Join me for a spring walk through a lovely garden. And I know the perfect location: the Linnaeus Teaching Garden in Woodward Park. The garden oozes with charm, and it’s filled with thousands of gorgeous plants, many of which are perfectly suited for the home landscape.

From 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27, and again May 4, I will lead tours through the Linnaeus Teaching Garden that spotlight many of my favorite shrubs and perennials for Tulsa-area gardens. During the walk, I’ll point out shrubs like Blue Shadow Fothergilla, a mid-sized shrub that covers its delicate gray branches with hundreds of white spring flowers. Sweetly scented flowers are quickly followed by beautiful blue-gray summer foliage. This underutilized shrub has one more surprise in store: brilliant shades of red and orange autumn foliage.

Tiger Eye Sumac is another great shrub we’ll check out during the tour. Its fine-textured, chartreuse foliage is as lovely as that of any Japanese maple. And unlike many Japanese maples, Tiger Eye Sumac is tough as nails. It thrives in our hot and dry summer weather. The chartreuse foliage of this easy-to-grow shrub definitely lights up a garden.

Observing plants in a nursery setting is enjoyable and worthwhile. Seeing the same plants creatively used in a garden setting is doubly worthwhile. During the Linnaeus Garden tours, I will discuss the growing requirements of selected shrubs, along with each shrub’s many landscape design applications.

Enroll for either walking tour online at tulsagardencenter.org. Each tour covers the same plant materials and is limited to 25 participants. Cost is $5, and pre-enrollment is required.

Bountiful Blue Blueberry is another overlooked shrub for Tulsa-area landscapes. Industry giant Monrovia Wholesale Nursery in California (where I began my horticulture career many years ago) released this fabulous new blueberry. The specimen in the Linnaeus Teaching Garden is literally covered with tiny berries that will ripen in mid-June.

Bountiful Blue is more than a great berry producer. It’s also a great plant for tucking into mixed shrub borders, entry gardens and large patio containers. Its shape is much more rounded and compact than blueberry varieties from past generations. Bountiful Blue typically reaches a height and spread of only 3 to 4 feet, a perfect size for many landscape applications. Also, its blue-green summer foliage and bright red fall foliage are quite lovely.

Blueberries often get a bum rap for being difficult to grow. That’s only partly true, however. When blueberry varieties like Bountiful Blue are given the right growing conditions, they perform beautifully for many years. Gardeners who can successfully grow azaleas, can grow blueberries. Both species are ericaceous (acid-loving) plants that thrive in well-drained, acidic soil. Thoroughly mix generous amounts (4 to 6 inches) of peat moss or rich compost into the top foot of soil when planting blueberries. Mulch them with 3 to 4 inches of shredded bark and keep them regularly watered during dry stretches of summer and fall. Easy-peasy!


Barry Fugatt is director of horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center and Linnaeus Teaching Garden. He may be reached by phone: 918-576-5152 or email: bfugatt@tulsagardencenter.org