Feed on

by Kristin Mullen, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Volunteer Barb Sawyer building with her granddaughter, Emmie Kobus.

Volunteer Barb Sawyer building with her granddaughter, Emmie Kobus at Explore the Outdoors on Sunday.

For two years in a row, we’ve arrived at Explore the Outdoors with a van full of familiar, readily-available natural materials (sticks, stumps, moss, gum balls, grapevine, pine cones, etc.) and watched the creativity unfold as families spend un-structured time creating masterpieces of art and engineering out of underappreciated items. When everyone slows down, amazing things happen.

a family hard at play creating their loose parts masterpiece

A family hard at play creating their “loose parts” masterpiece.

Kids start to notice details about the pine cones. Branches and raffia become rafts and forts. Families talk about the gum balls in their own yards. Parents and kids work together to balance sticks and stones. When something doesn’t balance, they try it again. And best of all? When we overhear parents promising the kids that they can do the same thing once they get home.

When children get excited about the natural world, they tend to care about the plants and animals in it. If the excitement level at Explore the Outdoors this year is any indication, the future’s in good hands!

a family enjoying a few books in the shady reading spot.

A family enjoying a few books in the shady reading spot.

by Katelyn “Katie” Coyle, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden


The Children’s Garden has always worked to provide a rich environment that sustains local wildlife. This year, we are taking things a step further and registered ourselves as an official Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. Visitors to the Children’s Garden have always been able to find milkweed scattered throughout our garden beds, but we are taking a more public stance to raise awareness of the recent decline of the monarch population. It is now more important than ever to plant milkweed, the host plant of the monarch, as well as flowering nectar plants.  Monarch Watch says:

“Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowersthese fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico. The need for host plants for larvae and energy sources for adults applies to all monarch and butterfly populations around the world.”

If you are interested in creating a certified Monarch Waystation in your own backyard, visit MonarchWatch.org.  Hopefully you had a chance to buy a butterfly garden kit at our Spring Plant Sale  last weekend, another great way to get started on your own Monarch Waystation!

monarch waystation

Look out for the new Monarch Waystation sign in the Children’s Garden

CKG Bank of America Group 041614

Text & photos by Brian Vick, Community Kitchen Garden Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Thirty (30!) Bank of America volunteers worked in the Community Kitchen Garden on April 16. For the second year in a row the group was organized by Barrett Taylor, General Manager of the Short Pump Banking Center. (Barrett is the lovely wife of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Patrick O’Hagan, gardener.) The group of volunteers braved a very chilly start to the morning, with the wind chill temperature at freezing (or below), but warmed up quickly with a series of heavy tasks, including weeding planting beds, laying cardboard and mulching pathways. The group also thinned turnip seedlings, and a lucky few potted up tomato transplants in the comfy Massey Greenhouse.
On behalf of the Garden, FeedMore, and our community, we thank Bank of America for their continued support.

CKG BoA Potting Tomatoes 041614


CKG BoA Turnip Thinning 041614


CKG BoA Clearing Beds 041614



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

a musical bamboo run, installed
When University of Richmond ethnomusicology professor Andy McGraw  approached the Garden last fall to see if we had any bamboo we could spare, we were thrilled.  Bamboo, as you may know, is highly invasive, and without people or pandas to eat the young shoots here at the Garden, it was growing fast. McGraw , associate professor of music, wanted his students to make, from start to finish their own instruments. When I heard about this, I have to say, I imagined flutes and recorders, I imagined xylophones, but I never ever imagined a musical marble run installation.

This is a beautiful thing. A very beautiful thing.  People and plants coming together to improve communities. The Garden get rid of an invasive species, the University of Richmond students get to learn how to engineer their own instruments, and Canterbury Community Nursery School gets a wonderful musical toy.

“This benefits the garden because bamboo can become very invasive and the University of Richmond students are helping us to control it by harvesting it. We are so glad that the bamboo can be repurposed for an educational cause,” says Director of Horticulture Grace Chapman.  What a wonderful thing they created with our invasive weeds.

