<== Site Review (2006-05-07) ==>
Wasatch Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society
Sadly, I have not been able to find a local web site for the Wasatch Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society. As I have a long standing interest in the art of rock gardening, I thought I would break the rules for Salt Lake Sites and link to the national organization, and make NARGS the site of the day.
The Wasatch Rock Garden Society is an organization dedicated to promoting the art form of the rock garden.
Personally, I think the rock garden is the best paradigm for gardens along the Wasatch Front. My ideal garden is one dedicated to promoting and preserving Utah native plants.
Salt Lake is on the borderline between alpine mountains and high deserts. This climate allows the creative gardener to incorporate a variety of species from high mountain passes to deep desert canyons. The Salt Lake climate is hospitable to many traditional European flowers.
Recent drought years and the continuing population boom along the Wasatch Front has many people rethinking their landscaping. There has been a great interest in xeriscaping.
In a broad sense, xeriscaping simply means designing a garden for the climate of the area. By default, a native rock garden is a form of xeriscaping because a native rock garden is acclimated to the region. The European variety of rock can get by on significantly less water than a lawn and is appropriate for our climate.
In the narrow sense, xeriscaping refers to the specific gardening techiques used for low lying desert regions like Tucson, Albuquerque, Los Angeles and Phoenix. In this regards, I feel that rock gardening is a better ideal for the Salt Lake Valley than xeriscaping.
The rush to xeriscaping has led people to try and recreate the stark gardens of Tucson in Salt Lake. What we really need to do is develop our own gardening ideals for this unique high desert environment.
Utah pioneers had the ideal of recreating European gardens and water intensive agricultural practices in the high mountain deserts. The ideal of the European Garden was too water intensive for the region. The Japanese Garden doesn't fit in the area either.
In my opinion, we make a second mistake when we try to over compensate and trying and adopt the gardening practices of Phoenix to Salt Lake.
The recent rush to xeriscaping in Utah has led to nasty problems as people import invasive species from Mongolia. These plants are escaping the confines of the Salt Lake Valley and are wreaking havoc in the Wasatch Mountains!!!!
The true ideal of gardening is not to adapt the local environment to the way they garden over there, but to learn to adapt one's gardening techniques to the local environment.
The Wasatch Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society is a club dedicated to promoting the art of rock gardening in Utah. The ideal of the rock garden is perfect for the Rocky Mountain region. The club hosts garden tours and the members of the society are always eager to share their gardening experiences with fellow gardeners. The organization publishes a newsletter and often hosts meetings.
If you are interested in gardening in Salt Lake, I would highly recommend rock gardening. The geology of the region provides an exciting range of rocks from stark red sandstone of the Park City Rock formation in Parleys canyon to the impressive white granite slabs that define the Cottonwood Canyons.
The Wasatch Front offers a wide range of plant species along with a delightful selection of native rocks. You can also incorporate many traditional European plants. The one thing a rock garden enthusiast must avoid is the importation of species from climates similar to Salt Lake as these plants are apt to become invasive weeds.