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C ONTENTS INTRODUCTION Landscape Context

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Property History from Deeds Rokeby People A Shared Farm Rokeby Buildings

21 22 30 42 51

LANDSCAPE INVENTORY Rock Outcrops Soil Water Vegetation Wildlife Stone Walls Special Places

63 64 68 80 86 116 119 123

MANAGEMENT SYNTHESIS Conservation Context Vegetation Management Watchable Wildlife Trail Plan

135 136 139 156 157

ARCHIVAL INVENTORY

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I NTRODUCTION Rokeby:

n. the 13th century spelling of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. n. an epic poem written by Sir Walter Scott in 1813. n. a winning chestnut colt born in 1827 and owned by Nathan Lufborough Sr. n. a 4,000 acre farm near Upperville, Virginia assembled in the mid-1900s by Paul Mellon.

To make a place special, it’s important to understand where the place has come from. To know your land means to uncover its best places and to learn the stories of its rocks, oaks, fences, and old paths. Every place is special, but the

stories of some places are never revealed. So they remain uncelebrated. Rokeby was once a productive Virginia plantation. One hundred years later it was the name of one of America’s legendary horse farms, sprawling over 4,000 acres of Virginia countryside. It’s been the home of settlers and slaves. It’s been built up and fallen into disrepair. It’s had jets take off and land among pastures grazed by the world’s fastest horses. Today Rokeby still has trees that have seen it all. Rokeby’s next chapter unfolds as part of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation – Rachel Lambert Mellon’s botanically focused gift to the world. As this next chapter begins it’s worth stepping back to understand and document the stories, sites, and unique natural and cultural features the land offers, and how it has arrived to where it is today. With millions of years of geological and biological evolution, and hundreds of years of intensive land use, these places will shape people's

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experiences, and ultimately define Rokeby’s landscape in the minds and emotions of those who visit.

similarities. They also differ in a number of ways driven primarily by each site’s particular topography and history.

At first glance my impression of Rokeby’s sibling property – Oak Spring – was 262 acres dominated by old horse pastures with little to amaze. I saw a sea of grass carved up by fences, a compound of buildings, and a couple of isolated patches of woods. A trove of information eluded me written among the trees, the land, and among scattered documents.

Like Oak Spring, Rokeby has two primary rocks types: granite and diabase. It’s a story of volcanic instability that reaches back a billion years. This geological story has shaped all of the ecological and cultural stories that follow. Everything, from the base-rich natural communities to the importance of Upperville in the Civil War, comes back to geology.

The story of Oak Spring resulted in over 200 pages of background, inventory, and land planning which far exceeded what I thought the land had to share. The results of that effort are documented in a companion volume: An Oak Spring Landscape: History, Ecology and Management at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

In the back corner at Rokeby the 25 acres of woodland stands dominated by white and red oak. The woodland, hemmed on two sides by rock fence, contains a number of ancient oaks. At over 250 years a few white oaks have seen it all: they predate the settlement of Rokeby by Edward Carter in the earliest 1800s, and they predate the settlement of Fountain Hill Farm (next door) by Joshua Fletcher in 1791. That was the first farm in the area.

With Rokeby acquired in 2017 by the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, a second similar effort at Rokeby was needed. While Rokeby was Paul Mellon’s first Upperville property (purchased in 1931), Oak Spring (purchased in 1936) was his residence. He lived with his first wife Mary Conover Mellon in a brick house, and later with Rachel Lambert Mellon in a new stone house nearby, on the site of an old Fletcher log home from the 1800s. Rokeby, however, always served as the operations center “across the road” for the sprawling 4,000 acre Rokeby Farm. The two properties share a number of

On the open grounds, Rokeby has nearly 300 trees from 39 native species and a few exotic species. An ancient blackgum reaches back possibly to the days before Virginia (that’s 1607, with the founding at Jamestown). Together, Rokeby and Oak Spring have greater tree species richness than Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, combined.

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Why does [Father] think it is foolish for me to own 400 With assistance from Virginia Working Landscapes and researchers from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Rokeby’s fauna is being documented. Field staff and volunteers from Virginia Working Landscapes added four new species of birds to Oak Spring’s total resulting in 97 species documented from the combined properties. Herpetological efforts are underway and a report is expected in late 2019. Stonework at Rokeby includes 23,500 linear feet (7,163 meters) of rock wall including original stone fences that date back to the early 1800s, and to Mellon era walls of the latter 1900s. When combined with Oak Spring, the properties contain an impressive 6.1 miles (9.8km) of stone wall. Because several prominent Americans owned Rokeby, considerable archival information exists about them. Nathan Loughbough Sr. owned Rokeby beginning in 1825. He was a protégée of Alexander Hamilton and an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. The Oxnard brothers, who bought Rokeby in 1903, owned America’s largest sugar beet industry and ran Rokeby as a horse farm in the early 1900s. Admiral Cary T. Grayson, the White House physician for President Wilson, owned Rokeby with Samuel Ross beginning in 1927.

Landscape must put together things of nature that correspond to the person as well as that place and

more acres in Virginia, in a country that I love, and I have a definite interest, and a home. –Paul Mellon, Government archives allowed me to trace the deed back 200 years to the original land grants from the Carter family (and ultimately Thomas Fairfax 6th Lord Fairfax). Census records revealed the names of people living at Rokeby over time. This included, sadly, Nathan Loughborough’s many deceased children, and also that Rokeby was home to 24 slaves in 1860. From their efforts the farm produced above-average yields in 1860 according to agricultural records. Paul Mellon took ownership of the property in 1931 after his father, Andrew, purchased the farm for him as a place to spend time with his mother, Nora, and to ride and breed horses. At the time, upper Fauquier County was quickly transforming into a Hunt Country enclave for wealthy Americans. Paul would acquire more properties that would eventually amount to a contiguous 4,000 acres. Rachel (Bunny) Mellon joined Paul in 1948 and together built a house in 1951 at Oak Spring. Mellon razed the original Rokeby stone house between 1937 and 1939. It’s unclear where he or his mother stayed in those early years before the majority of Rokeby’s buildings went up. Archival evidence from Blue Ridge Farm and Oak Spring provides a building history reaching back 150 years. The most recent building at Rokeby was built in the 1990s (Split-level Barn).

environment. –Rachel Mellon 7


Thus Rokeby begins its own version 3.0 – its tenure of stewardship under the Oak Spring Garden Foundation. This follows the settlement and production farm days of Carter, Lufborough, and Joshua Fletcher in the 1800s; and the thoroughbred farm era of Oxnard, Ross/Grayson, and Paul Mellon of the 1900s. With that change, and early in a new century, it is a good opportunity to step back and take stock.

PURPOSE, GOALS, SCOPE This document is companion to the volume about Oak Spring. That report contains an extensive background section on the history of the land from its billion year old rocks, up to Upperville as a horse and hunt country enclave for wealthy northerners. That volume includes the geology, the history of the vegetation, and the human history of upper Fauquier County, and more. This information will be summarized only briefly in this volume. Considering all the richness embedded within Rokeby’s land and buildings, this current project has three goals. First, is to inventory and document what occurs at Rokeby today. With a specific history that has shaped the present, the inventory includes trees, plants, wetlands, stone walls, and more; it’s an inventory of landscape change over the past two centuries. An inventory of the 22 best special places highlights the top wonders, scenic spots, ancient trees, and more. These sites

will shape where people go and how they experience the landscape. The second component of this project is to synthesize the rich archival resources available for Rokeby. Taken primarily from archives at Blue Ridge Farm (the farm next door), and also Oak Spring and government records, what can we learn about the people who lived at Rokeby and what they did with the land?

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Like with Oak Spring, the third piece of this project is to take the context and inventory and ask what Rokeby should look like 50–100 years from now? How can the Oak Spring Garden Foundation use this raw material to serve the broader landscape and fulfill its mission? Reflecting on the values Rachel Mellon set out for the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and contemporary ideas of responsible land management, this document offers a path forward to make these ideas a reality. Included are a vegetation plan, thoughts on watchable wildlife, and a trail plan to help people access Rokeby’s impressive landscape. Blue Ridge views, ancient woodland, and land use history combine to create a landscape of riches. With 10,000 years of human history – from storied lithics, pre-Civil War stone fences, and the imprint of 80 years of Mellon stewardship – Rokeby offers something that is no less interesting than the grandest landscapes of the world. This document illuminates the unique palimpsest that is Rokeby, with regard for its history, and an eye towards its future. LIMITATIONS A few limitations to the project are worth noting. The level of botanical detail is moderate. As a forest ecologist, the 300 or so acres of grass were a wilderness unknown to me. Much of the grassland diversity was captured by Virginia Working Landscapes and is summarized. Additionally, one could spend a lifetime studying a patch of land like this. It was necessary to

at least attempt to remain focused. Considering that, the project has depth and breadth and no management action will likely occur without additional research. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS As with the Oak Spring volume, many people made this project possible. First thanks to Oak Spring President Sir Peter Crane for thinking a companion volume was worthwhile. All of Oak Spring’s staff helped in some way, especially Clif Brown, Skip Glascock, Max Smith, TJ Sherman, and Marguerite Harden. Special thanks to Head Volunteer, Elinor Crane, for sleuthing assistance. Also special thanks to Amanda Hayton for all her efforts as a summer research intern; her contributions to this effort were significant. Oak Spring Library staff, Tony Willis and Nancy Collins were especially helpful with documents, photos, and digitizing. Efforts from Jim Sawyer, Fauquier County Soil Scientist, and Charlotte Lorick from Virginia Working Landscapes added considerable detail to our understanding of soils and grasslands respectively. An additional special thanks to Leslie Grayson and Blue Ridge Farm for sharing a wealth of archival information from the brief period when the two farms were joined. Autumn Von Plinsky added her artistic skills on the cover and throughout. Finally, acknowledgement to Paul Mellon for finding interest, beauty, and home in this landscape, and Bunny Mellon for planting the seed that is now blossoming as the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

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L ANDSCAPE C ONTEXT To understand how the land, the vegetation, and the history of Rokeby has played out over time, it is useful to go back – way back to the origins of the rocks, the evolutionary antecedents of the plants, and the first people to walk the land. That information, and more, can be found with considerable detail in the companion volume about Oak Spring. Since the two properties are contiguous there is essentially no difference in these broad themes. Thus the treatment here includes only a brief summary. Maps, tables, and explanation can be found in the companion volume. GEOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW Like Oak Spring and Upperville, Rokeby lies in a broad valley between the Blue Ridge and the Bull Run Mountains. Within sight of Rokeby, the mountains rise 2,176 feet (663 meters) and 1,300 feet (400 meters) respectively. The mountains are narrow, north-south running ridges. The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost of a series of parallel ridges of the eastern Appalachians. The Blue Ridge Mountains are the highest ridge in this system. Rokeby lies more or less at elevations of 500 to 600 feet (150 to 180 m) above sea level. Rokeby is located in the Piedmont physiographic region. To the east is the Coastal Plain region, and west are the Blue Ridge and Great Valley physiographic regions.

Rokeby occurs on the crest of an imperceptible, shallow yet broad ridge. It dips in the north to the small tributary stream of Plum Run. The stream rises 2.5 miles (4km) west of Rokeby on a small hill south of Upperville. Plum Run enters Rokeby only briefly before continuing north and east three miles to Panther Skin Creek, and another half-mile to Goose Creek. All of the land at Rokeby north of Mill Reef Road flows into Plum Run. Land to the south of the road flows into an unnamed tributary, and into Goose Creek near the old Wolfe’s Mill. GEOLOGY Rokeby is set on a foundation of ancient metamorphosed rocks. The importance of these rocks is revealed in the chemistry of the soil, the plants that grow there and the shape of the land (topography). The ways upon which people have settled and made habitat of the landscape, is a reflection of its geology. The meta-granites at Rokeby formed initially over one billion years ago and through intense heat and pressure from continental collision, the rocks have recrystallized into a slightly altered rock. Granites tend to form somewhat acidic, relatively low nutrient soils. At Rokeby we find granite exposures in several locations. Approximately 570 million years ago, through this basement rock, volcanic basalts emerged in a series of violent eruptions. These Catoctin basalt flows rose up as the ancient

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supercontinent Rodinia split apart. Rifting of the Earth’s crust, as occurred then, allows molten rock to reach the surface. Most of the basalt “flow” that occurred around Upperville is gone – long since eroded away. What’s left are the dikes, or passages through the granite, from which the basalt emerged. Because the rock at Rokeby occurred as dikes, it cooled more slowly than basalt that cools on the surface. As such, we call this rock diabase. Moreover, the diabase has been subject to heat and pressure over the past 500 million years and therefore, like Rokeby’s granite, is metamorphosed. Colloquially, the meta-diabase found around Upperville is called greenstone. The greenstone tends to be slightly alkaline, and more fertile as soil than the comparably poor granite. On the ground, and in Rokeby’s stone walls, we find rocks are about 80–90% greenstone, and 10–20% granite. The granite is a white stone with obvious crystals, while the greenstone is dark, almost charcoal, or orange, or sometimes greenish in color. The mix of stones leads to interesting and diverse soils with a range of properties allowing a diverse suite of plants. The driving force in Rokeby’s geology over the past several thousand years has been erosion.

geographic features – combined with Virginia’s latitudinal position – drive its climate patterns. Although this part of Virginia is classified as Humid Subtropical it is a temperate region. Summers are hot and humid (but mild when compared to Florida), and the winters are cool with occasional snow (but mild compared to New England). Key aspects of the Piedmont climate include: • • •

West moving weather systems especially in summer producing frequent thunderstorms. Tropical weather systems moving up the coast from the south. Hurricanes in late summer and fall produce exceptional precipitation, floods, and destructive winds. Freezing temperatures from November to March, with snow, especially in the mountains.

Upperville receives approximately 43 inches of precipitation annually spread out evenly through the year. On average the frost-free period runs from April 17 to November 1. Record highs and lows in nearby Marshall range from 104°F to –11°F (40°C to –24°C) respectively.

CLIMATE The northern Virginia Piedmont is located between the Atlantic coast and the Appalachian Mountains. These

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GOOGLE TERRAIN MAP OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA. Rokeby and Oak Spring, noted with a with yellow star, is located in the Loudoun Valley, between the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bull Run Mountains and the Broken Hills.

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Rokeby

Oak Spring

THE O AK SPRING GARDEN FOUNDATION: ROKEBY AND OAK SPRING. Rokeby totals 440 acres and Oak Spring totals 262 acres (702 acres total). Note Rokeby’s extensive internal road network, the mile-long airstrip, the woods in the western corner, and Plum Run in the northeast. (Image: Google Earth)

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In the future Upperville can expect average precipitation to increase, primarily as a result of large rain events and increased precipitation in winter. Since 1895 precipitation has increased 5–10% statewide. Temperatures have increased and can be expected to increase further. The importance of climate change with regard to vegetation restoration at Rokeby is described in Part 3. VEGETATION HISTORY Rokeby, and most of Virginia more broadly, are part of North America’s temperate deciduous forest biome. This forest type, while fragmented in the 21st century, is vast, diverse, and beautiful. It has a biological history of roughly 80 million years and has at times covered various portions of the northern hemisphere. Close analogs occur in Europe and especially in East Asia. The history of this forest from the origins of its characteristic taxa (Quercus, Acer, etc.) is summarized in the companion volume on Oak Spring. The important points to consider for a discussion on Rokeby, or any place within this vast region, is that this biome, while arguably underappreciated, contains some of Earth’s most remarkable natural phenomena: warbler migration, magicicadas and katydids, ephemeral spring wildflowers, and the brilliance of fall foliage. Moreover, here we find the global centers of diversity for crayfish, freshwater mussels, and salamanders. We find in a couple hundred acres of disturbed woods of Oak Spring and Rokeby the same tree

species diversity as is found in millions of acres of the grandest national parks in the American West. Since the end of the Pleistocene, a warming climate and the arrival and presence of indigenous people over the past 11,000 years has shaped the forest. Dramatic cultural and ecological shifts occurred recently with the arrival of Europeans roughly 400 years ago. At that time, written documents indicate the northern Virginia Piedmont was a mosaic of forest and openings. As indigenous people burned the land to suit their needs, they shaped the vegetation into forests, woodlands, savannas, and grasslands. Though most of the land was forest and woodland, welldocumented openings and savanna occurred in the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia Piedmont. Evidence of this exists today as old trees, such as a 262-year-old white oak at Oak Spring that has been open grown since before settlement of the property. At the time of settlement in the late 1700s the landscape around Upperville, and the northern Virginia Piedmont more broadly, consisted of oak – hickory forest and woodland, dominated by white oak (Quercus alba), red oak (Q. rubra), black oak (Q. velutina), and American chestnut (Castanea dentata), among many others. The forest was punctuated by openings and savanna, themselves filled with deer and elk,

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and a rich assortment of herbs and grasses for which we likely have no contemporary analogous community. Lacking periodic disturbance from fire – as this presettlement landscape had been shaped by – the community would shift to increased forest cover and/or more mesic species. However, over the past century a different set of cultural drivers has resulted in forest decline, increase of open areas, loss of species, and introduction of exotic taxa. HUMAN HISTORY The Virginia Piedmont between the Blue Ridge and Bull Run Mountains has a long history of human habitation. By 13,000 years ago archeological records suggest the Americas were widely inhabited with people in almost every corner. In the Oak Spring volume, I highlighted the impressive collection of Indian artifacts collected around Oak Spring, Rokeby, and other nearby locations by Boyd Pauley – long time gardener at Oak Spring. The collection of 77 artifacts – mainly projectile points and a few ax heads – documents local presence of indigenous people for over 10,000 years. In general, the collection agrees with archeologists’ interpretation of regional population changes and environmental preference by people. In Archaic times (8,000 – 3,200 years ago) people used the uplands for hunting large game. Later, as agriculture expanded among American

Indians, populations moved to the bottomlands of larger rivers where a wider array of resources were available. The uplands around Rokeby and Upperville were much less frequently used during these recent times. European arrival resulted in massive cultural and ecological upheaval. Through a number of treaties (and broken treaties), as well as population losses mainly on account of disease, Native American populations fell in the Piedmont. As a result, European settlers colonized in large numbers. The original land grant that included Rokeby, and all of the area around Upperville – and most of northern Virginia – was ultimately acquired by Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax. His Northern Neck Proprietary included six million acres from the coast to the mountains. Slowly Fairfax doled out land while living on the frontier in Shenandoah Valley, foxhunting and sharing time with a young George Washington. His holdings were divided up as settlers arrived to the fertile lands of the Piedmont. By the mid-1800s the landscape around Upperville was filled by productive farms. Rokeby was owned by Nathan Loughborough, whose father, Nathan Sr. was a high-level member of the US Treasury. Rokeby was a productive farm producing over 1,000 lbs. of butter, 2,000 bushels of grains, almost 100 pigs, and 80 cows. Most of this production occurred on the backs of Loughborough’s 24 slaves.

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But the Civil War would change the face of farming in the Piedmont. Civil War battles occurred all around Rokeby as documented by then next-door neighbor Ida Dulany. After the War the farm-scape was trashed – houses had been constantly raided by troops, fences burned, and animals stolen. Union troops conducted the Burning Raid of 1863 in an effort to eliminate the productivity of regional farms so as to starve out Confederate forces. Barns, mills, crops were all torched. Soon the War ended, slaves were freed, and the region and country entered a period of reconstruction. The War took a toll on farms. Not only did they have to rebuild, but they also had to find a new economic model, as they could no longer rely on free labor supplied by slaves. A number of farms were soon abandoned or put up for sale. So many farms went up for sale by ‘war widows’ – women whose husbands had died in the War – that wealthy northerners swooped in on opportunity. They bought up farms with large acreages and changed the region into a hunt and horse country enclave for well-to-do industrialists from the north. That cultural identity largely remains intact today. Although he arrived on the tail end of this change, Paul Mellon was a part of the transition. He bought Rokeby as his first of many properties around Upperville. (Paul’s father, Andrew, purchased the property; see archival inventory.)

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CLIP FROM: A MAP OF FAUQUIER CO. VIRGINIA COMPILED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES by Jed Hotchkiss, March 1863. Note the Loughborough farm (Rokeby) slightly southeast of Upperville. Only select farms were included in this map perhaps with strategic reasoning on account of the War. Also note at the bottom of the map the farm of Mrs. Carter (Meadowgrove). This was the farm of Edward Carter. He originally settled Rokeby in the early 1800s and sold to Loughborough Sr. in 1825. (Library of Congress)

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Flowers of Boxelder (Acer negundo)

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A RCHIVAL I NVENTORY Rokeby’s landscape offers an excellent window into the history of the farm. But diligent record keeping by individuals and institutions has allowed an additional rich archive of information on the history of the land, the people, and what has gone on over the past 200 years. This section details what is known from available archival records. Included in these records are Federal censuses from population, agricultural, and slave records in particular. Records from Oak Spring include a buildings ledger developed for Rokeby in 1939. Leslie Grayson from Blue Ridge Farm provided a number of documents that help explain Rokeby’s early history during the period when Rokeby and Fountain Hill together formed a single farm. Lastly, books by decedents of Loughborough, neighbor Ida Dulany, and Paul Mellon himself, provided rich context and detail for the people who made Rokeby home.

