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Glean landscape tips at annual Garden Fair

Finding a new garden is always a treat, and here's another one you do not want to miss.

Although it is not a large garden, I enjoy visiting it whenever I get a chance.

The Paul Rasmussen Teaching Garden at the Utah Botanical Center in Kaysville honors the recently retired director of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

The garden focuses on wise use of resources, including water. As the name implies, it features different plants so students can learn the best plants for Utah conditions. It also supports the ongoing mission of the UBC, as it will be used for different functions. The garden was designed by Anne Spranger, UBC gardens manager, and it consists of a series of planting islands or beds bordered by gravel pathways and framed by arbors on opposite ends.

The central point in the garden is a beautiful water feature, and each of the island beds is designed to be viewed from different directions to allow good access to the plants for students and garden visitors.

This week is the perfect time to visit the garden as the UBC holds its fifth Garden Fair.

Staff members and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and help you select plants for your own garden.

As an added bonus, they will help you incorporate some of the many water-wise plants they are offering for sale at the fair.

Bring a landscape plan and/or pictures of your home for best results. You can also enter to win a water-wise starter plant package.

Richard M. Anderson, nursery manager at the center, has selected several perennials, shrubs and trees to feature at this year's sale.

They include some of the following selections, and many are planted in the teaching garden.

One of my favorite water-wise plants is the showy ninebark shrub.

Ninebark is a native Utah plant found in the mountains. When I first learned of this plant several decades ago, I thought someone should introduce it into the landscape trade.

There are several cultivars now available, including "Summer Wine" and "Diablo," which feature dark purple leaves, "Coppertina" with its copper leaves that turn to red, and "Dart's Gold" and "Nugget" with lime green color on the mature leaves.

Numerous water-wise perennials are showing their colors right now.

Zauchneria "Mt. Flame," aka fire chalice or California fuchsia, is covering sections of the garden with bright red flowers.

This specially selected cultivar is noted for its long-lasting color.

In its native environment it likes to grow among the rocks in canyons, but it is a versatile plant and will grow well with traditional landscape watering. It also tolerates sun and partial shade and is an important plant for hummingbirds as they fly south for the winter.

Another show plant is Sedum spectabile "Neon." This plant is hard to beat for fall color as the flowers are a deep rose pink. Like other sedums, it is succulent and drought tolerant. As an added bonus, it is also considered to be deer resistant.

Agastache rupestris, aka licorice mint or Sunset hyssop, is an excellent perennial. It is noted for its unique colored flowers, its fine textured foliage and its wonderful fragrance.

It is an excellent water-wise plant and also attracts hummingbirds and bees throughout its long growing season. Plant it in full direct sun in well-drained soil.

Caryopteris, or bluebeard, is another showy plant in the teaching garden. Striking blue flowers cover the plant and bees love to visit them. Although it is a woody shrub, cut it back each season to promote good blooming.

Buddleia alternifolia is another type of butterfly bush that will be featured at the sale. This is a spring bloomer with long flowing branches covered with pinkish purple flowers. It flowers on 2-year-old wood, so don't cut it back severely like its more common counterpart. It grows very large so give it enough room to spread and thrive.

Another interesting native plant that will be featured at the garden fair is the single leaf ash. At maturity, this tree is only about 15 feet high, and it is usually grown with multiple stems. In its native environment it grows in dry washes and rocky slopes.

Although the hardy ice plant — or Delosperma cooperi — has finished blooming for this season, it is thriving in this garden. This cold-hardy succulent has bright purple flowers and is an excellent heat and drought tolerant ground cover.

Other featured plants include the perennials Salvia officinalis "Gold Form" and Artemisa versicolor; the grasses Sorghastrum nutans "Tomahawk," Calamagrostis acutiflora "Avalanche" and Miscanthus sinensis "Zebrinus"; the woody plants dwarf mock orange, rock spirea, dawn redwood and hackberry.

What: The Utah Botanical Center 2009 Garden Fair

When: Aug. 29, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Utah Botanical Center, 725 Sego Lily Drive, Kaysville

Phone: 801-593-8969


Larry A. Sagers is a horticulture specialist for the Utah State University Extension Service at Thanksgiving Point.