This weekend, the Mr. and I were searching for a quiet spot to talk and unwind. Often, we head to the lovely Woodward Park for relaxing walks. On this particular visit, we were delighted that the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens were open for our perusal. Located behind the rose gardens at 2435 S. Peoria Ave., the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens are a gift to Northeastern Oklahoma — literally.
The gardens opened in 2006 as a result of donor contributions, the hard work of volunteers, and the donations of plants and landscaping features from industry sponsors. Over the last six years, the gardens have operated as a free, teaching center for the public. Much of the vision behind the gardens sprung from Tulsa Garden Center horticulturist, Barry Fugatt, who also writes the garden column for The Tulsa World.
The gardens were named in honor of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish naturalist and the father of botany. Tulsa sculptor Rosalind Cook created a six-foot tall bronze statue of Linnaeus, which stands in the entrance of the gardens.
The gardens are filled with educational exhibits, and volunteers are happy to help visitors learn. Parts of the garden actually demonstrate various techniques for growing vegetables, annuals, perennials and more. The gardens also host a compost/recycling station where visitors can learn environmentally friendly methods for dealing with garden waste.
Children are welcomed in the gardens, and a free story time is held every Thursday at 10 a.m.
I’m neither a gardener nor a child, but I love this place. It’s an incredibly relaxing place to go for a walk, write in your journal, or read a book. Devon and I enjoyed a earth-shattering, thought-provoking conversation on the veranda overlooking the Water Garden and imagined for about 30 minutes that we owned the whole place. There’s nothing wrong with letting your imagination run wild while you’re being inspired by nature.
If you’re the flower-tending type, you will flourish here (pun intended!). But even if your thumb is far from being green…like mine…you’ll still enjoy walking around, enjoying the trickling brooks and splashing fountains, colorful fish and tranquil lily pads, and the aroma of roses and the like.
There were a few plants that really surprised me. In the “Heirloom Veggie Garden,” we saw gourds that were bigger than my head. I’m serious. And I have a pretty big head. They looked like maybe they were aspiring to be watermelons but couldn’t really get the oval shape thing down. A gardener informed us that these are not just any old gourds, but they are African gourds. See, I learned something! Fun!
The Linnaeus Teaching Gardens are almost entirely run by volunteers. Volunteers go through a 12-week, 50 hour training program that teaches them how to maintain the gardens and share their skills and knowledge with the public. Pretty impressive! And what a beautiful place to invest your time! There are literally hundreds of volunteers who tend to the weekly upkeep of the garden and teach the public about the plants, so be sure to tap them for some horticultural wisdom.
If you haven’t visited the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens yet, you are missing out. It’s a completely free way to explore nature and relax! The gardens are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’ve visited the gardens, what is your favorite area?