Nov 5th, 2015

Message from the Director

ICE 2 Harlow Chandler 1250 x400
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s mission is education; our passion is connecting plants and people to measurably improve our community. When planning Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights, we remind ourselves of this mission and set about using a favorite winter tradition as a vessel in which to convey important ideas. The exercise is rich with metaphor, because on the surface it is not a straight line from our relationship with the natural world to dried botanical material and LED strands of light, no matter how artfully the latter are arranged. Fortunately, the indirect path can frequently be the most satisfying, particularly with this year’s thematic use of water.
Water is evocative in contrast. Wells and oases in the desert. Cool water from a hose on a blistering summer day, lashing rain after a dry spell. Water is evocative in torrents. Oceans and seas, floods and storms. Water is evocative for life. “It’s the briny broth of our origins, the pounding circulatory system of the world, a precarious molecular edge on which we survive.” (Barbara Kingsolver, National Geographic)
It is to our benefit that we can not only survive because of water, we can thrive: “…he shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth his fruit in his season. His fruit shall not wither, and whatsoever he does will prosper.” When such rich imagery arises out of biological need, it is as if the roundabout path we have taken has vistas we could not have imagined. From these unexpected vistas, and with overflowing buckets of imagination, creativity and artistry, he staff and volunteers create the exhibit. Then, naturally, we make it fun. We want to irrigate the crops, then we want to celebrate the meal. We want to capture the rain when needed; we want to dance in it as much as possible. We want to tell you why water is so vital; we want you to feel full of life. We knew last year that we would use a water-based theme for this year’s holiday light show. Then we had a staff contest to name it: “H2Whoa!”
Come have some fun, and happy holidays!

Executive Director Shane Tippett's passion for plants was kindled in the early ‘90s by a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden arborist who mentored him on the care of specimen trees. This passion underlies his firm conviction in the transformative power of gardens to re-shape and renew communities, families and individuals and this continues to direct his leadership.

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