We were excited to visit here, because we always look for botanical gardens whenever we visit a new city and have been pleasantly surprised by most of them. While this is a nice privately owned, for profit garden with an eclectic mix of plants and landscaping, it seems sort of happenstance, from the layout to the mishmash of plant species arranged without a clear, cohesive theme.
There is a large children’s park area with things to interact with and climb on, through, and under. The large greenhouse has three wings featuring different ecosystems, but the most impressive to me was the orchid wing, which was really full, with blooming and fragrant orchids everywhere.
As we found in all areas of the garden, they had fashioned recycled plastic bottles, bags, bubble wrap, etc. into fanciful sea creatures, which were hung without notice or discernible purpose around trees and plants. Inside the greenhouse, there was a section devoted to a huge Christmas tree, made almost entirely of silk and plastic flowers!?! (Just plain weird, in the middle of a botanical garden greenhouse. . . )
One of the most unique areas of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is the “Island Garden”, which consists of an island in the middle of a smallish pond, connected to the “mainland” by decks and curved bridges. It is pretty with loads of pitcher plants all around. There are all different sizes and varieties. Even in early December in Virginia, many of them seemed to be thriving.
Overall, this garden is nice, but lacking in a botanical focus and form. It is a pretty place to spend the afternoon, but is truly mostly for kids and social gatherings, it seems. At $12.00 per adult admission, it is a little over-priced.