Gardening & Horticulture

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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Mar 18th, 2019

Loblolly Pine: Towering Native

For a burst of greenery all year long, you needn’t look far. The loblolly (Pinus taeda) is evergreen and everywhere around RVA, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and beyond. Grueling beginnings: In the 16th century, sailors at sea ate a gruel that was called loblolly (“lob” for bubbling and “lolly” for thick soup). Since this pine tree […]

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Mar 10th, 2019

Breaking the Poinsettia Rules

It is easy to break the rules when you don’t know them! Every winter I would feel sorry for so many poinsettias lying in the alleys on my morning dog walks. Those bright red splashes of color were so cheerful! A poinsettia is a symbol of the holidays, a spark of color and warmth in […]

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Jan 3rd, 2019

Trends in Gardening for 2019

Mother Nature is a trendsetter, as is her fan club of environmentalists and nature nerds. As the new year dawns, so do fascinating trends and tools related to gardening and the great outdoors. Garden Media Group’s “Garden Trends Report 2019” shares these predictions. RoboGardening: Techno-gadgets are transforming horticulture in phenomenal ways. Trends in gardening include robo-mowers […]

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Nov 26th, 2018

Our Changed Climate

I remember three things vividly from high school chemistry in Bozeman, Mont.: a terrible walk in December 1972 from home to school for a 6:30 a.m. lab with the temperature at 20 below zero; organic chemicals smelling as bad as promised; and the teacher, a veteran with a crew cut, promising the world we students […]

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Nov 20th, 2018

Frank L. Robinson Endowed Chair

We are proud to announce Senior Horticulturist Shannon Smith as the recipient of the Frank L. Robinson Endowed Chair. The Frank L. Robinson Endowed Chair, created in 2015, honors the Garden’s President Emeritus Frank Robinson. The Endowed Chair offers compensation, professional development, and position support to a selected staff member from either horticulture or education. The […]

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Sep 5th, 2018

Aquatic Giant is Queen of the Lilies

Tropical plants are magical. Extraordinarily lush foliage, pungent fragrances, and remarkable blooms mesmerize our senses, while their quirky features and minuscule to mega sizes tantalize our imagination. One tropical wonder that’s long been a fascinating subject for writers, artists and photographers is the Victoria waterlily, botanically classified as Nymphaeaceae Victoria amazonica. This intriguing tropical specimen, […]

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Aug 29th, 2018

Magical Moss

I’ve always been a quiet fan of moss, the herbaceous plant that reminds me of mysterious forests and rainy days. But not everyone shares my love. For instance, Virginia gardener Norie Burnet  once “had the mindset that moss belongs in the woods, not your garden.”   That isn’t the whole story, though. Burnet is now […]

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Aug 9th, 2018

Battle of the Bugs

While most gardeners try to keep insects out of the garden, Horticulturist Chelsea Mahaffey invites them in – selectively, of course. “The trick is knowing which bugs are beneficial and which are harmful,” she says. Aphids, two-spotted spider mites, and mealybugs are common insects that harm plants. If they’re present and plant damage escalates, Mahaffey […]

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Jul 11th, 2018

Breweries Grow Garden Partnerships

The explosion of craft beers is no surprise,” said Chris Ray, co-founder of the Center of the Universe (COTU) Brewing Company. Neither is the explosion of growing hops. As a main ingredient in traditional IPA-style beers, breweries, brewmasters and home brewers are planting hops in everything from backyard containers to full-scale brewery gardens.   In […]

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Jun 7th, 2018

Pollinator Plantings

As you move down the Main Garden Path this summer, you’ll notice the rainbow of flowers — each one part of a group of pollinator plantings–stretching at its side. You’ll see a variety of specimens, including annuals, perennials, and native plants. These blooms aren’t just attractive to the eye, but help to attract useful pollinators […]

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Apr 29th, 2018

Mulch: Dead or Alive?

Grab your work gloves, wheelbarrow, and pitchfork. And don’t forget your sunscreen and water. It’s time, once again, to spread mulch! A light top-dressing will help spruce up the landscape as spring bursts forth.   Or perhaps this tradition isn’t for you? If the annual rite of transporting, lifting and spreading a load of mulch […]

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Apr 20th, 2018

Spring PlantFest

Are you ready for this year’s Spring PlantFest plant sale? The greenhouse is chock full of plants that are ready and eager for spring and Spring PlantFest is a Richmond tradition. Plants for each year’s sale are chosen by a selection committee, which brings you Garden favorites (including lots of natives) and trendy new plants […]

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Mar 31st, 2018

Spreading Seeds!

The average last frost date is an exhilarating milestone in any gardener’s year — it means that all of those winter day-dreams of bright zinnias and juicy cucumbers, fresh herbs and crunchy corn, summer squash and cheerful sunflowers will soon come to fruition.  And though our recent snowy days may make it hard to believe, […]

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Mar 27th, 2018

How to Control Aphids Without Pesticides

Using Beneficial Bugs Here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, we rely heavily on beneficial insects and sustainable practices, especially in our 11,000 square-foot Conservatory. Since the Conservatory is a tropical climate, we know that we will always have some insects that enjoy feeding on plants there. When it becomes problematic, we introduce beneficial insects to […]

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Mar 12th, 2018

Foodscaping

About a decade ago, Brie Arthur won a Yard of the Year award for her home landscape. That’s not unusual since she’s a professional horticulturist. What was surprising was the design. Apparently, her North Carolina homeowners’ association hadn’t noticed her “foodscaping” — planting various vegetables and herbs planted in plain sight, alongside ornamental shrubs and […]

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Mar 2nd, 2018

Quiet Greetings from the Hellebores

It was maybe two weeks ago when a couple of visitors stopped by the Admissions desk on their way out of the Garden to show us all pictures they had taken of the first couple of daffodils they saw blooming. Sitting behind the desk on that late winter day, a wave of excitement rushed over […]

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Feb 21st, 2018

Winter Symposium: Gardening With Purpose & Passion

During this year’s Winter Symposium and CVNLA short course, we dug deeper into what it means to garden with purpose and passion through perennial gardens. Perennials offer a different gardening experience than annuals because they come back year after year and require less maintenance. The New Perennial Movement focuses on establishing a link with nature through […]

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Feb 12th, 2018

Gardens Grow Community and More

10 steps for making your own urban garden in Richmond A vacant lot, neighborhood square and school courtyard have something in common. All have potential to be transformed into vibrant community gardens. Duron Chavis readily recognizes the possibility, having launched 12 community gardens in urban areas of Richmond and Petersburg. “None of this is new, […]

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Jan 17th, 2018

2018 Gardening Trends

Society’s 24/7 connectedness, public unrest and hectic schedules are taking their toll. In fact, the World Health Organization predicted anxiety will oust obesity as the No. 1 health issue by 2030. So, if stress relief and wellness are your New Year’s resolutions, consider a return to nature. 2018 gardening trends point in this direction. “Being […]

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Dec 12th, 2017

Celebrate National Poinsettia Day

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, honoring Euphorbia pulcherrima: the country’s most popular holiday plant, according to retail sales. Purchase one locally, and chances are it originated in Ethiopia or Costa Rica, some 6,000 to 7,000 miles away. Cary Gouldin, one of three Richmond brothers who own Strange’s, shared how poinsettia cuttings (also called slips) are […]

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