By Molly Day
All the Dirt on Gardening
The Thomas-Foreman Historic Home is a jewel in Muskogee that only a handful of residents know about. Also known as the Grant Foreman House, the farm house was built at 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave. in 1898 on a tract of prairie. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and contains the original furnishings of Indian Territory judge John R. Thomas, and his daughter and son-in-law Grant and Carolyn Foreman. The Foremans were historians and prolific authors.
The Thomas-Foreman Home is a satellite museum of Muskogee’s Three Rivers Museum (www.3riversmuseum.com) with Sue Tolbert serving as executive director of both.
The board of Three Rivers Museum is currently working to restore the grounds of the home. The funds needed to remove dead trees and clean out fence-lines is currently being raised.
Contributors so far, include: The Kirschner Foundation, A More Beautiful Muskogee, Muskogee Parks and Recreation, Mark Bonney, Anita Whitaker, Jon Stoodley and Joel Cousins. Tolbert said that additional tax-deductible contributions would help with the planting phase.
Dozens of towns and cities across the U.S. celebrate a Daffodil Day event in the early spring.
Muskogee Garden Club contributed $500 for daffodil bulbs and soil amendments to plant the grounds in anticipation of a spring 2013 Daffodil Day weekend. Plans for Daffodil Day 2013 at the Thomas-Foreman Home include a tea and membership drive.
The landscape professional involved with the project is Tim Doerner and the project lead for the museum board is Karen Coker. They are working with Tolbert to restore the landscape and design an irrigation system.
Historic daffodils were ordered from Old House Garden Bulbs for the project. Owner Scott Kunst offered the heirloom bulbs at a discount to help out.
The heirloom daffodils available from Old House Gardens (www.oldhousegardens.com) appeared in bulb catalogs going back to the early 1900s but were discovered as early as the 1600s, proving their durability in American gardens.
Sweetness daffodil was discovered in 1939 and was one of the first flowers given the Wister Award by the American Daffodil Society. Called the best daffodil for southern climates, Sweetness has a thick, weather-resistant cup and petals as well as the spring fragrance we think of as pure, daffodil scent. Sweetness has all yellow flowers on top of a 16-inch stem.
Red Devon was discovered in 1943 and received awards in 1950, 1968, 1977, and 1985. It also received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.Red Devon has a large, orange, ruffled cup and yellow petals that give the spring garden a joyful jolt. It is named for the historic “red” cattle of Devonshire. It grows to 2-feet tall.
Mrs. Backhouse, discovered in 1921, was the original pink daffodil. Mrs. Backhouse is actually ivory and apricot, and was named the 2005 Heirloom Bulb of the Year. This daffodil is 18 inches tall.
Thalia, an all-white daffodil discovered in 1916, is known as a strong and dependable grower. Each 16-inch tall stem has two or three nodding flowers with ivory petals that swoop back from the central cup. Thalia is the oldest all-white daffodil related to the wild Narcissus triandrus.
There are dozens more heritage daffodils at Old House Gardens, as well as fall-planted crocus, hyacinths, lilies, tulips, gladiolus, freesia, oxbloods etc.
The community is invited to dig in to help with the daffodil bulb planting at 11 a.m. Saturday. Bring your own trowel or shovel.
If you would like to contribute to the grounds improvement or want to volunteer at the Thomas-Foreman Home, contact executive director Sue Tolbert at Three Rivers Museum (www.3riversmuseum .com), (918) 686-6624.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Thomas-Foreman Home daffodil bulb planting.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Thomas-Foreman home, 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave.