A visit to Emily and Gil Daniels’ gardens, perched over White River in Crows Nest, was usually just a phone call away. But her death Nov. 30, 2012 at 82 and Gil’s move to Ohio ends the opportunity to tour one of the best private gardens in the city for Master Gardeners, garden clubs, plant societies, garden writers, photographers and others. Oklahoma Gardening’s profile of the Daniels’ garden is on You Tube.
“Emily and Gil were always extremely generous in offering visitors tours of their lovely property, explaining how certain areas were developed and how they came by the unbelievable number of intriguing specimens so carefully and artfully showcased,” say Mark Zelonis, the Ruth Lilly Deputy Director of Environmental & Historic Preservation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Emily’s passion for plants was nourished every few years by a daylong horticulture symposium held at the IMA, says Kelly Frank, a horticulturist who was the Daniels’ gardener for 10 years.
“The programs always had some new plant we had to have or some new perspective on the garden that she fancied. It was not uncommon to leave after a day of pure plant talk and want to rework the garden,” she says.
The symposium’s timing coincided with a strong yearning for relief from winter doldrums and Emily’s Feb. 16 birthday, Frank says. “Our small, but tight-knit horticulture community converged for a day of fellowship, learning, yearning, lunch and feeding our passion.”
To honor the longtime supporter, the IMA’s Division of Environmental & Historic Preservation will launch the annual Emily N. Daniels Horticultural Symposium with Shady Savvy on Feb. 14.
“As with most gardeners, Emily felt she was always learning new things, and as a result, was a constant presence at our previous horticulture symposia and lectures. We appreciate her longtime support and are honored to have her name associated with our new special event,” Zelonis says.