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Utah Gardening

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

HI all,

I am considering a transfer with my job to the Salt Lake City area, and am an avid gardener. I don't know much about the area other than seeing it from the air a few times passing through the SLC airport, and I don't seem to see many gardeners from Utah online in the specific plant forums like lilies, bulbs or peonies. So....for your gardeners....what types of things are typically grown (flowers/ornamentals)? What is the soil like? What things do well and what have you found are challenges that might do better in other parts of the country? I tend to plant flowering perennials and many types of bulbs....from daffodils and hyacinths to peonies, roses, lilies, daylilies, and other perennials. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

Steve

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

HI Steve, sadly, our Rocky Mountain forum has dwindled away quite a bit. I don't remember seeing anyone from Utah on here, but I hope they show up! I wish I could answer your questions, but I have never gardened in Utah. Keep on trying!

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

Thanks bsavage...that is distressing, LOL. I wonder why the lack of RM and specifically Utah gardeners...Hmm. I imagine Utah and Co are similar...is it a challenge to garden where you are?

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

It is a challenge, because we sit on what used to be a riverbed, so the soil is all rocks. It can be very windy as well, and technically we are somewhat desert. I lived in AZ for about 17 years, so I figure if I could garden successfully there, I can garden successfully here, LOL! Our season is pretty short here, though. Nonetheless, we have some lovely gardens as well as some 'works in progress'. We are at 7000 ft. in the San Juan mountains. I've been to the Salt Lake City area, but I know nothing about the gardening conditions there. You can do it!!

Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

Hi Steve,
I live in Brigham City which is 60 miles north of SLC. I grow all of the above in my garden. Here we are about 1 week behind SLC in being able to put our annual plants out. The soil here is anywhere from rocky, to clay, to great top soil, depending on where you land. Even in the same area there are different soils. Hostas do great here in the shade. I start most of my annuals in the house and move them out to a small (very small) greenhouse. We plant annuals out generally after Mothers day. Crepe Myrtle is tough to keep here but most Magnolias and such do well. We are considered 5b to 6a. Most fruit trees do well here also. It has been so snowy and rainy that I haven't even been able to plant my peas. I have ammended my rocky soil and continue to do so each year, I am getting some pretty nice soil. You can visit the gardens in SLC and see what is planted there or visit web sites. Temple Square Gardening shows many pictures of their flowers and shrubs. Thanksgiving point always has a tulip festival every spring. Google Utah gardens and you will find a wealth of information. I am reading Temple Square Gardening right now. Lots of information. I saw it used on Amazon for $9.
Good luck, Let me know if you need any more info.
Marie

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Nice, Marie! So glad you added your insight! We need more Rocky Mountain Gardeners!

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

Thanks so much, Marie, and yes that is helpful. I might be bouncing more questions off you as we go along. Sounds like we have some similarities in our gardening tastes! And thanks bsavage for your help as well!

Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

I come into the RM forum once in a while to see what others are doing. I know we have quite a few DG members, but I guess we are a rather quiet group. I gathered my seeds from my hostas this spring and decided to try to start them. I had never thought of gathering those seeds. Well, I have around 250 little seedlings. I potted them up to 72 cell packs, I couldn't believe how many I had. Gardening is a blast and there is good and not so good in everyone's garden. Welcome to Utah if you decide to come. It is a great place to live.
Marie

Dayton, NV(Zone 5b)

I lived in SLC for a few years back in the late 70's and loved it. Met my husband of 31yrs, in SLC. Although I didn't garden there I think we have similar climates. Gardening in high desert country can be a challenge, but who doesn't like a challenge? I have had good sucess here in No. NV with the following, a lot of ornamental grasses, clematis, sambucus, hardy hibiscus, catmint, forsythia, cotinus, honeysuckle and many more. You might want to check out High Country Gardens. I just received my order from them and every aspect of the ordering process, packing, shipping and quality,price was excellent.

Just a side note, we had property in Cedar City that we were going to build on and have spent a lot of time there in our RV.

