, Muskogee, OK

June 5, 2014

Garden party

Tour highlights local treasures

By Molly Day
All the Dirt on Gardening

— Harvey and Kay Price live in a 1909 three-story home that they have lovingly restored.

Since Price purchased the abandoned home in 1988, the landscape has been transformed from a weedy, corner lot that the neighbors brush hogged into a series of gardens worth touring.

The dramatic view you get by driving by the home and garden on North Country Club Road is a small slice of the treasures seen on closer examination. The sidewalk from the street to the front door is lined on both sides with beds of boxwood shrubs, heavenly bamboo, daylilies and Whopper begonias.

The property line bed to the right is planted with perennials, trees, native plants and annuals. Look for dogwood and pawpaw trees, bearded iris, black-eyed Susans, white and purple begonias, Artemisia and coleus. Also in that bed, look for native Figwort, Aromatic Aster, Hirta Rudbeckia and other selections from the Wildlife Habitat Garden Tour vendor, Wild Things Nursery.

“Kay and I both love working in the gardens,” said Harvey Price. “We are suckers for stopping at nurseries whenever we are on a road trip. We look for plants and garden art everywhere we travel.”

The 200 Whopper begonias and an equal number of other annuals came from Green Country Landscaping in Muskogee this spring. Many of the plants in the backyard came from Green Country Gardens in Tahlequah and Southwood Nursery in Tulsa. The large hanging ferns were purchased at a garden show at Utica Square in Tulsa, and the daylilies in the driveway bed came from a nursery in Center, Texas.

The bed that lines the driveway on the University Street side is filled with perennials and bordered with large yellow marigolds. Tucked into a shady area between the new carriage house/garage and the house is a fern and coleus bed, and between the garage and the gate to the backyard is a bed of roses.

“Since the last time we were on the Garden Tour, we have added several features,” Price said. “I am a self-taught woodworker, so I designed and put in the pergola, deck, treehouse, and now am restoring the decorative multilayered finials on the fence posts in time for this year’s tour.”

Entering the backyard from the driveway, the deck, pergola and swimming pool are on the right. Down the entire back fence is a continuous bed of perennials, annuals, trees, planters and a pond.

“Kay and I are out here almost every day and in the evening,” Price said. “She planted all the containers you see in the gardens and on the porches.”

In the back, visitors will also see containers tucked into the borders. There is a double wash tub with ferns spilling out, two pelicans planted with moss rose, large boots of salvias, a concrete mother hen and chicks planted with succulent hens and chicks, and a clay pot with ceramic box turtles in residence.

Most of the back perennial border of trees, hydrangeas, hollyhocks, sunflowers and red perilla, is lined with Whopper begonias. Also look for the pond bed surrounded with yarrow, King Tut miscanthus, lilies, foxglove, hellebores, zinnias, hollyhock mallow and red hot poker.

“The rocks for the rock garden slide came from Oologah, and the stones bordering the beds are ones we picked up along country roads,” Price said. “Kay planted the rock crevices with strawberries, herbs and flowers.”

Their vegetable gardens along the back border include lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers and herbs.

Harvey Price retired after 35 years as band director at Tahlequah High School and now is the part-time band director at Grand View School. Kay is retiring this year from Irving Elementary in Muskogee, where she was a school counselor.

If you go

WHAT: Muskogee Garden Tour.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Gardens — 2501 N. Country Club Road, 3505 Porter St., 2204 Robin Lane, 2604 Camelot Court. Papilion and plant sale at Honor Heights Park.

COST: $5 tickets include four home gardens plus Papilion at Honor Heights and a plant sale.

INFO: Marilyn Hinshaw (918) 682-3601.