Garden Conservancy

Open Days 2016

Unlike pre-programmed garden tours, Open Days garden tours are self-guided and flexible. You can shape your itinerary and set the pace to suit your interests.


  • Admission to each participating private garden is $5 per person; children 12 and under are admitted free. Admission may be paid in cash or check. Tickets are not required to attend Open Days.
  • To purchase discounted tickets (6 for $25 for non-members, or 6 for $15 for Garden Conservancy members) in advance, click here. Please allow 7-10 days for processing and mailing.
  • Discounted tickets may also be available at Open Days gardens on the day of the tour, or at a local retail location near you; details will be posted on the schedule page for each Open Day, if available.
  • Open Days are rain or shine events and no reservations are required.

 Garden Conservancy

Open Days 2016

  About Us

Since its founding, the Garden Conservancy has done more than any other national institution to save and preserve America’s exceptional gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public.
An overview of our 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.


In October 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Garden Conservancy the prestigious Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence. The award acknowledged the Conservancy’s accomplishments in preserving major gardens across America, many of which 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 lectures and symposia offer its members, experienced horticulturists, landscape professionals, and the public a source of contemporary ideas relevant to fine gardening, design, and preservation. Its 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.

History of the Garden Conservancy
The Garden Conservancy was established in 1989 by Frank Cabot, the distinguished American gardener. In partnership with individual garden owners as well as public and private organizations, the Conservancy provides the horticultural, technical, management, and financial expertise needed to sustain these fragile environments and ensure long-term stewardship of natural assets so essential to the aesthetic and cultural life of our communities.

The Conservancy recognizes that exceptional gardens most often begin as private affairs, the life work of passionate, dedicated and remarkably talented gardeners, and that a select number of these are capable of flourishing for generations as public gardens to facilitate their long-term historic and aesthetic significance as well as public visitation. The Garden Conservancy takes a leadership role in this transition for the American gardens in its diverse portfolio. It assists in the structuring of legal strategies and conservation easements to protect these resources from development, develops master plans for preservation, interpretation, horticultural management and public access, and helps establish sound fiscal and organizational foundations for each property. Once a transition period ends and the gardens operate independently, a process usually requiring a number of years, the Conservancy stays involved to make sure that they continue to thrive.



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