A Visit to the Conservation Garden Park

September 13, 2013
Shawn, Store Green Team Captain

Shawn, Store Green Team Captain

I finally made it out to the Conservation Garden Park (CGP) in West Jordan.  I briefly wrote about the CGP in a previous blog and I promised at the time that more information would soon follow.  Here are some highlights from my trip.

The first thing I noticed once I arrived at CGP was the variety of plants.  The whole idea behind CGP is to help educate people how to landscape a yard or garden that is water-wise.  A lot of people assume because we live in a desert, that xeriscaping is going to be dry and ugly; however, this simply isn’t the case.  The CGP provides example after example of plants that thrive in our dry climate, yet also provide beauty to our yards.  The nice thing about CGP is they have labeled their flowers, shrubs, and trees similar to the way a museum would.  This is super helpful because you can get names of plants that you might want to grow in your yard.  If you’re planning to visit CGP to get ideas, be sure to take a camera to take pictures of the plants and their labels.

Walking through CGP is unlike walking through any other park.  The staff has set up small displays to show different ideas for landscaping.  For example, there’s a section of the park that is a desert landscape with cacti and succulents, and there are other sections that show you how you might landscape to include plants that will need more water, including some areas with a bit of grass.  Each area has a sign letting you know how much water the area requires versus how much water the average Utah family uses in their current water-loving yard.  The desert landscape didn’t need hardly any water, while other landscapes needed more.  However, every landscape uses significantly less water than the average Utah yard.

One of my favorite areas of the park shows different types of lawn that you can grow in your yard.  Each section of grass is only a few strips wide.  Every section is green and thick; however, not every section is created equal.  Some grasses like Kentucky Blue Grass need a lot of water and the sign shows how many hundreds of gallons of water the grass has needed so far this year to remain green.  Other grasses like Buffalo Grass need significantly less water.  To me, this area is a huge wake-up call to use less grass in the first place, and to use water conserving grasses when you do use grass.

A similar display shows two backyards; one with a patio for entertaining with a barbeque, beautifully landscaped with trees and shrubs, there’s a bit of grass that fills in a little section.  Right next to this “backyard” is another with a single tree in the middle and fence to fence grass—a typical yard for many.  Not only is the first yard more pleasing to the eye, but it uses significantly less water, and is better for backyard entertaining.

Other areas of CGP get more technical and detailed about soil types, ground-cover and mulch, composting, sprinkler systems, and more that I probably missed because I was too busy looking at the plants.  Here’s another neat thing I noticed:  It’s not just the plants that CGP has a lot of, it’s also bees, butterflies, and birds.  There is so much more life around when there are flowers and trees.  It’s almost a whole new ecosystem; independent of the rest of suburban life along the Wasatch Front, yet located right at the center of it.

Also while I was there, I ran into several groups of students visiting the CGP for a school fieldtrip.  In addition to educating students, CGP is open to the public to walk through like I did and to attend workshops.  Free classes are held during the warmer months.  For more information on upcoming classes, or for more information about CGP in general, visit www.conservationgardenpark.org or visit in person at 8275 S. 1300 W. in West Jordan.