Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 24, 2014
So what’s the big deal about Arbor Day?

Thanks to those that joined us for the first monthly Gardener’s Breakfast Get-Together. In addition to a great breakfast, we got the added treat of a garden tour of the Durtschi home, which is a world-class daffodil and bulb garden.

Hats off to Mary Durtschi for what she’s created, and for her hospitality last Saturday. Join us at the get-together every third Saturday through October this year at the Stockton Miner’s Café from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Make sure to mark it on your calendar for next month. See you there!

This month The Garden Spot has focused on trees. We’ve covered general principles of tree selection and planting, and have given encouragement to plant as many well-chosen trees as you can in your yardscape. Indeed, the best time to plant a tree is now. Both Wade Anderson of Tooele Valley Nursery, and Gary Fawson, lead organizer for Grantsville’s Arbor Day programs and Tree USA Certification, weighed in with valuable insights and recommendations for trees for the yard and street. We will finish the theme of trees as we end this week with Arbor Day.

So what’s the big deal about Arbor Day, which will be celebrated this Friday? The day has a rich history, with active participation from people of differing walks of life, diverse political and religious persuasions, as well as geographic locations. Because we are used to seeing them everywhere, trees can become almost invisible to us. Observance of Arbor Day is an intentional contemplation of all the benefits that trees bring, with a call for us to either plant more of them, or care for the ones that we have.

The word “arbor” has come to be known as a decorative or functional support structure upon which plants grow. Many use “arbor” and “trellis” interchangeably. However, the word “arbor” is actually Latin for “tree.” Simply put, Arbor Day is “tree day.”

In the U.S., the day is promoted by, and usually celebrated under, the auspices of the National Arbor Day Foundation, with the national holiday being the last Friday in April. Many states celebrate the day earlier or later, depending on the typical planting times in their area.

The first actual Arbor Day happened in 1872 in Nebraska. J. Sterling Morton and his wife moved from Michigan to Nebraska City, Neb. In the prairie land, Morton discovered there were few wooded areas and his homestead would greatly benefit from trees for wind protection, shade, wildlife habitat and beauty. His passion for trees became well known through the beautiful gardens he and his wife created, the saplings he gave to others, and the city newspaper of which he was the editor.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has a great website and online “ebook” that gives the details of Morton’s contribution as well as showing many historical pictures. It’s an enjoyable read. Check it out at

If you prefer, there is also a great article in this week’s edition of American Profile, which was included in Tuesday’s edition of the Transcript-Bulletin.

Locally, Grantsville will celebrate the day in a variety of ways. First, citizens of Grantsville that submitted applications for the city’s “Street Tree Program” can pick up their trees on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Grantsville City Hall parking lot.

As part of the “Trees USA” program under the Grantsville Shade Tree Commission, the city pays for a 10-15 gallon container tree when another is purchased. This program has been the key in planting over 1,200 trees in Grantsville over the last 10 years.

Second, Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall will again award eight elementary school students, one from each 5th grade class, a large tree for their outstanding tree posters, using the theme, “Trees are Terrific from Mountain Peaks to Desert Valleys!”

Lastly, you are invited to join students and staff in front of Grantsville High School for a brief Centennial Tree planting ceremony Friday at 2 p.m. A beautiful Homestead Elm Tree is being donated by the GHS Class of 1964 to commemorate their graduation 50 years ago.

Stockton will also celebrate Arbor Day by hosting a community celebration of past tree plantings and ongoing efforts to bring the beauty of trees to more places in Stockton.

Over the years, Stockton Master Gardeners and Arbor Day enthusiasts have created the “Mayor’s Grove” where trees are planted in honor of past mayors that served the citizens of the city. This honor is bestowed after their terms have been served, or the person has passed away. All mayors that fit these requirements have already been honored, so there will be no tree plantings in Stockton this year. Arbor Day celebrants can join me at the Stockton Town Hall from 7 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. Friday for an Arbor Day presentation and tree question and answer period. It will be great to see you there.

