I chose to show you this shot from the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond because it's sunny and hot here and this looks so refreshing, don't ya think? And because although the forecast was for cloudy all day, the photographer's first choice, the sun was blazing away, ruining all the shots in the open. So shade it is.
Despite the fact that Richmond is my hometown, this was my first visit to what we used to call Ginter Park in decades and my overall assessment is WOW and why don't we have something this terrific in the D.C. area? Why indeed. Is it because the gardens in D.C. are public and thus underfunded, while Ginter charges 9 bucks and therefore has enough money? That discussion will be continued but for now I'll just report that it's huge, expertly designed, installed and maintained, and modern enough to reflect the kinds of plant choices we're making these days. There's the old formal rose garden as a historical artifact of garden taste, but the lake, the wetland garden, the butterfly garden, the perennial garden - they're all very up-to-date and gorgeous.
So now's the time to explain the A- grade I give the garden, and maybe it's just my crankiness as a traveler -- after all, I was over 100 miles from home! But remember how the sun was blazing all day? Imagine walking the 40 acres on a hot day and the only source of water is near the entrance. There are other buildings, but they have nothing for the dry of throat. People, this is the South and we need liquid replenishment.
My other gripe is that although the park is only two short turns from Interstate 95, you'd never know it from the signage, of which there's none. Unlike the very tourist-oriented D.C., Richmond is still provincial enough to ignore their out-of-towner visitors. And don't count on getting helpful directions from anyone. A gas station employee told me to "Just turn up yonder and it'll get you there." I was happy to take my car with the "Don't Blame Me; I voted Democratic" bumper sticker on it and hightail it back to Maryland.