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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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Linda Workman Smith
By Garden of Cross Timbers
Aug. 15, 2013 4:10 p.m.

By Linda Workman Smith
Picture this: August 13, 2013, a rainy Tuesday, 7:00AM, two acres of my own personal paradise west of Shawnee, Oklahoma.
The garage door had just rattled to a close after the departure of Sweet Hubby. He was on his way to the job that supports my gardening addiction and all that this entails.
Sitting in my recliner on my Shiatsu Perfect Fit Massage cushion—which plays a huge part in my continuing dirt digging endeavors--cappuccino on the table to my right, it occurred to me that my partner in crime, Becky Carlberg had been carrying the blog site solo for a while. “Hummmm”, thought I, “Guess I’d better go outside and see what’s blooming on my little piece of paradise.”
I intended to be outside for just “a couple of minutes” to take pictures for my blog post so saw no need to change out of my pink Tweety bird pajamas. A fine mist was falling when I opened the back door thus I was almost bowled over by two anxious German shepherds coming through the mud room/laundry area on their way to the garage; over several years’ time this has become their “safe haven” during thunder storms or fireworks. I gazed at them with pity, thinking, “Where is your spirit of adventure? You don’t know what you’re missing. The thunder isn’t THAT loud and it’s barely raining.” After getting the cowardly dogs settled in the garage—with fresh water and an oscillating fan-- I proceeded on with my task. Outside, as I strolled along brick pathways that Sweet Hubby and I constructed last year, I thought I needed to exercise the gray matter as well as the body. Each time I noticed a plant I would think about how it made its way into my garden:
The winter honeysuckle just off the back patio came from Betty; smoke tree, burning bush, bright pink peony--Linda B; Becky Daisies, Hellebores-- Tom; catmint, salvia, heliotrope-- Joan; hardy geranium—Bobbie R (by way of Gerry); inland sea oats—also Gerry; castor bean—Virginia; toad lilies, white and pink oxalis, hardy red hibiscus—Beulah; oak leaf hydrangea—Cathy; French hollyhock, several colors Rose of Sharon, forsythia—Mama…….
This was all within 30 feet of the back door and is only a small portion of my jungle. Further out there are many more “gimme” plants.
Rain began to pick up a little and as my PJs were becoming transparent I went back inside—no, not to stay—to put on my red plaid flannel robe; I wasn’t finished with my outdoor therapy secession nor my picture taking. Returning outside I commenced checking on my edibles; picked a few fall cucumbers—found squash bugs on them. ERRRRRR! Hate those squash bugs.
But…Oh Joy, tomatillos are ready to harvest a few; want to make salsa Verde this year. Picking more than I could carry in my hands, I went in search of a container. I fought my way through wet wisteria and trumpet vines gone wild across the top of a pergola fronting my greenhouse. From my potting area I appropriated a large red plastic bowl—banished from kitchen duty due to leakage—and returned for much anticipated tomatillos and thought briefly of going inside; but realizing that I couldn’t get any wetter than I already was I continued on my foray checking for more edibles and as always keeping an eye out for problems within paradise while mentally cataloging more of my plants origins: Old double wash tub recycled as planter, beautiful cream colored peonies, Autumn clematis—Sweet Hubby’s Aunt Bonnie; cannas, daylilies, irises, pampas grass—Lavoe; more irises, lilies, hardy orange—Betty(again); lime tree, lemonade tree, Madagascar palm—Jane; Zebra grass—Teresa; Chitalpa tree, magnolia tree, Stella D’oro black-eyed daylilies, mock orange, spirea—Ted; and the list goes on and on.
With thunder rumbling ever closer I began to think the cowardly dogs may have the right idea. I could imagine being found—extra crispy due to a lightning strike—in my pink Tweety bird pajamas and red plaid flannel robe with my curly hair standing straight up on my head or perhaps burned off completely. Oh the humiliation!
If by chance my body should be found someday on my little two acres of paradise after my spirit has move on, I hope I’m wearing my comfy Ariat work boots, my best holey socks, favorite carpenter jeans with my preferred small pruners tucked into the right side pocket, an old cotton T shirt, a cast off long sleeved light-weight shirt, too shabby to wear out in public and a beat up straw hat snugged down tight; if fate/destiny is kind, I’ll have my most beloved dirt diggin’ hand tool clutch in my right hand.
Should this circumstance come about, I hope it is on a rainy day or the 4th of July so that the cowardly dogs will be in the garage. I know they like me…maybe even love me, but if I’m awfully late with their chow and they are really, really hungry…well, who knows.
And with that interesting thought in mind…
As always, happy gardening,
Linda Workman Smith

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