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By Garden of Cross Timbers
Hello, I am Becky Carlberg, gardening enthusiast from Southeast Oklahoma. I have degrees in Biology from Eastern Oklahoma State College and Oklahoma State University. Teaching, research work, and competing in art shows then followed. I earned my ...
Gardens of Cross Timbers

Hello, I am Becky Carlberg, gardening enthusiast from Southeast Oklahoma. I have degrees in Biology from Eastern Oklahoma State College and Oklahoma State University. Teaching, research work, and competing in art shows then followed. I earned my Master’s Degree in Plant Pathology from OSU and continued graduate work on a Doctorate of Botany at the University of Oklahoma.

With my family, we twice had an opportunity to live in Europe. We were in England for five years and then later in Germany for seven years. It was an excellent education for our sons. I returned to gardening, writing and art, became a Master Gardener, as well as an Oklahoma certified Master Naturalist. I am the gardener in charge of the Shawnee Japanese Peace Garden, a member of the Deep Fork Audubon Society, and now call my five acre Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Oklahoma Wildscape outside Shawnee home.

My name is Linda Workman Smith. The first step of my gardening journey began in the hills northwest of Van Buren, Arkansas, where my parents—both from farming families—raised seven children.

This is not to say that I’ve always had a love for gardening although over the years I’ve managed to keep my hands in the dirt. In 2000, my husband’s employment brought us to Shawnee where we settled on two acres west of town. Being unemployed for the first time in many years—and planning to stay that way—I started gardening on a small scale.

I have been a member of the Multi-County Master Gardener Association for several years and thoroughly enjoy being in the organization. I now have many flower beds and I’ve expanded my gardens to include lots of vegetable varieties, several fruit trees, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes. Every year I try to plant something different. I don’t grow a lot of any one thing, but a little bit of lots of things!

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By Garden of Cross Timbers
June 10, 2013 10:26 p.m.

10 June 2013 Blog
Becky Emerson Carlberg
The day started in a rush. Pack a few things for the overnight stay in Tulsa, stow away the small package of cookies for son, grab a hat, sunglasses and sunblock plus some snacks, and feed the cats and birds. It was warm and humid morning, accompanied by a good breeze.
Halfway up the Turner Turnpike the northbound traffic came to a grinding halt. We waited well over 20 minutes before cars and trucks began creeping along….past a totally burned out Subaru WRX. The passengers were standing some distance away from the smoldering car, looks of disbelief in their eyes. Not good.
We reached our destination: The Tulsa County OSU Extension Center. One car was parked in the lot. Was this the right weekend for the Tulsa Master Gardener Tour? Walking past some lovely plants of the Demo garden, I climbed the steps to find the building locked and the front and back of two garden tour pamphlets taped to the glass doors. All five gardens were listed, along with illustrated directions to each one. This was a first. Usually a table is set up outside with Master Gardeners selling pamphlet/tickets to the gardens and the building is open.
Trying to decide which garden to visit, the phone rang with a concerned relative inquiring about the health of our son. They had just read about the Friday night Tulsa Tough bike races, and some major wrecks had happened and two people were hospitalized in critical condition. We had not been able to rouse our son on his cell phone all morning. Panic set in. In route to the Vintage garden, he called. He was fine, had done well in Friday night’s race, was going out for a Barbeque lunch and was looking forward to tonight’s race. Whew.
The Vintage Garden, where we bought our pamphlets, featured a rabbit barrier—fence to ground—and loads of veggie plants at the south side of the house. Threaded throughout the plant bases were small hoses with emitters overlaid with a thick layer of pine bark mulch. The entire garden was a border garden, with rock, stepping stones and gravel winding around the borders of the yard. Mature red buds spread out their branches at various places.
We then traveled to the Food Court Garden. The front oval garden was planted with elephant garlic and veggies. You entered the back yard garden through a grape arbor with small crystals suspended from strips of wood above your head. Substantial support cages housed tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other edibles. The gardeners like to use Mel’s Mix. Mel Bartholomew is the author of Square-Foot Gardening and the mix is a blend of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite and different composts. In one corner was tucked a chicken coop with several Buff Orpingtons, plump golden orange chickens with red combs. Tulsa allows homeowners to have up to 6 chickens.
The Family Garden had a Photinia hedge at the back, small recirculating waterfall with goldfish pond in the backyard corner, and a pleasing stand of Milk and Wine Lilies in all their deep pink and white striped trumpet flower glory.
The owners of the Welcoming Garden label their garden “Planned Random”. While entering the backyard, you quietly walked past the Fairy garden, complete with a little house, inhabitants and plants. Hollies, peonies, bee balm, variegated Solomon Seal and Penstemon (Beard Tongue) are highlights of the garden. In the center is a giant River Birch, casting a cool shadow over the middle of the back yard. Colorful patio furniture and statuary bought interest to other areas.
The last garden, Cottage Garden, was the one furthest away in a neighborhood established in hilly woods with sprawling large, well-maintained homes. An owl or hawk nest was high above in one of the oaks. A very well cared-for bright green fescue lawn covered the land under all the trees.
We did it. We completed the garden tour, located our son at his nighttime bike race, and watched as he completed his second race. After the Pro-Cat 1 races finished, fireworks went off from inside the baseball park. The Tulsa Drillers beat the Springfield Cardinals 3-0. A cool finish for both a ballgame and day of bike racing in the Brady District in Tulsa.
Sunday was the last day of the St. Francis Tulsa Tough bicycle races, and this leg was held along the Arkansas River. Vendors were set up along the bike and walking paths, our son was riding again with his Sound Pony team as well as dozens of other competitors, and the sun was hot. Crybaby Hill was beyond full with spectators crammed in cheek and jowl at the top. I am happy to report our son finished all three criterium races, the first time ever. It takes gumption to complete circular repetitive hour or more long races accompanied by the endless sounds of clanging bicycles as their riders jostle for positions, stadium horns blaring, people yelling and the endless banter of the announcers interspersed with loud music.
Touring gardens is much more peaceful and quiet.

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