Blog:The future of Botanical Gardens

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Japanese Garden at Huntington Gardens
Vegetable Garden at Huntington Gardens

It's often articles or other blog entries that prompt me to write, even about topics that I think about frequently. Today I was reading about Botanical Gardens in the New York Times. The angle is that they're trying to find new lures to get people to come. People used to go just for the flowers and the flower shows it seems, and now times and interests have changed, and the gardens are trying to figure out what brings people in.

One thing that does seem to be working is the edible garden. Showcasing an edible garden, and educating people about it seem to be a good way to capture new interest, as people increasingly turn to growing their own super-local, organic produce. Cooking classes, music, drinks, and anything sustainable and eco-friendly are in, while huge old camellia gardens and flower shows seem to be on their way out.

This is all well and good, as gardens should of course adapt to people's needs, but I also think that they are missing the low-hanging fruit in the tree. I've been to I don't know how many gardens, and two things really stand out for me. One is a really beautiful garden area, where you just want to sit and take in the spectacular view of incredible well manicured and planned gardens, with tons of color, etc. Postcard perfect. Butchart Gardens in Vancouver is a great example of this.

The other thing that really stands out for me is when the gardens have interesting plants, and good labeling. This makes a huge difference, when you see something out of the ordinary, and it has a name. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix takes things a step further, and has a lot of very well written stories behind various plant families, genus' and species. The sort of trivia and facts that can captivate anybody's attention, regardless of whether they're big fans of gardening. These informative stories really brought the plants to life, and you could see parents reading them to their kids, who were often captivated by what they were hearing. Great stuff.

I have a lot more thoughts on botanical gardens, but I'll save some for future blogs.

--Raffi 15:19, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

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