Stillwater News Press

OSU Update

June 13, 2011

Botanic Garden event will showcase new entrance

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State University’s Botanic Garden was abuzz last week with workers and volunteers mulching, dead-heading and otherwise tidying up for the guests they expect this weekend.

The garden is holding its annual Gardenfest Saturday. The event includes guest speakers, information booths and demonstrations, as well as activities for children.

Included among the events will be a guest lecture from Tres Fromme, a landscape architect at the Dallas-based firm Studio Outside. Fromme led planning and design at Longwood Gardens, a 1,077-acre garden complex in Kennett Square, Pa. Fromme will discuss the ways communities benefit from public gardens.

This year’s Gardenfest holds a special significance, said volunteer coordinator Laura Payne. The event also marks the grand opening of the garden’s new entrance on West Sixth Avenue. Before the entrance was built, garden visitors could enter only by a more remote gate on Virginia Avenue. Payne said she hopes the new entrance will pique visitors’ interest and make the garden more eye-catching to passersby.

“Without that entrance off the highway, we really weren’t visible to people,” she said.

The opening of the entrance represents one of the major steps in the implementation of the garden’s master plan. OSU’s department of horticulture and landscape architecture created the plan as a roadmap for development of the garden over the next 20 years.

Even as the garden’s new entrance opens to the public, efforts to complete other projects in the master plan are already under way at the garden, said Dale Maronek, head of the horticulture and landscape architecture department.

A big part of completing those projects is raising the money to do so, Maronek said. Because the master plan is designed to be implemented in stages, he said, the department doesn’t have to raise funding all at once.

“There will always be something new to see at the garden as we secure funds to complete various segments of the garden,” he said. “We have both large and small projects ranging from $25,000 up to several million dollars or more.”

Among the projects included in the plan are a new environmental education center and the development of specialty gardens. Funds raised during the campaign will also go toward student internships, scholarships and youth summer camps, as well as Oklahoma Gardening, a television program based at the garden. The program airs on OETA.

Guest lecturers will be on hand at Saturday’s event to explain several of the garden’s displays, Payne said. Also included will be a cooking and canning demonstration by extension food specialist Barbara Brown, and a variety of hands-on children’s activities led by garden volunteers.

Payne urged Stillwater residents to come to the garden for the event. Although the garden has long been called “Stillwater’s best-kept secret,” Payne said it offers plenty to anyone who takes the time to visit.

“If you don’t, you won’t see what you’ve been missing,” she said.

Gardenfest begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, with events throughout the day. Admission is free, and donations will be collected at the door. The suggested donation is $5 per person or $10 per family.

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