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Photos by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, & Beth Monroe, Director of PR & Marketing,  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 

snowy conservatory

snow in the Asian Valley.

Asian Valley reflections.

snowy fern.

Fern in snow.

Snow drops (Galanthus elwesii)

Snow drops (Galanthus elwesii) in snow.

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

Dendrobium Tanida Two-Tone in the Conservatory.

Dendrobium Tanida Two-Tone in the Conservatory.

Laeliocattleya Gold Digger 'Orchid Jungle'

Laeliocattleya Gold Digger ‘Orchid Jungle’

Camellia. Photo by Don Williamson Photography.

Camellia. Photo by Don Williamson Photography.

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ spotted in early January 2014 in Flagler Garden.

Have we got a treat for you! Starting today, and running through the end of the weekend, admission to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is completely FREE! If you’ve never been to the Garden before, this is a perfect chance to come see what we are all about.  We have friendly staff ready to answer your botanical questions and our Visitor Services Staff  would love to tell you some highlights of things to see on your visit. If you are the do-it-yourself type, you can see what’s in bloom by month  on our website.  Yes, we have a few blooms outside even in January! Some of the blooms you may see in winter include Hellebore, Camellia, Parrotia, snow drops (Galanthus elwesii) and edgeworthia.

You might even see a few early-blooming daffodils!

Orchids, cyclamen, paperwhites, amaryllis and many more blooms await you in the cozy Conservatory.  Or go on a hunt for interesting bark, dried seed pods and berries all over the Garden.  Our garden paths are wonderful place to walk and think.  If you are a birder look for our birding trail brochure too.  Don’t forget  to take a break by the fireplace in the Library Reading Room where it’s warm and cozy. bird trail brochure

witch hazel

Witch hazel

Tree bark

Tree bark — interesting any time of year. Photo by Tyler Darden

snow drops!

Snow drops!

If you can’t make it this week, don’t worry! We’re running a winter special — January 20 – February 28. Adults and seniors are $5 / children are $4.
Also, plan on eating before or after your trip to the Garden. The Garden Cafe is closed this week (January 14-19) for routine maintenance. The Robins Tea House is also temporarily closed during this time, the Tea House will re-open in spring, date to be announced.  Please note that the Garden Shop is closed for inventory January 14-23, 2014. 

 

by Lynn Kirk, Public Relations Writer,  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, reprinted with permission from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Welcome to another year, another opportunity for gardening! Whatever your gardening interests and goals, perhaps you’ll discover inspiration from these 2014 trends, shared by Eva Monheim, a published writer and horticulture professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Fruits and nuts

 The American filbert tree provides tasty hazelnuts that are prized by people and wildlife. photo by Eva Monheim.

The American filbert tree provides tasty hazelnuts that are prized by people and wildlife. photo by Eva Monheim.


A tasty trend topping the list is homegrown fruits and nuts. Backyard gardeners are trying their luck with traditional and hybrid varieties of strawberries, blueberries and grapes. While some experiment with exotics, such as China’s hardy kiwi, others focus on yesteryear’s elderberries, mulberries, pawpaws and persimmons. Garden centers and nurseries also face increased demand for trees that produce hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans.
Active education

A medicinal herb garden at Temple University in Philadelphia engages the community as it teaches medical students about healing plants. Photo by Eva Monheim.

A medicinal herb garden at Temple University in Philadelphia engages the community as it teaches medical students about healing plants. Photo by Eva Monheim.

With new advocates comes their desire to learn. There’s a growing tendency for working alongside garden mentors and gleaning tips from horticulture classes, online blogs and mobile apps. Today’s gardeners are passionate about knowing and doing what’s best for the crops and environment.
Livestock labor

Goats and sheep are welcomed by some cities and suburbs to help control invasive plants. Photo by Eva Monheim.

Goats and sheep are welcomed by some cities and suburbs to help control invasive plants. Photo by Eva Monheim.

Forget chemicals and extra manpower. When local codes allow, try sheep and goats for removal of invasive plants. Savvy neighborhood co-ops also pool their resources for chickens that lay fresh eggs and eat pests, such as ticks, mosquitoes, and larvae of mosquitoes and other insects.
New advocates

Janet Rasmussen of Madison, WI photographs some of the orchids at the "Orchids Galore" exhibit in the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, March 29, 2013.She is in Richmond visiting a relative. On the left is a "Golden Treasure" moth orchid. Lewis Ginter has been recognized as one of the "Top 10 American Gardens Worth Traveling For." Photo by P. Kevin Morely.

