Quarry Gardens: “The Giant’s Stairs” Plant Design

“Like a fantastical prop from a storybook sprung to life, the
giant’s stairs will lead down to a rich gallery of some of our loveliest
natives.  Spring ephemerals will be spread out like a floriferous carpet
under lush ferns and forest understory trees and shrubs. As fairytales can
inspire real-life virtues, this enchanting garden will inspire visitors to
guard and protect the fragile beauties of our natural world.” – Rachel T. Bush

This Winter kept us very busy with design work. One of our most interesting projects is at Quarry Gardens in Schuyler, Virginia. Here we are helping to develop a 40 acre arboretum dedicated to interpreting the unique natural plant communities of soapstone formations in the Piedmont. We accomplished dozens of plant designs for the “Galleries” at Quarry Gardens, and we wanted to share a taste with you. 
Featuring: The Giant’s Stairs. This blog post features the plant design for a gallery known as “The Giant’s Stairs”. The developing Piedmont Basic Oak-Hickory Forest at this site is undergoing rapid forest succession. The base rich substrate has high amounts of magnesium and calcium and offers a rich setting for native flora. Existing plants such as mountain bellwort, black cohosh, umbrella magnolia, New Jersey tea, and rattlesnake fern provided us clues about the trajectory of forest development. Using this trajectory, and well-documented sites on base-rich substrates in the region, we were able to generate an exciting gallery for this woodland garden. As part of the efforts to establish native gardens at this arboretum, we will be surgically inserting species with great care to preserve existing flora while bolstering the variety and richness in each unique gallery.  
Gallery Species List: