Moving to Salt Lake City

tonya499(6 UT)July 7, 2007


my husband and are moving to Salt Lake City in a month or so. How's the gardening out there? I have a beautiful pond and several flower beds here in Maryland. I hope to continue with my passion for gardening when I get there. Any advice? Any Utah gardening books I should read? Is Xeriscaping a big thing out there? I look forward to hearing from you.


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Welcome, Tonya!

Lots of sun, so proceed cautiously! Lots of xeriscaping in my neighborhood and lots of different ways to xeriscape.

Don't know of any books on Utah gardening but if Stephanie Duer ever gets one out I'd pick it up! She's a fun speaker on the local gardening circuit. One thing to keep in mind in Utah is that our gardens range from desert to mountain, it's hard to pinpoint Utah gardening with such differences across the state.

Visit nurseries, garden tours, neighborhoods where folks seem to dig up their lawns. Chat away with folks.

I'm from the East coast but didn't garden before moving here so I wasn't as disoriented as some of my neighbors from your area. I think it's tough at first to get used to differences such as an alkaline soil, interpretations of "full sun," truly dry weather and other differences that affect the way you design & work your garden.

The Utah Gardening Forum is rather new but I hope it is a big help to you.

Do you have your garden space yet, or are you still looking for your new home?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 11:01PM
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I moved here from the midwest and had a big learning curve when I started gardening here. I haven't seen a lot of xeriscaping, but I keep hoping it'll catch on more. Unfortunately, sometimes people will xeriscape with the best of intentions, but be so focused on keeping it looking nice that they water more than they had before.

I'm attempting to get a more xeric lawn by planting native grasses in with the traditional Kentucky Blue Grass lawn. I probably should have killed the lawn and started from scratch, but I didn't think my wife would go for that.

Overall, one of the biggest problems with lawns out here is too much water. Many areas have unmetered irrigation water, so people water enough for a week, but they do that every day. There's a free service to do a sprinkler system assessment. I think this is the same thing, but has a little more info about what it entails.

One thing you'll need to get used to is when to plant in the spring. The first year I owned my home, I got to plant the garden three times. It warmed up and stayed warm, so I bought pepper and tomato plants and planted seeds. Then we had a cold snap. It warmed up again and the same thing happened. As I was getting ready to plant one more time, there was an article in the paper that started by saying that you could tell the newcomers, because they were the ones who were planting the gardens. The advice in that article was to wait until Mothers day weekend. Some years people plant in mid April and get away with it, but snow in mid May is fairly common.

The Rocky Mountain forum is another good forum to visit. It covers a lot of territory, so it includes people from places like Phoenix (where it's much hotter) and also people at higher elevations and/or farther north, who have colder conditions. But sometimes there may not be somebody from Utah who has done what you're trying, but there is somebody from Colorado who has done it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 1:02AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Locally, you can buy a book called "Temple Square Gardening" that has a lot of useful info on flowers for Utah. It's written by some of the people who run the gardens at the Salt Lake Temple, which has some very nice public gardens.

For westerners, a must-have is the Sunset Western Garden Book. I think there's a new version out this year or last.

When you're out here, you should check out the demonstration gardens at the Jordan Valley Water Conservation District. I just googled it, and they now call it Conservation Garden Park. That link should be helpful.

You may enjoy Red Butte Gardens as another public garden to give you ideas.

Good luck with the move, and join us here often! Our little online community is growing and could use more participation!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 2:54AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

As stevation suggests, get the Sunset Western Garden Book. Upon arrival in SLC read about the zones in the Sunset Western Garden Book for your location. It has been awhile but I wouldn't be surprised if there is not 1000 foot difference in altitude from down by the lake to the foothills above the University. Local micro climate will make a lot of difference too and books likely will not help you with this situation e.g. I lived at the mouth of a small canyon and cold winds in winter were a factor.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 1:47PM
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A little late with this post but it might still help. Too bad more people don't participate. I moved here from the Gulf Coast of Texas ten years ago....had to learn gardening from a different perspective. I have a great veggie garden and have started eliminating my grassy yard. The strip and 1/3 of the front yard have been xeriscaped using big rocks, natural grasses and bark mulch. Each year I do a little more.

A book I found in Barnes and Noble is called "Month-to-Month Gardening, Utah" by Kelli A. Dolecek. It was published in 1999 but has lots of good info for the new gardner here. And listen to the "Joy in the Morning" gardening talk show every Saturday morning on KNRS AM 570.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 8:33PM
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