Flourish: Celebrating our garden and its beauty

2024 marks the Garden’s 40th Anniversary and to celebrate our horticulturists have created new, dazzling displays throughout the Garden. This year’s summer plantings will become lush as the season progresses through fall, with surprises and vignettes to discover in four iconic areas.

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Flourish: 40th Anniversary Celebration Classes, Tours & Lectures

This year marks four decades of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and we’re celebrating for the whole year with favorite events as well as exciting new ones. Through our 40th Anniversary theme, “Flourish,” our goal is to honor the work that has come before, celebrate where we are now, and look forward to the transformational changes kicking off in 2024. Our anniversary programming includes special classes, tours, and a Speaker Series highlighting the Garden’s past, present, and future.


All About Herbaria & Plant Pressing | June 1, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Join University of Richmond biology professor, John Hayden, for an exploration of all things herbaria. An herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens used for scientific study, among other things. Dive into the history of herbarium collections and the roles that herbarium collections play in the service of botanical science. Learn the art and science of pressing plants for preservation and receive guidance on how to start your own backyard herbarium. Journey to the basement of the Kelly Education Center for an exclusive tour of the Garden’s herbarium. As class comes to a close, explore the Women’s Work exhibit in the Library. The exhibit showcases the work of Works Progress Administration workers (many of them African American women) who planted the Lee Park Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary (now called Legends Park and Nature Sanctuary), in addition to creating an herbarium of pressed specimens—a collection now housed by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and on display through Labor Day 2024.

Harmony Among Hues: Drawing Inspiration from the Garden | June 15, 10 am – 12 pm

Join the Garden’s Artist in Residence, Kyle Epps, in finding serenity and creative inspiration amidst nature’s palette. Through guided meditation, you’ll harmonize with the Garden’s tranquil energy, immersing yourself in the beauty of your surroundings. As you breathe in the fragrant blooms and listen to the rustling leaves, connect deeply with the earth and with yourself. With pastels in hand, explore the vibrant hues of the Garden, translating your inner reflections onto canvas. In this harmonious blend of meditation and art, you’ll cultivate a sense of peace and renewal, drawing inspiration from the natural world’s boundless beauty. This workshop will be held outdoors in the Flagler Garden, which will feature a shade garden horticultural display as part of the Garden’s anniversary exhibit, Flourish: 40 Years and Growing.

Victorian Splendor | July 10, 2:30 – 4:30 pm OR  5:30 – 7:30 pm

During the Victorian era, flower arranging was taught and recognized as an art in Western culture, making it an important period in the history of floral design. Join floral designer David Pippin for a workshop that will combine history with hands-on floral arranging as you explore the history of floral design in the Victorian era. Create and take home a Victorian style centerpiece using a variety of cut flowers and foliage that would have been popular during that period. Arrive early so you can visit the Victorian-inspired horticultural display that will be in the Grace Arents Garden as part of our 40th Anniversary celebration! The display 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.

Aquatic Plant Care Basics | July 20, 9 – 10:30 am

In this class taught by Danny Cox, the Garden’s Vice President of Horticulture, participants will be introduced to different aquatic plants that can be grown in water gardens. We will discuss different types of aquatic plants and how they can be used in water garden design. Danny will share tips on propagation and care. While a portion of the class will be indoors with a guiding slideshow for discussion, the class will utilize the Garden’s aquatic plant collection and water garden displays, so there will be outdoor time too. This class is a wonderful opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the horticultural display incorporating aquatic plants that will be in the Fountain Garden as part of the Garden’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

Garden to Glass: Exotic Cocktails of the Spice Trade | August 27, 6 – 7:30 pm

Join local mixologist Beth Dixon as she showcases her cocktail creativity by demonstrating how to make three delicious craft cocktails inspired by aspects the Garden’s summer exhibit, Flourish: 40 Years and Growing. Beth’s creations evoke an exotic paradise similar to the one suggested by the displays in the Central Garden and showcase spices from tropical locales around the globe where plant explorers of the past sourced the types of palms, ferns and tropicals on display in the Grace Arents Garden. She’ll highlight cinnamon, gin, lemon and basil in the “Spice Trade,” cardamom syrup with Tequila and lime in “Word to Your Cardamom,” and turmeric with pineapple, mango and Rum in the “Bright Side.” During the demo, sip samples of each cocktail as you enjoy expertly paired small plates. Fee includes demonstration, cocktail samples and food pairings.

