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May12–21

National Public Gardens Week – May 12-21, 2023

National Public Gardens Week is an annual observance that begins on the Friday before Mother’s Day, and takes place from May 12 to 21 this year. It’s a week to promote awareness about botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, historic gardens, or any of North America’s public gardens. Did you know that although history recorded Alexander the Great as reportedly being awestruck by the magnificence of Babylon’s gardens, the culture of gardening was not recognized as an art form in Europe until the mid-16th century when it entered the political discourse as a symbol of the idea of an ideal republic?

History of National Public Gardens Week

The word ‘garden’ refers to a small enclosed area of land, usually adjoining a building, commonly referred to as a yard in the U.S. It is usually a planned space set aside for the cultivation, display, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature and often incorporates both natural and artificial materials in their surroundings. The first notable event related to gardening in the U.S. was the founding of the American Public Gardens Association — the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture that works together with members and other organizations to strengthen and shape public horticulture by providing the tools and support needed to plants creatively and sustainably. They were formerly known as the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.

The American Public Gardens Association initiated National Public Gardens Week in 2009, in partnership with a large gardening supply company, called Rain Bird, as a way to increase public awareness of the educational resources public gardens provide to local communities. It aims to highlight programs about important topics such as plant conservation, water conservation, the preservation of green spaces, and home gardening.

The organization’s members include botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and universities, display gardens, and research facilities, all of which are expected to unveil projects that emphasize their importance and effort as community connoisseurs and catalysts for environmental change throughout the week.

National Public Gardens Week timeline

1933
The Rain Bird Corporation is Formed

The Rain Bird Corporation, founder of National Public Gardens Week together with the American Public Gardens Association, is established.

1940
The A.P.G.A is Founded

The American Public Gardens Association is founded.

2009
National Public Gardens Week is Initiated

National Public Gardens Week is first initiated as the National Public Gardens Day holiday in 2009.

2010
Federal Support is Sought

In 2010, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois addresses the U.S. Senate about the importance of recognizing the week.

National Public Gardens Week FAQs

Is National Public Gardens Week a real holiday?

Yes, National Public Gardens Week is a real holiday observed to raise awareness about public gardens around the country.

Why does National Public Gardens Week matter?

National Public Gardens Week matters as it is a means to enforce the importance of building vibrant, relevant gardens that enrich our environment.

How can I celebrate National Public Gardens Week?

Support local gardens in any possible way to celebrate National Public Gardens Week, including visiting them, volunteering, and contributing to their running fund if you can.

How to Observe National Public Gardens Week

  1. Visit a local garden

    One way to celebrate National Public Gardens Week is to visit a nearby garden and participate in its array of scheduled activities. It should give you an idea of the areas that the organization wants help in and provide a direction for you to help raise awareness.

  2. Volunteer at a local

    Offer to volunteer at a local garden as a way to celebrate. You can also serve as the needed expertise in the organization and work to help them reach their goals quickly.

  3. Encourage participation online

    Perhaps the most notable way to celebrate is to help spread the word about the cause and persuade people online to observe it. Use #NationalPublicGardensWeek and tag popular influencers who appreciate and love beautiful spaces so that they can share your post and increase its reach.

5 Important Facts About National Public Gardens Week

  1. The A.P.G.A changed its name

    The American Public Gardens Association was formerly the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.

  2. Thousands of members in different countries

    The American Public Gardens Association has more than 10,000 members in the United States and 20 other countries, including Canada.

  3. Free admission into most public gardens

    Public gardens often celebrate National Public Gardens Week with free admissions on the day it starts.

  4. Fundraising during National Public Gardens Week

    It serves as a fundraising event for some public gardens.

  5. Straight out of Pennsylvania

    The American Public Gardens Association is a Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization.

Why National Public Gardens Week is Important

  1. To syndicate support

    National Public Gardens Week shines a light on the areas in which public gardens need help and support from the public. In most cases, garden operators run as non-profits that rely on funding from the community's generosity to continue to run. It’s an opportunity for garden operators to seek the support they need.

  2. To highlight its role in our society

    Public gardens provide local communities with access to educational resources. These educational resources teach water conservation, proper home garden planning, and much more. National Public Gardens Week serves as an opportunity to highlight the efforts of public gardens to educate local communities across the country.

  3. To exhibit new gardening projects

    National Public Gardens Week also serves as an opportunity for public gardens across the country to launch and exhibit new landscaping and gardening projects. The influx of people to public gardens during this time spikes well above most days of the year and often serves as a time to show people new projects that may encourage them to visit more often.

National Public Gardens Week dates

YearDateDay
2022May 6Friday
2023May 12Friday
2024May 10Friday
2025May 9Friday
2026May 8Friday

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