Photo courtesy LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens.

Be one with nature at this weekend’s “Go Public Garden Days”

It may have been the year-long hiatus that’s responsible for the perky boost in Baton Rouge’s spring florals this season. So, after a year waiting for signs of life to flutter into the gardens at Burden, LSU’s Botanic Gardens is hosting its first full-fledged event of the year, Go Public Gardens Days, on Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16. Beginning bright and early, the event’s activities will last into the afternoon, finishing up before the sun has us running to the nearest shady tree.

Go Public Gardens Days will feature exercise classes by TreadBR.

With “wellness” as the event’s theme, Go Public Gardens Days—an initiative of the American Public Gardens Association—will feature activities like exercise classes, story-telling time and plants walks that are geared toward every age group. The event is completely free to the public, giving us even more reason to free up our weekend calendars. To give us a look into this weekend’s event, we spoke with lead coordinator of events and marketing Katie Guitreau and communications coordinator Haleigh Judge at LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens.

“Go Public Gardens Days is really about encouraging people to take advantage of their public gardens in their areas, and so we’re really giving our community an opportunity to do that,” says Guitreau. “We thought, let’s make a massively fun and free day for people to come and get outside, and let’s provide them with the things they like to do. We’re trying to get every single age group out here and give them something to enjoy, so whether you have young children or you are a retiree, there’s something for every age group and it’s all free.”

For those looking to discover all there is to know about plants in Baton Rouge, LSU horticulture instructor Bob Mirabello will be leading two guided plant walks around the Botanic Gardens. For early birds, Go Public Gardens Days will begin its birding tours at 6:30 a.m. through the birding loops at Burden.

“We have three expert birding guides that are going to be doing guided birding walks for anybody that wants to come,” says Guitreau. “We normally charge for those, but we’re opening up completely free that day. They are so much fun, and these are local experts that do these birding walks all around Louisiana, so it’s going to be a neat opportunity.”

Burden’s “Storytime in the Garden” hosted by the Junior League of Baton Rouge.

Burden’s “StoryTime in the Garden” will be hosted by the Junior League of Baton Rouge, with craft activities available for children. With a focus on wellness, the event will also feature two Sculpt + Flow exercise classes with TreadBR, which you can register for ahead of time by clicking here for either the 8:30 a.m. class or the 11 a.m. class.

“Another cool thing is that Windrush Gardens, which is a historic garden located at the back of our property, normally has a fee for admission,” says Guitreau. “On that Sunday, we’re offering completely free admission for the entire day. That means you can come and tour the gardens if you’ve never seen them before, and you get to go and be outside and see this amazing space—it’s stunning.”

Having spent a year cooped up inside, plenty of us are looking to get outside and soak up the sunshine at the Go Public Gardens Days. For some, it’s been a long time coming.

“I think it’s really exciting, especially for our visitors who are involved in our membership group and our master gardener group,” says Judge. “They’ve all been very anxious to come back out here and see each other and be in a space that they love that is also safe. All of these activities are outdoors, so we are excited to have everybody back and in a safe space that is also beautiful. I think it is an opportunity to gather in a safe way and in a great space that a lot of our visitors enjoy.”

Get more details on Go Public Gardens Days, set for this weekend, on the website here. And read about a sunny summer offering at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens in this story from the inRegister archives.