Red Butte Utah Fragrance Garden

We’re just back from a trip to Utah, where we visited the Red Butte Botanical Garden on the campus of the University of Utah . While there were many interesting things to see there, my favorite was the Fragrance Garden.

Here, you’ll find enormous plants of lavender combined with flowering tobacco and a variety of other annuals and perennials. But it’s the lavender that’s the star of the show. Single plants, all perfectly shaped, were the size of my entire Lavender Garden. While I admit to seething with envy, I did manage to recall that we had just passed Red Butte’s army of gardeners manicuring the herb garden. Besides, this one garden room was larger than my entire front yard.

I think the lesson here is that public gardens and the gardens of large estates are great for collecting ideas. After all, they’ve been planned and designed by the best landscape architects. But we can’t slavishly imitate them when we get home. The scale has to be translated from the grand to the mundane, with suitably-sized plants capable of being tended, generally by ourselves.

Still, places like Red Butte’s Fragrance Garden provide us with dreams of what is possible.

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