Hopefully you enjoyed the (albeit, mistakenly published) tease yesterday of my friend Marquette's garden, one of the beautiful venues on this year's eye-popping, super-artistic, eco-friendly, envy-inducing GARDEN TOUR FOR CONNOISSEURS.  If you don't enjoy every minute of it my name isn't  p o t a g e r  (actually, it isn't, it's Linda, but still...)   I've included a slide show of each location after its description.  Enjoy!


For additional information contact: Cheryl McIntosh ~ 590-3355 cell Jeanne Blair ~ 308-2236 cell.
If you are looking for creative ideas to plant in your family garden, mark your calendars for the 2011 Garden Tour for Connoisseurs. Seven family gardens and one corporate garden are featured on the tour planned for September 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, September 25 from noon to 4 p.m.
The annual garden showcase is sponsored by the Oklahoma Horticultural Society and provides scholarships for area college students majoring in horticultural and landscape design. The Society also presents public lectures on historical and contemporary gardening themes.
The family gardens on the 2011 event all represent the artistic talents of their creators. Many of the professional artists work in a variety of mediums ~ glass, metal, sculpture, oil and watercolor paintings, interior design. Their work is beautiful, unusual and sometimes ever so whimsical. They all not only love the medium of their art, they love digging in the red earth and clay of central Oklahoma’s landscape. They enjoy bringing nature’s myriad possibilities to life in their gardens.
What is also appealing about the 2011 tour is the abundance of ideas visitors can transplant to their own home gardens. Most are in smaller, older neighborhoods within the city. They are hybrids of gardening and interior design ideas adapted to the outside. Walk through any of these gardens and you will say, “I could do that in my garden.” There’s nothing more inspiring on a garden tour than borrowing new ideas from others.
The corporate garden ~ The Chesapeake Employee Garden ~ is a bonus for visitors. Here you will find a bumper crop of ideas, provided by the teams of employees who have designed fruit, vegetable andflower garden plots that benefit their family, friends and fellow employees. With their garden “leftovers,” they also benefit a local food bank.
Put on your best garden clogs and cool clothes and walk through this visually appealing tour that is rich and fertile soil for new ideas for your garden.
Gardens on the tour include the homes of:
Suzanne Wallace Mears, Paul and Grace Medina, Ernesto and Lin Sanchez,Marquette Clay, Marcy Roberts, Rob Littlefield, Carrie Todd, and the employee garden plaza at Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
TICKETS are available at the following locations: Farmer’s Grain Company of Edmond, 102 W. 1st Street
The Greenhouse, 1708 24th Avenue S.W., Norman Horn Seed Company, 1409 N. W. Expressway Precure Nursery & Garden Center, 8125 W. Reno and
4535 N. W. 63rd Street TLC Florists & Greenhouse, 105 W. Memorial Road
8208 N. W. Expressway Wilshire Garden Market, 2821 W. Wilshire Blvd.
SPONSORS are: Neal Insurance Company Lyndsey Neal Chesapeake Energy Corporation Mike Lindsey Scapes Garden Design Associates Total Environment Kent Hutmacher, Churchill Brown Associates.

FOR CONNOISSEURS Saturday, September 24, 2011 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sponsored By
Neal Insurance Company
Lindsay Neal, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Mike Lindsey, Scapes Inc., Garden Design Associates, Total Environment, Ken Hutmacher of Churchill Brown Associates, Bob Browne, Great Plains Coca-Cola

Garden Descriptions by M.J. Van Deventer
Gardens are numbered for the shortest traveling distance between each location.

1 Suzanne Wallace Mears, 4317 Butler Place, Oklahoma City,
Suzanne is a nationally-known glass and ceramic artist and has decorated her lush garden with many of the glass pieces she has fired in her cottage studio at the rear of her 90-year old home. The garden is not only an exploration of thriving garden plants and towering mature trees, it is a window to her enchanting world of colorful paintings and unusual glass art.
Visitors on the tour will find an abundance of her colorful, exuberant glass pieces showcased in the garden. “My works in glass are an experiment with texture and transparency,” she said in an interview. “They are also about patience,” she laughed. Many of her latest works are also inspired by the colors of her garden and the birds and creatures who visit this secluded space often.
This is like walking through a secret, magic garden. Pretend you are Alice in Wonderland and you will enjoy it even more. There are quaint stone pathways, clever water features, bold, winding wisteria and ground covers, especially English ivy, which add color and textural interest to the garden.
Flowers are everywhere ~ in colorful ceramic pots playing hide and seek behind trees and along secret, stone pathways. She has nurtured day lilies and impatiens, black bamboo, . . . and ferns you would expect to see in the tropics.
This is a garden where you must look both down and up. Many of the stone pathways have imprints of nature embedded in the rock. The majestic trees provide a canopy for the garden.
When you look at the colorful vignettes of nature Suzanne has created in the garden and then view her glass art, you can see the enchanting symbiotic relationship between her art and her love of color, beauty and whimsy in a garden that continues to inspire her.
Design by owner

