Aside from the natural beauty that they provide, there are many benefits to public gardens, especially if you are a gardener, or hope to be one. The whole purpose of a public garden is to provide the knowledge and love of plants to a community, something that every gardener needs.
One very important thing you can learn at a public garden is what plants grow in your area and when they are in bloom. Paul James, host of the HGTV show Gardening by the Yard and known as “The Garden Guy” points out what a great resource they are for home gardeners.
“I truly believe that public gardens are a rich source of ideas and information for home gardeners. By spending a few hours at your nearby public garden, you’ll learn more about which plants grow well in your area and how to combine them in your own garden than you’ll ever glean from a book or magazine (or television show).”
Another great thing about public gardens is that most sell plants, making them a great source for locally-grown plants that are just right for your micro-climate. Some even have sales at different times of the year with a variety of offerings, including native plants. By supporting this local business, you are also supporting gardening in general since the proceeds go back to fund educational programs and events.
They are also a great source of information in other ways. Many of them host or house local garden clubs and societies. These groups provide a wealth of information on specific plants and flowers, ranging from African violets to roses.
There are also countless other educational opportunities at a public garden. There are classes, workshops, lectures, and book talks with both local and nationally known gardening experts, often offered free or included in the price of garden admission.
Public gardens also create awareness of the garden’s role in promoting environmental stewardship and education, plant and water conservations and education, and they pass this information down to you to implement in your home garden.
You can start taking advantage of all that your local public garden has to offer by visiting on May 7th, 2010, which is the Second Annual National Public Gardens Day. The American Public Garden Association (APGA) created the day to coincide with Mother’s Day weekend, what they call the “unofficial” start of spring and a time when the environment is top of mind for most consumers.
May 7th, according to the APGA, is a “national day of celebration to raise awareness of America’s public gardens and their important role in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation, and education in communities nationwide.”
The APGA has over 500 garden members listed on its site, in all 50 states and eight other countries. They are not all botanic gardens and arboretums. There are also historical sites or homes, local golf courses, “entertainment” gardens such as theme and water park gardens, college and university gardens, and museum gardens.
Check out the site to find one near you to see what events are scheduled for Public Gardens Day and throughout Mother’s Day weekend.