There are many ways to support your favorite garden space! See below for ideas…
Visit your favorite gardens frequently! Gardens are living expressions of human emotions, ideas, and capabilities. These spaces change and evolve over the season as well as over the years. Experience, think, and share.
If you fall in love with a public garden, check to see if they offer a membership program that helps support their operation while also providing you with benefits such as free visitation.
Research has shown that there are many benefits available to those visiting gardens. Entertainment has been shown to be one of the most sought after attributes of a garden offering. Check to see if your favorite garden has a developed program including options such as music performances, art shows, or other special events.
Start with your own outdoor space. It can be as small as a single container garden or as large as a full yard oasis.
Consider making a direct contribution of financial support and/or volunteer time. For your own garden, that investment of time and other resources will directly influence the complexity of the garden and benefits you receive from the space. In addition, your efforts on parts of your garden that are visible to the public can inspire others and influence the overall look and quality of your neighborhood. Some gardeners find their time in the “public” portion of their garden is one of the best ways to catch up with neighbors as they stop and admire your efforts!
We encourage you to consider other gardens that you may be able to support. This could include those associated with important places in your own life (e.g. schools, places of worship, town/city common spaces). These gardens are often in serious need of support. Get involved and see your efforts translate into community benefits.
For established public gardens, financial support is often the best way to make a contribution. Volunteering is also a great support and vital for operational success and longevity of many gardens. To be sure, find out how you could best support your favorite garden by reaching out to their staff. If they have a development office, that’s often the best place to start for this type of inquiry.
We believe this country needs more gardens and it needs to consider how to better care for those that are currently struggling. One of the ways to help improve garden culture in this country is to advocate for good garden care via your elected representatives as well as direct participation on local commissions. Some people are surprised to know how diverse garden management is in terms of government vs. private as well as partnership models. Too often gardens are left in the dark due to organizational structure of park systems or other bodies. Even when gardens are associated with other cultural institutions, they are often given marginal attention. This approach has undervalued and underutilized gardens instead of supporting them as important cultural assets.
Much can be said about the right plant in the right space. It’s a huge issue for utility companies struggling to manage costs associated with power line disturbances. In addition, the wrong plant can cause significant economic as well as health concerns. Instead of learning about plants and pursuing best practices, we often default to lawns which stimulate the utilization of massive amounts of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides as well as water and fuel. Gardens should improve the environmental quality of the surrounding – not worsen it!
We see gardens as important spaces where environmental protection can be pursed, celebrated and enhanced. There are several key environmental areas that we can influence including:
- Air – reduce emissions. sequester carbon
- Water – reduce runoff. Utilize water responsibly
- Plant selection – avoid invasive species, incorporate beneficial plants for local wildlife such as butterfly plants and plants for birds
As the old saying goes – “Think globally, act locally”. If we all act to employ best practices in the spaces we support, the collective benefit will be monumental.
Gardens for education
Gardens are outstanding resources for early education. We believe organic gardens should be pursued on a wide scale basis at daycare facilities. Children having exposure to beautiful gardens will be more calm and content. They will learn about the natural world through plants that they can see at close proximity. In addition, food related gardens are excellent ways to help children understand that healthy food comes from growing plants – not from grocery store shelves. Healthy gardens for healthy kids!
Grade school education. Gardens can and should be utilized as outdoor classrooms and/or sources of STEM based learning as well as art/music learning.
Share your story!
Another way to get involved is to share your story about how gardens and/or plants have made a positive contribution to your life. Do that here!