Botanical Gardens Help Us Appreciate Nature
Jul 22, 2022
When was the last time you visited your local botanical garden?
We talk a lot about “plant-based” on this blog, but what about the plants themselves? It’s time we gave them a little love as well.
Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you’re probably pretty close to a botanical garden, arboretum or other public garden. Chances also are that the last time you visited one of these spaces may have been during a middle school field trip.
Let's take another look
These spaces are designed to be enjoyed by all, but also to help us learn more about the plants around us and the natural world. Some are active research sites with ongoing studies about plant life, many are associated with major universities, most offer events and educational programming but they are all worth a trip any time of year.
One of the things I like best about visiting botanical gardens is that they are constantly changing. As you’d imagine, the same garden in spring looks very different in summer and fall. Several gardens and arboretums are open year-round and even in the winter there are things to see and appreciate.
Aside from the educational benefits (most gardens give guided tours or at last have educational signage to let you know about the plants) there are many other reasons to visit botanical gardens that your middle-school self might not have appreciated.
Benefits for the mind and body
- De-stress and improve your mood: A growing body of evidence points to the benefits of being in nature and connecting to the natural world. It can boost your mood, improve your cognitive well-being and help reduce stress. And this may be even more important in busy cities. Many cities have impressive botanical gardens so you can relax and recharge close to home.
- Get your steps in: Your Fitbit will thank you for the numbers you post after a visit to a botanical garden. If you are so inclined, a visit to a garden can involve a lot of walking to see the various plants, flowers, trees and other exhibits. That said, they will have accessible paths and often lots of benches along the way to take a rest and take in the sights.
- Give your senses a treat: Botanical gardens offer something for all the senses. Obviously, looking at the plants, trees and flowers and all their colors is a primary activity. But gardens tend to be very fragrant; there are often birds and various bird calls to listen to and even the opportunity to touch different types of leaves and plants provide a sensory experience.
Make it a family affair
- It’s a great family experience: Get the kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors. Many gardens have child-friendly events and activities and even if they don’t, you can make it into a scavenger hunt. Challenge them to find red flowers, a butterfly or bumblebee, something that smells good or something that feels soft or prickly.
- Escape the crowds: Botanical Gardens tend to have more open space and fewer visitors than popular tourist attractions like beaches and amusement parks and are a great place to enjoy without being jostled by throngs of people.
So, check out your local botanical garden or arboretum and enjoy all the that plants have to offer. If you need help finding a garden, the Botanic Gardens Conservation International has a good list to search of gardens globally.