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By Garden of Cross Timbers
Hello, I am Becky Carlberg, gardening enthusiast from Southeast Oklahoma. I have degrees in Biology from Eastern Oklahoma State College and Oklahoma State University. Teaching, research work, and competing in art shows then followed. I earned my ...
Gardens of Cross Timbers

Hello, I am Becky Carlberg, gardening enthusiast from Southeast Oklahoma. I have degrees in Biology from Eastern Oklahoma State College and Oklahoma State University. Teaching, research work, and competing in art shows then followed. I earned my Master’s Degree in Plant Pathology from OSU and continued graduate work on a Doctorate of Botany at the University of Oklahoma.

With my family, we twice had an opportunity to live in Europe. We were in England for five years and then later in Germany for seven years. It was an excellent education for our sons. I returned to gardening, writing and art, became a Master Gardener, as well as an Oklahoma certified Master Naturalist. I am the gardener in charge of the Shawnee Japanese Peace Garden, a member of the Deep Fork Audubon Society, and now call my five acre Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Oklahoma Wildscape outside Shawnee home.

My name is Linda Workman Smith. The first step of my gardening journey began in the hills northwest of Van Buren, Arkansas, where my parents—both from farming families—raised seven children.

This is not to say that I’ve always had a love for gardening although over the years I’ve managed to keep my hands in the dirt. In 2000, my husband’s employment brought us to Shawnee where we settled on two acres west of town. Being unemployed for the first time in many years—and planning to stay that way—I started gardening on a small scale.

I have been a member of the Multi-County Master Gardener Association for several years and thoroughly enjoy being in the organization. I now have many flower beds and I’ve expanded my gardens to include lots of vegetable varieties, several fruit trees, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes. Every year I try to plant something different. I don’t grow a lot of any one thing, but a little bit of lots of things!

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Red Cedar
Sooner Plant Farm
Red Cedar "Taylor"
By Garden of Cross Timbers
March 27, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Becky Emerson Carlberg
The first Arbor Day was held in Nebraska, April 10, 1872. Arbor Day was first observed in Oklahoma in1901. The Territorial Legislature told the school children of Oklahoma it was their responsibility and duty to celebrate Arbor Day every year. In 1982, Oklahoma declared that it would observe an “Arbor Week” every year. It would always be the last week in March. This week, March 24-30, is Arbor Week in Oklahoma. Go plant a tree!
Was it cold enough last night? How did your blooming trees do? My Bradford pear close to the house was full of bees today, but the one further to the northwest and very exposed has a lovely brown hue….and few bees. My thermometer registered a balmy 22 degrees at about 7am. Time will tell about the apricots, also in full bloom, but my peaches have held off, keeping most their buds tightly wrapped. Of course, the buds could just fall off in a few days. Hope not. There might be a correlation between drought conditions and damage accrued during very cold nights. Damage to buds and flowers has much to do with ice crystal formation inside the structures. If the plant is conservative in water usage even during the spring fling, the blooms may have slightly less water and crystal formation. Some might tolerate some freezing or sustained below freezing temperatures. Maybe.
Preliminary clean-up of the Japanese Garden was done last week. It was windy and cold, but the cannas and sedum were separated and replanted. Excess leaves and debris were sacked, and some weeding was done until the fingers froze up. The row of red cedar trees to the north have gaps where other trees have died. My brilliant idea was to dig up a few small trees this past Sunday and space them out between the established trees. If that went well, others from my neighborhood would be added the next day or two.
I have discovered an area of linear, Lombardy poplar-like cedars outside of Seminole. Possibly they are of the same variety as the Oklahoma Proven cedar Juniperus virginiana “Taylor”. “Taylor” was discovered in Taylor, Nebraska as a red cedar that preferred to grow in a narrow column, unlike its relatives that fight to become the biggest Christmas tree balls ever. I think “Taylor” has some kissing cousins in Oklahoma. The photo was taken at Sooner Plant Farm in northeastern Oklahoma where Taylor family members are for sale. Next fall may be a good time to rescue a few Okie Taylors from the fence lines. I say this because digging the holes for the three cedars this past Sunday took hours.
During World War II, the runways and parking areas for airplanes extended well into the Japanese Garden area. Many were plowed up and removed, but the area was leveled using all available rubble. The first hole we dug took 45 minutes and chunks of cement and rocks impeded progress. The second hole had some bright red bricks and asphalt. The third hole hosted granite and a large piece of concrete topped by a layer of asphalt. That was it. No more trees on Sunday. It will be interesting to see the survival rate of these 3 new little trees.
Head count for plants in the Japanese Garden: 7 crapemyrtles, 7 Austrian pines, 2 Japanese pines, 3 red mulberries, 6 Yuccas, 3 hackberries, several scale infested elms, one mimosa, 3 red buds, 2 oaks, 2 boxwoods, 2 Bradford pears, three stands of Arundo donax (reed grass), 3 groups of irises, at least 8 yellow lantanas (if they come back from last fall), 3 stands of Artemesia (they are attempting a coupe in the border), one Chitalpa tree, two Desert Willows, one corkscrew willow, one white willow, at least 3 Autumn Sages, numerous cannas, 4 possible slash pines, one north row of red cedars along the airport fence and one south row of red cedars behind Pit Stop (15 established trees in each row), several bunches of assorted tall grasses, one maple, one Photinia, one Golden Rain tree, several nandinas, one sycamore, one plum and a partridge in a pear tree. Just checking to see if you are still with me. The plants were all regularly watered for months on end last year. We hope for more rain this year!
The track around the garden has been paved. The soil is being spread along the asphalt edges. The end.

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