Running a marble through

The students

If you’d like to learn more about the project, and see photos of last fall’s harvest, you can read about it on our blog.


by Jonah Holland, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator 

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia bluebells Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

woodland poppy

Woodland poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

The Spring Plant Sale is May 1, 2 & 3, 2014. Thursday 1 – 6 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. No admission fee required; regular Garden admission to visit the Garden

If you’ve been coming to our plant sales for a while, you know that every year is a bit different. Each year garden volunteers work countless hours collecting,  nurturing, replanting, and even growing from seed, plants for the Spring Plant Sale. And each year we raise money for the Garden’s educational mission. But what we offer in the Bloemendaal Tent of the plant sale each year can really vary. Some years we’ve thinned out the naturally reseeding Japanese maples, and re-potted them to be sold at the sale, other years, we’ve had a limited supply of orchids that were surplus from the Conservatory. You just never know what you will find. This year, we’ve got a very special treat for you. Some highlights include “sisters” of select flowering trees that we’ll be adding to our Cherry Tree Walk — including flowering apricots, Prunus mume,  ‘Dawn’, ‘Josephine’, and ‘Kobai’.  When we were placing our order for the Cherry Tree Walk we ordered extras for the plant sale because how fun to have the very same tree in your own back yard.

blue-eyed grass

Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ blue-eyed grass

aloe 'Flow'

Aloe ‘Flow’

Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus 'Lynnhaven Carpet'

Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’

Also, you can support the Children’s Garden and youth volunteers by purchasing transplants we grew in our greenhouse. Also for a portion of our plant sale, youth volunteers from our Service Learning Program will sell tried-and-true seed varieties harvested from the Children’s Garden plus popular herb transplants Friday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m – 3 p.m.

kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe tomentosa or panda plant.

The plant sale is great opportunity to get some good bargains. But what’s really special is you can buy plants that are directly from the Garden’s beds. Volunteers & horticulturists work together to dig “volunteers” or subdivide plants that need more room, and those treasures often end up at our plant sale.   This year we will have a very limited supply of the spring ephemeral Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and the shade-loving woodland poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum).  Our plant sales are run by Garden volunteers, with the help of a few key Garden staff.  We’ll also have  many specialty vendors.  Be sure to visit our website to see the complete list  often, these vendors sell plants you can’t easily find elsewhere.  And, as always we’ll have plenty of volunteers on hand to help choose the right plant for the right area. Here’s a partial list of plants for sale in the Bloemendaal Tent. Please note that quantities are limited and we may be sold out of some items. Abelmoschus moschatus Achillea millefolium ‘Moonshine’ Aesculus parviflora Aliceara ‘Cotton Candy’ Aliceara ‘Ithan’ Allium schoenoprasum Alocasia ‘Calidora’ Aloe rauhii ‘White Fox Alpinia zerumbet Alternanthera ramosissima ‘Black Knight’ Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’ Amsonia tabernaemontana var. Salicifolia Anethum graveolens Anisocampium (syn. Athyrium) niponicum ‘Pictum’ Arum italicum Asclepias incarnata  

Foam flower 'Elizabeth Oliver'

Foam flower ‘Elizabeth Oliver’

Dwarf Ginkgo 'Maiken'

Dwarf Ginkgo ‘Maiken’

Asclepias syriaca Asclepias tuberosa Asimina triloba  Asplenium nidus Aster iinumae (syn. Kalimeris pinnatifida) Begonia grandis ‘Alba’ Begonia rex-cultorum Bromeliad sp.

pictum painted fern

Anisocampium (syn. Athyrium) niponicum aka painted fern ‘Pictum’

Calathea lancifolia Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’(TM) Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’ Catharanthus roseus Pacifica XP Punch Chlorophytum comosum ‘Lemon’ Chrysanthemum ‘Gethsemane Moonlight’ Coreopsis verticillata ‘Sienna Sunset’ Digitalis purpurea ‘Foxy’ Echeveria nodulosa Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynhaven Carpet’ Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’(TM) Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ Gingko biloba ‘Mariken’ Hakonechloa macra Hemerocallis ‘Beauty to Behold’ Ipomoea alba ‘Giant White’ Ipomoea quamoclit ‘Funny Valentine Blend’ Kalanchoe tomentosa Lablab purpureus ‘Ruby Moon’ Lantana camara ‘Lucky(TM) White’ Lantana camara  ‘Luscious(R) Grape’ Androlepis skinneri Lobelia siphilitca Lunaria annua Matelea decipiens Mertensia virginica Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’ Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ Nepeta ‘Joanna Reed’ Packera aurea Paeonia lactiflora Papaver orientale Penstemon digitalis Pentas lanceolata ‘Graffiti(R) Red Lace’ Petroselinum crispum Phalaenopsis Phalaris arundinacea Phlox ‘Intensia(R) Blueberry’ Phlox maculata ‘Rosalinde Phlox maculata Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’ Plectranthus argentatus Plectranthus argentea Prunus mume ‘Dawn’ Prunus mume ‘Josephine’ Prunus mume ‘Kobai’ Polemonium reptans Salvia coccinea ‘Summer Jewel Red’ Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’ Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ Sansevieria masoniana Sansevieria trifasciata Saxifraga stolonifera Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ Sedum morganianum

Sedum lineare 'Variegatum'

