About The Garden Conservancy

The mission of The Garden Conservancy is to preserve, share, and celebrate America's gardens and diverse gardening traditions for the education and inspiration of the public.


In partnership with garden owners, gardeners, communities, horticulturists, garden designers, and historians, we work to preserve outstanding gardens across America. We help new and emerging public gardens become community-based public resources by drawing upon the expertise from our own dedicated staff as well as that of our network of experts in all aspects of garden design, management, and restoration. We also contribute to the welfare of existing public gardens, helping them manage both natural and manmade challenges to their survival.

Many of the gardens we work with are National Historic Landmarks or on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1989, the Conservancy has helped over 100 outstanding American gardens survive and prosper. Read more.


The best way to learn about gardening, garden design, and the transformative power of gardens is to experience gardens in person. Since 1995, more than 4,000 private gardens have participated in our signature Open Days program, welcoming more than 1.4 million visitors in states across the country. We also offer Digger Deeper and Garden Masters Series educational programs in conjunction with garden visiting through the Open Days. 

The Garden Conservancy also presents lectures, symposia, and other public education programs to foster the sharing of ideas and inspiration, as well as garden-study tours, which are open to members of our Society of Fellows. 


Through all of our programs and outreach, we champion the vital role that gardens play in our history, our culture, and our quality of life.

The history of The Garden Conservancy

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in New York State, The Garden Conservancy was founded in 1989 by renowned plantsman Frank Cabot after his visit to Ruth Bancroft's dry garden in Walnut Creek, CA. He recognized that there was an opportunity to create an organization to help preserve such exceptional gardens for future generations.

The Garden Conservancy's preservation and education programs have grown significantly over the years. Since 1989, the Conservancy has helped over 100 outstanding American gardens survive and prosper. Every year since 1995, our signature garden-visiting program, Open Days, has been opening the gates to hundreds of private gardens across the country, allowing thousands of visitors to explore beautiful spaces not normally open to the public.

We celebrated our 25th anniversary year in 2015, which also marked the 20th anniversary of our Open Days program. Our Silver Anniversary Annual Report includes quotes from people who participated in the first twenty-five years of the Garden Conservancy. It provides many perspectives that illuminate not only what the Conservancy does, but how it makes a difference. 

In 2020, in midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we launched our first virtual programs and celebrated the 25th anniversary of our Open Days program with the publication of a book, #OpenDays25: A Quarter Century of America's Gardeners and Their GardensIn 2021, we published a companion piece to #OpenDays25: a book about garden preservation, #GardenPreservation: Preserving, Sharing, and Celebrating America's Cultural Legacyand also introduced pre-registration and e-ticketing to enable a careful resumption of in-person programs.  

Click here to view a summary timeline of milestones in The Garden Conservancy's growth since 1989.

For more information:

Audited financial statements

Form 990

Donor Privacy Policy

Website Privacy Policy

2022 Annual Report (published June 2023)







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2020 ASLA Olmsted Medal

"in recognition of environmental leadership, vision, and stewardship"

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Garden Conservancy Strategic Plan 2020-2025

Read a summary of our roadmap for growth through 2025

Read all about it!


A few personal perspectives

Why Preserve, Share, and Celebrate Gardens?
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In My Garden 2021

View behind-the-scenes activities in several gardens across the country through In My Garden: A Visual Diary. To get the latest weekly installments by email, become a member