Inspiration from Salt Lake City

Brilliant spring color in these gardens

Some of the West's best orchestrated displays of spring color are found in the gardens at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The beds feature dazzling combinations of spring bulbs and early perennials that bloom simultaneously, some beneath the canopies of flowering trees. For years these stunning displays were conceived by Temple Square landscape designer Peter Lassig, who recently retired. His horticultural inspiration set the tone for Temple Square Gardening (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2003; $27; www.deseretbook.com or 800/453-4532).

Four authors ― Diane Erickson, Christena Gates, Larry Sagers, and Shelly Zollinger ― teamed up to produce this comprehensive guide to gardening in the Salt Lake City area (Sunset climate zone 3a). One chapter tells how to create a spring-blooming garden like the ones at Temple Square. In fall, bulbs are interplanted with pansies and other spring bloomers. This gives the plants a chance to "establish a good root system before winter arrives," reducing the chance that they will be "pushed out of the ground by repeated freezing and thawing ― a process known as frost heaving."

Other chapters include "Tricks of the Trade" and "Favorite Lists," which covers perennials, annuals, bulbs, roses, grasses, trees, and shrubs. Among the plants, you'll find early-blooming perennials, such as aubrieta and English daisy, that make great companions for tulips and other spring bulbs.

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