Janet Rasmussen of Madison, WI photographs orchids, including ‘Golden Treasure’ moth orchid in the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in March 2013. Lewis Ginter has been recognized as one of the “Top 10 American Gardens Worth Traveling For.” Photo by P. Kevin Morely.

Visitation continues to grow at botanical gardens and arboretums. “More people are being hooked into gardening — not directly by the plants, but by another part of the venue that attracts them in an indirect way,” Monheim said. When people attend a botanical garden’s outdoor concert or third-party event with family and friends, they may sense something bigger and become more mindful of the world around them. “They shift from ‘me, me, me’ to ‘how can I change things for a better environment in a larger context?’ ”
Repurposed land

harvesting basil

Youth volunteer workers harvesting basil from an area behind the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden that used to be planted with grass. Photo by Jonah Holland.

In Richmond and beyond, urbanites are transforming vacant lots into sustainable community gardens. Local volunteers and neighborhood residents work together to reap fresh vegetables and herbs, as well as hands-on training and newfound relationships. “There’s cross-generational education with the young teaching the old and the middle-aged teaching the young,” Monheim said. “It’s really fascinating — there’s no age limit when you go into a garden.”
Food foraging

stir fried bamboo

One way of reducing invasive bamboo is to cut and eat it. Photo by Eva Monheim

“It’s very chic to not have to pay for food,” Monheim said, so more individuals and special-interest groups are scouring the wild for edibles. From mushrooms and blackberries to bamboo and goutweed, they harvest nature’s bounty for their next meal. “Foragers want to see how much they can save, but they need to be careful and know what they’re doing,” Monheim cautioned.
Health and Income

Leonard Morrow, left, shows Thomas Jefferson high school students Yasmin Nolan, 16, center, and Deonte' Terry, 17, some of the plants in the garden across for the school, in Richmond, Va.  (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)

Leonard Morrow, left, shows Thomas Jefferson high school students Yasmin Nolan, 16, center, and Deonte’ Terry, 17, some of the plants in the garden across for the school, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)

“It’s a healthy-eating scene now,” Monheim said, and urban gardens offer informal tastings of nutritious produce for neighbors who don’t necessarily have healthful eating as a focus. “They taste new things and like them, then they tell others.” Some urban gardeners take the trend one step further by creating garden co-ops for revenue production. “It’s an entrepreneur opportunity at a basic level,” Monheim said.

Pat Carrier's woodland garden in Goochland County. Photographed Tues. May 9, 2006. Photo by Mark Gormus.

Pat Carrier’s woodland garden in Goochland County. Photographed Tues. May 9, 2006. Photo by Mark Gormus.

Gardening: Growing trends
Inactive woodland gardens welcome visitors to pause and rest, while active woodlands encourage exploration. They also perform double duty when providing flood control, havens for wildlife and reductions in high-maintenance lawns. “The goal with woodland gardens is a good mix of plants and a very healthy growth from ceiling to floor.” Monheim recommends blending evergreens with mosses and woodland bulbs for seasonal interest.
Editor’s Note: This article first published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in January 2014.

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

This has to be my favorite Twitter photo ever! What a way to create a memory. Congratulations to the happy couple. We are honored to be a part of your special day.  Hashtag #SheSaidYes #TrueLOVE  She said yes!

 

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

Announcing the winners of our first ever #GardenFest Instagram contest!   We were thrilled with the participation of the Instagram community — we had over 700 entries in the contest, and there were so many fabulous and creative photos that told the story of Dominion GardenFest of Lights, it was truly difficult to choose our winners.

The winning image of our #GardenFest Instagram contest.  Photo by Meg Pickeral aka @MPickeral on Instagram.

The winning image of our #GardenFest Instagram contest. Photo by Meg Pickeral aka @MPickeral on Instagram.

The Grand Prize winning photo is by Meg Pickeral aka @MPickeral on Instagram. She snapped this photo of her daughter, Addie, awestruck by the lighted unicorn figure.  Meg won some great prizes (valued at over $850) including tickets for 4 to the Richmond Ballet’s performance of Cinderella, a night at the Jefferson Hotel, and tickets for 12 to come back with  and enjoy Dominion GardenFest of Lights with friends.  A huge thank you to our partners, the Richmond Ballet & the Jefferson Hotel for helping to provide the prize package.

