Stillwater News Press


February 11, 2012

The Botanic Garden at OSU 02-12-12

Recently, Botanic Garden Ambassadors met for the first monthly business meeting of the year. I was delighted to see so many smiling faces. Everyone is very eager to get started on another season of gardening.

Ambassadors are volunteers who devote their time and talents in helping The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University beautify the gardens, connect with the Stillwater community and educate visitors.

The program was developed in 1993 by Steve Dobbs, former host of “Oklahoma Gardening” and the current grounds manager at Oklahoma State University. Since its inception, the Ambassador program has evolved to meet the growing needs of The Botanic Garden at OSU. Without the assistance of our Ambassadors we could not accomplish the many tasks that are required to maintain Stillwater’s Best Kept Secret.

To become an Ambassador, a person must complete orientation training. Orientation will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, March through October, in the education building at The Botanic Garden. A few areas of interest that one could volunteer are planting, pruning, weeding, harvesting, greenhouse work, special events, office assistance, community presentations, photography and garden development.

Many of our Ambassadors choose to broaden their knowledge in horticulture and become an Advanced Ambassador. An Advanced Ambassador is a volunteer who has completed a 40-hour training program that is held once a year and is equivalent to the Master Gardener training. If you would like more information about the Ambassador programs for The Botanic Garden at OSU, please contact me at or call (405) 744-4531.

On another note, one of my favorite plants for this time of year is the hellebore, commonly called the Lenten rose or Christmas rose. This delightful shade plant, which is in the family Ranunculaceae, starts showing its flowers around December or January and will bloom for several months.

There are numerous new cultivars of hellebores. Some have a dark purple flower, and others have a light cream or almost white flower. Once established, hellebores are fairly drought tolerant. If you’re not familiar with this plant, I hope you come out to the garden and check out our collection of hellebores.

Laura Payne is volunteer/education coordinator for The Botanic Garden at OSU.

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