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.

Attend a Great Park Board Meeting

Show Support for the Great Park Botanical Garden!

Irvine City Council Hearing

At the Great Park Board Meeting, City staff and FivePoint Development have been presenting land uses for the remaining portions of the Cultural Terrace area of the Great Park.  Our member showed up to show support for the 59 acre Botanical Garden already approved in 2007.  

WE NEED PUBLIC SPACES FOR RESIDENTS OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES!  The sports park uses are wonderful (over 200 acres), the planned golf course is great for golfers (188 acres), BUT NOT EVERYONE PLAYS SPORTS!  KEEP THE GARDENS, a place for everyone to gather and enjoy the outdoors, where children can explore, weddings and other events can be celebrated, and all find a refuge from our ever more urban and hectic environment. (Photo from October 24, 2017, 2pm, hearing).

Irvine Survey Results

Results of City of Irvine Outreach Survey:  82% Want Gardens!

We Did It!

Thanks to everyone who took part in the City of Irvine’s Public Outreach Related to Great Park Amenities!

The Great Park Garden Coalition is a 501(c)(3) corporation formed when it was discovered that the City of Irvine’s Public Outreach survey conducted from January to April 2017 had omitted the Botanical Gardens that were approved in the 2007 Great Park Master Plan.  We created a website and Facebook page to get the word out to solicit support for the Botanical Garden through emails to the Irvine City Council and attendance at the City’s public outreach meetings.  You sent emails and wrote an additional option on the paper surveys for ‘Botanic Gardens’  Great job!

The results of the Public Outreach Survey were presented at the May 23, 2017 Great Park Board Meeting.  Link to video of Board Meeting below.

Video of Great Park Board Meeting 5/23/17

Thanks to City Council Members

During the public outreach process, representatives of Great Park Garden Coalition requested meetings with Irvine City Council members to share information about what a great asset the botanical gardens would be to the County and City and solicit their support.  Four of the five council members took the time individually to meet with us and showed interest in studying further.  At the May Great Park Board Meeting, they voted to commission a feasibility study on botanical gardens.  Great Progress!