Dominion GardenFest of Lights 2012

East Meets West


"East Meets West"

Message from the Director from the Garden Times Winter 2012 newsletter

The theme for this year's Dominion GardenFest of Lights -- and a number of other special events at the Garden this fall -- is "East Meets West." Weaving threads of eastern Asia into the fabric of this year's programs coincides nicely with the 2012 centennial of Japan's gift of cherry trees to Washington, D.C., and the 100th anniversary of the Japanese Garden at Richmond's own Maymont. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is also making plans to create a Cherry Tree Walk around Sydnor Lake through the extraordinary generosity of a donor. The theme struck us as a natural, and as with all good things, the wisdom of it grew and changed over time.

"East Meets West." the name implies the juxtaposition of the familiar and the exotic, things near at hand artfully placed beside those things from over the farthest horizon. Might be a good mantra for a botanical garden. It would explain the atlas full of place names on the plant labels, where Common Name and Botanical Name are followed by Country or Continent of Origin. It would explain the brilliant New Guinea birdwing butterfly joining dozens of other exotic species fluttering around the North Wing of the Conservatory this summer and next for Butterflies LIVE! It might also apply to the many guests who come to the Garden to enjoy this "here and there" nature of botanical gardens. It turns out many of them are from here and there, as well. I am struck by the Richmond grandmothers who tell me of their love of daffocdils, a passion handed down to them by their grandmothers. I am struck by the young engineer who wanders the Louise B. Cochrane Rose Garden, then tells me about growing up surrounded by fields of roses grown in the perfume trade in his native Turkey, and the harvest that has to happen at dawn while dew is still on the petals.

Many cultures approach the season of long nights with expressons of faith and community. When we illuminate Dominion GardenFest of Lights this year, we shall highlight the landscape with evocative lighting, as always, and embrace Richmond families, as always. We shall use designs and themes inspired by eastern Asia. Hopefully, there will be something to inspire you, whether traveling east from Short Pump or Japan, or traveling west from Varina or Turkey.

Shane Tippett
Executive Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

More about East Meets West themes:

Gardening: East Meets West; Tranquil Japanese gardens display a world of beauty, reflection
Richmond Times-Dispatch; Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012