Somewhat ostentatious for my taste, but still a beautiful automobile. Note that what appears to be a crack between the wheel well and the taillight is in fact the sun's reflection from my van's roof line.
Portulaca or Moss Rose is a hardy perennial. Last summer I planted this in a pot that sat on the deck. It has succulent foliage and can tolerate dry weather or periods when I forget to water. Then it dies back when winter comes and looks very dead. We had some very cold weather last winter, down to -14 F and anything in an unprotected flower post should have been winter killed. But with the return of warm weather it reappears and is blooming again The lovely fragile looking flowers open and bloom for only a day or so then wither and dry up. But there are so many blooms that it is always attractive.. This is my kind of flower!
Last week we had Tulsa Woodscapes build a pergola on the long deck behind our house. They did a beautiful job. We are looking forward to enjoying this for a long time. The pergola will give us some shade so we can enjoy being outside during our hot Oklahoma summer.
Now my next project is to choose some climbing plants to cover the top and provide shade, fragrance, and colorful flowers. Wisteria is the classic vine for an arbor or pergola but requires a lot of pruning to keep it under control. Other options are honeysuckle, trumpet vines, jasmine, roses, and clematis. I'm leaning toward a mixture of climbing rose and clematis.
The Tulsa Driller was originally built in 1953 by the Mid-Continent Supply Company of Fort Worth for the International Petroleum Exposition. Six years later, it was temporarily erected again for the 1959 show. Due to the positive attention it attracted, the company donated the statue to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority which had it permanently installed in front of the Tulsa Expo Center for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition. The statue's right hand rests on an oil derrick which had been moved from a depleted oil field in Seminole, Oklahoma. Just a few weeks ago the Tulsa Driller was cleaned and repainted and given a clean Bill of Health. He should be around for another 50 years.
Behind the Philbrook Mansion are beautiful terraces and stairs with richly ornamented railings. There is a fountain which cascades down several levels first formal then rustic, ending in a lovely pond surrounded by beautiful plantings. X marks the spot. Click to enlarge.
I well remember when the original 1964 Mustang was introduced. I was teaching at Horace Mann Junior High School in downtown Tulsa. There was a Ford dealership in the next block where I lusted after this sporty little car. On a teacher's salary it was not to be. The beautiful red convertible above was parked in the Walmart at 45th and Peoria. It is (I think) a 2009 model. It still makes my heart go pitty-pat.
Just to the south of the Philbrook water pond is a long bed of Oakleaf Hydrangea. The Oakleaf hydrangea is one of the few hydrangeas native to the United States. It blooms best in areas where summers are somewhat hot and can thrive in much dryer locations than its cousins. The Oakleaf gets its name from the shape of its beautiful large leaves. These leaves often turn colors of brilliant red, orange, yellow and burgundy in the fall.
There is another foot bridge over Crow Creek at the southern edge of Philbrook's 23 acres.
The vertical stone wall that forms the creek bank give way to the riprap that lines the rest of Crow Creek. Click on the images to enlarge them. X marks the spot on the map where the bridge is located.
The pond on the lower level of the Philbrook garden is surrounded by tall grasses and flowering plants. At almost any point around the pond the opposite side makes a beautiful reflection. It is almost too easy. I think maybe I'm cheating. The X on the map marks the spot where I took the picture. Click to enlarge.
On the walk down the creek are a number of contemporary sculptures. This is Vanishing Edge Round by the American sculptor Jesus Moroles. It is carved from a single piece of mahogany Dakota granite. The shape seems to change depending on the light and the angle of view. X marks the spot.
As we amble down Crow Creek as it takes a curvy path to the south side of Philbrook we look east at what I will call the sheep meadow. X marks the spot.
We see 3 sheep grazing on the grassy slope. A black sheep in the foreground, a gray sheep on the left, and a white sheep on top of the hill.
Looking closer we notice that they do not move, which is not surprising because they are cast from concrete. In fact they are all cast from the same mold. They are by Canadian sculptor Matthew Donovan.
The Shasta Daises are in the Philbrook garden, but they are hardy and blooming everywhere right now. The little insect resting on the daisy is either a sort of bee or a small wasp, to tell the truth I cannot tell for sure. Maybe a reader can tell me.
