Think of the gardens on Temple Square in Salt Lake City as a symphony composed of floral notes and themes originated by the Creator of all things beautiful.
That is the way Peter Lassig, who recently retired as the gardener of Temple Square, designed them. The plan for each garden was like a musical score, with the designer of that plot as composer and the planter as performer, placing the floral notes and compositions where they harmonize perfectly.
The floral performance goes on year-round. Gardeners on the square recognize 14 different annual seasons for floral display or cultivation—seasons such as the June flush, when all the perennials come out early in the month. Thanks to a staff of 50 volunteer designers and 50 planters, the fall and spring “down time,” when gardens are empty while replanting takes place, is no more than 10 days.
There are 35 acres (14.2 hectares) of garden plots on Temple Square, which includes not only the city block where the Salt Lake Temple stands but also the block to the east of it, with the Church Office Building plaza; the block to the north, where the Conference Center is located; part of the block to the west, where the Family History Library and Museum of Church History and Art are located; as well as a small park and the Brigham Young Cemetery tucked into two urban green spaces east of the Church Office Building.
Visitors to Temple Square won’t see any formal floral designs—clocks, faces of prophets, world maps—in the gardens. The reason is a matter of reverence for the Creator. The gardens are meant to showcase the variety and magnificence of His creations, not the cleverness of man.
Of course, the gardens draw recognition for their beauty; there have been prestigious awards from gardening organizations. But more important, they contribute to the feelings of reverence, peace, and awe experienced by visitors.
Like our Father’s other works, the gardens can teach lessons at different levels. There are obvious lessons about the genius and artistry of this earth’s design. And there are more subtle lessons about faith in His loving, providing care for us:
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
“And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matt. 6:28–30).