Sep 12th, 2023

5 Ways to Enjoy the Garden on Rainy Days

Sunny days in the Garden are certainly beautiful, but some of my favorite times here have been on drizzly mornings or overcast afternoons, when there are fewer crowds, and the cloud cover offers a welcome respite from the heat. There are also a host of indoor activities to try, from finding a new hobby at one of the Garden’s many classes to exploring the Conservatory.

Here are some of my favorite ways to make the most of my Garden membership, even when it’s raining. 

1. Curl up with a book in the Robins Library

Photo by Carly Ault

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-4 pm, the Lora M. Robins Library in the Kelly Education Center is an incredible resource for horticulture, botany, botanical art, botanical history, and landscape design. Additionally, the Robins Library is home to hundreds of children’s books, games, and puzzles that will keep the entire family entertained. Wondering if the library carries a specific title? Search the online catalog before you arrive. Save time to browse the Seed Library, a circulating collection of seeds visitors can borrow, plant, harvest and, if all goes according to plan, return to the library for other gardeners to borrow. 


2. Take a closer look at the Conservatory and visit the butterflies!

Photo by Carly Ault

Considered the ‘Jewel of the Garden,’ the Conservatory is a can’t-miss feature, rain or shine. The 11,000-square-foot building houses unusual and exotic plants from around the world, like orchids, palms, and cacti. The Conservatory is also home to our butterflies! See native and tropical butterflies during M&T Bank Butterflies LIVE!, which runs from mid-April to early October.


3. Enjoy a meal at the Garden Cafe

Photo by Carly Ault

Our recently renovated and revamped Garden Cafe is open daily from 10 am-4 pm. With delicious seasonal dishes and plenty of indoor seating with large windows, it’s the perfect spot for enjoying a cup of coffee and a sweet treat on a rainy day. The Cafe has to-go meals, snacks, desserts from local bakeries, drinks, and a salad bar. My favorite thing on the menu is the Street Taco Bowl. 

4. Attend a class

Beth Dixon Garden to Glass

Throughout the year, the Garden hosts adult classes, seminars, and webinars on many subjects, including gardening and design, botanical illustration, art, nature photography, mind and body, food and drink, and botany. Taught by experts, classes are available year-round and many take place indoors, where rainy weather isn’t a factor. 


5.  Browse the Garden Shop

Photo by Carly Ault

A visit to the Garden isn’t complete without a visit to the Garden Shop. Known for carrying distinctive and finely crafted items unique to Richmond and the Garden, you’ll find gifts and souvenirs like books and stationery, garden decorations and children’s toys. All proceeds from the Garden Shop benefit the Garden’s mission, so purchasing is the best way to get a special gift and support the Garden!

There is still so much to enjoy and see here, no matter the weather, and you might even have the opportunity to enjoy the Garden when it is nearly empty or talk more in-depth with a Garden staff member. So, next time it’s pouring outside, consider making a trip to the Garden for some indoor activities, or to take in the natural beauty of the Garden in a new way.

About Carly Ault

Carly is a public relations intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and a second year at the University of Virginia in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is excited about combining her love for writing and plants while learning more about the Garden.

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