News / 

Temple Square Gardens

Temple Square Gardens

Save Story

Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Entering the gardens at Temple Square is a delight at anytime but the spring gardens have beauty and mystic all their own. Many visitors feel that are unrivaled almost anywhere in the world. Why this special magic? Perhaps it is because the emergence from the long, gray dreary winter makes the flowers exceptionally welcome. Perhaps it is because the flowers change so quickly from day to day as spring arrives.

In a sense spring gardens are like the resurrection of the earth after it has been asleep for the winter. Whatever the reason these gardens look so good, following the ideas of our garden experts here can help you create a little spring magic of your own in your garden.

Temple Square is the number one tourist attraction in the state. Visitors come throughout the year so the longer the gardens are in bloom, the more beautiful and striking they are for the guests. Add the fact that Saints from throughout the world assemble for the Annual General Conference on the first weekend in April and it becomes apparent that gardens that depend only on summer annual flowers are not going to show these gardens off to their true potential.

Over the year the gardening staff has “invented” spring blooming gardens for Utah. This invention came from years of study, of trial and error and of consistent looking for and finding the right way to grow plants for spectacular spring gardens. They developed the manual for these techniques that you are reading as a part of this book.

If anything the gardens at Temple Square are more noted for their spring displays than they are for their summer flowers. Many large gardens have spectacular planting of tulips and other spring bulbs but there is a special dilemma here. In Utah we have very unpredictable and changeable spring weather. It is so unpredictable that local folklore suggests that it almost always rains during the time of the annual conference. The joke is that “When the Saints meet, the heavens weep,” give an idea of how challenging it is to get flowers to bloom on cue at a certain date.

Since it is nearly impossible to time the bloom of the bulbs to the gathering of the members of the church in April, spring flower gardens in Utah required another approach. Horticulturally it required adding many other flowers and plants to the mix to get the desired results for the spring gardens

Face the reality and admit that the bulbs look bad for much longer than they look good. Although bulbs are truly spectacular flowers, they cannot sustain the garden for the entire season. It is a fact that most spring bulbs are outstanding for a week, nice for two weeks and tolerable for three weeks. After that they become nothing more than dead petals, gangling flower stems and long leaves that eventually turn brown and die.

The salvation of the spring garden is the other plants we grow there. These are a diverse group. Some are winter annuals, some are biennials that take two years to complete their life cycle and some are spring blooming perennials that come back again and again. All share a common characteristic of being able to survive the winter and grow in early spring. They finally burst forth with brilliant color to paint an exquisite spring garden.

Every year more than one million people admire the world-famous and award-winning gardens that weave through the 35-acre complex known as Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. Now, for the first time, the masters who create these colorful bounties offer their knowledge and advice in Temple Square Gardening. Expert authors and master gardeners share their secrets on how to re-create the perfect look in your own yard. Larry Sagers, Utah’s most famous gardening expert and long time co-host of KSL radio’s weekly Greenhouse Show; Shelly Zollinger, a horticulturist, garden designer and full-time employee on the grounds at Temple Square; Christena Gates, master gardener and director of Garden Tours; and Diane Erickson, a garden designer and director of the Garden Talks. Written for all gardeners—from novice to expert, and even wannabes—Temple Square Gardening covers all four seasons of the year (the authors would argue there are actually 14 seasons that they work with at Temple Square). Gardening advice covers soil type, essential nutrient elements, watering and irrigation, zone restrictions, planting tips, planning for maintenance and even weed control, to name just a few. Design concepts, as expertly demonstrated in the book’s many four-color, full-page photos, show how to plan a three-dimensional garden that incorporates varying heights, textures, color theory and seasonal longevity. Offering their own “secrets” of the trade, the authors share ideas on annuals, perennials, shrubs, flowering trees and even favorite grasses. For drought-affected areas, names of plants are provided that survive dry, hot gardens, a condition these experts often deal with in Salt Lake City and its surrounding region. This distinctive how-to book, that looks more like a beautiful coffee-table publication, will guide you to the garden of your dreams. Simple instructions from the pros teach all you need to know about caring for a beautiful garden in each season of the year, and in any area of the country. Anyone who has visited Temple Square knows firsthand the beauty these gardens emit, and the feeling of serenity. Temple Square Gardening was designed with the thought of helping you build a garden for the ages.

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast