As the sun sets and the temperature quickly drops, more than half a million lights illuminate the grounds at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights is a holiday tradition at the garden in Richmond, Virginia.
In this year’s “East Meets West” theme, familiar plants stand next to those from across the world. They are placed to juxtapose, yet harmonize, with each other.
Thousands of lights adorning hedges and trees greet visitors once they enter the garden. From there, the visitors can choose to walk along the path, go through a dragon tunnel of lights (pictured), and cross Sydnor Lake via the glowing Lotus Bridge.
Framed by the “East Meets West” theme, this year’s GardenFest features a tunnel of lights, moongate, sea serpent, peacock (pictured), and more. Dinner is served at a teahouse at the end of a bamboo-lined path that goes over a bubbling stream.
Other features include a brightly lit garden maze and tree house for the kids, as well as a firepit.
A short walk away from the entrance is the conservatory, where greenery surrounds a central fountain. A man in a Christmas hat answers questions about the hundreds of plants housed inside.
The back room houses a toy train track snaking around miniature Japanese tea houses. A large painting of Mt. Fuji sets the stage for this exhibit. Standing in front of the exhibit, welcoming visitors, is a tall, festively decorated Christmas tree.
Low lighting enhances the calm atmosphere of the left room of the conservatory. White, pink, and purple flowers cover the ground, while an enormous chandelier made of 2,500 origami paper cranes hangs above. An arched arbor is decorated with strands of colorful origami cranes and glowing paper lanterns.
Visitors walking along the path can read the story of The Empty Pot, a children’s story about a small boy who tries to grow a plant from a seed given to him by the Emperor. A model of the inside of a teahouse stands at the end of the path, leaving visitors to imagine their own tea ceremony in the peaceful garden.
The garden hopes to inspire its visitors, whether they are “traveling east from Short Pump or Japan, or traveling west from Varina or Turkey.”
The event goes on every evening from 5-10 p.m. until January 7th.