Apr 15th, 2021

Garden Shop: Local Business & Farm Favorites

I can’t think of a better way to spend a cool spring morning than with a cup of hot tea, celebrating the sun with the tulips. We chat about the day ahead and then I turn away, cupping a mug of Daily Wellness Tea with Peppermint from a local business, Forrest Green Farm.

Yoga Frog in Herbs

A yoga frog out on the Garden Shop Terrace where our current herbs for sale are located.

Building Community in the Garden Shop

Before working at the Garden Shop at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, I knew there were lots of local farms and small local businesses, but I didn’t know the extent of their commitment to the same values as ours. There’s a tantalizing dedication that comes from working in a local-minded shop. Our goal in the Shop is to create a visual story infused with the Garden’s mission, with an emphasis on education and sustainability. We also strive to involve and give back to the community that surrounds and nurtures us. Local partnerships allow us to bring great quality products in from local names people know and trust. These are some of the most important relationships we make as a local business. Strengthening the community around us, in turn, strengthens us.

The Garden Shop has some great relationships with local farms. Two of my favorites are Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Forrest Green Farm. The last year has not been easy for any business, and like the Garden Shop, these two farms implemented innovative and safe curbside pick-up protocols to better serve their customers during pandemic closures. Purple packaging is prevalent in both brands, and that royal color evokes the calm of the botanical element it often represents, and which is present in products from both farms: lavender.

Lavender from Local Business

Lavender Spray in hand from local business, Lavender Fields Herb Farm

Hannah’s favorite lavender spray from Lavender Fields Herb Farm

I love lavender. I had fresh lavender in my wedding bouquet, I’ve got endless candles and soaps and I grow it myself. So it is probably no surprise that I am a fan of Lavender Fields Herb Farm’s products. Located in Glen Allen,  about 15 minutes from the Garden, Lavender Fields Herb Farm produces a fantastic lavender essential oil that I enjoy most in a roll-on or spray form. I love that I can keep the roll-on in my purse or pocket and apply it anytime I’m feeling stressed. This year, the Garden Shop also received fresh herbs from the farm, so stop by and grab some lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, dill and more. A 4-inch pot is $5.50 — they’ve been very popular, so get them before they are gone!

Lavender herb

Lavender and other herbs are available in the Garden Shop

Forrest Green Farm, located about an hour away in Louisa, also uses lavender in their products. Their naturally colorful loose leaf tea comes in a resealable and reusable bag, keeping the delicately dried botanicals fresh for longer. Herb Garden Tea is really one of my favorites with a bouquet of vibrant botanical flavors. It feels reassuring to know where the herbs for my tea were grown. With botanical salves, sprays, cough syrups and delicious dip mixes, Forrest Green Farm has your botanical fix for every season. They are also committed to education, whole living and offer classes and live plants for sale at their farm.

Forrest Green Farm Herb Garden Tea surrounded by

Herb Garden Tea from Forrest Green Farm surrounded by herbs on the Garden Shop Terrace

As Garden Shop staff, we constantly work to make the Shop a reflection of both the Garden and the Richmond community, and offering locally sourced products is just one step in that direction.  You can buy these products in Garden Shop  (you don’t need a ticket, just check in with admissions to visit). Or, if you prefer, you can check out our online selection at shop.lewisginter.org.

Hannah Rainey is the Garden Shop Assistant at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she oversees the Shop’s volunteers and marketing content. She loves engaging with visitors at the Garden and is a passionate gardener, painter and poet. She often gathers creative inspiration from the natural world.

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