As we get into October and kids everywhere begin looking forward to spooky season and eventually Halloween itself, it's time for a yearly tradition that many Salt Lake City residents are familiar with: The third-annual Festival Transylvania hosted by Millcreek Gardens! We've been holding this festival for years now, turning part of our space into a family-friendly, wildly entertaining place to visit.

Millcreek Gardens is proud to serve as your leading provider of garden and plant supplies in SLC, and we also take great pride in our regular involvement with our community. Festival Transylvania is just one of numerous examples here -- let's go over the details of this year's program, plus what you can expect for another year of fun!

Halloween festival Transylvania millcreek gardens

Basic Details

Firstly, let's lay out the simple details of this year's festival. All the basics here:

Tickets can be purchased on our website at your convenience!

Spook Alley

The key attraction for Festival Transylvania, as always, will be the outdoor spook alley. This is one of our spaces that we've converted into an interactive, story-based walk, one that will usually take around an hour to visit and will guide families through all your typical Halloween fun: A hay maze, pumpkins, a makeshift cemetery, and all sorts of various ghosts, ghouls, and costumed characters that are just waiting to entertain you.

There’s an all new story for this year's festival, so even if you've been before you can still expect some new thrills and chills! We can't give away everything here, it’s Dracula’s lucky birthday this year and we’re all in for a big surprise!

Spooky Hollow Munchery

And once you're through the main event and all its fun, make a stop at our famous Spooky Hollow Munchery to fill your belly. We offer everything from cookies and hot chocolate to cotton candy and many other treats, typically for $1 or a similarly low price.

Safety First

We take safety very seriously here at Millcreek Gardens, and that's doubly true for something as high-octane as Festival Transylvania! As such, we have a strict set of guidelines that all guests must follow while in attendance. Some of these are common sense (like not wandering off on your own), but others are specific to Spook Alley and its attractions.

For specific safety guidelines, please consult our website. We also have a set of frequently asked questions that should help clear up anything else you're curious about!

Festival Transylvania is one of our biggest and most popular events here at Millcreek Gardens, and we always enjoy putting it on for the community. We hope to see you soon for this year's event!

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on how to go about making your garden as pet-friendly as possible. From basic functionality and aesthetics to confirming your pet will be safe and healthy within every part of your garden that's accessible to them, there are several important concepts to consider here.

At Millcreek Gardens, we provide numerous services and resources for gardening clients throughout Utah, from a wide range of plants and plant supplies to fertilizer, tools and much more. What are some other tips we often provide to pet owners who want to make their garden as accessible and friendly as possible to their pets? Here are several.

pet-friendly garden insects plants

Avoid Open Compost

Many owners of quality gardens like to compost their own food and yard waste, but if you have pets that spend time in the garden, this can pose a serious health risk. If your pet ingests compost that is not fully broken down, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

Now, this doesn't mean you have to remove your compost entirely; rather, make sure it is in a pet-proof container with a lid that your animal cannot open. This will help avoid any accidents and keep everyone safe and healthy.

Slug, Snail and Other Pest Risk Prevention

While most bugs and insects aren't much of a concern for dogs and other animals, there are just a few that can pose a serious threat. Slugs and snails, for example, often carry a disease known as rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in pets that ingest them.

Again, the best solution here is prevention; make sure to keep an eye out for any slugs or snails in your garden and remove them immediately. You can also take measures to prevent them from getting into your garden in the first place, such as keeping the area around your garden free of debris where they might hide.

Choosing Strong, Sturdy Plants

Especially for the dog owners reading this blog, and even more so for those with large breeds who like to chew or eat just about anything, it's important to choose plants that are strong enough to withstand a little bit of wear and tear. This means avoiding any plants with delicate leaves or stems that could easily be broken off.

Some good options for dog-friendly plants include:

Of course, this is just a small sample of the many different types of plants that are out there; doing a little bit of research on which ones will work best for your garden and your pet's needs is always a good idea.

With the right precautions and plant choices, it is entirely possible to create a pet-friendly garden that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Avoiding common hazards and keeping an eye out for potential risks will help you create a safe space for your animal companions to enjoy along with you.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our gardening services or resources, speak to our team at Millcreek Gardens today.

