Why Public Gardens Matter

Friday, July 15, 2011 by

Why Public Gardens Matter

The Business of Gardens

Why do public gardens matter? Quite simply, gardens provide grand spaces that are good for attracting business. They indicate community pride and abundance in a manner that complements the built environment. Visitors move through public gardens in a dignified manner, as if they had become a part of something elegant and worthy of respect.

Gardens keep us, pardon the pun, grounded. As our lives become increasingly chaotic, gardens offer the option of quiet retreats that are fast disappearing from our world. Public gardens decorate communities with their beautifully designed spaces and vast assortment of colors and textures. It’s well documented that people who have regular interaction with the natural world are more productive in the workplace.

Public gardens reflect community values. The presence of gardens makes an enormous difference in the quality of life of a community. They provide uniquely wonderful places for families, especially in cities, to go and enjoy a beautiful and safe natural landscape. Gardens provide visitors with the inspiration to make their home landscapes more beautiful and interesting. They also build partnerships that revitalize communities and energize people.

Gardens foster learning. Horticulturalists know that through their very existence, public gardens help focus attention on the important environmental issues of our times. They help us understand plants and their important relationship to people. They demonstrate standards of horticultural excellence through creative displays, collections, and educational programming. For children, gardens offer educational opportunities that trigger discovery and engender life-long learning. The intimate spaces within a garden stimulate imagination and a sense of fantasy.

Public gardens delight the senses. Today’s gardens feature design considerations to offer everyone, regardless of ability, a similar experience. The therapeutic quality of time spent outdoors is well documented. Contemporary garden landscaping takes into consideration servicing people with a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual limitations. The wide variety of textures, sizes and colors plants invite visitors to touch, smell and explore them. A densely shaded area can create an intimate microclimate that looks, feels and even sounds different than a traditional sunny garden.

All public gardens have developed distinct garden settings with unique qualities and themes –with quiet spaces for contemplation, others for horticultural demonstration , another designed for child’s play and yet another to serve large groups. Garden visitors today can choose the spaces most intriguing to their personal interests and frame of mind.

Public gardens are an important indicator of any healthy community. Through the celebration of, and the creative stewardship for our public gardens, Rockford should leverage these natural treasures to attract the attention of businesses looking to call Rockford their home.

Jane Snively, Executive Director

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