Friday, August 16: After I tear myself away from the orchid garden in the Conservatory of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, I walk outside to take a stroll around the extensive grounds. I first see the Robins Visitors Center across the Fountain Garden.
Asian Valley celebrates the sacredness of nature with East Asian plants, rocks and water cascades.
The West Island Garden is a wetland garden with a focus on native species and carnivorous pitcher plants.
The Flagler Garden and the Woodland Walk have winding paths featuring a rich palette of perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs.
The Children’s area has a tree house, a children’s garden, a farm garden and an international village.
The Louise Cochrane Rose Garden has more than 1,800 roses selected for fragrance, rebloom and disease resistance.
By this time, I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and I promised my father I’d be at his house in Yorktown by 5:00, so I head out of the beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, promising myself to return here on a cool fall day.
Friday, August 16: After leaving the butterfly exhibit, I explore the rest of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden‘s Conservatory, including succulents, palms and orchids, along with the little gingerbread house that sits in their midst. Well, it’s not really made of gingerbread, but it sure looks like it is. 🙂
After my time in the Conservatory (I always think of the game of Clue when I hear that word: “I think it was Mr. Green in the Conservatory with the lead pipe”), I head outdoors to explore some of the rest of the gardens….
Friday, August 16: This afternoon, before heading to Yorktown to visit my father, I stop to explore the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
Lewis Ginter (1824-1897) was a prominent businessman, army officer, and philanthropist in Richmond. He had a number of business careers, making and losing fortunes several times over, finally amassing great wealth in the tobacco industry. He helped develop many civic and business interests throughout Richmond, including the Jefferson Hotel. Major Ginter brought this property inf 1884 and built the Lakeside Wheel Club here as a destination for Richmond bicyclist.
I first head through the visitor’s center and across the Four Seasons Garden, the Healing Garden and the Fountain Garden, on my way to the Conservatory.
Sixteen years after Major Ginter’s death, his niece Grace Arents purchased the abandoned clubhouse from her uncle’s estate. She remodeled the structure, added a second floor and opened a convalescent home for sick children. Later, when there was no more need for that, Ms. Arents developed gardens on the grounds and named the property Bloemendaal (“Valley of Flowers”) to honor her Dutch ancestors.
When Ms. Arents died in 1926, she bequeathed life rights to her friend and companion Mary Garland Smith, who lived with her, with the stipulation that upon Ms. Smith’s death, Bloemendaal would become the property of the City of Richmond to form a botanical garden named after her late uncle. Mary Garland Smith died in 1968 at the age of 102. The property transferred to the City of Richmond, and after languishing for over a decade, the gardens opened its doors to the public in 1987. (Information from the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden brochure)
Inside the Conservatory is a Classical Palm House, tropical orchid wing and themed floral displays. At the north end of the conservatory is the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, which will be at the garden until October 13, 2013.
Before entering into the Butterfly garden, we must step into a middle room where we must leave bags behind, as butterflies like to hitchhike on large objects. On the way out, we must stop in the room again and be inspected by a staff member, to make sure we’re not unwittingly carrying any butterflies on our clothing.
After enjoying the butterflies fluttering all about and lighting on pretty flowers, I leave the exhibit and head into the orchid garden…..
Friday, August 16: I’ve written about Richmond’s Fan District before (richmond’s fan district), and I don’t want to repeat myself, but I’ll just say it’s one of the cutest neighborhoods ever. I used to live in the Fan, and my daughter lives there now, and I have to say I’m quite envious. Whenever I can take the time to make the 2+ hour drive from northern Virginia, I make it a point to escape to the city I still love.
After walking along the Canal Walk and through Shockoe Slip, I’m awfully hungry so I stop in at a restaurant in the Fan where Sarah and I have eaten before, Sticky Rice. Sticky Rice is a Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar, and like many corner bars and restaurants in the Fan, it is a bustling place frequented by students of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and local residents. I don’t actually see any Japanese people either working or eating here. It also has a warm and cozy atmosphere, especially on what is fast becoming a cloudy and dreary day. (Sticky Rice)
I order the Crunchy Shrimp Roll, which is Tempura-fried shrimp with avocado, cucumbers, tobiko and spicy sauce.
After eating this, I’m still a little hungry, so I order the starter, which I obviously should have started with: Spring Rolls filled with rice noodles, carrots, red peppers, cilantro, basil and mint. Served with a peanut sauce for dipping. Served fresh, not fried.
Then I go outside to explore the neighborhood surrounding Sticky Rice, which is on West Main Street. I love the pretty row houses, some painted in pastel colors and some with welcoming front porches adorned with potted plants, hanging plants, elaborate gardens, wicker chairs, porch swings, flags or picket fences.
I find a little street art too, but this is near Hollywood Cemetery, just outside the Fan.
It’s looking like it might rain, but I’m determined to go to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, so I get in my car and use my new iPhone to tell me the directions. Sarah taught me how to do this while we were in Charlottesville; after all, I’m just getting with the modern age where the high technology of smart phones is involved.
