Retired Landscape Architect Mary Hughes Honored With Jefferson Elm

About 70 men and women collected Wednesday in entrance of Pavilion III underneath a softly overcast sky to honor Mary Hughes, the retired landscape architect for the College of Virginia.

Hughes joined the ranks of luminaries honored at the College with trees as residing monuments – in her case, with a Jefferson elm.

“I am deeply moved to have a tree planted on the Garden in my honor,” stated Hughes, who retired in January. “I never ever envisioned this and continue to can rarely imagine it’s taking place.”

On Founder’s Day each and every calendar year, the University president officiates at the tree planting, with the Arboretum and Landscape Committee picking the honorees. Through the Wednesday ceremony, President Jim Ryan spoke of Hughes’ contributions to the University.

“When you ask her good friends about Mary Hughes, they say that she is wise, faithful and feisty, with an unmatched expertise of Grounds,” Ryan explained. “And they also say she has a wicked feeling of humor.”

Ryan praised Hughes for incorporating stewardship with becoming a visionary chief who managed the initial landscape learn program of the Grounds. He also explained she deepened the being familiar with of the background of the Grounds as a member of the President’s Fee on Slavery and the College, she assisted form the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, which was formally devoted a calendar year in the past.

Ryan mentioned that Hughes, who commenced serving as UVA’s landscape architect in 1996, is a 1987 graduate of the University of Architecture. A fellow of the American Modern society of Landscape Architects, she served as co-director of the Historic Landscape Institute, an adult education and learning program jointly sponsored by UVA and Monticello, featuring the Jeffersonian landscapes of Central Virginia as laboratories for implementing historic horticulture and preservation tactics.

“While at UVA, she expanded recognition of the landscape outside of the Academical Village, the two created and wild lands,” Ryan claimed. “She secured funding for a multiyear exploration venture on the history of land-use and landscape layout of the University Grounds, which resulted in summertime internship alternatives for UVA landscape architecture students and enriched the cultural landscape curriculum.”

Ryan cited her desire in record, and how Hughes encouraged study and archaeology on the background of a cost-free Black settlement established in the 1830s by Katherine “Kitty” Foster, adjacent to and beneath the Academical Village. This study resulted in a structure commission for the public spaces of the South Garden task.

At Hughes’ urging, the University done a extensive research of the waterways and storm drinking water process of the University’s lands, which resulted in a stormwater grasp strategy made by Andropogon Associates, and an American Society of Landscape Architects award-successful layout undertaking for the Dell, a public park and stormwater management program intended by Warren Byrd of Nelson Byrd Woltz.

Hughes was co-editor, with Charles Birnbaum, of the e-book “Design with Tradition: Proclaiming America’s Landscape Heritage,” which chronicled the origins of the landscape preservation movement in the United States. In 2012, Hughes gained the Lagasse Medal from the American Modern society of Landscape Architects for conservation and stewardship of the general public landscape.

Considering the fact that retiring, Hughes is a whole-time vintner, jogging Leap Mountain Vineyards in Rockbridge Baths, an organization she began in 2006 with her spouse, David Vermillion, a retired technological analyst in UVA’s Data Know-how Companies who also attended the ceremony.

Hughes explained she was hugely honored to be selected by the Arboretum and Landscape Committee.

“The accumulating of the UVA ‘family’ to plant a tree collectively is this sort of a coronary heart-warming and optimistic motion, affirming the perception that the University will keep on to prosper just as this tree will bestow its positive aspects on generations of pupils for many years, and ideally hundreds of years, to appear,” Hughes said. “It is even additional unique to me for the reason that this tree will build a third generation of trees on the Lawn, just as the College is entering its 3rd century.”  

Hughes reported the very first trees on the Lawn had been black locusts, a nitrogen-fixing pioneer species that does properly in fatigued agricultural land, but is quick-lived. By the mid-19th century, they ended up getting replaced by ash and maple trees. But now, with ash trees threated by the emerald ash borer, Hughes noted it was prudent to expand the types.

“I am hoping it will be the tallest tree on the Garden,” she reported of the Jefferson elm. “I want to be remembered as tall and slim.”

Deserving Martin, an affiliate professor of laptop or computer science in the School of Engineering and the chair of the Arboretum and Landscape Committee, also spoke at the ceremony, outlining the history of the Jefferson elm, a cultivar of the American elm. Planted all through the Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. structure/development interval of the Nationwide Mall in the 1930s, the tree was decided to be resistant to the Dutch elm condition that devastated elm trees across the region.

In the 1990s, the tree was vegetatively propagated and genetically cloned. Specimens were grown in the Nationwide Arboretum, where by the clones have been inoculated with the Dutch elm ailment to improve their resistance to an infection. These clones ended up unveiled by the U.S. Office of Agriculture to the nursery marketplace in 2005 under the identify “Jefferson elm” – so named due to the fact the authentic tree on the Nationwide Mall stood in the vicinity of the Jefferson Monument.

“I have lengthy admired the Jefferson elm and hoped it could be planted listed here one day – not only mainly because of its title, but because it has proved its merit as a tough, city tree that has survived and flourished on the Mall in Washington, D.C., for numerous several years,” Hughes mentioned in advance of the ceremony. “If it survives all the gatherings that acquire place in our national ‘front lawn,’ it must be ready to endure Remaining Workouts and a couple of Frisbee online games and hammocks.”

The treasured shade tree grows immediately into a vase shape. The stately tree has darkish inexperienced leaves that turn golden in the tumble. It is chilly-hardy, broadly adaptable and tolerates city conditions and periodic drought.

“I feel the elm will be a great choice,” Hughes reported. “It grows tall and branches high with the typical elm ‘vase form,’ so it will not obscure sights of the Pavilion facades. It has also proved to be tolerant of soil compaction from foot traffic and other impacts, which is a perennial dilemma on the Lawn.”