I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. It’s one of the nation’s best botanical gardens and is absolutely gorgeous. I love the displays they create during the Christmas season, but I also love seeing all of the flowers during the spring and summer. It’s a great place to take your camera and capture the blooms and also pick up some gardening ideas along the way.
Last summer, Ron and I visited on what had to be the hottest day of June, but I really enjoyed seeing all of the pretty flowers and even felt inspired for my own gardening projects. They have tons of individual gardens over 50 acres, all with their own mini themes. I really like the rose garden, even though roses are a pain to grow, and the Grace Arents Victorian Garden has tulips, so of course that’s a favorite. I also really like the children’s garden and the central garden. The Woodland Walk is also nice, but it’s most green with very little in the way of bright foliage.
In addition to flowers and plants, Lewis Ginter also has a beautiful conservatory that’s mostly glass. It features tropical plants and is the home of the “Butterflies Live!” display. The display allows you to walk among tons of flying butterflies of all different colors and styles. It’s definitely a do-not-miss during your visit. There’s also a water play area near the children’s garden at Lewis Ginter so if you visit with kids in tow, they’ll definitely count that among the do-not-miss list as well.
Lewis Ginter is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays June to August. It’s closed only three days out of the year–Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas. The area is wheelchair friendly and offers several dining options as well as a gift shop. Adult admission is $13, $11 for seniors and $10 with a military I.D.; children 3-12 are $8 and children under 3 are free. For more information, visit the Lewis Ginter website. And definitely bring a camera!