I never knew there was an American Public Gardens Association, or a National Public Gardens Day, but I certainly appreciate and applaud the many public gardens, large and small, in my area for the information and inspiration I gain from each one of them.
The term public garden seems to cover many types of garden, so I’d like to mention a few that I have enjoyed. Closest to home is The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls which has already begun its long season of bloom. Visitors love to cross the Bridge, back and forth, but it is the loveliest way to get across the river when running errands. You can bring a little of this garden to your own by shopping at their Annual Plant Sale on May 16 at 9 am. This sale helps support the expenses of the BOF.
There are the gardens at the Energy Park at the end of Miles Street in Greenfield, with a beautiful array of native trees and shrubs, 10 themed beds and a bandstand for the many musical events held here. This is a relaxing and refreshing place to have lunch on a busy workday, or while plowing through a list of errands, and it is the scene for many local celebrations.
A different type of public garden is the Pleasant Street Community Garden by the Davis Street School where dozens of people tend their plots, raising vegetables, flowers and the spirits of everyone who passes by. I know some people like to include this garden on their constitutional walks.
I was interested in the new plot of perennial vegetables like Good King Henry, a green for salads or cooking.
There are larger public gardens like those at Smith College Botanic Garden, where trees and perennials are labelled for our edification, and where there are the celebratory shows in spring and fall, a bulb show, and a chrysanthemum show.
Slightly farther afield is the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge where art, a child’s garden and programs, and classes are all a part of the beautiful gardens.
I made my way to Tower Hill Botanical Garden last year to see the daffodil field, but there is much much more to see. There is a Secret Garden, a Cottage Garden, a Vegetable Garden, a Wildlife Reguge and a wonderful collection of 119 antique apple trees. Educational programs and more. This garden is owned and operated Worcester County Horticultural Society in Boylston, Massachusetts.
There are also those tiny public gardens that public spirited gardeners have planted in parking lots, on traffic meridians, and other spaces that can be forgotten or dreary, but have been turned into a spot of joy. I celebrate those unsung public gardeners, and all the public gardens that enrich our lives.
While my garden is not a public garden, I want to note that many gardeners open their gardens to the public for their enjoyment, and often for the benefit for some good cause. Our Garden Open Today event is the Annual Rose Viewing, and while it has occasionally been a benefit day, it is usually just an invitation to friends and passersby to stop and smell the roses.