FORT GIBSON — Gardening is like an old friend to David and Ruth Redding. David's father, now 92, taught him a lot about gardening. He even recently completed a Master Gardeners course to stay aware of new trends. David remembers fondly the peonies that bloomed in his grandmother's garden in Cobb.

Ruth grew up on Long Island in New York. She brought her own credentials to their garden. 

"My mother loved gardening and knew the names of all her flowers," Ruth recalled. "Now, I take my granddaughters on walks in Fort Gibson to see flowers."

The Reddings' front and back gardens are anchored by mature trees and a variety of shrubs and plants in circular or curving beds. These are well defined by stone borders gracefully winding through the garden. This helps minimize David's mowing chores.

A 25-year-old 50-foot-tall river birch graces the front of their lawn, adding to the welcoming appearance of their country home. 

"We never imagined it would grow this tall," Ruth notes. 

Perennials and annuals planted under that tree provide an ever-changing seasonal color palette. The Reddings are fond of hostas, oakleaf hydrangeas, pampas grass and Mexican feather grass. They also grow a variety of perennials, and David, who was twice chairman of the Muskogee Area Master Gardeners, judiciously saves those cuttings for the Muskogee MG's periodic plant sales.

No area of the garden is left void of plantings. A rock path is interspersed with mondo grass. Well-nurtured houseplants live outside on the porch in spring, summer and early fall. On the home's west side, a tall Taylor juniper complements an east side twin. On the back patio, hanging baskets add seasonal color to the seating area, so perfect for outdoor patio entertaining. A circular fire pit and ample seating invite this style of entertaining. Giant sunflowers line the back fence. In this yard, birds need no formal invitation to dinner.

The Reddings are inveterate vegetable growers. Each season's bounty includes okra, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, garlic, eggplant, green beans and sweet potatoes. They also love experimenting with new growing techniques.

David sees gardening as "a grand adventure and a great hobby. It's a trial and error experiment. If something grows, that's great. If not, I just persevere and keep gardening."

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