The original gardens were established and designed by Franc Hladnik, who was the first superintendent. They are now considered one of the oldest cultural, educational and scientific institutions in Slovenia. Their aim is to present, preserve and research individual plants and plant systems, from native to tropical habitats.
In recent years there have been about 50,000 visitors annually. Tours conducted by expert guides are available for individuals or groups. During spring and summer months different workshops and public lectures are organised. A TV gardening show on the morning programme of Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) is also filmed at the gardens. In order to preserve the memories of living in Ljubljana in the past, the project My Streets [Moje ulice] was launched, and for a period of time also aired on Radio Študent (RŠ). Held at the Botanic Gardens, interviews with charismatic senior citizens about their life in the city reflect the changes, and, through stories and urban legends, form a link between different generations.
The Botanic Gardens is a member of the international network Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and cooperates with similar institutions abroad. The gardens were also featured in the book Botanic Gardens: A Living History, a guide to botanic gardens, published and edited by Nadine Monem (2007).