Monday, May 12, 2008

Field Trip: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden




Rose and rosebuds.

Paying due props and respect to a long standing Mother's Day tradition - Corey, Willa and I spent the afternoon in a [wait for it . . .] garden.

As a kid up in New York, my family and I would picnic on overstuffed sandwiches from a local Italian deli at Old Westbury Gardens - and then walk off the pound of meat and bakery cookies through rose arbors, haunted woods and walled gardens. It heralded in spring in the best way possible. The love of this yearly Mother's Day pilgrimage to our green mecca even stuck with me during my prickly teen years - which says a lot.

Yesterday, we explored Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. Whereas it didn't offer the richness of an old estate and its centuries-old landscape, it had an energy and vibrancy that truly celebrated the season. Mothers were treated to a free plant (I snagged a deep purple petunia - a favorite mid-summer scent in my container garden) and family portraits in the conservatory. Our first!

As a botanical garden, it offers opportunities at every turn to learn. Each plant has its own signage - complete with the Latin names. There is an education center, a library, a children's garden and a gift shop (get past the kitschy stuff in the front - the back has the real-deal garden goods) . The layout of the land includes a huge greenhouse, a bog garden, woodlands with lots of local native plantings, a rose garden, a medicinal/herb garden . . .

This isn't an overly fussy garden - children are encouraged. Jogging stroller loaners were available. Oh, yes. And there is a magical tea house tucked away amid the greenery. Ouf!

I may, just may, be willing to swap out the old Italian sub tradition for high tea. My classiness trajectory just can't be stopped.


Les, Zone 8a said...

LGBG is a great place. My favorite is the bog garden and its collection of pitcher plants.

Ann said...

We go almost once a week! Last week I took my knitting and sat in a bench by a big tree that the kids played around. It's so kid-friendly and gardener-friendly too!

Lonnie said...

I usually try to go for their annual plant sale (Which I missed this year). It's a great place, and a good way to spend a day in Richmond. We also discovered Three Lakes Nature Center which is also worth a visit. They've got a good collection of native reptiles, fish, and amphibians. They've also got alot of nice paths to walk around on.

That Girl . . . said...

Inspired by your post, little j and I visited the garden this past Friday. We loved it! Five is a great age for exploring the wonders of plants and flowers, learning names, smelling blooms, etc. We had a wonderful mother-daughter outing!