Many people are passionate about both their pets and their property, and one theme where they sometimes converge is within your garden. There are many ways to achieve a pet-friendly garden that will both look and function optimally -- as long as you have the right simple concepts in mind, that is.

At Millcreek Gardens, we're happy to offer a huge range of gardening products and services to clients throughout Salt Lake City, from simple gardening tools to pest prevention products, soil and soil conditioners, and more. We also provide simple expertise on several possible gardening needs or themes, including how to set up and maintain a garden that's friendly and conducive to any pets who live on your property. This two-part blog series will look over several tips for approaching this theme.

pet-friendly garden plants chemicals

Dog-Friendly Plants

First and foremost, there are a number of different plants that are completely healthy to dogs, and will not raise any toxicity or risks if your pet happens to consume them. This is good news for gardeners who want a pet-friendly space that's also aesthetically pleasing; you don't have to worry about making too many concessions in terms of what plants you can or cannot include.

The list of plants to avoid in this realm includes monkshood, buttercup, daffodil, foxglove, anything in the lily family and a few others -- being aware of these can help you to avoid any accidental poisonings. But there are many, many plants that are safe for dogs and won't cause them any harm if ingested, including impatiens, rosemary, petunias, daisies and more.

Use Chemicals Sparingly

Because dogs and other pets will commonly eat grass or other plants within your garden, it's important to be judicious about the chemicals you use, if any. Dogs are more susceptible than humans to the effects of herbicides and pesticides, so even products that are labeled as safe for humans can pose a serious threat if used too frequently or in high concentrations.

The best rule of thumb is to either avoid using these chemicals altogether, or to use them in such a way that your pets will not have direct exposure. For example, you might apply herbicide before your dog has access to the garden, giving it time to dissipate before they're able to come into contact with the plants.

Fences and Boundaries

For those who want to be able to leave dogs and other pets in the yard without worrying about them running away or getting into something they're not supposed to, it's important to set up some clear boundaries. This usually means installing a fence that's tall enough and secure enough that your pet cannot escape.

Of course, this isn't always possible or practical, depending on the size and layout of your property. In this case, you'll need to get creative, using things like landscaping features, garden gnomes or other lawn decorations to serve as a physical boundary that your pet will understand not to cross. Obviously, proper training of pets is essential to make any of these efforts successful.

You might also consider using an invisible fence, which uses radio waves to create an invisible boundary that will cause a mild shock if crossed. These can be effective, but they also require special training and conditioning for the animal.

In part two of our series, we'll go over some further themes here. For more on a pet-friendly garden, or to learn about any of our nursery or garden center services for clients throughout SLC, speak to our team at Millcreek Gardens today.

Conserving water during extreme heat and drought conditions is a challenge, especially with respect to our garden plants. We want to encourage gardeners to conserve water without compromising the health of their gardens, and to that end, the team here at Millcreek Gardens has some advice for you about plants you can find at our Salt Lake City nursery that flourish, even with very little watering.

Even though Salt Lake City has always had an arid climate, drought and heat are making conditions for some plants impractical. While we aren’t advocating pulling up your favorite flowers and shrubs and replacing your lawn with rocks or gravel, we do want you to have color and joy in your yard while at the same time respecting the area’s efforts to conserve water.


Hardy Plants for Arid Climates

1. Cactus

Cacti have always been a favorite here in northern Utah, their spiny hardiness a testament to their ability to thrive even in temperatures over 100. A darling of the Southwest, some cacti love life here in Salt Lake City as well and can handle our cold winters.

Get some mature cacti and create a small cactus garden right in your front yard. Everyone is familiar with the tall, spindly cacti sprouting arms on either side, but get creative with different shapes and sizes. Plant round, fat cacti, tiny cacti with colorful flowers on top and some nice flat prickly pear or cholla cacti that will survive our cold and dry winters.

