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Barry Fugatt: Linnaeus Garden reopens with safety changes

Barry Fugatt: Linnaeus Garden reopens with safety changes

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Good news!

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden will offer a phased reopening to the public Tuesday, Sept. 29. The garden will open each Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and then again from 1 to 4 p.m.

Key changes will be in place to safeguard against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These changes include the following: limiting the number of guests in the garden, minimizing touch points, enabling proper social-distancing opportunities and increasing cleaning protocol. Guests age 5 and over are required to wear a mask at all times while in the garden.

Also, all guests will be required to make reservations in advance. Register online at:

Every fall Linnaeus Teaching Garden staff selects a group of top performing plants (Linnaeus Garden Winners) that have shown superior insect and disease resistance, drought tolerance and, of course, great beauty. This year’s winners include:

Trumpet Honeysuckle, aka Coral Honeysuckle

The mere mention of honeysuckle to many gardeners immediately draws a negative response. It’s a justifiable response since many gardeners are only familiar with invasive Japanese Honeysuckle, a botanical alley-cat that can quickly take over an entire garden.

Trumpet Honeysuckle, however, is an entirely different cat. This modest size beauty rarely exceeds 8 to 12 feet in length—a perfect size for a home trellis or fence — and it produces lots of scarlet to orange, trumpet shaped flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Yellow Cestrum

I’ve fallen head-over-heels for this perennial beauty! A friend gave me a rooted cutting six years ago and I can truthfully say it has become a star in the Linnaeus Garden. It has yet to be attacked by insects or disease organisms and it has proven to have superior drought tolerance. Best of all it produces loads of golden yellow flowers that remind me of Lilac, only much easier to grow. It blooms non-stop mid-summer through mid-fall and it attracts lots of hummingbirds. It also makes a fine container plant for sunny a deck or patio. Height and spread is 4 to 6 feet.

Tiger Eye Sumac

Until Tiger Eye arrived on the scene, gardeners had to wait until October to enjoy the gorgeous autumn foliage of native sumacs. Not so with Tiger Eye Sumac. It begins and ends the growing season with beautiful fern-like, yellow-orange foliage that shines like a neon light in the garden. Seriously, it’s almost impossible not to stare endlessly at this shrub in a garden setting. It loves our summer heat and it is much underutilized in residential garden design. Height and spread approximately 6 to 8 feet.

Phantom Hydrangea

I’m proud to say that Linnaeus Garden volunteers have given away over one thousand fabulous Phantom Hydrangeas (H. paniculate) at Linnaeus anniversary celebrations over the past five years. I’m often approached by perfect strangers who share glowing accounts of how well this amazing hydrangea has performed in their gardens. It certainly attracts a crowd here at the Linnaeus Teaching Garden. It produces huge panicles of creamy white flowers — some 18 inches long — in early summer. It’s a heat tolerant hydrangea that grows approximately 5 to 6 feet tall and wide.

Other 2020 Linnaeus Garden Winners include: Desert Willow, variety Bubba; Sunshine Ligustrum; Desperado Texas Sage; Thornless Prickly Pear Cactus; and Tatarian Aster.

Barry Fugatt is Director of Horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center and Linnaeus Teaching Garden in Woodward Park. He may be reached by email:

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