This section is separated into four subsections. First, the history of property ownership is detailed from deeds; Rokeby has traded hands about 20 times through 12 owners. Second is a section on Rokeby People – the people who owned or lived at Rokeby. The property has a rich history of attracting some notable business people and high-level government officials. Notable owners include Nathan Lufborough Sr., Henry Oxnard, Cary Grayson, and Paul Mellon. All of these people were attracted to the site as a breeding place for racehorses. All were successful in breeding champion horses. The third section includes a summary of the period from 1903 to 1931 when Rokeby was a single farm combined with Fountain Hill under Oxnard and later Grayson/Ross. Surveys from this era show how the property evolved. The last section details the buildings found at Rokeby today. The 20 or so significant structures, reaching back 150 years or more.

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PROPERTY HISTORY FROM DEEDS Rokeby’s land ownership history reaches back thousands of years to indigenous Americans. Their history was covered in the Oak Spring volume with particular emphasis on the vast collection of artifacts found among Mellon properties by longtime Oak Spring gardener, Boyd Pauley. Ownership in the western sense, of claims and deeds, began with Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of England. Later, his son, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, cleared title to his great Northern Neck Proprietary – 6 million acres of northern Virginia coast, piedmont, and mountains. The story of Rokeby’s property history can be traced back to Lord Fairfax through roughly 20 property transfers and 12 owners. The period during the 1700s is a bit vague; however, it begins with Robert “King” Carter. Carter was the land agent for Fairfax in the early 1700s, and again, in the 1720s until his death in 1732. At the time, he had amassed 300,000 acres of land for himself and his family from Fairfax’s Northern Neck. Because of this, Fairfax moved to America to administer the land himself. Rokeby and Oak Spring were a part of Carter’s holdings. In 1731 Robert Carter gave to his son, Landon, a tract of 9,699 acres. The tract ran from Ashby’s Bent Branch (alias: Gap Run) to Goose Creek, downstream to the confluence with Upper

Beaver Dam Branch (alias: Panther Skin Creek) then upstream to around Upperville, then straight back to Gap Run. When compared to contemporary mapping of the same boundary, the acreage accuracy from 1731 is remarkable – essentially perfect (see maps below). The property passed through Landon Carter, to son John Carter, before being taken up by John’s son Edward Carter. Edward built a house and had a family before selling to Nathan Lufborough Sr. in 1825. What seems noteworthy about the land is that Carter could have settled any acres of his many thousands, but in the end, Edward Carter settled what would become Rokeby. I believe that speaks to the richness of land and the expectation that it was among the very best in their vast holdings. The 1825 deed between the Carters and Nathan Lufborough contained an extensive meets and bounds description. The deed notes a plat accompanied, but none was found in the records. Nonetheless, I collected the 20 metes and entered them into a web application called Plat Plotter, and was thus able to render a map of the exact property boundary from 1825. This is the 636 acres of land Carter settled, and thus the land Lufborough purchased (see plat next pages). Nathan used the farm for raising horses. He had a stallion born in 1827 named “Rokeby” that won a number of races; thus the name of the farm.

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The 1731 plat for Landon Carter’s 9,699-acre tract that includes Rokeby (and Oak Spring). Text of the bounds notes the following trees: chestnut, two white oaks, three white oaks, poplar, and two Spanish oaks. North is to the right. Source: Library of Virginia.

Contemporary map of the same boundaries. Bounds total 9,738 acres. The arbitrary line on the west side (top) is speculative, however, it follows a road and fence line from Upperville to Gap Run. Rokeby is at center in blue. North is to the right.

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N 27 E, 164 poles N 47 W, 124 N 82 W, 504 S 19 W, 32 S 13 W, 23 S 73 E, 24 S 55 E, 18 S 48 E, 120 S 45 E, 46 S 58 E, 26 S 50 E, 18 S 60 E, 68 S 70 E, 48 S 62 E, 75 N 28 E, 69 S 58 E, 104 S 79 E, 56

The original boundary of Rokeby (green) taken from the metes and bounds description in the 1825 deed from Carter to Lufborough. Sections of the farm were sold over the years, notably the Lufborough tract now a part of Oak Spring. Metes are at upper right. Contemporary Rokeby boundary in yellow. (Image: Google Earth)

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The Lufboroughs owned the property for 48 years. Nathan Sr. apparently never lived there (see the Rokeby People section for details); he was a well-connected man in upper levels of the federal government. He worked closely with Alexander Hamilton. But his son, Nathan Jr. lived at Rokeby by the 1840s. He was married, had lots of kids, and farmed. When Nathan Sr. died around 1850, the land became a tangled mess. Nathan Jr. had acquired portions of the land beginning in the 1840s, and into the 1850s. But in the 1870s there was a legal dispute (chancery cause) of Grayson vs. Lufborough. The deeds conflict somewhat, as to what happened, or only provide enough information to make it confusing. In short, Joshua and Robert Fletcher intended to purchase Rokeby but did not pay the last $5,000 as this was a lien to provide money for John Lufborough (relation and situation unknown). The money was never paid and when Grayson purchased land the title wasn’t clear. Somehow Nathan Jr.’s stepmother also got involved and needed to be paid for her portion of the property. Ultimately, Rokeby was sold though chancery cause to Fuller. It’s unclear if Nathan Jr. wanted to leave or if he was forced out by circumstance. Fuller died soon after and his son, William sold the land to Joshua Fletcher. It’s unclear if Fletcher ever lived at Rokeby; he owned it for over 20 years and had roots in the neighborhood. Fletcher sold to Oxnard in two transactions in

the early 1900s. It’s not clear how these purchases were divided on the ground. Oxnard died in 1922 and his wife soon sold the farm to Samuel Ross and Cary Grayson; however, Grayson’s name never appears on Rokeby deeds. Together they owned Rokeby and Fountain Hill Farm, the adjacent property to the south. Ross soon died and Grayson has to dissolve the boarding business and divide the farm. Ross’s daughter (Lipscomb) and sole heir sold Rokeby. The property was bought by Andrew Mellon, but deeded to Paul; he is listed as “nominee” in the deed and the title is in his name. The final transaction to assemble all of Rokeby as it is today occurs when Paul Mellon purchases back seven acres that Marie Oxnard sold to Dulany. The small area occurs on the north side of Plum Run. The area is somewhat inaccessible to Rokeby (unless crossing the stream). Nonetheless, Mellon found it important enough to buy it back. The 1937 aerial photo shows considerable, but indiscernible, activity there. In time Paul Mellon would amass 4,000 acres of land in a wide area centered more or less on Oak Spring. The exception to this was the 517-acre “inholding” of Blue Ridge Farm, which is today still owned by the Grayson family.

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LIST OF PROPERTY TRANSFERS FOR ROKEBY obtained from the Fauquier County land records office. Records for the very oldest transfers and grants were not obtained. Spellings of Lufborough and Loughborough were kept true to deeds. Date Transfer Book, Pg. Notes 1933, Nov. 1931, May 1931, May 1927, Sept. 1926, Apr. 1914, Jan. 1904, Sept. 1881, July 1881, Jan. 1878, Jan.

1875, Feb. 1873, Sept. 1873, July

1851, May

Anna Dulany to Paul Mellon Rebecca Ross Lipscomb to Paul Mellon Fletcher v. Fletcher to R. Ross Lipscomb (to Mellon) James and Caroline Oxnard to Samuel Ross Oxnard to Dulany

139, 153 136, 173

Oxnard buys remainder of Rokeby from (?) Joshua Fletcher Joshua Fletcher to Oxnard J. Fletcher to H. G. Dulany Jr. William D. Fuller (heir to T.J.D. Fuller) to Joshua Fletcher Noland (commissioner), Grayson v. Loughborough to J. Fletcher

110, 64

Grayson v. Loughborough to T.J.D Fuller Nathan and Anna Loughborough to T.J. D. Fuller Margaret Loughborough to Nathan Loughborough Jr.

66, 317

Nathan Lufborough Sr. to Nathan Lufborough Jr.

43, 383

136, 171 130, 467 128, 313

96, 53 72, 74 71, 302 70, 214

66, 316 66, 315

Mellon buys back 7 acres on the north side Plum Run sold in 1926. Paul Mellon, as nominee of Andrew Mellon, buys Rokeby – 400 acres. Deed contains fold out plat (see image). Transfers 5.22 acres to Rokeby from Fletcher when the road (623) was moved east. Transfer was result of a chancery suit in Fletcher v. Fletcher. James Oxnard dies, and entire holdings of 1,002 acres are sold, including this sale of Rokeby for $66k. Oxnard sells 7 acres to Anna Dulany on the north side of Plum Run for $487. Transfer excludes rights to the water. (Paul Mellon buys it back 1933) Rokeby was split for a time, perhaps on account of the chancery cause Grayson v. Loughborough. With this sale it is full again. Oxnard buys 280 acres of Rokeby. Lot line adjustment of 12 acres on northern edge (Heronwood, today). Plat. Fuller sells Rokeby for $17,644 after property goes through chancery cause Fuller v. Fuller in January 1880. Resolves $5,000 Robert Fletcher failed to pay to Nathan Loughborough on behalf of Joshua Fletcher for 187 acres of Rokeby. Money was a lien to be held for John Loughborough and resulted in the case Grayson v. Loughborough. Chancery cause facilitates purchase of Rokeby by Fuller for $19,100. Survey plat included in deed. After 48 years in the family, Loughborough sells 441-acre Rokeby to T.J.D. Fuller. N.L. Sr. died, and willed son N.L. Jr. in 1853 280 acres of Rokeby. Failed to record transfer; step mother (Margaret) was never paid, related (somehow) to chancery cause Grayson v. Loughborough. Nathan Sr. (passed?) transfers 354 acres of Rokeby to son.

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Table continued: Rokeby deeds. Date Transfer

Book, Pg.

Notes

1844, Jan.

Nathan Lufborough Sr. to Nathan Lufborough Jr. Lufborough Sr. to Robert Fletcher

44, 164

1825, Feb.

Edward and Fanny (Frances) Carter to Nathan Lufborough Sr.

28, 161

1779–?

Landon Carter to son John Fitzhugh Carter, to son Edward Carter Robert “King” Carter to son Landon Carter

None found

Transfers “all slaves and personal property” on the plantation of Rokeby for $200 annual rent or equivalent in pork or beef. Nathan Jr. resides at Rokeby. A lot line adjustment where Fletcher puts up 88 rods (1,452 feet) of stone fence to straighten the line giving Fletcher 1.5 acres. (Wall is on east side of Oak Spring’s Loughborough/Library tract). Lufborough buys from Carter 636 acres (see plat) for $11,452. Deed contains very descriptive meets and bounds including: stone fences, black oak stump in NE corner, large white oak n NW corner, white oak in W corner. Edward Carter and family lived at this property for an undetermined period of time. Property is 5,487 acres. Edward, with wife Fanny, and kids (8) settle at what will become Rokeby (named by Lufborough in 1830s).

1837, June

1731

40, 130

None found

Landon receives 9,700-acre tract from his father lying between Panther Skin Creek (Upperville) on the north, and Gap Run on the south, and Goose Creek on the east.

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The plat included with the 1873 deed, Loughborough to Fuller. However, the plat in the deed was not color enhanced as this version is (this is a much better resolution image). This version was obtained from the Grayson vs. Loughborough chancery cause (Library of Virginia). Property here is listed as 441 acres. Note the house and spring. The spring is the one at Rokeby today surrounded by woods near the Round Barn. Also note the wooded areas are essentially unchanged (except for imposition of the airstrip). The eastern portion of Rokeby’s (Loughborough tract at Oak Spring) was sold earlier, yet the woods in the northeast was still attached (later sold to Marie Oxnard, today owned by Jean Perin).

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The fold-out, four page plat included in Paul Mellon’s 1931 deed to Rokeby. The survey was commissioned by Andrew Mellon. Note the seven-acre gap at the north to Anna Dulany (Plum Run), the 5.22-acre portion on the east as a result of Rt. 623 being moved east, and the portion divided off to Marie Oxnard. An additional 20 acres on the west is no longer a part of Rokeby.

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ROKEBY PEOPLE This section briefly describes the people who owned and lived at Rokeby over the past 200 years and what they were doing on the land. The information comes from a variety of sources including census archives, gravesite databases, and other online records. I have given particular attention to Loughborough because his family owned it for nearly 50 years, and much information is available on their endeavors. Carter Edward Carter (1788–1845), with wife Fanny Scott (1798– 1864), was the first settler at Rokeby (not named Rokeby until after they sold). He was the fourth Carter to own the land. First, was his great grandfather, Robert King Carter (1663– 1732), who, as Lord Fairfax’s land agent, amassed hundreds of thousands of acres. The land next went to his son, Edward’s grandfather, Landon Carter (1710–1778). Landon owned a number of plantations throughout Virginia. He is perhaps best known for his book, The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter, which described colonial life prior to the American Revolution. He died with 50,000 acres, including thousands of acres between Upperville and Rectortown. Landon’s son, John Fitzhugh Carter (1739–1789) owned the land next. Also known as John Carter of Sudley, he owned large plantations and was the first Carter to settle in the “Bull Run Tract.” His Sudley manor, in the area of Manassas,

Virginia, was dismantled long ago. With his brother, he was tasked with developing the region. John Carter’s youngest child, Edward (1788–1845) married Fanny Scott (1798–1864) in the 1810s. Through family inheritance, Fanny was owner to land near Marshall, Va., granted in 1736 to Parson Scott. The estate, called Meadow Grove, is where Edward and Fanny are buried and it is understood to be where they moved to when they sold Rokeby to Nathan Lufborough in 1825. Lufborough/Loughborough Nathan Lufborough Sr. (1772–1852) purchased Rokeby in 1825. (The Lufboroughs changed the spelling of their name to Loughborough sometime in the 1850s; this, after changing from Loofborough, as was Nathan’s father’s name, David T. Loofborough.) Nathan Lufborough was connected to, and worked in, high levels of the federal government. He was a protégé of Alexander Hamilton, had correspondence with James Madison, and a dinner with President Adams. For a time he was Assistant Secretary to the Treasury of the United States. Originally from Pennsylvania, he moved to Washington in 1800 when the capital moved there. Nathan Lufborough Sr.

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After a brief time in Georgetown, Loughborough bought 250 acres in northwest Washington where he built his “Grasslands” estate (now the site of American University). Later he moved to Montgomery County Maryland (Bethesda area), to an estate he built called “Milton.” The site is today on the National Register of Historic Places. Nathan Sr. forced the Supreme Court case Loughborough v. Blake (18 US 317) in 1820. Loughborough objected to the fact that he was forced to pay taxes, but had no vote as a resident of Washington DC. Supreme court Chief Justice John Marshall rejected Loughborough’s argument and taxation without representation remains today a rallying cry in Washington DC. Lufborough was also interested in horses. Rokeby seems to have been a country estate for him to breed thoroughbreds. He entered a number of horses in races including a winning chestnut colt named “Rokeby” at Fairfield in Loudoun County in 1831 (Skinner 1831). Nathan Jr. (1813–1889) was the fourth of five kids to Nathan Sr. and wife Mary Webster (1776–1841). His father purchased Rokeby when Nathan Jr. was 12 years old, and, according to deeds and census records, by the 1840s Nathan Jr. was living there. Nathan Jr. married Elizabeth Carter Turner in 1843; however, she died the following year (at age 23). In 1846 he married Anna Henry Rose (1825–1875) and they had some 12 children beginning in 1851, however, a number of these

children died as indicated in census forms in 1860 and 1870 (see box text on Ida Dulany on p. 34). They had eight children listed in each year, but the names and ages are inconsistent. Nathan Jr. acquired Rokeby from his father in at least two pieces; the history behind this is difficult to ascertain. It’s complicated by the Grayson v. Loughborough chancery cause, the origins of which are complex and not entirely understood. (The Library of Virginia [2018] has a digital file on it, but it is 200 pages, handwritten in the 1800s.) Nonetheless, Nathan Jr., Anna and kids lived at Rokeby until at least 1873. Lufborough lists “Farmer” as his occupation on the 1870 census form. Anna is “Keeping house” as was typical for wives on these forms. The kids are variously listed “at home,” or “attending school,” depending on their age. Local history suggests Rokeby’s Brick Barn was at one time a schoolhouse, however, that function may have occurred much later. The 1860 census shows 46 year old Nathan Jr. and family living in the Upperville district. He is listed as a farmer, and owning $34,980 in real estate and $28,580 in personal property. The 1870 census shows 56 year old Nathan Jr. with $36,650 in real estate and $1,500 in personal property. The great difference in personal property is notable. As described below, the farm activity reduced by some 75% between 1860 and 1870. This occurred likely on account of the Civil War and

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Peas bushels

Potatoes, Irish, bushels

Butter Lbs.

Hay tons

Hops Lbs.

Animals to slaughter dollars

125

Oats bushels

100

Corn bushels

300

Wheat bushels

1870

Swine (No.)

855

Other cows (No.)

110

Work oxen (No.)

Implements dollars

526

Milk cows (No.)

Acres unimproved

1860

Horses, (No.)

Acres improved

DATA FROM NATHAN LOUGHBOROUGH’S ROKEBY FARM on the federal non-population agricultural census schedules. Absent values assume zero. A few categories occur in 1870 that did not occur in 1860 – see text. Yellow numbers indicate yields at or near the top among neighboring farms on the Upperville schedule.

15

10

2

57

98

1,435

2,000

220

10

200

1,200

50

10

795

8

2

20

16

600

property damage, emancipation of his slaves, or a general decline in his farming operation. This is all speculation, but the Federal non-population agricultural census schedules taken each decade from 1850 to 1880 give us an indication of what Loughborough was doing on the farm. In 1860 we see the full 636 acres of farm – the same number of acres listed in the 1825 deed. The 110 acres of unimproved land includes the wooded areas in the west, and what is today Jean Perin’s place. Rokeby had 15 horses, some 79 cows, and 98 pigs. Most neighborhood farms had ~30 pigs. For wheat

50

50

and corn production, Rokeby also surpassed the neighbors; most farms grew roughly 1,000 bushels of wheat and 1,000 bushels of corn. (A couple of farms topped Rokeby in both of these categories.) Few farms counted any peas, most logged only 50 bushels of potatoes, and just 500 lbs. of butter. Rokeby was a very productive farm in 1860, aided by rich soils and the productions of Loughborough’s 24 slaves. A separate federal census in 1860 accounted for the country’s slaves, farm by farm. At Rokeby, Nathan Jr. held 24 slaves with ages ranging from 60 years to 6 months.

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In 1860 Rokeby had 13 female and 11 male slaves. The average age was 16.5 years. Aguilla Glasscock (a neighbor) held 11 slaves aged 50 years to one month. But the adjacent Dulany farm held the greatest number locally with 69 slaves. They ranged in age from four months to 100 years (male) and 90 years (female). Median age at the Dulany farm was 12 years. Most neighborhood farms had 5 to 10 slaves, or less. By 1870 farm production at Rokeby crashed. In the 1860s Nathan Jr. sold the Loughborough tract (as it is known at Oak Spring), which cut his holdings by a third. Records show he had zero horses, 40 fewer cows, and an 80% reduction in pigs. Wheat production was cut by more than half, and butter was less than 5% of what it had been in 1860. The Civil War took an immense toll on Upperville farms. Yankee soldiers were constantly raiding farms, stealing food and personal belongings, and in the end, intentionally destroying buildings, livestock, and produce (Dulany 2009). Perhaps too, there could have been something in the Loughborough’s general financial condition (father’s wealth evaporated perhaps) that caused such a steep decline. (See box below for notes on Loughborough in Dulany’s War journal.) In 1870 three additional census metrics were included in the census. First, Forest Products at Rokeby generated $50 in 1870. (In the far west of the Rokeby woods is a downed dead tree that has been cut. It reveals approximately 150 years of growth, and it is coppiced. The age would make it very close

CLIP FROM THE 1860 FEDERAL SLAVE CENSUS schedule showing Nathan Loughborough’s Rokeby farm. Note the two owners above him are surname Rector.

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to having been cut in 1870, however, it could have been cut 10 years either side of that year.) Second, Rokeby paid out $450 in wages in 1870 whereas in the past, slaves were presumably unpaid. According to the Census Bureau (US Department of Commerce 1975) the average farm labor wage for the Mid-Atlantic region in 1870 was $17.89/month. Loughborough’s $450 in 1870 would have paid for roughly two, yearlong positions, or four laborers during the growing season. Lastly, the farm’s total production in 1870 was $465. This metric was not gathered in 1860. However, most of the neighboring farms in 1870 were doing ~$2,000 in total value. Rokeby was sold beginning in 1873, as the chancery cause was settled. The chancery cause Grayson v. Loughborough is a bit of a mystery as to how and why Nathan (and family) left Rokeby. It’s unclear if he wanted to leave, or if he was ultimately forced out due to finances, his stepmother, or other circumstance. A later census form shows he lived in Montgomery County, Maryland, his father’s base when he wasn’t in Washington DC. Nathan and Anna’s children are buried in Washington DC, Arlington National, Middleburg, Texas, and California.

