Apr 10th, 2016

A Day of Service

Volunteers and staff landscaping the white garden.

A team of dedicated volunteers work together to demolish an old gazebo and spruce up the White Garden.

National Volunteer Week is April 10-16, the perfect time to show our gratitude to the volunteers who work hard year round to keep Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden beautiful and thriving. The Garden would not be what it is today, nor could we accomplish so much toward our mission of education, without our volunteers. Last year, volunteers provided us with more than 42,275 hours of work. Nearly 600 men, women and young people donate their time here, doing everything from planting and weeding to paperwork, from harvesting produce in the Community Kitchen Garden to writing for this blog. Once a month, we set aside a day for volunteers and staff to work together, tackling big projects that staff alone wouldn’t be able to accomplish in just one day.

Recently, Central Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association members teamed up with Garden staff and an army of volunteers for a special group workday. Landscape experts from Manchester Gardening, Colesville Nursery and James River Grounds Management donated their expertise as well as their highly specialized equipment to help us spruce up the Garden for spring. CVNLA members Bartlett Tree Experts and The Davey Tree Expert Company arrived in bucket trucks and got to work donating thousands of dollars of their time pruning trees throughout the Garden. The skills donated by these professionals and our volunteers meant that we were able to complete four major projects in one day: they removed an old gazebo from the White Garden, they divided and relocated perennials, they pruned the overgrown hedges blocking the Robins Visitor Center front entrance and they cut back the ornamental grass in front of the Conservatory. (The Ornamental Grass Garden needed 9,000 square feet of spring cleaning, a seasonal task we do just before the grass starts to push up new foliage in late winter each year. When the day began the grass was tall enough to tickle the rib cages of the intrepid crew. In just a few hours it had been vanquished and stood ankle high.) Look what manpower and horsepower can do!

People outside of the Conservatory cutting back grass in the Ornamental Grass Garden.

Volunteers and staff cut back grasses in the Ornamental Grass Garden before finishing it off with mulch.

“It’s very rewarding to get so much accomplished,” says George Cowart, Lewis Ginter’s Horticulture Manager.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and CVNLA have formed a special partnership when it comes to garden education and improving the community. We team up for the annual Winter Symposium and CVNLA Short Course each year in addition to working together on special landscaping projects at the Garden.  Garden Director of Horticulture Grace Chapman Elton serves on CVNLA’s board.

A bucket truck being used to prune a tree

Bucket trucks remove dead wood and prune large trees in the Garden’s collection.



Volunteering by pruning ornamental grass in front of Conservatory.

Our staff and volunteers love what they do! Look at the smiles on those faces. Volunteering at the Garden is such a gift.


Although the gift of time is intangible, it is priceless. Every day at the Garden volunteers dedicate their time to provide services that honor the vision of our founder Grace Arents. And local landscaping professionals take it to an even higher level. National Volunteer Week is our opportunity to show our appreciation for the time so many volunteers donate and recognize them for their hard work. On behalf of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, heartfelt thanks to each and every one of the Garden’s 600 volunteers — from the teenagers who help in our Youth Volunteer Program to volunteers who have been with us for decades, we treasure you all. Today, and every day, we thank you for all that you do.


Tonisha Albritton is a PR & Marketing intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. She loves to interact and meet with new people. When she's not in school or working, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family.

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