The Gardens in Canberra have been open to the public since 1967 and those at Jervis Bay since 1972. As well relaxing in pleasant surroundings, visitors are encouraged to follow various walking trails, where interpretive signs explain aspects of our botanical heritage. The Information Centre and bookshop also play a significant role in encouraging visitors to appreciate and understand the Australian flora.
The Gardens published its first information leaflet in 1967 and has continued with more substantial booklets, such as Growing Native Plants, and guidebooks. The present range of leaflets includes detailed descriptions of various parts of the Gardens, introductions to different plant groups, and guides to the walks and trails.
The Gardens' educational programs for children and students of all ages concentrate on botanical, ecological and horticultural subjects. Students are encouraged to study topics such as the use of native plants by Aboriginal people using the Gardens trails complemented by indoor activities organised through the education services. Training courses and educational resource kits have been developed to encourage a wider group of teachers to use the Gardens' facilities. A special effort has been made to ensure all members of the community have equitable access to these programs.
Community involvement in the Gardens is encouraged through the Friends of the Gardens and the opportunity for volunteers to work in a range of programs. Friends' voluntary guides conduct tours of the Gardens for visitors at regular times, and volunteers make a valuable contribution to the work of the Herbarium and the Banksia Centre.
The Gardens' collection of photographs of the Australian flora is widely used by publishers and teachers as a source of illustrations that promote our plants and their horticulture and raise awareness of their conservation status.