EXCERPTS FROM In the Shadow of the Enemy: The Civil War Journal of Ida Dulany. Dulany lived at Oakley, the farm next door to Rokeby. These passages include relevance to the Loughboroughs. March 20th 1862: Federal wagons have just pasted to get corn. I feared they were coming here but to my relief they went by, I suppose to Uncle Nathan’s. I feel sorry for him. His family is so large to be stripped of everything. (p.74) May 18th 1862: Mr. Loughborough’s fine riding mare was stolen from his stable last night. (p. 93) June 8th 1862: Uncle Nathan called yesterday to tell us that a party of Yankees had been to his house for meat, had cursed him, and threatened him, and had behaved in every way outrageously. They did not get his meat, however, as he refused to show them where it was concealed, and they had no authority to search the house. (p. 103) November 2nd, 1862: Not only have we had the horrors of war to contend with, but disease has been carrying off numbers in our midst. For weeks I have been alternately with Mamma, helping to nurse Uncle Nathan’s little children. Of his six daughters, four are dead from diphtheria, and many other children are dying and dead in the neighborhood. (p. 141) November 5th 1862: Yesterday evening Mrs. Loughborough came over to ask us what we were doing to protect ourselves. She was in the greatest distress, every sheep, every fowl of every kind, almost every hog, every horse and colt had been taken and then they were threatening to break into her meat house. Uncle Nathan had been here this morning and left here to go in pursuit of his horses and colts. (p. 143) July (late) 1863: We are completely surrounded by Yankees, the camp being in the field before the house. As the General has issued orders that the men must take everything, everything is being taken. All our hogs, our little bevees, and lastly our milch cows […] Uncle Nathan has lost everything in and out of the house. […] We will be left to live on wheat bread and water, but we still hope for better days. (p. 172)

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Fuller Very little information could be found on T.J.D. Fuller or son William. Fuller bought Rokeby over several transactions as the property was tied up in the chancery cause. Beginning in 1873 he purchased from Nathan and Anna Loughborough, but it was not resolved entirely until 1878. Fuller’s son and heir, William, sold the property in 1881 at a $1,500 loss. William is listed as being of Fauquier County in the deed, however, no record of him was found in census archives. Fletcher Joshua Fletcher bought Rokeby over several transactions beginning in 1881. The adjacent property, Fountain Hill (now Blue Ridge Farm) was settled by Joshua Clay Fletcher in 1791 (died 1811). His son, Robert Fletcher settled Oak Spring (across the road) around 1829 or earlier. He died in 1844. It’s unclear how the Joshua Fletcher who owned Rokeby in the latest 1800s was related, but it is most certain he was descended. William Fletcher, and other descendants continued to own Oak Spring until the 1920s. A Joshua Fletcher shows up on Upperville census records in 1870 (age 28, Farmer) with wife Margaret and four kids and a domestic. It is unclear if he lived at Rokeby or which portions of the property he acquired in which order. A Joshua C. Fletcher, surveyor conducted a survey of Oak Spring in 1903 (see Oak Spring volume, page 154).

Oxnard James G. Oxnard, and wife Caroline Oxnard née Thomas were listed on the deeds as sole owners of Rokeby. However, it appears they shared ownership of the sprawling Blue Ridge Stud horse operation with James’ brother Henry and that Henry held the primary interest and activity in the property. The boys’ father was Thomas Oxnard – a sugar refinery baron of Louisiana, a profession inherited from his father. Just before the Civil War, Thomas sold most of his operation and left for France, where Henry was born. James was born in New York a few years later. After Harvard, Henry and James travelled Europe researching sugar beet production. They were convinced the US could produce all its own sugar and cease importation. When they returned home, they sold the family refinery for $1M and set up America’s first sugar beet establishment in Nebraska.

Henry T. Oxnard pictured in the San Francisco Call in 1904. He owned Rokeby as part of Blue Ridge Stud in the early 1900s and produced a number of winning horses. However, his brother James and his wife Caroline are listed on the deed.

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Henry, it seems, was the primary driver of the Oxnard sugar industry, however, James and other brothers were also involved. In time, Henry build a massive sugar beet operation in California on the Oxnard Plain, establishing the town of Oxnard, California and investing $2M in 1898. The operation quickly employed over 1,000 people. Henry ran (unsuccessfully) for US senate in California in 1904. In a sugar trade journal Henry Oxnard had denied reports he was buying the “Beverly place” in Virginia (the property that is now Blue Ridge Farm was owned by William Beverly). He reassured people he was committed to Oxnard, California (Louisiana Planter 1903). Perhaps for this reason Rokeby was purchased under James and Caroline’s names. Nonetheless, the 1920 census shows Henry, wife Marie (from France), two daughters, and servants, live in Fauquier County. They lived at Heronwood, the adjacent property to the north of Rokeby. Much less is written about James Oxnard. He was born in 1864 in NY and married Caroline Thomas. They had two boys, James and Thomas. Census records show they lived in Smithtown, NY during the time they owned Rokeby (1900, 1915). James’ occupation on census records is listed as “capitalist” and in another year as “no occupation.” It’s unclear how much time, if any, James spent in Upperville. Beginning in 1903 the Oxnard brothers began purchasing property around Rokeby. James purchased parts of Rokeby in

1904 and 1914. Most of their acquisitions occurred in 1903 and 1904 (NPS 2006). They bought 60 acres called Seldom Seen Farm on the northeast of Rokeby from Dulany and renamed it Heronwood, which became Henry and Marie’s residence. Marie was a self-taught gardener who designed the extensive and highly regarded gardens at Heronwood. Her gardens were described as “Virginia gardens with a French accent.” The Oxnard brothers operated their 1,002-acre Upperville horse farm as Blue Ridge Stud. From it they generated a number of winning thoroughbreds. They built barns and tenant houses. Henry Oxnard died in 1922 (age 60) and James in 1919 (age 57). As Blue Ridge Stud was sold off, Henry’s widowed wife, Marie, kept a small 40-acre wooded portion of Rokeby (now the home of Jean Perin) as part of her residence at Heronwood. This transaction is the only mention of Henry Oxnard in Rokeby deeds. Census records show Marie lived in Fauquier County into the 1940s. She lived her last years in France. Ross/Grayson With the Oxnard brothers untimely deaths the family sold most of the farm. In 1927 Admiral Cary T. Grayson purchased most of the Oxnard farm with horse racing friend and business partner Samuel Ross. They established a horse boarding, breeding, and racing operation. They dubbed the place Blue Ridge Farm.

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Admiral Grayson (1878–1938) was a naval medical doctor who served Presidents Theodor Roosevelt, William Taft, and also as the physician for President Woodrow Wilson. He retired from the Navy in 1928 – around the time he and Ross purchased Oxnard’s Blue Ridge Stud – but he continued government service notably as chair of Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural committee. Later he served as chairman of the American Red Cross. As a turfman, Grayson owned or bred racing winners My Own, Market Wise, and War Feathers, among others.

Samuel Ross (1855–1930) owned Barber and Ross Inc., a large building materials and hardware business in Washington DC. Described as “one of the most prominent businessmen of Washington as well as a noted turfman” (New York Times 1930), Ross was quite involved in racing circles having been a past president of the Washington Jockey Club, and owner of a stable in New York. He was owner of the winning horses Crank and Ultimatum. He had one daughter, Rebecca Ross Lipscomb. He died while swimming in the surf in New Jersey. Grayson and Ross had success in their boarding operation and also produced a number of race winners. They continued the nationally recognized breeding operation established at the farm under Oxnard. With Ross’s death, however, Grayson had to dissolve the business. Ross was the primary investor of the operation and his portion, including, as was determined, the more valuable Rokeby side, passed to his daughter, Rebecca Ross Lipscomb (1889–1933). Grayson retained Fountain Hill and continued operations there, albeit scaled down. Lipscomb, described as a “Socially prominent Washingtonian,” died at age 45, just two years after her father passed. However, in 1931 she sold her father’s portion of Blue Ridge Farm – Rokeby – to America’s next champion horse breeder: Paul Mellon.

ROKEBY/BLUE RIDGE FARM OWNERS, Admiral Cary T. Grayson (left) and Samuel Ross in 1924. (Image courtesy Leslie Grayson)

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Paul Mellon Rokeby was Mellon’s first acquisition around Upperville. Eventually he’d amass over 4,000 acres centered more or less on Oak Spring, with Grayson’s Blue Ridge Farm essentially as an inholding. How Mellon acquired Rokeby has been shrouded by confusion around who paid for it, who owned it, etc., as evidence from archives do not neatly match his story. Two narratives emerge regarding how Paul attained Rokeby. First, we have the account from his autobiography, Reflections in a Silver Spoon (Mellon and Baskett 1992) where Mellon states his father, Andrew, purchased the property for his exwife (Paul’s mother), Nora, and later Nora sold it to Paul. Mellon writes: Despite the fact that they had been divorced for nearly twenty years, Father bought Mother the farm of Rokeby, near Upperville, Virginia in 1931. (p. 228) My mother had used Rokeby [to raise cattle] and to grow corn for cattle feed, although she was there primarily because she wanted to ride and hunt. (p. 258) Rokeby, when my father bought it, consisted of only four hundred acres. I decided after I had bought it from mother, that I would try to add some neighboring farms… (p. 258) The question had arisen of my buying my mother’s farm, Rokeby, in Virginia, because she too was over 50 and was preparing to move to Connecticut…” (p. 147)

PAUL MELLON CA. 1920S OR 30S: Location unknown. Photo is by Thomas Neil Darling courtesy of Howard Allen Photography LLC, Middleburg, Va. (Oak Spring Library Archives).

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However, a second, conflicting narrative emerges from historical records. According to deeds, Rokeby has been Paul’s since the first sale; he was listed as “nominee” to Andrew indicating the elder made the deal, and put the property in Paul’s name. Moreover, the accompanying article from Gettysburg Times in 1931 (a week before the property closed) agrees with information found on the deeds: Andrew purchased the property for Paul. This story is reinforced by the accompanying document obtained in Blue Ridge Farm archives. The document is dated March 1931, shortly before Mellon closed on Rokeby. It notes Nora’s plan to spend time on the property, but that Paul is owner.

Unattributed press release from Blue Ridge Farm / Grayson archives.

Clip from the Gettysburg Times April 27, 1931 summarizing Mellon’s purchase of Rokeby.

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Despite Paul’s narrative on the origins of Rokeby ownership in his autobiography and the way he came about it, written evidence to the contrary suggests the property was not a gift to Nora, but to Paul. She may have lived there for a time, as he narrates in his book and is confirmed in the archive document. Perhaps Paul was lead to believe the property was hers (the lawyers do all the paperwork, after all). Or it is quite possible Paul was trying to shape a certain narrative of his life in his autobiography. To be sure, it was a complicated family situation and we may never know the full story. Nevertheless, Paul Mellon began quickly modifying Rokeby to suit his needs and desires for the place. Within the first decade of ownership he razed the original Rokeby stone house, built a new small stone house (now New Haven House), built Rokeby’s greenhouses, and developed springs in the fields with stone troughs. Mr. Mellon quickly fell in love with the landscape around Upperville and considered it home, as it would be for the next 68 years until his death in 1999. As it had since the days of Nathan Lufborough’s colt Rokeby in 1827, and Oxnard’s nationally recognized horse operation in the early 1900s, Mellon bred a number of champion horses at Rokeby including Mill Reef, Glint of Gold, and Sea Hero.

References and Resources Ancestry.com. 2010. U.S., Selected Federal Census NonPopulation Schedules, 1850-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Dezendorf, A. 1904. Henry Oxnard, At Home. San Francisco Call, Vol. 96 (40). July 10, 1904. Dulany, I. 2009. In the Shadow of the Enemy: The Civil War Journal of Ida Powell Dulany, edited by M. Mackall, S. Meserve, and A.M. Sasscer. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. Findagrave.com. 2018. Edward Carter. Accessed January 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2457522/carter-cassellcemetery Findagrave.com. 2019. Rebecca Frances Ross Lipscomb. Accessed January 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/190613909/rebeccafrances-lipscomb Loughborough, M. and J. Johnson. 2010. The Recollections of Margaret Cabell Brown Loughborough: A Southern Woman’s Memories of Richmond, VA. and Washington DC in the Civil War. Hamilton Books, Lanham, MD. The Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer. 1903. Henry T. Oxnard still a Californian. Vol. 30: 243. April 18, 1903.

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Mellon, P. and J. Baskett. 1992. Reflections in a Silver Spoon. William Morrow & Co. NPS (National Park Service). 2006. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Blue Ridge Farm. VDHR File number 030-0894. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2018/04/0300894_BlueRidgeFarm_NRfinal_2006.pdf Paul Mellon to Enter Turf Land. 1931, April 27. The Gettysburg Times. Samuel Ross Dies After Fighting in Surf. 1930, August 3. The New York Times.

United States Census. 1860. Census Place: District 9, Fauquier, Virginia; Archive Collection Number: T1132; Roll: 6; Page: 3-4; Line: 15; Schedule Type: Agriculture United States Census.1930. Database with images, FamilySearch.com. Washington, District of Columbia, United States; citing enumeration district 51, sheet 2A, line 1, family 25, NARA microfilm publication T626; roll 293; FHL microfilm 2,340,028. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMKL-W71 US Department of Commerce. 1975. Historical statistics of the United States, colonial times to 1970. Bureau of the Census, Washington DC. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112104053548;seq =181

Skinner, J.S. 1831. American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, volume 2 (11): 562.

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A SHARED FARM During most of the past 200 years, Rokeby and Fountain Hill, have been operated as two separate farms. This is true today, as it was in the earliest days of the 1800s when Edward Carter and Joshua Fletcher respectively settled the properties. From 1904 to 1931, however, the two farms comprised a single unit. The 1,002-acre farm was first assembled by Oxnard, and then owned by Grayson and Ross. As such, to understand Rokeby today – the layout of the roads, the buildings, and more – it is useful to examine the archives held at Blue Ridge Farm that illustrate this period of joint ownership. Little information is available from James and Henry Oxnard’s tenure. However, while some are nearly 100 years old, archival documents help illustrate the origins and purposes of certain features at Rokeby.

FOUNTAIN HILL In 1791 Joshua C. Fletcher (1750–1821) leased 200 acres from John Carter (Edward Carter’s father). The lease agreement required Fletcher to build a house of stone, which he completed by 1794. The farm was named Fountain Hill for the robust spring that occurs at the far west end of the property.

FOUNTAIN HILL HOUSE ca. late 1800s. Photo courtesy of Leslie Grayson.

The house is a 2.5 story rubble (local granite and diabase) house with exterior chimneys. Also noteworthy nearby to the Fountain Hill house today is a late 1700s smokehouse. After Joshua Fletcher died, his son, Joshua, lived on the farm with his family. It’s unclear based on available documents who farmed the property during the second half of the 1800s, until William Beverly took ownership (purchased at auction from a chancery suit).

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years the combined property functioned as a single operating racehorse farm by Henry Oxnard and then as a boarding operation and breeding farm in 1927 owned by Grayson and Ross until 1931. Under the Oxnard brothers, Blue Ridge Stud evolved into one of the leading horse breeding farms in the country. According to W.J. Carter writing in The Southern Planter (1911) “Blue Ridge Stud at Rectortown, Va., is now second to no breeding establishment in the State in importance.” The Oxnard’s farm was considered among the very best horse breeding farms in the country. They produced a number of winners and sold 30 to 40 yearlings annually. THE SPRING HOUSE AT FOUNTAIN HILL in 2018. The spring was part of Joshua Fletcher’s original 200-acre lease from Carter.

BLUE RIDGE STUD In 1903 to 1904 (and a few parcels added later) the Oxnard brothers, James and Henry, purchased Rokeby from Joshua Fletcher (descendant) and Fountain Hill from E.B. White (who had recently purchased from the William Beverly estate). With those parcels as the core, the Oxnard brothers assembled a farm of 1,002 acres they called Blue Ridge Stud. Through Blue Ridge Stud, the Rokeby and Fountain Hill farms were joined for the first time since the land was a sprawling 9,699 acre tract owned by the Carter family. For the next 24

The Oxnards built a number of barns and outbuildings. (Much of this will be described in the next section, which details Rokeby’s buildings.) For example, the stud barns that are today houses at Rokeby were built under Oxnard. However, the Oxnard family had their residence at Heronwood, adjacent to the north of Rokeby. At Fountain Hill, Oxnard built broodmare stables, an implement shed, a yearling stable, hay barracks, and tenant houses. These include the Crawford House and Byington House. A complete list of Oxnard buildings occurs in the NPS (2006) report. Oxnard made minor modifications at Fountain Hill House, and presumably at Rokeby as well, but they lived at Heronwood.

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Very little archival information is available from Henry and Marie Oxnard’s tenure. Perhaps the Oxnard family maintains archives of Henry and James and their time in Virginia.

BLUE RIDGE FARM Grayson and Ross purchased the farm at below value from the Oxnard estate. Despite all the investment Oxnard had put in during the two decades prior, transforming the farm into what was considered among the best in the country, Grayson and Ross added substantially. According to settlement documents they made improvements and repairs to some houses, barns, and roads, and also built new outbuildings, a water tower, and a granary. All this on property they owned jointly for only four years. When Ross died in 1931 Grayson (and the lawyers) had to figure out how to divide they farm proportionately with Ross’s estate. Ross was more heavily invested. Grayson had to dissolve the business and because Ross was the larger investor in the operation, Rokeby was split off. Grayson retained Fountain Hill. In addition to the Fountain Hill house, Blue Ridge Farm contained four tenant houses, five barns, and other buildings. Rokeby contained the main house, one tenant house, four stud barns, and garages, among other small structures. The Fountain Hill side also had better water resources from the robust “Fountain Spring” and a creek, which may have had appeal to Admiral Grayson.

SETTLEMENT OF BLUE RIDGE FARM with valuations of Fountain Hill and Rokeby in 1931. (Courtesy Leslie Grayson)

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The settlement document for Blue Ridge Farm (previous page) indicates an expensive “New Stone House” at Rokeby. It’s unclear if this was the original Loughborough house (seems likely) and perhaps renovated partially or entirely under Oxnard or Ross/Grayson. If not, it is unclear where this stone house is considering it doesn’t show up on the survey Ross and Grayson commissioned in 1930; three houses are listed on the settlement, but only two occur on the plat. According to a correspondence by Priscilla Grayson (1998) Admiral Grayson and his wife had begun renovating the “Loughborough brick house” at Rokeby when Ross died in 1931 (the house was made of stone). Despite their efforts, Grayson, nonetheless, ended up with Fountain Hill whether by choice or by circumstance. He reduced the number of horses owned, but increased the boarding business as he pivoted in light of losing Ross’s financial investment in the operation.

REFERENCES AND RESOURCES Carter, W.J. 1911. The Horse. The Southern Planter, 72: 1317. Grayson, P. 1998. Personal correspondence from Priscilla Grayson. Blue Ridge Farm/Leslie Grayson archives. NPS (National Park Service). 2006. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Blue Ridge Farm. VDHR File number 0300894. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2018/04/0300894_BlueRidgeFarm_NRfinal_2006.pdf

After Paul Mellon purchased Rokeby in 1931 and the farm thus divided back to its original parcels, Grayson built a separate Colonial Revival house on the farm in 1933. After Cary Grayson died in 1938 his family decided to run the farm as the Admiral had, but they scaled it down; they reduced the number of mares, but increased the boarding business an economically sustainable operation. Meanwhile, Paul Mellon began improvements at Rokeby – developing springs for horses, and moving and building houses.

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UNDATED SURVEY OF “BLUE RIDGE FARM OXNARD PROPERTY.” Oxnard operated the combined Fountain Hill and Rokeby farms as “Blue Ridge Stud.” This survey could be from the transition to “Blue Ridge Farm” via Grayson and Ross in 1927. However, Dulany purchased the seven-acre section of Plum Run in 1926 and that area is still included in this plat suggesting the survey predates that transfer. Many of the buildings shown in the 1930 survey (next page) are not included in this plat. Courtesy: Blue Ridge Farm/Leslie Grayson

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SURVEY OF BLUE RIDGE FARMS dated February 5, 1930. This survey was taken a year before Ross died and when Mellon takes ownership of Rokeby in 1931. Courtesy: Blue Ridge Farm/Leslie Grayson

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CLOSE UP OF THE CORE BUILDING AREAS at Blue Ridge Farms taken from the survey dates February 5, 1930. Courtesy: Blue Ridge Farm/Leslie Grayson

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© 2018 Google © 2018 Google

BLUE RIDGE FARM AND ROKEBY (core areas) ca. 1937. BRF boundary in blue and Rokeby in yellow. Fountain Hill House is red. This image was taken 6 years after the combined farm was divided. Note the farm road connections across the shared boundary.

