Festival of 250,000 flowers starts Friday
BY JOHN BUIST
BOUNTIFUL — Karen Ashton had a dream, a dream of a never-ending garden filled with flowers of every kind that would bloom continuously from early spring through late fall.
That dream began early in her life, but became reality in 1995 when her husband Alan purchased 800 acres of land in Lehi at the northern end of Utah County.
As Alan and Karen surveyed the property, they could envision an area that would be perfect for the garden, approximately 55 acres.
The geography fit perfectly, the slopes, hills and meandering terrain shone with feeling.
Karen visited several gardens around the world to get ideas for developing her garden. Tracy Erdmann, who has managed the garden from the beginning, said she wanted to make it a gathering place for individuals and families, where people could come and find peace.
The floral season begins in early April with the blooming of the daffodils, hyacinths and crocus, followed by the tulips.
It then flows to the English wallflowers, hisents, iris and the water lilies. In early summer come the roses, then the perennials and the summer annuals. The fall brings in the ornamental grasses and all the fall colors of leaves of the huge variety of trees.
About 110,000 people visit the gardens every year, but the annual Tulip Festival is the most popular time to visit. Between April 12 and April 27, about 40,000 people will stroll along the meandering paths, follow the narrow stream and sit by the small ponds as they watch the water fowl glide through the water.
The 250,000 tulip bulbs are purchased directly from Holland in June and July, then planted in three weeks in late September and early October.
There are 95 different varieties that bloom at varying times so the gardens showcase three to four weeks of solid color.
Remember to take your camera, and perhaps an extra memory card. It’s easy to take 500 photos in the 3-4 hours that it takes to wander through the gardens.
In 2011, The Light of the World exhibit was added to the gardens. It is a compilation of statues sculptured by Angela Johnson that represent 15 different scenes from the life of Christ.
Three are life-sized and the others are smaller and will be replaced by life-sized statues. The expressions on the faces are unbelievably realistic and emotional.
Tracy Erdmann described the spot this way:
“The garden is a place where you can recalibrate your life, it is a place where you find hope and joy, it helps you bring into perspective what life is all about, it enlightens your soul, and it has a healing power, spiritually, socially and emotionally.”
Check out Thanksgiving point website at thanksgivingpoint.org for a list of the events and activities that are available.
The garden is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily, except Sundays.
Weekend prices are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and children, and Monday-Thursday prices are $2 cheaper.