Public gardens can plant seed of inspiration

With so many beautiful plants to choose from, gardeners may wonder where to start.

One of the most enjoyable ways to plant a seed of inspiration is to visit a public garden.

Found at zoos, historical sites and entertainment complexes, such public gardens can demonstrate what’s possible — including flower choice, layout and landscaping practices.

Get advice — Public gardens can show you how to create a water-wise landscape at home through the use of native and adapted plants and efficient irrigation, according to the American Public Gardens Association, or APGA.

Visitors can learn what plants bloom at similar times and what arrangements look good together.

Staff members who understand the region are available to offer advice on gardening techniques, and on-site sales can be a great source of top-quality additions to a home garden.

Here are a few types of public gardens you can visit:

• Zoos — Although the focus is on the animals, zoos also have interesting horticultural collections that show both flora and fauna in their native habitats.

• Entertainment gardens — Golf courses, theme parks and water parks can also have beautiful horticultural displays.

• Historical sites — Places of historic or cultural significance, such as churches, historic homes and cemeteries, often have grounds shaped to reflect the horticulture of their historical period.

• Nature gardens — Created and designed to help visitors connect with nature, these gardens inform and educate about the botanical and ecological origins and functions of plant life and how they relate to human beings and animals.

Get inspired — the nonprofit APGA has partnered with a leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products to promote the important role that gardens play in promoting environmental stewardship through National Public Gardens Day on May 6.

Many of the nation’s public gardens will mark the day with special events and activities for schools, families and thousands of visitors. For additional information, visit