The Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory reopened in April, an opening that coincided with the 2011 Festival of the Arts, says Allan Storjohann, Myriad Botanical Gardens manager.
There is a lot more for visitors to see and do while visiting the gardens, explains Storjohann.
“Likely the thing that people will notice the most is the overall openness of the space,” says Storjohann. “While several hills are still in place, there are more open areas, and the walkways are more direct with gentle, tucked-in, quiet spaces.”
The hills have been transformed into open spaces for concerts and other outdoor events. A children’s garden will feature bio ponds, a hedge labyrinth and other elements. Canine visitors can enjoy some off-leash time in the dog run area. State-of-the-art water features, sculptural art and nature elements are located throughout the gardens.
The Crystal Bridge has been restored to its namesake with all-new acrylic panels for a “clear” appearance and a spectacular new LED lighting system bringing color and life to nighttime events. A new entry has also been added to the south end of the Crystal Bridge.
“The children’s garden and new visitors’ center are still a few months away,” remarks Storjohann. “Later in the year, we’ll have a restaurant and an outdoor plaza that will convert to an ice skating rink.
Work began more than a year ago to renovate the Gardens, right after the closing of the Festival of the Arts in 2010.
“Within 24 hours, we had demolition trucks moved onto the property,” Storjohann says.
The newly renovated Gardens will offer a more integrated and interactive experience for visitors and serve as a community gathering space for arts, entertainment, culture and botanical education.
“The entire concept harmonizes art with nature,” says Storjohann.
The renovations were funded two ways: through a voter-approved general obligation bond and the City’s Project180 downtown improvement initiative.
For a sneak peek, visit the city’s Project180 photo page at www.flickr.com.
Oklahoma’s Great Gardens
Spring brings lush life to Oklahoma’s countryside and also to several gardens around the state that are open to the public.
• Tulsa Garden Center/Linnaeus Gardens. Located in Woodward Park, Tulsa Garden Center resides in an historic building housing an estimable library on grounds featuring scores of plant and flower species. Beautiful Linnaeus Gardens is a demonstration/teaching garden and source of inspiration and education for the entire community. www.tulsagardencenter.com
• Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden. Just seven minutes northwest of downtown Tulsa, the still-developing Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden permits visitors the chance to view the natural beauty of the Osage Hills, enjoy wildlife trails and see 300 ornamental and shade trees. www.ocbg.org
• Oklahoma State University Botanical Garden. The headquarters garden for Oklahoma Botanical Garden & Arboretum is composed of 100 acres just west of the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. It includes the Oklahoma Gardening studio set, the turf and nursery research centers and Centennial Grove. The Headquarters Garden feature more than 1,000 species of herbaceous and woody plants. www.osubotanicalgarden.okstate.edu/
• Lendonwood Gardens. Lendonwood Gardens is a six-acre botanical garden near Grand Lake. Visitors can explore verdant pathways that meander through more than 1,200 different types of plants, including the largest collection of rhododendrons in the Southwest, 500 varieties of daylilies and 25 varieties of dogwoods. Six distinct gardens have their own themes and atmospheres. www.lendonwood.com