Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Open Days program?
How are gardens selected for the program?
How is the Open Days program organized?
How do I know where the garden are?
Do I have to be a Garden Conservancy member to attend?
Do I need reservations?
Is there an admission fee?
Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?
Are rain dates scheduled?
Are restrooms available at the garden?
Etiquette in the garden?
Mission of the Garden Conservancy?

 

What is the Open Days program?
The Open Days program is essentially a series of private garden tours around the country that begin in early spring and continue through the fall of each year. Each summer, gardeners are invited by local Regional Representatives to become Garden Hosts and agree to open their garden during a scheduled Open Day (or several days) in their area. The Open Days are self-guided tours. Visitors decide which gardens they want to visit and in what order.

Our first gardens opened in 1995 when Garden Conservancy members and extraordinary gardeners Page Dickey and Penelope Maynard were inspired by England’s National Gardens Scheme and its guidebook, Gardens of England and Wales Open for Charity, informally known as the Yellow Book. They came to the Garden Conservancy with 110 private gardens in hand, including theirs, 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 nearly 3,000 gardens. Each year, some 50 percent of the participating gardens are new to the program.

How are garden selected for the program?
A group of volunteer Regional Representatives are hard at work year-round scouting and recruiting exceptional gardens for the Open Days Program. We also accept self-nominated applications in areas where the program is already established.

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 over ten 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. Each Open Day is organized locally by at least one Regional Representative who recruits private gardens and oversees the program in their area. Over the years, this roster of volunteers has grown to include nearly 200 men and women.

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.

How do I know where the gardens are?
You may get information on how to find the gardens by visiting our schedule page, or by calling 1-888-842-2442. Please be sure to check the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days schedule prior to your visit for any last-minute schedule changes.

If you would like to receive e-mail updates for Open Days in your region, click here to register to be added to our Email Reminder Service. We do not share, sell, or rent our lists with anyone. You may opt out of this service at any time.

Do I have to be a Garden Conservancy member to attend?
No, however Members enjoy a 50% discount on books of admission tickets. Click here to join online

Do I need reservations?
No. Open Days are self-guided tours. Simply show up at the garden during the times indicated and pay at the gate. There are no rain dates for these tours.

Is there an admission fee?
Yes. There is an admission fee at each garden (typically $7 per person; selected Open Days may vary) payable in cash or check at the entrance of each garden. Children 12 and under are admitted free. You may also purchase discounted admission tickets by calling our toll-free number 1-888-842-2442, or by ordering online. Each booklet contains 6 tickets for the price of 5 admissions. These tickets do not expire and remain valid from year to year. (Please allow for at least 10 business days to receive your tickets after placing your order.)

Admission fees to the public gardens are indicated in their listing. Open Days tickets may not be used at public gardens.

Do I need to purchase tickets in advanced?
No need to purchase tickets in advance. You may pay in cash or check at each garden you visit. Credit cards are not accepted at most garden admission tables. Children 12 and under are admitted free. However, advanced discounted admission tickets are available online and do not expire from year to year.

Are rain dates scheduled?
Open Days are rain or shine. Gardens are beautiful in the rain!


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

Etiquette in the garden?
Our Open Days 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.

Mission of the Garden Conservancy?
The Garden Conservancy is a national organization dedicated to saving and sharing outstanding American gardens for the inspiration and education of the public. We seek to develop and deepen public appreciation of gardens as integral elements of our national artistic and cultural heritage. The Open Days program serves as the primary educational outreach for the Conservancy and is a major component of this mission. Click here to learn more about the preservation efforts of the Garden Conservancy.