Gardening & Horticulture

Mar 31st, 2020

Garden Activist Calls for Revolution

Revival, social justice and defiant compassion marked the pleas of Benjamin Vogt, owner of Monarch Gardens, a prairie-inspired garden design firm in Lincoln, NE. During Lewis Ginter’s Winter Symposium in Richmond, Vogt passionately advocated for the voiceless: plants and their extended communities around the globe. “The greatest injustice of our time may be the eradication […]

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Mar 28th, 2020

Starting Seeds: Use What You Have

With the COVID-19 pandemic making social distancing now the norm, many of you probably have some time on your hands. Bet you’re a garden lover too! Let’s make the most of it by starting seeds for a flower and vegetable garden.  Not only will this put you in a better frame of mind because gardening […]

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Feb 28th, 2020

What Are Natives?

What are natives? What nature intended: Natives are the plants that grow naturally in a region — as in, they generally occurred here before European settlement. They also are the grassroots for co-survival of other native species, including insects, birds and wildlife. More for less: Native plants sometimes are more resistant to drought, insects and […]

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Feb 22nd, 2020

Spring Garden Planning

Standing in line at the store recently, I was behind a young mom with four children in tow. I couldn’t help but notice she was buying seeds, soil, a container and various gardening tools. “You must be doing some spring garden planning,” I remarked. She smiled. “It’s all for my kids,” she explained. I thought […]

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Feb 7th, 2020

Magnolia amoena — Rare & Vulnerable

You can find a rare beauty, Magnolia amoena, right here in Richmond, blooming now at the north end of Sydnor Lake at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. With plants, like people, I try not to have favorites, but when you are in love, you are in love.  And the striking form of this magnolia —  the […]

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Feb 5th, 2020

Outdoor Recreation May Increase Your Happiness

Long days enjoyed in the great outdoors is history for most Americans. Today, the average adult spends 93 percent of his life inside. He also devotes ten hours a day to screen time on computers, phones and digital games. Is it a coincidence that one in five adults suffers from a major mental illness, and […]

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Jan 31st, 2020

Enjoy Simplicity with Winter Tree ID

Minimalism. One of its appeals is in stripping away the superfluous and admiring the beauty of simplicity. The same can be said of the garden in winter, especially trees. Enjoy simplicity with winter tree ID. It’s easier to see the “bones” or the underlying structure of a garden in winter. Without leaves, some trees even […]

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Jan 28th, 2020

Gardening Trends: Ecosystem Health

The new year’s forecast for gardening and horticulture reveals little that’s new. Trend spotters expect more of the same … but intensified. With a 20/20 view of the past, 2020 is expected to focus once again on environmental stewardship and sustainability. “If we can combine the wisdom of the past with the science and technology […]

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Dec 11th, 2019

WINTER WILDSCAPES: Wonderlands for learning

Winter is in full swing, and nature’s response is a fascinating study for children on school break. Nature knowledge supports Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives. Outdoor exploration of winter wildscapes also fosters youngsters’ appreciation for the natural world, which can last a lifetime. To help your child or grandchild understand nature’s seasonal changes, talk […]

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Nov 18th, 2019

Insects Take the Heat

Humans aren’t the only ones who feel the heat. Global warming affects insects, too. Their responses vary by species and environs, including creative adaptions over time. “Insects and mites are ectotherms, which means they depend mostly on ambient temperatures to warm their bodies and power their processes of growth, development, reproduction and movement,” explained Dr. […]

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Oct 14th, 2019

Yucca: A Nifty Native

Sea to shining sea: Yucca adapted across diverse climates and soils, from America’s arid deserts of the West to sandy dunes of the East … and nearly every Virginia county along the way. Locally, our native species is Yucca filamentosa, a slow-growing flowering evergreen. C the difference: America’s native plant requires two c’s in “yucca.” […]

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Sep 12th, 2019

Nature’s Vitamin D Helps with Grief

Taryn Davis’ prescription for grief involves a different type of vitamin D: dirt from the garden. She discovered the healing power of nature a few years after the death of her young husband. “I was 21 years old when Michael passed from multiple roadside blasts in Iraq,” the military widow said. “I was a junior […]

