The Linnaeus Statue and Outdoor Classroom
Visitors to the Linnaeus Garden are welcomed by a life-size bronze statue of the garden’s namesake - Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus was an 18th Century Swedish naturalist who developed the system of plant identification still used today.
The statute of Carl Linnaeus was created for the garden by Tulsa sculptor Rosalind Cook. She used the lost wax method of bronzing, a painstaking process that began with her creation of a clay sculpture and ended many steps later with the finished bronze statute.
In order to create a three-dimensional, life-size figure, Cook envisioned the stature of a man who spent many hours tramping the fields and valleys in search of plants. She gave Linnaeus a contemplative air and amazing detail, such as the ruffle of his shirt, the folds of his jacket and the intricate pattern of his buttons. She posed him with arms open, holding a book in one hand and two stems of Gaillardia, Oklahoma’s state wildflower, in his other hand.
Gaillardia is better known as “Blanket Flower,” and it is the 2007 Oklahoma Proven annual/perennial of the year. Gaillardia makes an excellent garden flower, taking full sun and well-drained soil, and tolerating Oklahoma’s long, hot summers.
The wall behind the statute of Carl Linnaeus contains ten ceramic tiles by Tulsa artist Cynthia Harris, each depicting a different flower.
Just beyond the statute of Carl Linnaeus is the outdoor classroom. It is shaded by cedars and often graced with a breeze, making it cool even on summer days. It has benches, a table and chairs and a wide wall perfect for sitting.
The outdoor classroom is the highest point in the garden and from there, you get a birds-eye view of the rest of the garden, including the water feature, the greenhouse, and the Linnaeus Learning Center. It is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the garden. Come see for yourself.
By Patty Himes