Part I: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a large complex of unique garden environments. Aside from the main palace conservatory, there is the Margaret Streb Conifer Garden which is very impressive. The garden features dwarf conifers and grasses that are photographically stunning. There is also the Vienna Cobb Anderson Meadow, The fantastic Children’s Garden, (which really is a great place for kids to learn, play and relax), The Henry M. Flager Perennial Garden which is host to over 770 species and according to Lewis Ginter, “is one of the most diverse perennial gardens on the East Coast. This garden,” they add, “includes portions of the Birding Trail, a Woodland Walk, and the romantic sculpture Slow Dance.”
There are more garden areas than mentioned, but we have all week to get a feel of Lewis Ginter. The main rose garden is truly a gem for flower photography. I found it wonderfully diverse. I didn’t know about much of the different gardens here. I just went to see this one flower.
While originally surfing around the net looking for various regional gardens and happening onto the Lewis Ginter site, I came across this fantastic, crazy, stringy, purple flower! I had to see it in person! What was it? Well, a two hour drive a couple of weeks later to see a flower is probably just as crazy, but it was worth it. This “passion flower” blooms each August. There were many just outside the interior entrance of the visitors center.
There were many unique blooms here that were new to me. The ones that really stole the show, however, are those of the Rose Garden which features more than 18,000 blooms! I must say, the roses here were perfect. There were new varieties that I had also not seen before. Mostly I was bowled over by the beauty of these varieties. I mentioned to Erika, “these may be my favorite Roses yet.”
One the great things I love about this place is the effort to add texture. I also saw this at Brookside Gardens. It’s a lovely touch and adds a great deal of ambiance to the viewing experience. Gardens like this one below just appear along the way.
Although Lewis Ginter is in the middle of Richmond, Virigina, it has the feel of a more southern style garden. Perhaps it’s the tropical treats that we come by as were out walking here or it could be the tropical garden inside the Conservatory. Here there are many orchids and other tropical varieties as well.
What I did not expect and what turned out to be a real visual treat, is the Asian Valley, as it’s called. This section of the garden is quite large. There are immense reeds and feathering plants as well as tree varieties that are visually inspiring.
Lewis Ginter is one surprise after another. Just down the way from the Asian Valley are tree laden pathways that wind this way and that. At one point we really did stumble into this wonderfully quiet sculpture garden. This is the kind of place I would like to bring a book and just relax.
Another surprise was the Bloesmendaal House and the Grace Arents Garden which was in transition to becoming part of the Holiday Lights Festival. I particularly love these topiary twisters.
One of the other things that makes this garden interesting are the smaller garden beds that pop up as we walk around the grounds. These mums are part of a border garden that lead to the Conservatory.
This formal “Sunken Garden” also has a variety of blooms throughout the year. I managed to catch it at it’s greenest.
The Four Season’s Garden, (just over yonder in front of the visitor’s center), features a lovely interaction between the formal stone elements of the water fountain and the informal flowers and fauna that surround it .
Lewis Ginter is a great place for photographers. You have to take the trails that lead you into those side, other worlds that this garden so well establishes each year. To see the garden as a visitor means spending the time to get off the main path to get into these other garden areas. If you don’t, you may end up doing what I did on my first visit by saying, “This is it?” The answer to that is NO. Wander and you’ll find new acres of garden areas that are wonderful. So take the map and take the trip around. It’s going to take a while, it’s a big place.
Tomorrow were visiting the Rose Garden.
- Part V: The Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
- Part III: The Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
- Part II: The Rose Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
- The Photo Garden Bee Lifts off in a Hot air balloon over Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
- Part IV: The Asian Valley at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.