Arboreta System Plays Vital Role in Landscape Architecture

By Harvey, Betty Jane | THE JOURNAL RECORD, April 22, 1994 | Go to article overview

Arboreta System Plays Vital Role in Landscape Architecture


Harvey, Betty Jane, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Blossoms on trees and green peaking through brown winter grass tempt many Oklahomans each year to unearth their tools and take on their gardens.

As the Oklahoma Botanical Gardens and Arboreta program develops, the organization offers educational programs and information to commercial and consumer sectors of the state. It also is involved in the marketing and promotion of horticulture and landscape architecture in Oklahoma.

Its spring garden show was Saturday afternoon, and it has other educational programs planned at its affiliate gardens.

In April 1991, the Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum Bill was signed into law and officially took effect Sept. 1, 1991.

"Oklahoma is one of only two states that has a statewide arboretum system," said Dr. Dale Maronek, Oklahoma State University Horticulture and Landscape Architecture department head and state director of the botanical gardens and arboreta program. "The OBGA plays a vital role in the marketing and promotion of horticulture and landscape architecture in Oklahoma."

The system includes seven affiliate gardens, two of which are in the Oklahoma City area. Main garden for the system is called the Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory on 17 acres downtown and the Kirkpatrick Center Botanical Gardens and Conservatory each attract more than 100,000 visitors each year. In 1993, the Myriad Gardens had 114,000 visitors, while the Kirkpatrick Center had about 310,000. Admission to the Kirkpatrick Center gardens is through the museum complex.

Other gardens in the system are Honor Heights Park in Muskogee, a garden on the University of Tulsa campus, North Central Oklahoma Cactus Botanical Gardens and Conservatory in Covington, Cann Memorial Garden in Ponca City and Woolaroc Gardens in Bartlesville.

The main garden for Oklahoma is on 100 acres located west of the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. It includes the Oklahoma Gardening studio gardens, turf grass and nursery research centers and Centennial Grove.

The Oklahoma Botanical Gardens and Arboreta has individual members who receive a quarterly newletter, discounted admissions to affiliate gardens and a subscription to a horticulture magazine.

Benefits of having a statewide system, according to information on the program, include: An opportunity for the public to learn more about horticulture and landscape architecture. A mechanism for commercial industry to evaluate plant performance throughout the state and coordinate the compilation of plant records. Enhancement of the expertise of the educational programs of the statewide affiliate gardens and arboreta. Evaluation and recommendation of plants adapted to Oklahoma's climatic conditions, preservation of a gene pool of native and adapted plant species for research. Establishment of cooperative sites for dissemination of new plant introductions. Research and unification efforts toward environmental conservation.

In the turf grass research center, information is generated on adapted turf grasses for Oklahoma and how to grow the grasses successfully using mowing, fertilization and irrigation practices.

"The turf grass industry is primarily a maintenance industry that includes the care of commercial and public grounds, golf course management, athletic turf, grass air strips, lawns, highway road side and the production of turf grass seed and sod," according to the literature.

The turf grass research center covers 37 acres with 9 acres of irrigation and a 0.5-acre putting green. The nursery research program covers 60.5 acres and centers around water, which is used in large quantities in nursery plant production. …

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