If you’re anything like me, you’ve driven down I-15 through Kayesville you’ve probably seen the signs for the Utah Botanic Center. You’ve probably even thought about stopping by someday- and you’re probably on your way somewhere else and don’t have time to just drop in when you pass. I’m going to convince you with 7 pictures (and really that’s overkill- could do it in 3) why the garden merits a visit- even if you have to make special plans to get there!
The Utah Botanical Center is run by Utah State University Extension and consists of a series of different buildings and gardens. Parts of the garden are intended for demonstration, such as the Utah House. Other parts exist primarily for research. The ‘jewel’ of the center at this point is the Utah House. It is designed to simulate a residential home and interpret how the landscape around the home can be beautiful, functional and lush while still conserving water.
The Utah House demonstrates a number of design principles at work. Some are obvious, others less so. One important principle they show is how to weave through space to create interesting experiences. The photo below is taken of the entry to the Utah House from the parking lot.
Notice how you move through a low tree canopy with a lush-looking understory then transition to bright open space? This is not an accident. It is intended to DRAW the viewer into the space- and it works! Try this in your own yard.
Creating paths that move from shady cover to bright, open spaces vary and enhance the experience. The pergola above (made with wood salvaged from the old Great Salt Lake train tressle) creates a similar opportunity. The shady area in the foreground frames and emphasizes the sunny plantings in the background. See how the shade makes the plants appear to glow?
The production gardens are designed for low maintenance with decomposed granite paths, raised beds with seating built in and a special soil blend to support more intensive plantings.
Who says an orchard is needed to produce fruit? The espaliered fruit trees require little in the way of space but turn an otherwise boring wall into productive and pretty space.
The USU is working on developing new plant introductions that provide increased performance for plants happy in our climate. One such plant is the ‘Mountain Flame’ Fire Chalice (Zauschneria) which is in full-glory at the Utah House gardens right now. So stop in and check them out. The gardens are free to the public and they offer lots of great classes there- both at the Utah House and at their new Education Center. The majority of the land is still undeveloped so there will be even more great things happening there in the future!