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Groundskeeper to retire from tending to Logan temple

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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

people happy."

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

more beautiful."

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 mowing.

"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

June 1.