Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: l986-87
In the present climate of consolidation of the University's recent gains, the Committee
continues to deal with a large volume of business ranging from the fundamental to the trivial. We
have met approximately biweekly through the year.
Perhaps the most significant project before the Committee is the continuing effort to
rehabilitate the no man's land between Monroe and Newcomb Halls. Encouraged by the general
interest in the area, the University has engaged Mr. Barry Starke of Earth Design Associates to
prepare a plan. He has drawn up, and the Committee has approved, a design that incorporates the
Hume Fountain with a surrounding sunken seating area, seating walls that double as traffic control
elements, relandscaping of the roof of the Cavalier Room, and the provision of shade trees. The
challenge is now to seek funding for this ambitious and long overdue undertaking. In the same
general area, the Committee has dealt at length with the landscaping of Monroe Hall and its new
Several other major items begun in l985-86 have been completed this year or are very nearly
finished. The EDAW study of the Historic Grounds has been received by the Board of Visitors.
Recommendations from that report will guide the work of the Committee, although major
interventions must still be acted on specifically by the Committee and the Board. The Favretti
proposals for renovation of the Pavilion Gardens have been underwritten by the Garden Club of
Virginia. At an inspection this spring the representatives of the Club expressed their satisfaction
with the progress that had been made so far.
Major plantings have been undertaken in a number of places. Sixty-two new Sycamores
(Platanus occidentalis) have been added to the Massey Road parking lot, with funding supplied
jointly by Parking and Transportation and by the Committee. Nine White Ashes (Fraxinus
americana) were planted as street trees on Culbreth Road. Four White Oaks (Quercus alba) have
strengthened the plantings of the Alderman-Monroe quadrngle, confirming the precinct study of
this area. Finally, a memorial Princess Tree (Paulownia tomentosa) was planted on Founder's Day
in honor of Mr. Dumas Malone.
The Committee has approved two precinct studies pepared by the Planning Office of
Physical Plant. That for the Alderman-Monroe quadrangle, cited above, reflects the Committee's
judgement that this should be a formal space. The plan therefore does not conform to the EDAW
report. The other study is of the Alderman Road dormitories and entails a reorganization of the
internal spaces, walks, and plantings. The Committee has offered to fund the planting, provided
that the Housing Division undertakes the physical improvements. Following talks with Mr.
Doherty, we expect this project to move forward in the next year.
The Committe has been heavily involved in the review and revision of the proposed manual
of design standards being prepared by Physical Plant. The standards will cover most of the
elements of landscaping work, including walks, steps, railings, walls, light fixtures, curbs, gutters,
and many other items. We should like to commend especially the design, created by Mr.
Sensbach, for emergency telephones . It manages to combine the ostensibly antithetical attributes
of conspicuousness and unobtrusiveness with clean, functional modern design. The manual of
standards will be published this summer.
Another major landscaping project that has concerned the Committee this year is the
Replacement Hospital. The landscape plans have been revised and approved.
Many other smaller, but often no less significant, projects have come before the Committee.
They may simply be listed by title:
1. Redesign of the southwest entryway to Newcomb Hall.
2. Landscaping of the Elson Student Health Center.
3. Pruning and removal of plants at the Monroe Hill College.
4. Relocation of the McCormick Road traffic gates
5. Flood control at Hotel D.
6. Landscaping at 132 Emmet St.
7. Design of parking ticket dispensers.
8. Landscaping of MR-4.
9. Addition to Carr's Hill
10. Landscaping of the Weedon cemetery plot.
11. Landscaping of Phase II, Children's Rehabilitation Center.
12. Landscaping of the JAG School addition.
13. Relocation of dumpsters on the West Range.
14. Relocation of newspaper sales boxes.
15. Animal fence for Pavilion III.
16. Redesign of the Alderman Library wheelchair lift.
17. Alignment of walks at the Miller Center.
18. Redesign of the Alderman Library service entrance.
19. Redesign of the garden at Little Morea.
20. Impact of renovations at Thornton Hall.
21. Landscaping of MR-3.
22. Redesign of coal bunkers at Blue Ridge Hospital.
23. lignment of the new Observatory Hill water tank and pipeline.
24. Temporary landscaping of the Darden School parking.
25. Impact of renovations at the Jackson House.
26. Landscaping of the new Life Sciences Laboratories.
27. Design of steps at the School of Architecture.
28. Design of steps at Clinch Valley College.
29. Design of gates for the Miller Center.
30. Location of air conditioners for Cocke Hall.
31. Landscaping of the North Grounds Recreation Center.
32. Design of railings for the Chapel steps and window wells.
33. Landscaping of the Alderman Rd.-McCormick Rd. corner.
A few continuing problems might be noted for the future. The siting of satellite antennae is
a matter of concern. The problem can be illustrated by the case of the interceptor for Soviet
television. The chosen location was supposed to have a minimal impact on the surrounding forest
on Observatory Hill, but the requests for the cutting of trees expanded enormously as soon as the
disk was in place. The Committee anticipates that more installations will be required and is
concerned about their impact on the environment. Perhaps this is a matter for the Master
Still unresolved is the question of the penalties to be assessed against the owner of the
University Motel for his trespass in cutting trees near his property. A resurvey of the property
line indicates that the nearest of the trees was at least four feet within the University's boundary.
Damage estimates have been obtained, and the matter now rests with the Legal Advisor.
The question of adequate street lighting remains a thorny issue. The Hospital Drive
problem has been dealt with for the moment by the trial installation of metal halide bulbs in the
standard Edgewater fixtures. Several other problem areas have been addressed, and additional
lighting has been approved for Brooks Hall and for the Copeley Hill-North Grounds pathway.
However we anticipate an almost insatiable demand for more lighting, a problem that must be
wrestled with in the future.
Finally, the Committee undertook its annual tour of inspection of Blandy Farm on June 8th.
The establishment appears to be prospering under the directorship of Mr. Ed Connor. A number
of changes have taken place since the last visit by the Committee. Lord Fairfax Community
College has ceased its operation of the program of agricultural education. The stock has been
sold, and the buildings revert to the University. The commercial lease of half the proprty has been
renewed at a much more favorable rate.
A new nursery has been established, a portion of which will be developed as a shade house.
This addition will make it possible to rear plants on a more extensive scale for replacements, for
exchange, and for planting on the central Grounds.
A draft policy for the development of the collections has been drawn up. Native species
will have first priority, followed by related exotics and then exemplary cultivars. This policy is
consistent with the mission of the arboretum as an institution for research, teaching, and public
Several new projects are in train:
1. A public information kiosk at the main entrance.
2. A new entryway from U.S. 250 with proper lighting and signage.
3. A redesign of the boxwood terrace with access across Lake Georgette by bridge.
4. A circulation route for the public via a circular drive and a system of parking spaces and
5. A set of precinct studies to flesh out the details of the existing master plan.
In closing this report the Committee would like to pay tribute to Mr. Larry G. Steward,
who has served as the Executive Secretary of the Committee with such distinction for so many
years. The Committee regrets his departuere and wishes him well in his new career. At the same
time we welcome his successor, Mr. Jeffrey Ertel. We look forward to working with him in the
J. J. Murray, Chairman