N 2000 ft

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CLIP FROM “MAP OF FIELDS: ROKEBY FARMS – UPPERVILLE, VA” showing Rokeby proper. The full map shows additional Mellon properties (e.g. Oak Spring, etc.). The date is hand written (11/22/1946). Of note is the absence of either the Rokeby stone house, or the Nora Mellon House, and also the presence of other buildings. (Courtesy Leslie Grayson / Blue Ridge Farm)

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ROKEBY BUILDINGS Rokeby has had a building ever since Edward Carter lived there sometime between 1794 (when Joshua Fletcher completed Fountain Hill) and 1825 when he sold to Nathan Loughborough. Carter noted in the deed the place was “…where I now reside…” so it is presumed he had a house. It is further assumed that that house was the original Rokeby House, formerly standing very near to today’s Nora Mellon house. However, this may not be the case. Over the subsequent 200 years, Rokeby’s buildings have come and gone. Buildings went up under Loughborough, and perhaps others during the 1800s. Mills, barns, and other buildings were lost during the Civil War when Union forces conducted their Burning Raid. Later, at Rokeby a number of horse farm related buildings went up under Oxnard. Grayson and Ross built a few additional structures during their brief ownership of Rokeby from 1927 to 1931. Paul Mellon made the most sweeping changes beginning in the 1930s when he tore down the Rokeby House, built new houses, greenhouses, an airstrip and more. This section details in a table, map, and photos a history of Rokeby’s building environment. This information was pieced together from a number of sources – mainly archives from Oak Spring and Blue Ridge Farm. These include old surveys,

THE NORA MELLON HOUSE AT ROKEBY. The house was built in the 1940s under Paul Mellon and replaced the stone or brick house that stood nearby. It was designed by H. Page Cross.

appraisals, and historical aerial photos. Much of the story remains unknown. The most perplexing mystery is the location of the two stone houses listed on the 1931 settlement between Grayson and Ross. Nevertheless, today Rokeby contains 20 substantial buildings and perhaps that many more outbuildings, sheds, and hay barracks. They span a construction period of roughly 150 years from before the Civil War to the 1990s.

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18

22 20 17

4 21

16

19

15

14

1

2

13

3

12 11 10

9 8

7

MAP OF THE MAIN BUILDINGS AT ROKEBY. The buildings span 150 years or more of construction. See table and text for descriptions.

Image USDA Farm Service Agency

➤

5 6

N 1000 ft

Image USDA Farm Service Agency

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TABLE LISTING SIGNIFICANT BUILDINGS AT ROKEBY with contemporary names and build-dates. Numbers refer to map locations on previous page. Build dates are based on aerial photos and/or archival documents. A more complete description and/or photos are provided for buildings with an asterisk (*) listed by the name. A host of small outbuildings are not included in this list. Map Building name Build year Notes number 1

Nora Mellon House*

1940–1952

2

Meat House*

Pre-1860?

3

Brick Barn / Schoolhouse*

Pre-1860?

4

Airstrip ‘Tower’*

1952–1957

5

Split-level barn

Late-1990s

6 7 8 9

The Bank House Yearling Barn #1 Yearling Barn #2 Circular Exercise Ring*

1937–1945 1939 1904–1927 1957–1965

10

New Haven House

1934

11

Paris House

1938

12

New York House*

1904–1927

13

London House*

1904–1927

14

Clare Cottage

1937–1944

15

Whitehaven House*

192?–1930

16

Nantucket House

1957–1965

17

Cape Cod House

1957–1965

The house was designed by Cross and Cross architects. The house was the farm manager’s house. The house replaced the original Rokeby house, however, the position was moved slightly south and turned to face south. The brick meat house is 14’ x14’ and accompanied the original Rokeby house. It is original 19th century and survived the Civil War Burning Raid. It was originally painted white to keep it cool as it was for storing meat. On E. Scheel’s map this building is “Barn, Schoolhouse, & Chapel” which matches local lore. The brick building survived the Burning Raid of the Civil War. The wood additions were added under Mellon. This building and the adjacent airstrip garage were built after the airstrip was added in 1952. It’s classic Mellon stone construction, six-sided, with large glass windows facing the airstrip. The most striking feature of this block barn is the grass ramp that leads up to the upper level. This is the most recent construction at Rokeby. Built as a Stableman’s house at a cost of $8,000. Has a detached one car stone garage. Stable for hunter horses is U-shaped and has sycamore trees planted in courtyard. Believed to be of Oxnard build and expanded by Mellon; referred to as Barn #4 on Grayson plat. Hunter’s stable. H. Page Cross designed this circular exercise barn. Stone cottage built for groom, later used by secretaries. Probably the first new building under Mellon. Classic Mellon stone, perhaps also H. Page Cross design. Named to commemorate Paul Mellon’s time at Yale. Almost identical to The Bank House when built, was used for kennelman, head groom, and/or trainer. Wood construction, slate roof. Originally set among oaks in 1939 photo. Commemorates Mellon’s Paris apartment. Appears to be a modified Oxnard era stud barn, renovated into a house before 1939. Commemorates the Mellon’s property in New York City. Appears to be a modified Oxnard stud barn, converted into a house after 1939. Commemorates the Mellon’s property in London. It is assumed H. Page Cross also designed this house, built in early 1940s, or perhaps as late as 1948. It was built as a gardener’s house. The Whitehaven house was moved from this location. Named for Clare College, Cambridge, UK where Paul Mellon went to school. This house was built on the site now occupied by Clare Cottage. In the 1939 property ledger, the measured position of the house was changed after it was moved. Named for the Mellon’s Washington DC home. Stone house is a mirror image (including planted trees) of the Cape Cod House. Built as staff housing. Named to commemorate the Mellon’s house on Nantucket. Stone house was built together with Nantucket House. Unclear if it was H. Page Cross designed this (and Nantucket). Named to commemorate the Mellon’s house on Cape Cod.

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BUILDINGS TABLE, continued: Map Building name number

Build year

18 19

Cattle Barn and Silos Greenhouse complex*

1940–1952 1939

20

Maintenance complex

1940s

21 22

Granary* Hay and Drier Barn

1957–1965 1952–1957

Notes Block construction barn with two silos. It was used actively for cattle until the late 1970s, and storage since then. Main building 121 feet long; second greenhouse 68 feet long. Walled garden, etc. Consists of four buildings around a stone drive central plaza. Buildings include: Garage #3 used for coal, then storage; Garage #4 made of stone; Paint and Carpenter Shop made of stone; and a Machine Shop made of stone. Used as a granary until 1990s then used for general storage. Largest barn space in the Rokeby complex. Wood construction.

NORA MELLON / ROKEBY HOUSE The Nora Mellon house was built in the late 1940s. It does not appear in the 1939 Rokeby building ledger, or a 1946 plat, and then it does appear in the 1952 aerial photograph. The ledger was updated into the 1940s, which suggests the house was built in the later half of that decade. The house was deigned by architect H. Page Cross; the Mellons worked with him for many projects including Oak Spring. Like other Mellon houses, it’s filled with niches and build-ins. It was used for the farm manager. The house was built near the site of the original “Rokeby House” which is often referred to as the “Loughborough Place.” However, that house stood slightly to the northwest of Undated photo of the Nora Mellon House at Rokeby. Also note the garage at left, and the roof of the Meat House.

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today’s Nora Mellon; the original house looked straight down the long entry drive. Nora Mellon was repositioned perhaps not to portray a sense of importance or perhaps to take advantage of nice mountain views to the south. The original house was torn down under Paul Mellon between 1937 (when it shows on the aerial photograph) and 1939 when the Rokeby building ledger was compiled; it does not appear in the plat of that document. Two photos of the house exist. First, Oak Spring has a photocopied print of an undated photograph of the house. The second, is a photograph taken from the property line shared with Grayson in the late 1920s or very early 1930s. The house is distant, but on close inspection, one can see the Meat House, adjacent to a large three-story house among trees. Various sources suggest the house was stone or brick, but it appears from the photos the house was mainly stone. In addition to why Paul Mellon demolished the building, there is a mystery surrounding Rokeby’s stone house(s). The balance sheet to settle the Ross estate with Grayson (see balance sheet p. 43) has listed an “Old Stone House” valued at $4,312 listed along with a “New Stone House” valued at $36,803. The latter is valued at more than three times the value of anything else including the then relatively new Grimes House. One of these old/new stone houses was the main Rokeby house – a house that had existed since at least Loughborough

AN UNDATED PHOTO WITH THE CAPTION at top “Old Building at Present Rokeby Farm Office.” It appears this is the back of the house, looking from the southwest. Compare with the next image taken from Grayson’s property line, also to southwest.

times. But it remains a mystery where the other house was. They often moved houses then, but a $36,000 stone house (as pictured above) would be cumbersome if not impossible to move. It could be that the two houses were actually the same – that is, one was built and the second was an expansion. It is also be possible that the value of the New Stone House was inflated by the attorneys to make Ross’s portion seem more valuable than it was, such that Grayson could get a better deal. This is all speculation.

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MEAT HOUSE A meat house or smoke house was standard on farms until refrigeration became available. Meat was cured and stored in a small masonry structure typically from late fall to early spring.

But ultimately the house that was valued at 15 times the value of Fountain Hill House was deemed inadequate by Paul Mellon. A letter in the Grayson archives notes the family had been renovating the house before Ross’s death. Nonetheless, Mellon razed it and built a more modest staff house with a less courtly orientation.

ROKEBY MEAT HOUSE ca. 1939.

ROKEBY MAIN HOUSE CA. 1930. The main Rokeby house before it was razed by Paul Mellon. Note the smaller Meat House in front of the main house. Also note the Brick Barn to right. Photo courtesy of Leslie Grayson/Blue Ridge Farm.

The Rokeby Meat House is brick, and was previously painted white to reflect sun and reduce heating inside.

Ed Ashby, an expert in historic structures, suggests the meat house was built 1850–1860. Ida Dulany mentions the Rokeby meat house in her Civil War journal (see excerpts in the previous section). All wood buildings were destroyed in the War as Union forces torched all means of production in the Loudoun Valley during the Burning Raid of 1864. The brick Meat House survived. Ashby found evidence the structure has been updated over the years and that most updates attempted to replicate the building’s age. However, Portland cement was used during updates, instead of a historic mortar.

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BRICK BARN The Brick Barn is also known as a schoolhouse and chapel. It may have served all of these purposes during Loughborough times in the middle 1800s. It is made of brick, and appears to be of similar construction and age to the Meat House. A wood addition on the back may be of Mellon era, however, done before 1939 as photos of that year include the addition. The wood addition may be older than Mellon era. The 1937 census shows 28 children (51 total people) living on Blue Ridge Farm (L. Grayson, personal communication). The need for a schoolhouse meant the Brick Barn was used for learning. It’s also listed as a chapel on Eugene Scheel’s Nine Sheet Map of Fauquier County (sheet 4, Upperville).

BRICK BARN / SCHOOLHOUSE ca. 1939.

Ed Ashby, regional expert in historic buildings, believes the building was built contemporary with the meat house in the 1850s. Due to the wear in the brick corners of all the passages, Ashby believes the building was used as a granary. Animals may have been kept on the lower level. The window on the east side was used to pass material through as suggested by wear. The roof has been replaced several times; the original was likely pine shakes. The brick stairs on the north were added later, as were a number of beams inside. A belt of darker bricks containing black crystals as a result of position in the kiln, was specially chosen as a bonding course. The building is also uniquely wider than it is long.

BRICK BARN in 2019.

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AIRSTRIP ‘TOWER’ Shortly after the airstrip was built in 1952, two buildings at the gateway were constructed by 1957. On the west side is a garage, that doubled as a firehouse and held a small fire truck (jeep with trailer). On the east was the “Tower,” that doubled as a lounge/control tower of sorts and as a base for pilots. The building is typical Mellon stone construction, but is eight sided with large picture windows facing the airstrip. It’s a unique building doused in natural light with a lovely view of the airstrip, and the Blue Ridge beyond.

CIRCULAR EXERCISE RING H. Page Cross deigned the circular exercise ring for Rokeby. It was built in the late 1950s or early 1960s according to aerial photos. The exercise ring is still being used in 2019.

UNDATED PHOTO OF THE ROUND BARN.

Scanned with CamScanner

UNDATED PHOTO OF THE AIRSTRIP BUILDING under construction; mid-1950s.

58 Scanned with CamScanner


NEW YORK AND LONDON “STUD BARNS” The survey done during Oxnard times (presumed prior to 1926) shows three stud barns on the road running south of the current greenhouse complex. The same buildings occur on the 1930 plat done under Ross and Grayson. A photo provided by Leslie Grayson/Blue Ridge Farm, believed to be shot around 1930, shows the three barns from the south. In the 1939 property ledger under Mellon the New York house is listed as “Electrician’s House” and had had a chimney added. It’s unclear if the conversion to human use was done under Ross and Grayson or Mellon.

CA. 1947 PHOTO OF THE STUD BARNS. At this time the New York and London houses had been converted from stud barns to tenant homes.

Nevertheless, the London house was converted sometime after 1939. The ledger indicates in that year the larger portion of the building was a horse stable, and the lower portion was a beagle kennel and cookhouse. Later the building functioned as a slaughterhouse. It appears in the 1947 photo that the building had not yet been converted.

STUD BARNS AT ROKEBY CA. 1930. This photo is taken from the south and the first building is the New York House, with London House next. It is believed at this time both functioned as horse barns. The New York House was converted before 1939. Photo courtesy of Leslie Grayson/Blue Ridge Farm.

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WHITEHAVEN HOUSE Whitehaven, named for the Mellon’s Washington DC home, is the oldest house at Rokeby. Originally built as the Grimes House (for George Grimes, farm manager under Grayson and Ross), it does not appear on the Oxnard survey (pre-1926) but does appear on the Ross and Grayson plat of 1930. It may have been built in late Oxnard times, however, unlikely as the Oxnard brothers had died by 1922 and the estate was being settled for several years. More likely, it was built under Grayson and Ross in the late 1920s.

GREENHOUSE COMPLEX The Rokeby Greenhouse was built new in 1939 at a cost of $18,500. A comprehensive set of drawings is held in the Lord and Burnham archives at the New York Botanical Garden. The glass portion is 100 feet long and rests on a stone foundation. The original complex also included a second glass house 68 feet long and seven feet wide. The complex has been expanded over time to include the walled garden (1952– 1957). According to aerial imagery from the 1980s the entire complex resembled what occurs today.

The house was originally built on the site of Clare Cottage. A photo of the house in this location occurs in the 1939 ledger. However, measurements of the house’s location are crossed out and a new photo is included showing its altered location.

ROKEBY G REENHOUSE under construction in 1939. Rokeby Buildings Ledger.

WHITEHAVEN HOUSE IN ITS NEW AND CURRENT LOCATION. The bare ground appears to be related to the move. Undated, but likely early 1940s.

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GRANARY The Granary, along with Garage 4, the Paint Shop, and Machine Shop form a four-building courtyard of stone referred to as the Quadrangle. The drive is stone, and the attractive buildings are stone. Until the 1990s, the Granary functioned as such. It was used primarily during the beef cattle operation and variously held oats, corn, rye, salt, and/or barley. Since the 1990s it has been used for general storage.

GRANARY AT ROKEBY in 2019. Photo by TJ Sherman.

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Spring beauty Claytonia virginica

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L ANDSCAPE I NVENTORY Rokeby contains roughly 16 rock outcrops showcasing a history reaching back over one billion years. Its soils are deep and varied and the plants rooted in them span grasses, trees, shrubs, herbs, and vines. Rokeby has 10 springs, and over 1,600 feet of the perennial waters of Plum Run. There are 39 native tree species, and three additional species of birds are added to Oak Spring’s list bringing the total to 97 species. Working hands have stacked 23,500 linear feet of stone wall (4.5 miles) – nearly three times as much as is at Oak Spring. This section documents what occurs on Rokeby’s 440 acres. It includes what’s found at the surface, beneath the surface, and in the canopy. Rokeby is rich with plants, with rocks, with animals, and with the etchings of over 200 years of agricultural history.

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R OCK O UTCROPS Description Like at Oak Spring, Rokeby contains two general rock types: a 1.1 billion year old metagranite (herein called ‘granite’); and a 570 million year old metadiabase (also called ‘greenstone’). Locally, there may be several metagranites or granitic gneisses based on specific composition or crystallography. On top of these bedrock types lay several meters of saprolite – chemically weathered rock consisting of fine material, rock fragments, to bedrock. The geology of the broader Upperville region is described with detail in the background context section of the Oak Spring volume. This section details the locations, interpretation, and management suggestions for the rock outcrops found at Rokeby. Rokeby contains approximately 16 rocky outcrops clustered into three general areas over its 440 aces. One cluster of granites occurs in the southern corner near the gateway on Rokeby Road, and the adjacent large pasture. A single greenstone outcrop occurs on a highpoint in this section. The largest rock outcrop at Rokeby occurs at the north end of the field by the small open barn. This is the largest exposed granite outcrop among Oak Spring and Rokeby. One nearest the gateway has a borehole of unknown significance; a similar hole occurs in granite along Peach Tree Lane at Oak Spring.

LARGE GRANITE OUTCROP in the southern horse pasture at Rokeby.

The second cluster occurs at Plum Run in the north of the property. All outcrops in this area are greenstone, except for a granite occurrence in the stream. Most are low-lying and the tractors mow over them. The granite expanse forms a small falls on Plum Run.

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GRANITE OUTCROP NEAR MILL REEF ROAD entrance with drilled hole perhaps of farm purposes or perhaps from sampling. A similar hole occurs on rocks along Peach Tree Lane.

The third area occurs mainly behind the operations barns between those buildings and the runway among planted ornamental shrubs. An outlier of this cluster occurs on the far side of the runway. All rocks in this cluster are greenstone. The locations of rock outcrops at Rokeby are less dense than those found at Oak Spring. Perhaps Rokeby has fewer outcrops than Oak Spring because more of Rokeby has been altered (larger building footprints, more roads, runway, etc.). Perhaps also it is because Rokeby occurs on a subtle

METADIABSE (GREENSTONE) OUTCROPPINGS along Plum Run at Rokeby. These outcrops add structure and instability to the stream which increases wildlife habitat.

topographical ridge whereas Oak Spring occurs closer to Goose Creek. This naturally leads Oak Spring to erosion and exposure at larger time scales. While Rokeby is generally flat, Oak Spring dips off, steeply at times, to Goose Creek. Where natural erosion does occur along Plum Run, we see a cluster of outcrops containing half of Rokeby’s sites. Rokeby’s granites occur in its southern corner, arguably the most topographically distinct portion of the property.

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Rokeby’s outcrops in general do not offer the same complex habitat opportunities as those found at Oak Spring particularly in the Rock Meadow. There, the outcrops are larger, some are on steep slopes where animals have burrowed underneath, etc. Without horses in the pasture, the large granite outcrop in the southern pasture could make a high quality habitat feature when incorporated into a vegetation plan. The outcrops that form the waterfalls on Plum Run offer nice stream complexity. Management efforts should keep the largest outcrops free of shade, and trails should keep wide distance from the best sites. Rock outcrops provide microhabitat opportunities for bryophytes, lichens, xeric plants, reptiles, birds, and more. The best sites should be incorporated into thoughtful vegetation plans. Reforestation efforts will likely cover many of the greenstone sites north of Plum Run, and these efforts might incorporate the rock outcrops into the planting plan so as to keep them open as long as possible (widely spaced trees, small gaps, etc.). Most of these outcrops are small, nonetheless.

ONE OF SEVERAL GREENSTONE OUTCROPS behind the operations barns and among ornamental trees and shrubs.

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Granite waterfall

Greenstone outcrops near the operation center.

Greenstone cluster at Plum Run.

Mostly granite outcrops in the southern corner.

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S OIL Soil is a combination of parent bedrock material, climate, organic matter, and time. The properties of a soil, including its texture, nutrients, minerals, water-holding capacity, and erodability, strongly affect the plants that grow there and by extension the wildlife and the ways humans engage with the land. Some soils are suited to agriculture and others are not. Typically, it is in those unsuitable soils that we find a region’s intact natural areas. Early settlers to Fauquier County noted the region’s rich productive soils. Forest communities consisting of black walnut, and locust, and perhaps basswood and sugar maple, tipped them off to the best sites. Soil productivity in Fauquier’s early days transformed settlers of moderate means into upper-class farmers. For a time, Fauquier County was among the top producing counties in the state for certain crops.

