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Plants of Interest for Winter - Conifers

Lodgepole Pine 'Chief Joseph' ( Pinus contorta var. latifolia ). Michael made the column and I just love it. Winter approaches (that's right - it isn't here officially until the 21st) but weather-wise, it has been very winter-ish. The temperature has barely been above 40 for the past several weeks and we got an early snow yesterday. I like it as long as I can be inside, comfy and cozy. I prefer the cloudy days as sunny ones make me feel guilty if I'm sitting at the computer and gazing out on a sunny landscape. I feel like I should be doing something out there .  I've filled our garden with many conifers and evergreen plants for winter interest. They add so much. The pathway along the front of the house. My window is to the right so this is the view I have but from another angle.  The White Pine ( Pinus strobus 'Fastigiata') has grown so tall but the width remains narrow which is good. I do trim along the sides when it starts to get unruly which is rare.

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, Salt Lake CIty, Utah

After spending the first night in St. Joseph, Missouri, we trekked up through the rest of Missouri, barely skirted the southwest corner of Iowa and then drove across Nebraska (what a wide state that is!), with a brief stop for a visit to the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln. We entered Wyoming later that evening and stayed the second night in Laramie.

On day 3, we drove across Wyoming, Utah and stopped for the 3rd night in Twin Falls, Idaho. A slight diversion to Salt Lake City for a visit to the Red Butte Gardens and Arboretum in Salt Lake City, Utah. A revelation on this trip - I did not know that Wyoming, Utah and Idaho were such beautiful states! The red-hued rock formations, cliffs, mountains, etc. were stunning. 

The Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City was one of my favorites. It is an absolutely beautiful and well-cared for garden. Red Butte is operated by the University of Utah, in the foothills of the Wasatch Range.We arrived in the afternoon on a brisk, cool day with a brilliant blue sky overhead. The gardens are located on a hillside with spectacular views of the city below and the mountain ranges above and behind it.

The garden has an extensive collection of conifers (69 species), ornamental grasses (30 species), a native plant area and many specimens of roses, viburnums, penstemon, and other perennials. The beauty of the garden, for me, was the way they had used these plants in creative settings. It is a memorable garden and one that I wish I had more time to explore. If you are ever in Salt Lake City, be sure to visit this beautiful place. I hope to go there again one day.

I kept noticing that the people working in the garden were all younger people and then it occurred to me that they were college students. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are to work in such a glorious place?

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. What a beautiful place. Any place that has mountains for a backdrop is gorgeous in my opinion. I can't imagine all those different conifers. It would take you days to see them all. Wonderful place.

  2. Wow, that is some serious eye candy! I am reminded that there must be many special places across the country unknown to me. Certainly I had never heard of this garden, but I can find inspiration in many of your photos, especially the artful interweaving of grasses, shrubs and perennials. I love the statue of the stag.

    Yes, we had a hard freeze last night, with similar temps expected over the next week. The foliage has been so beautiful, but I am afraid this will do it in. Winter comes!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous!! What a stunning garden. Have fun in Portland. Is that where you're moving?

  4. What fantastic pictures of a fantastic part of this world. A fire work of colours! You're photos make my grey november days sunny and bright. Never have been there so I realy enjoy your post!
    Have a happy time and all my best from Austria

  5. Agree with Lisa and Deb, what a beautiful place! I haven't been out West since I was a kid but I remember well all of the gorgeous scenery in Utah. I love the contrast of the lust gardens with the green and taupe hills.

    Your photos are spectacular.

  6. Thanks for adding another item to my bucket list. The photography is stunning.

  7. Looks like y'all went at the perfect time! Such gorgeous colors!

  8. Stunning pictures of a stunning garden! I hope to visit it one day, thanks to your pictures and commentary.

  9. Very pretty, and so nicely nestled into the landscape!

  10. Geez, this is gorgeous. I'm loving all the grasses. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful photos of your travels.

  11. Wow, and again I say, wow! That is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. I don't know if it's because it's fall, but seriously, it's amazing. I've just put it on my bucket list.


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