Guided Public Tours

Flourish: Shade Plants of Flagler Garden Tour | May 31, 10 – 11:30 am OR June 10, 10 – 11:30 am

Shine a light on shade in this tour of Flagler Garden! As part of the Garden’s 40th Anniversary Flourish celebration, Flagler Garden will have a stunning horticultural display that includes three-acres of shade plants. Under a leafy canopy, you’ll learn to define classes of shade in the perennial garden and about the importance of trees and plants in urban settings to alleviate heat islands. As part of the tour, see an arch featuring shade-loving plants near the Monet Bridge. You’ll walk away with the confidence that it’s possible to grow beautiful gardens in the shade!

Flourish: Grace Arents Victorian Garden Tour | June 13, 10 – 11:30 am OR June 18, 10 – 11:30 am

The Victorian era had a profound impact on landscape architecture and the design of gardens. During this period, there was a significant shift in gardening styles and philosophies, driven by changes in society, technology, and cultural preferences. Come tour the Victorian-inspired horticultural display in Grace Arents Garden as part of our 40th Anniversary Flourish celebration! We’ll talk about 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. On one stop along the way, Elizabeth Fogel, our Associate Director of Horticulture, will share how she created this magnificent display.

Flourish: A Tropical Extravaganza Tour | July 25, 9 – 10:30 am OR August 22, 9 – 10:30 am

The Central Garden and Conservatory are lush with tropical plants featuring large leaves, unusual colors and spectacular blooms. Join Horticulturist Jayton Howard and Garden Guide Julia Cothron to explore this tropical extravaganza, which will be especially luscious for our 40th Anniversary Flourish celebration! You will be transported to an exotic paradise as you explore beauty and biodiversity. You’ll even see a whimsical “turtle topiary” created from colorful annuals and succulents basking in the middle of the Foundation Garden, surrounded by aquatic plants such as waterlilies and lotus. Get ideas for creating a tropical vibe in large pots or on a trellis and become inspired to garden with tropical plants.

Flourish: Edibles in the Children’s Garden Tour | July 31, 9 – 10:30 am

Come explore the Children’s Garden as we celebrate the past 40 years and look forward to the next 40. On this tour, see how the Children’s Garden is FLOURISHing! Explore the many different and intriguing areas of this section of the Garden, including those with food for insects and birds, and the herb garden and Farm Garden with its many edibles. Stroll through a series of arbors featuring fast-growing vines and learn more about these fascinating plants. This area of the Garden will focus on the senses and have sensory experiences that emphasize the health and wellness benefits of plants. On one stop along the way, Elizabeth Fogel, our Associate Director of Horticulture, will share some of the fascinating plants on display from around the world that humans rely on for food, clothing and other needs.

40th Anniversary Speaker Series

Celebrating the History of the Garden | April 19, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Join three visionary leaders as they come together on April 19 to discuss the evolution of the Garden from its very earliest days to the recent past. Guest speakers include former Garden leaders: Frank Robinson, former Executive Director (1992-2011) and President & CEO (2011-2015); Holly Shimizu, Managing Director (1996-2000); and Grace Elton, Director of Horticulture (2011-2017). Highlights include how they helped shape the Garden and how the Garden shaped them, their fondest memories, biggest challenges, and hopes for the future of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. This discussion will be moderated by the Garden’s current President & CEO, Brian Trader. Following the discussion, guests are invited to mix-and-mingle with our speakers and explore the Garden’s spring blooms.   

Botanic Gardens: Seizing the Moment While Imagining the Future | August 14, 2 – 4 pm

Explore the role of public gardens and the importance of making green space and gardens accessible to the community with Oak Spring Garden Foundation President, Sir Peter Crane. Discussion will center on the opportunities that public gardens must seize to remain relevant while doing more to address important societal concerns, especially around the environment. A Q&A will follow his presentation, as will the chance to explore the 40th anniversary Flourish displays and meet our talented horticulture staff. Bloemendaal House will be open with light refreshments and volunteer Garden Guides available to highlight the history of the house and property

Check back soon for additional opportunities as part of our 40th Anniversary celebration!

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