Description In general, soils of the Piedmont are acidic and low in nutrients. However, the addition of diabase bedrock (metabasalt or greenstone) adds nutrients, increases pH, and leads to more productive and diverse plant communities. Because Rokeby soils are composed from two distinct rock types, the soils are at times distinct, or in most areas mixed. The distinct areas would naturally lead to different plant communities with

species preferring more nutrient rich sites (red bud, dogwood, and bitternut hickory for example) to grow in pure diabase soils, and species tolerating poorer sites (chestnut oak, black gum, and Vaccinium spp. for example) to occur on the purer granite soils. Like for Oak Spring, OSGF commissioned a type 1 soil survey for Rokeby from Fauquier County soil scientist Jim Sawyer in 2018. For the 441-acre property, we excluded the runway and some of the developed grounds for a survey of just over 420 acres. The survey resulted in over 400 auger holes to measure texture, color, parent material, depth to water, hydric soils, erodability, and suitability for various uses. The type 1 soil survey does not include chemical analysis, however, survey work by Virginia Working Landscapes covered some chemistry (see below). Sawyer’s work includes a map of soil types, and a spatial analysis of those types for the entire property. The following maps were produced by Jim Sawyer as part of the Type 1 soils survey.

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Parent Material

Greenstone Gneiss Alluvium

Âą 1 inch = 542 feet

70


Legend Type1Soil_Clip Depth to Rock 10 - 20 inches 20 - 40 inches 20-40 / > 60 inches 40 - 60 inches > 60 / 20-40 inches > 60 inches > 60/20 -40 inches Not Rated Variable

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Legend Type1Soil_Clip Depth to Water Table 0 - 10 inches 10 - 20 inches 10 - 20/ > 60 inches 20 - 40 inches 20-40/>60 inches > 40 / 10-40 inches > 40 inches Not Rated Variable

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Legend Type1Soil_Clip Hydric Rating Hydric Inclusions Hydric Soil Nonhydric Not Rated Water

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Legend Type1Soil_Clip Erosion Potential High Moderate Not Rated Slight Variable

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Shrink - Swell Potential

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Legend Type1Soil_Clip Agricultural Potential <Null> Not Rated Not Suited Prime Crop/Pasture Prime Cropland Prime Pasture PrimePasture/SecCrop Secondary Cropland Secondary Pasture Secondary/PrimeCrop Variable

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Legend Type1Soil_Clip Forestry Potential High Low Moderate Moderately High Moderately Low Moderately Low/Low Not Rated Variable

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Results

Chemical Analysis

Organic Matter Pole

p CEC H

P

K

Mg

Ca

H

ENR

meq/ 100g

ppm

Rating

ppm

Rating

% Sat

ppm

Rating

% Sat

ppm

Rating

% Sat

% Sat

Rating

In general, most metrics rate moderate and the pH is slightly acidic.

Table 4: 2018 Soil Survey Results. Soil samples were processed by Waypoint Analytical, using the Mehlich-3 test. Ratings of very low, low, medium, high, or very high provide a general guideline for the adequacy of nutrient levels for field crops. Parts per million, ppm, can be converted to pounds per acre, lbs/ac, by multiplying by two.

Percent

As part of their grassland inventory, Virginia Working Landscapes conducted soil chemical analysis from three locations at Rokeby (pole A, B, C on the table) in the east, central, and western portions of the property. The table from their report has been included here.

SOIL SURVEY

A

4.2

M 124 5.3

6.8

34

M

115

M

4.3

106

M

13

704

M

51.8

30.9

B

5.8

H

150 5.5

9.3

19

L

208

VH

5.7

164

M

14.7

1005

M

54

25.8

C

3.4

M 108 5.5

7.2

31

M

63

L

2.2

114

M

13.2

845

M

58.7

26.4

Organic Matter (OM): Amount (percent) of decaying plant and animal material in the soil. The Estimated Nitrogen Release (ENR) is the amount of nitrogen (lbs/ac) that can be released from OM via bacterial activity or other means. The percent OM and ENR may be influenced by seasonal variation in weather or by soil physical conditions. pH: A measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, lower pH is acidic, and higher is alkaline. Rule of thumb suggests a desirable pH for mineral soils is 6-7, and 5-5.5 for organic soils. Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC): A measure of the soil’s ability to hold nutrients (such as Ca, Mg, K, or H) in terms of milliequivalents per 100 grams of soil. Clay minerals and organic matter present in the soil affect CEC; it can range from <5 to 35 meq/100g for agricultural soils; CEC = %OM * (Soil pH - 4.5) Phosphorous (P): Amount of P available to the plant, measured in parts per million (ppm). Levels between 15-31 ppm are adequate for most crops. Excessively high levels can decrease the availability of other nutrients to plants. Potassium (K): Plant-available potassium (parts per million). Generally higher levels of potassium are needed on soils high in clay and organic matter. On finer textured soils, potassium loss can occur through fixation. Magnesium (Mg): Plant-available magnesium (parts per million). Soil type, drainage, liming and cropping practices affect Mg levels. Mg saturations >20% can adversely affect soil structure, infiltration, and aerification. Calcium (Ca): Plant-available calcium (parts per million). In addition to the factors mentioned for Mg, soil pH can also affect Ca levels. Ca saturations >85% may indicate calcareous or gypsiferous soil. Percent Cation Saturation (% Sat): Proportion (percent) of the CEC occupied by a given cation (i.e., an ion with a positive charge, such as calcium, magnesium or potassium).

WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Traditionally, “ideal” soil was defined as having CEC of 10 meq/100g; pH of 6.5; and CEC occupied by 20% H, 65% Ca, 10% Mg, and 5% K. In reality, as long as the cations ratios are typical of soils in your region, there is nothing to be gained by making them conform to a narrow, idealized range. Instead, ensure that amounts of nutrients are sufficient for most crops, or suitable to a specific, desired crop . 78 (information about soil parameters from: Waypoint Analytical at http://www.waypointanalytical.com/docs/technicalarticles/ howtointerpretasoiltestreport.pdf; information about soil suitability from: Magdoff, F, & Van Es, H. 2010. “Building soils for better crops”. 3rd Ed. Sustainable Agriculture Network; information about soil balancing from: Chaganti, VN., Culman,


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W ATER Water, in any of its forms – springs, ponds, swamps, or streams – adds an incredible layer of richness to the landscape. Over long time scales water shapes the land’s topography. On short time scales it provides breeding sites for ephemeral insects. At Rokeby we find both of these extremes and everything in between. Rokeby contains at least 10 springs, over 1,600 feet (488m) of Plum Run, and a curious permanent small seepage swamp in the woodland. Unlike Oak Spring, Rokeby has no ponds, nor does it appear any were ever built. All the ponds at Oak Spring were built in the 1950s and 1960s during Mellon ownership. Perhaps because they never resided at Rokeby they saw no need for ponds there. Nonetheless, there is a remarkable suite of hydric features on the farm.

Streams Plum Run has its headwaters on the ridge immediately south of Upperville. It then flows east through Oakley farm, and then Rokeby, before turning northeast. There, it descends into more topographically complex terrain where it joins Panther Skin Creek about a mile above Goose Creek. Including its ephemeral headwaters, total stream length is just less than six miles. The segment occurring on Rokeby totals 1,660 feet (0.33 miles / 0.5 km).

PLUM RUN ENTERING ROKEBY through a red maple woodland.

The stream bed is largely composed of lose rocks of metadiabase (greenstone). One small segment flows over granite bedrock forming a small falls. A couple pieces of old derelict culvert in the stream show earlier drainage schemes. It appears from historical aerial photographs that Plum Run has been altered historically. The 1937 aerial photo (below) appears to show the stream in straight-line segments

80


suggesting it was straightened and channelized in the years prior. Straightening streams, or moving them altogether, was common in early 20th century agriculture.

corridor. Additional suggestions are provided in the management section of this document.

Springs and Seeps I identified 10 springs and seeps in April of 2018. During particularly wet periods this number may increase. Four springs are considered “major” meaning flow was observed on the surface estimated at several gallons per minute. The other six are “minor” meaning their flow was small or not observable. Some minor springs occur on flat topography where by nature it is difficult to observe flow. For these sites, the actual volume of water being discharged may be similar to other springs at Rokeby, but the water tends to pool and disperse broadly rather than collect and flow from a point.

THIS 1937 AERIAL IMAGE shows a lot of indiscernible activity near Plum Run in the early day of Mellon ownership. Note the linear nature of the stream then as it was ditched and straightened.

Like most of Plum Run’s course, the section at Rokeby is a little more than a stream running through a grassy field; only a few trees grow on the banks. The site offers a great opportunity to re-vegetate the floodway, improve the structure, composition, and function of the stream and its

Rokeby’s springs tend to occur on the peripheries of the property. The reason for this is that the center of Rokeby lies more or less on a subtle ridge running parallel to the property’s long axis. The springs, thus, occur off the crest of the ridge. Most springs also occur in small drainage basins. A few occur on completely planar areas, which suggests the spring may be hydrologically younger and has yet to erode a drainage basin. The four major springs occur on the northern edge by Plum Run (two springs) and the southern edge in south corner and near the Round Barn. The map below shows the numbered

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among the vegetation and was up to six inches deep near the springhead. A masonry three-sided spring box was built in 1933 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the year is written on the structure. The feature appears to no longer function as planned. This is fine because the water is no longer destined for horses. Instead, the freely flowing spring forms the largest wetland on all of Oak Spring and Rokeby. Management efforts should aim to increase and maintain diversity for plants and animals though low-stature plantings and through the exclusion of trees. Trees will transform the site into a shaded swamp, which generally has lower productivity and diversity than a more open marsh, or shrub swamp.

SPRING 1 FORMS A LARGE WETLAND with the 1933 Mellon era spring box at its head. The wetland could be widened and also have additional native plants added.

locations of major springs, and the minor springs are shown as unnumbered small blue polygons. Spring 1 is located north of the runway near the utility area and white pines. This spring may be the most robust on the property. The vegetation has been mown for a long time; however, in spring of 2018 the site was rich with rushes, sedges, and other wetland plants. Water ponded up in and

Spring 2 occurs in the narrow alley of trees near the outlet of Plum Run from Rokeby. The site is generally flat, and regularly mowed. Water was pooled up quite extensively and observed flowing at the site. The site is close to Plum Run and with the addition of a riparian planting along the stream and in this alley, the site may develop into a forested seepage swamp. Unlike Spring 1, which seems best managed as a sunny emergent wetland, this area will be best managed as a forest. Spring 3 occurs in the far southern corner of Rokeby near the entrance of Mill Reef Road. The spring occurs in a drainage that trends to the southwest. Like Spring 1, this spring was developed with a three-sided concrete and stone structure to accommodate thirsty horses. Today it holds water, and also

82


has an overflow pipe that funnels some water away. Without grazing, it’s unclear how the vegetation may develop.

that site deserves it’s own treatment as a swamp below. It’s unclear which spring the house spring for the first settlers of the property; a survey map suggests it was spring 4.

SPRING 3 OCCURS IN THE SOUTHERN CORNER and is built for and used by horses.

Spring 4 occurs in a shallow drainage area near the Round Barn. In the center of the field is a small wooded area surrounded by a rock fence; this is the spring seepage area. Its outlet is concentrated on the southern edge and has been developed into a watering trough for horses. The minor springs are scattered around the edges of Rokeby. Arguably the seepage swamp in the forest is also a spring, but

A MINOR SPRING ALONG THE NORTH EDGE of the property, west of Spring 1. Though this spring is “minor” it does flow during wet periods.

Seepage Swamp In the center of the 25-acre Rokeby woods is a small perennial seepage swamp. The vegetation of this site will be covered more thoroughly in that section, however, in general it

83


contains acidic site species including red maple, black gum, and high-bush blueberry. Two aspects of this site are intriguing. First, the position of the seep on the landscape is unusual in that it occurs essentially on the highpoint of a very subtle ridge. Unlike the other hydric features of Rokeby (and Oak Spring for that matter), which tend to occur in drainages and slopes, this occurs near the high point. Second, the site appears to rarely â&#x20AC;&#x201C; if ever, dry up. While springs at Oak Spring seem to cease surface flow during the driest times, according to Rokeby staff of 40 years, this seep remains wet throughout the years. On aerial photos, it appears unchanged since the first series in 1937 and shows a pool in every aerial photo since then. The site offers excellent opportunities for research. See the vegetation section. SEEPAGE SWAMP in the Rokeby Woodland in April, 2018.

84


SPRINGS AND SEEPS AT ROKEBY shown in blue. The springs tend to occur along the peripheries of the property. The four springs labeled are “major” and showed the highest flows in April 2018. The others are “minor” and may have considerable flow during wet periods,

N

85


V EGETATION As outlined in the Oak Spring volume, regional vegetation around Rokeby has formed as a result of three nested scales of ecological change: the evolutionary history that gave rise to the temperate deciduous forest; thousands of years of native American land management that fostered oak-hickory dominance; and over two centuries of regional European and African American settlement that lead to agriculture as the dominant land cover with fragmented natural areas and a significant Old World flora. The Mellon era of the 1900s put the finishing touches on Rokeby with scattered tree plantings, ornamentals, and subtle shifts in the boundaries of open and forested sites. This section outlines Rokeby’s natural communities, vegetation, and trees. I summarized the various perspectives on the Piedmont flora in the Oak Spring volume. In short, the northern Virginia Piedmont has floristic affinities with Southern, Northern, and Widespread groups (of eastern North America), as well as a nonnative group of recent arrival. The regional patterns of vegetation are affected primarily by climate, topography, and substrate, however, indigenous land use – primarily from burning – has had a considerable role in shaping the oakhickory forests and woodlands that are so common in the deciduous forest region.

On a more local scale, because the broader geological underpinnings of Rokeby are the same as those of Oak Spring, we would expect the potential natural vegetation to be similar. Like at Oak Spring, metadiabase (greenstone) forms the primary bedrock type, with smaller amounts of metagranites (granite). On the whole, Rokeby is proportionally less covered with unmanaged wooded areas of natural vegetation (28 of 440 acres, or 6%) than Oak Spring (27 of 262 acres, or 10%). Both properties are dominated by grass (hayed or mowed), with buildings, grounds, and roads being the second dominant cover. Nonetheless, Rokeby’s potential natural communities, like at Oak Spring, should be Basic Oak – Hickory Forest, with perhaps smaller amounts of Acidic OakHickory Forest. Rokeby contains small amounts of wetland vegetation. Fleming et al., (2017) detail the composition and structure for all of Virginia’s natural community types. The majority of Rokeby’s natural area acreage occurs in the 25-acre woods in the west of the property. Additional areas of natural vegetation include several fencerows on property boundaries (and shorter segments internally), and the wetlands at Spring 1 and Spring 4. The vast majority of Rokeby’s acreage is mowed infrequently (and/or hayed) and has historically been mowed, hayed, or grazed. Prior to the Oxnard era (1903), the land was likely grazed by cattle, contained row crops, orchards, etc. While some open grown oaks and black gums predate the farm, and a few fencerows predate Paul Mellon’s tenure, most of the open trees at

86


Rokeby were planted under Paul Mellon. Each of these vegetation types will be discussed in this section.

Field Inventory The vegetation inventory can be divided into six areas: • • • • • •

Woodland Fencerows Springs Trees (open grown) Open grasslands Exotic species

The main field survey season was April 2018, which is just prior to green-up and the heart of the growing season. As such, species lists may be seasonally limited. Species information for the grassland survey was provided by Virginia Working Landscapes from their report on grasslands, birds, and pollinators.

87


V E GE TATI ON C O VER T YPES

█ Grassland (bush-hog, hay, pasture) █ Woodland █ Wetland █ Fencerow █ Grounds (finish-cut, pavement, ornamental, etc.)

88


WOODLAND

Natural forest at Rokeby occurs in two locations. First, the majority of the acreage is found in the 25-acre woodland at the west end of the property. The second area occurs on the north edge where Plum Run enters the property from Oakley. Here, a 0.75-acre patch of successional woods, grows at the confluence of several tributaries. SMALL WOODS AT PLUM RUN The small Plum Run confluence woodland is an inviting, but weedy, patch of successional woods. It exists because it is cutoff from mowing by Plum Run and a tributary ditch from the north; entering the site means crossing one of these two streams. Also, Spring 1 here flows across a low area where it enters Plum Run. A few trees stood here in 1937 as seen on aerial imagery, however, the majority of the trees emerged during the past 40 years.

0.75-acre woods Spring 1

wetland

Plu m

Ru n

White Pine (utility screen)

The canopy is dominated by red maple â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an early successional wet-site species that also tends to favor acidic substrates. Other species include ash, black cherry, and hackberry â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a typical suite for successional pasturelands. Also typical is the abundant invasive garlic mustard and patches of Japanese stilt grass. Atypical for Rokeby and Oak Spring is a patch of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). The species is regionally common in wet woods, but is known only here from Oak Spring and Rokeby.

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ROKEBY WOODLAND The Rokeby Woodland contains ~25 acres of oak dominated forest. The site is roughly trapezoidal in shape with the long edge on the north, and short edge on the south. All sides abut open fields except for a portion of the south side, which is partially wooded on Blue Ridge Farm. The highpoint is roughly in the middle of the woods, and terrain gently radiates from there. A small seepage swamp lies near the center of the east side, and seasonal pools develop in pits formed by fallen large trees throughout the woodland. There is another seasonally wet area on the west edge. Up until construction of the runway, around 1957, this woodland covered 33 acres; the bounds of the woods extended to the north and east past what is now the runway. The short fencerow of trees (and rock wall) north of the core woodland formed the north edge of the forest until the 1950s. Aerial photos show a portion was cleared in the mid-1950s to accommodate the runway, and then more was cleared in the 1960s when the runway was lengthened to the west. The forest canopy is dominated by oak â&#x20AC;&#x201C; primarily white oak, with some red oak. I confirmed several white oaks to 250 years old. Other tree species include black gum, species of hickory, ash, and others. A list of woody species can be found in the table that follows.

Herbaceous species are generally sparse; the forest floor is primarily covered in leaves, with exotic species occurring in patches. Observed plants include: spring beauties (Claytonia virginica), cut-leaf toothwort (Dentaria lacinata), violets (Viola sp.), dwarf cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) and Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Rubus spp. and several grasses and sedges. Regarding exotics, Japanese honeysuckle is problematic on the north and east edges. Stilt grass occurs in patches mainly on the east half and along the trail on the west edge. In general exotics tend to invade sites from the edges to the

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core. Occasional Euonymus, and Japanese barberry are also found. In general, however, exotic species infestation in this woodland should be considered light to moderate. This is somewhat surprising considering the high edge to core ratio, the site’s disturbance history, and the condition of similar woods at Oak Spring. It’s recommended that these exotics be addressed as soon as possible while infestation level is relatively low. Of particular note in the Rokeby Woodland is the seepage swamp. This wetland is relatively small – approximately 0.05

acres of wet area, but is unusual in several ways. First, the site appears to be permanently wet. Rokeby staff of 40 years have never seen it dry (personal communication). Most seeps and springs tend to dry up during droughts. This seepage swamp appears with standing water in every aerial photograph since 1937. Second, the site is perched near the high point of the land. Whereas most seeps and springs occur in drainage bottoms or at a break in slope of a hill, this one occurs at nearly the highest point at Rokeby. Third, the seepage swamp brings an uncommon natural community to Rokeby. The site could be described as a red maple – black gum – highbush blueberry seepage swamp. Virginia DEC lists the community type as a Coastal Plain / Piedmont Seepage Swamp (Fleming 2017). Compared to the list of possible species provided by Fleming (2017) the Rokeby site may be considered depauperate. However, considering the site’s disturbance history with woodland grazing, it is possible additional species once occurred. These may have included various ferns, sedges, and woody shrubs. Plants may have been trampled and grazed out of existence; undoubtedly cattle used the swamp as they would any water source.

ROKEBY WOODLAND: note the red oaks, the blond ash trees dead from emerald ash borer, and dead white oak wolf tree at right background. The woods have a history.

The woodland displays a record of human land use going back at least 160 years. A number of rock piles occur on the

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east edge, north edge, and the west edge, as well as the center. Some of these on the east edge – small piles around the bases of older trees – are likely ‘original’ (i.e. pre-Mellon), however, the rest appear to be larger piles that were dumped by farm machinery in more recent times. Stonewalls hem the woodland in on two sides. One on the south side is shared with Blue Ridge Farm. This wall is tall, robust, and is one of the prettiest walls in all of Rokeby and Oak Spring. A couple of large trees have fallen on it and damaged sections. A bronze survey marker occurs on this wall probably dating to an original Mellon survey. A wall also occurs on the west edge. This original dry-stacked wall is less robust than the first, however, is still impressive. Stones for this wall were likely pulled from the field to the west. While some stones may have been pulled from the woods, they would have been surficial because the site has never been cleared or plowed. The woods contain a number of stumps mainly of recent times from roughly the 1990s to 2000s. These were standing dead trees (oak mainly) cut for firewood (Clif Brown, personal communication). It is likely that wood was taken from the woodland ever since the first farm was settled, as every farm needed a woodlot for materials and fuel. Nonetheless, the stand still has white oaks at 250 years old so was never cut especially hard.

