NORMAN — A blustery, gray day didn’t mute enthusiasm for the first Saturday of the spring season April 12 at the Cleveland County Master Gardeners demo gardens and the Norman Farm Market.
It started with a cedar ceremony blessing the developing Native American Medicinal Garden that’s rising in a dream catcher, circular shape with a rock bubbler as its centerpiece.
“The circle symbolizes the four seasons,” said former Seminole Chief Enoch Kelly Haney, of Norman, a former state senator and well-known sculptor. “And I think you have all of them today.”
Haney initiated the ceremony holding feathers high, looking out from the north, south, east and west sides of the garden.
He introduced Kiowa elder Harold Barse, of Norman, who performed the cedar ceremony blessing the progress and development of the new garden, wafting cedar smoke from an abalone shell toward the garden using a beaded fan of feathers.
Barse then performed individual blessings for the couple of dozen Master Gardeners and staff on hand for the opening.
About $11,000 in funds are being raised for the completion of the garden, with about $3,000 in in-kind and monetary donations so far. Phase 1 has been completed, with most of the structure installed.
“It’s such an important project to be able to educate the public about our Native American history,” said Kathy Whittle, chair of the Native American Garden project.
The Native American Medicinal Garden was designed by Shelly Martin, who was an Oklahoma State University landscape architecture major at the time and now works as a landscape designer for TLC Garden Center.
NAMG is a project of the Cleveland County Master Gardeners Association, which donates thousands of volunteer hours weeding, watering and planting its demo garden each year. The CCMGA is sponsored by the Oklahoma State University Extension Program.
Other activities in the demo garden for the kick-off included the Master Gardener Plant Sale in the garden’s greenhouse, complete with 2-foot-tall tomato plants, many with blossoms and little tomatoes already on them.