Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens Photo Tour
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is an oasis of color and beauty.
This Richmond, VA landmark has been rated one of the top 10 public gardens in the United States and one of the best attractions in Virginia.
The 50-acre escape has the only domed conservatory in the mid-Atlantic. Children have their own dedicated garden with climbing structures and places to get thoroughly wet on hot days.
More than a dozen themed gardens include a Victorian Garden, Asian Valley, Fountain Garden and Healing Garden.
It also has quiet, secluded paths where visitors can wander -- or sit -- and contemplate the beauty of it all.
Four Seasons Garden
One of the first gardens after passing through the visitors' center is the Four Seasons Garden. Just beyond it lie the Fountain Garden and The Conservatory.
The Four Seasons Garden is merely a taste of the flavors to come. The Conservatory is Lewis Ginter's most ambitious project.
What visitors don't see from this vantage point is the sunken Fountain Garden that lies between Four Seasons and The Conservatory.
Any photo of the Fountain Garden doesn't do it justice. The oval pond is also a sunken garden that allows visitors to sit on benches in the shade and simply listen to the water's soothing sounds.
Color and species arund the pool change with the season while the fountains play the same gentle music all year long.
Lewis Ginter calls The Conservatory the "Jewel of the Garden." The centerpiece is a 63-foot-tall dome with palms, water feature and exotic plants.
The wing on the right offers an orchid collection in a semi-tropical environment while the wing on the left has changing themes based on the time of year.
A smaller wing in the back is open on occasion with exhibits that include a massive collection of butterflies.
Visitors can enter the enclosed exhibit and wander among brightly colored butterflies from around the world, some of which land on visitors' heads or shoulders for a brief visit.
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden contains 1,800 roses and 80 varieties in season with numerous vantage points including views of The Conservatory, the Lotus Bridge, Asian Valley and the Children's Garden.
The stone-columned pergola has seats for anyone brave enough to watch the numerous bees feast on the nearby roses and occasionally buzz around their heads.
Sydnor Lake is the largest water feature at Lewis Ginter. It is surrounded by the Rose Garden with views of The Conservatory (above) as well as the Children's Garden, the Conifer Garden (below) and The Meadow.
Visitors cross The Lotus Bridge to get from one half of Lewis Ginter to another. (Keep an eye out for the turtles.)
Veer right to see the Island Garden and the ultra quiet Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden. Turn left to reach the Children's Garden, Blemendaal House and Victorian-style Grace Arents Garden.
Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden
One of the quietest and most contemplative gardens is the Flagler Perennial Garden.
This three-acre garden has numerous winding paths, much of which lies under shade. The trails include a birding walk and woodland trail.
Flagler contains more than 770 perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs.
The Children's Garden is an interactive exhibit packed with things to do for kids including:
- A leafy overlook and kids treehouse (below)
- An international village
- A hands-on activity center where kids can build projects and design landscapes
- A water play area with fountains and jets that are especially popular on hot days
- An adventure pathway that explores a prairie, a butterfly meadow and evergreen forest environments
- A farm garden where children can plant fruits and vegetables
- Parent rest areas where where Mom and Dad can take a break while keeping an eye on the kids
Margaret Streb Conifer Garden
Visitors who have crossed the Lotus Bridge and stand near the Children's Garden can see the conifer garden across the lake. It also can be reached by turning left at the Rose Garden before crossing the bridge.
A stroll around the small Sydnor Lake won't take much time. It will allow visitors to see the smaller gardens up close -- or take another seat to relax for a while, this time in the Conifer Garden pavilion.
Bloemendaal House and Grace Arents Garden
Lewis Ginter was a wealthy businessman built Bloemendaal House in 1984 as a cycling clubhouse. Bloemendaal is Dutch for "valley of flowers."
Eventually, it became the home of his niece, Grace Arents. It is no longer open to the public, but the area in front of the house is home to special events including concerns and weddings.
Grace Arents Garden is located next to the house and features Victorian-style plants, arches, gazeobos and a traditional boxwood border.
As visitors discover yet another path, this one taking them back to the visitors' center, they might find the entrance to Asian Valley, which contains plans from east Asia as well as an attractive teahouse set among tall bamboo.
The cascading stream is one of the many appealing water features scattered throughout Lewis Ginter.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Garden is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.
The Garden has an annual holiday light show that begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and continues through the early part of January. GardenFest of Lights is open nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., except Dec. 24 and 25.
Ginter is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228. The phone number is (804) 262-9887.
Location of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
One of the "Best Botanical Garden in the U.S." (Travel Channel) & a "Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Travelling For."
Lewis Ginter Video
© 2015 Scott Bateman
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