NORTH EDGE OF ROKEBY WOODLAND: note the small coppiced oaks that show previous cutting, and the maiden (original growth) white oak behind.

On the east edge of the woods one finds evidence of woodland grazing from fairly smooth ground, and small clearance cairns around the bases of older trees. These rocks would never have been moved in a woods that was ungrazed; rocks are moved to add surface area for grasses in grazed lands. As one moves deeper into the woods from the east to west, the ground becomes less smooth and more undulating suggesting the animals rarely ventured deep into the woods. Likely, the cattle were pastured in the fields east of the

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woods, and ventured into the woods seeking shade. A line of fence posts and coppiced trees occurs in the northeast corner and show a clear pattern of use. Perhaps the most interesting field evidence for historical ecology in the Rokeby Woodland comes from a single dead tree on the west edge along the stone wall. The tree was large, wide spreading, and was standing dead when Rokeby staff felled it a few years ago at the request of the neighbor. A ring count of the stump reveals approximately 325 years making it the oldest known oak at Rokeby or Oak Spring. A closer look at the rings reveals a distinct increase in growth rate at around 1860 suggesting the adjacent field was cleared at the time (and more sun reached the tree and thus increased growth). Prior to that, the tree rings are very tight suggesting a closed canopy forest during the treeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first 160 or so years. Management for the woodland should include primarily eliminating exotics Japanese honeysuckle and Japanese stilt grass as well as other less abundant species. Care should be taken in the woods as a number of dead ash trees remain standing. Understory plantings can also be done to add diversity and structure to a woods that is ravaged by deer. A few enclosure areas could be built to study the effect of deer browse. Hunting the site should also be considered.

TREE AND SHRUB SPECIES FOUND IN THE ROKEBY WOODLAND. Hickory species (C. glabra or C. tomentosa) and ash species (probably F. americana) were not identified to species. Occurrence indicates the abundance in the Rokeby Woodland only. (* Exotic.)

Com m on nam e Red maple Hickory Hackberry Flowering dogwood American beech Ash (likely white) American holly Blackgum American sycamore Sweet cherry* Black cherry White oak Swamp white oak Northern red oak Greenbrier Black locust American elm Highbush blueberry Blackhaw

Species Acer rubrum Carya spp. Celtis occidentalis Cornus florida Fagus grandifolia Fraxinus sp. Ilex opaca Nyssa sylvatica Platanus occidentalis Prunus avium Prunus serotina Quercus alba Quercus bicolor Quercus rubra Smilax sp. Robinia pseudoacacia Ulmus americana Vaccinium sp. Viburnum prunifolium

O ccurrence uncommon occasional occasional uncommon uncommon common uncommon occasional uncommon uncommon uncommon abundant rare common occasional common occasional rare uncommon

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FENCEROWS Virginia’s Piedmont in Fauquier and Loudoun counties likely contains several thousand miles of fencerows. Running along and dividing fields as narrow strips of trees, shrubs, and other plants, as trees sprout up along stone walls, board or wire fences, drainage ditches, or property boundaries they become fencerows. Sometimes several of these landscape features will be captured within one fencerow. A fencerow differs from a hedgerow; however, the terms are occasionally (perhaps incorrectly) used interchangeably. A hedgerow – much more common in Europe – is developed intentionally to define a boundary and keep animals on one side or the other. Typically hedges are planted but the key is that they were intentional and/or managed. The fencerows of Virginia (and forested eastern America more broadly) were rarely planted (Osage hedges were planted on the plains for making fences where few trees existed). Rather, they sprouted up organically as fence lines went unmaintained, neglected, or abandoned. Today they are rarely managed.

INTERNAL FENCEROW BY THE RED BARN in the southeast meadow. Here the vegetation grows in a narrow strip between the rock fence and board fence. Shown here are hackberry (foreground) and Ailanthus (background); both are typical fencerow species.

Today the Piedmont’s fencerows are a defining feature of its cultural landscape. Strips of trees break up the monotony of grassy fields and define one’s property clearly from a distance or differentiate one’s fields. In doing so, they also serve as critical ecological elements as animals use them for travel corridors, and plant species use them as dispersal corridors.

Unfortunately, exotic species often dominate fencerows because they contain the fundamental habitat requirements preferred by most exotic species: very sunny, disturbed sites, with a lot of edge. As animals that spread exotics are concentrated in these fencerows, they reinforce the regeneration of exotic species.

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Rokeby contains four segments of internal fencerow â&#x20AC;&#x201C; those that OSGF owns entirely, and longer lengths of shared fencerow. Each of the internal fencerows is roughly similar in length and each is described below with the numbers corresponding to the map that follows: 1) WOODLAND EDGE (813 feet): This row contains a mortared Mellon era stone wall of local field stone (greenstone). The vegetation is composed mainly of coppiced ash, cherry, oak, and hickory and a single Virginia pine (the only occurrence at Oak Spring or Rokeby). Most of the trees are coppiced, some with as many as six trunks indicating they were cut multiple times. It is likely that management did not want trees along the wall, and they were repeatedly cut without elimination.

2) RUNWAY DRAINAGE (940 feet): This fencerow sprouted up after the drainage was reconfigured for the airstrip in 1957. Culverts discharge from beneath the runway at the head of the ditch, and then a straight-line swale runs to Plum Run. The vegetation developed as the drainage ditch and a board fence preventing mowing and grazing. Today it is a relatively wide row at 50â&#x20AC;&#x201C;70 feet. The vegetation is a classic early successional ruderal suite consisting mainly of ash, elm, black cherry, Osage orange, and grape and coralberry. A few red oaks also grow mixed in. Exotics, including Ailanthus, multiflora rose, and Japanese honeysuckle are dense. This is a textbook example of the early successional fencerow suite. 3) RED BARN (~800 feet): This fencerow follows a mortared stone wall of Mellon era. At one time the wall also held a chestnut rail, but it no longer does and the wall is cracking in several locations. A few trees appear on this fence line in 1937 and would remain into the 1950s; however, in 1969 only one young tree stands. What is in place today has largely sprouted up since the 1980s. It is composed primarily of a stand of Ailanthus, some hackberry, Osage orange, and black cherry. 4) STALLION ROW (~625 feet): This fencerow occurs in an unlikely location along the row of houses in downtown Rokeby. There is an old, original dry stacked stone wall with rotted chestnut rails within the

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vegetation. This wall has mostly fallen. Because it occurs in central Rokeby I would have expected this area to have been more regularly maintained both in keeping the wall up, and keeping the trees away. Nonetheless, the vegetation is composed of a similar suite as the other fencerows at Rokeby: black cherry, elm, ash, with exotic plants Ailanthus Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Additional trees include: pin oaks, red oaks, black locust, Osage orange, and a couple of Norway maples. Some of these trees occur slightly off the fencerow proper and are mowed around. There is a dense colony of spring beauties growing along the east side of the wall in the mowed grass. Several clearance cairns also occur. This historic wall and adjoining vegetation should be reclaimed. 5) THE HOLLOWAY (1,100 feet): Although this fencerow occurs on a property boundary, it is completely on Rokeby. A stone wall forms the property boundary, and the trees extend ~40 feet inside Rokeby to a board fence. The land between the fences is sunken, treecovered, and feels like an ancient path (Holloway). There are a few wet spots. Composition is similar to the others: Osage orange, black walnut, hackberry, etc., but this site also has a few red oaks, and trees are generally larger than on the younger fencerows.

The Holloway

SHARED FENCEROWS In addition to these shorter internal fencerows, Rokeby shares fencerow communities with three neighbors. Almost all of these shared fencerows occur with an original dry stack rock fence. Survey markers (pins and flagging) were found at most corners and indicate that some walls are owned fully by Rokeby, or the neighbor, and others are truly shared. This may present some management challenges in the future, but

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also management opportunities. The shared fencerows are listed below in their position on the Rokeby parcel boundary. •

NORTH: Shared with Shelby Bonnie (Oakley Farms) (4,700 feet)

WEST: Shared with Blue Banner Limited Partnership (500 feet)

SOUTH: 4,230 feet shared with Blue Ridge Farm (includes the 1,100 feet of Holloway described above); 1,800 feet shared with Elizabeth Horkan (survey markers suggest this section may be primarily or entirely owned by Horkan)

Each of these contains a wide mix of vegetation for the most part similar to Rokeby’s internal fencerows described above. The key differences, as small as they may be, is that these perimeter fencerows are older and frequently contain an older suite of trees than the internal segments. Old oaks are occasionally found (mainly on the south line shared with Blue Ridge Farm), along with black walnuts and other oaks. Accordingly, the young vegetation – young stands of ash, or elm, for example – tend to be less common. Exotics, however, primarily Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose tend to be common. Ailanthus, as a more recent arrival to the landscape, is less common in these older perimeter rows than in the internal ones. Coordination with the neighbors will be

necessary to manage some sections where, for example, an Ailanthus stand occurs only on the neighbor's side of the fence.

A YOUNG SHARED FENCEROW on the western boundary. The survey pin on the ground (center) indicates the neighbor owns most or all of the rock wall and vegetation. Also note the dominance of exotic vines.

MANAGEMENT SUMMARY There is a growing literature on fencerows (and hedgerows) in rural America and particularly in the way they function as animal habitat in the broader landscape. Fencerows are used as resident and transient habitat by small mammals (Bennett et al. 1994), and as nesting sites for birds (Shalaway 1985). In

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Michigan, herbaceous fencerows were used by 12 species of birds, however, in fencerows with scattered trees the number jumps to 38 species, while a continuous line of trees and shrubs attracted 48 species of birds (Sargent et al. 1999). Wooded fencerows were found to have the highest plant species richness for all cover types (woodlot, crops, hay, etc.) in Ontario (Freemark et al. 2002). The importance of fencerows in the largely open landscape of the northern Virginia Piedmont can’t be overstated and yet little is known. In addition to weeding out Ailanthus, Japanese honeysuckle, and multiflora rose, Rokeby’s fencerows can be planted with understory shrubs and trees. A general strategy is to have a central row of trees, with lower stature trees and shrubs on the edges.

FENCEROWS AT ROKEBY: Orange box rows are entirely on Rokeby (internal) and red box rows are shared. Numbers refer to described internal rows (see text).

1

2 4

5

3

References Bennett, A.F., K. Henein, and G. Merriam. 1994. Corridor use and the elements of corridor quality: Chipmunks and fencerows in a farmland mosaic. Biological Conservation 68 (2): 155-165.

FENCEROWS INCLUDE (see text): (1) Woodland edge; (2) Runway drainage; (3) Red barn; (4) Stallion row; (5) The Holloway.

Freemark, K.E., C. Boutin, and C.J. Keddy. 2002. Importance of farmland habitats for conservation of plant species. Conservation Biology 16 (2): 399-412. Sargent, M. and K. Carter, ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowner’s Guide. Michigan United Cons. Clubs, E. Lansing, MI. Shalaway, S.D. 1985. Fencerow management for nesting birds in Michigan. Wildlife Society Bulletin 13 (3): 302-306.

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SPRINGS The locations and characteristics of springs, seeps, and other water features were described in an earlier section. Most of Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 10 or so springs and seeps occur on open grassland. However, two springs are worth noting here for their vegetation. One has characteristic open wetland plants (Spring 1) and the other consists of a small 0.25-acre woodland (Spring 4). See the Water section for a map. Spring 1 occurs at the north edge of the property near the white pine stand and Plum Run. Paul Mellon developed the spring in 1933 with a spring box and trough for horses. It has been mowed at least annually since horses were removed in the 1990s. The flora was not fully inventoried, however, a variety of rushes and sedges dominate the site, along with cattails, as a clear expression of the hydric conditions. This site should be more thoroughly explored by a wetland botanist. Spring 4 occurs by the Round Barn and consists of a small, enclosed 0.25-acre woodland. The 1937 aerial image appears to show the area was enclosed with rock fence with perhaps two trees inside. The outlet trough existed as today and horses were frequently using it. By 1952 the enclosure was fully treed. Composition primarily includes a typical early successional old-field suite including: hackberry, black locust, persimmon, Ailanthus, and elm. Understory plants include typical ruderal suite of exotics and some natives.

1

4

Spring 4 is contained inside the rock fence and exits on the right (south) end.

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Spring 1 at Rokeby: in 1933 Paul Mellon built the spring box and stone watering trough. This spring appears to be the most voluminous at Rokeby and has excellent potential as an open herbaceous wetland community.

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OPEN GRASSLANDS

ROKEBY GRASSLANDS: Red circles indicate VWL grassland sampling sites.

Of Rokeby’s 440 acres, the vast majority consists of open grasslands. After subtracting out finish-cut grounds and roads (~53 acres), woods and fencerows (~35 acres), and the runway (~17 acres), Rokeby’s remaining ~335 acres are grassland. In presettlement times these acres were forest, woodland, or savanna. When Rokeby was settled, they were converted to pasture, row crops, orchard, or hay. Since the 1930s they’ve been used for grain crops, hay or pasture, and more recently, just mowed. Roughly 40 trees are scattered among the grass. Virginia Working Landscapes surveyed three sites for grasses and grassland plants. They list 41 species of grasses, herbs, vines, and trees (seedlings). Of these, 18 are native, 20 are introduced, 2 are invasive, and one is of uncertain origin. The top 12 plants, making up ~75% of occurrences, in order of abundance include (bold is native; * is introduced): Tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum*); Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis*); Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata*); Wild garlic (Allium vineale*); Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense); Timothy (Phleum pratense*); Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale*); Narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata*); Sweet vernalgrass (Anthoxanthum odoratum*); Small carpetgrass (Arthraxon hispidus*); Nimblewill (M ulhenbergia schreberi); Nepalese browntop (Microstegium vimineum**).

ROKEBY GRASSLANDS seen from the high point behind Nora Mellon, looking east.

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TREES Trees speak to a site’s history, ecology, soil conditions, and culture. Like Oak Spring, at Rokeby trees of all ages, sizes, and importance grow on the 441 acres. While the 25-acre woodland hosts a few thousand forest-grown trees, the grasslands and maintained grounds hold approximately 290 open grown trees (638 trees at Oak Spring). Some of these are original wild stock old growth that predate Rokeby, and others were planted when Paul Mellon took ownership, and still more were planted later during his (and Rachel’s) tenure. In the Oak Spring volume I inventoried every open grown tree on the property to species and size (diameter). For Rokeby, I noted only the species for most trees. I define an “open grown tree” as one that OSG staff mow grass beneath. This excludes wild trees in fencerows and forests, and also ornamental trees in gardens. SPECIES LIST Perhaps because Rokeby contains less landscape diversity than Oak Spring – largely on account of topography and Goose Creek – tree species diversity also is lower. Missing are the riparian suite of trees found along the stream at Oak Spring. Nonetheless, Rokeby holds (at least) 39 tree species combined from the woodland and the grounds. Oak Spring contains 45 species and the combined list totals 49 (Rokeby adds swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor); eastern cottonwood

AN OLDER EASTERN COTTONWOOD (Populus deltoids) near Plum Run. The species in known from only this individual at Rokeby and Oak Spring.

(Populus deltoides); Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana); and Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra). Added to this are over a dozen exotic and/or ornamental trees. Still missing from the native list are chestnut oak (Quercus montana), black birch (Betula lenta), and hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana). These species are found locally, but are not found at Oak Spring or Rokeby. They can be added through thoughtful planting to bring the combined property totals well over 50 species – a total greater than Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, combined.

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LIST OF ROKEBY’S 39 NATIVE TREE SPECIES. Status describes presence at Rokeby (i.e. “Rare” means only a few individuals present). Some species listed as native occur slightly outside original native range (e.g. Osage orange). Although they occur locally in natural settings, some trees are known from only planted stock at Rokeby (e.g. willow oak, magnolia, tulip poplar, etc.).

Box elder Red maple

Acer nigrum Acer rubrum

Status at Rokeby Uncommon Common

Sugar maple

Acer saccharum

Occasional

Osage orange

Maclura pomifera

Uncommon

Buckeye

Aesculus sp.

Rare

Southern magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora

Rare

Bitternut hickory

Carya cordiformis

Uncommon

Black gum

Nyssa sylvatica

Uncommon

Pignut hickory

Carya glabra

Occasional

White pine

Pinus strobus

Occasional

Shagbark hickory

Carya ovata

Uncommon

Virginia pine

Pinus virginiana

Rare

Mockernut hickory

Carya tomentosa

Occasional

American sycamore

Platanus occidentalis

Uncommon

Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis

Abundant

Eastern cottonwood

Populus deltoides

Rare

Flowering dogwood

Cornus florida

Rare

Black cherry

Prunus serotina

Occasional

Hawthorn

Crataegus sp.

Rare

White oak

Quercus alba

Abundant

Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana

Common

Swamp white oak

Quercus bicolor

Rare

American beech

Fagus grandifolia

Rare

Pin oak

Quercus palustris

Occasional

White ash

Fraxinus americana

Occ. (dying)

Willow oak

Quercus phellos

Occasional

Green ash

F. pennsylvanica

Common (dying)

Northern red oak

Quercus rubra

Common

Honeylocust

Gleditsia triacanthos

Uncommon

Black oak

Quercus velutina

Uncommon

American holly

Ilex opaca

Rare

Black locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

Abundant

Black walnut

Juglans nigra

Common

Black willow

Salix nigra

Rare

Eastern red cedar

Juniperus virginiana

Rare

American elm

Ulmus americana

Uncommon

Slippery elm

Ulmus rubra

Occasional

Common Name

Species Name

Sweetgum Tulip poplar

Liquidambar styraciflua Liriodendron tulipifera

Status at Rokeby Rare Rare

Common Name

Species Name

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LIST OF KNOWN EXOTIC / ornamental trees at Rokeby. This list is not exhaustive as some species were not known. Com m on Name

Species Nam e

Occurrence at Rokeby

Norway maple

Acer platanoides

Regenerating

Ailanthus

Ailanthus altissima

Regenerating

Boxwood

Buxus sp.

Ornamental

Hackberry cultivar

Celtis sp.

Ornamental

European beech

Fagus sylvatica

Ornamental

Larch sp.

Larix sp.

Ornamental

Apple

Malus pumila

Grove

Crabapple

Malus sp.

Ornamental

Paulownia

Paulownia tomentosa

Feral

Norway spruce

Picea abies

Ornamental

Pine sp.

Pinus sp.

Ornamental

Trifoliate orange

Poncirus trifoliata

Grove

Sweet cherry

Prunus avium

Feral

Swatooth oak

Quercus acutissima

Ornamental

OPEN GROWN TREES Rokeby contains approximately 290 open grown trees – those with mowed grass beneath. These trees span roughly 25 species (with additional species occurring in Rokeby’s woodland and fencerows). When compared to Oak Spring, Rokeby contains far fewer open grown trees, due in part to the near complete lack of apple trees and orchards. Nonetheless, the open grown trees do form an impressive and important landscape feature at Rokeby which can be made all the richer with proper maintenance and additional trees. Below I’ve mapped the species of open grown trees in key locations around the Nora Mellon house and downtown Rokeby. Species are listed by common name abbreviations and a key is located at the end of the map series. I did not measure diameters for trees at Rokeby, however, especially large trees are noted in the Special Places section that follows. Most trees are 10 inches to 24 inches in diameter. Most were planted during Mellon times, however, a few predate that, or have emerged or been planted over the past 20 years.

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WiO WiO

Area 31

RM

AB

RM

NS (3) Area 46 Ukn (2)

Area 51 RM RM SO Sp Sp

Area 50

BL (6)

Pin RM RM Ash RM DW

Area 49

Pin RM Ukn

Pin

BW BW BW BW Os HB (2)

[See detail map of Nora Mellon house]

Area 45

(Ailanthus)

RM WiO

UnOak

SY SY

Carya WiO

BH WiO BH AB

SY (6)

SY (6)

WiO Haw

AB SU

HB HB

RM (2)

WiO NM Haw WO Ap (2)

RC Pin

Os Pin

Os

SY (4)

Area 63 RM

(Spring)

SY SY

RM

Pin

HB HB

Os RM

Open grown trees at Rokeby. Key to species abbreviations follow maps below. Map 1 of 4.

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RM

AB

RM

BW (2) large

HB

(Ailanthus)

Pin

Os Nor. Nor. Spruce (2) maple WP Grove (16)

SU

SY

Ash

t (6) ocus Black l

BL grove (4)

SU Box wood

RM

Willow oak

Ash

WP grove (10)

BL grove

SY

Larch PO

Point 45

HB

RM

Cherry? Honey Locust?

OB

Willow oak

BH

SU

RM

BL SU

BH Salix

Open grown trees at Nora Mellon house. Key to species abbreviations follow maps below. Map 2 of 4.

