These 40 acres, with trails through native plant communities around a group of retired soapstone quarries, are a private garden for public enjoyment and learning.

History

The Quarry Gardens at Schuyler are nestled into a 600-acre property owned by Armand and Bernice Thieblot since 1991. The featured quarries were actively mined between the 1950s and 1970s, then for about a decade used as a community dumpsite.

In 2014, after 23 years of casual site clean-up, the Thieblots embarked on a three-year plan to create a public garden. That year, Land Planning and Design Associates, Charlottesville, created a Master Plan.

In 2015, the Thieblots placed a 400-acre buffer around the gardens into a Virginia Outdoors conservation easement, designated a Virginia Treasure by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2016. They also engaged Devin Floyd, of the Center for Urban Habitats Charlottesville, to guide surveys of biota and the design and installation of the gardens.

The Quarry Gardens opened in the spring of 2017 with about two miles of walking trail, more than 30 galleries of native plant communities, and a Visitor Center that includes exhibits on native plants, local ecosystems, and the history of the soapstone industry in Schuyler, as well as a classroom. Future goals are to establish a designated plant propagation area as well as sites for plant research.

Mission

  • Preserve and exhibit relics of the soapstone quarrying industry
  • Assist the natural process of plant and habitat restoration
  • Showcase native plant communities for public education and enjoyment
  • Maintain records of plants and animals as a resource for study
  • Make local plant genotypes available to others through propagation
  • Support research on uses of native plants

Administration

The Quarry Gardens are operated by the Quarry Gardens Foundation, a non-profit 509A 1, 2.

Directors:

Armand J. Thieblot, Schuyler VA

Bernice A. Thieblot, Schuyler VA

A.J. Louis Thieblot, Austin TX

Harold L Ashby, Siesta Key FL

Robert Gilwee, Baltimore MD

 

Special Consultants to the Board:

Devin Floyd, Charlottesville VA
Mark Chase, Richmond VA

Affiliations

The Quarry Gardens Foundation holds membership in the American Public Gardens Association, and has relationships with:

Central Blue Ridge Master Naturalists*

Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards

Nelson County Master Gardeners*

Piedmont Master Gardeners

Rivanna Master Naturalists*

Virginia Native Plant Society

The site was opened to these groups and others from the start of construction, and we look forward to a continuing role for the Quarry Gardens in their educational missions.

*Quarry Gardens partner. Members volunteer at Quarry Gardens; organization pays no fee for use of educational facilities.

 

 

Historic Tour Now History

The Nelson County Historical Society’s tour of historic homes and properties—featuring six Schuyler sites—had us so busy Saturday we failed to take photographs. The featured photograph is of some of the visitors watching the introductory video in the Visitors’ Center,...
Read More

We’re Open

The Quarry Gardens project will probably never be "finished," but the Visitors Center got close enough by our "Opening in April 2017" deadline to allow the brag that we're "On Time and—even if not entirely—Under Budget." The Visitor Center is finished, with paint and...
Read More

Oh, the butterflies!

Featured photo: Juniper hairstreak on Golden ragwort, April 2017 Devin Floyd wrote this post—unintentionally. It came, with photo, in an email following a visit to locate trails correctly on the garden map he’s drawing: "The butterflies of the season are on full...
Read More