Gardening News

What We Can Learn From Public Gardens

Have you visited a public garden lately? With over 500 spread across the country, it’s easy to visit one wherever you travel.

It’s surprising when local residents say they haven’t visited the garden gems here in the Triangle – the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham.

National Public Gardens Day is May 6, a day set aside by the American Public Gardens Association 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.

You can visit a public garden anytime of the year and apply what you see and learn there to your own home garden. Public gardens are a great educational resource for gardeners of all levels.

“Public gardens are a rich source of information for home gardeners, consumers, and homeowners,” said Paul James, host of the HGTV’s Gardening by the Yard and national spokesman for the American Public Gardens Association. “There are more than 500 public gardens in the United States that are pillars of their community, delivering education on plant and water conservation. As I travel across the country, I am always amazed at the number of people who aren’t aware of what a public garden has to offer. They are a treasure trove of ideas that can be applied in the garden at home.”

Landscape Design
Homeowners can find sources of inspiration in the design of public gardens, the types of plants used in particular environments, the selection of plants that do well in particular geographical locations, and the way gardens are displayed, coordinated, and arranged. Landscaping at public gardens can demonstrate what plants bloom at similar times, what arrangements look well together, and how gardens can be beautifully displayed.

Plants
Choosing plants that have adapted to a local environment can ensure a garden will be healthy and require less water. Public gardens have huge collections of native and adaptable plants that homeowners can be assured will work in their own gardens.

Geographical and Seasonal Considerations
Different plants are healthier in different geographical regions and it is difficult to know before purchasing at a nursery, what plants will do well in a homeowner’s garden. Public gardens put on display a broad selection of plants that succeed in a homeowner’s region. Knowing that a plant, tree, or flower grows well in a public garden can assist consumers in knowing what will grow well in their own gardens. Public gardens have a selection of plants that are perfect for a variety of seasons. Additionally, blooms can happen year round if the appropriate types of plants or trees are selected.

Water Conservation
Public gardens utilize efficient watering practices and have industry insight on responsible irrigation systems. Homeowners can learn how to irrigate their own gardens by exploring and consulting with their local public garden.

Plants and Supplies
Public gardens often sell plants, flowers and trees during annual festivals, providing top quality additions to homeowner’s gardens. With the sale comes professional experience and advice on the care of the plant.

The American Public Gardens Association is an organization of more than 500 public gardens, arboreta and zoos located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and seven other countries, all devoted to strengthening the public gardens throughout North America. For more information, visit www.publicgardens.org.