It’s likely that you’ve never accidentally driven past the Tulsa Botanic Garden. It’s in an area in far northwest Tulsa on a huge, undeveloped plot of land. While the gardens are currently home to several attractions, the future holds even more promise for this land.
During my recent visit, my husband, sister, and I enjoyed exploring the A.R. and MaryLouise Tandy Floral Terraces. Over 3 acres large, the terraces display over 8,000 permanent plants including trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, roses and perennials on a hillside that offers views of downtown Tulsa from its peak.
A prominent feature of the Floral Terraces is the Garden Cascade, a six-foot wide central water runnel emanating from the top of the hillside and flowing down into the lake. Seasonal color display beds surround the water channel from top to bottom and provide vivid swaths of color from spring bulbs, summer tropical plants or winter annuals. Over 100,000 bulbs were planted for spring 2016 – making it one of the largest garden bulb displays in the region.
Art Deco details throughout the garden reflect Tulsa’s rich architectural history. We enjoyed sitting under a covered area that definitely had some art deco flair. While most of the tulips were droopy by the time we visited in late April, there were still plenty of lovely flowers and plants to enjoy.
Next we headed over to the Cross Timbers Trail, a 1-mile walk across 110 acres. The Cross Timbers Trail features tallgrass prairies from the west intersecting with eastern deciduous forests. The convergence of these two habitats offers an abundance of life and diversity. Each season offers something different: wildflowers, migrating birds, butterflies, changing leaves and majestic grasses. On our walk, we saw plenty of wildflowers, a snake, cool rock formations, and more.
The future of the Botanic Garden is bright. Later this month, on May 15, the Children’s Discovery Garden will open. We got a sneak peak of this as we walked past it, and it looks awesome! The focal point of the garden will be the Stream Valley, with the water source emanating from the Spring Giant, a 15’ rugged stone face entered through a hidden grotto. The Stream Valley will include fountains of spitting animals, an art wall where kids can paint with water, and the Willow Thicket. It will definitely be worth going back to visit this new facet of the Garden after our little guy joins our family 🙂
Also in the Garden’s future is the Lotus Pool and All Seasons Garden. The Lotus Pool will provide an exceptional experience in the Garden overlooking the northeastern circular portion of the lake. A new bridge will be built to allow visitors a short walk around the water’s edge with multiple vistas to enjoy the blossoms of aquatic lilies and lotus. Iris and other water-loving plants will offer resting sites for darting dragonflies.
The All Seasons Garden will encircle the Lotus Pool and display plants offering striking and unique seasonal interests. From winter to summer, spring to fall, this garden will constantly be alive with color, texture and form.
The Tulsa Botanic Garden is a great addition to Tulsa, and I look forward to many more visits to it in the years to come!