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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is there to see here?
A. The Arboretum is home to the largest collection of boxwood cultivars in North America and more than half the world’s pine species. We also have an herb garden, perennial gardens, azalea garden, daylily garden and the woodland portion of the Virginia Native Plant Trail. The bee wall, on the loop drive just east of the Community Garden, provides habitat for cavity-nesting bees, and a glimpse inside via an observation cabinet.


Q. What did the main building used to be?
A. The oldest portion of the Quarters dates to about 1830 and is believed to have served as slaves’ quarters for the Tuleyries estate (see below). The central and west wings were added to the Quarters in the 1940s to provide laboratories, kitchen, dining room, library, offices,, and dormitory space for students.


Q. What do you do here?
A. Blandy Experimental Farm is a research station for the University of Virginia Department of Environmental Science. The Arboretum is for public enjoyment and nature study, and also serves as a resource for the University. We provide research support and mentoring to graduate and undergraduate students from universities and colleges across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.


Q. What’s that big mansion to the west? Is it open to the public?
A. The Tuleyries is the original estate of Graham Blandy, the New York stockbroker who left 700 acres of his 900-acre estate to UVA upon his death in 1926. The home and 200 acres remain private and are not open to the public.


Q. Are the greenhouses open to the public?
A. No, the greenhouses are for research and staff use only.


Q. When is the Arboretum open?
A. Every day of the year, dawn to dusk.


Q. When is the office open?
A. Weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Q. Do you sell plants here?
A. A huge selection of plants from the Arboretum and from high-quality growers is available during Garden Fair, held annually on Mother’s Day Weekend.


Q. How do I find a tree or plant in the Arboretum?
A. There are many ways to find a particular tree. The collections database is online and can be accessed via our web page. In addition, several trail guides highlight specific areas and faculty and staff are happy to help you.


Q. Can I take cuttings or dig up plants?
A. Absolutely not! This is a living museum; please respect the collection.


Q. How about leaves or pine cones? Can I collect them?
A. No, except with written permission from the Curator.


Q. What are the rules? Can I bring my dog?
A. Visitor guidelines are on the back of the visitor map. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times.


Q. Can we bring a picnic?
A. Yes! The picnic area near the main parking lot has tables, trashcans and a water fountain.


Q. Is there stuff for kids to do?
A. Absolutely! Many school groups come to the Arboretum on field trips. Other programs for children include our popular Summer Nature Camps. Of course, children can also explore the grounds with their families year-round.


Q. Does Blandy receive state money?
A. Blandy has three main sources of funding: an endowment managed by the University of Virginia, public funds appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly, and private donations. The Foundation of the State Arboretum is the fund-raising entity for the Arboretum.


Q. Do you have a web page?
A. Yes, visit us at www.blandy.virginia.edu


Q. Are there scheduled events?
A. Yes, lots of them. In addition to Garden Fair on Mother’s Day Weekend, we celebrate Nature Nurtures in September. We also host workshops and special program throughout the year. Check our web site or Facebook (Blandy Experimental Farm) for details.


Q. Do you offer guided tours?
A. Guided tours are available on a reservation basis to groups. Please call 540-837-1758 to schedule a group tour.


Q. Can you put me on your mailing list?
A. We’d be happy to send a package of information, but to receive regular announcements of upcoming events and news about the Arboretum we ask that you become a member of the Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia (FOSA), a non-profit organization that supports the Arboretum and its programs.


Q. How can I become a member of FOSA?
A. Membership forms are in the visitor brochure, and on the web page.