Scenic USA - Virginia

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Gardens

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Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Gardens - James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Photos by Frank Doherty
EJC bridge photo by Christine Letsky-Anderson

     Founded in 1908 as a woman's college, James Madison University has gone on to become a nationally recognized institute of higher learning and one of the highest ranked schools in the South. Garden Bridge - Carrier Arboretum, Harrisonburg, Virginia Taking over as the university's fourth president, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier was responsible for instituting advanced degree programs, adding more than 20 major campus buildings and tripling college enrollment. Earning a reputation as one of the finest state universities under leadership of Dr. Carrier, the university still earns a high ranking among public universities in America.
     Here in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, JMU supports one of the few public arboretums found on a state university campus. Only minutes from Virginia's I-81 corridor in Harrisonburg, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is situated at the eastern edge of the university campus. Located among hilly terrain, the gardens are adapted to various environments, ranging from the Wetlands Garden and Fern Valley, to the Smith Rock Garden, a most unique shale barren. Credited by the JMU Board of Visitors for her years of quiet, dedicated service to the university, Mrs. Edith Carrier is recognized for her love of nature and gardening with her name gracing this marvelous collection of native shrubs, trees, and wildflowers.
     Open to the public every day of the year, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum also offers guided tours and group visits. Hosting educational programs for school age groups as well as adult clubs, the gardens continue to be busy all year. In the winter, when the beautiful blooms and flowering plants are dormant, the arboretum hosts art displays, photography exhibits and specialized programs. During spring and summer, Duck scene - EJC Arboretum, Harrisonburg, Virginia when the gardens are peaking in masses of color, the Arboretum grounds are a marvelous site for weddings. The Ernst Terrace provides a beautiful setting for private ceremonies and social occasions. Entertaining and educating local residents, the gardens also create a wonderful break for I-81 travelers. With 17 different garden sites, a 92 acre oak-hickory forest, over three miles of trails, a home to over 100 different bird species and many seasonal gardens, visitors and weary travelers welcome this relaxing oasis.

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