Oklahoma Gardening School: The New American Prairie Garden

Presented by Devon Energy Corp.

Was held Saturday, March 12, 9am – 4pm in the Devon Auditorium. Thank you for attending. Here’s a look back at the agenda. See you next year! 


Sponsored by Meinders Foundation, Calvert’s Plant Interiors,
Minick Materials and Richard & Kitty Champlin

With the trend (which we love!) of being kind to the earth in beautiful ways, the prairie garden is the perfect answer to the question of how to grow a beautiful and sustainable garden in Oklahoma’s rough climate. Before the 1960’s, the typical American home garden was characterized by swaths of green lawn, rows of green shrubs and the occasional flower. Then something great happened – creative geniuses Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden came on the scene and created the “New American Garden” design style. This style is characterized by an abundance of ornamental grasses and perennials, the plants that make up the Oklahoma prairie. It incorporates sustainability, ecology, and beauty. Join us for an exciting day of exploring this unique style and learn how to incorporate it into your own garden not only, because they’re beautiful, but low maintenance as well. You can’t possibly miss it!


8:30 – 9am – Breakfast, Registration and Book Signing

9- 9:10am – 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 -10:10am – The New American Prairie Garden
Lisa Delplace, CEO, Oehme, van Sweden and Horticulture Enthusiast

Discover the story of the development of the prairie garden. Over 40 years after Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden pioneered the New American Garden style, OvS’ work continues to embody sustainable and ecological practices, while focusing on human connectivity and beauty. Lisa Delplace will illustrate how this revolutionary style looks today as it relates to the prairie and other ecosystems throughout the United States.

10:10 – 10:25am – Break

10:25 – 11:25am – Great Plants for the Oklahoma Prairie Garden
Bill Farris, Owner, Prairie Wind Nursery, Prairie Plant Lover and Expert

Bill Farris will unveil the mysteries of how prairie plants grow and will give us tips on maintaining them in our ever-changing Oklahoma climate. He’ll focus on planting materials, specifically native plants and grasses, and will touch on fertility management as well as unique irrigation strategies for successful backyard habitats. Bill will then share his favorite native plants that are sure to succeed in your garden!

11:25 – 11:35am – Q&A

11:35am – 1pm – Box Lunch at Myriad Botanical Gardens or on your own

1 – 2pm – The Urban PrairieSM Garden: How to Cultivate (Your True) Nature at Home
Jamie Csizmadia, Owner, Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens, Landscape Architect and Fascinating Gal

Often overlooked and underestimated, Oklahoma’s amazingly beautiful local biome, Prairie, has the ability to exponentially revive our personal and planetary health and wellbeing. But before we thunder out to our yards, armed with native plants and beneficent intentions for growing an indigenous Urban Prairie Garden at home, we’re best suited to identify our “True Nature”. In this presentation, Jamie will guide attendees through Olthia’s original brand method for creating successful indigenous gardens at home.

2 – 3pm – If you Build It…
Marilyn Stewart, Owner, Wild Things Nursery, She Brakes For Butterflies

If you plant it, will they come? Are some plants better at attracting pollinators than others? Are some pollinators more desirable than others? Can you customize your garden to attract certain pollinators? Marilyn Stewart will explore the answers to these questions by using the rich and diverse native prairie plants of Oklahoma as a guide.

3- 3:30pm – Q&A, wrap up and book signings



About the speakers

Lisa Delplace

Lisa Delplace

Lisa Delplace is an internationally known Landscape Architect. She is a registered Landscape Architect and holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science degree in Park Planning and Design from Michigan State University.  Extensive knowledge of ecological processes and her deep commitment to their artistic execution result in a strong sculptural relationship between architecture and landscape. Of her many impressive accomplishments some recent ones include roof terraces, green roofs, and vertical green screens in Washington DC, New York, and Chicago. Other works include the sculpted shoreline of the Gardens of the Great Basin, the Plant Conservation Science Center, the Trellis Bridge and the Cove at the children’s aquatic learning center at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Ms. Delplace’s planning and design accomplishments also include the University of Maryland Facilities Master Plan; the Plant Science Campus and West Collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden; a fourteen-acre United States Embassy site in Southeast Asia, a six-acre United States Embassy site in Kathmandu, Nepal, and a 500-acre National Conservation Training Center campus for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service near Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


Bill Farris

Bill Farris

Bill Farris, owner and operator of Prairie Wind Nursery, has been involved in agricultural enterprises for over forty years. Bill is continually motivated to the preservation of our unique Oklahoma heritage through the incorporation of native plants. Prairie Wind Nursery specializes in native plant material including unique herbs, perennials and ground covers. Exciting new products include a line of native trees and native shrubs for future prairie garden enthusiasts. Prairie Wind Nursery is located just five miles east of the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, Oklahoma.   


Marilyn Stewart

Marilyn Stewart

One of Marilyn Stewart’s first memories is watching skipper butterflies on her mother’s zinnias in her OKC garden. From an early age she tagged along with grandparents on spring trips to farm stores and nurseries after which they’d plant flowers and bulbs they would buy for her. Upon realizing that the caterpillars she was squishing on the dill grown for a neighbor became beautiful butterflies, she began to collect and raise as many species as possible. While she has no formal horticultural training she did work (and learn) for several years at a local greenhouse/garden center. The more Marilyn  learned about our native insects and birds, the more she realized the importance of native plants and the part they play in preserving biodiversity. In 2001, her husband (an accountant with a ‘real job’) went way out of his comfort zone and built a greenhouse for her and in 2002 they started Wild Things Nursery, specializing in native and wildlife beneficial plants with an emphasis on larval host plants for butterflies and moths.


Jamie Csizmadia

Jamie Csizmadia

Jamie Csizmadia – Landscape Architect, Ecoregional Specialist, & Intuitive Consultant – is the founder and president of OLTHIA, a garden design firm based in Oklahoma, the heart of the Central Great Plains. With over 15 years of experience as a landscape architect, project manager, and organizational leader, Jamie has creatively steered landscape projects, businesses, homeowners, and neighborhoods in efforts to implement earth-friendly solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, and benefit the land and our natural heritage. Her strong comprehension of sustainability practices, combined with her passion for indigenous landscapes and habitat, have been paramount to her success in creating vibrant gardens and reconnecting clients with the world outside their back door. If we’re getting formal here, Jamie received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Texas A&M Univ. She’s a registered landscape architect in the State of Oklahoma and a LEED Accredited Professional. On a personal note, she loves to hike trails, explore the outdoors, run the backroads, photograph native plants, and discover new weeds to eat.