Stop and smell the roses


(NEWS4UTAH – Salt Lake City, UT) You can’t help but smile when you hear the deep tones of Louis Armstrong belt out the lyrics “I see trees of green, red roses too.” Flowers and trees evoke emotions. The beauty of roses, the fragrance of lilacs, fall foliage, tulips in spring…. or maybe …of just being a little kid. 

Vernon and Murriel Smith, founded Millcreek Gardens in 1955. Today, their youngest child, LaRene Bautner, tends to the business that surrounds her childhood home as the 2nd generation owner.

As LaRene pointed to the top window of the house situated in the popular garden center; “That’s a castle. That was our home until I was 5 years old. Ya know, I learned my love of gardening through being out in nature. Running around the nursery as a little girl. Hiding under plants. Looking at the bees closely.” 

Actress Audrey Hepburn has been quoted frequently having said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

Bautner agrees with that sentiment; “It takes a lot of faith to grow a garden. The tiny seeds you plant in the ground and they grow. You take a cutting and it sprouts. You take a rooted ball, be it perennial or a tree and you put it in the ground. Give it some good love. Compost, fertilizer, water and it’s going to grow.”

LaRene’s faith is part of what helps Millcreek Gardens grow. “Part of my personal mission statement in life is connecting people and plants and doing it in the funnest way possible.”

Dirt is what you wash out of your clothes. Soil, that’s what you plant in.

Imparting knowledge is important to LaRene. “Soil is everything. It’s like the foundation of your castle. You have great soil and create fertility…and add water to that and you’re going to have a beautiful garden in this desert climate.”

According to the National Gardening Association, over 1/3 of U.S. Households are growing food. 

As we toured Millcreek Gardens, Bautner showed off a wide variety of plants with the love of proud parent.  “It’s an amazing experience seeing people pick out something beautiful and being able to take it home and enhance their outdoor living space. Beautify their yards. Create wildlife habitat. Create something to grow and eat.”

You can tell Bautner loves what she does and loves to share that enthusiasm. Her eyes light up when I ask about the next generations of gardeners in her family. “My grandchildren are the light of my life and they love flowers. You can see a picture of this one with the mud on her face and it’s beautiful. She’s out there with them right in the garden.”

What does LaRene want to pass on to her grandchildren? “I want them to remember to keep it fun and stop and smell the roses. Have a lot of fun creating an adventure of life especially with nature.”

With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop.

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