How does a garden begin? Unless you grow up in an agricultural-oriented family, it’s possible gardening is as daunting as a foreign language. Having embellished gardens at homes in Stillwater, Tulsa and Oklahoma City before returning to my family roots in Muskogee, I usually inherited established gardens whenever I signed the purchase line for a new home.
Not so for this home. There was the lone green apple tree in the back lawn and the cherry laurel tree — a thank you gift from the Realtor. There was also very little grass in the expansive back lawn, courtesy of so many aged trees lining both sides of the back fence. What to do?
I immediately signed up for the Master Gardener class, hosted by Oklahoma State University’s Extension Service. It was an easy sign up. I worked my way through the University of Missouri as a secretary for the MU extension service. I’m forever indebted to that national program.
I’ve also learned to attend as many neighborhood plant sales as possible, on either side of town. My first one here in Muskogee was sponsored by the Master Gardeners and was held at the Grant Foreman Home on West Okmulgee. The ivy plant I paid 75 cents for is now quite mature and is thriving (overtaking) my patio. I also learned people love to talk about their gardens — the successes and the mishaps.
Those plant sales, now sometimes held at The Papilion in Honor Heights Park, feature the best successes of MG members. Next on the plant sale agenda is one at Connors State College on the Warner campus — not too far to drive. The fall sale actually began 18 years ago, stopped for a while and restarted in 2002. This year’s sale continues through Oct. 2 from 10 a.m.-6 pm. weekdays and 9 a.m.to noon Saturdays.
Connors’ horticultural students have access to several greenhouses, currently housing cool season crops — mums, pansies, tropical trees. Connors’ spring/fall plant sales give students an opportunity to show their emerging garden talents. What is also notable about the program is its attraction for older adults who want to learn more about how to care for their gardens. Proving, we are never too old to learn new ways to nurture our gardens.