Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1985-86
This academic year has seen a large volume of business come before the Committee. Meetings have been
held twice each month. Many of the projects that the Committee has worked on are of major significance for the
future of the University.
In conjunction with the Historic Grounds Committee, Arboretum and Landscape has invested a significant
amount of time and effort in consultation on the EDAW study of the historic grounds, so that the final report
represents contributions from many people. The Committees have accepted the report as the basis for future
planning without endorsing all of the specific proposals. Individual recommendations will be reviewed by the
Arboretum and Landscape Committee before implementation.
The Committee has funded two major projects that should add to the amenity of the grounds. Through Mr.
Walker Cowen of the University Press, the Committee approached the Sprigg Lane Foundation with a proposal
to share the expense of carrying out a planting plan for Sprigg Lane. The plans had been prepared by Facilities
Planning, and the Foundation agreed to share half of the cost. The principal improvement is an avenue of
Kentucky Coffee Trees (Gymnocladus dioicus) lining the street.
The Committee has also provided funds for landscaping improvements on Alderman Road. It has joined
with Physical Plant in a project to place the utility lines underground, hereby making it possible to plant street
Several plantings of special significance have been made this year. Chief among them is the Hereford Ash
(Fraxinus americana) planted in honor of retiring President and Mrs. Hereford. Two memorial Sycamores
(Platanus occidentalis) presented by Mrs. Amanda Kane in honor of her late husband and father now flank the
entrance to Madison Hall. A Tartarian Maple (Acer tataricum) was added to the maple collection by Alpha Chi
Omega sorority to mark their fiftieth anniversary. An unusual collection of 36 trees has been presented to the
University in return for our hospitality to a touring group from the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.
During the year considerable progress was made on preparing a set of standards for acceptable landscaping
practice around the grounds. Specifications for such items as walks, railings, street furniture, bicycle racks, etc.
have been-prepared by Facilities Planning and reviewed and revised by the Committee. We hope that the
acceptance of these standards will reduce the time spent on detail in the future both by Physical Plant and the
The list of individual projects reviewed by the Committee is far too long for each item to be commented
upon. They are as follows:
1. Parking at the Rolm telephone building.
2. Relocation of the drive at Montebello.
3. Choice of benches for Nameless Field.
4. Parking at Birdwood.
5. Parking at the Rotunda.
6. Landscaping the Computer-aided Engineering Building.
7. Relocation of a walk northeast of the Rotunda.
8. Redesign of the entrance to the Outpatient Clinic.
9. Expansion of the Heating Plant.
10. Review of the Carr's Hill Garden.
11. Design of the Monroe Hall Courtyard.
12. Review of parking on Edgemont Road.
13. Landscaping of the new Life Sciences Laboratories.
14. Landscaping of the Halsey Hall renovation.
15. Siting of the satellite antenna for Russian Studies.
16. Siting of new electrical banks for Alderman Library.
17. Redesign of the rear entry to Pavilion III.
18. Negotiation of a contract for tree maintenance.
19. Review of future plans for the intersection of University Avenue and Emmett Street.
20. Siting of the chiller plant for the School of Engineering.
21. Landscaping of the addition to the JAG School.
22. Placement of memorial plaques in the cemetery.
23. Siting of electrical facilities for East Lawn.
24. Design of the Blue Ridge Hospital exercise area.
25. Repaving of the entrance to the old Medical School.
26. Landscaping of the proposed Materials Science Building.
27. Renovations of the Kappa Sigma and Sigma Nu houses.
28. Landscaping of the North Grounds Recreation Center.
29. Landscaping at the Miller Center.
30. Landscaping of Stacy Hall.
31. Landscaping of the Stores Warehouse.
32. Negotiation of a landscaping contract for small projects.
33. Placement of benches at the Stadium Road dormitories.
34. Design of the Alice McGivery Memorial Garden.
35. Design of emergency telephones.
36. Landscaping of the new Student Health Building.
37. Relocation of the McCormick Road traffic gates.
As we look to the future, one major project looms especially large. It is the landscaping of the space
between Newcomb and Monroe Hall. For many years the Committee has been concerned about this focal space
and has tried to develop a community interest in its development. With the building of the addition to Monroe
Hall and the development of the Monroe Hill College, the time is ripe for a major move. Professor Ruppel has
taken the initiative to assemble a group of interested people and has suggested that they be appointed as an
advisory group to meet with the Arboretum Committee during the planning stage. This project interlocks with
several other ongoing projects, e.g., the waterproofing and repaving at the south end of Newcomb Hall and the
development of landscaping plans for the new residential college. The Committee will be spending time, effort,
and funds on this area during the coming year.
From the events of the past year it is possible to foresee a few potential problems and conflicts that may
require attention in the future. Of special concern is triangular problem of safety, amenity, and economy, seen
most clearly in an exchange between the Committee and Dr. Sojka of the Security and General Safety
Committee. Dr. Sojka approached the Committee with a proposal to increase the illumination of Hospital Drive
by installing high-intensity
bulbs in the present Edgewater fixtures. In a previous survey of lighting on the grounds the Arboretum
Committee had noted Hospital Drive as an especially attractive example of the best in University lighting. The
Committee also noted with disapproval one or two fixtures that already contained high-intensity bulbs. An
alternative that could be acceptable to both groups would be the installation of more Edgewater fixtures, but at
an unreasonably high cost. The issue is unresolved. Facilities Planning has been asked to measure the light
intensities on Hospital Drive for comparison with accepted standards. Whatever the resolution, we may expect
this kind of question to arise again in the future.
Another source of concern to the Committee is the question of maintenance of plantings on the grounds.
Mr. Steward, the Assistant Director of Building and Grounds for Landscape, has a large backlog of work in the
pruning, removal, and replacement of plantings. He estimates the work at $65,000 to $80,000 more than his
budget includes for this kind of maintenance. The Committee is concerned both from the point of view of
amenity and safety. The very large judgement against the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for an accident involving
a falling limb emphasizes the need for more care in this department.
Finally, the Committee carried out its annual inspection of the University's Blandy Experimental Farm. The
Committee was pleased to see that Mr. Connor, the research director, has made great strides in both the care of
the Orland E. White Arboretum and in implementing an active research program. A moratorium on planting has
been declared until the mapping project has been completed. Fixed survey markers are in place and some 6200
plants have been mapped onto a computer base. Mr. Connor will work this summer with Mr. Pfaltz, who worked
out the mapping program for the grounds, to make the two mapping systems compatible.
In the development of the collections, priorities have been established for the addition of plants.
lst. Groups on which research is being conducted.
2nd. Species native to Virginia.
3rd. Species native to the S.E. United States.
4th. Exotic relatives of native plants.
The Committee approves of this policy. Problems continue with identification of specimens that have not been
labeled or cataloged properly. Mr. Connor would like to hire a systematic botanist to deal with the collection.
A strong group of researchers is developing around Messrs. Connor, Bowers, and Goodell of the
Department of Environmental Science. Several visiting scientists have added to the research effort, including a
group from Cornell University who are working on the gypsy moth, now threatening the area.
The Arboretum and Landscape Committee will continue to meet through the summer on an ad hoc basis to
deal with problems and reviews as the necessity arises.
J.J. Murray Jr., Chairman