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Lendonwood Gardens was founded in 1995 by Dr. Leonard Miller, a retired dentist in Grove, who designed and built the botanical garden that now attracts numerous visitors each year. Dr. Miller's interest in Japanese gardening and horticulture resulted in a unique blend of American and Asian gardening cultures at Lendonwood. The major plantings took about 18 months to complete, but significant numbers of plants are added each year as the Gardens evolve. Dr. Miller also developed Elk Ridge Garden.
The Gardens became a non-profit corporation, Lendonwood Gardens, Inc., in January 1997, when Dr. Miller donated the property for operation by the corporation.
The corporation by-laws state that the purpose of the gardens is to: Provide a non-profit, educational, scientific association for the public to stimulate activity and bring together those persons interested in gardening and botanical research; Provide horticultural information to members and the general public; Assist the members and the general public in botanical gardening and research; Assist beginners in organizing their botanical gardening efforts.
In December 2001, Lendonwood Gardens, Inc., purchased adjacent land and property from Dr. Miller to enhance the Gardens' plantings and educational services. The adjacent five acres, which included Dr. Miller's former home and surrounding gardens, allowed room for significantly expanded garden space and eventually may be used to help resolve some parking and visibility issues.
Also, located in this area of the Gardens is the Angel of Hope statue, which was placed here to commemorate lost loved ones, especially children. An annual memorial service is held at the statue on December 6.
Lendonwood Gardens is administered by an elected Board of Directors, whose mission is to ensure the continued success and development of the Gardens. The election of officers and Board members takes place each year at the Annual Meeting.
The continued success of Lendonwood Gardens can be attributed in large part to the dedication and contributions of many community-minded individuals, including those who serve on the Board of Directors. Lendonwood extends a warm "thank you" to each of them.
Other Members of the Board of Directors
Gary Daniels, Jim Corbridge, Melba Dagy, John Dunsworth, Ray Geis, Pauline Hale, Rick Miller, Jane Montgomery, Michele Norwood, Cindy Reynolds, Jim Reynolds, Larry Toigo, and Dave Torline.
October 2016 – President’s outlook for Lendonwood Gardens
In this my first letter to you as President of Lendonwood, I want to share with you some of my thoughts about the Gardens – past, present and future. I look forward to other opportunities to highlight this beautiful place. When I first moved to Oklahoma, I wanted to become involved in the community to fill the time I had as a recent retiree. I added my name to the volunteer sheet displayed at the Grove Home and Garden Show.
Initially, my time at Lendonwood was sporadic, at best. However, in 2007, I was called to come and help clean up the garden after the January ice storm. Arriving at the garden, I thought what I saw was an insurmountable task to remove all the tree limbs that covered each and every path throughout the garden.
Many others in the community also received the same call to help open the pathways for the coming spring season. Those answering the call assembled at the garden over a couple of Saturdays to remove all the broken limbs scattered throughout garden. I was impressed with community support and felt it would be a great place to continue giving back to the community. Ultimately, I was asked to take a seat on the Lendonwood Gardens Board of Directors.
Since that time I have seen the garden grow in numerous ways with the majority of the labor function being provided by our volunteers. Our volunteers (members and community organizations) help maintain and continue to grow the garden. In the spring and fall, we host a workday to open and winterize the garden. On these two occasions, we will have 30-plus Rotarians and another 30-plus members and individual volunteers helping with the myriad of tasks to continue Lendonwood’s growth.
To grow the garden, we have undertaken a project to provide access to our physically challenged visitors and to deal with mud after a rain. This project involves paving the primary pathways with cobblestone pavers. Again, our volunteers stepped up to the task at hand and completed all of the cobblestone pathways planned at that time. It is interesting that the volunteers installing the cobblestone paths would periodically call and ask when we would be laying more pavers in the garden. This continues to be a ‘work in progress’ for Lendonwood.
Due to a booming deer population in the wooded areas surrounding Lendonwood, it was necessary to have the main garden enclosed in some type of fencing. In the spring, the main garden was a large outdoor “salad bar” for the deer. Much of the fencing was plastic – attached to anything that would support its weight. This had become unsightly with all the various types of wild vegetation growing along and in the fencing. We now have the main garden completely enclosed with a six-foot-high fence, thanks to the community and Lendonwood volunteers.
Funding for Lendonwood comes from a number of sources, such as Individual and Family memberships, gate receipts ($5.00 Adult/$3.00 student), fish food sales, plant sales, and facility rentals for meetings and weddings. Lendonwood hosts an annual fundraiser, providing a great social event and dinner. The gala also features a silent auction with many items donated from community businesses. Grants from the Grove Rotary Foundation have been very helpful in enhancing many areas of the garden. We are also fortunate that individuals and corporations have provided financial support to Lendonwood to make the garden a pleasant experience for all who visit the garden. These individual and corporate donors are recognized with various signage along the walkways. Look for the signs as you stroll through the garden.
In summary, I believe Lendonwood Gardens would not exist as it is today without the financial and volunteer support of our community. Let me express our deepest gratitude to all who have participated in helping Lendonwood Gardens grow to what it is today. Return visits to Lendonwood are a must to capture the changes in the garden. You will find not only all the different flora, but also the many enhancements/upgrades that we are making to the entire garden structure. Come see Lendonwood – again and again!
President, Lendonwood Board of Directors