It is often said that a city's health depends much on its ample and well-tended outdoor spaces. Those spaces include parks, yes, and plant-packed plots around civic buildings, and state parks and national parks, and, of course, what might be in our own yard, and how it contributes to the wilder whole.
Add to that, of course, the public gardens, those stunning spreads that have a strong botanical background and the staff and docents who can explain each flower and shoot and blade of grass, its history, and why it has been included in the garden.
Southern California's public gardens are also notable for their efforts with water conservation and the inclusion of local, drought-resistant flora. Look to The Huntington's dramatic new entryway and its California-ready shrubs and buds.
This is all worth considering, and admiring, during National Public Gardens Day. It falls on Friday, May 8 this year, which is quite handy if you're looking for an early outing to lead into Mother's Day Weekend.
There are deals to be enjoyed during the special day, including 10% off at the Descanso Gardens gift shop in La Cañada Flintridge and free admission at Sherman Library and Gardens in Newport Beach.
You're bound to be within blooming distance (which seems rather more lovely than the traditional shouting distance) of one of the gardens. The Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden in Long Beach are all on the National Public Gardens Day roster.
It's a moment when many people are rethinking their own yards and gardens and windowboxes and slices of sun-dappled goodness, in terms of water use and sustainability. Looking to what our public gardens do in this important arena could be quite the inspirational and idea-providing first step.