Week Three - 35 Years of Growing

Submitted: Dec. 7, 2020, 10 a.m.
By: Kate Randall, Mkt/Communications Specialist

This week learn more about how University of Utah students can take advantage of their 21 acre Red Butte Garden back yard, native bee studies in the Garden, the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout release into Red Butte Creek, the ancient Four Corners Potato, and the Garden's Penstemon, Lilac, and Conifer Collections.


Study hour in the Garden.


Red Butte Garden is in the University of Utah's back yard. With private waysides and lush grounds, UU students can study, picnic, or relax—all for free when you present your valid UID. University staff also enjoy a discount on admission to visit the Garden any time of year.


Ceratina small carpenter bee, photo: Joe Wilson, USU


Rana on Gaillardia in the Red Butte Garden wildflower meadow, photo: Catherine Cort


Rana time-lapse capture of a bee on Gaillardia

Native Bees Find Refuge in the Garden

Red Butte Garden is a sanctuary for native bees. Joe Wilson, a professor of Entomology at Utah State University, studied the bee fauna of the Garden in 2015-16 and discovered 127 different species of bees, from 33 different genera, and all six North American bee families. Learn more about the bees in Red Butte Garden.

Because there are so many native bees and other pollinators in the Garden, our plant conservation team, led by Dr. Sarah Barlow, was able to conduct a successful 2017 pilot pollinator study using RANA, an automated, motion sensitive, time-compressed digital video system. Learn more about Rana.


Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, photo: DWR

Red Butte Garden Water Pavilion

Red Butte Garden Water Pavilion, photo: Kate Randall

Utah's State Fish Released into Red Butte Creek

In keeping with its mission to manage and protect the state’s wildlife resources, the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) called on Red Butte Garden to help further revive the Bonneville cutthroat trout population and educate the public about its history and habitat. This ambitious collaboration began with the dredging of the Garden’s middle and upper ponds and culminated in the release approximately 200 Bonneville cutthroat trout fingerlings into the newly restored ponds fed by Red Butte Creek in June 2020.

Learn more about how this native fish is making a comeback.

Wild Potato Research

Four Corners Potato (Solanum jamesii) granules were discovered on ancient tools used over 10,900 years ago by ancient Indigenous people near Escalante, Utah. photo: NHMU 2017

Wild Potato Native Habitat

Wild potatoes still growing near a southern Utah archeological site. photo: Bruce Pavlik 2017

Native Potato Harvest

Potato propagation class with Native American farmers in the Red Butte Garden greenhouse. photo: University of Utah 2019

The 10,900 Year Old Four Corners Potato

We are currently working with Indigenous people in southern Utah to conserve the Four Corners Potato (S. jamesii). By learning new methods for propagation and harvest, our partners in Southern Utah will refresh their ancient cultural relationship with this nutritious spud and benefit from the creation of a new—and old—food.

Learn more about the 2017 discovery of the 10,900 potato near Escalante and its importance.

Penstemon Angustifolius

Penstemon angustifolius, photo: Jason Baker

Penstemon strictus & tiger swallowtail

Penstemon strictus & tiger swallowtail, photo: Kate Randall

Penstemon palmeri

Penstemon palmeri, photo: Jason Baker

Red Butte Garden Penstemon Collection

The penstemon collection is made up of more than 2,829 individuals representing more than 80 different taxa. Penstemon can sustain a high number of pollinators, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, due to the large volume of nectar they contain. Because of their diverse flower shapes and colors, many varieties are only visited by specific pollinators.

Learn more about our Penstemon Collection.

Syringa x lacinata

Syringa x lacinata, photo: Jason Baker

Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation'

Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', photo: Jason Baker

Syringa vulgaris 'Firmament'

Syringa vulgaris 'Firmament', photo: Jason Baker

Red Butte Garden Lilac Collection

The lilac collection in the Garden includes 231 individual plants representing 42 different taxa. Find them blooming mid-April to mid-May along the Floral Walk, Fragrance Garden, and Water Conservation Garden.

Learn more about lilacs.

Cupressus arizonica 'Blue Pyramid'

Cupressus arizonica 'Blue Pyramid', photo: Jason Baker


Conifers near the RBG courtyard, photo: Jason Baker

Picea pungens 'Sester Dwarf'

Picea pungens 'Sester Dwarf', photo: Jason Baker

Red Butte Garden Conifer Collection

The Garden's conifer collection includes more than 1,510 individual trees representing 227 taxa. Red Butte Garden has been designated as a conifer reference garden by the American Conifer Society because of our exceptional collection and commitment to their display and preservation. Learn more about our Conifer Collection.

Learn more about the 35 Years of Growing, 35 Days of Giving campaign.

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