Big Changes for 2021 Open Days Season

In 2021, the Garden Conservancy implemented pre-registration requirements, capacity limitations, and a new custom, electronic ticketing system for Open Days, similar to electronic ticketing already in place for Digging Deeper, Garden Master Series, and virtual programs. Please keep an eye on your email for the most up-to-date registration information. Not on our email list? Sign up here.

What changes are being made to the Open Days program this year?

  • All 2021 Open Days require pre-registration. Unlike in previous years, visitors can no longer arrive at the gardens and pay by cash, check, or by redeeming paper tickets.
  • All programs have capacity limitations.
  • All event registrations will be done on our website, except where specifically indicated otherwise.
  • Registrations are non-refundable. Sorry, we are not able to offer reimbursement or exchanges unless we cancel the event.

Why are these changes being made?

  • Pre-registration is required in order to maintain safe capacity limits.
  • Open Days gardens are PRIVATE spaces. In order to support our garden hosts, we must be extra vigilant in order to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Electronic ticketing is the only option to allow for a return to in-person garden visitation in a safe and controlled way.
  • We expect many of these changes will be permanent. The Garden Conservancy is pleased to bring Open Days in line with best practices for public visitation at cultural organizations across the country.

What safety measures are in place?

  • Face masks are required at all in-person events, at the discretion of garden owners.
  • Social distancing is encouraged at all in-person events.
  • Capacity limits are in effect at all gardens.
  • Garden hosts reserve the right to limit the number of visitors in their garden at any given time. Registered guests may be asked to wait outside the garden until there is ample space inside the garden.
  • Please remember that most of our programs take place in private gardens, which the owners have graciously agreed to open for the enjoyment of our guests. Please respect their private spaces and be extra diligent to follow safety guidelines.

Is there a printed Open Days Directory this year?
No. In order to maintain flexibility with regards to program changes and additions, we are not publishing a printed Open Days Directory this year. Please check our website and emails regularly for the most up-to-date garden visitation information.

May I just show up at an Open Day garden, as in previous years?
No. Due to the ongoing health crisis, only pre-registered guests will be allowed entry. If the capacity limit has not yet been reached, you may be able to purchase entry online even within 24 hours of the event. Be sure to bring a PDF printout or display proof of a late purchase on your phone or other digital device.

Do I need reservations?
Yes. In order to ensure the health and safety of both hosts and visitors during the continuing pandemic, all 2021 Open Days have capacity limits and require pre-registration online. Visitors without a pre-registration will not be admitted.

How do I know where the gardens are?
When you register to visit an Open Day garden, your email confirmation will include the street address of the garden you are visiting.

Is there an admission fee?
Yes. There is an admission fee at each garden (typically $10 per person at each garden; selected Open Days may vary) payable online when pre-registering. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge.

Garden Conservancy members receive discounts on Open Days admissions; learn more and become a member here

Admission fees to associated local public gardens are indicated in each Open Day listing. Admission to public gardens is separate from Open Days admissions. 

May I use printed Open Day tickets this year?
No. Due to the ongoing health crisis, only guests who have pre-registered online will be allowed entry. Unused paper tickets returned to the Garden Conservancy by July 1, 2021, were credited to your online account.

How can I redeem my unused printed tickets?
Printed tickets mailed back to the Garden Conservancy, PO Box 608, Garrison, NY 10524 by July 1, 2021 are being credited to your online account.

How can I use my online credits?
We will create online accounts for all people – members and nonmembers – who have purchased paper tickets online from us since 2018. Using your email address, you will be able to access your account on our website. Online credits will be redeemable for Open Days AND our virtual programs.

Will cash or old paper tickets be accepted next year?
No. The use of electronic ticketing is a permanent change to the operations of the Open Days program. While specific policies may change in 2022 and beyond, cash and paper tickets will not be a part of future programs.

May I bring guests to Open Days?
You may pre-register guests ahead of time by purchasing a registration for the guest or by using your online credits. Guests who are not pre-registered will not be on the list and will not be admitted to the gardens.

What if I am visiting with my friend and they do not have a ticket for one of the gardens?
To avoid disappointment, make online reservations early and plan accordingly with those you’ll be visiting gardens with. Non-registered guests will not be permitted to enter the gardens.

