No matter where you live, from Orlando to Ottawa, spring is starting to arrive, spreading its roots and vines and new buds as far as the eye can see. And whether you're a seasoned green-thumb, with vast botanical knowledge and dirt permanently embedded beneath your fingernails, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of pretty flowers, you're sure to enjoy a pleasant day with your family at your local public garden.
What makes a public garden such a great place to visit, from first bloom to first frost, is that there's always something different, depending on the season, popping up out of the soil. Do a little research before you head out, find out what's native, what's in season, and, perhaps most importantly, what you like, and then see what you discover upon arrival. Once you're there, indulge in the sights and scents of what's blooming, and take time, because you know it's good for you, to stop and smell the roses. Can't find any roses? Well, don't despair. A long, soul-rejuvenating whiff of any herb or flower will offer all of the same benefits of the classic rose-sniff, without any of the pesky thorns. And who knows? Maybe, in your search to find those tried and true roses, you'll stumble upon a lovely, previously-unknown-to-you fragrant favorite... just perfect, with a little hard work and inspiration, for your garden at home.
For now, though, don't think too much about your home garden, or about any of the digging or weeding it's going to take to bring that garden up to public garden standards. Instead, bring a picnic, if the public garden's rules permit it, wear your walking shoes, and delight in a day spent among flora that's been selected, planted, watered and weeded by somebody else. Focus on the flowers, on your family, and, if you're feeling especially sentimental or poetic, on the inevitable comparisons between the two.
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