Gardening with Micki: Cottonwood variety shed-free | Lifestyles

I had no idea when we planted a Seedless Cottonwood in the north side of the back lawn, it would grow to tower over our home and even the small storage cottage, with an attached patio we designed and built.

But the small Seedless Cottonwood grew and grew. Now, it is one of the most amazing attractions in the spacious back lawn. I think it’s the best of the seven trees my long-time friend and landscape architect John Fluitt suggested. The Chinese Pistache also grew quite tall. Both are my favorite trees in what was once a barren back lawn. Now it looks like a small forest, framing the roofed back patio, even towering over the nearby attached storage cottage.

It was a Sunday afternoon in the early fall of 2012 when I invited John and another long-time Oklahoma City friend, photographer Terry Zinn to come for lunch and a tour of the then barren ground. John stood in the middle of the yard and just said, “Oh my! Oh my! This yard needs lots of help!”

Terry took photographs. John went back to OKC and designed an exquisite and very detailed garden plan. I still consider it a work of art. I had it framed to hang in my home office. When John visited recently, he was so pleased with the growth of the Seedless Cottonwood. It now towers over the garden and is much taller than the house and storage cottage, which I plan to turn into a tiny guest space.

Having created three gardens for three different previous homes in OKC, John was influential in their design and growth. I trusted his judgment about what to plant when and where. After all, he has devoted his life and career to turning dirt into magical gardens. As for me, I’ve spent my life moving words around on paper.

I was familiar with most of the plants John suggested for previous gardens, but the Seedless Cottonwood was a surprise for my current home. Traditional Cottonwoods are notorious for shedding everywhere! Of course, I had no idea it would tower over my home or my 5 foot 4-inch height. It is a carefree plant; no bugs bother it. To me, it is a magical, majestic tree.

Micki J. Shelton is a Muskogee native and master gardener.

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