What are Public Gardens?
Public gardens are scientific and educational institutions, whose purpose is the advancement and diffusion of a knowledge and love of plants. In North America, public gardens are as diverse as the natural world itself and include botanical gardens, display gardens, therapeutic gardens, nature centers, sculpture gardens, arboreta, parks, college campuses, zoos, cemeteries and historic landscapes.
Public gardens are not only a tonic for individuals; they are positive forces in the community, engaging in civic activities that include city beautification programs, historic preservation, arts, educational programs, lectures, flower shows, and a wide assortment of other social, recreational, and cultural activities. More than just pretty places to visit, public gardens are heavily involved in significant scientific research and innovation (e.g., introducing new plants to the nursery and home gardening trade through breeding, collection, and selection programs). Many have extensive education programs for visitors of all ages and serve as a major source of information about plants for the general public. Public gardens go beyond their garden gates to promote global environmental and conservation issues; some are involved in providing refuges for rare and endangered plants; others work to preserve the habitats for those endangered plants.