Saturday, April 14, 2007

Garden Update

Back in the later days of March, John and I escaped to Utah with the intent of doing some skiing along with visiting his family. However, there had been no new snow, and none to come until the day of our departure, so I suggested that he fish a bit more with his dad. In the meantime, I looked for other non-fishing fun for our days together.

One place that had long been on my list of Salt Lake City wonders to visit was the Red Butte Gardens and Arboretum. Red Butte is located in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain range that rings the valley of Salt Lake City. It's also part of the University of Utah's scenic campus.

Although spring had not quite sprung yet on the East Coast, it was encouraging to see sunny daffodils decorating the front and back of Red Butte Gardens. From the rear of the Visitors' Center, the gardens open to a large field rimmed with seasonal plants, all carefully tagged and annotated for visitors. Beyond the field are miles and miles of trails, along with a very active children's area.

All this with a fantastic view (on a not-so-polluted day) of the opposing mountains of the valley.

John and I decided to hike along the organized trails first to see what the arboretum had to hold before venturing onto the more vigorous trails around the mountain.

The most fascinating flowers were these unusual hellebores in gorgeous blues and deep reds. I wanted to think that they were mislabeled since they didn't resemble any hellebores I'd ever seen, neither in leaf nor flower. However, that's why it's an arboretum, and I'm a lowly tourist -- to learn something new!

We also saw this different type of magnolia. It's a Yulan magnolia from central China. The blossoms look like waxy white tulips growing from the branches.

The arboretum gardens had plenty of whimsy. They were decorated with life-sized copper moose, deer and assorted fish along the paths. The day we visited, there were plenty of children playing on the statues and having their photos taken while astride the moose. Like the moose John and his dad have seen while fishing, they tend to like quiet, solitary time. Consequently, I waited until the throngs had moved on before taking this moose's photo.

Finally, as I anxiously await the arrival of my Montclair irises, I'll remember with fondness the miniature irises I witnessed in March at the Red Butte Gardens and Arboretum.

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