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Parks for People

Articles: Parks for People

An engaging exhibit at Nature Gardens at the LA Natural History Museum. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

Mention the words “public garden” and most people picture swathes of lawn and picnic tables. The best of the lot—and the West Coast is rich with beautiful examples— are known for their finely crafted displays of flowering plants, blossoming trees, or seasonal color.

To reiterate a well-worn but comfortable trope, public parks become our cities’ backyards. They provide open space for land-deprived residents to gather in groups or relax in relative anonymity and insert themselves into the rhythm of the changing seasons. Whether its a prized wedding venue, a lovely setting for an outdoor concert series, or simply the location of a well-loved swing set, parks are social.

In this issue of Pacific Horticulture we’re taking a deeper look at other roles parks and public landscapes play in our lives—including some that don’t fit a traditional public garden framework but nonetheless enrich our communities. Teaching environments provide hands-on learning and a window into natural systems, even—maybe especially—wi...

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