Last week Marilyn and I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah to study the gardens at Temple Square. Our goal was to learn about their designs and how they maintain the gardens so we can do a better job here at the Spokane Temple grounds. Knowing how much work it takes to maintain our 2 acre site with just a few flower beds, it was awe inspiring to study the extensive gardens at the 35 acre Temple Square site.
Above is just one of the many annual beds around Temple Square, and it's larger than all of our Spokane Temple annual beds combined. Temple Square receives around 5 million visitors each year. I have no idea how many visitors we have at the Spokane Temple, but it's not nearly that many! We just garden on a different scale here in Spokane. That's a good thing since we're all volunteer-staffed in Spokane, while at Temple Square there is a staff of full time gardeners.
Here is a shot of the south side of the temple grounds with perennial grasses, lavender shrubs, and 'Rozanne' geranium in the corner. The annual beds are beautiful and full of color, but it's also nice to see some serene gardens like this one.
Here is another annual bed farther to the south of the temple. I had so much fun studying the different color schemes in the gardens. This one is bold and cheerful. We use many of the same annual plants in Spokane, though in some areas we're limited by deer and rabbits. They aren't troubled by any of those pests here in downtown SLC, and they even have a pair of peregrine falcons that build their nest nearby each year and keep the area free from pigeons.
Here is a view of the temple from the northwest corner, showing the Tabernacle on the right. Large trees and areas of lawn contribute to a peaceful feeling. Since I arrived early in the morning to take photos before the light became harsh, there were few other people around.
My favorite trees at Temple Square are the old American Elm trees. Their elegant branches remind me of dancers - they might be even more beautiful in winter when their form is more visible. Back when Dutch Elm disease was tearing through this country, the elms at Temple Square and at BYU's campus were inoculated with an experimental treatment. I'm not sure if the treatment was ever approved for large scale use, but it saved these elms.
Here is a view of some of the annual beds running down the center of the walkway between the temple and tabernacle. I love the play of bold shades of red against deep purples and blues. Marilyn and I definitely want to use some purple fountain grass in our Spokane Temple gardens next year.
Here is one more view of beds between the temple and tabernacle, featuring giant coleus and impatiens. You can see the interesting hanging wall gardens along the top of the photo. I have many more photos of different gardens around the campus, including photos of the rooftop garden at the conference center. I'll be doing several more posts to share them.