Feb 1st, 2022


This month at the Garden, love is in the air, and so is gratitude!

heart shaped hands expressing gratitude outside conservatory in front of sunset

Taking time to express gratitude to our loved ones helps them feel appreciated. But, just as important, it improves our well-being too. The same goes for nature, expressing our gratitude for it can increase our happiness. Today, we welcome our new event, “Love, the Garden.” It’s all about inviting the community to write love letters to nature. You can write your letter beforehand, or write it at the Lora M. Robins Library. Once you have written your letter, drop it in one of the six mailboxes around the Garden. These mailboxes were designed by local artists and are inspired by each artist’s own gratitude for nature. Other facets of this event include the Bonsai Exhibit and Orchid Show and Sale. I spoke with Beth Anne Booth, Exhibitions Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, about “Love, the Garden” and the importance of expressing gratitude for nature. I came away from our conversation with lots of ideas for my love letter, and hope you get inspired too!

While nature is not in full bloom right now, it still has lots of beauty to offer. Booth emphasizes the quiet and reflective state nature is in right now. She believes these months are a better time than ever to cherish our surroundings.

“As nature resets and prepares for a huge, emerging, abundant spring, right now is a great time to take nature in and admire the architecture of the trees,” she says. I love this idea. Going outside in winter can feel harsh, but looking closely at the structure and bare texture of the landscape and embracing it is so grounding. Winter implores us to take a step back in our own lives to recalibrate along with the plants. The dark and dormant vibe of this season is nature’s way of telling us to slow down and reset.

She reminded me how steady and assured nature is as well. For example, she says, when flowers bloom they’re not trying to be better than the flowers next to them, they’re just blooming the best that they can. Plants are not attempting to be perfect, they’re just being. This was such a refreshing perspective for me to hear. I believe this flower mindset of “don’t think, just bloom” is something we can all benefit from.

Booth and I also discussed was how underappreciated nature is at times. “In our society, we want shortcuts and instant gratification, but taking the time to appreciate nature in a love letter is a practice where we can really consider what we have in our lives because connecting with nature is the ultimate connection.”  I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. Spending time expressing our gratitude for nature deepens our connection to it.

After speaking with Booth, I definitely have some new insights into the ways I want to interact with nature. I’m excited to get started on my love letter! There are some great letter-writing tips in Abby Reasor’s blog about a similar exhibition, Love Letters to Nature, in 2021. I’ll be taking an idea or two from her blog post. Happy writing!

About Lydia Pearl

Lydia is a public relations intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in Mass Communications. She is excited to be practicing her writing skills while learning more about plants and getting involved in the Richmond community.

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