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May 2009

Arboretum at Utah Botanical Center Named In Honor of Past Director
by David Anderson, Utah Botanical Center

We celebrated Arbor Day last week in fine fashion! It was wonderful to recognize the value of trees in our lives - and to honor our friend and colleague Bill Varga in the process. The Varga Arboretum was opened at the UBC with a great group in attendance. We are so pleased to have this new area underway at the UBC.

Many other things will be happening this spring and summer at the UBC including the installation of boardwalks and additional solar panels at Wetland Discovery Point classroom, a packed to the gills fish camp, environmental education field trips, Aggie Adventure camps, spring plant sale, farmer's market and our food bank garden - just to name some.

Exciting activities are also happening at the Ogden Botanical Gardens, including a special 15th anniversary celebration in June. We invite you to visit our Web site regularly to stay up-to-date on activities and events. OBG and the UBC are working hard to serve as community-building places - connecting people with one another and with the environment.

Feature Article:
Spring Celebration - Public Plant Sale

by Richard Anderson

Kick off the 2009 gardening season with a trip to the Spring Celebration benefit plant sale.
Join us on May 14 to 15 at the Ogden Botanical Garden or on May 16 at the Utah Botanical Center,  to find an impressive selection of specialty annuals, vegetables, ornamental grasses  and water-wise perennials, as well as a wide selection of Intermountain native plant species; all grown by our horticulture professionals. Please come out and support the gardens. Click here to become a Friend of the G
arden member. Photo Credit: Richard M. Anderson

Sale times and locations:
-Thursday, May 14, 4-6 p.m. (members only), and Friday, May 15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ogden Botanical Garden
1750 Monroe Blvd.
Ogden, Utah 84401
-Saturday May 16, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Utah Botanical Center
725 South Sego Lily Drive
Kaysville, Utah 84037

Featured Pest:
Lawn Insects
by Jerry Goodspeed

The lawn is one of the whiniest plants in the landscape.  It seems as if any insect that wanders near the lawn causes it to weaken, go brown, start to holler and then die. This can be really upsetting aft
er all the work of mowing, fertilizing, aerating, sweating and fretting just to keep it green. There are a number of insects that can damage the lawn, including the white grub, bluegrass billbug and the sod webworm. Each has a little different life cycle and does a little different damage, but they all can be quite destructive if left unchecked.
The best defense is to keep the lawn as healthy as possible. Make sure to water properly (don't over water), cut the grass about 2 inches tall, aerate once a year, and fertilize. However, even a healthy lawn may not be enough to keep the critters out. If you suspect you have an insect causing damage on the lawn, here are some helps for control:
      1.  Properly identify the insect causing damage. Dig around the edges of the damaged area to find the pest.  White grubs are large, have three sets of prologs near their head, and form a "C" shape when disturbed. Billbugs are smaller white larva with a light brown head and no prologs. Sod webworms are typically brown with black spots on their bodies.
      2. Determine a control method. There are both preventative and curative options available.  Most preventatives are put down in May before the damage is done, while the curatives are used later in the summer once the damage is noticed. Contact your local nursery for available products.
      3. Monitor the area to insure you are obtaining the desired results. You may also need to reseed an area if you have had some severe damage. 
      4. Be patient and a little tolerant. After all, we are dealing with Mother Nature. For more information go to

Featured Tree:
Common Hackberry
by Jerry Goodspeed

Common Hackberry
(Celtis occidentalis)
Size: Large (over 50 feet at maturity), good for parks, yards and fields
Ornamental Characteristics: Average to good yellow/gold fall color, no flowers or noticeable fruit, but does have attractive bark
Shape: Somewhat vase
Pests: None of significance
Other: The small, dry fruit can bring some birds into the landscape. Since the fruit dries up on the tree, they do not present a cleanup problem.
Description: One of the best and most hardy shade trees grown in Utah is the common hackberry. This tree can adapt to most soil types, has few pests, and is noted as a somewhat fast grower. It is native to the eastern plains of the United States, but can be grown in much of the country. It makes a large shade tree that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Featured Perennial:
Avalanche Feather Reed Grass
by Richard Anderson

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass
(Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche')

Type: perennial, clump  
Zone: 4 (-30F)
Size: 2 to 3 feet tall (seedheads to 5 feet) and 1 to 2 feet wide
Description: Calamagrostis x acutilflora 'Avalanche' is a long-blooming, low-maintenance, long-lived, perennial clump grass suitable for full sun to partial shade exposures. 'Avalanche' grows best in well-drained fertile soils with sufficient moisture, but will tolerate heavier clay soils and drier sites. Fertilizer may be required to produce maximum height. Low fertility will result in shorter plants. Feather reed grasses are generally free of serious disease or insect problems, although a foliar rust disease can occur during wet summers where poor air circulation conditions exist. Little maintenance is required except cutting back the stems to approximately 8 inches in late winter or early spring. In areas with mild winters the foliage may remain evergreen. This ornamental grass is a cool-season grass, which allows planting or transplanting in spring or fall. Sterility eliminates any chance of this cultivar becoming invasive or producing unwanted seedlings in the garden. Consider combinations with late summer and fall-blooming perennials such as Perovskia, Agastache, Helianthus, and Rudbeckia. Photo Credit: Richard M. Anderson 

