Work on the first of several gardens planned for the long-anticipated Tulsa Botanic Garden is set to begin this month. The construction moves ahead following a successful first phase of fundraising to see the long-term project to completion.
“We’ve been working quietly and behind the scenes for the prep work,” says Lori Hutson, communications and programs director for the Tulsa Botanic Garden.
The organization is 14 months into a three-year fundraising campaign to bring in $17 million. Already, the campaign has brought in $10 million, which will fund work on the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces, a four-acre garden of ornamental plants; the Children’s Discovery Garden, a learning garden for families; the lotus pool, which will feature assorted water plants; and the All-Seasons Garden, which will include plants with year-round appeal.[pullquote]“It’s the same project, it’s just evolved,” she says. “We changed our name last year from Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden to Tulsa Botanic Garden, and that was really just to make it easier to represent who we are and what we are.”[/pullquote]
The developing Tulsa Botanic Garden sits on a portion of 170 acres of donated land in the Osage Hills northwest of downtown Tulsa. The project first saw widespread attention as the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, which was awarded $2.2 million by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission in 2006. Coupled with a $1 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration received in 2010, the funding has covered much of the cost for necessary infrastructure – including a road and extension of city utility services. The money was also used to pay for construction of the seven-acre lake anchoring the gardens along with an operations facility.
Since the master plan was revealed in 2012, several updates have been made, including tying all the tended gardens around the lake, which will allow about 100 acres of natural growth and untouched cross timbers in the garden to be more contiguous, Hutson says.
“It’s the same project, it’s just evolved,” she says. “We changed our name last year from Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden to Tulsa Botanic Garden, and that was really just to make it easier to represent who we are and what we are.”
Groundbreaking on the floral terraces is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. Officials anticipate that feature to open in the fall of 2015. Work on the Children’s Discovery Garden is anticipated to begin next spring, while construction for the lotus pond and adjacent all-seasons garden should begin in 2016. The entire project is on a 25-year plan for completion. For more about the Tulsa Botanic Garden or to visit it, go to www.tulsabotanic.org.