Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Photo by Sandy Schmidt

Celebrating Gardens: Go Public Gardens Days!

Celebrating Gardens: Go Public Gardens Days!

May 12, 2023|Gardens| by Holbrook Travel

Celebrating gardens nationwide and beyond!

May 12 is National Public Gardens Day, which also kicks off this year's Go Public Gardens Days! This celebration of public gardens runs through May 21 and is designed to encourage people to visit, value, and volunteer at public gardens in their area and when they travel.

What is National Public Gardens Day?

National Public Gardens Day was created in 2009 by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) with former partner Rain Bird as an initiative to stimulate local and national awareness of botanic gardens, arboretums, historic gardens and any public garden across the country and beyond. One of the main goals of the day is to inform the public of the important role gardens play in community engagement, environmental education, sustainability and conservation.

How to get involved? 

Find a public garden near you by visiting the gardens map here. You can also share your enthusiasm for this initiative by participating in any of the social media campaigns created for this year's celebration, as well as join APGA as a member for as little as $10/year for students or emerging professionals unaffiliated with member gardens.

Benefits of public gardens

Aside from being a source of natural beauty and respite from hectic lifestyles, public gardens are, oftentimes untapped, community resources that provide a number of benefits.

Here are a few reasons why public gardens are important:

Horticultural education:

Whether you just want to drop by for a few minutes or spend the afternoon, public gardens and the people who work there provide a wealth of knowledge to gardeners or aspiring gardeners. In a short conversation you can learn which plants grow in your area, how to best care for them, and when certain varieties are in bloom. Furthermore, public gardens usually have lectures, workshops, classes and book talks with (both locally and nationally known) gardening experts.

Locally grown plants:

Many public gardens actually sell plants, making them a great place to pick locally grown plants that will be supported in your area’s micro-climate. Plus, they usually have plant sales throughout the year, where you can pick up native plants to bring home to your garden.


In addition to research taking place at public gardens that supports plant and water conservation efforts, the garden itself serves as a source of conservation, by protecting natural ecosystems. As urbanization continues to increase, these communal gardens are a sanctuary for animals threatened by loss of habitat.

About the APGA

The APGA is an ever-expanding professional organization in the discipline of public horticulture. The APGA works to facilitate best practices, offers education and networking opportunities, and supports members, as well as public gardens across the globe. For more than 75 years the organization has forged connections and cooperation among gardens. Today, members include individuals at over 600 institutions, from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and 20 countries. Other members include: botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges, universities, and research facilities.

Originally published May 2021; updated May 2023