Friday, August 16: After visiting Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, I venture down to Richmond’s waterfront to check out the Canal Walk. I used to live in Richmond some 26 years ago, and I frequented the area known as Shockoe Slip, but there was never any Canal Walk at that time. At that time it was all just a rather ramshackle industrial area.
I think it’s fun, as I settle back into life in America, for me to take periodic trips down memory lane: to revisit some of the places I’ve been before and note how they’ve changed. I also know that for years, before living and working abroad in Korea and Oman, I’d taken what America had to offer for granted. Now I plan to rediscover the little historical and natural gems with a fresh view.
From a brochure prepared by venture richmond, I find that in the mid-19th century, Richmond’s waterfront bustled with business and trade, workers and travelers, hotels, saloons and tobacco warehouses. Along the canals, barges were towed by teams of horses and mules. Batteaux for carrying freight plied the river and the canal around the rapids, and passenger boats, called “packets,” left for Lynchburg every other day.
Richmond has now restored its historic canals and has created a pedestrian path along them. Along the riverfront are the sites of Indian trade routes and of early Colonial settlements. Tredegar Iron Works buildings have been restored, and the remains of bridges burned when the Confederates evacuated the city still stand. Tobacco warehouses, electric trolleys, and an early African-American church have all left their mark. Their stories, and many others, are now told along the Canal Walk.
After centuries of periodic flooding by the James River, development was greatly stimulated by the building of Richmond’s James River Flood Wall in 1995. Ironically, the next flooding disaster came not from the river, but from Hurricane Gaston which brought extensive local tributary flooding along the basin of Shockoe Creek and did extensive damage to the area in 2004, with businesses being shut down and many buildings condemned.
The wall shows the heights the river has reached during various storms. Here are the flood marks, from the bottom up: Hurricane Camille 1969, Juan 1985, Agnes 1972, and Historical (Unknown) at the top: 1771.
When I lived in Richmond, I worked at SunTrust Bank, which was at that time called Crestar Bank. You can almost see my old office in this picture, as I was on one of the top floors.
Shockoe Slip earned its unusual name from the creek that once flowed through it. Shacquohocan was the Indian word for the large, flat stones at the mouth of the creek, and “slip” refers to the area’s position on the canal basin where boats loaded their cargo.
Founded as a small trading post by William Byrd in the early 1600’s, Shockoe Slip was the commercial center of Richmond and most of the western part of the state. A young George Washington surveyed The Kanawha Canal that ran west and became the super waterway for goods until the Civil War.
Shockoe Slip literally rose out of the ashes after retreating Confederate troops burned most of the downtown. Railroads and highways replaced the canals and waterways as major commercial transportation routes over the next century.
Once an old tobacco warehouse, the Tobacco Company Restaurant has been a mainstay of Shockoe Slip for 30 years. I used to eat here quite frequently when I worked in Richmond.
Shockoe Slip has been slowly restored since the early 1970s, and it has a distinctly European flavor with its Italianate brick and iron front buildings and a Renaissance-style fountain. Now the area is a fashionable shopping district with apparel stores, galleries, restaurants and hotels (Historic Shockoe Slip).
The Urban Farmhouse Market & Café was founded in 2010 with a mission in mind: Bring the farm to the city and suburbs and provide area residents with local, wholesome food in a warm, rustic environment (The Farmhouse Story). This seems to be all the rage in America now, with organic markets springing up everywhere I look.
It’s nice to see that Richmond is going through an urban renewal, like pockets in many cities throughout the U.S. Richmond is one of my favorite towns in Virginia and I hope to see it prosper. 🙂
Friday, August 16: Hollywood Cemetery is a big sprawling 130-acre cemetery at 412 South Cherry Street in Richmond, Virginia. Its name, “Hollywood,” comes from the holly trees dotting the hills of the property.
Sign to Hollywood Cemetery
The chapel at Hollywood Cemetery
Hollywood Cemetery was designed in 1847 in a “rural” style, flouting the grid-like monotony of older cemeteries. Its paths wind over hills and through valleys, and beneath stately old trees. The first grave was sold in 1849, but some of its residents were born as early as 1700 and were moved from other cemeteries threatened by urban development.
Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slideshow.
The cemetery looks over the James River, which for centuries has carried water from the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains to create the Tidewater of Virginia.
It is the resting place for some big names: two United States Presidents, James Monroe (5th President) and John Tyler (10th President), as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 25 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in the country; these include George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart.
John Tyler (10th U.S. President) is buried here
James Monroe (5th US President) is buried here.
Andrew Jackson, President of the Confederacy, is buried here
I’m always fascinated by the big elaborate mausoleums versus the small simple headstones that adorn the graves in cemeteries. I always wonder if the person who died planned the big memorial to himself or herself, or if family members decided on the size after the death of the person. I imagine it’s a combination of both.
Finally, I love reading the epitaphs on gravestones. Here’s one: “It will all be right in the morning.”
And another, inscribed on a little flag:
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7