LOGAN, Utah — It doesn't take an
army to plant the 7,000 flowers and tend the massive expanse of greenery
at the Logan LDS Temple each year — it takes a lifetime of experience.
And now, after 32 years of trimming,
clipping and mowing, Logan resident Gordon Bingham is retiring but not
letting his beautification skills or his gardening shears get rusty.
The 68-year-old still enjoys planting
seeds and watching things grow and continues using his talents around
the neighborhood to spruce up the yards of widows, young and old.
__IMAGE1__"I find there's lots of opportunities out
there to serve, and it's a joy to do so," he said. "The more I get to
do it, the more I enjoy it."
When he's not putting bulbs in the
ground, Bingham enjoys hiking in the mountains and volunteering with the
Common Ground Outdoor Adventures organization, helping disabled adults
get the most out of their lives, too. A chance to serve his friends and
neighbors, he explains, brings more satisfaction than time-consuming
"We go bicycling, canoeing, hiking and do
hands-on stuff with them," he said. "It's always motivating to see
Bingham's passion, though, is planting
and growing. He's paid for his skilled work at the temple but says the
gratification from his labor comes from serving the thousands of temple
visitors who stop to admire the flower beds and manicured lawns.
The temple is a sacred place to followers
of the LDS faith and a location to meditate both indoors and out. For
Bingham, coming to work each week for the past three decades never
dulled the significance of the location.
"It was always unique to me," he said.
"I've always loved to serve the people and see things grow and become
Bingham has a bachelor's degree in
horticulture and agronomy. He got his start in landscaping as a
greenhouse operator at BYU, where he grew flowers and plants for the
school's Provo campus and the nearby temple. When he was hired as head
groundskeeper in Logan, Bingham ran a one-man show. Today, the 9-acre
site is managed by two full-time and two part-time employees.
The Garland, Box Elder County, native
starts his workday promptly at 7 a.m. and often has to be reminded when
it's time to quit. Unlike most jobs, the changing seasons bring a daily
work order as different as that day's weather.
"March, for example, is a big pruning
time," he said. "I've always enjoyed pruning the trees and shrubs."
He jokingly assimilates his trimming
tactics to the arboreal traits of a primate.
"I'm sort of the monkey in the area," he
said. "I climb all the trees I can, and if I'm not up in the branches,
I'm down on the ground on my knees planting flowers."
His wife, Judith,
prefers he keep his feet planted.
"He's been grounded," she said with a
During the winter months, Bingham and his
crew shovel snow and ice from sidewalks. Fall is time to prepare for
snowy weather and plant tulips and pansies, and summertime means a lot
"Of course there's a lot of raking,
mowing, fertilizing and watering," he said.
In fact, Bingham usually mows the temple
lawns twice each time — once to cut, and a second pass to mulch the
trimmings back into the soil.
Planning for 5,200 square feet of flower
beds means Bingham's spring planting season actually starts around
Christmas time, when he sits down to draft and design the massive garden
plots before placing orders for hundreds of annual flowers at local
The results of Bingham's yearlong labor
can be seen every day at the temple. He says patrons often compliment
him for his work, but he never lets it go to his head.
"People do make comments," he said. "But
it's more an inner satisfaction knowing that I've done my best and
hoping it's good enough."
Now, with retirement officially just days
away, it's time to spend more time with family and a growing number of
"It's been hard to make a switch," he
said. "From serving others and enjoying plants and people to taking the
time to think about my family and taking other opportunities to serve."
Bingham's last day at the Logan temple is