There are lots of reasons to make a trip to Maymont Park: the Nature Center, the Farm, the historic estate, and, of course, the trees. If you’re a tree lover, and you haven’t been to Maymont or you didn’t realize just how special its tree assemblage is, you might start with the park’s website. Under Arboretum, you can learn all about the history of the park’s collection. Here’s the link to all the information, some of which is excerpted below.
Maymont’s one hundred acres are populated with thousands of stunning trees and shrubs. Species native to Virginia abound at Maymont, many notable for their size and beauty. However, Maymont’s Arboretum also includes more than 200 exotic species of trees and plants imported by the Dooleys in the early 20th century, when James Dooley began a planting program of considerable magnitude.
The Dooleys traveled around the world and visited gardens of international acclaim. It is presumed that these visits fueled their desire to develop a tree collection for Maymont. The Dooleys’ collection of exotic and native species indicates an unusual degree of sophistication, suggesting that trees were collected not only for their beauty, but also for scientific and educational purposes. The size and age of many of the national and state champion trees indicate that they were carefully placed to allow for optimum future growth. Among these are the False Larch, Pseudolarix kaempferi, from Japan, and the Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica.
In 1986, Maymont’s tree collection was recognized by tree experts as one of the country’s notable arboretums. In a 1982 Museum Assessment Program survey report, Gordon Tarbox, Jr., Director of Brookgreen Gardens, noted that “the magnificent tree collection could not be duplicated in one hundred years.” Today, Maymont’s Arboretum is home to several national and state champions, including the Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica; Cryptomeria, Cryptomeria japonica; Darlington Oak, Quercus hemisphaerica; European Vineleaf Linden, Tilia europea and the previously mentioned Persian Ironwood.