From the Executive Director
My favorite moment from the Spring at Lewis Ginter: A young mother and three little girls are walking through the Central Garden. Mom is telling a fairytale in a breathless voice. Daughters are bounding about her like butterflies around a bloom, listening attentively while dancing in their own orbits. Mom finishes the story. All three children are looking down at the donor pavers on the walkway, and the middle daughter begins hopscotching on them. Mom draws up short before a riot of brilliantly colored tulips and calling her daughters to her exclaims, “Oh, look, my girlies, isn’t this beautiful?!” To visit the Garden any season of the year, to be frozen in your tracks by beauty and then to share that moment with others are some of the happiest byproducts of public horticulture. For many members and guests, it epitomizes what a botanical garden is, what it does, what it can do. Our staff and volunteers set out to create such moments, certainly, but we know the moment, like the tulip blooms, will fade. Other wonders will follow in turn, and this rhythm speaks to what a botanical garden is in a deeper way. In a highly concentrated landscape, we hope to show year round the possibilities of living in our natural world with perspective and intelligence, a light hand and a reverent eye. Then we invite you to join us!
At times you very kindly return the favor and invite us to join you out in the broader community, thinking there are other things a botanical garden can do, other things it can be. We think so, too, and community engagement is a key component of our strategic plan, as embodied in recent initiatives like Beautiful RVA. There are many parts of our metropolitan area where it is only a dream now to think a mother could gather her daughters to her with the cry, “Oh, look my girlies, isn’t this beautiful?”
We have been doing a lot of listening to friends and allies around Richmond. We also would like to hear from you. If you, our members, have a few moments, I wonder if you might answer this question from your perspective: What would you like to see Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden do for the broader community?
Please drop me a note at our mailing address:
1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228.
Or, email shanet [at] lewisginter.org. Thank you!
Shane Tippett, Executive Director