Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

It is odd that I have been to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (LGBG) at least 100 times and have never written a blog post on it. I like Ginter. When we first moved here, it was a great place to go with a 4 year old. And I obviously love plants. LGBG has some really lovely features, especially water features, and a great collection of plants. I adore their Sarracenia collection, an assortment of bug-eating pitcher plants. I fell in love with Hinoki False Cypress, Japanese lilies and lotus there, and grew to appreciate ferns and other green plants that thrive in the shade. Their conservatory is lovely, and, at times, is just stuffed full of orchids (below).
I am not a fan of roses, but if you like them, the Rose Belvedere is great (not as big as some rose gardens, but more human-scaled).

But there is one area at Ginter that I do not like, their relatively recently re-done Children's Garden. The old Children's garden was a garden, first and foremost, and focused on dirt, plants and the life cycle. Kids could dig, pick and eat tomatoes and figs, search for earthworms. The new garden suffers from too much hard scape (pavement; walkways; a tree house that is not in a tree, that goes to nowhere and has nothing to do in it but look out; and a water play area-not that I am against water play, but it is not a living garden- it is a rubber and asphalt installation)(though maybe I am in the developmental stage of curmudgeon and wrong?). And is area has too much manicured grass (quel horreur!) (hardscape and grass example below):
Are are other new features to Ginter I do like- some Japanese architectural elements (a screen and circle gate, though the circle gate is somewhat over sized), but a new large concrete and steel bridge over the lake is very urban, too large in scale and, again, too much hardscape.

Ginter Gardens is worth a visit, so I recommend it. I just wish it was all garden.
Happy gardening!

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