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'A place to get away': Huge water feature coming to Tulsa Botanic Garden

'A place to get away': Huge water feature coming to Tulsa Botanic Garden


The next phase of the Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Master Plan is finally in the works with a planned water garden.

Interim President and CEO Pat Woodrum announced that construction will begin on the Bumgarner Lotus Pool Garden on Jan. 1, bringing a pool of water lilies, cypress trees and fountains to the garden’s Lakeside Promenade.

The project is expected to take eight to 10 months to complete.

Woodrum said the concept has its roots in the botanic garden’s formation in 1999 and that the new water garden will be a perfect hideaway for those needing a break. That said, the project stands to mark another milestone for the botanic garden more than 20 years after its founding.

“It’s going to be a place to get away, just enjoy the solitude and listen to the running water,” Woodrum said. “It’s a really, really wonderful place. ... This is relatively new for any botanic garden in the country. To have come this far that fast actually is special.”

Woodrum and others, including Mayor G.T. Bynum, announced the project at a Wednesday morning news conference. Bynum said the botanic garden continues to be “a fine example” of the steady progress Tulsa is making.

“Boy, if ever there was a time you wanted an outdoor venue to bring people together, this is it.” Bynum said. “I’m very thankful for the board here, really visionary leadership.”

The water garden’s name comes from John and Mary Ann Bumgarner of the Bumgarner Family Charitable Foundation, which made the “major gift” to make the project possible.

At Wednesday’s announcement, John Bumgarner said he is excited to see the garden develop further and thrilled to forever be a part of it.

“This garden’s special to Tulsa,” Bumgarner said. “It’s growing, as most gardens do, and it’s expanding and it’s future is going to be very bright.

“It’s a good effort, a good project, and we’re most happy to support it.”

A spokeswoman for the Botanic Garden said that while the Bumgarners declined to announce the exact amount of their donation, the entire project cost is about $1.25 million.

To make the water garden, crews will raise the pool at the seven-acre lake’s north end 18 inches to create a waterfall at the southern end. Opposite this feature at the Sunrise Bridge, water will flow into the garden over natural rock with a view to the floating gardens on both sides of the pool.

Those floating gardens will include water-loving plants like iris and hibiscus while the lilies take up the standing water in between on the southern end. The walking path will take visitors past the overlooks on the pool’s eastern side, with each platform offering a closer view at the lilies and floating gardens below beneath the cypress trees’ shade.

Sanford, Florida-based architecture firm 3.Fromme Design, which has contributed to the botanic garden’s master plan and other projects, as well as Tulsa firm Szafranski Landscape Architecture — contributed to the design.

Gallery: Botanic Garden in spring

Stetson Payne


Twitter: @stetson__payne

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Staff Writer

I cover breaking news, general assignment and other stories. I previously worked at the Enterprise-Journal in Mississippi. I'm from Broken Arrow and graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8466

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