2 Paul and Grace Medina, 1439 Northwest 39th Street, Oklahoma City.
As an artist, Paul Medina is well known for his unusual mixed- media creations, including those he has designed for writer Judith Blume of New York, actor Robin Williams of San Francisco, and Yannick Noah of Paris, France. While art is Paul’s first love, gardening is a consuming passion for Grace.
The front and back gardens surround this 90-year-old Craftsman-style home in a quaint, early day neighborhood. The entry garden expresses the Medinas’ love for brick, gravel paths, colorful ceramic pots, and a variety of plants that thrived this summer, in spite of Oklahoma’s extreme temperatures.
At first glance, the entry garden gives the impression it has graced this setting for decades, yet, it is only four and a half years old. The garden reflects Grace’s love for heirloom plants, especially roses. She transplanted many of them from a previous home. Now, roses and clematis climb up an old arched iron trellis that serves as the signature entrance to the couple’s garden.
Large yuccas that were moved from a previous home are special, along with a green Japanese maple, a fountain and liriope, more commonly known as monkey grass.
Golden coreopsis and purple lisianthus complement roses, cedars and gaillardia in this virtual xeroscaping setting. Watch for small signature stones with clever sayings and large sea shells peeking out from foliage.
The Medinas’ back yard was “a blank slate,” a bare canvas anchored by two elderly pecan trees, which made a home for the meandering English ivy. Paul’s sculpture studio looks out on this inventive garden scene and will be open for visitors on the tour.
The garden is an excellent study in the art of reclamation. Concrete that was once a garage floor was broken up and used as patchwork walkways between brick, flagstone and gravel paths.
The couple accented this narrow rectangular space with variegated privet, red holly, coleus, lamb’s ear, Virginia creeper, glossy abelia, sage, angelwing begonias, lariope and several stunning mature oak leaf hydrangeas.
Some of Paul’s sculptures adorn the grounds, as do unusual bird houses he has built. Recycling is evident with the use of old laundry wash tubs that host perennials. The Medinas hid the air conditioner with a wood fence and let lichen add color and textural interest to a variety of rocks and stones.
The Medinas’ garden is definitely a treasure trove of easy to adapt ideas for your garden.
Design by owners, with assistance from John Fluitt

3 Ernesto and Lin Sanchez, 1628 N. W. 41st. Street, Oklahoma City.
Tour visitors can expect a wandering landscape full of surprises in the Sanchez garden. An artist by profession, Ernesto is a painter and sculptor and is also director of exhibitions and lighting at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, so staging museum shows and gardens pulses through his DNA.
The front of the home makes an unusual color statement with a bright orange porch, which is complemented by a small front yard filled with crepe myrtles, hollies, Liriope, and a green Japanese maple.
The narrow driveway, which usually houses the couple’s small getaway vacation trailer, leads to a large back lawn that has a centerpiece fountain, arbors, trailing vines and shrubs in these outdoor “rooms” that seem to unfold as visitors tour.
They took half of a double car garage to make an outdoor roofed pavilion, that includes a swinging rope bed, small seating areas and traces of Mexico, Ernesto’s native home. A small rock-lined fish pond is home to gold fish and Koi, and a stray chicken they named Sunshine found a perfect permanent home in the garden for nesting. Sunshine is now part of the Sanchez family.
Beyond the pavilion, Ernesto and Lin purchased what they call the “Wayback,” a vacant, distressed lot they bought from the county. They have turned this once derelict space into an oasis for entertaining. The raised pool accents one end of this sprawling, now lush garden. A cottonwood tree “that blew in on a puff of cottonwood seed nine years ago,” shades the east end of the pool. The travel trailer will move to this area for the tour and become a Mexican cantina.
Ernesto and Lin created gardens that wind through this space, using smoke, pine, river birch, fig and green Japanese maple trees.
Among the shrubs and flowers are nandina, hollies and yews, Lariope, phlox, moon flowers, sweet potato vine, and a pleasing mix of annuals and perennials.
This area of the garden is a perfect place to play Italian bocce ball, or enjoy the unusual sculptures by Ernesto, Robin Starke, and other friends of Ernesto’s who have sculpting talents.
Ever creative, Ernesto and Lin used the existing rock steps, which are surrounded by trees and plantings, as a gateway to the “Wayback,” where seating is ample, making this a space for entertaining in these garden “rooms.”