Second prize winner Bill Farrar took this photos of his son taking in all the lights.

Second prize winner Bill Farrar took this photos of his son taking in all the lights.

Second prize winner was Bill Farrar, aka @KillerPR on Instagram. Bill won a family 4-pack of tickets to come back and see Dominion GardenFest of Lights again.

So what do you all think? Did you enjoy seeing these photos? Should we have another Instagram contest? Personally, I was thinking I’d like to see an A Million Blooms Instagram contest and a Butterflies LIVE! (#Bflies) contest too.  Would you participate? What ideas to you have?

The 16 finalists in the #GardenFest Instagram contest.  Photos are by (left to right, top row) @mpickeral @Jenwilkers @maraccat @cre8tivphoto (2nd row) @ciao_erin @jmaugle @1wanderer @KillerPR (3rd row) @hollywooz @Murph2sk @tinydebbiejane @spike_brewster (last row) @shdwrider1 @tiffanychan @jeannieboisineau @enigma_web

The 16 finalists in the #GardenFest Instagram contest. Photos are by (left to right, top row) @mpickeral @Jenwilkers @maraccat @cre8tivphoto (2nd row) @ciao_erin @jmaugle @1wanderer @KillerPR (3rd row) @hollywooz @Murph2sk @tinydebbiejane @spike_brewster (last row) @shdwrider1 @tiffanychan @jeannieboisineau @enigma_web

by Beth Monroe, Public Relations & Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Coneflower of lights

Dominion GardenFest of Lights

As we reflect on the many highlights of 2013, the Splendor Under Glass gala is certainly one of them. Held on November 23, the event kicked off the annual holiday Dominion GardenFest of Lights. More than 400 guests attended and were “Entwined” with Nature to support the Garden’s educational mission and passion for connecting people and plants to improve the community. They came also to honor Ann Lee Saunders Brown (Mrs. Charles L. Brown), for her love of nature and her life-long commitment to education.

Ann Lee Brown

Mrs. Ann Lee Brown

Ann Lee is a true visionary who supported and encouraged Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Colonial Williamsburg, UVA, Collegiate School, VMI and many others. She lives with unfettered joy and it is not coincidence she and her sister Jane Quinn Saunders chose our entryway Four Seasons Garden to honor their parents. It’s a place that evokes passionate beauty and interest for the natural world in all generations through all seasons of the year.

Lora (left) and Lenna (middle) Chandler with Ann Lee Brown

Sisters Lora (left) and Lenna (middle) Chandler presented Mrs. Ann Lee Brown with a basket of good wishes from the Garden

The evening’s highlight came when two sisters, 9-year-old Lora and 6-year-old Lenna Chandler, expressed their love of the Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter and presented Brown with a basket of gratitude and good wishes on the Garden’s behalf. Inside the basket were a pomegranate for the plenty of life, a rose for the beauty in life, honey for the sweetness in life, and a fairy wand for the magic in life, also reminiscent of Brown’s childhood delight of dressing as a garden fairy with her sister Jane Quinn Saunders.

Birdhouses

Birdhouses made by Garden volunteers and painted by committee members

Local talent and items were celebrated throughout the evening. Attendees purchased one-of-a-kind items at a “Lush and Local Marketplace” offering delicacies and treasures ranging from house-made chutney to over-the-top creative wreaths to birdhouses hand-crafted by Garden volunteers and decorated by Gala committee members and friends.

An art auction featured works by some of the area’s most celebrated talent, including a signature piece by Tenley Beazley aptly titled “Entwined.” Proceeds from the event support the non-profit Garden’s educational mission.

Art Auction_edited-1

An art auction was one of the evening’s highlights

 

 

Farm to Table

The Farm-To-Table dinner featured locally sourced items

 

 

 

 

 

The sumptuous farm-to-table style dinner was prepared by caterer Meriwether Godsey incorporating locally sourced items. Guests were greeted by Georgine Muc playing the bandura, a Ukrainian folk instrument, and musical entertainment throughout dinner was by Mitch Seekins and his band performing jazz standards.

Committee Chair for this year’s Splendor Under Glass was Madeline Hutcheson Mayood and co-chairs were Peyton Wells and Jennifer Rector. A team of Garden staff and volunteers also made the event possible.

