Gardens & Conservatory
With something for all ages and interests, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a place to learn about plants, to marvel at nature, to relax in a beautiful setting, to take gardening classes, or to have a wedding or a business meeting. A wide variety of experiences are offered through its diverse gardens and facilities.
The E. Claiborne Robins Visitors Center
The E. Claiborne Robins Visitors Center is the gateway to the Garden. It rises gracefully on a knoll, beckoning you to enter. Naturalized plantings of trees and shrubs line the gently curving drive leading to the Visitors Center and parking facilities. The classic Georgian-style building celebrates the history and heritage of Virginia. Inside, soaring spaces and natural light welcome you to an unforgettable place of beauty. The Visitors Center features admissions services, an exhibit gallery, meeting spaces, outdoor terraces, the Garden Shop and the Garden Café.
The Central Garden
Uniting the Visitors Center, the Conservatory, and the Kelly Education Center, the Central Garden includes three acres of progressing garden "rooms," featuring classical design and artistry, fascinating plants, intimate spaces and dramatic views.
Gardens in the Central Garden include:
The North Terrace GardenA central fountain of glazed tiles representing magnolia leaves welcomes you into this elegant courtyard, leading to the greater Garden. Sounds of splashing water and pleasant fragrances begin the transition from Visitors Center to garden environment.
The Four Seasons GardenThis walled garden is a classical early twentieth-century Arts and Crafts design, focusing on fine craftsmanship and the use of indigenous building materials. The cobbled walk slows your pace so that you may enjoy the whimsy of the frog fountain and the mythical Green Man, who represents the connection between man and nature. Here you will find a focus on bloom and color throughout the year and plants which have attractive form and character, even in dormancy.
The Healing GardenThe Healing Garden reflects one of the fundamental uses of plants - for medicine and healing. To the left you will find a small garden whose size and symmetry recall medieval cloister gardens. It is designed as a place for spiritual healing through contemplation, meditation and reflection. To the right, the elliptical beds accentuated with an oversized granite mortar and pestle reflect the medicinal significance of plants. This garden style is inspired from the1545 Renaissance Garden in Padua, Italy. The Healing Garden is a gift from the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.
The Arbor Walkway
This area feature pavers and bricks named in honor and memory of loved ones and momentous occasions.
The Fountain GardenAs you step down into the Fountain Garden, you return to second-century Rome, where ancient urban gardens were designed for cool temperatures, the flow of water (via gravity), and a sense of privacy. Visitors are surrounded by a dry-laid stone wall as a backdrop for a intimate garden experience. The "dancing waters" in the fountain delight the senses with the magnificent sparkling Conservatory rising in the background.
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden features more than 1,800 roses and 80 varieties carefully selected for re-bloom, fragrance and disease-resistance. Meandering paths allow guests to enjoy the roses up-close. Don't miss the beautifully framed views across the lake to the historic area of the Garden.
The Kelly Education Center
The Kelly Education Center is the heart of learning at the Garden. The building is comprised of three main sections: 1) the Charles F. Gillette Education Center featuring classroom and laboratory space; 2) the Lora M. Robins Library housing our 5,000-volume book collection, journals, and herbarium, along with reading and research rooms, and 3) the Joan Massey Conference Center with a multi-use auditorium and meeting spaces.
The Conservatory is the "Jewel of the Garden." This 11,000 square-foot complex houses exotic and unusual plants from around the world in its permanent collection and features beautiful seasonal displays. Crowned by a 63-foot-tall dome, the Conservatory includes a central Palm House, a semi-tropical wing featuring our orchid collection, and two wings with changing themed displays full of seasonal color and interest.
The Lora and Claiborne Robins Tea House and Asian Valley
The Tea House is a full service restaurant facility, open to members and paid visitors for lunch Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. except when reserved for special events. To check availability or to make a reservation, call (804) 262-9887, ext. 399. The Tea House also serves holiday dinners during GardenFest of Lights. Visitors dining at the Tea House must pay admission to enter the Garden unless they are Garden members.
Asian Valley displays plants native to East Asia which are adaptive to growing conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. Asian Valley incorporates the spirit of Asian garden design with dramatic tree forms, cascading water and the inclusion of rocks as a major design element. This garden celebrates the sacredness of nature and provides a place for quiet contemplation.
The Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden
This three-acre garden with winding paths of ever-changing highlights features a rich palette of perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs. With more than 770 species and varieties, the Flagler Perennial Garden is one of the most diverse perennial gardens on the East Coast. This garden includes portions of the Birding Trail, a Woodland Walk, and the romantic sculpture Slow Dance.
The Lotus Bridge
The Lotus Bridge was designed as a “ribbon of light,” and spans the southern end of Sydnor Lake, connecting the Rose Garden with the crossroads between the Children’s Garden and the Grace Arents Garden. Learn more about the planning and construction of this bridge.
The Martha and Reed West Island Garden
This water-rich environment demonstrates the unique group of plants which thrive in wetland conditions and the diverse ecosystem which develops in conjunction. With an impressive variety of native species and a magnificent collection of carnivorous pitcher plants, this garden should not be missed. Wildlife teems all around as you walk along bridges and boardwalks across three islands. Giant Japanese goldfish, native birds and turtles, and a local Great Blue Heron call this area home. Learn more about the recent restoration of this garden.
Bloemendaal House and the Grace Arents Garden
Bloemendaal House, built in 1884 by prosperous Richmond businessman Lewis Ginter, was first a clubhouse for bicyclists. Grace Arents, Ginter's niece and Richmond philanthropist, later bought the house to use as a children's hospital and finally converted it to become her personal home until her death in 1926. The Ginter family was of Dutch ancestry and during her residency, Arents named the property Bloemendaal, meaning "valley of flowers." The house is not open to the public, but the main floor can be rented for special events. Learn more about renting this space.
The Grace Arents Garden adjacent to Bloemendaal House is an elegant Victorian-style garden. It was restored by the Garden Club of Virginia in 1990, based on its original early-1900s design. The Grace Arents Garden features period-appropriate plants with an "old-fashioned" feel, inspired by its gazebo, arches covered with climbing roses, and traditional boxwood border. This beautiful area is a favorite place for weddings and special events.
The Children's Garden
The new Children's Garden is a highly interactive garden designed to provide children and their families with experiences that delight and amaze.
It features the following:
- An international village featuring the world's varied architecture, cultures, gardens and indigenous plants
- A hands-on activity center where children can design landscapes, pursue art and performance programs, build projects with natural materials and even dig into the unknown world under the ground
- A universally accessible Leafy Overlook and CWD Kids Tree House promising fun and excitement for children of all ages
- A Water Play area for summer refreshment with fountains and jets.
- Weird and contrasting plants demonstrating the truly unbelievable diversity and adaptation of plants to their environment
- An Adventure Pathway exploring prairie, butterfly meadow and evergreen forest environments with special surprise discoveries along the way
- A Farm Garden where children can plant and watch grow the diverse fruits and vegetables that make up the bulk of the world's diet
- Parent rest areas where caretakers can relax within view of their children's exploration
The Lucy Payne Minor Memorial Garden, the Margaret Streb Conifer Garden, and the Vienna Cobb Anderson Meadow
These gardens offer year-round beauty and interest featuring specialty collections of daffodils and daylilies, dwarf conifers and meadow flowers.
The Lucy Payne Minor Garden
This study garden features large collections of daylilies and daffodils. Here you will find the wild native forms of both groups, as well as the modern hybrids of the same. It is a fascinating exploration of the hand of man in the cultivation and breeding of plants over centuries. You will also find a fine collection of ornamental shrubs and trees.
The Margaret Streb Conifer GardenWith a focus on dwarf conifers, this garden is complemented with a collection of spring-blooming minor bulbs and ornamental grasses. This garden demonstrates how conifers provide structure, color and texture in a garden, and shows the wide range of forms, colors and sizes available to the home owner. The lovely gazebo design took architectural inspiration from Bloemendaal House. The boulders in this garden provide a stark contrast to the reflective lake.
The Vienna Cobb Anderson MeadowEvolving season by season, this meadow sits on a pleasant hillside offering the perfect location to display flowering annuals and perennials integrated into a naturalistic meadow. This rich herbaceous environment supports diverse blooming plants
Also visible from these gardens are the Anne Holt Massey Greenhouses. This 10,000-square-foot glass growing house allows the Garden to propagate plants and undertake research activities. (Not open to the public.)