Echoing part of my winter day last January, on a hot Friday afternoon in early June I had the Chatsworth at Kilkenny’s and then roamed lovely Woodward Park in Tulsa, admiring the flowers. I’d originally planned to see a movie, but opted to stroll in the sunshine.
The most beautiful park in Tulsa, now adorning the Maple Ridge neighborhood in the northeast quadrant, began as Perryman’s Pasture and was originally criticized for being so far out of town that only wagon trails led to it. Tulsa bought the 45 acres, which was part of Helen Woodward’s allotment from the Creek nation, for $4,500 back in 1909. The rock gardens on the north end are in constant use by photographers.
The roses in their own renowned garden were slowly wilting, but the lily pads by the classic Lord & Burnham conservatory were thriving. Inside, a lad sweltered in the humidity. It was too uncomfortable in there to linger long, so I did not identify the names of the plants with odd orange petals resembling the blades of a fan, a red tongue with an inverted yellow uvula, a profusion of pink-veined petals, and a petal pool.
I retreated outside to walk through the three acre arboretum, surrounded by palatial homes, and then explored the newer Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, which are valued at over a million dollars. Impressive supertunias and pink hydrangeas in the entry garden were followed by Rosalind Cook’s portrayal of Carl himself, offering a friendly greeting. The shaded outdoor classroom offered shelter from the blazing sky. I walked through the cooling water garden, pursued by koi.
Then I strolled north across the lawns past the squirrels and Cook’s Poems and Promises to the sounds of a harp, watching a young cowboy and his friends explore the rock gardens. I crossed the bridge and passed the steps, which on this hot day contrasted sharply to their appearance in the January snow.
I made the right choice – Woodward Park beats the bijou any day.