Beginner Gardeners | Beyond the Garden

10 Reasons to Visit Botanical Gardens


I took a recent 3-month leave from work to visit all the botanical gardens in a 1000-mile radius. Ha! Only in my dreams. On a serious note, I did take 3 months off for maternity leave to spend time with my newborn baby boy. During my time away from work I took a stroll through my local botanical garden.

We have been experiencing a mild winter and spring. The mild temperatures set the stage for everything to be in bloom weeks earlier than usual. As I strolled through the gardens it reminded me of the thoughts I have when visiting a botanical garden. The main thought is “I really think more people SHOULD take time to visit these gardens on a regular basis.”  The second thought is “I HOPE people continue to visit these gardens to learn and enjoy like I do.”  It inspired me to write this post to share my love for a good stroll through a well-planned garden and encourage you to visit botanical gardens.

10 Reasons to Visit Botanical Gardens

1.) Discover New Plants

Pheasant's Eye Daffodil

Pheasant’s Eye Daffodil

Let’s start with the most obvious and common reason to visit a botanical garden which is to learn about new plants. Botanical gardens are more likely to have unusual and hard-to-find trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs planted in their gardens.

In addition to hard-to-find plants, they also will have plants that are tried and true to your hardiness zone and soil type. Seeking plants that are proven to grow well in your area will ensure long-lasting plants when added to your garden. Botanical gardens often label the plants in their garden, which is helpful when looking for inspiration on what to plant. Take pictures of the plants and labels to look back on in the future.

It’s not always about discovering new plants. Exploring your local botanical garden can remind you of plants you may have forgotten about. This is especially true if you are a seasoned gardener, or green industry professional. As I was strolling through Boerner Botanical Gardens which is the closest botanical garden to where I live. I was reminded of trees and perennials I learned about in horticulture classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College. It was a nice refresher on bulbs, perennials, and trees I haven’t thought about in a while.

2.) Observe Bloom Times

This suggestion requires you to visit your local botanical gardens at various times throughout the year. For a garden full of interest in all seasons having plants with varying points and times of interest is necessary. Observing what is blooming, producing fruit, or has attractive colors and features throughout the year will help incorporate plants into your garden at home for a full-season garden of interest.

Get your gardening notepad ready to record your favorite plants at the gardens and take notes on their features throughout the year. When you are ready to buy your bulbs and perennials from Holland Bulb Farms you will have an idea of what is blooming at various times which makes planning and purchasing a breeze.

3.) Introduces Children to Gardening and Plants

On my trip to my local botanical garden, I noticed a new area that was a garden created just for children. It wasn’t open due to the time of year I was visiting, but it looked like a fun place to explore in the future with my son. This inspired me to make another visit to a botanical garden that is about an hour away from where I live that is very much focused on the combination of gardens and children.

I made the trek with my stroller and baby to Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, WI. This magical botanical garden is full of whimsy and charm. Throughout the gardens, there are themed areas that match and display popular children’s books. I loved the Goldilocks-themed garden area with the three chairs and Three Little Pigs with three tiny houses. Books can be found tucked behind doors in pillars throughout. Gardening and reading are enriching activities. The combination encourages creativity and imagination in children. Taking time for kids to explore, observe, and play in a garden will produce a lifelong appreciation for the natural world.

4.) Good Excuse to Take a Road Trip

Has it been a while since you have been on vacation and you feel the need to get out of town? Sometimes taking an extended vacation is not possible. However, a good road trip for a day outdoors in a beautiful garden can feel like an extended vacation. Explore different parts of your state to see what other towns and community groups are doing with their gardens. Make a whole day out of it and explore local businesses by having lunch or grabbing a cup of your favorite hot beverage before heading to the gardens. If you can head out of state to make the road trip into a weekend away.

5.) Find Inspiration Using Garden Art and Structures in the Garden

An awe-inspiring garden is more than just plants. Yes, plants are often the main feature of a garden, however, garden art as well as structures like arbors, trellis, and pergolas play a critical role in creating a whole garden. Botanical gardens are planned with a team of people and showcase how to incorporate garden art in all the right places. When placed in the garden correctly a statue, fountain, bench, or hanging decoration can really tie the entire area together. By viewing garden art in use it can help inspire the best way to incorporate different types of garden art into your garden.

6.) Accessible for Handicapped Individuals

I am a firm believer that getting outside is important for your overall well-being. For people who are disabled, it may not be easy or possible to access outdoor spaces. An accessible way for individuals who are disabled or wheelchair-bound to get a healthy dose of outdoor time is at a botanical garden. Most botanical gardens have paved or gravel paths and ramps that wheelchairs can easily traverse. Taking a friend or family member who is disabled to the botanical garden can go a long way to brighten their day and help ensure they get quality time outdoors.

7.) Make Memories for Special Occasions

Experiences and spending time with friends and family create long-lasting memories. Whether it be as big as celebrating your wedding at a botanical garden or an annual trip for Mother’s Day celebrating among beautiful plants with the people you love will make the day extra special.

8.) Take Time to Unplug

Speaking of doing good things for your well being unplugging from electronic devices is at the top of the list. We know it is tempting to go to the botanical gardens and take pictures of all the pretty flowers. However, some trips to the botanical garden should be solely to recharge your spirit and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the garden. If you frequently visit your local botanical garden make sure to take a trip there every so often and leave your phone, earbuds, and camera in the car. Take your time to sit on a bench and enjoy the breeze. Soak in the sun and really take a good gander at the flower petals.

9.) Ensure the gardens stay funded

The more frequent visitors in the garden the more likely the gardens will stay funded. Often botanical gardens are part of the park department or funded by donors. Your admission fee helps to ensure the garden can be maintained and improved. If donors and the parks department see high volumes of people visiting the botanical garden this helps to ensure funding for the future. Which will create an overall better experience each time you visit.

10.) Attend Events Hosted By the Botanical Gardens

Enjoy the gardens with other guests for special themed events and gatherings. My local botanical garden has music in the park on Thursday. Different musicians play, you bring a lawn chair, blanket, and beverage of choice and enjoy new music in beautiful surroundings.

Botanical Gardens also have special events for kids, and families, these events often involve learning something new. Craft fairs where local artisans and creators sell their goods may be held in the botanical gardens. Attending an event at the botanical garden may also provide the opportunity to meet members of your community and make new friends.

Follow the social media pages of the botanical gardens you plant to visit to stay up to date on all the fun events they offer throughout the year.

Do You Really Need a Reason to Visit Botanical Gardens?

If plants and gardening interest you a list of reasons to visit a botanical garden probably isn’t necessary. But, maybe you used to visit your local botanical garden often and haven’t been in years. Or perhaps there are gardens you have been wanting to visit for years but haven’t made a priority to visit? Perhaps you are just starting to become a plant enthusiast and haven’t ever been to a botanic garden? If it’s been a bit since you have taken a stroll through a lovely garden make a point to take at least one visit this year.

Need Gardening Help?

If you need any help with gardening or if you have plant-related questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Jenny San Filippo. She can provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed with your next project!

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