Introducing the LaCross Botanical Gardens: A Verdant Tapestry of Learning, Legacy at UVA Darden

By David Buie-Moltz

Last month marked a momentous occasion at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business with the dedication of the LaCross Botanical Gardens. Thanks to the generous contributions of David M. LaCross (MBA ’78) and Kathleen O. LaCross, the UVA community and public now have a stunning new space to explore.

Dig Into the Details:

  • Verdant Variety: The gardens are a living library with 95 tree species and 105 shrub species, totaling 200 distinct botanical varieties.
  • Planting Milestones: Already home to 7,751 planted trees and shrubs, the gardens will grow their collection to more than 8,250 by the spring.
  • Blooming Stats: Overall, the gardens are set to flourish with 114,385 plants, encompassing trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and bulbs across 10.66 landscaped acres.
  • Native Splendor: The collection includes 47 native species from the Piedmont region that offer a year-round display of natural beauty.
  • Soil and Substance: The landscape is enriched with about 4,800 cubic yards of soil and compost, plus 1,750 cubic yards of mulch to nurture the grounds and 253 strategically placed boulders, some weighing as much as 7.5 tons.
  • Wildlife Watch: There have been sightings of great blue heron, red tail hawks, tree and bullfrogs, deer, snakes, many songbirds, insects and bees, butterflies, moths and dragonflies.

Overhead view of the LaCross Botanical Gardens. (Photo by Andrew Shurtleff)

Learn the History:

  • The gardens, situated between Darden and UVA Law, now stand on what was once Sunnyside Farm.
  • The gardens fulfill a centuries-old blueprint, inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s plan for a botanical garden at UVA that never came to fruition during his lifetime.
  • Echoing the historic flora of Monticello, 53 species of trees and shrubs connect the present with Jefferson’s horticultural legacy.

Explore the Gardens:

  • Use this detailed way-finding map to chart your course through the gardens:


  • Open this interactive geospatial map on a mobile phone to explore the Faculty Forest, trees honoring legendary Darden professors, which will be dedicated in spring 2024.

Watch the Dedication:

Attend a Spring Dedication:

  • Save the date for a more expansive dedication, honoring further donors to the Arboretum and LaCross Botanical Gardens on Arbor Day, 26 April 2024, coinciding with the Darden Reunion Weekend.

Leave a Legacy:

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Molly Mitchell
Associate Director of Content Marketing and Social Media
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia