Published in 405HOME
As winter releases its grip on the Sooner State, OKC’s Myriad Botanical Gardens comes alive with vibrant color and the gentle aroma of rich soil and blossoming flowers. Each year, plant lovers punctuate their celebration of the season with the Oklahoma City Flower and Garden Festival. This year’s installment of the annual festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 7.
“This is such a nice complement to the farmers market (in Scissortail Park),” said Leslie Spears, Myriad’s director of marketing and public relations. “We wanted it to be unique, so we’re really particular about our vendors. Everything is Oklahoma-grown.”
The festival is marking its eighth year and has come a long way since its inaugural event at the Farmer’s Market at 311 S. Klein Ave. in 2014.
Even though the festival is currently planned and operated by Myriad Gardens staff, original organizers Marilyn Stewart of Wild Things Nursery and Bill Farris of Prairie Wind Nursery remain involved. Both are “tickled” about the growth of the event.
“There were other festival events in the state, and Marilyn and I thought Oklahoma City ought to have one,” Farris said. “For avid gardeners, they’ll find plants and varieties that they won’t find in the box stores. And a side benefit is that it’s at the Myriad Gardens. Visitors can have a picnic and spend some time outdoors.”
Myriad Gardens Executive Director Maureen Heffernan agrees.
“When Bill and Marilyn approached Myriad Gardens about taking on the production of the OKC Flower and Garden Festival, we happily said yes. It has grown over the years and has become one of the best outdoor garden events in OKC. Our mission is to help people become interested in plants and gardening, and this event really helps them do so.”
And, Farris added, buying Oklahoma-grown plants gives gardeners added assurance that the
plants will do well locally.
“If you’re a good grower in Oklahoma, it’ll be easy anywhere else,” Farris said. “The extremes that we go through make us the ‘too’ state. Too cold, too windy, too hot … We select varieties that will do well. Some plants may be fine in Vermont but won’t last in Oklahoma.”
Nathan Tschaenn, Myriad Gardens’ director of the Conservatory and Horticultural Exhibits, says that Myriad staff go the extra mile to provide a diversity of offerings that will thrive locally.
“We like to have lots of plant vendors … cacti, house plants, a variety of native plants, annuals. We try to be pretty selective. Every year we turn people away,” Tschaenn said, calling the festival “the best place to one-stop shop for plants you need.”