Public Gardens for the Perfect Inspiration

When looking for ideas for your home landscaping, an always effective, but often overlooked source of ideas is your local botanic gardens, arboretum, conservatory, or other public gardens. A trip to your local public gardens with your smartphone is all you need to snap photos of ideas you like, plant combinations to potentially reproduce, or plant tags so you don’t get home and wonder what all those plant names were.

Here are a few great public gardens you should know about:

Longwood Gardens

Kenneth Square, PA

Longwood Gardens is over 1000 acres of gardens, meadows, displays, greenhouses and woodlands. You’re sure to get ideas to try at home anywhere you explore at Longwood, but make sure you check out the trial garden, garden path and idea garden. It is open all year, with seasonal exhibitions and attractions.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago, Illinois

Although the main attractions are the plant collections inside the greenhouses, the 12 acres surrounding the conservatories are a treasure trove of ideas for homeowners. Be sure to check out the demonstration garden, the city garden and the sensory garden. The Garfield Park Conservatory is open year-round and admittance is free.

Missouri Botanical Garden

St. Louis, Missouri

MOBOT is truly a museum of plants. On 79 acres just south of St. Louis, there are so many ideas, themes and approaches to gardening here that you’ll be sure to find some motivation and ideas for to take home with you. Be sure to check out the bulb garden, dry streambed, hosta walk, backyard garden and fragrance garden.

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Walnut Creek, CA

Ruth Bancroft was a pioneer in drought tolerant landscaping. Now, her 3.5 acre gardens are a public display of water-conserving garden design. Showcasing a vast collection of plants from around the world, there is always something in bloom. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is open year-round.