy fellowship at the Embassy Suites.

9:30 am Saturday morning we were on our way to our second destination, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

"This garden had a really good children's garden and a fabulous butterfly garden - it was fascinating," notes Julie.

The group returned home to Tulsa about 3:30pm. Although the weather had been a little warm, it seemed that everyone enjoyed this wonderful overnight field trip.

Bustani Plant Farm, Stillwater, OK

Greenleaf Nursery

Linnaeus Gardeners shopping for plants among Bustani's large selection.

Approximately 50 Linnaeus Gardeners enjoyed a very rewarding trip to Bustani Gardens just southeast of Stillwater, OK. After some nice breakfast snacks, we boarded the bus for a quick trip to Steve Owens’ Bustani Plant Farm. Bustani means “garden” in Swahili.

Steve and his wife, Ruth, have an excellent collection of plants that are sure to interest die-hard gardeners, like we Linnaeus Gardeners. Virtually all of us bought many plants for our home gardens, probably many more than we had anticipated. But then there were many new and different plants of all kinds that we couldn’t live without.

Greenleaf Garden Founder's Garden

Bustani has a unique collection of choice hard-to-find plants.

After shopping for about 2 hours, and walking through the gardens on site, we boarded the bus for a quick trip to Mexico Joe’s for an enjoyable and filling lunch. The trip back to the Tulsa Garden Center was also quick, as most of us were anxious to get started planting our new treasures.

Take a trip to Bustani Gardens when you have some extra time and you’ll be rewarded with some really great plants.

Greenleaf Nursery, Tahlequah, OK

Greenleaf Nursery

Greenleaf Nursery produces over 200,000 Knockout roses each year.

Three busloads of Linnaeus Gardeners, including the current volunteer class, visited Greenleaf Nurseries at Ft. Gibson and Park Hill, OK.

While rain was predicted,we weathered a brisk overcast fall day to see almost 1,000 acres of the propagation and growing of bare root and container plants. These two facilities together prepare almost 20,000,000 plants annually for the landscape industry. A very knowledgeable member of the Greenleaf staff accompanied us on each bus as we toured the facilities.

At the Ft. Gibson facility we saw demonstrations of both seeding and grafting of plants. Plants are grown here and then “harvested” for bare root distribution to the Park Hill facility for containerizing. This facility has recently been upgraded into a new division of Greenleaf Nurseries, and will begin distributing directly to retailers. At the Park Hill facility we visited the cold room where plants are propagated and the grounds where the plants are grown.

Greenleaf Garden Founder's Garden

We visited the newly established Greenleaf Founder's Garden.

One of the many highlights of the tour was the delicious barbeque lunch provided and served by the Greenleaf staff and upper management. While there, we visited their newly developed display garden that has been dedicated to the family members who founded the business and is a showplace for the plants they grow.

Greenleaf prepares their own potting soilless mix (45,000 cubic yards annually) from pine bark, hardwood bark and sand, along with a few other ingredients. They also have an extensive irrigation system for which they have received many ‘green’ awards. It includes retention basins that catch runoff from their garden beds, filter it as they have a high pH in that area of Oklahoma, and recycle the water. This keeps the fertilizers that they use from entering the local water system. They have received national awards for their conservation system.

Plant grafting Demonstration

Plant grafting demonstrations at Greenleaf Nursery

We heartily thank Greenleaf Nursery for hosting our visit, the delicious barbeque lunch, the training displays, and the graciousness and patience of their employees in answering our many and varied questions. We left the company with renewed and increased knowledge of horticulture, and a renewed respect for the very difficult and scientific work that it takes for the company to bring us the plants that we love to grow in our garden.

Linnaeus Gardeners' Gardens

Lydia Brand's Garden

Kay Crocker, Gwen Webb-Remack, and Connie Tinsley
admire the flowers in Lydia Brand's backyard.

Sandra Whitt's Garden

Sandra Whitt explains how she developed her backyard gardens
over a period of 20 years.

June is a busy month, so instead of holding our usual monthly meeting at the Garden Center, we decided to enjoy the hospitality and beautiful gardens of two Linnaeus Volunteers: Sandra Whitt and Lydia Brand.

We enjoyed fresh fruit, bagels, muffins and fellowship in relaxed and unique garden settings. And we got new ideas for our own gardens.

Tour of Dr. Carl Whitcomb's Test Farm, Stillwater, OK

Linnaeus Gardeners at Whitcomb Test Farm

Dr. Whitcomb talks to Linnaeus Gardeners in the midst of his test crapemyrtles.

On a lovely July day, with the temperature soaring and our spirits soaring even higher, a bus full of Linnaeus Gardeners hit the road for Dr. Carl Whitcomb's farm near Stillwater. Dr. Whitcomb is an enlightening and entertaining host as well as an inventor. He holds 26 patents and is the author of 4 books. He led his sweaty but attentive audience through a great show and tell about the wonderful genetic diversity in Crapemyrtles. He shared his system for tagging seedlings that catch his eye for one reason or another as well as his system for documenting information. He showed us row after row of beautiful seedlings and we hung on every word. He would break off a stem to show us the attributes and faults of a particular plant and then, to our horror, toss the stem over his shoulder and announce the whole plant would be tilled under!

Linnaeus Gardeners at Whitcomb Test Farm

Acres of crapemyrtles are under study at the Whitcomb Test Farm.

