The History of OKG
In 1975, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) joined with Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service horticulturist Joe Maxson to produce a half-hour program called Oklahoma Gardening. Joe carried plants grown at Oklahoma State University to OETA's Oklahoma City studios where he demonstrated basic gardening techniques. Joe was soon followed by horticulture Professor Raymond Kays, who hosted the show for five years.
In 1980, Extension horticulturist Ray Campbell began hosting Oklahoma Gardening from his backyard in Stillwater, since advances in video technology allowed the show to be taped in advance.
When horticulture professor Paul Mitchell became host in 1986, the show featured gardens and arboretums across the state. That year, Oklahoma Gardening was given a parcel of land west of the OSU campus in Stillwater.
In 1987, new hosts Sue Gray and Jim Gallott, both Extension horticulturists, converted this overgrown research plot into demonstration gardens, teaching viewers how to build raised beds, plant a fruit orchard, install a new lawn, design flower beds and much more.
Steve Dobbs, Extension Consumer horticulturist, took over as the show's seventh host in 1990 and a full-time garden manager, Allen Jobes was hired. During Steve's tenure as host of Oklahoma Gardening he established the OKG Ambassadors, a volunteer group to assist with the planting and promotion of the studio gardens. An irrigation system, formal garden, shade-loving perennial flower beds, water gardens, a butterfly garden, and a garden railway were added.
In 1995, Sue Gray took over as interim host of Oklahoma Gardening and in 1996 Steve Owens became the studio gardens manager and Brenda Simons (later becomes Brenda Sanders) became the Host of Oklahoma Gardening. David Hillock came on board as a consumer horticulturist in 1997. Additions to The Botanic Garden in 1997 included an alpine rock garden and a Japanese Tea Ceremony garden.
Steve Owens became the ninth host of Oklahoma Gardening in May of 2001 with Laura Payne later becoming the OKG Garden Manager. Additions to The Botanic Garden included the Japanese garden, the patio garden, the chicken moat, the lotus garden, the sun perennial garden, and the Oklahoma Proven garden. The herb garden was also redesigned during this time.