Tooele City’s Arbor Day celebration will be one week later. Barbara Barlow is the “queen” of Tooele Arbor Day events. She has a marvelous event put together, which will be held Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Speirs Farm, 394 W. 200 South, Tooele. The grounds will be open for strolling. If you’ve never been there, this is the time to see what you’ve been missing. The program will feature music, tributes and histories by descendants of four notable, strong contributors to Tooele’s heritage.

Three past Tooele City mayors — Oren Probert, Doug Sagers and Robert Swan — will also be recognized during Friday’s event at Speirs Farm. Mayor Swan served from 1970-74, Mayor Sagers from 1974-81, and Mayor Probert from 1981-82. While Probert and Swan have passed away, Sagers is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, serving us in District 21. Part of the recognition of their service will be the planting of trees in Memory Grove along the south fence of Tooele City Cemetery. That planting will occur in the near future.

In addition to the three mayors, there will be a special tribute to Jeannine Paulos, who passed away last year. Paulos was an active member of the Master Gardener Association. She had a special interest in trees and cataloged the location of different tree types throughout Tooele City. Her work has allowed others to see the characteristics of trees and help them decide what they could plant in their yardscapes. She loved being outdoors and sharing it with the pets in her family. Barlow was a personal friend of hers and strongly believes it’s fitting that Paulos be recognized and remembered this Arbor Day. I’m looking forward to hearing Barlow’s memories about her friend.

As I contemplate Arbor Day, it occurs to me that perhaps we are “hard-wired” to relax a bit when we enter a shady grove of trees or go to a garden where shade, muted sound and dappled light all converge. Someone said, “We think we tend our gardens; but of course, it’s our gardens that tend us all along.” If you don’t usually participate in Arbor Day activities, why not do so this year? Pick one of the area events happening this Friday or next to participate in, and who knows? Perhaps you’ll plant a tree or two as a result.



Upcoming gardener events

Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival, now through May 3.  It’s well worth the trip to Lehi to visit this 55-acre garden with more than 250,000 tulips on display. Fridays and Saturdays feature music and food vendors as well. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for children. Closed Sundays. For more information, visit

Gardening Walk and Talk, Saturday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fawson Residence, 187 Waterhole Way, Grantsville. This beautiful oasis of ponds, bridges, trails, pastures, vegetable garden and orchard, arbors, fences, outbuildings, flowers, shrubs and shade trees is a real treat. Join Gary Fawson and me as we stroll the grounds and chat about plants and approaches you will see. There is no charge. For more information, call me at 435-830-1447.

Monthly Gardener’s Breakfast Get-Together, every third Saturday through September. The next event will be May 17,  9 a.m. to 11 a.m., held at the Stockton Miners Café, 47 N. Connor  in Stockton. Current gardening topics, challenges, successes, and collective advice will be shared. Admission is the price of whatever you order off the menu. For more information, contact or call 435-830-1447.

All about Tomatoes! Offered by Tooele County Master Gardeners. Attend this free workshop on Wednesday, May 28 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Walt Barlow will give insights on varieties, types, starting, planting, care, harvesting, pest and disease control. Bump up your “tomato game” by attending this informative session at USU Tooele Extension, 151 N. Main. For more information, contact or call 435-830-1447.

Jay Cooper

Garden Spot Columnist at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Jay Cooper is a new contributing writer for the Garden Spot column. He replaced Diane Sagers, who retired in November 2013 after writing the column for 27 years. Also known as Dirt Farmer Jay, Cooper and his wife have been residents of Erda since 2001 after moving to Utah from Tucson, AZ. A passionate gardener and avid reader of horticultural topics, for several years he has been a member of Utah State University’s Master Gardeners Program, and served as chapter president in 2013. Cooper says Tooele County has an active and vibrant gardening community, and the Garden Spot column will continue to share a wide range of gardening, landscaping, home skills and rural living themes.

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