• July 16, 2019

Garden Conservancy lets you peek at some private gardens - Odessa American: Lifestyle

e-Edition Subscribe

Garden Conservancy lets you peek at some private gardens

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 9:50 am | Updated: 10:15 am, Tue Jun 18, 2019.

What are your plans for the weekend? Consider garden hopping. To some special private gardens.

An organization called The Garden Conservancy makes it easy to find and visit them.

Each year, the Garden Conservancy puts out a booklet called the Open Days Directory, with descriptions of about 300 private gardens that are opened to the public on specified dates. (Full disclosure: My garden is one of those this year.)

In each directory, you can look gardens up by state or location. If you're looking for gardens to visit on, say, June 22, you could find all of them, near and far, that can be visited that day. This year, that day's offerings include two gardens in New Jersey, eight in New York, two in Pennsylvania and six in Washington state.


The Garden Conservancy began with the vision of Frank Cabot and the garden of Ruth Bancroft. In 1988, Bancroft was getting on in years and unable to lavish the care needed to maintain her extraordinary and artfully designed Walnut Creek, California, garden of cacti, succulents and native plants.

After visiting her garden, Cabot conceived of the Garden Conservancy as an organization to "preserve exceptional American gardens for the public's education and enjoyment."

He was no garden slouch himself: His gardens — Les Quatre Vents in La Malbaie, Quebec, and Stonecrop in Cold Spring, New York — are famous. The latter is open to the public on days spelled out in the Open Days Directory.

The Garden Conservancy now provides the legal, financial, and horticultural expertise to transition certain gardens from private to nonprofit ownership. Gardens on the island of Alcatraz and at Steepletop, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay's home in Austerlitz, New York, are among ones that have been saved from weeds, pests and the vagaries of weather that threaten neglected gardens.


Money from memberships, directory sales and garden visits help support the Garden Conservancy's efforts. The directory costs $25 and each garden visit $10, but a coupon in each directory provides free admission to one garden. (Children under 12 are free, and coupons from previous years can still be used for garden entry this year.)

Directories and further information are available from the Garden Conservancy (888-842-2442, www.gardenconservancy.org ).

The roster of gardens in the directory changes from year to year. And the gardens vary, some formal, others cottagey, some quirky, some intimate and others sprawling.

Perhaps your own garden is a candidate for Open Days, or Open Day visits will inspire you to loftier heights in your own back, front and side yards. Happy hopping.




© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 60%
Winds: S at 9mph
Feels Like: 77°

Your Extended Forecast


High 99°/Low 74°
Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 90s and lows in the mid 70s.


High 98°/Low 75°
Mainly sunny. Highs in the upper 90s and lows in the mid 70s.


High 99°/Low 75°
Mainly sunny. Highs in the upper 90s and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7670 to sign up today.