by Ross Dees

As a recent addition to the Philbrook Horticulture Team, I was a bit worried that there might not be much to do here in the autumn. Needless to say — I am not worrying about that anymore. The fun never stops; there is always something to do. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the work taking place in Philbrook Gardens during the fall.

by Ross Dees

As the temperature cools and days get shorter, some trees in Oklahoma are beginning to start their annual change of color and leaf drop. Soon the ground will be littered with various shades of reds, yellows, and browns. There are many tree species which produce wonderful fall color. This fall, make sure to notice the common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana L.).

by Austin Jobes

Approximately 391,000 plant species exist worldwide, of which 369,000 are flowering, i.e. angiosperms. This includes plants such as grasses, trees, shrubs, and other herbaceous plants.

We could talk about the number of plant species in jeopardy of extinction, 1 in 5, or the role plants play in keeping us healthy and happy…etc., but we won’t.

Today’s love-list of plants consists of those we love to grow because they help link us to our community and to this place of greenspace we call Philbrook Gardens.

Devil’s Backbone, Euphorbia tithymaloides

This plant is so resilient and easy to grow that it deserves some…

by Ross Dees

Has your garden provided you with more produce than you know what to do with?

Don’t let the fruits (and veggies) of your labor go to the compost pile. Consider extending the shelf life of your crops with proper preservation techniques such as freezing, drying, or canning. Here’s some helpful tips and tricks.


Freezing is a quick, simple way to preserve foods and cut back on food waste. With proper freezing techniques, some produce can be kept delicious and nutritious for well over a year (1).

Freezing Vegetables

When freezing veggies, it is important to blanch…

by Ania Wiatr

Most of us have heard about the “farm to table” movement. This movement, which promotes supporting local, and often, organic farmers has been around for a while now.

There are many good reasons to buy local:

  • you know where your food is from and who grew it
  • it is very fresh — harvested only a day or two before it lands on your table
  • it doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to you and eliminates a huge negative impact on the environment

What if we felt the same way about cutting flowers? Do the…

By Ross Dees, Horticulturist

Mid-late summer is a busy time for gardeners; there is so much to do! Summer crops need harvesting, weeds need to be pulled, and pests need to be controlled. On top of this, mid-late summer is also the time to start planting your cool season crops for a fall garden.

Here in zone 7, we have a large variety of cool season crops that can be planted in a fall garden. …

by Austin Jobes

This week we harvested 185 pounds of fresh produce from our Victory Garden.

The abundance and variety within our not-so-little vegetable patch is astounding. When I take time to step back and appreciate how much food can be produced from a single plant, a single row, a small plot, it fills me with hope. Hope that someday more people will feel encouraged to participate in the magic of growing food, encouraged to demand food justice and sovereignty, and encouraged to subvert insupportable food systems.

Our community grocery stores have been coopted by processed foods with too many…

by Austin Jobes

2020 has already been one of the longest and shortest years and we’re only halfway through.

Summer heat is settling in and more and more plants are maturing to their seasonal seed stage. Collecting seeds is one of my favorite activities as a horticulturist and lifelong vegetable gardener. Any experienced gardener knows the absolute joy that comes from collecting and saving seed that supports the garden’s abundance each year. It can and often does become an obsession for many hobbyist and professional gardeners.

One of my earliest memories of collected seeds comes from my grandfather. It was…

By Ross Dees

Melons, cucumbers, gourds, squashes, zucchini, pumpkins, and luffas all belong to the diverse and useful plant family, Cucurbitaceae.

Cucurbits produce fruit in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some Cucurbita maxima can grow fruits over 2,000 pounds, while cucamelon fruits (Melothria scabra) grow to be about an inch long.

Cucurbit fruits come in many flavors as well. The fruit can range from sweet (such as butternut squash or kabocha), to mild (like cucumbers and zucchini), to bitter (like the bitter melon), to sour (like the previously mentioned cucamelon). And while some cucurbits produce fantastic edible fruit, not…

By Ania Wiatr

Summer is upon us.

Many summer-blooming perennial flowers in our gardens have started their color show. Out of the many varieties of flowers that are blooming now, one that is worth highlighting is Monarda, commonly called bee balm, or wild bergamot.

According to USDA data, 17 Monarda species are native to North America. Over the millennia, all those species have played an important part in our local ecosystems. Native Americans have used bee balm to treat upper respiratory problems, and as a strong antiseptic. Today, it is still highly valued in modern natural medicine. …

Museum Confidential

Museum Confidential is a behind-the-scenes look at all things museums. From Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK.

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