Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1992-1993
During the past academic year the Committee has met approximately biweekly in order to
keep up with the large volume of business coming before it. The Committee's ability to keep abreast
of its work is largely attributable to the excellent staff work provided by the Office of the University
Architect. Mr. Tom Leback and Ms. Thaisa Way deserve special mention for their talents and their
commitment to the service of the University. The high point of the year was undoubtedly the planting
of two memorial trees in honor of Mr. Jefferson's 250th birthday. The chosen species are those
referred to by Mr. Jefferson as the Jupiter (the White Oak, Quercus alba) and Juno (the Tuliptree,
Liriodendron tulipifera) of our forests. In addition, progress has been made on a number of problems
around the Grounds.
Liaison with Engineering Staff. There has been a notable improvement in communication with
the engineering staff of Facilities Management. The Committee has received early notice of the
development of new corridors for electric utilities and sewer lines, and productive dialogue has
ensued. The efforts of Messrs. Martin Altschul and Richard Smith deserve commendation in this
respect. On the other hand there was a notable breakdown in the case of the Gilmer retention pond.
After receiving initial approval by the Committee, this project was altered and enlarged so that the
final footprint for grading extended 90 ft. beyond what the Committee regarded as a maximum.
Despite the attempts of Mr. Peter Drenan to mitigate the damage, this project has turned out to be
disaster for the environment, for the landscape amenity, and for community relations.
Access for the Handicapped. A large amount of time has been invested in seeking to
accommodate the handicapped without loss of amenity. Many of the plans have been successful,
although inordinately expensive. One might cite the proposed solutions for Pavilions V and VII, the
ramps from Newcomb Road to Monroe Hill, the access to Monroe Hill House, and evn the entrance
to Alderman Library. Again there is one notable exception, the Darden Court of Thornton Hall.
After the Committee had approved a 3 ft. ramp to be installed behind the existing azaleas, the plans
were altered to increase the width and remove the azaleas entirely. The result is ghastly, and has
already offended at least one potential donor to the University.
Grants from the Small Business Administration. Largely through the efforts of Mr. Leback
and Ms. Lynn Rush the University has this year received two grants for landscaping from the Urban
Forestry Program of the S.B.A. The Committee supplied matching funds of $10,500, to which
Housing added $6,500, for a total project cost of $32,000 to pay for planting trees around the
Lambeth Field dormitories and in University Gardens.
Street Furniture. The Committee has long been struggling with the problem of standardizing
street furniture at the University, and some progress has been made this year. Two patterns of trash
receptacles have been approved, the elegant "Victor Stanley" for the historic area (see 4 below) and
the more utilitarian "Howard" for other areas. In addition, a standard design of bollard-and-chain has
been adopted (see 5 below). Less successful has been work on bicycle racks, where there is
disagreement about the functional qualities of different models.
Major Initiatives. Since the Committee has largely recovered from its last major project, the
Monroe-Newcomb Plaza, the time has come for consideration of new initiatives. The Committee
considered the many needs for landscaping and chose the following projects for funding:
1. $8,000 as 50% of the funding for laying brick in the turnaround west of the Rotunda and
for providing three Newburyport bollards to restrict traffic.
2. $12,000 as 37.5% of the cost of landscaping the space between Ruffner Hall and the
parking lot to the north.
3. $10,000 for a program of replacement of important trees that have been lost in the last few
4. $9,000 to fund a demonstration project for new and improved trash receptacles in the
5. $1,500 to fund a demonstration of a new design of bollard-and-chain for pedestrian traffic
6. $4,000 to support the current effort to inventory and map the trees on the Grounds.
7. $5,000 as 25% of the funding for planting ground cover on the steep bank at Mary
8. $3,000 for the planting of ground cover on the bank along Hancock Drive.
Other small projects: The Committee has supported the rescue of orphan Hornbeams
(Carpinus sp.) from the Gilmer Field project ($1,280) and has funded the planting of Winter Jasmine
on the bank at Carr's Hill.
The Committee continues to review a wide variety of University projects. In the past
year these have included:
Landscaping plans for -
The new Darden School.
The new soccer stadium.
The Monroe Hill precinct.
The Newcomb Hall expansion.
Venable Lane parking.
West Scott Stadium parking "shelf".
The Fontaine Avenue development.
Mary Munford steps.
Parking lot at St. Thomas'.
Major pruning of shrubs -
Parking and Transportation.
Tree removals - about 50, including 5 on the Lawn.
Sidewalk projects -
Projects at Blue Ridge Hospital -
Sidewalk for Child Care Center.
Various entrance canopies.
New fuel tank.
Gooch-Dillard bus shelter.
Replanting Bradford Pears on Alderman Road.
New plantings in Pavilion Gardens.
Rotunda flower beds.
Temporary statuary for Fayerweather Hall and New College.
The Master Plan for Bicycles.
The Committee made its usual tour of inspection to Blandy Farm and was impressed at the
progress made in the last year. The new entrance drive is in place, and the landscaping was in
progress, many trees having just been planted. The major grading for the new outdoor theater had
been completed, although the final configuration was as yet hardly visible. More progress had been
made in the identification and labeling of the plants in the arboretum. The Director is looking forward
to some major renovations of the Quarters.
As usual, the Committee intends to hold meetings through the summer as necessary to keep
abreast of projects underway and looks forward to a new year with interest.
J. J. Murray, Chairman