Skip to main content


Open Main MenuClose Main Menu

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 of 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.


In 2007 Kim Toscano became the 10th Oklahoma Gardening host. Utilizing her knowledge of entomology Kim worked toward highlighting low-impact methods of gardening by reducing chemical inputs and encouraging natural pest management. 


After managing public gardens, Oklahoma native Casey Hentges returned to OSU and began hosting in 2015.  She developed the Backyard Demonstration Garden to show how gardening can fit anyone's lifestyle and continues to share her passion of gardening each week on Oklahoma Gardening.


Celebrating 20 Years


Host History

    The History of Oklahoma Gardening Hosts
  Joe Maxson headshot. Joe Maxson, the first host of Oklahoma Gardening.
  Raymond Kays headshot. Raymond Kays, hosted the show for 5 years.
  Ray Campbell headshot.  Ray Campbell, OKG host from 1980-1985.
  Paul Mitchell headshot. Paul Mitchell, 1986 OKG host.

Sue Gray headshot.

Sue Gray and Jim Gallott (pictured below), 1987 hosts, converted research plot into demonstration gardens teaching Oklahomans gardening & horticulture concepts.

Jim Gallott headshot.

Jim Gallott, 1987 OKG co-host with Sue Gray (pictured above).
  Steve Dobbs headshot. Steve Dobbs, established the Ambassador volunteer program.
  Brenda Sanders headshot. Brenda Sanders was host from 1997-2000.
  Steve Owens headshot. Steve Owens, host of OKG from 2001-2006.
  Kim Toscano professional photo. Kim Toscano, OKG 2007-2015.
  Casey Hentges professional photo. Casey Hentges, host of OKG 2015 - Present.
Back To Top