Thursday, July 28, 2016

disappointment and the opposite

EDIT:  We returned to the Tulsa Rose Garden to get photos of the devastation;  as we approached it from a different spot, though, we found this:

At least the garden was not just allowed to die of neglect -- twas a different kind of act!  Probably some helpful-but-ignorant volunteer deadheader....  Some of the wasteland is here:

On the same premises, what they call the conservatory:

Here's a view of the garden at Philbrook, though, from just below the terrace:

If you're ever in Tulsa, i couldn't recommend strongly enough that you visit this wonderful house/art-museum!  :-)


Now that our sunroom addition and backyard renovations are pretty much done, my husband has become sadly restless, so we're facing a certain amount of short excursions to keep him from getting bored.  Well, i'm certainly willing to see more of my native land, and i'm DEFINITELY inclined to enjoy it more by car than by plane!

So we struck out onto the road on Tuesday, to revisit the city we enjoyed living in for far too short a period.  In the late afternoon we arrived in Tulsa and settled into our hotel with plans to start early the next morning, to revisit a few old favorite places and see some new ones as well.

We drove past our old house, which looked much like it did, except for the addition of a new dormer in the attic area.  Hmph....  The front was also excessively festooned with flags, despite the length of time since the last two patriotic holidays.  :-P  My impression of people who over-display ANY indicator of alliegiance is a suspicion that someone doth protest too much....

Then we drove a few blocks away to view what i think was my husband's first object in our visit and thence the disappointment!  The Tulsa Rose Garden, when we moved away, was a Victorian delight!  But since we left, the bottom two or three terraces no longer held rose bushes, but perennial common flowers and a shocking number of weeds, even in the paths.  The fountains and pools were either dry or full of green, scummy water.  We were appalled!

Up toward the top of the slope, there were still beds of roses, but they seemed sadly neglected.  Obviously, many bushes had died and been removed, but not replaced.  The other plants, like big conifers, had weeds growing up under and within them.

We learned that the Garden now belongs to Woodward Park, which it adjoins.  I don't know if it did at the turn of the century when we moved away, but the upshot is that it looked INFINITELY better then.  Considering how stunning and glorious the azaleas of WP are, you'd think they'd at least TRY to do as good a job with the roses, but obviously they don't  care.

From the Tulsa Rose Garden we progressed to the newer (unimpressive) garden space connected and the "conservatory" (greenhouse) which did look well-managed, and then the arboretum where we used to walk our dogs (okay but not impressive either).

Then we crossed a parking-lot and entered the museum belonging to the Tulsa Historical Society, which hadn't been open when we lived there.  It was a good, but not great, museum which documented the significance of our first capitol of the petroleum industry -- good historical narratives, but not much by way of relics or material displays.  Tulsa, despite its small size, has a distinguished history of innovation -- we enjoyed the museum.

After lunch at the Wild Fork in Utica Square (which we had also patronized during our residence), we went to MY first choice of sites in the city worth visiting -- Philbrook.  NO disappointment there at all.

A little background -- my husband used to work for Phillips Petroleum, the creation of Frank Phillips (first class jerk, and i can tell you some interesting gossip about his wife, wink nudge...);  Philbrook was originally the Tulsa home of Frank's brother Waite, who seems to have married a woman of a great deal more class/character.  Frank's and Jane's "mansion" in Bartlesville is far from impressive, while one can see that Waite's and Genevieve's had some very nice touches ... and their garden is very impressive indeed!

Waite Phillips gave his house and art collection to the city of Tulsa, and also gave his property in New Mexico to the Boy Scouts (Philmont).  I don't know if Frank EVER gave anything to anybody.

After spending hours perusing plants, historical relics, and works of art, i was ready to relax for the rest of the afternoon!  This morning we checked out of our hotel and began a NEW adventure ... but more on that later....


  1. Such a shame about the rose bushes, they can look and smell so lovely.

    Look forward to reading about your "NEW adventure"

    All the best Jan

  2. There was a xeriscape garden and rose garden I was sad to notice had gone downhill: my yard. I was killing myself in Denver, so much that I neglected my place. I'm happy to say that isn't the case at my new house.

    In Tulsa, it might have been the case that a group of older enthusiasts took care of the garden, but couldn't continue to do so as time went on, and nobody took up the job.

  3. Fun times, travel and garden, can't beat that combo- IMO. Looking forward to some photos and more posts. Enjoy. :)

  4. I'll be lazy and answer all you ladies with an updated post! ;-)

  5. What to say? Tulsa is my birth place. When I visited a few years back I was as you are, disappointed. Maybe some new folks will take up the chore t keep the gardens in good repair?

    1. I DO hope they're going to rehab that place.... The sign looks like it's been up a few seasons, doesn't it, so they sure haven't lept into action!

      To me, it looks like they need to do a lot of masonry work as well as removing soil and bringing in new stuff. Maybe they're waiting for a gift or grant....

      I didn't know you were a Tulsan! :-) When we moved there in the late '90s, it seemed to us to have much in common with the KC area we knew, growing up, but on a smaller scale. It upset me horribly when J was transferred to Utah, even though i came to love SLC too.