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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Public gardens provide variety as well as beauty

Public gardens provide us with education, beauty, contact with people who enjoy shared interest in nature and gardening.

What kind of garden do you like to explore? There are a wide variety of gardens that focus on different aspects of gardening. You can support your favorite public gardens by visiting them, telling friends about them...and with donations of volunteer time and funds.


Arboreta are typically parks in which trees and shrubs are cultivated, usually for scientific and educational purposes. Historically, the focus of arboreta has been on woody trees and shrubs.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens are typically gardens containing collections of plants scientifically ordered and maintained and open to the public for recreation, education and research.

College and University Gardens

Educational institutions often maintain their own arboreta and gardens for purposes of research and public display.


A term used in the 17th Century to describe a greenhouse; in modern usage, a conservatory is a collection of plants displayed under glass.

Display Gardens

Display gardens, implicit focus on the design and maintenance of a variety of plants chosen for their aesthetic value, for horticultural displays open to the public.

Entertainment Gardens

Entertainment gardens (golf courses, theme parks, water parks, etc.) are designed primarily to entertain and divert their visitors; horticultural displays in these parks and gardens are incorporated to enhance the experience of the visitors, and secondarily focus on the plants themselves.

Historical Landscapes and Sites

Historical landscapes and sites are places of significant historic and/or cultural significance that often include historic buildings and structures, their grounds and surrounding lands. Often the grounds are shaped to reflect the horticulture of their historical period, and are intended to enhance the visitors' experience. Examples include Churches, cemeteries, historic homes, museums, etc.

Nature Gardens

Nature gardens are created and designed to connect visitors with nature, to inform and educate them about the botanical and ecological origins and functions of plant life and their relation to human beings and animals.

Specialized Collections

Special collections gardens are focused on the propagation, growth and development of specific plant species.


Zoos are preserves for a variety of animal species whose natural habitats have disappeared or are threatened, or for species no longer found in the wild. Beyond animals, they often have significant horticultural collections that enhance the visitors' experience and are designed to help protect and improve the animals' zoo habitat, and to depict the flora the animals experienced in their native habitats.

The Association of Public Gardens has a search on their website to locate public gardens by city.