October 8, 2013

Terracotta Color Scheme at Temple Square

One of the most inspiring color schemes at the Temple Square gardens was this area highlighted by terracotta colored concrete.  Maybe I liked it so much because it surprised me - terracotta isn't my favorite material in the garden.  But the flower and foliage colors came together beautifully with the red-orange edging.  Above you can see salmon-pink petunias mingled with magenta petunias, purple verbena, violet salvia, orange snapdragons and purple fountain grass (Pennisetum). 

This area is located directly east of the temple.  Just inside my front door, I have a framed photo by Robert Boyd showing this door and one of the nearby cherry trees in bloom.  It was nice to see the rest of the scene during my visit.

Here is the view turning slightly farther to the north.  Most of the stone and concrete around temple square is grey.  I imagine this area was inspired by the red rock areas of southern Utah. 

You catch a glimpse of the nearby mountains when looking directly north.

Here is the view looking directly south. Even though there are lots of large flower beds, there is enough green to keep the area feeling serene. Later in the day I saw several couples using this area for wedding photos. 

I think this space would have looked better with black sweet potato vine carrying the color scheme instead of chartreuse.  You can see some shrubs continuing the dark-leaved theme across the top of the grassy area.  The lovely trees add so much beauty - I am looking forward to when our young trees at the Spokane Temple mature.

I plan to use these colors in the northwest streetside bed at the Spokane Temple next year.  The purple fountain grass, orange snapdragons and violet salvia should work fine in that area.  Unfortunately we can't use petunias because of the deer and rabbits, so I'm considering African daisies (Osteospermum), zinnias, diascia, foxgloves, ageratum, cleome and salvia to fill out the flower bed.  Although some types of verbena have proven irresistible to our deer, I think 'Homestead Purple' will be deer resistant.  I suppose we'll find out in time, eh?


  1. I've enjoyed your review of the Temple gardens. Your images capture the beauty of the gardens. I was there in June... much has changed since then. The beds have matured to even more loveliness. I do love black sweet potato vine, but in that particular corner, I agree with the gardener's choice. The chartreuse brightens up what may have been a rather dark corner without it. Another substitute for petunias you might try are "Sunpatiens", a new hybrid impatien that grows well in the sun. I tried Sunpatiens Compact Blush Pink this season and they have done very well in our hot summer Utah climate. I will plant them again.

  2. Hi Carolyn, I'm still a touch green that you get to visit so often! How nice. I still think black would be better. The area faces south, so for most of the day it gets plenty of intense high altitude sun. Maybe more light colored flowers could lighten. But a difference of opinions on the best choice just illustrates why gardening stays interesting - all our contrasting ideas make for plenty of variety between gardens. And thankfully most gardeners are nice enough to express differences of opinion politely! I think the impatiens would be eaten by the deer and rabbits in the bed I'm thinking about, but it's good to know they did well for you. There are other areas inside the temple fence that might benefit from that plant addition. I've seen them in catalogs but it gives me more confidence to try them after hearing a thumbs up from a real gardener.

  3. They did use a lovely color palette...temping to use that one next year.

    And thanks so much for the pie crust hints.



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