4 Marquette Clay, 1708 N. W. 41st Street, Oklahoma City.
Marquette has been a partner in John Fluitt’s landscape design studio for 17 years so giving his home an exterior and garden facelift was truly a labor of love.
The first impression is of a home that might easily be found on the eastern seashore. Its white picket fence and chartreuse front door are wonderful surprises.
The symmetry of the small front yard is charming. The stone walkway to the front door separates two square garden areas dressed in wandering Jew, agapanthus and alyssum. Round stone balls add to the sense of geometry Marquette designed for his front garden.
The driveway continues the symmetrical theme. Between the two lanes of the concrete drive is a well-manicured path of grass, leading to the rear garden which is a study in shades of lime green.
Tall dead pine trunks stand like totems, becoming the sculptural frame for a beautiful seating area ~ a large square in keeping with the design style. Rectangles of grass accent the pebble “floor” of this area.
Variegated lime green cannas, purple heart, angelonia, chard and Joseph’s coat attract butterflies and hummingbirds in this space that has the suggestion of a pair of well-designed gardens that are a quiet retreat from the seasonal pressures of landscape design.
Garden Designer Marquette Clay and John Fluitt

5 Marcy Roberts, 609 Northwest 47th Street, Oklahoma City,
This home near the edge of Crown Heights was originally inspired by the Work Projects Administration era park designs, combined with creatively recycled materials. This is definitely a home and garden built for entertaining.
The front of the small home is welcoming, with a green Japanese maple tree, Chinese fringe and buckeye. Liriope and holly shrubs line the base of the front entrance.
An unusual accessory in the brick outline are “clunkers,” bricks that were over fired and now look like pieces of coal inset into the brick design.
The first clue that Marcy, a massage therapist, loves to entertain is a bowl of green and cobalt blue glass bottles by the front step. It is a playful twist on a folk art tradition of bottle trees, as well as a reminder this homeowner enjoys hosting parties in her home and garden and is also passionate about recycling.
The narrow fenced pathway, leading to the backyard, features several smooth stones in robin’s egg blue, found near a beach in California. They are a whisper to the kaleidoscope of color awaiting guests in the back yard.
Two rambunctious canines helped dictate the design and sturdy, indestructible tough plant choices in the back yard. A broad wooden deck leads down to a sunken, stone and gravel conversation pit, lined with a circle of vintage metal lawn chairs in crayon colors. The chairs, which are coming back in vogue, circle the sculptural fire bowl.
Another symbol of Marcy’s penchant for recycling is seen in two dog proof planters, constructed of massive oilfield pipes, which add to the sense of privacy and whimsy in this cloistered space.
An expansive wood pavilion is buttressed with red clay sewer pipe columns with cedar log rafters covered in corrugated metal. The pavilion provides a “room” to dine, entertain friends and offers a welcoming, cool retreat from summer heat and sudden showers.

6 Rob Littlefield, 1148 Northwest 56th Street, Oklahoma City,
If you want ideas for how to plan and grow a garden in stages, Rob Littlefield’s garden is the perfect primer. He took a small home and guest house in an older
neighborhood and gave both a colorful, total nature’s elusive
gift of rain.elift in shades of Dutch blue, golden yellow and burgundy. Then he began to plan and plot out the garden, using his
talents as a builder and remodeler. He started with a handsome sheltered car port that doubles as entertaining space overlooking the sprawling garden that offers a mix of sun and shade with a variety of mature trees.
This area features ample seating and a fire pit that doubles as an outdoor cooking arena in temperate weather. He calls the entertaining area “a summer sanctuary that is awesome in a rainstorm.” Obviously, Rob was deprived this past summer of the pleasure of watching many pleasant summer rainfalls.
He created natural “walls” in the garden with cannas, black bamboo, cane and papyrus. Rock paths wind their way through the garden like a rippling stream.
Rob created a tropical feeling in his garden with oleanders, jasmine, mandevillas and hardy hibiscus blooming throughout the summer.
Trumpet vine, with its bright orange blossoms, and phlox with its lavender hues, add other touches of color to the pleasing artistic palette Rob has created.
His vegetable garden provides a smorgasbord during the summer. A weeping peach tree adds height and delicious fruit to this area of the garden. Another favorite is his plot of Jerusalem artichokes. Other vegetables are planted in season.
He enjoys growing tobacco plants, moon flowers, and spider flower, which he calls “my favorite.” Rob credits a friend, R. D. Dirickson, who lives in a home with no garden, with his encouragement and inspiration for Rob’s garden. “The magic in my garden would never have occurred without his guidance,” Rob says, adding, “Gardening is my thing.
Designers: The homeowner and R. D. Dirickson.