2. Succulents

Succulents make a great addition to your cactus garden. You can plant hens and chicks, also known as houseleeks, either indoors or out. Their flat, fleshy “leaves” are a joy to behold, and they may grace your yard (or home) with flowers from time to time.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of sedum, and many gardeners use sedum as an attractive ground cover — both leaves and flowers may be colored. Ice plants are another ground cover, and these sport beautiful flowers of every color imaginable.

Yucca filamentosa, with its long, spiny leaves, can grow to almost 10 feet tall and sprout clublike clusters of adorable white flowers.

3. Day Lilies

Day lilies will bring some much-welcome color to your drought-resistant garden, with their orange, showy flowers spreading cheer even on cloudy days. Although we think of tiger lilies and day lilies as orange because this is the most common variety, you can get day lilies at our plant nursery in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow and lavender.

One of the best parts of landscaping with day lilies is that you can plant them almost any time of year. And while they are thirstier than cacti (day lilies need adequate watering from time to time) they are an especially hardy plant.

4. Yarrow

Yarrow loves relentless sun, so Salt Lake City is a great place to plant this long-blooming perennial! Once used for a variety of medicinal purposes, today yarrow is a favorite among gardeners who love an easy-to-care-for plant that propagates well. Divide this plant regularly and it will thrive with very little watering.

Taking Care of All Your Plants

While you’re here at our Salt Lake City plant nursery shopping for plants that don’t need much water, consider stocking up on mulch to better hold the water around plants that require more of it.

Count on Millcreek Gardens for annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and a wide variety of garden products.

It’s July! It’s time to prepare for the dog days of summer, with typically dry conditions, temperatures in the mid 90s or higher, and SUN. Landscapes are often under the unique stress of Utah’s hottest season, so you’ll begin to see what your landscape choices are really capable of.

And now might be the time to consider plants that are already well suited for our Utah conditions – NATIVE PLANTS! Millcreek Gardens has created a new native and xeric plant department to better serve our guests, chock full of true Utah natives, natives from the greater Intermountain West and Great Basin, and a few non-natives that have proven themselves nicely drought tolerant.

globe mallow

But why consider native plants in the first place?

  1. WATER CONSERVATION: Conserving water is certainly a top priority for any landscape in Utah, the second driest state in the country. BUT THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOU STOP WATERING, nor does it mean ROCKSCAPING. Instead, the key to sustainable water conservation is to keep your soil healthy, because if it is, your plants are healthy as well. Healthy soil absorbs rainwater and irrigation water like a sponge, it sequesters carbon, and it provides habitat for all kinds of beneficial microbes, fungi, and critters. Unhealthy dry soil, especially soil covered in rocks and landscape fabric, will repel water like Gore-Tex, and is essentially devoid of life, exacerbating drought conditions even more.

The first step in building healthy soil is to plant native plants because they have deep root systems to help hold water in place. Ditch the landscape fabric and instead spread a nice, 4 inch thick layer of wood bark mulch to help retain water, keep soil temperatures cooler, prevent soil erosion, and prevent weeds! And remember: drought does not cause bare, dry soil; bare, dry soil causes drought.

  1. EASE OF MAINTENANCE: Native plants are much less work to maintain than traditional garden plants. Natives like to be watered occasionally, and not much else! No more costly fertilizing, professional pruning, watering, and whatnot. Native plants prefer to be neglected (once established of course) and are perfect for the busy gardener with other landscape priorities.


  1. SUPPORT LOCAL WILDLIFE: Trying to support bees? Sure, you could get a beehive, but remember that hives are for foreign, imported European honeybees! Honeybees are crucial to our food crop industry, but they are far from the only bees out there. In fact, Utah is home to over 900 native bee species, all of them living a solitary life far different than our typical conception of a busy bee colony. Planting native flowers will help to support these native bees, which still play a major role in pollination, just like their European cousins. Native bees do not nest in hives; they are not gregarious, but solitary, so by planting food for native bees, you help to support their food and habitat. Remember: we humans cannot go it alone, we need all the creatures we live with, no matter how great or small. There are no islands in the web of life!


  1. UNIQUE LOCAL LOOKS: While it’s true, native plantings might not look like a busy English garden or a manicured French estate, but including them in your landscape design will better ground your native look with the local ecology. Native and other drought tolerant plants feature surprisingly beautiful blooms, interesting foliage (blues and slate grays), and unique textures.

