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.

 

 

Youth Finding Beauty

Our featured image for this issue of the blog is of Ezra and Theo Staengl stalking butterflies. the brothers, aged 14 and 10, live in nearby Afton and are avid plantsmen and birders who, because they are homeschooled, are able to travel widely in pursuit of their...

Snowy Definition

Wednesday’s snow made a fine job of delineating architecture along the Quarry Gardens’ main trail. Birds were active. Small animal tracks everywhere.  The rock steps ascending the north side of the North Quarry pool were clearly defined. Here are a few more snow...

Blog on Ice!

The quarry pools, some 40-feet deep, have not frozen for many years, but this year they did freeze in early January's record-breaking chill. Unfortunately, because of the depth of the quarries, the frozen top adds little of interest, especially because, for whatever...