Sedum lineare ‘Variegatum’

Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’ Sedum ternatum ‘Larinem Park’ Selaginella uncinata ‘Blue Peacock’ Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ Spathiphyllum ‘Alpha’ Spathiphyllum ‘Jetty Junior’ Stokesia laevis ‘Omega Skyrocket’ Strelitzia reginae Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Vibrant Dome’ Symphyotrichum novi-belgii Talinum paniculatum ‘Limon’ Thunbergia alata ‘Spanish Eyes’ Tiarella cordifolia ‘Elizabeth Oliver’

Talinum paniculatum (Fameflower, Jewels of Opar) 'Limon'

Talinum paniculatum; Fameflower or Jewels of Opar ‘Limon’

Tibouchina grandifolia Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Concord Grape’ Verbena bonariensis Zelkova serrata ‘Ogon’ Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ Stylophorum diphyllum Rohdea japonica Cosmos sp. Bowiea volubilis Cordyline fruticosa ‘Orange Hawaiian’ Alocasia ‘Portora’ Colocasia esculenta ‘Maui Gold’ Thunbergia grandiflora ‘Variegata’ Nepenthes ‘Miranda’ Sphaeropteris (syn. Cyathea) cooperi Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ Sedum lineare ‘Variegatum Aloe sp. Echivera sp.  Agave ‘Blue Flame’ Pellaea rotundifolia Nephrolepis exaltata Crassula ovata (syn. argentea) Hedera helix Pseudogynoxys chenopodiodes Thymus vulgaris Aloe ‘Flow’ Dendrosenecio kilimanjari Euphorba trigona Hevea brasiliensis Boltonia asteroides ‘Pink Beauty’ Echinacea ‘CBG Cone 2 Pixie Meadowbrite’ Plectranthus argentatus ‘Silver Shield’ Chionanthus retusus

by Jonah Holland, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator 
peony az collages

tree peony shima daijin yes

Tree peony ‘Shima Daijin’ in the rain.

Did you know that April is Keep America Beautiful Month?  I didn’t either ’til the folks over at Dropcam reminded me.  Before April is over, I wanted to take a few moments to appreciate the beauty here in Richmond and specifically here at the Garden.  There’s so much beauty all over the Richmond Region — and I would argue, the rain only makes the blooms more beautiful. So, weather you are off to see Historic Garden Week in Virginia, in town for the Collegiate Road National Championships  this week or just touring Carytown, be sure to stop and appreciate the beauty that is all around us here in Richmond and across the state.

And if you are inspired to make a MORE beautiful #RVA – consider joining the BeautifulRVA coalition, we’ll be posting info about the next meeting soon.


by Janet Woody, Librarian, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

More precisely, Catesby prints are visiting. Mark Catesby was a British naturalist who lived from 1682 (or 3) to 1749.  He came to Virginia in 1712 and stayed with his sister in Williamsburg.  He was sent by friends to collect botanical specimens and return them to London, where colonial plants were in great demand. Catesby returned to London in 1719 and delivered shells, bird skins and eggs, acorns, plants, and drawings that he made on his travels. His friends were so impressed by his attention to packing and shipping plants and other specimens that they recommended him to the Royal Society for a return mission. Other friends were impressed with his drawings and encouraged him to go back to the colonies to create a ‘Natural History’ of the new world.  He painted from life usually and the detail and accuracy of his work is remarkable. Catesby worked in watercolor and gouache. He may not have set out to paint birds and animals but we can imagine that he soon became enthralled with them and added many to his plant illustrations. He was not overly concerned with proportional representation and this made for some interesting combinations. For example, his bison is humorously dwarfed by the ‘Pseudo Acacia’ it stands under (print RL26090). This tree is now known as Robinia pseudoacacia or black locust.

Catesby bison and tree.

Catesby’s bison and pseudoacacia.

On his return to England after the second trip (1722-26), Catesby learned to etch his own plates so that his original drawings could be reproduced. The original watercolors were purchased by George III in 1768 and are owned by the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the 300th anniversary of Catesby’s arrival in Virginia, they are for the first time being reproduced for publication. Addison Publications of London offered us facsimiles for display during the time our garden is hosting the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries annual meeting, April 29 – May 3. I had the pleasure and challenge of selecting 15 facsimiles for display; all were selected based on their representation of Virginia plants, animals, birds, insects, and reptiles. I like to imagine how our woods and fields looked to Catesby during his explorations and I’m very impressed that he could keep his papers and drawing supplies dry during his wanderings. He must have been very clever and determined to succeed.

The dates of the Catesby exhibit are April 24 – June 1, 2014. Library hours are 10 am to 4 pm weekdays, 1 to 4 pm weekends. The exhibit is free with Garden admission. Call 804-262-9887 x240 for more information.

