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Sandy Journal

Beauty meets sustainability at Sego Lily Gardens

May 07, 2024 11:29AM ● By Megan McKellar

Drought-tolerant plants at Sego Lily Gardens were selected for their ability to thrive in Utah’s climate. (Megan McKellar/City Journals)

The average rainfall in Utah is approximately 13 inches per year, in comparison to the 30 inches or more on the East Coast. Sego Lily Gardens, an educational garden in Sandy City and outdoor classroom in water conservation, offers visitors an opportunity to observe and learn about water conservation principles and sustainable landscaping practices through its diverse array of drought-tolerant plants. Located at 1472 E. Sego Lily Drive, the garden reopened its gates to the public on April 19, marking the end of a temporary closure.

The garden, maintained by the Sandy City Public Utilities Department, aims to showcase low-water-use plants and landscaping techniques, emphasizing the importance of sustainability in landscaping choices. Its collection includes a variety of drought-tolerant plants, including grasses, groundcovers, perennials, shrubs, trees and vines, all selected for their ability to thrive in Utah’s arid climate.

Sego Lily Gardens was conceptualized by Judith M. Bell, Public Utilities director from 1995 to 2004, and later revitalized under the direction of Shane Pace, Public Utilities director. Named after Utah’s state flower, the garden sits on 2.5 acres surrounding an underground water storage tank capable of holding 8 million gallons of water. The garden is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., April through September, with free admission for all. 

As visitors walk through the garden’s pathways, they are greeted by informative signs and plant identification tags, providing valuable insights into water conservation principles and the benefits of
native flora. 

“Conservation does not mean settling for landscape without color,” according to one of the garden’s interpretive signs. “Xeriscaping can be very colorful and beautiful while using water wisely as demonstrated here at Sego Lily Gardens.”

Water-wise landscaping focuses on working with nature to create a healthy and pleasing landscape, while using less water from the local water supply. Careful planning and thoughtful design are essential. Since soil is a crucial component of any landscape, knowing what type of soil you have and properly preparing it plays a major role in the growth rate and appearance of landscape plants. Another key principle of water-wise landscaping is selecting plants that are best-suited for the climate and condition of your landscape, taking into account factors like temperature, moisture and

Other topics of landscape education around the garden include turfgrasses, irrigation systems, mulch and maintenance. Since turfgrasses, or grass for lawns, are the most often over-irrigated plants in Utah landscapes, it is important to consider the practicality, function and placement of such areas. The irrigation system that’s best for your landscape depends on the water needs of your plants and turf areas. Mulching, or using any material as a protective covering that is spread on the soil around plants, is one of the easiest and most beneficial landscape practices. Properly maintaining plants and irrigation systems will keep the plants healthy, conserve water and provide a beautiful and enduring landscape.

The emphasis on education extends beyond the garden itself, with free, in-person courses offered to the public on topics such as drip irrigation, plant identification and nature journaling. These classes aim to empower individuals to create their own water-wise landscapes and contribute to local conservation efforts. λ