Best wishes,
Kathy

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi Steve, don't fear, you will be able to grow all those and so much more. I had a sister who lived in Grand Junction Colo. and she had the most beautiful roses. If I remember right SLC is about a hundred or so miles west of Grand Junction, yup on the other side of a range of mountains. Grand Junction area grows the best peaches in the world,(yummmmmm). And yes there are so many goodies that can be grown. I live in eastern Colo. at 68-6900ft. Our avg. precip. here is approx 16" a year, think SLC is still considered high plain desert also, people say its a dry heat, one nice thing is that it cools off in the evenings (summer), on the eastern slope we get afternoon rains and then is gone in a few hours. Not sure about SLC, think most of precip. comes from pacific northwest, should hit you there before it makes its way to Denver area. I know not much help, but I do believe you have nothing to worry about, you can have your favs. and more. Good Luck, Kathy

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi bsavage. I posted a few time on the rocky mt. site but have been busy with garden cleanup and potting on my seedlings. I'm here in Kiowa, which is southeast of Denver about 45-50 miles. Sure wish the western slope would send the snow and rain over the hill instead of hogging all of it. LOL. Was a dry winter, I want my El Nino precip. The mts had record snows this year, wish someone would give a good shove to make it this far east.(tee hee). What are you growing over your way? Western slope isn't it? Would love to hear. Kathy

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Steve, almost forgot, I started a thread titled "yea, snow, bout time". Check it out for a list of some of the goodies I'm growing from seed this year, not even extensive list of all that I grow, but might give ya an idea of some of the things that can easily be grown in this region. Love my perenns. Kathy

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi Kathy, so good to hear from a fellow Coloradoan (is that right? LOL!). There have been several times (last year more than this) that I would have happily shipped some snow to you! Right now, we are having a huge thunderstorm, with rain... not snow (hooray). As I'm typing I'm hoping it's not turning into hail/sleet/snow... everything is busting out. The trees decided within the past few days that "It's Time", daffs and tulips and crocuses are blooming. Our clematises have taken flight over the past week, and amazingly already have buds! Bleeding heart, one of my favorites, grows well here. Hostas, rhododendrons, and (I hope) astilbes like our shady areas. I hope to add roses, but that may wait until next year. (We have a few, but I want to ultimatley have a border of David Austin roses along our driveway). Wisteria (mine is potted because our ground is so rocky it's really either a raised bed or a pot in most cases...) came back beautifully last year, fingers crossed it's survived another winter here. I think it has grown down through the drainage hole into the ground now... which is fine. Trees, trees, and trees, one of the things I love the most about our home here. I grew up in Western New York (lots of trees), then lived in AZ for about 17 years (not really any trees...), and now am very happy here surrounded by lots of trees again.

So Steve, I kind of have the attitude that I can grow almost anything anywhere... but often it takes trial and error... and hopefully then trial and success! Oh, and I have learned to over-winter things indoors. Let us know what happens with the job!

Brenda

Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Steve,

I just got back from the SLC area, (Orem) there is a LOT of snow on the Wasatch Mountains right now. A curious thing about SLC is that they actually get lake effect snow from the Great Salt Lake.

Sunset Western Garden Book says this about the SLC area, "East of the Sierra and Cascade ranges, you can hardly find a better gardening climate than Zone-3A...." This is the same zone as Grand Junction, CO and is excellent for growing fruit trees of ALL types. If you buy a house pay special attention to the soil. Enjoy the climate, I am jealous!

Hi Kathy & Brenda!

Sonny

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

Thanks all for the encouragement and for the information. I was worried I wouldn't get many reponses. This really helps and I will likely rely on you all again if I make the move. Thanks for everything; you really all make it sound appealing to garden there. I like fruit trees as well and have several pears at my place here in Texas and they have already begun to form fruit :-) So your positive words on that are really good to hear! If any of you have pics to share of your gardens I would love to see them.

Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Steve,

I am in a Sunset Garden Zone 2-A, in Glenwood Springs, CO. Unfortunately the deer got a bunch of my tulips before I could get the fence up. :( I think I am going to replace the tulips with iris, daffodill & cone flowers. Things the deer don't like.

The project for this summer is to get the soil prepared in the orchard area for bare root planting next Spring. I am going to try apples, pears, peaches & pluots.

Everyone in Dave's Garden is probably tired of hearing the same old refrain, but I will say it again; soil is everything.

