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For those who loved "The Secret Garden" as a child, the experience of discovering another garden paradise is as simple as driving to 900 West and 10th South. The International Peace Gardens are surely Salt Lake City's best kept secret.

On Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the gardens will welcome visitors for the International Peace Gardens Annual Festival. In the 25 gardens representing countries from around the world, varied plants and flowers, many native to each country, swirl around gateways, statues and international landmarks.Visitors will be able to enjoy the verdant beauty of the gardens and also to taste ethnic foods and see traditional music and dance from the participating countries.

Carolyn Allam, a Salt Laker from Lebanon, will cook up the traditional Middle Eastern her family loves.

Allam said she and her husband speak Arabic to their two children, "to keep their heritage going." She is excited about the festival and the Lebanese dancers who will perform at 4:30 p.m.

John Anton, also a Lebanese native, was among the original founders of the Lebanon Garden. "We sent for seedlings of the cedars of Lebanon and planted them around the garden, but they only grew a foot or so and died," he remembered.

The gardens were begun by the Salt Lake Council of Women in 1939. Now maintained by the Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Department, the gardens are lovingly tended by Mary Anne Siegendorf.

There is no charge for the International Peace Gardens Annual Festival that takes place Saturday. In addition to visiting the 25 gardens, visitors can enjoy a multicultural program at the stage just inside the gardens. Ethnic foods and a boutique will also be available. The Salt Lake Council of Women hopes that this "secret" garden will become widely known for representing the many nationalities of people who now call Utah their home.