“I love turtles,” he said. “They remind me of me. I’m slow, but I do get there.”
And so you enter the feather-like garden of the Messersmith family on Ora Street and the vision of Randy Messersmith.
Through the arched shadetree trellis lie several miniature garden paradises. The long front yard is filled with small garden areas, each one connected to the other by stone filled paths and a carpet of grass. Each garden is filled with tufts of flowers and grasses and plants giving everything a soft, watercolor look.
Ten years ago, Randy and wife, Kathy, moved to Pryor from Omaha, Neb. He was seeking a different life; a better life for his family that included a safer environment for his three daughters.
“When I moved here, the yard was completely bare,” Messersmith said. “I decided I wanted a hobby where I could see the results.”
He decided to garden and began to read books on the subject.
Little by little, his garden began to take shape.
Several colors of irises rise in full bloom from each oasis, each one bearing a name. Some bear their commercial name. Others are nicknamed by Messersmith.
“I call that one Blue Jean, because it’s the same color as a faded pair of blue jeans,” he said. “That one is called Immortality.”
The newest addition, a bright yellow Iris, he thinks he will call Banana Peel, he said, because of the white spots that center each yellow petal.
Several decorative items and benches are placed in the garden.
The antique plow, the wagonwheel, the waterspout ... all items salvaged by Messersmith at various dump sites.
The stones in one area of his path were junked when nearby First Baptist Church tore down previous homes to make way for a building expansion.
The spot where those stones begin in the path features a cross.
Messersmith walked without rush through his garden, his shoes stepping out to touch a certain stone, or brick, Each rock has two stories to tell.
The first was how it came to be in the garden. The second story is the one each tells to Randy.
“This brick is from my hometown,” he said. “Over there are rocks my friend brought me back from Mexico.”
He moved through the flowers, picking weeds, dead leaves, then moving on.
“I’m not the neatest gardener, but then again, I like it a little wild,” he said softly, with a smile.
As a young child, Messersmith visited family in Pryor during summers and always loved the trip.
“I always wanted to move here as a kid,” he said. “I love Pryor.”
Artistic since an early age, Messersmith said he just envisions what things could look like, and then goes with it.
“I just see it,” he said. “If I like it, I’ll keep it. If not, I move it.”
With spring in the air, a plump bumblebee buzzed lazily through the foliage.
It’s difficult to imagine the amount of work and sweat which went into the creation of this incredibly peaceful “yard”en paradise, but Messersmith said caring for the flowers was the easy part.
“I just plant them and leave the rest up to God,” he said.
Seeds of inspiration, no doubt.