Gardening with Micki: Garden tours plant friendships

Master Gardeners and their guests toured the large garden grounds at Lendenwood Gardens on a field trip.

There is nothing gardeners love more than visiting other people's gardens. It gives them new ideas for planning, purchasing and planting new areas of their own gardens — the "three P's" of garden design.

That's why Muskogee's Master Gardeners thrive on field trips. The MG's spring schedule, open to guests, is ambitious. Sally Hilfiger and Karol Watson are trip organizers.

Garden enthusiasts have an opportunity to hear Bill Quade, senior horticultural manager for Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina, when he speaks in Tulsa on Feb. 22 and Oklahoma City on Feb. 23. The free events are sponsored by the Oklahoma Horticutural Society. A trip to the Tulsa Garden Center is planned Feb. 11 or 15 for "Let's Talk Gardening!" No reservations needed for the free noon-l:30 p.m. program. Call (918) 576-5155 for information.

If you have overgrown fruit trees, mark your calendar for Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. in Spaulding Park. David Redding, president of the Muskogee Garden Club, will demonstrate how to prune effectively. Also tree-related is a free fruit tree workshop from 1-4 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Cimarron Valley Research Station in Perkins. Reservations required. Call (405) 744-5404. While there, you could also take the short drive to Stillwater and tour the Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University — well worth the gas and time.

Tulsa's Master Gardeners offer two programs with three classes each on from 6-8 p.m. Thursdays from March 5 to April 9 at the Tulsa County Extension Office. Topics are "Seeds to Supper" and "Landscape and Lawn." The cost is $10 per class or $20 for each program. To enroll, online go to

In recent years, the Muskogee MG's visited the Cherokee Native Seed Garden in Tahlequah, Tulsa's Botanic Garden and the Philbrook Museum Gardens, with a tour by the staff horticulturist. The museum grows many of its own vegetables, on site, for its La Villa Cafe.

MG's often visit area members' gardens. They learn about what works well in this area's clay-baked soil and mercurial climate. Other trips took them to the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens in Tulsa's Woodward Park, the Crystal Bridges Museum Gardens in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Lendenwood Gardens near Grand Lake.

In June, a trip is planned to public gardens near London, England and Paris, France. It was introduced by Trudy Sudberry, past MG chairman, as "the mother of all field trips." These are impressive gardens I've toured. Perhaps these trips' best reward is the friendships the MG's plant with other area gardeners.

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