Take in refreshing floral arrangements and decorative greenery when rain showers yield to springtime flowers. Travel to a lesser known Oklahoma garden or arboretum for a peaceful afternoon spent with nature.
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As winter weather melts away, sunshine and warm temperatures give life to breathtaking flowers, standout shrubs and blooming trees. Venture over to an Oklahoma arboretum or garden to take in picturesque landscapes dotted with a wide assortment of colors. Discover gorgeous greenery at less conventional locations across Oklahoma, from museum grounds to horticulture centers tucked away on college campuses.
Take a scenic stroll through Will Rogers Gardens, a hidden gem within the northern section of Will Rogers Park. At this Oklahoma City cluster of gardens, follow the clear-cut paths leading to tons of eye-catching roses, irises, azaleas, daylilies and peonies. In the Ed Lycan Conservatory, you can snap photos of several cactus and succulent varieties cultivated within the greenhouse. You can find more traditional flower favorites at the Charles E. Sparks Rose Garden, brimming with more than 85 types of roses that can stand up to the Oklahoma heat. If you’re more of a tree-lover, head instead to the Margaret Annis Boys Arboretum to trek through 10 acres of towering trees. Plant lovers of all types can also catch a gardening class, nature camp or special event like the annual Cactus & Succulent Show & Sale at the Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center.
Explore nearly 32 acres of land and waterscapes covered in diverse species of trees at Jo Allyn Lowe Park. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy beneath the shade of your favorite tree before hitting the walking trails winding through the tallgrass prairie terrain of this Bartlesville park. Follow the trails to the arboretum, where you can take a look at trees that patrons have planted in memory of loved ones, and along the way, be sure to take a seat on one of the park benches to enjoy the wildflowers sprouting nearby.
Wander through the lush greenery and countless flower beds at the Tulsa Botanic Garden. Spend an afternoon in this Tulsa garden studying exotic plants along the surrounding lake. Travel along the Lakeside Promenade to reach the A.R. & Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces which contains 8,000 types of trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, roses and perennials. You can even watch as calming waters trickle down the Garden Cascade within the terraces. After climbing to the top of the terraces, be sure to head down the one-mile Cross Timbers Trail awaiting you behind the black metal gate before darting back downstairs to continue exploring the rest of the garden landscape.
Head to the John E. Kirkpatrick Horticulture Center in Oklahoma City to view a vast collection of thriving gardens and trees in the arboretum. Here, you’re sure to discover new types of flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs within the OSU-OKC campus. Spend some time appreciating the pink flowers, strawberries and ornamental grasses planted in the memorial Path of Life Garden planted in honor of breast cancer victims. You can also take a peek at the Community Garden filled with vegetables and the Butterfly Garden, which houses an herb garden that draws many beautiful butterflies. The horticulture center also includes a garden that caters to those with limited sight; The Sensational Garden consists of varying plant textures, natural soundscapes and fragrances from plants like peppermint, lavender and rosemary. Before you leave, be sure to play a round of golf on the Turfgrass Management Training Center or purchase fresh food at the OSU-OKC Farmers Market, held each Saturday.
Stroll through the Lester & Mary Cann Memorial Botanical Gardens next time you take a trip to Ponca City. This botanical garden features a pathway that winds through pretty perennials, fragrant herbs and other colorful flowers, as well as a wisteria arbor and lily pond. Besides flowers, you can also spot more than 70 species of trees taking root at this 10-acre garden. The Lester & Mary Cann Memorial Botanical Gardens also hosts the annual Ponca City Herb Festival, the perfect place to find organic plants, herbal vinegars and gardening tips.
Meander along the walking trails at the Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater until you reach one of the many gorgeous gardens. Concealed within the Oklahoma State University campus, this lovely destination features display gardens you may recognize from scenes shot on “Oklahoma Gardening” television. You can relax in the serene Japanese Garden and feel at ease among water lilies floating in the Water Garden. Wildlife lovers may also enjoy the Tri-B Garden, featuring goldfinches snacking on sunflowers, hummingbirds sipping on sage and butterflies landing on herbs. This extensive botanic garden even provides a chance for kids to engage their curiosity about bugs and worms in the Children’s Garden. From the Orchard and Rock Garden to the Shade Perennial Garden and Hosta Walk, you’re sure to find a new favorite plant by the time you finish touring through the Botanic Garden.
