Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Photo by Sandy Schmidt

National Public Gardens Day

National Public Gardens Day

May 4, 2018|Gardens| by Molly O'Brien

Celebrating gardens nationwide and beyond!

The tenth National Public Gardens Day is fast approaching, and garden lovers across the country will be celebrating, on Friday, May 11th. 

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. This year there are over 150 participating gardens nationwide.

How to get involved? 

All across North America more than 500 botanical gardens, arboreta, museums and zoos will offer free admission, along with special events and activities. To locate a participating garden near you visit the gardens map, here.   

For gardens wishing to promote their participation in the event, fill out the registration form on the APGA website.

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 about what plants grow in your area, how to best care for plants, 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 nearly 75 years the organization has forged connections and cooperation among gardens. Today there are over 600 participating associations, from all 50 states, Canada and 24 countries. Members include: botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges, universities, and research facilities.