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Horticulture Stories


Stories from the park's horticulture team

September Celebrations!

By Stacie Martin

Happy Birthday, Gathering Place! Happy 918 Day, Tulsa! September marks two years since Gathering Place opened, and the landscape is enjoying two years of growth.

It is no secret that plants in Oklahoma have to be tough! We have extreme periods of wet and dry, hot and cold, and plenty of dry, damaging winds. However, if the plants can survive that, they are rewarded for growing Okie roots. 

  • On average, Tulsa has 227 sunny days per year. The US average is 205, so Tulsa plants photosynthesize for 22 extra days!

  • On average, Tulsa has 240 days in the growing season. That’s a lot of days for plants to grow! Interestingly, winter rest is also important. Certain plants require cooling, and the remaining 125 days provide just enough cooling time for many spring flowers, including tulips and daffodils. Tulips require 105 days of cooling, so we only have 20 days of leeway. 

  • On average, Tulsa has 42 inches of rain, which is not quite the recommended one inch of rain per week. However, December through February are typically dry, and the majority of the 42 inches occur during the growing season, leaving us enough rain for the year. 

Tulsa sounds like a pretty perfect place to grow flowers, don’t you agree? Which is why we wanted to showcase all of the growth Gathering Place plants have enjoyed!


         July 2018                                            September 2020

The first photo, taken in July of 2018, features new trees, well-behaved shrubs, and tiny perennials. 

The second photo, taken at the beginning of this month, really highlights the growth of the Willow trees behind the Heron! The Wisteria arches on the pathway have taken over, and the amount of vegetation and green leafy growth has quadrupled!

Sometimes, it is hard to space plants the proper distance apart. Spacing plants at the upper end of the recommended plant tag allows enough room for the plants to grow together. It only takes a few years! The proof is in the pictures! This year, the horticulturists are getting really good at pruning.


July 2018                                              September 2020


September 2018                                     September 2020

Using the building to measure, even with the slightly different angle, you can see the growth of the trees. The top of the tree that is against the rock wall is below it in the first picture and above in the second. The two Deodar Cedars in the center bed look like they have room to grow in the first picture, and are too close for comfort in the second photo!

It is definitely great to see the landscape design coming to fruition! Below are some additional before (2018) and after (2020) photos just two years apart!





Even in a year! The first picture was taken in April of 2019 and the second a few weeks ago!