A sidelined hiker, Diana Treat, of Oklahoma City, yearned for a way to recreate the natural beauty that she for years had found on trails across the Sooner state. Linda Lawson, of Norman, sought hands-on youth programs for her children when they were young and involved in Camp Fire USA. Kathie Smathers, of Mustang, simply wanted to make her own Christmas wreath.
All three found what they were looking for — in Oklahoma garden clubs.
Treat is a member of the Apogon Iris Garden Club, Oklahoma City's oldest. Smathers serves as president of the Viola Garden Club in Oklahoma City, which she joined five years ago. And Lawson participates in several — the Flora Belle Garden Club in Norman, the Gladiolas Garden Club in Cushing and the American Begonia Society.
The three gardeners recently intersected at the “Christmas in the City Holiday Flower Show” on Dec. 15 at Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. The standard show was presented by the Oklahoma Council of Nationally Accredited Flower Show Judges and led by Treat, an accredited judge and grand master gardener.
“I have a passion for working with flowers and plants, and love floral design,” said Smathers, who takes advantage of many of the design workshops, which are taught at the center every month and offered free to the public.
Along with wreath-making, Smathers said she's learned how to create an ikebana Japanese style dish garden and condition plant material before making flower arrangements so they last longer.
She's also taken advantage of the Oklahoma City Council of Garden Clubs' periodic plant sales, in which members share plants from their yards. “We enjoy helping each other improve our own yards and also beautify the community,” Smathers said.
Realizing she was aging out of hiking, Treat created her own haven, including digging a small pond, at her home on NW 19. “I have no grass, only gardens through which I can hike and camp,” said Treat, who recently bought the adjoining lot so that she could install a greenhouse and pool.
In addition to the Apogon Iris, Treat also is a member of the Herb Society, where she, among other things, has learned how to properly grow English rose, basil, lemon basil and different mints. The latter can't be grown too close to each other, not even in pots, she said.
Other clubs, including bonsai, iris and day lily societies, are available.
Lawson considers herself more of a grower than a designer, though she — like Treat — is an accredited judge and serves as current chairwoman of the Oklahoma Council of Nationally Accredited Flower Show Judges.
Lawson remembers attending garden club meetings and lunches in Oklahoma City with her maternal grandmother. She, Treat and Smathers very much want the heritage to continue to grow and flourish, so that younger members will reap the friendships and skills they say they‘ve gleaned.