Good luck with the new job & your move!

Sonny

This message was edited Apr 19, 2011 5:40 PM

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Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

I agree about the soil, Sonny, and I say the EXACT same thing to anyone who complains about what they can and can't grow. I do lots of preparation to mine and the "$100 hole for a $10 plant" it so true. Your setting is beautiful, by the way. Love your landscape and the setting. Too bad you have to worry about the deer as they're not an issue in my area.

We are about a month ahead of most of those in zone 5 with regards to bloom; I have peonies in bloom (about 3/4 finished), Dutch iris and daffs are long since finished, tulips are generally an annual here but the others seem to flourish, so I am heavy on everything outside of tulips. Dutch iris and bearded iris do really well here and perennialize so they are a keeper. Peonies will do fine in north TX where I am (thankfully!) though will not prosper too much farther to the south, Glad to know my favorite things for the most part would not be a problem in your area. Oh, and lilies...I grow lots of those as well. They will be in bloom in the next few weeks.

Keep the pictures coming....beautiful garden you have!!

Steve

Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

Steve, If you click on my name you can go to the threads I have started. Some are flowers in my yard - garden to see what I have grown. I haven't posted for a few years but hope to do lots of pictures this year.
My hosta are just peaking out, tulips and daffs are in bloom - if I can keep the deer out of the yard. They are a bother!
Let us know if you decide to come out way.
Marie

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi all! A bit breezy here tonight, waiting for another round of rain, (Please, please, please). When I can figure out how to get my pix here I have a bunch. I'm still adding goodies every year. Doing the backyard this year and just got back from Home Depot with shrubs. LOL. Yeah, I'll have to admit it I'm a sucker, they say sale and I say where. LOL. Got Viburnum opulus (european cranberry bush), Should have a nice red fall color, and one I'm going to park myself next to in the spring.....Viburnum carlesii (korean spice ), love this one as is verrrry fragrant white flowers in the spring. Yum, yum, yum. Still ordering trees and shrubs, I'm getting some commons and a few unusuals, atleast for colo. .Almost finished cleanup in my main border (45X100), got a few blooms too, jjs, dwarf iris and thermopsis. One of these days I guess I should get my broc and brussels started, Lol. Isn't that the way it always happens in the spring, all of a sudden its time to do everything. I have so much to pot up, will probably get that chore finished in June or July,lol, anyone wanna help? Tee hee. I agree with ammending soil when I can, personally I use peat moss and some compost when I have it, Brenda, have you tried to use so can plant that wisteria? I also got my neihbors to bring me manure from their corral area, aged nicely and should be able to use this spring. (oooops, neighbors, (sp)). guess I better git for now, glad we have some people here exchanging ideas in our own little forum. Thanks all. Good Luck, Kathy.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi Kathy... my plan (so far) is to keep the wisteria potted, unless we eventually build a raised bed where it is located. It has been fine and happy so far (previous years), so we will see what this year brings. I, too, have so many things to do right now, and the weather is finally getting nice, but I've been dealing with a bad cold for over two weeks now. I have some things that I HAVE to get into pots... I'm hoping I have the energy to do it today!

Carson City, NV(Zone 6b)

Hi Steve,
have you decided whether to move? SLC is a pleasant city and close to a lot of great national parks. Many places in the basins of the Great Basin have very alkaline soils so it's helps to be a coffee drinker. I take home grounds from my office and sprinkle them liberally around my raspberries and fruit trees. Most members of the rose family are prone to iron deficiency, which is made worse by high soil pH.

If you happen to buy a house up on the toeslope of the mountains it can be as much as a zone warmer than the valley floor in winter. The cold air flows downhill and pools in the valleys at night, creating an unpleasant inversion.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Figured how to add pix. Enjoy.

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Other side of border.

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Just a few more to wet your appetite,lol Kathy

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

so see we got all sorts of goodies to grow. Good Luck, Kathy.

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Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Just beautiful, Kathy!

Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Kathy,

Very nice!

Is that salvia in one of the pictures?

How do you keep the "weeds" from overrunning everything?

