Sustainable Practices

Sep 29th, 2017

Crazy About Pawpaws

Something special happens to people when they learn about pawpaws for the first time. Their eyes widen, their brows furrow, and they say things like, “What does it taste like?” or “It grows here? In Virginia?” For many people, this moment turns into an ongoing curiosity, and in some cases even an engrossing obsession. I […]

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Sep 20th, 2017

Beware Invasive Species

Don’t let invasive species fool you. They look innocent, but don’t behave. Nor do they stop growing, spreading and reproducing. The culprits are certain species of aggressive non-native vines, trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and grasses. Some look exotic, promising to add pizazz to your landscape. Others serve a purpose, such as ground cover, erosion control […]

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Sep 15th, 2017

Urban Greening for Youth

Urban Greening for the Future: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – Groundwork RVA Partnership Empowers Youth to Transform Richmond. Urban greening: “I want to make a difference in the community,” said DarQuan, a rising senior at Huguenot High School, about urban greening. DarQuan is one of the nine students participating in the Sustainable Landscape Management Program, […]

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Aug 28th, 2017

Interns Talk Water Quality

On a recent summer afternoon, staff of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gathered for a very special presentation. Horticulture research interns Devon Scallan and Kaitlyn Paulchell had been preparing for this day all summer, researching the Garden’s water quality and wanted to share their findings in a meaningful way. This meant not just a regular Power Point presentation, but […]

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Aug 25th, 2017

Butterfly Garden Pro!

For this month’s blog I’d like to demonstrate how simple, straight-forward, and fun creating a butterfly garden is. I asked around the horticulturist’s lunch table to find out who among them ranks as a butterfly gardening expert. I’m glad I did, because Senior Horticulturist Shannon Smith is a butterfly gardening pro and plants specifically to support our native pollinators both here at Lewis Ginter […]

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Jul 14th, 2017

Success with Succulents

“Succulents are not really beautiful. They’re weird. ” Mike Wallace’s candor about succulent plants stems from 40 years of studying and collecting them. A self-taught succulent guru and certified horticulturist, he became fascinated with the ornamentals while living in Tucson, Ariz., where they thrive. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word “sucus,” which means […]

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Jul 8th, 2017

Conservation Conversation

A visitor recently asked me about Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s conservation efforts. It made me stop and think. So many of those efforts are simply part of our everyday activities. For instance as I walk through the Garden, I am surrounded by thousands of them – 5,538, in fact! That’s the total number of “taxa” […]

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Jul 5th, 2017

The Joy of Butterfly Host Plants

Have you ever wondered which plants are butterfly host plants? Since it is officially summer, I recently packed up the car for a camping trip with friends to Crabtree Falls to see if I could learn more. The first thing I noticed when we arrived in the George Washington National Forest area was that there were  a spectacular number of butterflies, and all different […]

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May 26th, 2017

People with Purpose

Making a Difference with Urban Greening The last few months have been a whirlwind, as the Garden launched and wrapped up its first training cohort of Ginter Urban Gardeners.  I think back to conversations in 2014, when wise friends pondered together “what would it take to create a more enabling environment for community urban greening […]

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May 16th, 2017

Save the Trees

“I wish people would put as much emphasis on their trees as their lawns,” said Joel Koci, a certified arborist with the Urban Forestry Extension of Virginia State University. “Trees are much more ecologically advantageous.” According to Koci, man’s actions and lack of knowledge are two of the greatest threats to trees. “People pressure”—such as […]

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Apr 22nd, 2017

Earth Day: 5 Easy Tips to Heal the Earth Everyday

We celebrate Earth Day on April 22 each year, but there are many things you can do to make every day Earth Day. 1. Be water-wise Earth Day and every day Water early in the morning or later in the evening when less evaporation is likely to occur. It’s also best to allow water to […]

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Jan 29th, 2017

Garden Trends for 2017

Gardening basics seldom change — like “right plant, right place”— but preferences can be downright trendy. So before tilling dirt this spring, check out what’s hot and what’s not for 2017. Grow 365. Gardening used to be limited to a few seasons, but not anymore. Today with enhanced technology, gardeners can grow 365 days of […]

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Jan 23rd, 2017

The Verdant Heart

The first class of Beautiful RVA‘s Ginter Urban Gardeners gathers twice a week, for 12 weeks, to do the very important work of making a difference: learning new things, building relationships, getting their hands dirty and transforming themselves into a new crop of urban gardeners dedicated to building up the Richmond community. This very special group of […]

