Mar 12th, 2024

Flourish: 40 Years and Growing

2024 is the Garden’s 40th Anniversary, and we’re celebrating all yearFlourish is the theme and includes familiar favorite events and exciting new ones. To ensure you don’t miss anything, we’ve compiled a checklist of the “Top 40 Things to Do at the Garden” to help plan your visits. See below for a seasonal overview of the festivities and remember the Garden’s two free admission days: July 4 and Labor Day.

May Seasonal Garden Tour

Tulips during A Million Blooms


Spring starts with over 37,000 daffodils, hyacinths and tulips in our Central Garden, joining over A Million Blooms throughout our 50 acres of landscaped gardens. A new, adults-only event called The Big Bloom is a garden party to celebrate all the beauty and excitement of the season.

Our horticulture team carefully selects a variety of bulbs, from early to late bloomers, to extend the displays as much as possible throughout March and early April. Many more flowers from our permanent displays complement and keep the excitement going: peonies, irises and roses appear throughout May. Weather significantly affects bloom times, so watch the Garden’s social media channels for updates.

Another way to see the best flowers up close and personal is with the numerous plant shows and sales throughout the spring. Each show features prize-worthy blooms and knowledgeable growers eager to share tips. Many events have opportunities to purchase plants, including the Garden’s own Spring Plant Sale May 3 & 4. Always highly anticipated, the Garden’s sale is run by volunteers and features over 40 vendors.

Exhibits are another key component of the anniversary celebrations. The Garden has commissioned contemporary American multi-disciplinary artist Kyle Epps as an artist-in-residence from April-September 2024. Epps’ work will explore the landscape and history of the Garden through a variety of mediums. Guests can view the artwork in the Garden’s Community Art Gallery, and Epps will also lead workshops.

An exhibit in the Library titled Women’s Work from April 26 through August 31 will feature herbarium specimens, unique works on paper, archival resources, photographs, books, and interpretive text that explore the preserved Lee Park collection.

Spring will also launch a 40th Anniversary Speakers Series celebrating the Garden’s past, present and future. The first presentation on Friday, April 19, brings back several former leaders to talk about the Garden’s evolution, including Frank Robinson, who was the Garden’s executive director for 23 years.

An image of a concert happening outside Bloemendaal House at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. People are sitting in the grass, walking around, eating, drinking, and enjoying the music.

Flowers After 5 music performance in Grace Arents Garden


Summer 2024 is the “Summer of Music” at the Garden. The big news is the return of the Groovin’ in the Garden concert series after nearly a decade. It’s only fitting Groovin’ would return in the Garden’s 40th anniversary year. The much-loved shows will feature national acts in the Cochrane Rose Garden, a spectacular setting.

For the best in local and regional music, Flowers After 5 concerts on at Bloemendaal House offer a chance to kick back, listen to music, and explore the gardens. On the second and fourth Thursdays, leashed dogs are allowed, and the event is called Fidos After 5. As part of Pride Month in June, one of the Garden’s Fidos events is called Pridos After 5 and is held in partnership with the LGBTQ+ community.

Kids play in the Waterway at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garde

Waterway splash pad

Summer is the time to get wet and the brand-new Waterway splash pad in the Children’s Garden does not disappoint. Open daily, it is THE spot for summer fun. Evening hours on Waterway Wednesday nights throughout the summer allow young guests and families to enjoy after-hours.

Forty years of gardens results in dazzling displays, diverse collections, and a talented team putting it all together. This year’s summer plantings will become lush as the season progresses, from late June through fall, with surprises and vignettes planned in four iconic areas. Signage will identify the areas and links to the website and social media will provide deeper and richer storytelling.

Here’s just a taste of what to expect:

The Central Garden will focus on visual impact, combining themes of beauty and biodiversity. A walk in this garden will transport you to an exotic paradise. Already a favorite spot for photos, the Fountain Garden in front of the Conservatory will be a must-see. A whimsical “turtle topiary” created from colorful annuals and succulents will bask in the middle of the fountain, surrounded by aquatic plants such as waterlilies and lotus.

Don Williamson Photography

Flagler Garden

The Flagler Gardenwill shine a light on the shade. Enter this three-acre garden for cool, shady walks offering an escape from summer heat. Under a leafy canopy, guests will learn about shade plants and the importance of trees and plants in urban settings to alleviate heat islands. Look for an arch featuring shade-loving plants near the Monet Bridge.

The Klaus Family Tree House

The Klaus Family Tree House

Come to the Children’s Garden for a connection with Nature. Stroll through a series of arbors featuring fast-growing vines and learn about plants we rely on daily for food, clothing, and more. This is a garden area for the senses focusing on health and wellness. Climb the newly enhanced Klaus Family Tree House for a birds-eye view of the gardens below.

Past meets present with an eye to the future in the Grace Arents GardenThis Victorian-style garden will tell stories of how horticulture has evolved and continues to change. Palms, ferns and tropicals in elevated urns and containers will complement a space that marries tradition and modern design.

Dia de los Muertos altar in the Flagler Garden

The ofrenda at the Garden’s Dia de los Muertos celebration.


As summer transitions into autumn, the fun continues. The Fall Plant Sale in September is a reminder that fall is an excellent time for planting. Fall is also festival season, and familiar favorites return, such as Dia de los Muertos and HarvestFest, plus a new “Diwali: Music and Arts Festival” partnering with visual artists, dancers and musicians from the Indian community in Richmond.

A family looks at the model trains in the Kelly Education Center during Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Model train display at Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights

The 40th Anniversary year ends on a high note with Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights which was voted the number one “Best Botanical Holiday Light Show” by USA Today (2023).

As Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden takes its 40th trip around the sun, we invite you to participate in the Flourish celebration!

About Beth Monroe

Beth Monroe is public relations and marketing director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. She feels honored to be part of a team connecting people and plants to improve our community.

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