Planting native plants has always been a solid idea, but now it’s even easier since we’ve added a whole new department to make shopping easier and more efficient!

Dads love to be outside tending to the lawn and garden, so what better Father’s Day gift could you get him than gardening tools? Whether he's squeezing in garden projects between office hours and tee time, or making his dream landscape come alive, your dad is sure to enjoy a new piece of equipment  for the yard.Come to Millcreek Gardens, Salt Lake City’s favorite garden center, to browse our wide selection of Father’s Day gifts.

gardening supplies

Gifts for the Lawn

Dads are known to love a lush, healthy green lawn. Give your dad a head start, and gift him some rolls or squares of sod. All you have to do is lay it down and water it and you have an instantly beautiful lawn.

If your dad would think that using sod was cheating, get him some bags of grass seed and soil conditioner. We sell many types of soil created especially for lawns, vegetable gardens, flowers, trees and more.

If your dad already has an adequate lawn, you can give him gifts to turn it into the showpiece he really wants. Buy him some weed killer to get rid of those dandelions and the ugly crabgrass. Get some pest control supplies to thwart the slugs and cutworms. Throw in some fertilizer, a spreader and a few dozen bags of mulch and you’ll know where to find him every Saturday morning.

Garden Tools for Him

As much as dads love chainsaws, drills and other power tools, they also love the quiet strength gardening tools provide. Raking, hoeing, pruning and trimming on a quiet weekend is almost like meditating.

Check out our Salt Lake City garden center’s supply of spades, shears, trowels, cultivators and clippers. We even sell cleaning tools such as brooms and mops for washing windows and cleaning algae from backyard ponds.

Plants Dads Love

Does your dad have prize rosebushes he lovingly tends to after dinner each night? Or does he put on his overalls and head out to his vegetable garden in the evenings a la Mr. McGregor to train the cucumber vines or cage the tomatoes? Supersize his enjoyment by getting him more of what he loves — a new variety of rosebush, some butter bean seedlings or packets of beefsteak tomato seeds.

Don’t forget the fruit! Strawberries are delicious and easy to grow; get some rhubarb too and tell dad you expect a pie later this season.

If he loves to cook or grill, get your dad some herbs — chives, dill, fennel, basil, mint, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary — to add to his favorite dishes.

If you’re looking to splurge on something heftier for dad, consider getting him starter hedges, perennial shrubs or a fruit tree such as an apple, peach, pear or cherry.

When you’re not sure what your dad wants from our Salt Lake City nursery for Father’s Day — or you think he already has everything — get him a gift card so he can pick out exactly what he wants. Come with him to Millcreek Gardens and help him pick out his gift to make it more special. He’ll love looking through the plant supplies, garden products, tools and more — and he’ll love you for thinking of him.

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it — do you have a gift for your mom yet? Over the years, certain Mother’s Day gift traditions have developed — brunch, flowers, candy. Brunch will be overcrowded and expensive, cut flowers will only last a week or so and candy is nice, but a plant will remind your mom of how much you love her for many years to come. Come to Salt Lake City’s favorite plant nursery — Millcreek Gardens — for the best selection of indoor and outdoor plants, as well as sage advice from out professional gardeners.

flowering plants

Indoor Plants for Mom

If your mom lives in an apartment or has a yard that’s unsuitable for plants, you may want to buy her an indoor plant from our nursery. Shoppers tend to like to buy their moms flowering plants, such as cyclamen, lilies, orchids and African violets. All are beautiful and great choices! However, if your mom doesn’t have a green thumb, you may want to stay away from orchids, which take a little extra TLC to thrive.

Green plants also make great gifts. They brighten up a home and provide needed oxygen. Think snake plants, philodendrons, ferns and spider plants for Mother’s Day.

Outdoor Plants for Mom

If you want to get your mom a perennial shrub such as an azalea, rhododendron or lilac, you may want to check with her first to make sure she has a good spot for it. Otherwise, go with some stunning annuals such as petunias, impatiens or geraniums. Geraniums love the hot Utah sun, while impatiens need a bit of shade.

