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by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Despite today’s heat, I’m so happy that summer is finally here.  Summer at the Garden means children fighting the birds for the mulberries, their faces and hands stained red from the juice.  It means a parade of strollers that comes through the Garden each day to enjoy nature,  activities and Water Play. It means a thousands of fragrant blooms wherever you turn. It means kids playing hide & seek in the stick sculpture and creating their own weavings in the shade of the Children’s Garden Tree House.  And, it means the start of Flowers After 5, Families After 5 and Fidos After 5.

And it’s these last 3 — Flowers, Families and Fidos After 5, that I’m most excited about. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what a magical place the Garden can be at sunset and after the heat of the summer day has passed.  There is just something romantic, or nostalgic about the sweet scent of honeysuckle & roses, and an evening breeze after a long summer day. It’s hard to describe but it’s almost like Mother Nature lets out a long gentle sigh as the sun starts to go down.

This year, for Flowers After 5, we’ve got something new planned.  In addition to live music, and wine & beer — we’ll also have complimentary picnic blankets for you to borrow and  sit on. We are also going to start something else new:  sampling of some great (mostly local) food. From summer greens, to honey, to Gelato, to olives, to tomatoes – you will get to taste some of the region’s best locally grown & produced culinary delights.

Tomorrow night, June 2nd, we’ll kick the season off with free cheese samples for everyone (courtesy of Cabot Cheese) while supplies last. The music should be great – VCU Jazz – modern/Harlem styles to go with East Coast wines. People can also meet and talk with Tenley Beazley and, of course, see the new Patrick Dougherty stick sculpture,  Diamonds in the Rough. Plus we have a Tea House “Date Night Special”, too — dinner & wine for 2 for $35! (Reservations recommended 262-9887, ext. 399).

Here are all the details:

Wine & Cheese
Eastern U.S. regional wines in the Rose Garden, 6 – 8 p.m. Wine-tasting ticket $10, wine by the glass and bottle; beer, too. (Cash or check, please.) FREE cheese samples will be passed (while supplies last) courtesy of Cabot Cheese.

Live Music

In the Rose Garden, 6 – 8 p.m. VCU Jazz featuring modern/Harlem jazz styles. Brendan Schnabel (saxophone), Keith Askey (guitar), Andrew Randuzzo (bass)

Dining
In the Rose Garden (6 – 8 p.m.); salads, wraps, fruit and cheese plates and more. (Cash or check, please.)

In the Tea House (5 – 8 p.m.); check out the “Date Night Special”; wine and three-course split menu for two people only $35. Reservations: (804) 262-9887, ext. 399.

Blankets to borrow (while supplies last). A limited number of tables and chairs are also available on the terraced lawn.

Diversions

Browse in the Garden Shop; open til 7 p.m.

Admire the “Wild and Willow: Works on Paper” exhibit by Richmond artist Tenley Beazley and meet the artist 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Location: Robins Visitors Center.

Marvel at Diamonds in the Rough stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty. Visible from the Rose Garden; we invite you to step closer and explore this magnificent new “jewel” of the Garden.

Oh, and if you like what your hearing, get  out your calendar! Here’s the line-up for the rest of the season:

Date/Wine Region/Featured Food for Sampling

June 9
New Zealand & Australian wines
Music by Greg Sullivan (acoustic duo)
Food sampling: Honey

June 16
Italian wines
Food sampling: Gelato

June 23
West Coast wines
Music by: Venture Rays (beach music)
Food sampling: Summer greens (organic from Frog Bottom Farm)

June 30
South African wines
Music by: HotelX (instrumental African music)
Food sampling: Vinaigrettes

July 7
Virginia wines
Music by Cook County Bluegrass
Food sampling: Peanuts

July 14
German & Alsatian wines
Doug Hurt (German band)
Food sampling: Breads & spreads

July 21
Washington & Oregon wines
Food sampling: Stone fruit

July 28
TBA
Music by Festival Brass (light classical)
Food sampling: Tomatoes (organic from Frog Bottom Farm)

August 4
Spanish wines
Music by Chris Vasi (Spanish guitar)
Food sampling: Olives

August 11
French wines
Music by VCU Jazz; Chris Norred and Connor Thompson (guitars), Jonathan Wheelock (bass)
Food sampling: Cheese

August 18
South American wines
Music by VCU Jazz: The Garcia Jazz Trio, featuring Antonio Garcia (trombone, vocals, percussion), John Conley (guitar), Brian Sulser (bass), featuring Mary Hermann Garcia (vocals).
Food sampling: Melons (organic from Frog Bottom Farm)

August 25: No Flowers After 5

 

 

 

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