Hoyt's magnolia collection

Part of the magnolia collection at Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum. Magnolia flowers are as beautiful on the ground as they are on the tree!

National Public Garden Day takes place every year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This year, that falls on Friday, May 6. NPGD was created in an effort to build appreciation for our nation’s public gardens by providing free admission for a day – and sometimes with extra classes and events.

In Portland this year, we have several gardens participating, including the Leach Garden, The Oregon Garden and Hoyt Arboretum. Hoyt and Leach have free admission (donations accepted) but if you’re planning a visit to the Oregon Garden, just print yourself up a coupon here and bring it with you to get free admission. The Hoyt Arboretum is also participating this Friday. Leach is offering extended opening hours Friday (til 8 pm) and the Magnolia collection at Hoyt should be enough to inspire a visit – I’m thinking the fragrant Magnolia dianica should be coming into flower now, among other species. And just seeing the bright green of the native bigleaf maples that are peppered throughout Hoyt is enough to inspire rapture, all by itself.

In Western Oregon, we enjoy quite a few public gardens (and some private gardens that are for all intents and purposes "public," in that they are open to visitors year-round).

If you can, take an opportunity this weekend – if not on Friday itself – to visit your local public gardens and experience whatever they have to offer. Consider whether they are places you value enough to support and, if so, support them.

Participating public gardens in Oregon:

Leach Gardens

Hoyt Arboretum

The Oregon Garden

But don’t neglect other gardens like the International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Classical Chinese Garden, the Connie Hansen Garden in Lincoln City, and Woodland, Washington’s Hulda Klager Lilac Garden.

I hope I’m not forgetting any of our local public gardens… if I am, let me know!