LENDONWOOD OPENS WELCOME CENTER, GIFT SHOP FOR 2022 SEASON
The new Welcome Center and Gift Shop at Lendonwood Gardens started its second season in good form on Wednesday, March 16, with a busy day of garden admissions and gift sales. Shirley Daggett, Center coordinator, said good weather contributed to a great re-opening after a three-month winter hiatus.
“Our volunteers were just as happy to be back staffing the shop and greeting visitors as the visitors were to get outside and enjoy nature,” Daggett said. “We have lots going on in the garden right now, in preparation for peak tourist season, and it feels good to see all the activity.”
Construction of the Welcome Center was completed in summer 2021, and its doors opened to the public in June. It was closed for the winter season from mid-December to mid-March. Located next to the garden’s front gate at 1308 Har-Ber Road, the Center features a gift shop, restrooms and a seminar room, as well as a back porch for relaxation and an outdoor plant sales rack.
Daggett said one of the benefits of the new Welcome Center is the opportunity for greeting visitors, engaging with them, and answering any questions they might have. “In the past, guests entered the garden on their own, paying for admission on the honor system, and possibly never encountering a Lendonwood representative,” she said. “Now there are some friendly faces to welcome them to the garden.”
Other advantages include the chance to sell memberships, which help bolster the garden’s budget, and to encourage local visitors to become Lendonwood volunteers. Memberships range from $30.00 for the Individual level, $50.00 for Family level, $150.00 for Friend level, $500.00 for Sponsor level, and $1,500.00 for Corporate level.
The Gift Shop offers a wide range of hand-made items on consignment by local artists, artisans, woodworkers, carvers, photographers and more. “We have so many talented people in our community, such as master woodturner Bill Koch of Jay,” Daggett said. “We are proud to help them showcase and sell their artworks.”
In addition, the shop sells high-quality merchandise, such as garden flags, door décor, children’s puzzles and building kits, pots and planters, among others. Daggett added, “And, of course, we have Lendonwood t-shirts for sale!”
Aside from selling shop items, volunteers especially enjoy interacting with visiting children. “First, the young ones are asked if they would like to have a butterfly stamped on their hand. Then we make sure the kids know about the opportunity to feed our large group of Koi fish,” Daggett said. “The Koi Pond is a very popular stop for everyone, especially children.”
Young visitors also are treated to a scavenger-type game that invites them to find specific garden highlights, such as a Zen garden, Japanese Pavilion, waterfall, and others. Participants are awarded a prize, such as a magnet or sticker.
The garden’s new Monarch Waystation provides another learning opportunity for all ages. Currently, interpretive signs and a paved walkway are being added to the butterfly-friendly flower bed.
The Welcome Center and Gift Shop is open Wednesday through Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The garden itself remains open every day from dawn to dusk year-round. When the Welcome Center is closed, visitors may enter through the front gate, paying admission at the red cash box just inside the gate.
The eight-acre botanic garden includes extensive collections of azaleas and rhododendrons, daylilies, Japanese maples, peonies, dogwoods and more. Other highlights include the Oklahoma Garden, with its “Oklahoma Proven” examples of flowers, trees and shrubs; and the Angel of Hope Statue and Garden, a place for quiet reflection in a woodland setting.