Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides education to the community about the plant world, promotes the best in horticulture and landscape design, and works toward the goal of being a leader in botanical and applied horticultural research.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is on property that was Powhatan Indian hunting ground and was once owned by Patrick Henry.
Brief Timeline Of The Garden
1884 Lewis Ginter bought the property and built the Lakeside Wheel Club, a one-story structure that was later modified and incorporated into Bloemendaal House. The Wheel Club was a destination for Richmond bicyclists.
1897 Lewis Ginter died at the age of 73.
1913 Grace Arents, Ginter's niece, bought the abandoned Lakeside Wheel Club. She remodeled the structure, adding a second story, and made it a convalescent home for sick children from the city.
Later with the founding of the Instructional Visiting Nurses Association, the convalescent home was no longer needed and Arents moved into the house with her companion, Mary Garland Smith. She called it Bloemendaal in tribute to the Ginter family's Dutch ancestors and developed gardens on the property. Bloemendaal means "valley of flowers."
1926 Grace Arents died at the age of 78. She willed life-rights to Smith and stipulated after Smith's death the city of Richmond was to develop the property as a botanical garden honoring Lewis Ginter.
1968 Mary Garland Smith died at the age of 100. The city of Richmond took possession of the property. The city investigated plans for a botanical garden but none of them came to fruition and the property languished.
1981 A group of botanists, horticulturists and interested citizens banded together to form the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc. to uphold the will of Arents. A lawsuit ensued.
1984 An amicable settlement allowed the formation of the Garden. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was chartered by court decree.