Beth Teel loves to garden and loves to share her garden with visitors. Hers is one of three gardens featured on this year’s “Tulsa’s Treasures” garden tour sponsored by Tulsa Garden Club.
The proceeds from the tour help fund a variety of projects at the rose garden, arboretum, and Up with Trees.
Teel, a retired special education teacher, turned to gardening several years ago and has been creating a relaxing place to appreciate plants ever since. Her husband Paul is her helpmate in making their gardens inviting.
What is most unique about Teel’s garden is that it is mostly shaded, yet she has found a wide variety of plants to fill the beds around the house and grounds.
“What I really love is color, texture and contrast,” Teel said. “I like to combine lime green next to purple, for example, a Gold Thread Mop Cypress next to a Blue Atlas Cedar.”
Teel is making it easy for tour participants. She printed a plant list and painted metal plant markers black and printed the name of each plant in gold. The identification tags are visible, but not distracting.
“I love tiarellas,” Teel said. “They work well with coral bells, lenten roses, caladiums and begonias.”
Tiarella, or foamflowers, are woodland native plants from North America and Asia. The plants spread by runners to form small clumps, with heart-shaped leaves, and starry white-pink flowers in the spring.
Visitors will notice that the Teels repeat plant selections on all sides of the house. There are several plantings of Japanese maple Ever Red and two deodar cedar varieties: Desajio and Feelin’ Blue.
“We have only Velour crape myrtles,” Teel said. “I like them to be consistent.”
To the right of the driveway there is a daylily bed and a bed of herbs, vegetables and flowers. On the left there is a bed with a blooming dogwood tree. At the front door Teel said she puts containers of seasonal interest such as pansies.
The Japanese forest grass in the front door and side beds is variegated with interesting seed-heads rising above the leaves. Also in that bed are Blue Hawaiian hosta, azaleas, plum yew and lorapetalum.
“We had some winter damage this year,” Teel said. “Leaf tips and flower buds were affected by the late freeze.”
Around the corner visitors will see toad lily Samurai, more tiarella, and other shade-loving perennials.
When visitors enter the back garden through the arched gateway, they are brought into an appealing area of lawn surrounded by beds and containers of trees, shrubs and flowers.
“The white limestone rocks that edge the flower beds were brought home in my car, a few at a time,” Teel said. “They add so much to the garden, and sometimes I plant little things in the holes in the rocks.”
That rock edge is lined with wire vine, lamb’s ears and assorted succulents such as Sedum angelina, stonecrop Ogon, and lime green sedum Makino.
“Coleus is one of my favorite plants,” said Teel. “I add new ones from Rosy Dawn Gardens (http://rosydawngardens.com) every year. They have varieties and colors that no one else has.”
In order to protect the young coleus plants from squirrels, rabbits and birds, Teel places bird cages over groups of plants adding a bit of whimsy.
There are three eugenia topiaries in containers on the back patio. Also known as Australian brush-cherry, they naturally grow into tall, narrow shrubs. Teel said that in the winter, they live in the dining room, accenting holiday decorations.
The pleasure of garden tours is that they provide lovely strolls through unique and creative outdoor environments that can be enjoyed or studied.
If you go
WHAT: “Tulsa’s Treasures,” Tulsa Garden Club’s annual garden tour.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Three gardens in the Tulsa area.
INFORMATION: (918) 260-1095.