April is National Garden Month!

April 13, 2021 · CLASSMATES FUN

Gardens are critical for pollinators like bees, bats, birds, beetles, butterflies, and others animals, so to raise awareness, President Reagan signed a proclamation on April 18th, 1986 making April 12th to April 18th “National Garden Week,” which celebrates at-home gardeners. In 2003, The National Gardening Association expanded it to the entire month of April.

Here’s a look at some of the oldest and most famous public botanical gardens in the country.

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx, NY)

At 250 acres, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is the largest in the country. Established in 1891, it’s considered a National Historic Landmark and was inspired by an 1888 visit botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth took to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, near London. Today, it encompasses greenhouses, conservatories, a glasshouse, and 50 specialty gardens that compromise more than one million plants.

Source: https://www.nybg.org/about/mission-and-overview/

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Brooklyn, NY)

By 1897, New York was quickly urbanizing, so New York state legislation reserved 39 acres for a public garden. The garden was officially built in 1910 and has grown to 52 acres.

Source: https://www.bbg.org/about/history

Bartram’s Garden (Philadelphia, PA)

Built in 1728, Bartram’s Garden is considered the oldest botanical garden in the United States. It comprises 50 acres and is a non-profit National Historic Landmark that welcomes around 100,000 visitors every year.

Source: https://bartramsgarden.wpengine.com/about/mission-vision/

Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco, CA)

The Japanese Tea Garden, built in 1894, is known as the oldest public Japanese garden in the country but originally spanned just one acre. Today it stretches through five acres of land and boasts native Japanese plants, koi ponds, and a Zen garden.

Source: https://www.japaneseteagardensf.com/about

Magnolia Plantation (Charleston, SC)

Although this garden was founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family, who owned the plantation, the garden wasn’t open to visitors until 1870. It’s now the nation’s oldest public garden and has the oldest collection of Indica Azaleas.

Source: https://www.magnoliaplantation.com/

Elizabeth Park (West Hartford, CT)

Donated by Charles Pond in 1894 and opened to the public in 1897, this park is the oldest public rose garden in the United States and offers over 100 acres of gardens, green space, recreational facilities, walking loops, and a café.

Source: https://www.elizabethparkct.org/about-the-conservancy

Green Animals Topiary Garden (Portsmouth, RI)

This 1872 topiary garden is the oldest of its kind. Thomas E. Brayton purchased the estate, which consisted of seven acres of land, a summer residence, farm outbuildings, a pasture, and a vegetable farm. The Superintendent (who worked on-site from 1905 to 1945) and his son-in-law created the topiaries.

Source: https://www.newportmansions.org/explore/green-animals-topiary-garden

United States Botanic Garden (Washington D.C.)

The United States Botanic Garden is the oldest continuously operated botanical garden in the United States. In the late 18th century, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison established a garden on the National Mall in 1820, and President Madison later signed a bill designating land west of the Capitol Grounds. Even though the facility stopped in 1837, the idea was re-established in 1842 when the U.S. Exploring Expedition to the South Seas brought a collection of living plants from across the world. Four types of plants dating back to that expedition are still in the garden today.

Source: https://www.usbg.gov/


Other gardens of note:

Adams National Historic Site and House, circa 1681 (Quincy, MA)

Bacon’s Castle, circa 1665 (Surry, VA)

Middleton Place, circa 1730 (Charleston, SC)

Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, MO)

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Richmond, VA)

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Columbus, OH)

Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ)


 Other sources: