The mission of the Garden Conservancy is to preserve exceptional American gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Since 1989, we have joined together with gardeners, local organizations, and other like-minded partners:
- To preserve gardens by harnessing the power of communities and the expertise of horticulturists, landscape designers, historians, and preservationists
- To share magnificent spaces and gardening ideas with the public through educational programs and the Open Days garden visiting program
- To raise public awareness of the important role gardens play in America’s cultural and natural heritage
How we address the mission: a summary overview of Garden Conservancy programs
Working in partnership with individual garden owners as well as public and private organizations, the Conservancy provides horticultural, technical, management, and financial expertise to sustain these fragile treasures. It helps ensure long-term stewardship of these natural assets, which are essential to the aesthetic and cultural life of our communities.
Our garden preservation program is at the heart of the organization. The Garden Conservancy preserves significant gardens across America, including sixteen designated as preservation projects of the Garden Conservancy.
Many of our project gardens are National Historic Landmarks or on the National Register of Historic Places. The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California, the Conservancy’s first preservation project, is now a thriving public garden. The extraordinary topiary garden created by self-taught artist Pearl Fryar in Bishopville, South Carolina, is transitioning from private to nonprofit ownership and management. On San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island, the Conservancy is spearheading the rehabilitation of the historic gardens that played a powerful role in the lives of people who inhabited this harsh environment. In 2010, the Conservancy assumed ownership of the Chase Garden in Orting, Washington, and is planning for its future as a public garden.
Since 1995, Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program has spread the garden preservation message to a broad base of people by providing access to some of America’s finest private gardens, a rare opportunity to enjoy beautiful spaces not normally open to the public. Each year, hundreds of garden owners from coast to coast open their magnificent spaces to more than 75,000 visitors.
The Conservancy’s educational programs offer our members, experienced horticulturists, landscape professionals, and the public a source of contemporary ideas relevant to fine gardening, design, and preservation. Our handbook, Taking a Garden Public, presents an overview of the issues and strategies involved in preserving and sustaining a garden and points to resources to aid local efforts.