I was really surprised when some volunteer bee balm came up in the front beds, I will leave it if it beehaves! ;)

This is the last year for the tulips. I ordered 38 tall bearded iris & 200 mixed daffodills to replace them & help populate the new front bed. See doomed tulips in picture above.

Sonny

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Awwww, poor doomed tulips.

Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Brenda,

If I left them where they are the deer would surely kill them without the fence. This Spring the deer figured out a way to get around the fence!

So I will give the tullip bulbs to another who can provide a safer, happier home.

Come Fall the older beds in front will be dug up, the soil remixed to my specs and if God is willing, everything will be glorious!

In the meantime I have to get a new community garden off the ground and create 43 cubic yards of new soil for the bare root fruit trees I will be planting in Spring 2012. Peaches, pluots, pears & apples.

Sonny

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Nice! Community garden?

Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Brenda,

Our church is dedicating a half acre for a community garden and orchard. It will be open to all members of the community.

We hope to pick up a couple of grants to cover the cost for fencing and irrigation.

We already have 10 cubic yards of peat moss that came from the resevoir excavation in Snowmass Village and the local composting operation, Caca Loco has donated 10 cubic yards of compost!

Sonny

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Sorry, been busy, potting,weeding, pet sitting,lol, buying more plants. Thanks for the compliments, I'm hoping my garden looks as good this year, but looks like I lost some things over the winter, and others need dividing, and ya still planting, oh my, sure wished May had been a nicer month (weather wise, tho loved all the rain)...........Sonny the second pix,(if thats the one that was referred to: clockwise: Gypsophila paniculat (babys breath), Salvia nemerosa (I believe, 28"); Dianthus grationopolitanus (cheddar pinks or baths pinks); Dracocephalum imberbe; Leucanthemum becky, I'm thinking (was 48" in this pix as was baby's breath). Things are beginning to bloom, getting a bunch of iris this week...... Oh sonny do I have a place for you!!!!!!! Have you ever been to Long's Iris Gardens in Boulder, if not ya gotta go!!!!!!!!....... They sell nothing but iris and from April--1st week of June, the rest of the season is mail order. But if you go early in the spring you get to see all the blooms, smell all the exquisite fragrances, and yes dig your own clumps of iris. ($8.50, and some have several fans, the unnamed field has some large clumps...up to 10 fans, named varieties are divided more often and may only be 1 -4 fans) I went 2 weeks ago and this coming weekend will go before they close to the public for the season. Love, love, love that place, sorry I didn't tell ya about it earlier, can go online at longsgardens.com to see pix, many come from local breeders am including a pix of "Amarillis" which is a flat, similar to a jap or sib iris, very unusual and very fragrant. Chat with ya later all. Good Luck,Kathy.

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Glenwood Springs, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks Kathy,

I ordered my Iris from a Willowbend Iris out in Grand Junction. I had completely forgotten about Long's, so lead me not into temptation! ;)

Salvia Nemerosa at 28" tall? Hmmm, I have some of that in the front that's not nearly that tall, but it is only one year old.

Sonny

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

beautiful flowers Kathy :)

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks Lillyz. Gosh anyone else been busy gardening? Sure hope I can get my garden under conrol soon. Weeding, planting, potting new aquisitions. Been working in my garden, my daughter's garden and her mother-in-la(w's garden. Gosh now I need another day off (lol). Got a few things actually planted in my garden today, weather was beautiful, cloudy and 70's with a light breeze, would love it if that was the future forcast for the summer. More flowers are beginning to bloom every day now. I let the hesperis reseed at will last spring and have hundreds and hundreds in bloom, wow they smell good along with the german bearded iris, valariana is also beginning to add to the mix. Yummm!!!! I need to get my nicotiana planted sooon, what a fabulous evening fragrance. Good Luck, Kathy......................Pix is of hesperis (dames rocket), blooming in my garden last year, ( gotta find my thingy majig to down load new photos from phone ). OOOOOOps, can't find my pix so am showing daughter's pix of same.

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Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Stunning, Kathy! We have been sooooo busy in the gardens! And happily, our weather is just perfect now! We're rebuilding our pond, so today was mostly about gathering tons of rock (literally), and DH Tony completing the prep. Tomorrow, rock placement and maybe some water flowing...

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