This is a landscape carved by industry and renewed by nature: 40 acres of private gardens for public use, with trails through native plant communities around a group of retired soapstone quarries.
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 in 2016 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. They also engaged Devin Floyd, of the Center for Urban Habitats Charlottesville, to guide surveys of biota, as well as 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. In 2019, a native lawn grass research project was begun, and in 2020, a picnic pavilion was completed near the Visitor Center. A deer exclosure is in the works to protect especially vulnerable plants.
- 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
The Quarry Gardens are operated by the Quarry Gardens Foundation, a non-profit 501C3
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 Consultant to the Board:
Devin Floyd, Charlottesville VA
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
Plant Northern Piedmont Natives
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.