Hosta House

Utah's Premiere Hosta Garden

25 Years ago Burton Johnson walked onto the yard of a home in Olympus Cove and had an idea. The location, he recalls, seemed to be perfect for his sustainable agriculture project: Hostas!

“I said, ‘My goodness, look at the traffic here. It’s just a perfect place do something,’” recalls Burton, “Within an hour of the time that I walked into this yard I was on that bed digging up the weeds.”

With that, Hosta House was founded.

Burton envisioned that Hosta House would become his retirement plan. This was the early 1990’s and hosta plants had only recently begun to creep into the consciousness of Utah gardeners who were eager for hardy foliage.

Burton saw an opportunity. Already a commercial grower, he had no interest in growing edibles.

“My urban agriculture project has never been food,” states Burton. “When I planned this out 35 years ago it had to be a perennial.”

Strolling between the shaded rows overflowing with beautiful variegated leaves, it isn’t difficult to see why this project was so many years in the making. From fence to fence, back to front, almost every workable inch of the yard is bursting with lush tropical-looking hostas. But this isn’t just a hosta garden. Every single lovingly-tended plant on display is also for sale.

“When I planned this out 35 years ago it had to be a perennial, hostas are a perennial. Hostas are known for their foliage.

Investing in a Shady Business
History of Hosta House

Burton’s childhood might inform us as to why he spends his days awash in a sea of soft green south-Asian plants.  He spent his youth on a farm on the upper Colorado Plateau in the Uinta Basin, surrounded by sagebrush and rocks.

“I’d go to town and people would have lovely green lawns,” recalls Burton, “We’d come to Salt Lake and it would be a green oasis, beautiful.”

However, when he looked out from his front window it was nothing but a field full of sagebrush. Eventually it was too much.

“I was ten years old, I looked east out of my front window and there was a big field full of sage brush,” says Burton, “I am sick and tired of this, I’m going to have a lawn.”

Burton dug up the sagebrush and planted grass. He created his lawn, his green space.  He’s been creating green spaces ever since.

Hosta House was decades in the making, and for anyone born and raised in the arid Utah climate seeing what Burton has created is truly refreshing.

“Hot colors means hot climate,” says Burton. Ask him about sustainability and he will probably tell you his idea of green therapy. The soft greens and yellows of Hosta House provides a welcome dose of that therapy for anyone lucky enough to visit.

“There’s something about hostas that are magic,” says Burton, “People love them.”


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