Arboretum & Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1996-1997
As usual the Committee has dealt with a large number and wide variety of landscaping matters coming before
it. For many of the members, the happiest occasion of the present academic year was the ceremonial replanting of
the clone of the McGuffey Ash. We have keenly felt the responsibility for the decision to remove the parent tree, and
to have its genetically identical progeny back in the accustomed locality is a matter of great satisfaction. Another very
happy occasion was the planting of an honorific tree for Mr. Meade Palmer in recognition of his long interest in the
landscape of the Grounds. Other significant plantings include two memorial trees, a White Oak (Quercus a1ba) on
McCormick Road in honor of Mr. William Hubbard, a longtime member of the Committee; and a Yellow-wood
(Cladrastis lutea) at McKim Hall for Ms. Sherry Comer. The Committee assisted the Darden School in their recovery
from the disastrous failure of their avenue of White Oaks, recommending replacement with Sycamores (Platanus
occidentalis). These are doing well so far.
A number of major trees have been lost this year, including two ancient Oaks, one White and one Red
(Quercus rubra) on McCormick Road. Two significant Kentucky Coffee Trees (Gymnocladus dioicus) have been
lost, from Garden V and Monroe Hill. The Committee fought to save the latter, but could not assume responsibility
for the demise of the Commerce School faculty in the case of a catastrophic failure during graduation. A successful
campaign was mounted to save the large White Ash (Fraxinus americana) in the Garden 111. The garden wall has
been rebuilt with a substantial bridge across its roots. In Garden IX the aging and irregular arbor of Apples has been
removed and replaced. The Committee also authorized the removal of a number of trees that were interfering with
the sight lines of the telescope on Observatory Hill.
The Committee has made contributions from the Seward Fund to a number of projects during the past year:
Matching funds for ground cover along Emmet Street $10,000
Software for the tree mapping project 2,000
Plantings for the Cracker Box garden 500
Transplantation of donated Boxwoods 800
Development of a tree brochure 1,000
Landscaping on Dawson's Row 32,500
Matching funds for a consultant on the Morea garden 250
Landscaping for the Minor-Maury access project 25,000
These expenditures exceed the yearly income to the Seward Fund. However a significant reserve remains that will
enable the Committee to participate in funding some of the new projects envisaged for the coming year.
The Committee has reviewed progress on the Master Plan and several major precinct studies during the year.
These include ones for the McIntire Amphitheater, the Garage and Stormwater Retention project at the Health
Sciences Center, the McCormick Road Dormitories, the Grounds Walk study, the Dawson's Row redevelopment,
and the Architecture School Addition.
Other smaller projects coming before the Committee included:
1. A garden for the Cracker Box.
2. Revision of landscaping at the Children's Rehabilitation Center.
3. Revision of landscaping plans for Cauthen House.
4. Landscaping for "Mt. Borden", the mound at the foot of the lawn of the Darden School.
5. Landscaping for the addition to the Gilmer Hall greenhouse.
6. Planting to conceal a transformer at Kerchof Hall.
7. Care of the reforestation on North Grounds.
8. A demonstration of the software for the tree inventory.
9. Lighting for the McIntire Amphitheater.
This last item brings up a discussion of Committee procedures. The current appointments distinguish ex
officio members who are to have voice but no vote. I consider that this change has had a detrimental effect on both
the morale and the functioning of the Committee. To illustrate the latter point, the Committee made a controversial
decision with only two members voting. While this was an unusually badly attended meeting and while the decision
was upheld on appeal to the Master Planning Council, it illustrates the procedural weakness. Further, under the old
procedures we have never seen the Committee break up into block voting by constituency, e.g. faculty members vs.
administrators. The new procedure, in fact, tends to highlight differences among a usually very collegial body. I
therefore recommend return to full voting privileges for the committee.
Another difficult issue with which the Committee has had to wrestle this year has been the refinement of a
policy for the exhibition of sculpture on the Grounds. Not least of the problems is the disagreement within the Art
Department itself. We believe, however, that agreement among the interested parties is near to being achieved, and
we expect to arrive at a final policy statement in the near future.
As directed in our charge, the Committee has made its annual pilgrimage to Blandy Farm. We are pleased
to report that program is progressing well. The ramp allowing access by the handicapped to the library, on which
the Committee consulted last year, is now in place, blending in well with its surroundings. Much of our visit this year
was taken up with a discussion of the siting of the proposed new living quarters for research personnel. The
Committee concurred with the decision to place the buildings on axis with the Quarters across the lake, but suggested
changes in the relations of the existing trees, the buildings, and the parking. The Committee also took under
advisement the use
of the area outside the newly renovated education building. Because of the rain the Committee spent relatively
little time this year in the arboretum.
The Committee plans to continue meeting at irregular intervals over the summer in order to keep up with
the volume of construction projects which impinge on the landscaping and planting of the Grounds.
Ms. Colette Capone
Mr. Leonard Sandridge
Mr. Samuel Anderson