Peter Bernard

Peter Bernard, CEO, Bon Secours Virginia Health System, welcomes guests

The presenting sponsor for this year’s Splendor Under Glass was Bon Secours Virginia Health System. Contributing sponsors were Capital One Bank, CapTech and MeadWestvaco.

All photos by SJ Collins Photography. Some material for this blog were taken from the Splendor Under Glass program.

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
holiday sale  in the Garden Shop

Starting today, select holiday items (including these shown) are 20% off in the Garden Shop. Hurry in now for best selection, quantities are limited. Sale ends Jan 13th, 2014.

The Garden Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on Sundays noon – 10 p.m. through Jan. 13.

Helen MacDonald and  Jennie Romero

Helen Wallace MacDonald
Board Liaison and Major Gifts Assistant & Jennie Romero
Corporate Gifts, Grants.

Editor’s note:  We’d love you to meet our new staff members Jennie Romero  and Helen Wallace MacDonald. Jennie and Helen  joined Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Development staff in November.  We mixed things up this time and let Helen and Jennie interview each other. They take a pretty good selfie too! Take it away  ladies….

Jennie Romero, Corporate Gifts, Grants and Sponsorship Manager
As the Corporate Gifts, Grants and Sponsorship Manager.  Jennie Romero engages businesses in the Richmond metro area with the Garden’s educational programming, special events and exhibitions. With personalized partnership opportunities for companies and foundations, the entire Richmond community is impacted.

Helen Wallace MacDonald, Board Liaison and Major Gifts Assistant is responsible for direct support of the Director of Development, Maureen Massey. She supports the Board of Directors and the Board Committees, as well as conducts campaign planning, prospect identification research and cultivation events.

JENNIE asked and HELEN answered:

1. Why did you come to work for the Garden?

I came to work here at Lewis Ginter because I care a great deal about nature conservancy, the arts, and community engagement in the City of Richmond. I just moved here in October from Los Angeles where I worked with plants and the land in spatial, cultural experience. I can’t express how happy it makes me to apply what I learned out west to my new chapter here in the ‘Mond (aka Richmond).

2. (Regarding your position) What do you most look forward to?

I look forward to all the changes that are ahead. I look forward to developing relationships with my coworkers, our Board of Directors and standing committees, our volunteers and visitors. I look forward to having everyone over to Lakeside for a visit!

3. After a month of working here, what has surprised you most?

I would have to say the volunteers – I have had so many fun interactions with them, and have been surprised by their closeness and dedication.

4. Tell us about a part of the Garden that might delight or surprise visitors.

The Margaret Streb Conifer Garden. It is like a silent forest, a peaceful respite with a vista of our tranquil lake.

5. Richmond has a little bit of everything. What’s your favorite?

The art scene, the converted warehouses, the cool coffee shops….I am into the emerging tech scene here and am very impressed by the growth of startups and cool neighborhoods like Manchester and Scott’s Addition. I grew up in Brooklyn before its huge gentrification and here in Richmond I am reminded of the exploring I used to do. You never know what you might find.

Helen MacDonald and Jennie Romero

Helen MacDonald and Jennie Romero have a silly side too!

HELEN asked and JENNIE answered:

1. Where were you born and where were you raised?

I was born in San Diego, California, and consider myself a California Girl – the kind the Beach Boys sing about. However I grew up in Glen Allen, attending public school in Henrico County.

2. What is your favorite flower? And favorite food?

I prefer the appearance, aroma and utility of herbs. My wedding earlier this year featured gathers of mint, rosemary and lavender as boutonnieres as well as mint julep cocktails. And I just learned my married name ‘Romero’ is a translation of rosemary.

3. Are you super stoked to be working at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and if so is it because your coworker is Helen or is it because you got to play the castanets at Splendor Under Glass?

Working on behalf of Lewis Ginter has been a dream come true. I am inspired by my surroundings – including my amazing colleagues in development – and feel a great sense of peace being here.

4. Can you tell us which day has been most memorable since you started?

December 3, 2013. Staff and volunteer accomplishments were highlighted during the first half of the day, providing me an insight of the talented and hardworking team I had joined. Then later that afternoon I participated in a discussion surrounding the Garden’s future – including opportunities available for businesses to partner. The conversation, smiling faces and optimism encountered that day were so enriching.

5. Are you a Richmonder for life?

The River City keeps me busy from inspired restaurants to outdoor festivals, breathtaking vistas and my friends and family. Maybe one day I’ll return to the West Coast, but not any time soon!

