Utah’s Botanical Garden—Red Butte

Red Butte Garden Concert Series, sponsored by Harmons

Harmons is deeply involved in our community, and so is Red Butte Garden. So the fact that we partner with them is pretty much a no-brainer. Today’s Taste of Harmons Podcast guest is Eddy Dawson. He’s the director of programs at Red Butte, and he joins our hosts Chef Lesli Sommerdorf and Brandon Young to talk about something a little different from food we eat—the plants we grow.

Red Butte Garden is a museum of living plants, according to Eddy. Its history is long and storied. In the beginning, Dr. Walter Cottam, a professor at the University of Utah from the 1930s through the 1960s, had a special interest in plants and trees. He shared this by planting them in the ground around him, turning the University of Utah into part of an arboretum.

The History of Red Butte Garden

Eddy shares the interesting story of Dr. Cottam and how his beginnings led to the eventual forming of Red Butte Gardner, located in Research Park at the University of Utah.

The visitors center was opened in the 1990s and while it’s more than 35 years old, it’s still young in the terms of arboretums around the country and world.

Red Butte Garden consists of 21 acres of highly maintained gardens, with another 78 acres of natural area and 5miles of hiking trails.

It is a unique arboretum. Most arboretums around the world are in cities. But Red Butte Gardens is located in the foothills of Salt Lake City. The end result is there is a lot of wildlife that also enjoys roaming around the garden. Moose, deer, bobcats, and turkeys are regular visitors. Eddy says they also saw some cougar tracks this past winter, but never did spot the wily cat.

Like most of us during the COVID-19, Red Butte Garden had to alter how they did things. They instituted virtual classes and zoom lessons featuring videography, held with teachers and their classes. And like the rest of us, they are anxious to get back to normal, in particular, the very popular and oft-asked about Red Butte Concert series.

Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series 2021

Eddy says the series is “brewing” this year, but he doesn’t have any information because he’s the “plant” guy. Even so, he’s excited for some of the amazing talent that is in the lineup of performers at the Garden. The beautiful venue, in the amphitheater, is a one-of-a-kind experience. Everyone should get a chance to enjoy it. That said, the concerts usually sell out during the “presale” which is exclusive to members of Red Butte Garden. This is just one of the perks of membership at Red Butte Garden. 

And if you’re wondering how you’re going to keep your little humans entertained this summer, check events and ideas they have listed on their awesome website. The “boredom busters” offer great ways to keep your kids learning and entertained at the same time. 

Buy A Membership

A good way to stay up to date on what’s happening at Red Butte is to support them by purchasing a membership. (Hint: as we mentioned above, membership means you get to take part in the presale for the Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series, which often sells completely out during the presale.)

You can also volunteer and of course they happily accept donations. Choose your favorite program or initiative, or simply give to the greatest needs of the Garden.

The Garden is also a great setting for a wedding or other private event.

Harmons is a proud partner with Red Butte Garden and we sponsor the concert series, which is one of the biggest forms of income they receive to keep the garden running. along with Bootanical.

Bootanical at Red Butte Garden, sponsored by Harmons

If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll want to listen to our other episodes. You can find them here. Recent episodes include Understanding CBD and The Salt of the Earth with Darryl Bosshardt, of Redmond Real Salt.

Eddy Dawson

Eddy Dawson has a passion for connecting people with the importance of plants in all aspects of life.  His life’s mantra is “everyone loves plants, not everyone knows it.” He has spent 20 years working at Red Butte Garden in a variety of roles, including curator of plant records, director of information technology, and currently serves as the director of programs.  In addition to his Red Butte Garden experience, he has 30 years combined experience in the plant science and horticulture industries and is a 

volunteer leader engaged in the national American Public Garden Association. As part of the mission at Red Butte Garden, Eddy strives to continue learning and making new connections with plants and people  He has degrees in horticulture and botanical informatics from Texas A&M University. 

At Harmons, we’re lucky to have incredibly talented artists at each store, and we’re sure you’ve seen their amazing chalk art as you wander throughout every location. We’re excited to be able to feature some of their work as the featured art on our podcast blog. This art is the work of Ryann Meyers, the artist at our Mountain View location.