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Persimmon

WiO

HB WiO RM RM HB Area 7

Oak Carya WiO

AB

Area 73

HB HB

Norway Maple (2)

Open grown trees at Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s east side. Key to species abbreviations follow maps below. Map 3 of 4.

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Pin HB

BG

WP (40)

HL Pin CW RM

Pin

RM Elm RM

Ukn

WiO WiO WiO

Persimmon

Open grown trees at Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s east side. Key to species abbreviations follow maps below. Map 3 of 4.

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ABBREVIATIONS LISTED ON THE ROKEBY TREE MAPS. Trees listed on the map in full such as ash, elm, and larch, are not included. Abbreviation Common name Species name AB American beech Fagus grandifolia Ap Apple Malus pumila BG Blackgum Nyssa sylvatica BH Bitternut hickory Carya cordiformis BL Black locust Robinia pseudoacacia BW Black walnut Juglans nigra CW Eastern cottonwood Populus deltoides DW Flowering dogwood Cornus florida Haw Hawthorn Crataegus sp. HB Hackberry Celtis occidentalis HL Honey locust Gleditsia triacanthos NM Norway maple Acer platanoides NS Norway spruce Picea abies OB Ohio buckeye Aesculus glabra Os Osage orange Maclura pomifera Pin Pin oak Quercus palustris RC Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana RM Red maple Acer rubrum Salix Willow Salix sp. SO Sawtooth oak Quercus acutissima SP Spruce Picea sp. SU Sugar maple Acer saccharum SY American sycamore Platanus occidentalis Ukn Unknown UnOak Unknown oak Quercus sp. WiO Willow oak Quercus phellos WO White oak Quercus alba WP White pine Pinus strobus

TREE CLUSTER AREAS LISTED ON THE ROKEBY TREE MAPS. Areas contain too many trees to label on the map. Number Description Area 7 15 trees: dogwood (4), red maple (3), magnolia, willow oak (4), hackberry, sugar maple, red oak. Mix of sizes. Area 31 14 white pines, boxwood, red oak, trifoliate orange (20), apple, sugar maple, buckeye, pin oak, apples, pin oaks. Area 45 Norway maple, black locust, unknown, magnolia, holly (2), magnolia, boxwood, elm, red maple, boxwood at road. 6 black locust at garden wall. Area 46 Holly grove, Pine, red maple (2), persimmon (2), hackberry. Area 49 Large pin oak (at circle), European beech, red maple, tulip poplar, Norway maple (2). Area 50 Apple trees (6, young) Area 51 (Going upstream) Black cherry (4), tulip poplar, ash, pin oak, persimmon, pin oak, persimmon (8). Area 63 South of house ornamental, sycamore, white pine (3), white oak stump 240 years, blackgum stump, small white oak. Area 73 Sycamore, dogwood, red maple, hackberry (2), dogwood.

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OLD ORCHARDS The 1937 aerial photo of Rokeby shows two areas of orchard. The first was 20.5 acres in the upper northwest portion of the property. The second was 27.5 acres and occurred where today is the old cattle barn, the Nantucket and Cape Cod houses, and a small portion of the airstrip.

The Upperville area shows many orchards in the 1937 photos, including Oak Spring, Rokeby, and neighboring properties. It appears nearly all of these were removed in the decades that follow as orchards do not show on Rokeby, Oak Spring, or neighboring properties on 1950s imagery or later.

20.5 acres 20.5 acres

27.5 acres

27.5 acres

Rokeby: 1937

Rokeby: 2018

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111 Willow oak (Quercus phellos) in hayfield.


112 Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), probably Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oldest tree. .


EXOTIC SPECIES Species not native to Virginia make up 19% of the state’s flora (Weakley et al. 2012). Largely a function of European settlement, exotic plants have been welcomed (e.g. apples), scorned (e.g. Ailanthus), and ignored (e.g. dandelion). Of the roughly 490 exotic plants in the state, only a relative handful are problematic, aggressive invaders. Rokeby contains rich native flora primarily in the woodland. The grasslands are dominated by exotic plants, and marginal areas such as fencerows are infested with invasive shrubs, vines, and trees. The pattern of exotic plants at Rokeby is similar to that at Oak Spring. One key difference is that the woodland at Rokeby is much less infested than the woodland at Oak Spring. The species mix at Rokeby is similar to that of Oak Spring. Because Rokeby has proportionally less acreage of ‘wild’ natural areas, the level of infestation is lower. On the other hand, Rokeby has a number of small Ailanthus outbreaks while Oak Spring had very few (and they’ve been eliminated). The table on the following page lists the concerning exotic species at Rokeby with a description of priority species and areas. This list is not exhaustive but includes the key exotic weed species (woody primarily) of concern to most ecologists.

MANAGEMENT GOALS AND STRATEGIES With persistence, Rokeby can be made invasive free (of most aggressive species) in the woodland and fencerows in a few seasons of treatment. There are two advantages to treatment at Rokeby. First, the woodland is only lightly infested and it is flat with excellent access. Second, the other infested areas are narrow, linear fencerows that a person can walk and treat with relative ease. WOODLAND Of primary concern in the woodland are Japanese honeysuckle and Japanese stiltgrass. Both are mainly restricted to the peripheries (south-facing edges as is typical). Both can be treated during the appropriate time of year with a broadleaf and grass specific herbicide respectively. See the Oak Spring volume for specific treatments by species. FENCEROWS The fencerows can be treated by walking them with backpack sprayers. With two passes per year, they can be eliminated in three seasons. However, some rows are complicated by shared ownership, and Oak Spring should work with neighbors to clear up both sides of the fence. AILANTHUS The many outbreaks can be treated successfully as at OSG.

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Dominant woodland invasive plant species at Rokeby. Their occurrence is listed specific to Rokeby only. Common Name

Species

Norway maple (Tree)

Acer platanoides

Tree of heaven (Tree)

Ailanthus altissima

Garlic mustard (Herbaceous biennial) Japanese barberry (Shrub) Oriental bittersweet (Vine) Autumn olive (Shrub)

Alliaria petiolata

Occurrence in Rokeby Rare. A few trees in the Center Rokeby fencerows and two trees in the SE pasture by the spring; others planted at Nora Mellon house, etc. Low threat. Common. Multiple small stands occur in fencerows. A 40-inch diameter tree near the runway has been eliminated. The species can colonize large areas and can be difficult to eliminate. Serious threat. Common. Small patches seen in the forest. The species has the ability to colonize high quality forests. Serious threat.

Berberis thunbergii

Rare. Isolated individuals in the woodland.

Celastrus orbiculatus

Rare along fencerows. The species poses a significant threat and can be difficult to remove when established. Occurs on walls along Rokeby Road.

Elaeagnus umbellata

Rare. A few individuals along fencerows in the west portion.

Lonicera japonica

Abundant. It occurs as a ground creeper along interior and exterior edges of the woodland. Also occurs in dense patches in fencerows and on top of stone walls, including along Mill Reef Road and Rokeby Road.

Lonicera spp.

Rare. Only a few individuals in the woodland and fencerows.

Microstegium vimineum

Common. The species occurs in small patches in the woodland. The species is much less abundant than at Oak Spring and should be easily managed.

Prunus avium

Rare. No trees were found, but a few likely occur in the woodland or fencerows.

Paulownia tomentosa

Rare. One tree found along Plum Run.

Multiflora rose (Shrub)

Rosa multiflora

Common. Rarely found on the forest edges and uniformly scattered on the fencerows.

Wineberry (Shrub)

Rubus phoenicolasius.

Rare. Fencerows and edges.

Japanese honeysuckle (Vine) Shrub honeysuckle (Shrub) Japanese siltgrass (Annual Herbaceous) Sweet cherry (Tree) Princess tree (Tree)

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EXOTIC PLANT PRESENCE AT ROKEBY Largely clear; discrete localized individuals Low-level infestation; scattered individuals and small patches.

Moderate; multiple dense patches, or uniformly scattered. Heavy infestation; impenetrable thickets, multiple species. Ailanthus © 2018 Google © 2018 Google

N 2000 ft

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W ILDLIFE One of the greatest moments I’ve had at Oak Spring and Rokeby was sitting along the fence line in Rokeby’s southeast corner and watching a red fox hunt the pasture. It loped along, stopping occasionally to pick up a scent. It pounced a few times, but I’m not sure if it was successful. For the 20 minutes this view lasted, I felt like I could have been in any of the world’s wildlife hotspots.

For Saving Oak Spring Land That its natural resources will continue to protect wildlife, wild flowers, birds, bees, fish. That the land be cultivated, mowed or grazed as those in charge see fit and that in those in whose custody it be left will be selfless in this pursuit of caring. ~Rachel Mellon

Watching animals gets people excited. And though wildlife isn’t explicitly mentioned in Rachel Mellon’s wishes for her foundation, it was certainly on her mind. Also, ultimately it is impossible to separate plants from animals; evolutionarily, they’ve created each other. At Rokeby, and the temperate forest region of eastern North America more broadly, we find a remarkable suite of taxa, mostly present in the growing season, but a unique winter fauna as well. Insects, bumblebees, dragonflies, small birds, large birds, frogs, fish, snakes, and even bears make this place home and live among the plants that are the primary focus of Oak Spring. Because Rokeby lacks ponds such as those found at Oak Spring, as well as Goose Creek, overall diversity for waterdependent species (some amphibians, turtles, fish, etc.) will be lower. However, the forest at Rokeby is arguably richer habitat that the upland woods found at Oak Spring so forest dependent terrestrial species may be richer at Rokeby. Either Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

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way, when the two properties are viewed as one (which they are) then we see a rich assemblage of habitats and a broad suite of fauna inhabiting the landscape. My own cursory observations have included a number of birds and mammals. In addition to the general wildlife comments and observations from Oak Spring’s volume, a handful of taxa-specific notes from Rokeby are worth including. BIRDS Virginia Working Landscapes documented bird presence from three grassland points at Rokeby in 2018. The complete list is documented in their extensive report. Of note, however, are five bird species that have not been documented at Oak Spring by Virginia Working Landscapes or several expert birders. These five species are: • • • • •

Blue grosbeak Bobwhite Rock Pigeon Yellow-billed cuckoo Yellow warbler

With the addition of these five species the complete bird list from Rokeby and Oak Spring increases to 97 species. With additional effort, that list should grow to well over 100.

A cache of hickory nuts in a basal hollow of a Rokeby oak.

For comparison, Manassas National Battlefield Park, 20 miles east of Oak Spring in the Washington DC suburbs, contains 5,000 acres of mixed grasslands, river, and forest, and has documented 160+ species of birds. The park includes a number of habitat types not found at Oak Spring and Rokeby

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(upland conifer forest, for example). With additional vegetation management and reforestation, (and additional bird surveys) Oak Spring and Rokeby may reach 120 species. Surveys occurring during spring migration should be particularly productive for adding species to the list. AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES Kealoha Freidenburg, a researcher from Yale University, began a herpetological inventory at Rokeby in 2018. Her team is documenting frogs, salamanders, snakes, and lizards. She expects to have three field investigations (autumn 2018, spring 2019, and summer 2019). The list of species from the autumn effort is below. Autumn is generally a quiet time for amphibians so the number of documented species is expected to increase after the spring survey.

Red-backed salamander* (Plethodon cinereus) White spotted slimy salamander* (Plethodon cylindraceus) SNAKES Garter snake* (Thamnophis sirtalis) Black racer* (Coluber constrictor) Ring-necked snake* (Diadophus punctatus) Ratsnake* (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) Brownsnake* (Storeria dekayi) Red-bellied snake* (Storeria occipitomaculata) Northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) Freidenburg’s full report is expected in late 2019.

FROGS AND TOADS Green frog (Rana clamitans) American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) Wood frog* (Rana sylvatica) Spring peeper* (Pseudocris crucifer) Grey tree frog* (Hyla versicolor)

INSECTS Virginia Working Landscapes surveyed for bumblebees from three locations at Rokeby in the summer of 2018. Their results are documented in their full report. In sum, VWL confirmed 7 bumblebee species (out of 11 known regionally), three of which are uncommon. The most common bee at Rokeby was the Two-spotted bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus). The next three most frequent species are all regarded as ‘uncommon’. These include: American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus), Black and gold bumblebee (Bombus auricomus), and the Yellow bumblebee (Bombus fervidus).

SALAMANDERS Spotted salamander* (Ambrostoma maculatum)

Additional study on pollinator species, bees, and invertebrates in general could be initiated.

Species documented in autumn 2018 and species expected (noted with *):

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S TONE W ALLS The Oak Spring volume provided broad context for the region’s stone walls: geologic origin, function, and history in Virginia and beyond. The Loudoun Valley, of Virginia’s northern Piedmont and Blue Ridge region, is one of three areas in the United States with high concentrations of stone walls. While most stone wall regions occur north of the glacial margin where lose rock is abundant, this area of Virginia south of that line has a high concentration of walls and rock fences. It gives the region a distinct cultural and landscape identity. Rokeby was settled in the very early 1800s. The property’s deeds contain references to rock fences as early as 1825. Like at Oak Spring, stones were moved out of fields and dumped on edges to be stacked into fences as need warranted. On account of this, nearly the entire boundary of Rokeby is hemmed in original dry stone wall. Stone fences once crossed the property internally at regular intervals. At Oak Spring, the property boundary has changed over the years so few walls on the periphery occur. That, and many walls were removed and repurposed over time on both properties. Rokeby holds nearly three times the linear length of wall as Oak Spring, totaling approximately 23,500 feet (7,160 meters). With Oak Spring’s 8,500 feet (2,600 m) of wall, the two properties together have 32,000 feet or 6.1 miles (9.8 km) of stacked stone. Spread evenly over both properties’ 700

PARALLEL MORTARED STONE WALLS of Mellon era lining the gateway to Rokeby on Mill Reef Road. These walls run 0.62 miles to the Nora Mellon house. Note the tight fit, sharp face, and mortar below the cap stones. Also note the American chestnut rails.

acres, this amounts to 46 linear feet of wall per acre. Viewed as volume, the 700 acres holds roughly 200,000 cubic feet of stacked stone. If stacked just one foot deep, the rocks would cover almost five acres. There are two main types of wall at Rokeby: dry and mortared. In general, the dry walls are found on the periphery and the mortared walls are found internally. The mortared walls are sharper and the mortar is often hidden.

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DRY STACKED WALL WITH ANCIENT OAKS along the shared boundary with Blue Ridge Farm.

Dry stacked walls at Rokeby total 9,850 feet (3,000 m) on the periphery (shared to some degree with adjoining neighbors) and 1,370 feet (418 m) of dry stack wall occur internally to Rokeby for a total of 11,220 feet (3,420 m). All of the dry stacked walls are composed of local field stone â&#x20AC;&#x201C; primarily metadiabase (greenstone) with 10% or less of granite. (This corresponds to the proportions of granite vs. greenstone as parent material; see soils section for map.) All of the dry stack walls appear to be in original locations; that is, they were built as fields were cleared in the 1800s. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been rebuilt over the years, and maintained, but all appear to have an

DRY STACKED WALL NEAR THE NORA MELLON HOUSE. Note the chestnut guide at center right (shadowed). Also note the diversity of lichens and the lack of granite stones.

agricultural origin. A possible exception is the short length of wall hemming the north side of the Nora Mellon house; however, this too appears to be in an original location. Rokeby has 12,280 feet (3,743 m) of mortared wall, of which about half is from the entry walls along Mill Reef Road. The mortared walls are variable and tend to occur in areas where they are seen, such as the gateway on Mill Reef Road and around the houses and barns. This is also true at Oak Spring. The exception to this is a short length of wall on the north side of the runway, and on the north edge of the woodland.

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Additional anomalies include the dry stacked wall on the north side of the Nora Mellon house, and the dry stack wall near the stallion barns and houses in downtown Rokeby. It appears all of the mortared walls are of Mellon era, however, it is unclear when the tradition began at Rokeby. It’s also unclear if all the rocks are local – it appears the stones in the mortared walls tend to run at a larger average size than compared to rocks on the original dry stacked walls. Unlike the dry stack stones, which are typically rounded and amorphous, the face stones on the mortared walls are sharp, trimmed, and fresh. The stones are fit together with impressive tightness – a hallmark of skilled builders.

ROCK FENCE around the wooded Spring 4 near the Round Barn.

The mortar typically occurs in one of two places (or both). A number of walls have mortar only on the top so as to set the cap stones tightly to the wall. Others have mortar embedded deeper within the wall in such a way so as to appear to be dry laid from the outside. It’s only with close inspection, or a wall failure, that one can tell the wall was laid wet.

Management The primary threats to Rokeby’s stone walls include neglect and trees. Neglect can be addressed as resources allow. Threats from falling trees should be evaluated along sections of important walls. Successional trees growing through and close to walls will force the wall apart. Such trees should be culled in favor of trees with growing space away from the wall.

WALL IN THE WOODLAND on the boundary shared with Blue Ridge Farm. A number of trees have fallen on this section of wall. Note the boundary maker showing OSGF owns the wall entirely.

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Rokeby contains 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of stone wall. Dry stack walls colored in green total 11,220 feet (3,420 m) and mortared wall of Mellon era total 12,280 feet (3,740 m). (Image Google Earth)

© 2018 Google

STONE WALLS AT ROKEBY

N 3000 ft

© 2018 Google

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S PECIAL P LACES Many of Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s special places have been introduced and described earlier in this document. For example, the section on water describes the springs and Plum Run and the vegetation section describes many of the trees. Every spot, it seems, is special in some way; there is a story to tell in every tree, viewpoint, and length of wall. But what follows is a listing and description of the best special places. Some are redundant from elsewhere in this report. These are the features OSGF will want to highlight, bring people to, and use as defining landscape features. Some sites are particular points on the ground, such as a viewpoint, or a tree. Others are broader areas of forest, landscape, or stream. This group of special places is relative to the entire property and also my perspective, biases, and scope. Moreover, much could be included inside the doors of the residence, the barns, and more. Every spot at Rokeby tells a story and has been touched by the Loughboroughs, Mellons, and/or others. A map follows with numbered features corresponding to descriptions that follow.

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SPECIAL PLACES AT ROKEBY: As shown on the map, most locations are specific points on the ground, while a few are broader areas. Almost all sites have overlap among natural and cultural importance. 1. Rokeby Woodland 2. Seepage Swamp 3. Wall in the Woods 4. Storied White oak 5. Clearance Cairns 6. Swamp white oak 7. Stud Barns Wall 8. Coppice Row 9. Holloway 10. Ghost Wall 11. Spring 1 12. Spring 4 13. Ashby Gap and Cobbler Views 14. Plum Run 15. Granite Outcrop 16. Meat House and Schoolhouse 17. Osage orange Tree 18. Rokeby House 19. Original White oaks 20. Ancient Blackgum 21. Abandoned Nursery 22. Successional Woods

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1. R OKEBY W OODLAND

3. W ALL

Rokeby’s 25-acre woodland in the western corner is original forest that has never been cleared. It is dominated by oak, with white oak and red oak being most common. Species of hickory, swamp white oak, black gum, and others also occur. Some of the white oaks are over 250 years. The woodland has had historic disturbance: the east and north edges were heavily grazed, much of the rest was lightly grazed, and trees have been harvested periodically. Robust stone walls line the south and west sides. The stones of these walls likely came from the fields outside the woods. Today fallen trees – almost all as a result of western winds, display tip-up mounds and depressions filled with water. The woodland reached farther north and east before the airstrip was built.

The stone wall that runs along the woodland’s south and west side is one of the more impressive walls at Rokeby. It is original, dry stacked; however, it has undoubtedly been rebuilt over the century or two since it was first built. The section on the south side is particularly robust, tall, and intact. In recent times a few trees have fallen on it and crushed small sections.

2. S EEPAGE

IN THE

W OODS

SW AMP

Near the central highpoint of the Woodland is a large pool of water and swampy vegetation. Highbush blueberry, red maple, and black gum grow in and among the edges of this perennial pool. Mosses cover small tussocks and the site is rich with frog songs in the spring. Though occurring at a highpoint, groundwater here is oddly near the surface. This unique natural area at Rokeby could offer a record of vegetation reaching back centuries or millennia.

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4. S TORIED W HITE O AK Along the west wall in the woodland is the carcass of an old white oak. The tree was standing dead when the neighbor requested it be cut so as to avoid crashing onto their fence. What was revealed when the tree was cut was a long history of the site interpreted through the tree’s growth rings. The tree was roughly 320 years old when it died bringing its acorn back to around 1700 (plus or minus). But those rings during the first 150 years of growth are relatively tight suggesting the oak grew in a closed forest (under shade and slow growth). At around the 1860s the rings abruptly increase in size and continue as such until nearly the time of the tree’s death. This suggests the tree was exposed to additional sunlight in the 1860s and was likely the time period when the adjacent property was cleared from forest to field. As a special place, this site will slowly decompose.