7 Carrie Todd, 1113 Woodlawn Place in Brookhaven, Oklahoma City,
Sitting on a small sloping incline in Brookhaven, this small home in an older neighborhood offers a visual treat as visitors approach the garden.
Carrie, an interior designer who loves scouring flea markets and coming home with great finds and treasures, gave the garden a secluded, private feeling with a simple wooden privacy screen that shields the garden from street traffic.
The first clue that she adores architectural antique fragments is in the use of two antique iron decorative pieces, probably used in someone else’s garden in their earlier life. One hangs on the east side of the home; another is above the small back porch, leading to the interior of her home. It is a nice visual accessory facing the garden.
Seating is abundant in this garden, giving guests ample room to sit, visit and admire the fruits of Carrie’s creative designs and labor.
The garden reflects an inspired collaboration between Carrie the collector and the design team at Garden Design Associates, headed by John Fluitt. Those flea market finds and architectural fragments gave the design team the starting point for a series of outdoor spaces.
“We started by arranging Carrie’s eclectic menagerie of objects and furniture into interesting and functional combinations,” John said. “Much of the landscape and plantings evolved from the groupings we created.”
A magnificent Colorado Blue Spruce is a focal point of the front lawn. Angelina sedum is an accent.
In the back garden, flagstone and gravel paths, are accented with oak leaf hydrangea, hollies, nandinas, and healthy, sprawling sweet potato vines that loved soaking up the summer’s heat.
The most unusual architectural fragment that will intrigue visitors is what Carrie calls “the grotto.” It is an old concrete building at the back of the garden, slowly giving away to age. Bits of rust on metal furniture and chips in clay and concrete pieces contribute a patina of age while this crumbling outbuilding is a quaint folly beckoning visitors to explore deeper into the garden.
For the tour, she made a table from an old door that was once on the ruins of the building. She created an inventive dining area and added an old candle chandelier hanging from the rafters where wisteria will someday take over. She made a floor of pea gravel accented with some potted plants and candles. Pretend you are in the Roman ruins or a grotto in France.
With Carrie’s creative spirit and her ability to see beauty in the oldest of relics, visitors will be in for a surprise as she gives new life ~ a new face ~ to this charming grotto.
Designer: The homeowner and John Fluitt

8. Chesapeake Employees Garden, East of the Western Street campus, located between Shartel and Lee Avenues and Northwest of 61st and 62nd Streets.
Chesapeake’s Employee Garden is an example of an employee idea becoming a reality. The idea came from an associate landman, who sent the documentary, Escape from Suburbia, to Martha Burger, Senior Vice President of Human and Corporate Resources.
The idea grew from there, fueled by the excitement of CEO Aubrey McClendon, who loved the idea as well. Today, the garden comprises a full city block and has approximately 65 plots, ranging in size from 12’ x 32’ to 24’ x 32’ for teams of three to ten to manage throughout the growing season.
The garden offers employees a way to be both sustainable and healthy, by encouraging employees to reduce their environmental footprint by growing their own produce, rather than purchasing it from a store where it’s been shipped, packaged, and in many cases, mass produced.
One of the most popular activities among employee gardeners is composting, practiced throughout the season, because of the added value of exercise, teamwork and camaraderie. Chesapeake employee gardeners work with the company’s restaurants to turn kitchen waste into homemade high-quality fertilizer, turning approximately 1,500 pounds of kitchen waste into high-quality compost last year.
Throughout the growing season, the Chesapeake Employee Garden donates produce to the local BritVil
Community Food Pantry. So far, the garden has donated more than 800 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables, including onions, kale, collards, leeks, spinach, carrots, potatoes, herbs, squash, beets, chard, lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes and watermelon.
A variety of educational garden-themed classes are offered: natural pest control, basics of sustainable gardening, composting and gardening 101, fall gardening class, food canning and storage, and beekeeping basics.
The garden is a place for employees to share time with their families as well. For instance, garden staff skilled in beekeeping have brought the magic of bees to the garden, where there are two resident honeybee hives. During Saturday morning “Meet the Bees” classes, employees and their families watch the resident beekeeper pull frames
from the hives for all to see what is happening inside. Two bee hives also inhabit the garden.