Jen Jacobson
Thanksgiving Point will open its 55-acre gardens to the public for the 17th year on Saturday, March 26, 2016, but this time with a new name — the Ashton Gardens. The new name honors its founders and donors, Alan and Karen Ashton, and the Ashton Family Foundation.

LEHI — Thanksgiving Point will open its 55-acre gardens to the public for the 17th year this month, but this time with a new name — the Ashton Gardens.

The new name honors its founders and donors, Alan and Karen Ashton, and the Ashton Family Foundation.

“The gardens have long been the flagship experience among our many offerings at Thanksgiving Point,” Mike Washburn, Thanksgiving Point president and CEO, said in a statement. “More than any of our other venues, the gardens exemplify the generosity of spirit and love for the community that the Ashton family has shown Utah. After 20 years, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge that commitment.”

The Ashton Gardens broke ground in 1996. Karen Ashton loved the book “The Secret Garden” and had always related to the central character and her question, “Might I have a bit of earth?” The Ashtons and landscape architect Leonard Grassli worked to design various garden rooms, including a faithful replica of the secret garden. In 2000, the gardens opened to the community as a reflective and peaceful place to visit throughout the seasons.

The Ashton Gardens open on Saturday, March 26. Other changes to the gardens include a new bronze sculpture garden called the Light of the World. It includes 15 scenes — 14 from the New Testament depicting the life and miracles of Jesus Christ and one LDS Church-inspired scene depicting Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

In November, the Ashton Gardens will open for its first-ever winter season with Luminaria, the Festival of Light. This new holiday experience will replace the drive-thru Holiday Lights with an immersive walk with all of the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of Christmas.

For more information, log on to thanksgivingpoint.org.