Down and Dirty Question:
Where did the Tomato Originate?

by Richard Anderson

According to many scholars around the globe, the ancestral form of the modern cultivated tomato appears to have originated in South American countries of Peru, Ecuador and Chile. It is believed that the tomato migrated northward into Mexico during pre-Columbian times where extensive domestication began and from where the various cultivars we have today were disseminated. Today, tomatoes are the most popular plant in the home garden. The tomato varieties 'Floramerica,' 'Fantastic,' 'Celebrity,' 'Mountain Delight,' and 'Better Boy' have all performed well in Utah and are only a few of the numerous varieties worth planting in your garden. To learn more about how to grow tomatoes in your area, click here.

Fact Sheet Highlight:
Art in Bloom

The UBC is pleased to partner with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in inviting you to attend Art in Bloom, a three-day convergence of fine art and floral design, May 15-17. Proceeds from this biennial event support the UMFA's statewide arts education programs and museum outreach events like Third Saturdays−free, art studio programs for families. Art in Bloom includes floral design demonstrations, lectures and classes and an elegant Flowers After Hours dinner and entertainment benefit. The centerpiece of the weekend event will be an exhibition of more than 30 interpretive arrangements by Utah floral designers. Each artist has selected an object from the UMFA collection and using flowers, greenery, unique containers and their own vision, will create a unique floral display. Details, including schedule and admission charges, are available online at or at 801-585-9880.

Fact Sheet Highlight:
Rebates and Credits for Energy Efficiency Upgrades

If you've been thinking about making some upgrades to your home to improve energy efficiency, now is the time. There are numerous rebates, credits and incentives to pay for some (and perhaps all) of the cost of the upgrade. Click here to access a fact sheet designed to provide you with some resources to get the credits you are entitled to. Visit the Utah House for more energy saving tips at

Upcoming Programs and Events

Garden Workshop:  Making Hanging Baskets/Containers Class
Thursday, May 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
Thursday, May 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Utah Botanical Center
-Participants will learn how to design hanging baskets/containers for sun, shade or any other location. Registration includes instruction, container or basket, soil and enough annuals to give you instant color. Fee: $25/OBG members; $30/nonmembers; $20/additional basket/container (give us a count at registration). Register now at 801-399-8201
Plant Sale
Thursday, May 14, 4-6 p.m. - "Members Only" Early Plant Sale, at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
Friday, May 15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. - Public Sale, everyone welcome, at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - Public Sale, everyone welcome, at the Utah Botanical Center
-Great plants at great prices! Select from a wide variety of wonderful perennials and annuals.

Dessert First Class:  Perennials in Your Landscape by JayDee Gunnell, Davis County Horticulture Agent
Friday, May 15, 12-1 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
-During the plant sale! Join us for this informative, free public class. JayDee will share valuable information about selecting and caring for many of the perennials we will be having for sale. If you want year-round color in your landscape this class is for you. No pre-registration is required.

Free Diagnostic Clinics
Wednesdays, May 6 to September 30, 3-6 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
-Wondering about a plant or pest problem? This is the place to get help. This popular resource for help with anything in your landscape opens in May. Bring in a sample of the problem to receive help in determining how to solve the problem.

Aggie Adventure Camps for Kids at the Utah House
Registration is now open for all Aggie Adventure camps.
Camps are held at the Utah House.
-Come explore the wonderful, slimy, wet, magic and beautiful world of nature at the Utah Botanical Center this summer! Each summer camp in our series is designed for a particular age group and is full of fun, hands-on experiments for investigating the world in which we live. For camp schedules and other details, please visit or call 801-544-3089.

Free Plant Diagnostics
Tuesdays, 1-4 p.m. at the Davis County Courthouse (28 E. State St., Farmington)

Click here for a complete list of events at the Utah Botanical Center
Click here for a complete list of events at the Ogden Botanical Gardens

Get Growing Calendar

► Apply a slow release nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn.
► Control broadleaf weeds by applying a broadleaf weed killer before temperatures reach 85 F or higher.
► Apply a systemic preventative to birch trees to control the bronze birch borer.
► Fertilize and apply a systemic to roses.
► Cut back tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs when the leaves die back about two-thirds.
► Apply a mulch to the garden to control weeds and help retain moisture.
► Call your Extension office to find out the date to start spraying apple and pear trees for codling moth.
► Plant tender vegetables such as tomatoes, squash and cucumbers after fear of frost has past.
► Prune spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, quince and lilac.
► Sign up to learn how to make a beautiful hanging basket/container at the Ogden Botanical Gardens or Utah Botanical Center.

UTAH BOTANICAL CENTER-801-593-8969                                                                  OGDEN BOTANICAL GARDENS-801-399-8080                                                                                          
GARDENING HELP LINE                                                                                                                                      GARDENING HELP LINE
Phone: 801-451-3204 (M,W,F) 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.                                              Phone: 801-399-8080 (Mon-Fri) 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
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