Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1987-1988
Over the past year the Committee has continued to give its attention to a wide range of
business bearing on the landscaping and planting of the Grounds. We have met a little more often
than once a month to deal with these matters.
The project that continues to dominate our interest is the Monroe-Newcomb Plaza. We have
been concerned to organize the finances of the project, and to this end we have received much help
from several quarters. What we hope will be the final package was put together by Mr. Leonard
Sandridge. The Committee will supply $50,000 from the Seward Fund with other contributors as
University Sources $100,000
Physical Plant 40,000
Commerce School 10,000
Seward Fund 50,000
With this infusion of funds, we expect this project to move forward rapidly this summer.
Another major project now underway is the replacement of the Silver Maples (Acer
saccharinum) along University Avenue near the Lady Astor courts. Since many of these trees had
become dangerous from senescence and decay, we decided to undertake a phased removal and
replanting with Northern Red Oak (Quercus ruber), a more desirable and long lived species. The
initial phase will require the planting of eight trees, for which the Committee has allocated $4,200
from the Seward Fund. This species will eventually be planted at least as far up as Newcomb Road.
An extension of a continuing project will be undertaken in conjunction with the repaving of
that section of McCormick Road near Gilmer Hall. The Committe has long believed that the street
at that point is too wide for safety or for amenity. The approved plan will extend the dividing
islands to the point where the street narrows before reaching Alderman Road. As its share of the
cost of the project the Committee has allocated $4,000 from the Seward Fund for the purchase of
seven additional American Ashes (Fraxinus americana).
A final major expenditure from Seward funds was approved for planting inconjunction with
the proposed rebuilding of the pumping station at the foot of Massie Road. Ten American
Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) will be planted to fill out the avenue at the lower end of Massie
The Committee has approved some significant landscape renovations being undertaken by the
Housing Division. There willbe major changes in the grounds around Lile, Maupin, Dunnington,
and Webb to control erosion, repair and rationalize walks, improve access for the handicapped, and
enhance the plantings.
Special mention should be made of the memorial trees that have been planted during the past
year. At Bemiss House a specimen of Magnolia virginiana was planted by the President on
Founder's Day in memory of Walker Cowen, who was for many years a devoted member of the
Committee and Director of the University Press of Virginia. Two other individual memorial trees
were planted during the year, a Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) at the School of Architecture for
Professor Carlo Pelliccia and a Dogwood (Cornus florida) in the Spies Garden for Elizabeth Dean
Schuttee, a deceased member of the Law School Class of 1988.
Many other smaller projects and problems, often of considerable import, have been dealt with
during the year. Among them are:
1. Siting of temporary trailers during the renovation of the School of Engineering.
2. Emergency exits for the Cad/Cam Building.
3. Siting of a mechanical addition for University Hall.
4. Site plan for the Special Materials Handling Facility.
5. Planting plan for the Children's Rehabilitation Center.
6. Siting of the Child Care Center.
7. Planting plan for the Miller Center.
8. Fencing for the children's playground at the Blue Ridge Hospital.
9. Planting for the North Grounds-Copeley walkway.
10. Repairs to the terrace at Peabody Hall.
11. Landscaping for the new antenna for WTJU.
12. Landscaping for the Rugby Road fraternity houses.
13. Lighting for the Cabell Hall terraces.
14. Choice of stone for steps in the pavilion gardens.
15 Site plan for the Chemical Engineering Building.
16. Dumpster relocations for:
McCormick Road Dormitories.
Speech and Language Center.
17. Lighting for the steps at Carrs Hill.
18. Guidelines for landscaping projects.
19. Plans for the cemetery columbarium.
20. Siting for chillers at:
Monroe Hall (temporary).
21. Siting for a transformer at the Lady Astor courts.
22. Planting plan for the steps at McKim Hall.
23. Clearing brush at the Birdwood acid-rain collecting station.
24. Application of falcon silhouettes to prevent birds from colliding with the glass bridge
from Cabell to Wilson Hall.
25. Landscaping for the scarp on Millmont Street.
26. Planting for the North Grounds Recreation Center.
As usual the Committee has noted some problems for which we have no immediate solutions.
Chief among them is the large number of significant trees that we have lost over the past year.
Some of these were inevitable, such as the State Champion Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) that
crushed a car on Hospital Drive, the old Willow (Salix babylonica) in the garden of Pavilion X, and
the huge White Oak (Quercus alba) on University Avenue. Not so easily accepted are the losses
resulting from poor control over construction sites, particularly evident in the extensive losses at
the Observatory Hill Dining Hall and also the new Alderman Road Dormitories, where some forty
to fifty trees have died. The Committee therefore would like to see more careful supervision of
outside contractors working on the Grounds.
A not unrelated problem stems from the damage to trees brought about by the drought
conditions of the last two years. Mr. Ertel estimates that drought stress will probably result in the
loss of 100 additional trees during the next year. He has advocated the purchase of a tank truck to
take care of some of the most acute water problems, but he has not been able to obtin the necessary
funds. The Committee agrees that this item should be a high priority for capital expenditure by the
A final concern of the Committee is the question of future planning for landscaping on the
Grounds. With the present organization of planning, each project must begin with a funded request
for staff assistance with design and planning. The result is that there is no staff person specifically
directed to consider overall landscape planning in the University. We believe that such a direction
should be a high priority if we are to maintain some coherence in the planning process.
Since many landscaping problems and opportunities arise during the summer months, the
Committee expects to meet from time to time until next year's committee is constituted.
J. J. Murray, Jr., Chairman