Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden

Last weekend we visited Boxerwood in Lexington, Virginia. It's 90 minutes from our home. For years I've had the brochure and directions in the "Fun" slot of my file bins. We scheduled several times to go with friends and also alone and for various reasons we didn't get there.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Boxerwood Woodland Gardens, Lexington, VA
It was a gorgeous day although a bit hot for April, but the woodland gardens were a refuge from the heat of the day. Upon arrival we met Hunter Mohring, the Property Steward. KB, the Garden Steward, was also working nearby and both were such a delight to encounter as we wandered into the area of the Nature Center. There's always an aura of peace and tranquility in woodland gardens, and we were already experiencing that as we approached.

After a bit of a chat about the history of the place, and with booklet and map in hand, we headed out to explore the various areas. Dr. Robert S. Munger was responsible for the creation of Boxerwood. In 1952 when he moved there with his wife the land was overgrown pasture so he began to landscape his new home and apparently never stopped. He had a particular interest in Dwarf Confiers, Dogwoods, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Magnolias and Japanese Maples.

The colors of Spring were quite evident with the diversity of plants. Dr. Munger retired in 1977 to become full-time gardener at his home and died in 1988 with a great legacy to the land in his natural gardening style left behind. The plant inventory shows over 7,000 trees and shrubs that he added. His gardening philosophy was to let nature take its course. He believed in giving plants a good start in life and then setting them free to develop, mature, age, die and decay with little human intervention.

The thirty acre site contains six distinct habitats and fifteen acres of mature, naturalistically planted trees and shrubs, featuring both native and unusual plant specimens. There was a large meadow with the mountains at the horizon view behind them. The rain gardens, wetlands and pond were interesting and we enjoyed a few turtles that smiled back at us.

The woodlands included Great Oak, over 150 years old, is a symbol that represents the passing of time. Old trees cause us to ponder the importance of our own life choices. To think it came from a small acorn, just as we come from a small egg. We really enjoyed the natural setting, unmanicured and wild in areas. Our favorite kind of garden.

Randal was particularly interested in the NEWTS (Nature-Emulating Wastewater Treatment System) process, wanting to learn more about it and see the visual example provided. Plenty of signage was offered. The system represents new options for dealing with waste and if you're building a home on some land, it would be something to consider. Photos of the signage and parts of the process are in the Boxerwood photo album.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - EarthArt Festival, Boxerwood, Lexington, VA
We were blessed with attending on one of the days scheduled for the first EarthArt Festival at Boxerwood, which was a great treat. We discovered this was the passion of Hunter Mohring, whom we met as mentioned above.

The Hunter Mohring EarthArt Fund has been established because of Hunter’s passion for nature, the arts, education and Boxerwood. The setting was certainly perfect for Nature In Art.

View entire Boxerwood photo album. View in slideshow format with titles. This was my first SmugMug photo album. I love the website's ease of use and grade school level of instructions. Looking for a secure and dynamic place to put your photos? You won't believe the features at SmugMug. Get a Free 14-Day Trial.

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