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Aug 13th, 2019

Companion Planting to Support Beneficial Insects at Lewis Ginter

The screams of a dozen middle- and high school-aged girls pierce the still air in the Kroger Community Kitchen Garden. I’m in the middle of a demonstration about beneficial insects, excitedly showing them a huge, live wolf spider I had trapped overnight, when the spider seizes the opportunity to leap out of its cup, straight […]

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Jun 19th, 2019

Purple Passionflower

Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), both handsome and hardy, is a native that frequents fields and fencerows across our state. A day in the sun The sun-loving perennial vine produces showy, exotic flowers during summer–but look fast! Each lavender bloom lasts less than a day before it shrivels and sets fruit over the course of several […]

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Jun 14th, 2019

Feed More Receives A New Herb Garden

The Garden is full of beautiful landscapes, blossoming flowers, art installations and small wildlife. It is beautiful year round and always offers something new to engage with. However, one of the most amazing areas of the Garden is the Kroger Community Kitchen Garden. This time of the year it’s bustling with visitors, horticulturists, volunteers and school […]

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May 17th, 2019

GRTC Grows Greener

The passenger platforms for PULSE, the GRTC bus rapid transit system, have been touted for their innovative architecture. Their landscape designs merit kudos, too. The largest planting is little more than 6 to 10 feet wide. However, the 26 stations are situated along a high-profile corridor between Willow Lawn and Rocketts Landing. Creating each station’s […]

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May 16th, 2019

Good Gully: Stream Restoration Helps Environment

As you wind your way through the entrance to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a stream cuts through the lawn to your left. It has a naturalistic feel, with trees and small shrubs growing along the sides. The purpose now is functional – an area for run-off from nearby neighborhoods, streets and parking lots – but the […]

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May 14th, 2019

Kingdom Fungi Interesting Facts

Fungi—some forms have existed millions of years!—originally were classified as plants. But they lack chlorophyll and other basic plant characteristics, so today, they reign over their own realm: Kingdom Fungi. I’m eating what? Your grocery store is stocked with fungi, from edible mushrooms to beer, wine and cheese that are fermented from yeast. The pharmacy also […]

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May 6th, 2019

Gardeners, Liberate!

The ground warms. Buds swell, and perennials reappear. Spring announces to gardeners that gardening season is near! Though green-thumb hobbies reap satisfaction—as well as fresh veggies and lush landscapes—there are costs. Long hours, constant chores, backaches and bills await most gardeners. Meet Frank Hyman Frank Hyman, a garden consultant and writer from Durham, N.C., advocates […]

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Apr 15th, 2019

Check Out the Seed Library

Are you interested in growing a garden, but intimidated about getting started? Do you want to explore our regional food history from the ground up? Or maybe you just want to test out some interesting seeds without spending much? As National Library Week winds to a close, we’re delighted to announce that you’re in luck, […]

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Apr 9th, 2019

Eastern Redbud Delivers Spring!

This native tree (Cercis canadensis) parades profuse blooms in early spring, but don’t let the name color your thinking. Red herring: The joke’s on you if you think the eastern redbud produces red blooms. Virginia’s varieties actually present lush flowers from lavender to fuchsia, and they resemble miniature hummingbirds. (Thinking of wings, the flowers of this […]

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Apr 3rd, 2019

Garden Talk: Get to Know Leah Purdy

All year long the Garden is full of budding plants. We start to see bright daffodils and colorful tulips in the spring, full hydrangeas in the summer, striking camellias in the fall and funky witch hazel in the winter. Have you ever wondered how we plan all of these blooms out? It’s all possible thanks […]

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Mar 27th, 2019

Volunteer John Popenoe Shares Knowledge + Passion

Garden volunteer John Popenoe celebrated his 90th birthday with some of his favorite friends: tropical plants, along with Conservatory staff and volunteers. John’s introduction to plants was his grandfather’s avocado nursery in Pasadena, California. In 1950, he graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in horticulture. He also earned masters and doctoral degrees. During his career, […]

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Mar 23rd, 2019

Urban gardens: Healthy or harmful?

Home-grown vegetables are only as good as their soil and environment. For urban gardens and gardeners, that can be a challenge. “In food deserts and other areas where people don’t have access to food, they take matters into their own hands through urban gardening,” said Ahkinyala Cobb–Abdullah, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental science and […]

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