The Value of Reference Gardens in Conifer Quarterly

reference-gardensThe American Conifer Society recently published, in their Fall 2016 Conifer Quarterly issue, an article submitted by Plants Map co-founder, Bill Blevins.  The article is entitled ‘Learning the value of ACS Reference Gardens at Virginia’s Gardner Memorial Garden.’  

The article features the Al Gardner Memorial Conifer Garden at Reynolds Community College in Goochland, Virginia.  This was the first ACS Reference Garden that Blevins visited after becoming a conifer collector.  He wanted to share how visiting a reference garden helped him to better understand the plant material in his own garden and make decisions about adding more conifers to his landscape.  


Gardner Memorial Garden

Blevins, who is also a member of the American Conifer Society, has been working with the ACS Northeast Region and the ACS Southeast Regions to begin to establishing their reference gardens on Plants Map.

“It’s a great way for people to be able to learn about these reference gardens and then be able to find them and experience these plants in person that they may only read about in magazines or online,” said Blevins.

The American Conifer Society profile on Plants Map was one of the first profiles established soon after the website launched in April 2014.  

Since 2008, the American Conifer Society has been partnering with public gardens throughout the United States to establish specially designated ACS Reference Gardens. These gardens must include a noteworthy number conifers and a mission to educate the public.   

Reference Garde

ACS Reference Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden

For ACS purposes, a garden must be an institutional member of ACS, open to the public and must have a minimum number and variety of well labeled conifers in its collection.  

“We hope that becomes a tool to help all types of display and reference gardens gain greater exposure to a wider audience and educate their visitors through our interactive labels,” said Blevins.

Reference Garden

Conifer Corner, ACS Reference Garden NYC

To learn more about the purpose and requirements of these gardens, read Reference Gardens 101 from the Spring 2011 issue of the Conifer Quarterly.

To learn more about the ACS Reference Gardens program visit

Links to ACS Reference Gardens on Plants Map:

Al Gardner Memorial Conifer Garden at Reynolds Community College

Southeast Region of the American Conifer Society

Northeast Region of the American Conifer Society

The American Conifer Society