We are grateful to Dr. Whitcomb for taking time to give us a tour of his farm. He has a delightful and down to earth sense of humor and he welcomed us wholeheartedly. He gifted each of us with a DVD, brochures, literature and a cold bottle of water for the road.

By Julie Powers

OSU Oklahoma Gardening Studio Garden

OSU Studio Garden

Kim, host of Oklahoma Gardening, greets us at the
entrance of the OSU Oklahoma Gardening Studio Garden.

For the second part of our July trip, we arrived at the OSU Extension studio garden where Oklahoma Gardening is filmed each week, and enjoyed a fabulous BBQ lunch with all the fixin's. The volunteers there gave us small group tours of the beautiful garden areas and turf plots. The Studio Garden has many sections such as the "Cut Flower Garden", "Romantic Garden", and "Oklahoma Proven Garden". We had a great time and got some really good ideas for our own Linnaeus Garden.

By Julie Powers

Overnight Field Trip to Dallas/Fort Worth

Entrance to Dallas Botanical Garden

At the entrance to the Dallas Botanical Garden.

Eating at the Gaylord Resort

Eating breakfast at the Gaylord Texan Resort hotel.

Linnaeus Teaching Garden volunteers went on their first Linnaeus overnight field trip. We toured both the Fort Worth and Dallas botanical gardens and spent the night at the Gaylord Texan Resort. All three excursions were fun and inspiring. Plus we ate well.

The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens featured a Japanese Garden that is exceptional for this part of the country with its long, hot summers. It was peaceful to walk around and provided many surprising views. They actually sold food to feed to their koi so the koi were quite fat.

We spent the evening at our hotel in Grapevine, Texas. It was huge, with acres of indoor gardens and entertainment. They actually had a recreation of the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk. The rooms were very nice and the food was great.

Proven Winners Test Garden

Proven Winners shade test garden.

White Rock Lake befind the Dallas Arboretum

White Rock Lake befind the Dallas Arboretum

On Sunday morning, we toured the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This group of gardens is a true joy to visit. They had Proven Winners test gardens so we were able to look at many varieties of plants.

We walked from one garden vista into another and each one was more beautiful or surprising then the last. There were fountains, arbors, pergolas, reflection pools, and large, beautiful pots filled with flowers around every corner. There was even a small English cottage with a thatched roof surrounded by an English garden. When you walk behind the house you find another garden room with rose arbors. You walk through the arbors and find a formal garden with a gazebo. The back of the gardens is next to White Rock Lake which provides a wonderful backdrop. It is a garden where you will see something new each time you visit, and you do want to visit it again.

But the best part of the field trip was that we shared it with our great group of Linnaeus volunteers.

By Kathy McKenna

Southwood Production Greenhouse Visit, Tulsa

Linnaeus Gardeners at Southwood Nursery

Joe Ward talks to Linnaeus Gardeners at Southwood Nursery.

Linnaeus Garden Volunteers toured the Southwood production greenhouses after the March 26th monthly training meeting. They were shown through the various greenhouses used to propagate new plant cuttings that are received by Southwood Nursery from countries around the world as well as from the United States. Once rooted, cuttings are then transplanted into larger pots.

Inside the Greenhouses

Southwood greenhouses are bursting with colorful annuals.

The properties of new varieties of impatiens, petunias, fuscias, and other plants were discussed. Each person on the tour received three new varieties of plants and a shamrock to take home.

Wichita Garden Show, KS

Wichita Garden Show Bus Ride

A bus load of Tulsa Garden Center members and guests toured the Wichita Garden Show in Kansas on March 6th.

Wichita Garden Show Inside

Linnaeus Gardeners Goldie Phillips and Mary Carter enjoy the exhibits.

The Wichita Garden Show is rated as one of the top 10 garden shows in the country. In addition to the many businesses displaying gardening tools and plants, there were flower arrangements and flowered quilts on which the garden show guests could vote.

Wichita Garden Show Alpine Garden

A mountain stream complete with snow and waterfall
is part of the Alpine Mountain Retreat

There were four complete gardens set up in the Wichita arena that we toured including a Japanese garden, and a beautiful Alpine Mountain Retreat with many snowed covered trees over 30 feet tall, a water fall that fed a mountain stream and a mountain cabin.

The Wichita Garden Show is a great place to find the perfect garden tool or plant, or just to have a good time viewing the beautiful surroundings and meeting other gardeners.

Lendonwood Gardens, Grove, OK

Japanese Pond and Tea House

Lendonwood Gardens' Japanese Tea House

In May, more than 70 Linnaeus Gardeners traveled to Grove Oklahoma to visit the Lendonwood Gardens, a three-acre botanical garden near Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees founded in 1995 by Leonard Miller, a retired dentist in Grove. Dr. Miller personally escorted Linnaeus Gardeners through the Garden that he had planted at his own home during a period of almost twenty years and generously donated for the pleasure of gardeners. Dr. Miller then treated Linnaeus Gardeners to a tour of his own property, including a break for lemonade on the veranda overlooking Grand Lake. Many thanks for the hospitality extended by Dr. Miller.

Lendonwood Gardens is part of the Oklahoma Botanical Garden system, which means that it contains labeled plants, is open to the public, and contains at least 225 species of plants. Lendonwood is home to more than 1,400 different types of plants, including one of the largest collections of Chamaecyparis (false cypress) in the United States, one of the largest collections of rhododendrons in the region, and also 125 varieties of hostas, 500 varieties of daylilies, 200 varieties of conifers and 25 varieties of viburnums.

For more information about the garden, see