The leaves are changing and the temperature is lowering, but the work at Oklahoma’s botanical gardens doesn’t end in the fall. In fact, it’s just the beginning of another season of activities and programs.
Tulsa Botanic Garden
The Tulsa Botanic Garden does limit the daytime hours for the colder season. However, you can still plan a visit, says Lori Hutson, Tulsa Botanic Garden’s director of communications and outreach. The changing of the seasons brings new features: fall colors, peeling bark, interesting tree branching, berries and seeds, and the evergreens.
“Many of the plants are dormant, but there is still a lot happening and a lot to see,” says Hutson. “Our horticulture staff have planted hundreds of pansies, violas, stock and other annuals to provide bright blooms over winter. It’s also a great time to come out for ideas and inspiration for your own yard.”
The garden offers a mile and a half of nature trails that wind through native tallgrass prairie and the Cross Timbers forest, excellent for bird-watching.
Activities abound. See the annual Botanic Garden of Lights beginning Nov. 26 through New Year’s Day. You can even bring your pup on select days during the Dog Days of Winter, or attend the Full Moon Hikes or Astronomy Nights.
Guests can stroll through the Children’s Discovery Garden and Tandy Floral Terraces, illuminated with colorful lights, or make s’mores over fire pits and listen to holiday music. Check out the Tulsa Botanic Garden website for a detailed schedule.
Hutson says one particular event you shouldn’t miss is the Beaujolais et Lumière on Nov. 19. The fundraising dinner celebrates the release of the 2021 Beaujolais Nouveau wines (released in France each year on the third Thursday of November). Attendees can partake in a French bistro evening with a dinner prepared by Summit Club executive chef Bill Lyle.
Look for new garden project announcements in the coming months at tulsabotanic.org.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
The Myriad Botanical Gardens in OKC has more to offer than just pretty flora. While the Crystal Bridge Conservatory may be under construction, there’s still plenty to do. From free yoga sessions and educational programs to the children’s garden, Mo’s Carousel and holiday fun, the winter months shouldn’t keep you away.
“It’s still lovely to walk the grounds, even on the chilly days … and then with all the holiday lights and the ice rink, it’s a fun place to be,” says Maureen Heffernan, president and CEO of Myriad Gardens Foundation.
The annual “Tree for All” sale takes place in early November. Not only does it promote a biodiverse landscape, but it also makes trees accessible to everyone.
“We have different varieties of young trees that grow well in Oklahoma, and we sell them at a very low cost,” says Heffernan. “It makes trees affordable so more people can plant them at their homes, or in communities and schools.”
Guests can attend one or all adult workshops such as “Putting Your Garden to Bed” on Nov. 19 or “Holiday Workshop: Evergreen Wreaths” on Dec. 4. Be sure to check out Reading Wednesdays with the kids, and look for the Oklahoma Gardening School to return in March 2022.
From art exhibits and workshops to outdoor season foliage and activities like the ice skating rink, you’re sure to find something to do at the Myriad Botanical Gardens this winter. Be sure to visit myriadgardens.org for more information.
Heffernan says to expect some significant changes and upgrades to the gardens over the next year. Along with the newly renovated conservatory and an updated south garden entrance, a museum-quality gift shop will soon be available to visitors. Crystal Bridge will be open to the public in late 2022.
“It’s going to be a dramatic, transformative upgrade,” says Heffernan. “We’re ready for some big changes … it will be really nice.”