time of year, Virginia is home to 100 miles of holiday
lights, and two botanical gardens are part of those
you need an escape from too much holiday hoopla, spend a
quiet afternoon exploring the late fall and early winter
gardens at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk and Lewis
Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.
summer flowers fade, seasonal beauties like ornamental
grasses and hollies gear up for weeks of eye-catching
sasanqua camellias are especially beautiful now,"
says Les Parks, curator of herbaceous plants at Norfolk
addition to camellias, Mother Nature decorates the
landscape with interesting barks, berries, seed pods and
grasses, adds Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturist at
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
hollies put on a spectacular show, especially Winter
Gold, a deciduous holly with a peachy-salmon colored
berry," she says.
grasses add color, interest and movement in winter ó
and some can provide habitat and food for wildlife such
as birds, another enjoyable aspect of a winter
heading home, you can also see the botanical gardensí
evening light shows.
Botanical Gardenís Dominion Garden of Lights invites
you to drive through a winter wonderland where more than
a million lights celebrate the four seasons of life.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardenís walk-through Dominion
GardenFest of Lights has more than 500,000 lights in
plants to see
plants you can see in the botanical gardens, says Les
and gold chrysanthemum, (Ajania pacifica, formerly
Chrysanthemum pacificum). Silver and gold chrysanthemum
is grown primarily for its attractive silver and green
foliage, which persists year-round, though it does die
down some in winter. Clusters of golden yellow flowers
open, mixing well with the colors of fall.
bluestar, Arkansas bluestar, or Amsonia hubrichtii.
Threadleaf bluestar is another perennial grown primarily
for its foliage, which is feathery and fern-like. By the
first of November the normally green foliage begins
changing to a beautiful golden yellow, and is one of the
few perennials famous for fall foliage color. The plant
flowers in spring with small star-like, pale blue
tree, or Arbutus unedo. This unusual tree (really a
large shrub) has the unique trait of blooming and
fruiting at the same time. Clusters of small, bell-like,
white flowers dangle from the branches. The fruit, which
was produced from last yearís flowers, starts off
green, turns yellow, then orange, and finally red, and
somewhat resembles a round strawberry.
camellia, or Camellia sasanqua. This species of camellia
and its hybrids begin blooming in October, peak in late
November and often last well into December, depending on
the weather. The individual flowers are smaller and less
ornate than the more familiar, later-blooming Camellia
holly, or Ilex verticillata. Unlike most hollies, this
native is not evergreen, but seeing its dark bare
branches dripping with red fruit in late fall and winter
is a beautiful sight. Winterberry comes in male and
female forms, with the red fruit only occurring on the
grasses. There are many garden-worthy species and
cultivars of ornamental grass. Even though they are
beginning the process of dying back for the season, fall
is their time to shine. It is now when their structure,
texture and form play a stronger role in the landscape.
Donít be tempted to cut them back too early; they
should be allowed to stay until mid-winter.