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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sees 4,500 visitors on Labor Day as summer nears its end

  • October 27, 2022

Gul Khairi and Ibrahim Safi and their daughters Somayah Safi, age 7, and Amanah Safi, age 11 months, celebrated Labor Day with a picnic at Bryan Park in Richmond, Va., Monday, September 5, 2022. The couple grilled barbecue kebab. Video by Alexa Welch Edlund/Times-Dispatch

With the summer coming to an end, thousands of people in the Richmond area spent Monday enjoying the outdoors and venues with friends and family for the Labor Day holiday.

“Today is park day,” said Erika Rivers as she, her husband, Keith, and 8-year-old daughter Keirra waited to enter the butterfly exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. “We started at Libby Hill Park, then went to lunch and, now, we’re here.”

Keith Rivers said the family chose to visit the garden Monday as it was offering free entry to visitors as part of the Genworth Free Community Day observance. He said they had visited before and were eager to see how things have changed in the butterfly exhibit since then.

“There’s a lot of flora,” he said as he took out his phone to show photos of flowers he had taken during their visit. “I don’t know what they are, but they’re pretty.”

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Elsewhere at the garden, longtime friends Cathy Thompson and Victor Pone were also trying to identify a blue flower that seemed to resemble a daisy. They sought out someone on staff who could tell them.

Speaking to a news reporter instead, they talked about how they both hadn’t visited the botanical garden in many years, but thought it would make for a nice holiday outing and an opportunity to find inspiration for their respective gardens at home.

“I love the outdoors,” said Pone, who has a large garden and pond in his backyard with approximately 300

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