If your mom’s yard has a lot of shade, you may want to consider hostas, lilies of the valley or foxglove. The hostas will grow big and can be divided every few years, while the lilies and foxgloves will spread and propagate on their own, creating a beautiful landscape of delicate flowers that your mom can pick and bring indoors every year.

Planting with Mom

To make your gift doubly special, we suggest arriving at your mom’s house with your plant(s), hat, gloves and trowel, ready to do the digging for her. If your mom truly loves gardening, pick up some seed packets of sunflowers, zinnias and other easy-to-grow flowers and you can both plant them together. Get takeout when you’re done so you don’t have to shower and change after you’re worn out from an afternoon of gardening.

Whenever you need garden products for yourself, your mom, your dad or anyone who loves gardening, remember Millcreek Gardens of Salt Lake City. We carry a full line of plants, plant supplies, soil, sod, mulch, shade trees and more. We’re the area’s No. 1 landscape supply outlet.

Every day is Earth Day at Millcreek Gardens. We believe communing with nature every day is good for the body, mind, soul and Earth. When you shop at Millcreek Gardens, Salt Lake City’s favorite plant nursery, you’re doing your part to keep your corner of the Earth in good shape. On Earth Day, you may volunteer to go out and clean up a green space or plant flowers in a common area, but we have some suggestions for Earth Day activities that will help the Earth year-round.

earth day

Plant a Shade Tree

In Utah’s arid climate, we could all do with more shade. Shade trees give us a deliciously cool place to relax, they provide shelter for delicate plants and depending on their location, may help you save money on your energy bills.

Here at our Salt Lake City tree nursery, we sell hundreds of varieties of shade trees, including maples, mimosas, birches, cedars, willows and more. If you are worried about space and how big your tree will grow, talk to one of our staff members. We can help you select a smaller tree. Many Japanese maples, for instance, only grow to be 10 to 20 feet tall and display beautiful colors in the fall.

When you plant a tree, remember to dig a hole twice as deep as the root ball. Water and fertilize it according to the directions, and consider mulching around the tree as well to help keep it moist.

Use a Rain Barrel

The drought here in Utah and the surrounding areas has been devastating to both wildlife and plants. While conserving water in our homes will not have an immediate effect on the drought, every little bit helps, and if everyone did their part, the difference would be significant. Additionally, forming habits to conserve water whenever possible is always a plus for the environment.

Rain barrels collect rainwater from your gutter system and save it for you to use to water your plants. You can purchase one, but since they are often several hundred dollars, you might want to try to make your own rain barrel.

Plant More Plants and Less Grass

As a Salt Lake City resident, you likely know how hard it is to keep grass thriving here. Anyone who is able to do it is either using a lot of water (which is currently illegal in some areas) or they’re spray painting the grass green (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Dedicating a lot of your lawn space to grass also means more mowing. There’s a movement across the U.S. to let part — or all — of your lawn grow wild to encourage the bee population to bounce back.

Ask us for recommendations for plants for your yard that aren’t water hogs and don’t require as much maintenance as grass. We can show you a variety of drought-tolerant shrubs and other hardy sun-loving plants.

Show your love for the Earth by coming to Millcreek Gardens this month and make your back yard more beautiful and more sustainable.

It’s March, the time of year in which those lovely green shoots we all know and love start breaking through the soil in gardens all over Salt Lake City, Utah. Even though we expect spring to come every year, each time it feels like a miracle — that some unseen force telegraphs to the daffodil bulbs underground that it is safe to come out now. Here at Millcreek Gardens, Salt Lake City’s favorite gardeners’ supply store, we want to celebrate the arrival of the daffodils with you and provide some helpful information and advice about these beloved blooms.

Daffodils are sometimes called narcissus or jonquils, and although they may have slight genetic variations, for most gardeners, these plants are indistinguishable. In fact, they are part of the same family that includes the amaryllis, a holiday favorite with large, showy flowers.

