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Visiting Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

This past weekend I was in Richmond, VA for a friend’s wedding. I debated on what to do Sunday morning – I had a lot of options. I settled on Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens since let’s face it – I’m nuts about flowers.


I saw that they opened early on Sunday mornings so I arrived by 8:15 am.  This was the second best decision I’ve made in the last month. It was me and many 4-5 other people in the gardens. I was specifically interested in visiting the butterfly exhibit. That opened at 9 am so I wandered around until I could enter that facility.  I had a cute little dragonfly that posed for me. I was able to get fairly close and get a series of shots so I could build a composite (stacking). After I talked with him for awhile I saw a monarch. It, too, stayed in one spot allowing me to photograph it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as successful with those photos. I must have been shaking as many were out of focus.




Flower and Butterflies

Up close and person with the dragonfly

After my modeling sessions with those two I moved towards the butterfly exhibit. It was hard to not get distracted by the beautiful gardens. They layout is wonderful – always something new to see around each corner. I stopped for a few photos since there were no people to be seen. From photos I’ve seen – that seems to be rare.

Flower and Butterflies

Pretty area walking towards the butterfly exhibit



And finally the butterflies. What wonderful little creatures. They flit and flutter and look like they are flying drunk. In exhibits like these you have to be very careful. They land everywhere – floors, walls, your head and sometimes your backside (yep!). You need to be careful where you step so as not to injure them. I think I was able to photograph 10-12 different types. I don’t know all of their names but did try to learn them.  I have added a few below. I was in there long enough for sweat to start dripping into my eyes. I probably looked like a hot mess when I left that room.

Flower and Butterflies Flower and Butterflies

Flower and Butterflies Flower and Butterflies

Flower and Butterflies The children’s garden is most impressive. It is large with a big tree house, splash pad, sand lot, and other activities. Of course I explored it all. They had some big and beautiful sunflowers there that were just about ready to die. At least one was standing tall (too tall really because it was hard to photograph) and I spent time taking its picture. I found some others a little later on that were more my size.



Flower and Butterflies

Hello, Sunshine

I didn’t take a ton of flower photos during my trip. I tried to spend some time in peace and quiet, really taking in the sights. I had some reflecting to do. A decision I wanted to make.  Being in such a beautiful spot really helped with all of those things.

Flower and Butterflies

Loved this statue


The price of admission for adults is $13. Considering the size of the garden and the butterfly exhibit – I’d say that’s a bargain.  If you plan on visiting I do recommend going first thing in the morning. Beating the crowds is always good and you’ll really be able to enjoy the gardens.

Go visit the rest of my photos. Please note that prints are available of all photos. If you’re interested in one, let me know.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens


Exploring Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Ellanor C. Lawrence park has been on my list for quite some time. It happens to be in a location that is very difficult to get to after work so I had to find time on a weekend. Yesterday I had a couple of hours so headed out to explore this place. I had planned on showing up and walking one of the hiking trails. Needless to say I didn’t make it far on any trail because the pond and creek were so awesome. I spent a lot of time taking photos.


The Pond

I imagine there is a lot more to see than what I found. I know there is a visitor center and possibly more trails up there. I parked at the pond area and immediately looked for dragonflies. The unfortunate part of my day is that my lens was acting funny. I think there is something wrong with it and it won’t focus when zoomed in on something. That’s a problem with insects. I had to use manual focus and that was a drag. I was able to get a couple of decent shots but nothing spectacular.


Blue Dragonfly


Golden Wings

Just past the pond is a creek. It is so pretty and shallow. Unfortunately it was sunny so any long exposure shots were kind of crummy. Plus I really feel that the quality of my photos is lacking due to the lens issue. I waded around and tried to capture how pretty it was though. While standing in the water a green heron popped by and was catching things in the water. I sneaked over to where he was and he let me stand there and take photos of him. It was pretty cool. He was only about 8 feet away from me.

camera setup

Creek – My tripod set up and waiting for me


The Green Heron

I did roam on one of the trails. I didn’t go too far so I’ll have to go back and see if they are any good – maybe when I am able to run again.


This bridge leads to some trails

I honestly could have spent a lot longer there taking photos. I highly recommend this spot if you have curious children. They will love looking for turtles, birds, dragonflies, and wandering around the pond. There are plenty places to sit and have lunch as well. And the best part was that it wasn’t overly busy. I thought it might be since the weather was so nice yesterday but honestly, I had many of the spots to myself.


Turtles everywhere!

Exploring the United States National Arboretum

A lot of time has passed since I last visited the National Arboretum. I remember taking my mom there ages go when my daughter was little. I had some free time the other day so I decided to go explore.

One of the first things you see when you arrive and drive through the arboretum are the large columns. These are original columns from the Capitol building. They removed them when they redid the facade and they ended up at the arboretum. They are quite impressive. When I was there a photographer was conducting a photoshoot.


Photoshoot at the Columns

It was cool to see it all reflected (if only there had been more water). From the columns I wandered over to a meadow-like area. It was full of Rosinweed and bees. I had a grand time trying to capture everything. I only had my wide angle lens but did the best I could capturing dragonflies and butterflies in addition to the bees. There was a time when I would have been scared to walk through that area fearing I would get stung. Now I know that bees just want to fly from flower to flower so I leave them alone and they ignore me. I was able to shoot this dragonfly who looks like he’s turning his head to smile at me.


Dragonfly giving me a smile

I eventually made my way to the Bonsai area (photos still on my card). The Bonsai trees are absolutely amazing. The work that has been done on them is fascinating. Some have been in the works since the late 1800s. I can’t keep an orchid alive for 5 months…. Outside of the Bonsai area is the flower garden. I could have stayed there for hours attempting to capture the beauty. I had some goals in mind and wanted to do some stacking. I can’t say I was hugely successful as I didn’t bring my tripod. But I did get some flowers that I think are beautiful.

Pink Flower

I wish I knew the name of this pretty flower

Illuminated White Flower

I like how the petals are illuminated

I was so enraptured by their beauty that I failed to investigate their names. The garden has sections for dying, perfumes, and medicinal. They also have a whole section of chili peppers. I don’t mean a small section. I mean maybe 30-40 different kinds of peppers. I wanted to taste some of them.

After I had explored the flowers I decided to drive over to the Asian area of the arboretum. Since I had failed to bring a snack with me I was getting fairly hungry at this point. But I soldiered on so I could get some more shots. There is an area that leads you out of the arboretum and out to Anacostia River. That was a great spot for finding dragonflies. It also meant I had to walk all the way back up to the parking lot. I did that but not before finding this pagoda.


The Pagoda

I could have spent a lot longer at the arboretum but hunger won out. There is a lot more for me to photograph so I will have to make a return trip. Perhaps in the fall with the leaves in color. If you love nature or flowers and make a trip to Washington DC I highly recommend a visit. Also, it is free unlike a lot of arboretums in the USA.

Edited - Bee on Rosinweed