People of color, people of diverse circumstance, faiths, backgrounds, health and abilities, gender identity and orientation, are under-represented in our organization because of something our garden was or is—something it once said or did—something it is saying or doing now. The plant collections we teach and the designed landscapes we celebrate call us to use the common ground of the garden to be the common ground for our community, not only in how we are stewarding the natural world, but how we learn to hear, respect, and celebrate all our neighbors. In becoming a more emotionally intelligent organization, all possible ways forward are marked by peril and promise, but the work—essential, transformational, hopeful—is not optional. 


S. Tippett, C. Schapiro, D. Chavis, K. Dove, B. Monroe, and K. Thoroman, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Henrico, Virginia