The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days

This past weekend, we took a brief break from some epic spring cleaning to check out The Garden Conservancy‘s first Open Days event of the year in the Los Angeles area.

Held all over the United States each year between March and November, Open Days allow you to snoop around other people’s backyards and/or find landscaping inspiration while simultaneously raising money to provide and preserve garden spaces across the country. It’s a fun, romantic and altruistic outing, whether you’re traveling in a different city or simply exploring your own. Traditionally a mapped route of six private homes in one area that open their outdoor spaces to the public for one day, Open Days provide a unique opportunity to experience a neighborhood through its plantings, design, architecture and history. The volunteers who work these special events can generally answer questions about the people who own the homes involved, tales of the buildings and homes that surround it, why certain design decisions were made, what to call that purple flower over there, and stuff you’ll probably only think to ask once you’re surrounded by absolute floral magnificence.

Open Days gardens range from homey affairs to sprawling estate layouts, English country to low-water plantings, and it’s fascinating to see how truly gifted gardeners incorporate fountains, pools, waterfalls, patios, sculpture, lighting and a myriad artistic details into their designs. For garden and travel lovers like us, it’s also just plain exciting when we discover exotic plants we’ve never seen before.

These are some glimpses of this past Sunday’s Open Days event in Pasadena, California. Be sure to check out the entire Open Days schedule to see where you might catch some cool gardens in your area — or on your next vacation.

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Open Days are held around the U.S. between March and November,
on Saturdays and Sundays between (generally) 9am and 5pm.

No reservations are necessary, and all tours require self-driving.
Each Open Days event provides a starting point address where you can pick up a map of the day’s gardens.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or in person at any stop along an Open Days route.
Ticket prices: 6 for $25 US for non-members, or 6 for $15 US for Garden Conservancy members.

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