Gardening & Horticulture

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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Nov 24th, 2017

So Berry Beautiful!

Berries boast a full range of hues this time of year, proving Nature’s color obsession isn’t limited to spring blooms, summer sunsets and autumn leaves. During winter, she brightens landscapes through berries, which are color-packed fruits of some ground covers, shrubs and trees. Though typically tiny, they don’t disappoint. Some boast firecracker reds, blistering oranges […]

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Oct 15th, 2017

Pick a Peck of Pumpkins

Carve it. Craft it. Cook it. Pumpkin is so versatile, it deserves the season’s spotlight. Not only are pumpkins inexpensive, readily available and striking as autumnal decor, some varieties are as nutritious as they are delicious. The flesh and seeds of edible pumpkins are packed with fiber, as well as vitamins A and C. With […]

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Oct 9th, 2017

Southern Blight & a Natural Solution

How We are Using Mustard Greens to Fight Southern Blight Soil is vital and essential because it sustains life. You cannot have a healthy garden without healthy soil. The rear portion of the Kroger Community Kitchen Garden (KCKG) was hit last year with southern blight, a common soil-borne, plant disease. Southern blight affects all parts of the plant and […]

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Sep 29th, 2017

Crazy About Pawpaws

Something special happens to people when they learn about pawpaws for the first time. Their eyes widen, their brows furrow, and they say things like, “What does it taste like?” or “It grows here? In Virginia?” For many people, this moment turns into an ongoing curiosity, and in some cases even an engrossing obsession. I […]

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Sep 20th, 2017

Beware Invasive Species

Don’t let invasive species fool you. They look innocent, but don’t behave. Nor do they stop growing, spreading and reproducing. The culprits are certain species of aggressive non-native vines, trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and grasses. Some look exotic, promising to add pizazz to your landscape. Others serve a purpose, such as ground cover, erosion control […]

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Sep 5th, 2017

Gardening Advice for Late Summer

 (Gardeners, don’t quit now!) It’s this time of the year that gardeners August gardens’ towering tomato plants eke out their final harvests. Yellowing cucumber vines wildly wander. Herbs go to seed, while tuckered flowers fade from glory. And all is accompanied by Richmond’s incessant heat, haze, and humidity. No wonder folks want to run from […]

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Aug 28th, 2017

Interns Talk Water Quality

On a recent summer afternoon, staff of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gathered for a very special presentation. Horticulture research interns Devon Scallan and Kaitlyn Paulchell had been preparing for this day all summer, researching the Garden’s water quality and wanted to share their findings in a meaningful way. This meant not just a regular Power Point presentation, but […]

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Aug 25th, 2017

Butterfly Garden Pro!

For this month’s blog I’d like to demonstrate how simple, straight-forward, and fun creating a butterfly garden is. I asked around the horticulturist’s lunch table to find out who among them ranks as a butterfly gardening expert. I’m glad I did, because Senior Horticulturist Shannon Smith is a butterfly gardening pro and plants specifically to support our native pollinators both here at Lewis Ginter […]

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