Almost all daffodils are yellow, but because there are scores of varieties of daffodils, the resulting blooms can be all different shades, from butter to lemon to sunshine to canary. You may have seen two-toned daffodils, with white petals (also called tepals) on the outside and a yellow inner corona.


Daffodils Are Easy to Grow

One reason daffodils are so popular is because they are so easy to grow. With our sandy soil here in the Salt Lake City area, it’s easy to dig holes or trenches to fill with bulbs in the fall.

Often, they optimistically emerge from their winter sleep only to be flattened days later by a sudden heavy snow. But daffodils are especially hardy. You may walk by them on your way to work in the morning, noticing that their faces are frozen to the concrete on your sidewalk, only to return in the evening to find the snow has melted, they have peeled themselves off the ground and are standing tall and proud.

This is evidence they are not only strong, but they are, in fact, tough to kill. They’re also famous for propagating. You may get more daffodils each year. Or, you may get one or two in an odd location that makes it hard to mow the lawn. Their penchant for multiplying is why you can see veritable fields of them on public land such as alongside roadways.

The Care and Keeping of Daffodils

While daffodils are not demanding plants, they are happier if you show them a little love. This includes keeping them covered through the winter with a warm blanket of leaves. Once you see shoots poking through the leaves (you can peek if the leaves are deep), you can remove the blanket. The best way to do this is with a small rake made for tight spots such as the ones we sell here at our Salt Lake City garden center. With this type of rake, it’s easy to gently remove the leaves around the plants, rather than literally raking them over with a giant bamboo monstrosity, which could injure them or at the very least annoy them.

If your daffodils aren’t propagating the way you’d like, or if you wish to add in new varieties, stop by Millcreek Gardens in Salt Lake City. We sell many varieties of daffodil bulbs, but remember, they must be planted in fall. If you want to enjoy daffodils right away, buy some blooms in a pot and save the bulbs for planting season.

You may see cyclamen everywhere you go these days — grocery stores, drug stores, big box stores. It’s a lovely Valentine’s Day gift for anyone — the pretty butterfly-shaped blooms brighten up homes during a dreary February and remind everyone that spring in Salt Lake City is not far away. But if you want your gift to matter — and to last — it’s best to get your cyclamen at our nursery, where you can be sure to get hardy, strong plants along with some professional advice for taking care of them.


Keeping Cyclamen Indoors

A cyclamen is a cheerful addition to a home, whether it serves as a centerpiece on the dining room table, a decoration on the window seat or a touch of color anywhere. A potted cyclamen prefers indirect lighting, so choose its home carefully. You may see the leaves stretch toward the light, so turn the plant from time to time to encourage even growth.

A tropical indoor cyclamen will go into dormancy once it is done blooming — don’t throw it away! It is just sleeping and will return with proper care.

Planting Cyclamen Outside

Hardy cyclamen can be planted outside once it is warm enough and you are done enjoying your plant indoors. You can plant your cyclamen in boxes, planters or directly in the ground (this is best done in fall).

Be sure to choose a moderately shady location — the Salt Lake City sun can quickly kill a cyclamen.

How to Care for Cyclamen

Talk to us about what soil is best to plant your cyclamen in — whether indoors or out — to keep this perennial blooming for years to come. When planting outdoors, good drainage is important to stave off rot. Planting in slightly hilly mounds can help as well.

When it comes to fertilizer, you will want one appropriate for houseplants for your indoor cyclamen. Ask the helpful staff here at our garden center which one is best for cyclamen.

You’ll want to protect your outdoor cyclamen with mulch through the cold season, but don’t cover the leaves — they will last until it gets bitter cold. In the spring, you can divide the cyclamen to spread the beauty around. Despite how their papery flowers look, cyclamen are hardy plants that can last many years.

Salt Lake City Gardeners’ Supply

There may still be snow on the ground, but remember that spring is only a month away! It’s time to start planning ahead for the growing season in Salt Lake City. Are you thinking of adding some shrubs this year? Or maybe even a small tree? Our nursery is the place to get it.

Come to Millcreek Gardens for all your plant supplies, sod, soil, mulch, fertilizer and garden products. We’re Salt Lake City’s favorite landscape supply source.