Mar 13th, 2010

Great Gardening Events are Sprouting up All Over Richmond!

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Plant Sale

Some really wonderful gardening events are sprouting up in Richmond this spring! Of course, each year  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden volunteers hold the annual Spring Plant Sale — this year April 29 – 30th and May 1st. Lewis Ginter’s plant sale is still a must  for anyone who loves plants as much as I do, but you should also check out these other events — because while you can’t beat the selection of our plants, and the prices are VERY affordable, and the proceeds from our visitor manned tent go directly back to the Garden, if you are on a budget, you can’t beat free and so you may choose to do both.   Admission to the sale is free.

For Henrico County residents, the Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) holds its annual spring tree-seedling giveaway  Friday, March 19 at the Hermitage High School parking lot, 8301 Hungary Spring Road. Trees will be distributed free of charge from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Henricopolis SWCD will offer several seedling specialty packs, including wildlife, pine, ornamental, shrub and wetland/stream bank. Information about individual species and planting guidelines are available online at

The seedling giveaway is an effort to protect the James River watershed by reducing runoff and sediment flows into local streams. For more information you can call them at (804) 501-5175.

I’m not sure what they’ll be offering this year but a few years a go I got several beautiful species including dogwoods, the trees were bare root, and not all of them survived, but they’ll usually let you take a few extras to account for that.

If you live in the City of Richmond,  April 3rd there is an Arbor Day celebration, also with a free tree giveaway. Stay Cool with Trees,  runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carillon in Richmond’s Byrd Park. During the festivities, Richmond will receive Tree City USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for the 19th straight year. Here’s some info from their press release:

Rain or shine, you will find both fun and information about the many ways trees make our lives better. You also will learn about the work of related community organizations and businesses.

Children can climb a tree, bounce in an inflatable castle, enjoy art activities supervised by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and meet the Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot “Nutzy.” And they can expect a visit by a city firefighting unit between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Adults will also have several fun events in which to participate:

* Six workshops on planting, identifying trees, pruning mature trees, why native plants are needed, assessing the extent of decay inside a trunk, and tips for using a professional arborist’s tools.

* Talking with experts about tree selection, tree care, protection during construction, horticulture and gardening.

* Shopping for everything from plants and artwork to composting bins and rain barrels.

* Getting a free bare-root tree, (while supplies last!).

The acoustic band Van Driver will perform while fans meet and greet representatives of WRIR 97.3 and of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who will also have a drawing for a special prize. Nancy Ross Hugo, the essayist-landscaper and co-author of Remarkable Trees of Virginia, will be the keynote speaker. Richard Nunnally, Richmond Times-Dispatch garden columnist and WCVE gardening show host, will greet his fans and answer horticulture questions at the Times-Dispatch booth. Karl Pokorny, former Richmond city arborist, will offer information and answer questions about protecting trees during construction.

Other certified arborists and a wildlife biologist will present six workshops, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Then all but the native plant workshop will repeat from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

* A Professional Arborist’s Equipment – Mark Bennett, arborist, Davey Tree

* Assessing Strength Loss and Potential Hazards in Trees Using a Resistograph – Bill Poad, arborist, Bartlett Tree Experts

* Mature Tree Pruning – Billy Davis, arborist, Arborscapes

* How to Plant a Tree – Norman Brown, arborist, Richmond Urban Forestry

* Tree Identification – Michael Mather, arborist, Richmond Urban Forestry

* Reconnecting the Web: Why We Won’t Save Wildlife Without Native Plant Landscapes – Lou Verner, wildlife mapping coordinator, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Event attendees will be able to purchase The Earth Machine compost bin at a discount through the Clean City Commission (cash or personal checks only).

Richmond Tree Stewards are trained citizen volunteers who help the arborists of Urban Forestry care for trees along city streets. Learn more about Tree Stewards at and and Richmond Tree Stewards.

And, also in Byrd Park  but a week later on April 10th, at 11 a.m., The Byrd Park Civic League will sponsor a plant swap that is open to the public at the Byrd Park Round House.  Gardeners and citizens are welcome to bring cuttings, seedlings, bulbs, garden books or any other garden-related items to give away or swap. Unfortuneatly there is not a link for more info, but if you leave a comment, I will email you the flier I have on the plant swap.

Also, I’d like to give a shout out to Maymont’s Herbs Galore plant sale on April 24th.  Maymont, like Lewis Ginter is another great Richmond attraction, and many of us here at the Garden are huge fans of Maymont as well.   Like our plant sale, Herbs Galore raises funds for Maymont, so the money goes to a great cause — but I should mention that there is a $3 fee per person to enter the marketplace (Maymont members, and children get in free).  One a side note,  if you are a fan of Maymont, make sure you check out Maymont’s newly launched blog — Buz’s Blog.

So, as you can see there are lots of great resources for gardeners in Richmond. Spring is in the air already, so start planning your garden now — and don’t forget to mark your calendar for all these great events.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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