Are there timed tickets or can I use my online admission anytime during the day?
In general, Open Days are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please check our website and your order confirmation for the specific hours for the gardens you’ve registered for. For some of our more heavily-attended gardens, we have implemented morning and afternoon sessions. These are the exception. Please check the specific Open Days descriptions on our website for visitation options.

What if an Open Days for which I’m registered is canceled?
If the Open Days is canceled, you will be notified via email and your account will be credited so that you will have the opportunity to register for a different Open Day in the future.

What if I decide not to attend an Open Day for which I’ve registered? Can I use my registration for a different Open Day?
No. Open Days is generally a rain or shine activity. We are not able to offer reimbursement or exchanges, unless we cancel the Open Day. Thank you for your understanding.


What is the Open Days program?
The Open Days program offers the public opportunities to visit private gardens nationwide, in a season that typically begins in early spring and continues through the fall of each year.  

Our first gardens opened in 1995, when Garden Conservancy members and extraordinary gardeners Page Dickey and Penelope Maynard were inspired by the UK’s National Gardens Scheme and its guidebook, informally known as the Yellow Book. Page and Pepe came to the Garden Conservancy with a list of 110 private gardens, including their own, that would open that first year. The program was a resounding success. Since then, with the help of a network of volunteer regional representatives, the Garden Conservancy has expanded Open Days to the four corners of the country and has opened more than 4,000 gardens in 41 states. Each year, many of the participating gardens are new to the program, as we rotate and revisit states and regions.   

How are gardens selected for the program?
A group of volunteer Regional Ambassadors assist the Open Days department in scouting and recruiting exceptional gardens for Open Days. We also accept self-nominated applications, especially from areas we have not featured previously. Click here for the online self-nomination form.

How is the Open Days program organized?
The Open Days program would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. For more than 25 years, the program has unlocked the gates to hundreds of America’s very best private gardens by working with volunteers coast to coast to coordinate schedules, collect information, and get it to you. Many of these gardens are rarely, if ever, otherwise open to the public. 

If you are interested in learning more about the organization of Open Days throughout the country and how you can become involved, please visit the Get Involved page of our website.

If you would like to receive email updates for Open Days in your region, click here to register to be added to our email mailing list. We do not share, sell, or rent our lists. You may opt out of this service at any time.

Do I have to be a Garden Conservancy member to attend?
No. However, our members enjoy discounts and many other benefits. Click here to join online.

In addition to the new Covid-19 safety protocols of wearing masks, social distancing, and respecting any other prevailing local or regional safety measures that are required at all Open Days events, what other garden etiquette will ensure that I am a good garden visitor?

Our Open Days garden hosts spend countless hours preparing their gardens for your visit. Please reward their hard work by following these guidelines:

  • Do not pick any plant or remove any part of a plant.
  • Do not leave litter in the garden.
  • Stay on the paths.
  • Follow any posted signs or directions.
  • Respect the privacy of the owners by not contacting them directly.
  • Please leave all pets at home.
  • Children must be supervised at all times.
  • Park your car so others can enter and leave the parking area.
  • Ask the owner's permission to take photographs; tripods are not permitted.
  • Permission to photograph Open Days gardens does not imply permission to publish or use any resulting images for commercial gain.
  • Respect the listed dates and times of openings. To inquire about special visiting arrangements, please contact the Garden Conservancy at 845.424.6500, M - F, 9 - 5 Eastern.

Are rain dates scheduled?
Open Days are rain or shine. Gardens are beautiful in the rain! There are no refunds.

Are restrooms available at the garden?
No. Please plan your visiting accordingly.

Where does my money go?
Your Open Days admission supports the mission of the Garden Conservancy: to preserve, share, and celebrate America's garden and diverse gardening traditions for the education and inspiration of the public. Learn more about what the Garden Conservancy does.

What is the mission of the Garden Conservancy?
The Garden Conservancy's mission is to preserve, share, and celebrate America’s gardens and diverse gardening traditions for the education and inspiration of the public. The Open Days program is the Conservancy's best-known and loved public program and serves as the gateway to the Conservancy's full array of programs in garden preservation and education. Learn more about the Garden Conservancy, about our garden preservation efforts, and about our many public educational programs





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