By Leilani Roberts Ott
Bright yellow and white daffodils are popping up all around the historic Thomas-Foreman Home in Muskogee. They line the front and sides of the home with miniature daffodils blooming in the space between the sidewalk and the fence.
The flowers are accents to the other pink, yellow and white flowering bushes and other plants in the yard. Guests can see them all and have a spot of tea with sandwiches and cookies at Daffodil Day, courtesy of Muskogee Garden Club.
Members planted 1,000 bulbs in November preparing for Daffodil Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Guests arrive at Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin St., for a tour and then take a trolley ride to the Thomas-Foreman Home, 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave., where there will be a home and garden tour, and tea. Cost is $10. You also may go directly to the home for the tour for $5.
The house was built in 1898 as a farmhouse by John R. Thomas Sr., a federal judge over Indian Territory, according to a brochure at the home. Thomas’ daughter, Carolyn, and his son, John R. Thomas Jr., came to live there. Thomas Jr. became a celebrated hero of the Spanish-American War with the Rough Riders.
Carolyn married Grant Foreman, who came to Muskogee in 1899 to serve on the Dawes Commission. The couple wrote articles and more than 20 books on Oklahoma history. They were inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1934. Carolyn enjoyed gardening and had daffodils in the gardens.
Sue Tolbert, director of the museum, which owns the home, has been looking forward to the big event for several months since she and Muskogee Garden Club member Martha Stoodley started talking about it.
“This is a great opportunity for the community, especially with the garden club getting involved,” Tolbert said.
Stoodley, who is also a Master Gardener, said she likes daffodils so much because they are durable and will multiply. The 1,000 bulbs were ordered from Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Mich., she said. Funding for the project came from donations of $500 from Muskogee Garden Club, $1,000 from Kirschner Foundation, $500 from A More Beautiful Muskogee and $400 from individual donors. Landscape cleanup was done by Tim Doerner, landscaper. Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department donated the pick up and disposal of 8-foot tall piles of debris from tree, shrub and vine removal, Stoodley said.
“It took the landscapers three days to clear it out,” she said.
Volunteers like Ray Sprinkles, who is a member of Three Rivers Museum, also raked leaves this week to get the yard ready for the tour. He does it because he is interested in local and Oklahoma history.
Garden club members are making things like cucumber or watercress sandwiches on thin sliced bread with butter or cream cheese. The tea will be served by garden club members either hot or cold. Stoodley will be using recipes and ideas she received while attending a class in Tulsa on how to put on an English tea, which is fitting for the Foremans because they were world travelers.
“It should be a fun thing for the community,” Stoodley said of Daffodil Day. “There’s no trick to planting a bulb — plant it twice the height of the bulb. Don’t fertilize until they bloom.”
Also a Master Gardener and president of Muskogee Garden Club, Oyana Wilson said the club plans to continue improving the gardens at the home.
“We want to bring back some things that were originally there,” Wilson said.
They also plan to plant more daffodils next year. Wilson is making a display board that will be in the home giving information on the daffodils. There are more than 25,000 registered named hybrids and 40 to 200 different daffodil species, depending on which book you look at, she said.
“Eventually, it will be a showstopper,” she said.
If you go
WHAT: Daffodil Day hosted by Muskogee Garden Club.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin St., and Thomas Foreman Home, 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave. Guests may tour the museum and then take a trolley ride to the Thomas-Foreman Home for Daffodil Day, home tour and tea or go to the home only.
COST: $10 if starting at the museum and taking the trolley to the home or $5 if going only on the home tour.
INFORMATION: (918) 686-6624 and (918) 683-5380.