Do you have a passion for gardening? Do you pore over gardening catalogs, stop by the local nursery every chance you get and often visit the farmer’s market in hope of finding a new plant you can’t live without?
If you have said yes to any of these questions, you are in a unique category of passionate people, and here is a suggestion for expanding your gardening knowledge and experience.
Why not sign up for the next local Master Gardener class? Applications are available now, and classes begin in August. To learn more, contact Courtney Dekalb-Myers at the Cleveland County Extension Office at 405-321-4774.
If you join a Master Gardener class, there is an added benefit besides learning all about gardening, beneficial insects, trees, soil and grasses. It is the Demonstration Garden developed and maintained by the Cleveland County Master Gardeners.
Located adjacent to the parking lot west of the Extension Office at the County Fairgrounds, these demonstration garden beds were created as a service to the public. Here you can find all sorts of examples and ideas on what you can do with your landscape.
While the gardens are not open to the public right now, as a Master Gardener trainee, you will have access to this treasure. You can work side by side with experienced Master Gardeners who can answer all your questions and show you proper gardening techniques, and they may even share plants and seeds with you.
Do you love growing vegetables but don’t have a lot of room? The demo gardens have a Square Foot Vegetable garden which shows you the vast amount and varieties of vegetables you can grow in a very small space.
The bed is marked off in square feet (literally), and in it you will find everything from peppers, to tomatoes, to squash to potatoes. There are several varieties of onions, some cabbage and even peanuts. The garden is producing vegetables now, and each week the harvest is provided to the local food bank.
Or maybe you find it challenging to grow plants in Oklahoma because of our unusual and unique weather.
In the demo garden are two beds that will interest you: The Oklahoma Proven bed and the bed of native plants.
Oklahoma Proven plants are those developed by a group of horticulture specialists, nursery owners and other experts in the field grown specifically to do well here in our state. There are shrubs, annuals, perennials and even trees flourishing here, and they prove that you can have a beautiful landscape of interesting plants even here in Oklahoma.
If you prefer raised beds, you will find several examples of these around different themes. There is a fairy garden, particularly popular with children, as well as a salsa garden.
There is also a xeriscape garden, one designed to do well with minimum irrigation. Xeriscape plants include red yucca and desert willow, as well as several varieties of other flowering plants.
If you are interested in organic gardening, then you should visit the organic vegetable bed and talk to the caretakers. They are harvesting lettuce, squash, tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables, all grown without harmful additives. This produce is also given to the local food bank.
You can also see garden beds along various themes, like the breast cancer awareness bed populated with only pink plants.
You might enjoy the Veteran’s Honor Bed, which is planted in sections of red, white and blue flowers. There is also a Native American Medicinal garden, which contains plants used by Native Americans; this bed is in the shape of a dream catcher. and yes, you can grow blueberries here in Oklahoma — visit the blueberry garden.
Are you challenged with a yard that has a lot of shade? Visit the shade garden, which provides ideas for plants that flourish in shady conditions. You can also learn about composting — what to do and how to best create a dark, rich compost to put in your garden beds.
As mentioned earlier, the Demonstration Gardens are not open to the public right now because the Master Gardeners are working diligently to restore the gardens after a year of inattention due to the pandemic.
But you can see it up close and personal as a student in the Master Gardener class. Contact the extension office now to enroll in the upcoming class — spots are limited.