Bibliographic details: the last 20 sets of this facsimile edition are being issued in four leather-bound volumes. Each set includes Catesby’s extensive description of the environment and its inhabitants. Indices are included that list Catesby’s Latin and English names alongside up-to-date scientific nomenclature and common names. More information on the four volume set is available at Addison Publications Ltd.

 by Jonah Holland, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator 

photo of the Lewis Ginter Spring Plant Sale.

I bet you know about Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Spring Plant Sale (May 1-3, 2014), and I bet you know about Maymont’s Herbs Galore (coming up this weekend), but did you know that Hermitage Technical Center has a Spring Plant Sale too!?

Plant-lovers unite! Let’s give a warm welcome to the new kid on the block. The kids the Hermitage Technical Center have been working hard growing beautiful plants for your garden. Their Spring Plant Sale is Tuesday, May 6, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.,  Wednesday, May 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursday, May 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more details visit Henrico County Public Schools’ press release.

Oh, and if you want to learn more about the Garden’s Spring Plant Sale, stay tuned! Later this week we’ll post the entire list of vendors and what’s new at this year’s Spring Plant Sale.


by Georgine Muc, Project Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

How does one join in on an ancient conversation? Settling down with a candle, a crude wooden writing device, and the mystifying smell of melting beeswax, is how my journey begins. Like many endeavors, it is good to pause before you decide on that first stroke that commits you to travel in a specific direction. When creating pysanky, if you cradle the egg before you begin, many believe the egg will guide you as you draw.

Georgine Muc's Pysanky Eggs

Georgine Muc’s Pysanky Eggs

Tradition dictates that we clear our minds of any negative thoughts and refrain from gossip as we “write” on the egg.

The process begins, tiny chunks of wax are lifted with our tool, the kistka. The kistka is exposed to the heat of the candle, but only briefly to prevent the tool from overheating and dropping an unwanted wax blob across carefully placed lines. If the tool becomes cold the flow of the wax stops and our sweet smelling writing implement turns into a unwanted scratching device, threatening to pull off the delicate lines already accomplished. If we find our equilibrium in this meditative endeavor, we achieve a rhythm between heating and drawing. On a curved surface, a straight line is not a successful line. It is the relationship between the lines we must strive to maintain.

Fortunately, there are unexpected gifts in the midst of the challenges: many times a “mistake” becomes a launching point for the next design.

We heat, we draw, we guide the egg into its first jar of dye. Every line drawn appears black, with the lines drawn at the very start revealed as white at the end of the process. The black lines encapsulate the egg’s current color, concealing and protecting the underlying pigments. The entire egg will become darker as you dip into colors, moving from light colors to dark. With the time the egg sits in a glass jar measured in terms of hue and not minutes, this is our time to pause and connect with all the pysanky makers of the past.

When we feel the egg is complete, we carefully utilize the heat of the candle to melt and remove the beeswax in small sections to prevent from scorching the outside shell. Our patience is rewarded as the vibrant colors emerge.

So pause yourself, cradle your egg, clear your mind, and light your candle.

Georgine Mucs’s Pysanky eggs will be on display in the Lora Robins Library  now through May 11th.

Text & photos by Brian Vick, Community Kitchen Garden Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

March 17: Winged (or Flaming) Euonymus branches stand ready to support sugar snap peas.

We started our formal schedule of Saturday and Monday morning volunteer sessions in the Community Kitchen Garden on April 12, and we’ve had a wild ride on the Central Virginia weather roller coaster (snow, heat, then frost).

At this point we’ve planted red potatoes, lettuce, sugar snap peas, leeks, red onions, Swiss chard, turnips and beets, and we’ve done a ton of work preparing beds and pathways. So far this season we’ve had assistance  from 45 volunteers! (six HandsOn Greater Richmond registrants, four Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden volunteers (Catherine Doucette, Sara Buczkowski, Nack Pring and Gary Pantaleo), longtime Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden seasonal gardener Lisa Shiffert and her son Wylie, three Starbucks partners led by Heidi Schlaudt, and 30 Bank of America volunteers. Look for a future blog post on Bank of America visit.

April 10: Sugar snap peas are up!

April 10: Sugar snap peas are up!

We’ve also already made one delivery of fresh produce to FeedMore! But we didn’t grow it… it was fourteen pounds of fresh broccoli raab donated from the garden of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Member Vincent Pustizzi.

Broccoli raab donated to FeedMore's Community Kitchen by LGBG member Vincent Pustizzi.

Broccoli raab donated to FeedMore’s Community Kitchen by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Member Vincent Pustizzi.

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