The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond covers more than 50 acres of flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, with a conservatory that is the only one of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic and a host of programs that make this place far more than a walk through an oasis.
Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours for special events, June’s calendar seems especially full and enticing. Through August 25, the Ginter is offering what it calls “Alfresco.” It is designed to be a relaxing evening for couples or friends to spend time together while socially distanced from others in Ginter’s magnificent Garden. Food and drink are available for purchase online or in person, though reservations are required.
The Ginter’s “Flowers After Five” programs feature food, music for background strolls and dining – and several special occasions. The second and fourth Thursday of the month are also “Fidos After 5 Nights,” when the Garden partners with the Richmond SPCA and leashed dogs are allowed onto the grounds.
There’s a Juneteenth celebration that is in partnership with Project Yoga Richmond from 9-11 a.m. on the Garden’s terraced lawn.
For those not familiar with Lewis Ginter, he was a prominent businessman, financier, military officer, real estate developer and philanthropist and fierce supporter of Virginia’s capital city. The city’s world-famous Jefferson Hotel was a project of his. Ginter hired renown architects to design the structure, investing between $5 and $10 million.
He also commissioned Edward V. Valentine – Richmond’s Valentine Museum is named for him and his brother, Mann S. Valentine – to create the life-size statue of Thomas Jefferson that is the centerpiece of the hotel’s upper lobby.
At the time of his death in 1897, Ginter had amassed a vast fortune, some of which went to his niece, Grace Arents. It was Arents who turned Ginter’s Lakeside Wheel Club into, first, a progressive farm known as Bloemendaal, then the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
Because of ongoing Covid-19 precautions, and Garden management’s desire to adhere to Virginia standards, admission and all events require advance purchase online, with customers choosing their arrival time.
The Garden is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond. The phone number is 804-262-9887. For a complete listing of requirements and events, visit this website https://www.lewisginter.org/
Photo by Tom Hennessy