Ginter Gardens

Hello there. Do you have lung cancer? Does anyone you know have lung cancer? Then you probably hate Lewis Ginter without ever having met him or knowing who he was.

On the other hand, if you love flowers and plants and gardens and landscaping, you might possibly forgive him.

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Hi there! This is Archon, your unpaid  😦  travel advisor again.  I know it’s already a bit late in the summer, but I have another place I recommend to go. Perhaps keep it in mind for next year. My wife, the gardening guru, and I, enjoyed a lovely day there a few years ago. I’m talking about the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, in north Richmond, Virginia.

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Born in 1824, of Dutch ancestry, originally from New York, Lewis Ginter moved to Richmond when he was 18. He made a considerable fortune, first through retail merchandising, then manufacturing, real estate development, and investments during the Civil War

After the war he got into tobacco and cigarettes. At one time he had a plant with 1000 young women rolling cigarettes. Other manufacturers started using mechanical rolling machines. Ginter designed and had built, even more efficient machines, making him more money, and producing more smokers.

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He was a philanthropist, donating money, often anonymously, to many charities. He created quite a development, outside of the north end of Richmond, for the privileged rich. He had a stream dammed to create a lake for paddling, and had trees and flowers planted. When bicycling became popular in the Gay 90s, he built a cycling club.

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The area around his property, Lakeside Estate was constantly beautified with the addition of flowers, trees and landscaping. When he died in 1897, he left it to a niece to continue his work. She renamed it Bloemendaal, Dutch for ‘Blooming Valley’, in honor of their heritage. She established a progressive farm, and built an orphanage for homeless Richmond children.

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Later she expanded the garden aspect and named it the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. It has six different garden types and areas, including a water garden, and a Japanese garden. It’s a beautiful place, and the sights and smells are enthralling.

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His (later, her) mansion is still standing. There is a magnificent Ginkgo tree, and an olive tree almost as big as an oak. Its huge branches are held together with steel cables to prevent it splitting. We were allowed a partial tour of the inside. I had a small, silent chuckle when the tour guide described the niece’s old age. In the year 2000, the word ‘slaves’ could still not be used, and even ‘servants’ apparently caused some consternation. She finally spluttered out, ‘the people who helped her’, all of whom I imagine were Negro.

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It’s quick and easy to get to, right off I-85. The entry fee is reasonable. Food and drink are available, or, you are allowed to bring your own and have a picnic. It’s a gorgeous, peaceful place to spend a day if you can get there. Click the link above to the Gardens’ website for hours of operation and maps, or access Wikipedia for Ginter Gardens – and post pictures after you get back.

Ginter 8  Stony Man’s younger brother

#496

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Never Surrender

This year, in this area of Ontario, there was a fuss going on a couple of weeks prior to Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.  I didn’t want to add it to my one-topic November 11 post, but I do want to rant about it, and find out your opinions, and how wide-spread it is.

Canada’s red poppy, a symbol of Remembrance Day, is under attack from pacifists pretending to be defence analysts.  In the run-up to Nov. 11, activists launched a campaign called, “I Remember For Peace,” that used a white poppy.

White is the color of surrender, and the white poppy was started by pacifist groups in Britain in the 1920s.  It’s been associated with the pacifist cause ever since.

One of the organizers of the campaign, claims that the red poppy worn by generations of Canadians glorifies war, while his poppy is for peace.  In my usual subtle, understated way, I say Bullshit!

The white poppy campaign was started by Ceasefire.ca, a project of the Rideau Institute, a small Ottawa lobby group which claims to be defence analysts, although they are consistently against any and every military purchase.

A newspaper columnist accused the main spokesman of the group of being a pacifist – not that there’s anything wrong with being one, just admit what you are.  He denied being a pacifist, and said that he would have taken up arms in 1939 – not to have resisted the Nazis, but to have fought for the communists in the Spanish Civil War.

He doesn’t like Canada spending on the military, he pushes the white pacifist poppy, and he would have fought for the Communists….what a winner. (Sarcasm strongly implied!)

The group claims to be against war all around the calendar, but the only time we hear from them is right around Remembrance Day.  Apparently the rest of the year is not controversial enough to get them the attention they crave.

They seem too dense and narrow-minded to realize that the red poppy is the sign of peace through the sacrifice of our veterans.  They could have chosen any other symbol of peace, but picked the white poppy with the tiny words, “I Remember For Peace” printed on the center button, because it denigrates the red poppy, and insults the efforts of our veterans.

I’m all for freedom of speech, even freedom of stupid speech, but this insulting behavior is so egregious, that I’m all for some woodshed time for some of these fools.  Has this little side-show reached your area??  Yes/No, where?  What do you feel about this rejection of peaceful, respectful values?  Could a valid point have been made another way, another day?