Earlier this month I was able to take a bus trip to Richmond with many people I work with at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. There were also several members from the board of directors along, and our mission was to visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Maymont Park. Our group had representatives from each department, not just gardeners, and our goal was to get ideas, to see how the two other entities were run, and to meet our counterparts. We were treated most graciously and had a great and full day.
This was my third trip to Lewis Ginter, but my first time looking at it through the eyes of a public garden employee. A guest's first experience with Ginter happens at the impressive Robins Visitor's Center (named for the pharmaceutical family that brought you flea collars, Chap Stick and the Dalkon Shield). Once through the building there is a series of courtyards and gardens flanked by the education and library complex and that lead to the conservatory, yet more impressive structures.
As one would expect, the conservatory contains many tropical plants and a large orchid collection, but it also has a seasonal display wing, and on our visit there was a tropical butterfly exhibit.
View from the Rose Garden
Flager Pavillion and Perennial Garden
Red Abyssinian Banana (Ensete maurelii) and 'Rustic Orange' Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) in the Children's Garden
Giant Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia gigantea)
From my previous visits to Ginter, I knew to look forward to their collection of Sarracenia (pitcher plants). The first picture is S. alata and some type of wasp, who I thought was busy looking to make an easy meal from some struggling, less careful insect, or maybe it was also drawn in by whatever attracted the other creatures .
After being humbled by the state of Lewis Ginter's buildings compared to where I work, I expected to leave feeling inadequate, but I didn't. Their gardens are beautiful, but no more so than the ones I work in, and of the two I rather be envious of their bricks, mortar, steel and glass than their gardens.
(Though most of the pictures in my Lewis Ginter set are in this post, you can see the complete collection here.)