Charlottesville Botanical Garden

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The Charlottesville Botanical Garden is one of two proposed public botanical gardens that would be located in the eastern end of McIntire Park. A non-profit organization with the same name is behind this proposal.


In 2004, the Master Plan was created for the East side of park. According to the plan the McIntire Golf Course was to be retired and replaced with a:

landscape park that would be in place once the golf course is re-established at Pen Park. The park would include a conservatory available for community and private events, as well as test gardens for environmental education. In addition, more trails would provide access to Schenks’ Branch (via a bridge over the Meadowcreek Parkway), and a circular arbor on the park’s most prominent knoll with its panoramic view. The central idea behind the landscape park is that it would be an unprogrammed open space where visitors could enjoy flying a kite, throwing a frisbee, sunbathing, picnicking, reading, or just doing nothing.[1].

In Spring of 2007, in response to the closing of Botanique, a local rare-plant nursery owned by Robert Sacillato, a discussion began about how the collection from Botanique might be saved, while also creating a destination for tourism in Charlottesville[2]

Lonnie Murray, in a conversation with Karen Firehock, learned that city planning staff had discussed the idea of a botanical garden at McIntire Park as part of the new master plan when and if the Meadowcreek Parkway is built. This led Murray to bring the idea to Saccillato, and suggest that McIntire could be a suitable place to start a botanical garden and eventually house the existing rare plant collection.

On June 26, 2007, after the C-ville Weekly listed a Botanical Garden in its list of "15 things that are missing around here and why"[3], Murray informed C-Ville of the plan for a Botanical Garden being discussed, and it was covered in a later feature story in which Firehock said "If we’re really going to be a world-class city, we need to seek out the amenities that other world-class cities have.[4]"

Meanwhile, Sacillato, Murray and others formed the non-profit Charlottesville Botanical Garden to make an official proposal for a Botanical Garden in Charlottesville. According to the group's website it will "incorporate a mission which will expand the interest and value of the facility into a treasure of natural history". As discussions began, the possibility of other sites, including Morven or the parcel that will be donated for a park as part of the creation of Biscuit Run State Park, was also discussed.

In 2008, another group, McIntire Botanical Garden, spearheaded by Helen Flamini, surfaced to advocate specifically for a Botanical Garden at McIntire Park. Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and city staff were supportive of the idea[5].

In March 2009, McIntire Botanical Garden held its first community meeting to discuss plans for a botanical garden at which Mayor Dave Norris voiced his support for the proposal[6].

Moving forward on any actual plan for a botanical garden at McIntire is currently[when?] waiting on the Master Planning Process to begin for the eastern half of the park, which will begin once construction of McIntire Road Extended commences.

Other botanical garden proposals

McIntire Botanical Garden is a competing non-profit organization with similar goals. At a McIntire Botanical Garden meeting held Aug. 28 2008, Murray said he would be willing to merge the two groups[7].


  1. McIntire Park Master Planning Committee. "McIntire Park Master Plan Final Report and Request for Funding Authorization." 5 August 2004. Web. 7 August 2009.<>.
  2. Piedmont Garden Swap. Yahoo Groups. May, 2007. Web. 29 July 2007. <>
  3. Daly, Kyle. "Wanted: a strip club, a Home Depot, a botanical garden and more sidewalks." C-Ville Weekly [Charlottesville] 26 June 2007: n. pag. C-Ville. Portico Publications, 26 June 2007. Web. 5 June 2009. <>.
  4. Moltz, David. "City botanical garden in the works." C-Ville Weekly [Charlottesville] 3 July 2007: n. pag. C-Ville. Portico Publications, 3 July 2007. Web. 24 June 2009. <>
  5. Rosen, Seth. "Idea blooms for McIntire botanical garden." Charlottesville Daily Progress. [Charlottesville] 22 June 2008: Daily Progress. General Media. Web. 22 June 2009.<>.
  6. Mayor pushes for botanical gardens at McIntire Park, Rachana Dixit, Daily Progress, March 6, 2009, retrieved 28 Jul 2009.
  7. Botanical garden supporters see future in McIntire Park, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 29, 2009.

External Links

official site