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By Alan on Apr 07 in Blog tagged Dennis Adamson, dinosaurs, gardens, golf carts, hands-on projects, Noah's Ark, restaurants, Thanksgiving Poind Tulip Festiival, waterfals, wheelchairs, youth education | Comments Off
We had snow April 2nd and a hard frost the morning of April 3rd. Since my apricots were out in full bloom I suspect that I won’t have apricots this year. One of our ski resorts reported 19” of new snow. March came in like a lamb, but soon turned into a lion for much of the month. I am more than ready for spring. I do have some daffodils blooming and the leaves of my tulips up. I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival this year.
I have the distinct opportunity to be a Master Gardener at Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Lehi, Utah. The driving force behind the gardens are Karen and Alan Ashton. Karen and Alan were some of the founders of Word Perfect. They wanted to find a way to thank the people for all of the blessings that they have. They decided to to develop a large formal garden where you could reconnect and ponder nature and feel closer to God. They wanted it to be something that would be around for generations. In 1995 they purchased the historic Fox Family Farms and the first trees were planted in 1996. The gardens were open to the public in 1997.
Karen wanted something that wouldn’t take years to develop and mature. She had the gardens designed by Grassili and Associates of Salt Lake City. They brought in fully grown trees, shrubs and other specimens so they could have a fully developed formal garden from day one.
The gardens are in a natural bowl next to the Jordan River in Lehi, Utah. There was 55 acres of land that was developed into 14 themed garden rooms plus a separate Children’s Garden within the larger layout.
The initial plantings were 10,000 trees, 15,000 shrubs, 38,000 perennials, 4,000 flats of ground cover, 2,500 roses and 25 acres of turf grass. After the first year they had to put in a large fence to keep the deer out because they loved to graze here and especially liked the tulip bulbs. There are 3 7/10 miles of brick paths plus gravel paths that interconnect these making approximately 4 1/2 miles of paths in all.
The gardens boast the largest manmade waterfalls in the Western Hemisphere. Last year there was a Great Horned owl and a Canadian goose nesting on the cliffs of the waterfall.
If you happen to be in our area April 15- 30 (closed on Sundays) I would invite you to come and enjoy all the colors of the rainbow during the Annual Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival. It features 250,000 tulips in 100 different varieties. Add to this narcissus, hyacinth, allium, fritillaria, iris, anemones, pansies and snapdragons. The Tulip Festival is an awe-inspiring sight that is redesigned each year to create a new display.
In addition to the spectacular tulips, on Fridays and Saturdays the Tulip Festival includes music, vendors, and food. Garden tours and demonstrations run every day. Also included is a photography contest, the Tulip Princess Pageant, Dutch Day and Photo Exhibits. Though there are hundreds of volunteers and staff working behind the scenes to create the festival, make no mistake about it: Mother Nature is in charge of the show. People from all of the Rocky Mountain region come to see it. This year there are 3 bus tours coming from Washington, DC.
For those with handicaps, golf carts and wheelchairs can be rented. For the more adventurous, there are the 2 wheeled Segways. You are given helmets and some initial training if you rent these.
Additional features at Thanksgiving Point are the previously mentioned Children’s Garden. This features a large Noah’s Ark water feature and the children are allowed to wade in it. There are 2 mazes, ‘bear caves’, a lighthouse they can climb in and several other children friendly features. In an other area of Thanksgiving Point there is the Museum of Ancient Life. This is the largest museum of mounted dinosaurs in the world. There are also many displays and hands-on projects for the young and old alike. The Farm Country Area allows you to get up close to all sorts of barnyard animals. There are pony rides, wagon rides, and hands-on areas. There are shops, restaurants, an ice cream shop and gift shops at various locations. At the gardens you can also go into the greenhouse and purchase plants, seeds and other garden items. For the golfers there is an 18 hole golf course developed by professional golfer and commentator, Johnny Miller.
Thanksgiving Point also offers Youth Education classes, cooking classes and horticultural classes. Horticultural classes this month include basic landscape design, growing plants in the greenhouse, flower bed design, giant pumpkin growing, Square Foot Gardening 101 & 201, best plants for the Utah landscape, the art of garden photography and passionate about perennials.
I realize that many of you don’t live close enough to enjoy Thanksgiving Point or its classes. I would encourage you to check with your local Extension Agent, nurseries, conservation districts, and municipalities to see what is available in your area. Often times these will be at little or no cost.
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