Jun 28th, 2022

Pride Blooms with Color

Hospitality, one of the Garden’s five core values, means that we celebrate people from different backgrounds and walks of life and we embrace them wholeheartedly. On a simpler level, hospitality can be a smile and an exchange of greetings with the couple you pass while crossing the Lotus Bridge or pausing to offer directions to a group of newcomers who marvel at the sprawling Garden for the very first time. Whatever hospitality means to you, this Pride Month, we hope you will remember that the Garden is a warm and welcoming space for all. As we near the end of June, we want to highlight the wonder and diversity of our Garden, because, like people, the natural world presents itself in a variety of beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes. Although Pride Month is almost over, we truly hope that the Garden will inspire you to celebrate diversity year-round. We want our visitors to feel comfortable showing up as their authentic selves.
Pride flag and rainbow

Pride Month at the Garden

In honor of Pride Month, we have compiled a list of 11 different plants found throughout the Garden to represent the 11 distinctive colors of the LGBTQ+ flag. Keep reading to discover more about each of these gems!
poppy, Papaver and a bee

Poppies are associated with honoring those who serve their country because of the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. Image by Hillary Liddick.

Red: poppy

Poppies (genus Papaver) have very thin, fragile petals, and attract attention with their bright red pop of color. In addition, they need a little more care and attention, as they require winter dormancy and cannot handle high levels of humidity.  People frequently associate poppies with honoring those who served their country. Find this bright and popular flower in the Children’s Garden and also in the Anderson Wildflower Meadow.
red hot poker, Kniphofia triangularis

Their vertical, almost cattail-shaped blooms make red hot pokers an especially unique plant.

Orange: red hot poker

Despite its name, red hot poker (Kniphofia triangularis) is often orange, not red. This funky-looking plant stands out with its unique shape and orange-yellow gradient. You’ll see red hot pokers while walking around Streb Garden.
Day lily Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'

Did you know that daylilies really only bloom for one day? It’s amazing when you realize how blessed you are to be here for this one-day bloom!

Yellow: daylily

Daylilies come in a variety of cultivars and although Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ are yellow, daylilies range in color from white to a deep red-orange. These beautiful bursts of color are herbaceous perennials and their blooms usually only last one day. Look for these beautiful flowers on the west side of the Main Garden Walk and behind the Robins Visitors Center. You’ll find daylilies of all colors throughout the Garden if you visit this summer.

Green: pitcher plant

Pitcher plants (genus Sarracenia), as the name suggests, have pitcher-shaped, tubular leaves. However, don’t be fooled by their cool design! These carnivorous plants use their slippery pitcher-shaped leaves to trap and digest their prey. Pitcher plants attract insects with their color and the enticing smell of nectar. Some varieties of this plant have spots, stripes, and other unique colorations that make them stand out. Look closely when you find them. If you peep inside you may just find a bee, wasp, or butterfly who is about to meet its untimely death. You can find these intriguing plants in the West Island Garden
sage, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

This specific cultivar of sage is extremely well-liked by all kinds of different pollinators. Bees who are unable to climb inside the narrow tube tend to bite the base of the flower and suck the nectar out from the outside!

Dark Blue: sage

An herbaceous perennial, this cultivar, Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue,’ is a stunning plant with vibrant blue flowers. The stems and buds are strikingly dark and look nearly black to the naked eye. They aren’t exactly dark blue, but they are about as close as we can get in the plant world! They can be found in Flagler Garden and the Children’s Garden.

spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana, spider lily

Tradescantia virginiana or spiderwort  is also known as spider lily and is native to Virginia.

Purple: spiderwort

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana), a perennial, blooms through August and grows best in the shade. A resilient plant, spiderwort is deer-resistant and can grow in clay soil. Its common name comes from its stem fluid which, once hardened, looks similar to a spider’s web. Look for these pretty three-petaled flowers and their vibrant yellow stamens around the Morton Native Plant Garden.
southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia trees have been around for more than 20 million years. Image by Tom Hennessy.

White: Southern magnolia

Southern magnolia trees (Magnolia grandiflora) are known for their beautiful white petaled blooms and their distinctive honey-like aroma with a hint of citrus. While you may see magnolias throughout the Garden, you can’t miss these massive, stunning flowers growing on the mature magnolia tree in front of the Bloemendaal House in Grace Arents Garden.
Coneflowers Echinacea purpurea 'Pink Double Delight'

Coneflowers are one of the Garden’s most popular wildflowers. This Echinacea purpurea ‘Pink Double Delight’ has a pop-pom center, unlike most Echinacea.

Pink: pink coneflower

Another herbaceous perennial, coneflowers come in so many different colors, like white, pink, purple and red. This vibrant eye-catching bloom, also known as Echinacea purpurea ‘Pink Double Delight’ or the double coneflower, has a raised, ruffle center and long narrow petals. Look out for its flowery aroma along the Main Garden Walk. There’s a bench located right there near the blooms, not far from the Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica).
Hydrangea macrophylla 'All Summer Beauty'

For hydrangeas, more acidic soil will produce bluer blooms, while more basic soil will produce pinker blooms.

Light Blue: hydrangea

With “hydra” in its name, one can easily guess that these popular shrubs need tons of water. Hydrangeas, like the Hydrangea macrophylla ‘All Summer Beauty’ shown above, come in a variety of colors that are partially determined by the pH level of the soil that it grows in.  In hydrangea blooms, the colorful and showy part of hydrangea is, in fact, the sepals, not the petals. You can see these beautiful flowers all over the Garden. Look for some especially magnificent cultivars in the shade of Streb Garden.
Kids climbing on the Mulberry Tree at Ginter Image by Robert Llewellyn

The beloved 100-year-old mulberry tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Image by Robert Llewellyn.

Brown: the bark of the mulberry tree

The mulberry tree (Morus rubra) is a staple of the Children’s Garden. Being more than 100 years old, it has long, twisty branches that our visitors love to climb and explore. Our mulberry trees fruits every year in early June, look closely and you will find fruits in different growth stages. The black fruit is ready to eat, while green and white means it is still growing. Red fruit will be ready in a few days. This mulberry tree is also special because we don’t normally allow people to climb trees or eat fruit from the Garden. 
 Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

The hairy coneflower (Rudbeckia hirta) is a native plant and easily establishes itself. It’s just one of our Pride Month blooms.

Black: hairy coneflower

The hairy coneflower (Rudbeckia hirta) is popular with pollinators like butterflies and it does best in the heat of summer. Hairy coneflowers get their name from the black, hairy centers of the flowers that contrast with their bright yellow petals. Search for these beauties in the Anderson Wildflower Meadow and elsewhere in the Garden.

Hopefully, this list will bring a pop of color to your Pride Month! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Evelyn is a public relations intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. A junior at Christopher Newport University, she is majoring in English and minoring in psychology and journalism. As an intern, Evelyn hopes to become more knowledgeable about plants and nature while also expanding on her media skills.

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