People are always stopping at Eph G. Hawkins' house, 6272 S. 440 East, to look at the zoo in his front yard and to ask him about all the strange animals he has.
The animals include elk, deer, bear, ducks and dinosaurs - all created by Hawkins from bushes and shrubs. He has added real antlers to a few of his pets and put bottle cap eyes on some of them, but most need no embellishment. In the wind, they shake their necks and their heads move up and down and from side to side quite realistically.Hawkins, 80, started carving his menagerie 30 years ago when he was a guard at the Utah State Prison. "I used to come home all bound up from my work and I had a hard time unwinding. I started growing bushes from seeds, planting them one fall outside my house near the furnace under bottles and in the spring I transplanted the plants that grew strong.
"I started carving - it took years - and finally got some animals. I had some big elephants once, but I got tired of them and I'm slowly making them into bears."
He said a rich lawyer from California stopped one day years ago and asked him to come to his estate and be the head gardner. "I didn't think I wanted to do this all the time. I was used to being a gardner only about three or four months a year."
Once some women from the Avenues stopped to ask him what kinds of plants they needed to buy to get the different animal shapes growing in his yard. "People are funny," he said, smiling.