For a number of years I had both white Shasta Daises and yellow day lilies in a flower bed in front of my house. I also planted several dwarf pink crepe myrtle along the front of the bed. For about 10 years they coexisted rather well with the daises and day lilies blooming in early June, and the crepe myrtle filling the bed with pink from late June until frost.
Although I cut the crepe myrtle back to about 10 inches over the winter, it has become so vigorous that the yellow day lilies struggle to be seen through it and the Shasta daises seem to have disappeared. Survival of the fittest I suppose. Before next summer I will have to do some thinning.
Let's talk about Philbrook Art Museum and Gardens. The best way to talk about a big garden like this is with a map. I am sort of a visual learner and like photos and maps to allow me to "see" something. So thanks to our friend Professor Google I have a nice map of Philbrook. You might want to look at the photos I posted yesterday as they are part of this discussion. I know, I have the cart before the horse but bear with me.
The mansion faces west and most of the gardens are behind the house to the east. The aerial view gives you a good idea of the original mansion and the newer additions on the north end. The gardens are built down a fairly steep grade. Immediately behind the house are formal geometric diamonds of neatly trimmed hedge and lawn. They terminate halfway down the hillside at a stone wall with a large fountain at the center. From there down to the reflecting pond is a naturalized waterfall splashing down to the pond.
The area around the pond is a wonder of flowers and decorative grasses. The pond is home to a school of Koi and some beautiful waterlilies. If you look at the map you can see the white Tempietto peeking out of a group of trees just east of the pond. A Tempietto is the tall domed rotunda which reflects so beautifully. The long hillside from the mansion on the west and the tempietto on the east is a masterpiece of landscaping.
On a line with the formal garden, the reflecting pond, and the tempietto is a footbridge that crosses Crow Creek. X marks the spot on the map. As we can see from our map, Crow Creek runs down the eastern side of the property and flows out on the south side. In a number of places along Crow Creek the banks have been reinforced with stone or riprap. As it passes through the grounds of Philbrook it is walled with cut stone and surrounded by manicured lawns.
The grounds outside the perimeter of the pond but west of the creek are no less carefully planned and kept as the more formal arrangements between the mansion and the tempietto. These areas are bordered by graciously curving walks which contain surprises in the form of whimsical statuary, and unexpected art objects. The visitor is invited to relax and stroll at a leisurely pace, pausing to rest or chat with a friend.
The area outside the creek is kept neat but left to assume a more casual area inhabited by a variety of birds, squirrels, butterflies, even a duck or two. Do you see him? I even hear that the grounds are patrolled and guarded by a pair of fearless cats.
I have to admit that the Philbook gardens are my favorite things in Tulsa. I can wander here for hours, taking photographs, reading, and just looking at the beauty of this place. No one bothers me other than to smile and nod if our paths cross. Every time I come here I look at the beautiful gardens and am overcome by an urge to go home and plant the beautiful flowers that we see at Brookside. Almost overcome, but soon put to rest as I observe the small army of grounds keepers and volunteers who keep this place so beautifully manicured. More later.
The Philbrook Art Museum and Gardens is one of Tulsa's treasures. Philbrook is an Italian Renaissance villa built in 1927 to be the home of oilman Waite Phillips. In 1938 Phillips surprised Tulsans with the announcement of his gift of the 72-room mansion and surrounding 23 acres of grounds as an art center for the city of Tulsa. The original mansion remains intact as space for Philbrook's extensive collection of American and European paintings. The facility has expanded on the north side to provide additional exhibit space, a gift shop, an auditorium, class rooms and administrative offices.
Last Wednesday I spent several hours wandering through the gardens and took a large number of photographs, too many to post at one time. Today is a brief introduction, and a promise to share more as the summer continues. I hope you will enjoy them.
The 23 acres around and behind the museum are beautifully landscaped. The area directly behind the mansion is laid out in a formal Italian renassiance style. The lower level surrounds a reflecting pond landscaped in a manner reminecent of Monet's garden.
The pond is well stocked with large Koi. When the visitor steps to the edge of the water the fish often swarm over hoping to be fed.