Taking a look at a backyard turned desert garden

Jul 30, 2022, 7:00 AM

Host Maria Shilaos visits Michael and Cheryl Ackley's desert garden. The garden various things to s...

Host Maria Shilaos visits Michael and Cheryl Ackley's desert garden. The garden various things to see, such as desert plants, a western town and a revamped train caboose. Photo credit: Screenshot from KSL Greenhouse.

OGDEN, Utah — If you’re ready to retire all your grass in the backyard, a desert garden could be just the solution.

KSL Greenhouse host Maria Shilaos paid a visit to Michael and Cheryl Ackley’s unique desert garden in Ogden.

The garden spans one acre and features various things to see, such as desert plants, a western town, and a revamped train caboose.

“People come out, they like to take pictures and enjoy the flowers when they’re in bloom,” Michael told Shilaos. “It’s just taken off [from] here.”

Michael has an interest in railroads and history, which inspired the Ackleys to build replicas of a western town and a Native American village. Additionally, the Ackleys refurbished a train caboose to act as a guest house.

“So, it just goes on and on, day after day, it’s always projects,” he said.

Humble beginnings of the Ackleys’  desert garden

The Ackleys have owned their property for seven years. Work on the garden began six years ago, with the construction of a pergola.

“[It] started with just a shed there and a shed over here that was left on our property that was used for horses,” Cheryl said. “We thought well we have to do something with this.”

According to Cheryl, the entire garden has grown from one plant.

“I remember when I lived with my mom in Portland, Oregon, we had… just a small little plant. When she died, I took that plant… and we moved to Montana and it kept growing and kept having babies,” she said. “And now we’re here (in Utah) and it’s all off of one plant.”

Cheryl said their garden has gotten bigger than she had ever imagined.

“It’s just been really fun,” Cheryl said. “We keep adding plants. I don’t trim anything. If it dies, stays. It’s a part of the garden.”

Learn more by watching the full episode below:

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8-11 a.m. You can follow the show on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

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