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Dec 29th, 2016

Racial Healing & Transformation

A Garden’s Role in Racial Healing & Transformation As Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s community engagement coordinator, I was honored to attend the W.K. Kellogg Foundation‘s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Summit in Carlsbad, Calif. earlier this month on behalf of Initiatives of Change/Hope in the Cities. As a participant, I learned how uniquely positioned Lewis […]

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Dec 13th, 2016

Go Wild With Landscaping

“Look to the wild,” suggested Thomas Rainer, co-author of “Planting in a Post-Wild World.”” His advice is intended for anyone who influences a patch of land, whether a sprawling backyard in suburbia or a micro garden squeezed between row houses downtown. Self-described as “a landscape architect by profession and a gardener by obsession,” Rainer challenges […]

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Oct 31st, 2016

Beautiful RVA: Community Collaboration for Collective Impact

Beautiful RVA — Setting the Stage for Growth One way the Richmond Region is approaching sustainable change is by working collaboratively for greater, collective impact. From food policy, to transportation, to healthy lifestyles, to workspaces, to poverty and to early childhood education, we can see collaboration isn’t a new thing for our region. We even have a regional collaborative created to bring nine […]

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Sep 26th, 2016

Monarch Migration

It’s that time of year! The monarch (Danaus plexippus) migration is underway as these incredible butterflies begin their journey from as far away as Canada to overwinter in Mexico, coastal California, and the southern tip of Florida. We’ve been seeing plenty of monarchs  a the Garden this week since Virginia is on the way for many […]

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Sep 18th, 2016

Plant Hunters Adventures

“An estimated 15 to 30 percent of the world’s flowering plants have yet to be discovered.” —Missouri Botanical Garden  Plant hunters dabble in science, adventure, horticulture and research — whether working in the eighteenth century or today. Typically, his calling is to travel the world, or sometimes just across the country, in search of undiscovered plant specimens […]

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Sep 9th, 2016

Fast Boats & Ancarrow Wildflowers

  Newton Ancarrow had a passion for his hometown river, the James. He’d always loved boating, and took up boat-building as an adult. With two 300-horsepower Cadillac engines and fins to match, his luxury crafts were designed for the world’s richest speed boating enthusiasts. Customers included King Paul of Greece, the sheik of Qatar, the […]

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Sep 7th, 2016

RVA Urban Forest Branches Out

An Urban Forest Growing in Your City Urban forests are thriving in Richmond. For 25 consecutive years, RVA has been designated a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation. RVA’s urban forest is spreading its canopy. It comprises every tree in the city limits, whether planted in medians, or residential districts and parks. Each […]

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Aug 24th, 2016

A Look at Butterfly Farms

Butterflies are some of the most beloved and charismatic creatures in nature. They excite and inspire curiosity of visitors at the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit. One of the most frequently asked questions from our visitors is: where do the butterflies come from? The answer is, from all over the world! Our butterflies have undergone one of the most […]

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Aug 2nd, 2016

Rainwater under the Microscope

The Rainwater Testing Project is in its third year, collecting data crucial to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s water management practice and conservation mission. Rainwater rarely goes to waste at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Did you know that Lake Sydnor can hold 10 million gallons of water and has supplied over 330 million gallons of collected […]

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Jun 19th, 2016

Our Apiary is for Beelovers

A new apiary is open for visitors to learn about bees. The Bob Stapleton & Keith Tignor Apiary, adjacent to the Community Kitchen Garden, will definitely add some sweetness to your visit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this summer. The apiary will feature a 10-frame observation hive, traditional Langstroth-style hives, and a top-bar hive, which, by its design, is wheelchair […]

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Mar 6th, 2016

Salt: Necessary Evil

In gardening as in life, the solution to one problem can be the cause of another. It happens when we burn fossil fuels for energy and the byproducts contribute to global warming. It happens with some broad spectrum pesticides, which don’t discriminate between beneficial insects and harmful pests. And so it is with salt. Homeowners, […]

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Feb 3rd, 2016

California Dreaming

Last September, I started a 3 year term as a Director at Large for the American Public Gardens Association.  Every 3 months, the 14 members of the Board, who are from gardens all over the country, travel to a different city for our quarterly meetings.  I am honored to be able to represent Lewis Ginter […]

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