It is estimated that for 100 years eight Southern Magnolia have flanked the 1826 UVA Rotunda that originally housed the campus library. Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda is the pride of the University and has been undergoing renovation for years and will continue to be hammered upon for years to come. Part of Jefferson's original Academical Village included lovely garden spaces. The Magnolias were planted well after Jefferson's death (he would be nearly 270 years old if still alive today) and were not part of his original plan (he designed the hard scape and intended the Pavilion residents to design and maintain their own landscapes). Aside from that, the local trend when it comes to Jefferson tends to be a complete restoration of his vision and that includes his plantings. Given that Thomas Jefferson was a man of reason, constant invention, and change, I do not believe that he would expect the garden plantings to not be altered over a 200 year period!
Board of Visitors has decided that the Magnolias must go because scaffolding must be erected (here we go again) to replace the roof. Work on the Rotunda seems to be a constant theme, the interior was restored in 1976 and the columns have been falling apart for years and have finally been covered with boots to protect what remains.
Students have created an online petition to save the trees. I was absolutely thrilled to see that students are interested in campaigning to save trees! I felt helpless when I read the news of the trees, as if campus can do whatever they want and is above any citizen outcry. A student revolt is a totally different beast and should not be taken lightly. Unlike the Obama appointed Super Committee failed attempt at compromise, I hope the Board of Visitors will listen to the students and alter their original plan so no one will chain themselves to a grand Magnolia (boy have I been tempted in the past to do just that).
|Seems a little shaping up is in order|
|Ground level with the magnificent Magnolia|
|So grand it would bring TJ to tears|
The main point in all this is that people young and old care about the nature that abounds on campus and don't want to see it destroyed just because it is convenient to do so.
2013 UPDATE: The Magnolia are still standing as a consequence of the protests by students! YAY!