FARMINGTON -- Amid all the noise and clamor of Lagoon amusement park, some of Brent Buhler's best work grows quietly.
The work is the pristine park pockets where people find shady refuge after spending hours rushing from ride to ride. The intricate arrangements formed by a wide variety of trees and flowers settle into the subconscious like falling leaves, telling visitors the park is fresh and clean.
"The park experience is accentuated by the fact that its guests are comfortable," said Buhler, 52, who has been the manager of landscaping and horticulture for Lagoon for 20 years.
"Most people don't realize how much work it is to keep things going," he said about overseeing the trees and gardens on the amusement park's 125 acres.
It's a job the Pleasant View resident was practically born into.
Buhler's parents worked at Lagoon, his mother as an accountant and his father as a part-time bouncer at the old Patio Gardens concert hall where top-notch entertainers performed.
A native of Farmington, Buhler said he did different jobs at the park until graduating from high school.
"We pretty much lived here as kids," he said. "This was pretty much our playground."
In 1992, Buhler returned to the park after earning a bachelor's degree in botany from Weber State University in Ogden and taking additional courses in landscaping architecture and ornamental horticulture at Utah State University in Logan.
"We grow things here that they usually don't grow anywhere else," Buhler said of the park in Farmington.
That's because of the microclimates in the park, which are a result of the landscaping, he said, and the park's flood-plain sandy soils, which allow for more drainage, unlike lake-bottom soils that have higher levels of alkali.
The park has invested in drip-irrigation systems and has its own greenhouse on the grounds.
Buhler and his staff of 35 care for such tree species as Eastern white pines, emerald Douglas firs, weeping blue spruce, fruitless mulberries, Japanese zelkova and the popular tri-color beech.
Buhler also knows his flowers, planting an estimated 80,000 of them annually.
Buhler's job duties include landscaping each ride with trees and flowers that will add to the attraction.
The most difficult project he was ever handed was landscaping the Rattlesnake Rapids ride, Buhler said.
With the ride, he said, trees had to be planted along the waterway route, preventing passengers from being able to see around corners, adding to the anticipation of the ride.
But the splashes of landscape people see while standing in line and the greenery overhead shielding them from the sun is something Buhler takes a great deal of pride in providing.
"Without the trees," he said, "tell me what the park is going to look and feel like."
"I think the Lagoon amusement park is very unique and has a charm all its own," said Dick Andrew, Lagoon's vice president of marketing. "And much of that charm is the commitment (the park) has had over the years to the gardens."
Park employees do not cut down a tree unless they have received the approval of the owners, Andrew said.
Because, after all, there are those guests who appreciate every leaf, Buhler said.
"I have a lot of people tell me they go (to Lagoon) just to look at the gardens."