The Baldwin Garden is a small park on the grounds of the College of William and Mary, adjacent to Sorority Court and next to the Adam’s Garden. It was established in 1977 in honor of Dr. John T. Baldwin who was the first recipient of the Council’s Beautification Award in 1971.
The garden contains a unique collection of twenty-five plants including an upright Loma Baldwin Flowering Peach tree, a superb specimen pistachio tree, two fringe trees, and a line of boxwoods. The boxwoods were dedicated on May 1, 1977. One of the fringe trees, along with a plaque, was placed in the garden and dedicated in 1999 in honor of Josephine Jones of Skipwith Farms Garden Club. The pistachio tree is especially noteworthy during the autumn with its vivid coloration.
In April 2004, the Council sponsored the placement of a teakwood garden bench which is situated to invite visitors to relax and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the garden. This bench was replaced by the Council and dedicated on April 25, 2012. At that time, the Council thanked Berkeley Garden Club, Ford’s Colony Garden Club, Green Spring Garden Club, Toano Garden Club, Ellen Schiavone, and Betsy Edwards for their donations for the bench.
This garden has been an on-going project of the Council since the dedication of the boxwoods. The Council provides financial support for the maintenance of the garden which is performed by the college. The W&M garden and maintenance staff under the direction of John McFarlane, Associate Director of Gardens, Grounds and Support Services, and Ben Owen, Supervisor of Facilities Management, continues to perform all necessary activities for our garden including mowing, weeding, pruning, mulching and litter clean-up. Additionally, the pesticide and fertilizer program maintains the trees in the garden, especially the boxwoods. This collaboration between the Council and the college has been in place since March 2000.
The Council encourages all Garden Club members to visit the Baldwin Garden, view the Blue Star Memorial and enjoy the new bench!
Dr. John T. Baldwin, Jr.
Dr. John T. Baldwin attended William & Mary (Class of 1932) and continued his education at the University of Virginia and Cornell University. By the 1950’s, he was a renowned biologist. Baldwin returned to W&M and he and former classmate and then-president Paschall worked together to establish a new campus with modern university status in the sixties. Years later, after Dr. Baldwin relinquished the chairmanship of the Department of Biology, he devoted his major efforts to the students, this being his first love.
Many of his students became doctors because he cared enough to counsel, encourage and personally recommend them. The field trips he conducted were excursions in first-hand learning, and students experienced the sheer joy of discovery under the guidance of a wise teacher. “The American Scholar” of Phi Beta Kappa invited and published his critiques and book reviews, and the demand for his writings exceeded the time he could let himself withdraw from “other exciting things to do”.
When viewing the lofty Meta Sequoia at the end of the Sunken Gardens, one really sees the embodiment of the spirit of Baldwin, who caused it to be there. The same may be said of hundreds of other rare plants, trees and shrubs that adorn the campus, of his wonderful collection of boxwood, and his beloved cryptomeria.
Dr. Baldwin was the recipient of the first annual Community Beautification Award in Williamsburg (1971) presented by the Williamsburg Area Council of Garden Clubs, representing 300 garden club members of 14 area clubs.
Excerpts are from the following publications:
1. Obituary by Dr. Davis Y. Paschall, President of W&M, The Virginia Gazette, December 6, 1974.
2. The Planting of a Campus Tradition by Martin C. Mathes, Professor of Biology, W&M.
3. Wins Garden Club Award – “Dr. John Baldwin Spreads Beauty” by Tina Jeffrey, Staff Writer for the Daily Press, March 14, 1971.