Get ready to see Maymont’s Japanese Garden in a brand-new light.
For two weeks during the peak of fall colors, Maymont’s Japanese Garden will light up at night for Garden Glow.
“On a trip to Japan, I visited one of their gardens magnificently illuminated at night. I was taken with the concept and the idea of bringing it home to Maymont,” said Peggy Singlemann, Maymont’s director of park operations and horticulture.
Garden Glow will run nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Nov. 11 .
Expect to see the waterfall, moon bridge and small island illuminated with soft, multicolored lights. There will be candlelit lanterns and two giant bamboo sculptures created by members of Ikebana of Richmond. Maymont has hired an outside creative firm to do the lighting.
The family-friendly evenings will start at the Robins Nature & Visitor Center with a festive atmosphere celebrating Japanese culture.
The entertainment will vary. One night will have taiko drumming by River City Taiko; another will feature a musical performance on a koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. There will be hands-on activities such as fan-making, calligraphy, origami and bonsai demonstrations. Japanese beer and sake will be for sale, and food trucks will be on-site.
Visitors, who will need to reserve a time to tour the Japanese Garden, will be transported there on golf carts. There will be little vignettes of lights along the way.
“Maymont is so special during the day. At night, it takes on a special, enchanting atmosphere,” Singlemann said.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden hosted a Toro Nagashi Japanese Floating Lantern Evening in August that quickly sold out. Because of popular demand, the garden reprised the event for another night so that members could experience it. Tickets were limited to 1,000 each night.
“I think people are looking for opportunities to get outside. To do that in the evening adds something a little special as well,” said Beth Monroe, a spokeswoman for Lewis Ginter .
“Some of the most beautiful times are sunrise and sunset, especially for photographers. It’s such a beautiful time,” Monroe added.
In the summer, Flowers After 5 are the most visited times at Lewis Ginter, when it stays open late. In the winter, it’s GardenFest of Lights, which typically draws 80,000 to 90,000 per season.
To keep Maymont open and free to the public, the Maymont Foundation must raise more than $3 million every year, which is roughly 91 percent of its operating budget.
“It costs $10,000 per day to keep Maymont open with the animals and upkeep,” Singlemann said.
Programs like Garden Glow contribute to that fund.
Organizers are hoping to see 650 visitors on weeknights and 2,000 to 3,000 on the weekends.
“With the fall leaves on the trees and the garden glowing with light, it’s going to be a magical night,” Singlemann said.