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Articles: Red Butte Garden

The Fragrance Garden tucks up against the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. Photographs by Eric Schramm

The last few decades have seen the creation of an astonishing number of new public gardens, particularly in the Midwest and interior Western parts of the United States. The latter mirrors the explosive population growth throughout the Sunbelt. Those who move westward, to regions subject to extreme temperature swings and drought, understandably seek out public gardens for guidance on what to plant successfully in their own home landscapes. I like to think that public gardens reflect the community’s commitment to sound environmental practices and stewardship of nature.

Many public gardens are planned within, or quickly surrounded by rampantly growing cities. Most are situated on flat, rectilinear spaces. Denver Botanic Gardens, a short walk from the towers of downtown Denver, is typical of such an intimate urban garden. Many—especially arboreta—are sited farther afield in suburbia or at the edges of campuses or cities. Some are truly rural; Filoli, near Woodside, California, is a superb example of this ...


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