The Springsbury Arboretum at the Casey Tree Farm

The Springsbury Arboretum is a proposal for an arboretum on the core 150 acres of the Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Virginia. The Casey Tree Foundation commissioned Nathan Heavers and Paul Kelsch, with graduate students Aniran Asgarifard, Mary Cadwallender, Jeffery Curtis, and Rebekah Lawrence, to design the arboretum. In 2016, the project won a Merit Award from the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Heavers and Kelsch proposed a unique agenda for the arboretum—to integrate a variety of tree species into the existing framework of the farm by using agroforestry practices. On the rolling uplands, clumps of oak, chestnut, beech, and hickory cast shade for the grazing cattle and provide seasonal mast. Along the floodplain of the Shenandoah River, the hay fields include rows of pecan, black walnut, and paw paw. Near the main house and barn complex, the landscape design draws inspiration from the work of Ellen Biddle Shipman, who created a set of outdoor rooms for the estate in the 1930s and 1940s. The design builds on her concept of landscape rooms to create tree rooms at various scales across the site. At the center, two tree rooms (pine and tulip trees, respectively) occupy the former footprints of the thoroughbred horse paddocks. These flank an open paddock, terraced as a lawn in front of the Trooper House, the signature building of the new arboretum. Other key tree rooms include the Parking Grove (ginkgoes), The Magnolia Court, and the Heritage Apple Orchard.

Contributors: Paul Kelsch, Nathan Heavers