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The City Journals

Exploring Sandy’s secret garden

May 17, 2019 11:55AM ● By Heather Lawrence

With a pop of color from a flowering tree, a decorative wooden bridge and a vine-covered pergola, Sego Lily Gardens offers a beautiful escape. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

The Sego Lily Gardens covers two-and-a-half acres in the neighborhood east of the Sandy Library. Events like the Spring Garden Fair held on May 11 get the word out about this secret garden, which was designed to provide “inspiration and practical ideas” to create water-wise landscapes. 

Dawn Barbee works for Sandy City Public Utilities and supervises the staff at Sego Lily Gardens. “We have to be conscientious about how much water we use inside and outside of our homes, but that doesn’t mean settling for unexciting landscaping without color,” said Barbee. 

The Gardens opened for the 2019 season in April and will remain open until Sept. 28. They are accessed at 1472 East Sego Lily Drive (10200 South). “The gardens are free to visitors, and they are a resource for education in the community. We also offer opportunities for service groups to come and take care of the plants,” Barbee said. 

Hannah Watts has worked as a gardener at Sego Lily for three seasons. “I do a lot of weeding and digging, everything I can to make it look beautiful. It’s a very peaceful, beautiful place and I love the biodiversity and the variety,” Watts said. 

Watts explained their water-wise practices. “We have drip irrigation and landscape fabric under everything. The plants we have are mostly native and water wise. We demonstrate how to use mulch and rocks so that people know they can have more than just grass,” said Watts. 

Watts said the garden is a bit of a secret. “We have regular visitors, but there are a lot of people who don’t know about it. It’s not very busy and that’s one of the reasons I love it, but we want people to come see it,” said Watts. 

Watts said she loves the garden so much that she commutes there from Salt Lake to spend time in it. “I have to have a day here every week to feel connected. We’d love to have more volunteers. Volunteering helps give people a sense of ownership,” Watts said. 

Businesses, individuals, scout groups and church groups are all welcome to volunteer in the garden or come for a demonstration. For more information, contact Dawn Barbee at 801.568.7187 or [email protected]

In addition to wandering the garden in your free time, there are also several organized events. 

For local artists, the 2019 Plein Air Quick Draw Competition is June 8. Registration is required.  

A butterfly release is planned for Saturday, Aug. 10. 

The Fall Garden Fair is Saturday, Sept. 14. 

Sandy City’s website has a link to the Sego Lily Gardens where more information on all the events is available. Parents can also print off a scavenger hunt for kids to do while they’re there. 

Lisa Reid of Sandy said her family always enjoys a visit to the garden. “It may not be huge but it’s beautiful and educational. It’s a helpful place to get info on plants that would do well in my own yard. And it’s so pretty I had my family pictures taken there,” said Reid.