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An Overview

Upon his death in 1926, New Yorker Graham F. Blandy (c.1868-1926) willed 700 acres of his 900-acre Clarke County, Virginia, estate to the University of Virginia. The will stipulated that the property be used “to teach boys about farming” and that it be named “Blandy Experimental Farm.” Orland E. White (April 25, 1885 - January 10, 1972) was hired as the first director in 1927, and Arboretum plantings began shortly thereafter and have grown to include more than 8,000 specimens. Upon Dr. White’s retirement in 1955, the collection was named the Orland E. White Arboretum. The Arboretum received the designation as the State Arboretum of Virginia by a resolution of the Virginia General Assembly in 1986. 

The purpose of Blandy Experimental Farm is to increase understanding of the natural environment through research and education. The State Arboretum is an outstanding tool to achieve this objective and to provide public outreach. The Foundation of the State Arboretum sponsors many programs to help fulfill the Arboretum’s educational goals.

The 175-acre State Arboretum includes one of the largest collections of boxwood varieties in North America, more than a third of the world’s pine species, and the largest grove of ginkgo trees planted for research outside their native China. The Arboretum is also the headquarters of the American Boxwood Society, the Virginia Native Plant Society, and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society.

The Arboretum is open to the public dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, at no charge. More than 200,000 people visited the Arboretum in fiscal year 2018.

A picnic area with tables and a drinking fountain are a short distance from the visitors parking area. Walking trails begin at the parking area and the Quarters, which houses the main office and is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Wheelchair-accessible public restrooms are also in the Quarters. Brochures and maps are available at the information pavilion adjacent to the parking area. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times, and visitors are expected to clean up after pets. A 7-mile bridle trail and fenced paddock welcome riders and horses as well.

Foundation of the State Arboretum
Organized in 1984 as the Friends of Blandy, the Foundation of the State Arboretum is an 800-member non-profit organization that raises funds for and provides support to the Arboretum and its programs. The 25-member Board of Directors includes appointments by the University of Virginia Board of Visitors and the President of the University, as well as statewide members selected for their expertise in specific fields. The Foundation sponsors annual events and public programs and also provides funds for staff. The Foundation also supports the professional maintenance and development of the Arboretum collection.

Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers provide much of the labor at the Arboretum. More than 100 volunteers tally thousands of hours of service to the Arboretum every year.. Volunteers perform duties ranging from gardening to bookkeeping, and are also responsible for fund-raising, special events, and assisting staff with maintaining the herb garden, native plant trail, pollination garden, and other garden beds. Volunteers contribute an average of more than 60 hours per year each. You do not need to belong to the Foundation to volunteer at the State Arboretum, but Foundation members receive discounts and special invitations to members-only events.

The Arboretum is on Route 50 in Clarke County, between Route 340 and the Shenandoah River, about 20 miles west of Middleburg. For more information call 540-837-1758, or visit our website: www.blandy.virginia.edu.