Experimental Garden Info: What Are Demonstration Gardens For

Experimental Garden Info: What Are Demonstration Gardens For

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by JBryson

We can all use a little education on the things about which we are passionate. Experimental garden plots give us inspiration and expertise from masters in the field. Also called demonstration gardens, these sites provide educational opportunities for lay people and experts alike. What are demonstration gardens for? They are for everyone with a keen interest in gardening and land stewardship.

Experimental Garden Info

What is a demonstration garden? Imagine it as a field trip for gardeners. Depending upon the theme or situation being studied, these sites are developed to highlight plant types, care, sustainable practices, vegetable growing, and much more. Other demo garden uses might be to test out different varieties of plants, or to show attendees how to garden using specific growing methods, such as hugelkultur.

Who puts together experimental garden plots? Sometimes, they are assembled through universities and colleges as a teaching tool for students or as testing sites for certain plants and growing techniques. Others are community efforts whose aim is outreach.

Grade and high schools may also have demo gardens which serve to encourage the dialogues around our food sources and educate on natural processes. Still others may be from extension offices, open for public amazement.

Finally, demo garden uses may be as sources for the many varieties of one plant species, such as a rhododendron garden, or native specimens which are funded by government and municipal participation.

What are Demonstration Gardens For?

Among the many demo garden uses are the popular children’s gardens. These may offer hands-on experiences where kids can plant seeds or starts. They may feature butterfly attracting plants, farm animals, and other kid-friendly activities and sights.

University gardens run the gamut from conservatories filled with native or exotic plants, testing plots for food crops, and much more. The experimental garden info gleaned may be used to help solve hunger problems, improve growing practices, preserve diminished species, find natural medicines, develop sustainable and low maintenance gardening, and many other goals.

Types of Demo Gardens

The question, “what is a demonstration garden,” is a broad one. There are those dedicated to youth, seniors, handicapped persons, native plants, sunny or shady plants, food gardens, historical landscapes, water-wise installments, and horticultural education, just to name a few.

Gardens with water features, those by country such as a Japanese garden, alpine and rock landscapes, and even dedicated designs with plants such as cacti and succulents exist.

The take away may be educational or to provide food, but in every case the enjoyment is in the beauty and vast diversity in horticultural flora.

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