Relax at Satsuki Garden, an unassuming Japanese garden full of soothing sights and sounds hidden away in Grove. Tucked away behind some local businesses, this one-half acre garden is bursting with beauty. Appreciate the mini waterfalls cascading into the larger pond below, and watch the koi swim around in the clear pond waters. Cross the bridge and take a seat on the deck as you meditate or take a few minutes to rejuvenate. Trek to Grove in spring, and catch sights of azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom at this Japanese garden designed by the same person who brought the famous Lendonwood Gardens to fruition.
Visit the landscaped lawns of The Bivin Garden in Shidler, and delve into six acres full of floral beauty. Take a look at the planted beds and hundreds of trees flourishing on the property of designers Ray and Mollie Bivin. Visit the rock gardens with African and South American decorative rocks, and appreciate the fountains and ornamental ponds embellishing the grounds. While you wander, see if you can catch a glimpse of a peacock displaying its eye-popping feathers. Come enjoy the vivid buds and blooms featured at The Bivin Garden in the spring while the flowers are thriving.
Tour McAlester Arboretum to see the vast collection of redbuds, oaks, cypresses and other tree species prospering at this McAlester park. Compare and contrast the pink blossoms of the Chinese Redbud with the deep purple Merlot Redbud or the white-spotted White Water Redbud. As you walk through the 1-mile track full of flowers and trees, be on the lookout for unique varieties like the Rising Sun Redbud, with leaves that transition in a gradient pattern; the tangerine leaves in the front give way to yellow leaves in the middle, which stand out among the green leaves in the back. At the McAlester Arboretum, you can also take a peek at new species of seeds and plants that haven’t yet made it to nurseries around the country.
Check out Washington Irving Park & Arboretum for 32.5 acres full of floral arrangements and lush tree leaves. The Laci Dawn Hill Butterfly Garden features multicolored butterflies resting on vibrant budding blooms, while the arboretum highlights sky-high trees. Along your walk through the park, as you enjoy the colorful garden and arboretum, take a moment to experience the Murrah memorial and the piece of the World Trade Center Twin Towers resting within the park. You may also spot a statue of namesake Washington Irving resting on a replica of his porch hidden among all the trees, flowers and shrubs.
Pay a visit to the Aaholiitobli’ Honor Garden at Sulphur’s Chickasaw Cultural Center. Study the numerous native plants growing at this museum while also observing the stunning stone architecture. As you trek along the spiral pathways, be sure to take a look at the splendid shrubs decorating the wall, which honors Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame inductees. You can also take a look at the flowers in the Aaholiitobli’ Honor Garden from another angle when you take a seat at the Water Pavilion and feed the fish in the landscaped pond as you listen to the tranquil sounds of the fountain.
Next time you plan a vineyard trip or book an event at Indian Creek Village Winery & Village Inn, be sure to stop by the landscaped lawns of this Ringwood winery. Sip on a glass of red or white wine as you tour through beautiful winding vines. If you’ve booked a stay at this inn and winery, relax at the pool while admiring the manicured lawns full of lilac flowers, green shrubs and a calming pond. You can even walk along the rock pathways until you stumble across the rock waterfall surrounded by tons of greenery.
Drive over to Sunshine Farm & Nursery to see a wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers that have the potential to thrive in Oklahoma’s temperamental climate. Learn tricks of the trade while fawning over the mix of native Oklahoma plants and Chinese and Tibetian species growing on this Clinton farm. Get up close and personal with small Old Man Gray Beard trees, Manhattan Euonymus hedges or Prairie Sunshine Desert Daisies at this nursery. Once you’ve set your sights on a particular flower, shrub or tree, simply ask owner Steve Bieberich for gardening tips to ensure your new plant blossoms once you take it home.
Step into the serene landscape of the Puterbaugh Center in McAlester. Climb the sturdy rock steps down into the backyard of the historic Puterbaugh House and walk along the rocky trails leading up to redbud trees and azaleas in full bloom. For maximum enjoyment, be sure to pack a picnic lunch and your camera, take a seat on the expansive green lawn with picnic foods in hand, and start snapping photos of the gorgeous surroundings. Once you scale back up the rock steps to the bluff-like top, enjoy the full view of the gardens from above.