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Oklahoma Gardening School presented by Devon Energy Corp.

The Not Too Big Garden

Saturday, March 14, 9am – 4pm

  • Devon Auditorium
  • $35 members; $60 nonmembers; $20 students with ID; optional box lunch
  • Registration requested by Tuesday, March 10
  • Register online here.
  • Become a Myriad Gardens member and get half off registration cost!

Following the success of “The Not So Big House,” by Sarah Susanka, an idea was sparked that less really can be more. This workshop focuses on the idea that there can be more satisfaction and freedom in creating a smaller oasis which requires less expense and labor and allows more time to enjoy the beautiful space you’ve created. Whether you have a small space or a large garden but long for a more intimate setting, this workshop will teach you how to create a retreat you’ll love. Join us for a full day of talks that will offer design tips, inspirational examples, and plant selection recommendations for making the most of a smaller garden so that rather than being a drawback, it becomes something to celebrate.

Additional Sponsors

Calvert’s Plant Interiors
Kitty and Richard Champlin
Precure Nursery and Garden Center
Total Environment

Minick Materials


The Schedule

8:30 – 9am

  • Breakfast, Registration & Book signing



  • Welcome

Make your way into the beautiful Devon Auditorium and enjoy a brief welcome and overview of the day from Myriad Botanical Gardens Executive Director Maureen Heffernan.


9:10 – 10:15Julie Messervy Pic

  • “Outside the Not Too Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home”
    Julie Moir Messervy, Landscape Designer, Author, Lecturer

In this presentation, you will discover how to bring house and garden into perfect harmony by learning the design principles needed to extend the presence of home onto the land. Julie will share her vision for composing landscapes of beauty and meaning. Her talk is composed of four parts: embracing the habitat of home; composing journeys; linking the inside with the out; and crafting the elements of nature. You’ll enjoy fascinating ideas and images of beautiful and doable landscapes.


10:15 – 10:25 – Break


10:25 – 11:25  Linda Vater pic

  • Design Examples of Not Too Big Oklahoma Gardens
    Linda Vater, Garden Designer, Blogger, Magazine Writer, TV Personality

Excited to create a beautiful oasis but not sure where to start in your small yard? Linda Vater, will delight us all with beautiful images of small gardens around Oklahoma, including her own. Linda’s garden has been featured in numerous national magazines (including Southern Living) and gardening books. Linda will share tips on getting started, whether you’re starting with a hot mess or a blank slate. She will discuss why the gardens she’s sharing are so pleasing and inviting and ways to recreate that feeling in your own yard.

11:25 – 11:35 – Q&A

11:35 – 1:00pm

  • Box lunch at Myriad Botanical Gardens or on your own


1:00 – 2:00pmSteve Bieberich Pic

  • Awesome Plants for the Not Too Big Oklahoma Garden
    Steve Bieberich, Owner, Sunshine Nursery

Learn about unique trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that will fit nicely into a small garden and into Oklahoma’s challenging climate. Steve Biebrich has traveled the world in search of the best and most beautiful plant varieties for Oklahoma. In this talk, Steve will discuss his favorite plants for the not-so-big garden.


2:00 – 3:00pmJulia Laughlin 2

  • Julie & Julia” on The Not Too Big Backyard Fruit Orchard
    Julie Moir Messervy  and Julia Laughlin

In this talk, Julie Messervy will first discuss creative ways to incorporate edible plants into the landscape. She’ll share examples from several inspiring landscapes she designed and will provide tips for doing this in your own back yard. Julia Laughlin will then share fruit trees, fruiting shrubs, berries, veggies and herbs for Oklahoma. She will discuss the different methods for growing these plants, as well as the most reliable and ornamental cultivars for Oklahoma, and the best practices for maintaining them.


3:00 – 3:15

  • Q&A – Wrap Up and book signings


About the speakers

MBG_people_julieJulie Moir Messervy is the Principal Designer of JMMDS, a landscape architecture and design firm in Saxtons River, Vermont, creators of parks, botanical gardens, and residential gardens around the country. Her best-known work, the three-acre Toronto Music Garden, was designed in collaboration with noted cellist Yo-Yo Ma and received the Leonardo da Vinci award for innovation and creativity. She is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Award of Distinction from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.She is a distinguished lecturer and the author of eight books on landscape design, including “Outside the Not So Big House,” which Julie co-authored with Sarah Susanka. She has written numerous articles, including the popular, long-running “Inspired Design” column for Fine Gardening magazine, and is currently a guest blogger on the Fine Gardening website. Her mission is to use digital technologies to bring great design to anyone, anywhere. She created the Home Outside online design service and Home Outside Palette landscape design app to do just that.


MBG-OKGardeningSchool_SBieberichSteve Bieberich established the Sunshine Farm & Nursery in 1982 with his wife Sherry. He is one of Oklahoma’s best known propagators and growers of ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials. Steve began his career in the nursery business while still in high school, pursued his botanical passion in college, and is now a leading expert on the native flora of Oklahoma. He has traveled, learning about plants around America and in China and Tibet. He is a frequent lecturer and seminar leader. He has traveled the country and the world collecting seeds of hardy trees to try in western Oklahoma and has a large collection of elm species, his favorite, one of which has been named and patented for distribution in the United States, ‘Emerald Sunshine’(Ulmus propinqua ‘JFS-Bieberich’).


MBG_people_juliaJulia Laughlin owns and operates “Bella Verde Gardens,” a small naturally-grown fruit and vegetable business in Choctaw, Oklahoma. Julia recently retired from OSU-OKC, after teaching a variety of subjects, and arranging and guiding international conservation and garden study tours for her students and other interested individuals since 1992. Julia speaks on numerous gardening and horticulture topics throughout the state.  She has written and published many gardening articles including a weekly garden column in the “Oklahoma Gazette.” She is currently the host of “The Garden Party,” a radio talk show on KTOK 1000 am radio on Saturday mornings. She continues to lead international conservation and garden study tours and will lead a group to see the gardens of London and Paris in 2016.


MBG-OKGardeningSchool_LVaterLinda Vater has lived and gardened at her 1935 English Tudor home in Oklahoma City for the past twenty four years. She blogs about the garden world she shares with her three handsome men, her uber-patient husband and two wonderful sons. She’s a self-taught garden designer who obsesses over garden spaces, especially her own potager. Here she grows fresh food and flowers for home, and spends much time writing, pondering and over-analyzing life, books, friends and family (she’s one of ten children, so she has lots to ponder). Linda also regularly appears on the local NBC news affiliate, KFOR, as the ‘Garden Guru’ and speaks frequently on topics all things gardening. She contributes regularly to HGTV magazine and Southern Living. Linda’s garden has been featured in numerous local and national magazines and has been on more garden tours than she can count!