The best way to get ideas for your garden is to look at other gardens, and the best way to do that is to check out spreads in gardening magazines and to visit public gardens.
Every year, the Garden Conservancy holds "Open Days" all over the country, with specific dates set aside for each town, region or county. On Long Island, there are usually at least two days for Nassau and Suffolk, sometimes more.
This chance to poke around some private gardens that you ordinarily would have absolutely no access to without getting arrested is coming up. Tours in Suffolk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 26 (7 gardens) and July 10 (3 gardens). Visit gardenconservancy.org/opendays for details and locations.
If you're heading north, you might want to check out the two featured gardens in Bronx's Riverdale neighborhood on June 13 from noon - 4 p.m. You can begin at Byrns Garden, 4602 Palisade Avenue, Bronx , where you'll learn the location of the second garden, which is within walking distance.
It costs $5 to visit each garden (children 12 and under are free), and you can pay as you go. No reservations are necessary, and the tours run rain or shine.
See www.opendaysprogram.org for more information or call The Garden Conservancy weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: 888-842-2442.