Public Garden Definitions

A public garden is an institution that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education and enjoyment, in addition to research, conservation, and higher learning. It must be open to the public and the garden’s resources and accommodations must be made to all visitors. Public gardens are staffed by professionals trained in their given areas of expertise and maintain active plant records systems.

Many related entities are part of American Public Gardens Association or benefit from member organizations. These entities include: Botanical gardens, arboreta, cemeteries, zoological gardens, sculpture gardens, college and university campuses, historic homes, urban greening organizations, natural areas, and city/county/state/federal parks.

The following public garden definitions are utilized by some of these entities.

Botanical Garden

“A place where a wide variety of plants are cultivated for scientific, educational and ornamental purposes, often including a library, a herbarium and greenhouses; an arboretum.”  —American Heritage Dictionary

“A garden often with greenhouses for the culture, study, and exhibition of special plants —also called botanic garden.” —Merriam-Webster Dictionary


“A place where trees and plants are grown in order to be studied or seen by the public.”                 —Merriam Webster Dictionary

2018 American Public Gardens Association Conference

June 4-8, 2018   I   Southern California

The Great Park Garden Coalition Board of Directors and Steering Committee members attended the 2018 APGA Conference. The theme this year was “Cultivate our Creative Nature”. The conference was attended by about 1,000 representatives from public gardens around the country and beyond, including locals like the Theodore Payne, Rancho Santa Ana, Sherman, and Huntington Botanic, others like the Florida Arboretum, Brooklyn, Idaho, Maryland, Chicago, Toronto Botanic Gardens, and so many more.

GPGC Team sporting our signature shirts.