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

peacock lights in the Grace Arents GardenStarting today, we enter the busier time of Dominion GardenFest of Lights. Kids are out of school, they don’t have homework, and they can stay up late.  So you might need a bit more planning when visiting GardenFest. We appreciate your patience as we enter this busy time.  Here are a few of our favorite tips for a great visit:

  • Carpool if you can!
  • Visitation tends to be heaviest between 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. You can avoid peak times by arriving early (4:30 p.m.) or later (after 8:30 p.m.)
  • You can purchase tickets ahead of time, either by coming to the Garden (open daily 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. during GardenFest) or online or by phone 1-800-594-TIXX (8499). Service charges apply for online and phone sales.
  • When parking lots are full, we will close gates and put up a sign stating the lots are closed for 30 minutes and to please check back. (Here’s the Tacky Lights List if you want to see other lights nearby.) There is parking available in the neighborhood; however, we ask people to please be considerate of our neighbors and to be aware the Garden is not responsible for off-site parking.

Still want more info? Here’s some more help:

Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Visiting with Children

By Nicki, Youth Programs Developer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

COWEP student Chris Corsello, with teacher, David Kern, and student Kyle Joseph.

CoWEP student Chris Corsello, with teacher, David Kern, and student Kyle Joseph.

Job training for special needs youth has been expanding at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden through our Youth Vocational Program. The Vocational Program offers work experiences for special needs middle school and high school students who have vocational goals. Most of the young people participating in the Vocational Program are enrolled in a job training program within their school, or they have specific vocational goals written into their educational curriculum. One of  the Garden’s partnerships is with Deep Run High School’s Cooperative Work Experience Program, also known as CoWEP.  CoWEP  is funded by Henrico County Public Schools Department of Exceptional Education and we are happy to be a work site for this wonderful program that supports our community’s youth.

Kyle Joseph cleaning tables in the Garden Cafe.

Kyle Joseph cleaning tables in the Garden Cafe.

Deep Run’s CoWEP students have helped us expand of our Vocational Program from gardening-related programs into the field of food service. Participants go through the process of filling out a job application through the Garden’s in-house catering partner, Meriwether Godsey and work  in the Garden Café.  They also attend employee orientation, which includes a safety in the workplace training. After going through the employment process, the students began reporting for work each Tuesday morning. The group clocks in, washes their hands, reports to their supervisor, Michelle, and then begins their routine of tasks — work that is typical in a commercial kitchen or restaurant. At the end of the day, they clock out again.  After months of participating in the program, the students know the routine well.  The group runs like a well-oiled machine.

Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen refilling the sugars.

I decided to have a sit-down interview with the Vocational Program food service participants, so you  can learn more about the program.
First, I talked to Kyle.  After his routine of filling salt and pepper shakers and disinfecting tables, he took a break to talk to me.   “CoWEP  is all about jobs —  jobs that anyone can get.”   It’s a simple concept, but a complicated situation for persons with disabilities in the workforce.  CoWEP and other job training programs are constantly in need of work sites like this who can partner for teaching programs. Kyle is a great conversationalist and makes any topic colorful, even when talking about work tasks. Kyle confesses to me that food service is not his preferred career path — his passion is inventions. He has a refreshing interest in life and a drive that not everyone in the working world possesses.  He lets me know that he “would like to be the manager” one day. This sort of intrinsic desire to thrive in the work force is what the Vocational Program is all about.

Chris Corsello and forks.

Chris Corsello helping to wash the silverware in the Garden Cafe.

Another student, Nathan, just recently started in the program. He tells me about his other job sites through CoWEP and describes the different tasks he has done. Here in the Garden Café,  “I put the sugars in the right place.  I wipe down the tables.” Nathan’s teacher, David Kern, shares with me that one day when Nathan was wiping tables, he took the initiative to start wiping down the chairs as well, going above and beyond expectations. I was excited to hear about that.
My last interviewee, Chris, has a magnetic smile.   His grin gets bigger and bigger with each question I ask about volunteering at the Garden. The  question  that excites him the most is when I ask about his favorite activity in the Café — washing silverware. We discuss his years of volunteer service, which spans different jobs in a variety departments and I ask again if washing silverware is really his favorite activity; he affirms with a louder “Yes!” followed by an eruption of hand-clapping.  If only more people were as pleasant and enthusiastic as Chris was during our interview, what a world it would be.

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