5. C LEARANCE C AIRNS Scattered among the woodland, mainly concentrated on the east and north edges, are a number of small clearance cairns. Some of the stone piles occur around the bases of trees, while others are without trees. These clearance cairns are indicators of grazing by livestock and are the farmer’s effort to rid the pasture of stones. Because nearby trees predate settlement (250 years +), we know the site was wooded pasture. Some of the cairns are more contemporary and appear to have been deposited by a tractor, however, others are classic small-stone

piles found in pasture landscapes all over Virginia and beyond. They are strong indicators of grazing (woodland grazing) here.

6. S W AMP W HITE O AK Along the west wall is Rokeby’s (and Oak Spring’s) only known swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). This large diameter tree might be 150 to 200 years old, and grows in a seasonally wet depression close to the western wall. The species was probably abundant in the wet spring depressions of the presettlement landscape, but most of those areas locally have been cleared.

7. S TUD B ARNS W ALL This section of original, dry-stacked wall likely continued through the greenhouse complex, and past the runway to join other updated segments. But this one remained dry throughout Mellon times. In this section near the old stud barns (now houses) the wall has largely fallen. Old American chestnut rails lie with the wall among a fence row of successional trees that have mostly sprouted up in recent times. In spring the grass around this wall is speckled in spring beauties (Claytonia virginica).

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8. C OPPICE R OW

9. H OLLOWAY

Along a mortared stone wall near the west end of the airstrip (and north edge of the woodland) is a strip of trees people have tried over many decades to eliminate. Mainly oaks, hickory, cherry, and others, most of the trees are coppiced (have more than one trunk). Some hickories have as many as five trunks indicating repeated cuttings. It makes sense to prevent tree growth along this wall – too close and the trees will break apart the mortar. The most recent cutting appears to have been over 30 years ago, but could be confirmed by an examination of tree rings. (Rokeby and Oak Spring’s sole Virginia pine [Pinus virginiana] also occurs along this wall.)

A Holloway is also known as a sunken lane in England and other areas of Europe. They can be quite deep where one can not see beyond the banks. The Holloway at Rokeby may or may not ever have been a travel corridor. But it has the look and feel of a sunken lane with a depressed center, exposed rocks, and a tree canopy cover. A stone wall lines the south edge (property boundary) while a wire and board fence lines the north line to a field in Rokeby. Thus the walker is confined to the “sunken lane.” It runs just 100 meters or so along the south boundary.

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10. G HOST W ALL

11. S PRING 1

Behind the walled garden and west of the Nora Mellon House (and previously the Rokeby stone house), one can find traces of a stone wall that was quarried away. Stones, flush to the ground, occur among grass showing the location of an original wall. The above ground portion was removed and presumably repurposed elsewhere. The alignment of the stones is in-line with the dry stacked wall on the north side of Nora Mellon house. Large black walnut trees occur nearby.

This spring occurs in the northern portion of Rokeby close to where Plum Run enters the property. It consists of a wide depression with standing water up to one foot (30 cm) deep. In 1933, just two years after Paul Mellon acquired the property, a concrete spring box was built with a stone trough. Today the site is grown over with hydric sedges, rushes, cattails, and other vegetation. It has been mowed regularly for decades. The site has enormous potential as a diverse, rich wetland. If it is let go entirely, the site will likely grow into a wooded swamp.

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12. S PRING 4

14. P LUM R UN

This spring consists of the stone-lined tree island south of the Nora Mellon House, and the spring trough on its edge. This was the original house spring that served the stone Rokeby house as drawn on the 1873 plat included with the deed. The trees are recent addition (since the 1930s or later). The stone wall would have kept animals out of the spring and muck around the spring. The water was collected at the south terminus just as it is today.

Plum Run has been described with detail in the Water section of the Field Inventory. As a special place, three features stand out: (1) its entrance to into Rokeby through a young maple woodland; (2) the small bedrock (granite) riffle/falls in the middle of its course through Rokeby; and (3) the fact that it was ditched in the 1930s and now has reclaimed a number of small meanders. Plum Run will be further enhanced with the planting of riparian vegetation (it has none).

13. A SHBY G AP

AND

C OBBLERS V IEW P OINTS

Near Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gateway on Mill Reef road, a small break in the stone wall allows access to a grassy high point. The view to the west is impressive and takes in most of Rokeby. Visible are the scattered trees, over 200 acres of hayfield and pasture, the historic house at Oakley once owned by Ida Dulany, Mt. Weathers, Ashby Gap and the Blue Ridge and more. Across Mill Reef Road, through a similar break in the wall on the other side, a second highpoint provides southerly views of Big and Little Cobbler, and distant views of the Blue Ridge. These are the nicest, biggest views at Rokeby.

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15. G RANITE O UTCROP In the southeast field by the small red hay barracks is Rokeby’s largest rock outcrop. It is a 1.1 billion year old metagranite; a rock type that also occurs elsewhere at Oak Spring. However, this outcrop is remarkable in its size and is akin to the diabase outcrop near the glasshouse at Oak Spring.

16. M EAT H OUSE

AND

18. R OKEBY H OUSE W ALL . This tall, capped, mortared stone wall is believed to be a part of the original Rokeby stone house; however, it is unclear what portion. It is also unclear why it was retained when Paul Mellon had the house razed. It is located to the back of the Nora Mellon house near the white pines.

S CHOOLHOUSE

These two brick structures both located near the Nora Mellon House (site of the original Rokeby stone house) are the oldest structures on the property. They have been described in the Buildings section of the Archival Inventory. Both are believed to have been built in the 1850s. The Meat House is mentioned in Ida Dulany’s Civil War diary. It is believed the Schoolhouse functioned as a granary based on the wear patterns of the passageways. It may have also held animals. Both survived the Burning Raid during the Civil War when most non-residential buildings were torched by Union forces.

17. O SAGE O RANGE T REE This tree at the back on Nora Mellon House is an exceptionally large Osage orange (Maclura pomifera). It’s 62 inches in diameter (157cm) and spreads from three trunks. It may have been coppiced early on, but the species sometimes grows with multiple stems. This is the largest diameter tree at Rokeby.

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19. O RIGINAL W HITE O AKS

21. A BANDONED N URSERY

A number of ancient white oaks occur in Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Woodland. However, there are two or three such trees growing in the open by the New York House. These trees are confidently aged at 250 years based on ring counts of nearby white oaks that were removed (counted rings on the stumps). Their form suggests they were forest-grown trees initially indicating this part of Rokeby was closed forest (not open) in the late 1700s. The trees should be cared for, as they are two of just a few presettlement trees growing in the open at Oak Spring and Rokeby.

This grove of trees, shrubs, and plants was originally a nursery for transplant stock. Today it contains a strip of white pines (14), rows of boxwoods, trifoliate orange trees, apple trees, maples, pin oak, and more.

20. A NCIENT B LACKGUM On the north side of the airstrip is an isolated tree growing near Spring 1. The blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) is over three feet in diameter (1 meter) and is characteristic of the many ancient blackgum trees that grow around Upperville. This tree is estimated at 300 years, however, it was not cored and it is hollow (as most ancient blackgum trees are). The bark texture suggests it could be much older.

22. S UCCESSIONAL W OODS The strip of young woods north of the airstrip represents a classic example of old field succession. The site is weedy and dominated by ash (mostly dead from the emerald ash borer), elm, cherry, a number of vines (some native and others exotic), and a few pin oaks. The stand has a drainage ditch running through, which is the ultimate reason for the lack of mowing and release of trees. Though it is described here as a classic example of succession, efforts should be made to eradicate the weeds.

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133 View of Big and Little Cobbler (left) and Blue Ridge (right) from Rokeby.


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P ART 3: M ANAGEMENT S YNTHESIS In Part 1, I set the historical context of the Rokeby property – who has owned it and for what purposes over the past 200 years. Part 2 provided a detailed inventory of Rokeby’s landscape: rock outcrops, water, rock fences, trees, vegetation, and special places. In Part 3 we turn to Rokeby’s future. Considering where Rokeby has come from – the raw material from which to mold the landscape – and according to the Oak Spring Garden Foundation’s mission, and basic principles of conservation and ecology, what should Rokeby look like in 50 years? Here we consider regional context, a warmer climate, and then the specifics of intentional vegetation management at Rokeby.

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C ONSERVATION C ONTEXT LANDSCAPE MOSAIC Present day delineations of forest and field in upper Fauquier County have been in place, more or less, since at least the early 1900s (the first aerial photos show forest areas were largely the same as they are today). Since 1956 – the first available online aerial images for which broad landscape comparison is possible, there has been essentially no change in forest blocks over ~10 acres in upper Fauquier. The forest and field arrangement at Rokeby has been in place since the mid-1800s as shown on the property’s plat from 1873. The landscape transformation from presettlement times to something resembling today’s arrangement happened in

barely a century. Forests remained in places unsuitable for agriculture: steep slopes, wet woods, and small woodlots to serve the needs of farms. Rokeby had about 75 acres of woodland on the 600-acre farm in the 1800s. Historical documents and field evidence indicate Virginia’s northern Piedmont has always been a mosaic of forest and field. American Indians hunted and burned which opened vast areas of savanna on the edges of a mostly forested region (see the Oak Spring volume for details). Thus, Rokeby is embedded in a fragmented landscape. As a result, the conservation challenges resulting from exotic species, limited forest core area, extirpated or uncommon

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native species, overabundant deer, exotic-dominated grasslands, are the same issues seen at a larger regional scale and ultimately reflect the landscape’s 200-year agricultural history. Upper Fauquier is today approximately 25% forested mainly in small woodlots under 100 acres such as those at Rokeby and Oak Spring and larger forests on the mountain peripheries. Four miles away to the west, the Blue Ridge forms a core ecological area. The forest block, which is broken occasionally by roads and farms, runs roughly north to south for almost 200 miles mainly on protected government lands (National Park, and National Forest, among other state and local designations). Although the small forest blocks of the valley remain unconnected, the mosaic of field and forest offer a suite of habitats and opportunities to organisms living in the core forest. The mosaic also offers prime habitat to a number of edge and open-site species in their own right. Nonetheless, increasing forest block size and reducing edge at Rokeby will, over the next century or so, add structure and space to the predominantly open landscape. The addition of scattered trees to open areas increases biodiversity opportunity. We approach the land knowing that building a forest, restoring native grasslands, and eliminating aggressive exotic species is a long-term process. But the potential is huge.

CLIMATE CHANGE It would be naïve to consider a long-term ecological management plan that ignored Earth’s changing climate. Just as the fluctuating climate of the recent Holocene (past 12,000 years) has shaped the composition and function of ancient forest and grassland ecosystems in Virginia, the changing climate over the next 200 years will have equally profound repercussions. For vegetation planning at Rokeby, planting appropriate species is partly educated guesswork, and partly trial and error over moderate time scales. A number of studies and models have suggested the degree to which Virginia’s climate may change. In general, models suggest a temperature increase of 3°F to 10°F and an increase in precipitation falling mainly in winter and spring (see the Oak Spring volume for details). Extreme heat and precipitation events are expected to drive much of the change. The biological response to this change will include range shifts for most species. Common sense would suggest most species will shift north as their preferred climate window pushes that direction. However, species respond to a number of environmental variables including soil, mechanisms of dispersal, landscape fragmentation, and more. So in the end, Virginia’s warmer climate will result in a nuanced, rather unpredictable and infinite number of shifts in species resulting in potentially new natural communities and assemblages of

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species that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t occur together today. Species with very restricted ranges today may expand to become the most common and widespread species in the future. Similarly, species with very broad ranges today may become restricted in narrow bands where temperature, precipitation, soil, and satisfactory ecological conditions prevail. Considering that, OSGF can only consider these changes in the broadest sense. A handful of models have attempted to predict future range maps for trees. These may serve as a good starting point, but it would be wise to include additional species in the mix as cheap insurance. Nevertheless, species currently occurring in Virginia on the southern edge of their range (e.g. Bigtooth aspen), and other uncommon, or specialist species, should be planted in small numbers. They can serve as climate monitors and short-term habitat for wildlife, but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ability persist over the long term is questionable. Rather, known species that have considerable range slack to the south are more likely (but not guaranteed) to thrive through the next several centuries of a warmer wetter Virginia.

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V EGETATION M ANAGEMENT Vegetation management at Rokeby should seek to create conditions that are: •

Ecologically appropriate: Use native plants, have respect for the presettlement landscape, attentive to deer populations and anticipated climate changes.

Diversity oriented: Redundancy fosters resiliency and variability adds insurance, beauty, and curiosity to the landscape.

And that: •

Reduce management costs: Some situations call for formal landscapes with higher maintenance costs, but natural, sustainable communities reduce costs of mowing and maintenance over the long-term. Provide for wildlife: though Oak Spring is a plantcentric institution, fostering diverse healthy wildlife populations adds richness to the landscape and is integral to a healthy flora.

This vegetation master plan takes a broad, high-level approach. It is conceptual and instructive, but is not specific

enough to capture all the vegetation needs at Rokeby. For example, the wetland will need a specific and thoughtful planting plan to redefine the margins and showcase this unique area. Similarly, the exact boundaries of reforestation and planted areas will be determined on the ground. Likewise, the locations of scattered trees, and the relative abundances of species within a mix, should be decided in collaboration, and on the ground. In sum, a design element must follow this plan for each project. Elimination of woody exotic plants at Rokeby could be complete by 2022. It will be imperative that OSG work with neighbors to encourage and inspire them to eliminate their infestations. Otherwise, seeds will drift and new plants will grow. Woody exotic plants at Rokeby are generally limited to fencerows (infested) and the woodland (light to moderate). The map outlines broad vegetation areas. This includes: 100 acres of continued hayfield; 99 acres of grasslands or scattered tree savanna; 71 acres of reforestation including 5 acres of Plum Run floodplain. (This will be the greatest improvement Rokeby can add to water quality on Goose Creek.) Additionally, the plan calls for: ~1.5 acres of open wetland at Spring 1 and 1,500 linear feet of scrub shrub wetland in the drainage near Cape Cod house. Nearly 30 acres of potential agricultural land and 10 acres of arboretum are planned. Each cover type is described briefly in sections following the map.

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VEGETATION PLAN

█ Grassland / Savanna █ Reforestation █ Hayfield █ Potential Agriculture █ Arboretum/Ornamental █ Scrub-shrub Spring Run █ Open Wetland █ Finish-cut (mowed)/other

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G RASSLANDS

AND

H AYFIELD

In terms of acreage the combined hayfields and grasslands total 199 acres – nearly half of Rokeby’s 440 acres. Each totals about 100 acres. Some of this acreage could/does include scattered trees and/or clusters so as to break up the visual landscape and add structure. The hayfields will likely need no modification as they are production hayfields currently. The grasslands can be converted unit by unit to native warm season grasses and flowers (NWSG). Converting 100 acres will take time. The priority areas would likely be the areas close to Rokeby infrastructure, with the more distant areas occurring later. Although grasslands and savanna occurred in the Piedmont in presettlement times, there is no agreement regarding their composition. The lack of a clear community analog is both challenging and freeing. There are no clear answers and the best approach is to learn from others locally and proceed in small steps. Oak Spring is free to experiment. The Oak Spring volume details widely recognized steps needed to transform a fescue grassland into a native warm season grassland. Those details will not be covered here. In general, conversion involves killing existing vegetation, extinguishing the seed bank, then planting appropriately, being patient, mowing weeds, and being patient.

Generally, the areas at Rokeby proposed for grassland and hayfield are considered prime cropland, prime pasture, or secondary cropland. Depth to water is generally over 40 inches, however, a few drainages are 20 to 40 inches. (Bear in mind the soil survey was done during one of the wettest years on record in 2018.) Soils in these areas are rated as nonhydric, however, a few low drainages contain hydric inclusions. Depth to bedrock is greater than 60 inches in almost all locations, except is 40 – 60 inches in portions of zone 2. The map that follows divides the proposed grassland areas into five zones. Each zone could be done entirely in one season, or the larger zones could be further divided. The priorities are in numeric order; zone one is first priority, zone five is last. These are based on the zone’s size and visibility to people at Rokeby (i.e. proximity to infrastructure). The species mix should be modified for each zone (or subzone if they are further divided). Areas closer to the human interface may tend more heavily toward flowers (zone 3 and 4) while areas father from people may be more grass dominated (zone 5). This also allows Oak Spring to observe what species are most successful such that management can adapt as additional areas are planted.

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GRASSLAND ZONES: The larger zones (1,2,5) can be broken into two or three subzones. The hayfields will remain largely as they are with perhaps added scattered trees. 1) 20.6 acres 2) 27.7 acres 3) 6.6 acres 4) 12.2 acres 5) 31.5 acres

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LIST OF SPECIES FOR GRASSLANDS/SAVANNAS. This list was generated by pulling the most frequently used species from a number of lists including: Earnst Seed (2018), Prairie Moon (2018), University of Tennessee (2004), Virginia DIGF (2018), Virginia Working Landscapes (2018), Quin and Lapham (2013), Gibbens (2015), and Turner (2017). This list is not exhaustive; nor is it site specific to subtle nuances found at Oak Spring. It serves as a starting point to plan mixes for different areas.

Grasses

Forbs

Big bluestem (tall)

Andropogon gerardii

Partridge pea

Chamaecrista fasciculata

Broomsedge

Andropogon virginicus

Panicledleaf ticktrefoil

Desmodium paniculatum

Giant cane

Arundinaria gigantea

Rattlesnake master

Eryngium yuccifolium

Sideoats grama

Bouteloua curtipendula

Mistflower

Eupatorium coelestinum

Deer tongue

Dichanthelium clandestinum

Joe pye weed

Eupatorium fistulosum

Bottlebrush grass

Elymus hystrix

Maximilian sunflower

Helianthus maximiliani

Virginia wild rye

Elymus virginicus

Oxeye sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides

Canada rush

Juncus canadensis

Scaly blazing star

Liatris squarrulosa

Beaked panicgrass

Panicum anceps

Blue lobelia

Lobelia siphilitica

Little blue stem

Schizachyrium scoparium

Spike lobelia

Lobelia spicata

Indian grass (tall)

Sorgastrum nutans

Wild bergamot

Monarda fistulosa

Purple top

Tridens flavus

Sensitive fern

Onoclea sensibilis

Eastern gamagrass

Tripsacum dactyloides

Tall white beardtongue

Penstemon digitalis

Narrowleaf mountainmint

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Forbs Nodding pink onion

Allium cernuum

Hoary mountainmint

Pycnanthemum incanum

Common milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

Orange coneflower

Rudbeckia fulgida

Butterfly milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

Browneyed Susan

Rudbeckia triloba

New England aster

Aster novae-angliae

Wild senna

Senna hebecarpa

Heath aster

Aster pilosus

Scented goldenrod

Solidago odora

Blue false indigo

Baptisia australis

Ohio spiderwort

Tradescantia ohioensis

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Scattered Trees and Shrub Islands Scattered trees are increasingly recognized as important ecosystem elements in open landscapes such as grasslands, savannas, and agriculture. The addition of one tree to an expanse of grass and forbs can add structure for invertebrates, amphibians, birds, and mammals. A well-placed tree can also break up the monotony of grass and add beauty to a landscape by framing certain elements and drawing attention away from others. The soils at Oak Spring are somewhat more variable than they are at Rokeby. The landâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s topography of ridges and slopes and depressions leads to a number of differences in available moisture, soil depth, etc. Rokeby lacks much topographic variability and the soils tend to be mesic throughout, with subtle differences on the gentle slopes and depressions. At right is a table suggesting suitable scattered trees for Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hayfields and grasslands. Also included are shrub species to create small islands and thickets. Additional detail can be found in the scattered tree section of the Oak Spring volume. Tree density could range from 25 trees per acre, to one tree per 10 acres. The north hayfield, for example, is 58 acres and contains one tree. An additional five trees would result in one tree per 10 acres, and would significantly change the site.

TREES AND SHRUBS suitable as scattered trees and shrub islands at Rokeby. Shrubs are listed first, then trees. Starred trees are most recommended based on landscape history and local observations. Common Name Species Name Red chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia American hazelnut Corylus americana Fly honeysuckle Lonicera candensis American plum Prunus americana Chickasaw plum Prunus angustifolia Smooth sumac Rhus glabra American hazelnut Corylus americana Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana White pine* Pinus strobus Shagbark hickory* Carya ovata Persimmon* Diospyros virginiana Black walnut* Juglans nigra Red mulberry Morus rubra Black cherry Prunus serotina White oak* Quercus alba Southern red oak Quercus falcata Chestnut oak Quercus montana Northern red oak Quercus rubra Post oak* Quercus stellata Black locust Robinia pseudoacacia Sassafras Sassafras albidum Blackgum* Nyssa sylvatica

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R EFORESTATION Most of the Piedmont was forested in presettlement times. Records of open glades, grasslands and savannas were frequent, but were still the exception. Today, upper Fauquier County is roughly 25% forested and most of those patches are less than 100 acres, with several core areas larger than that. Rokeby and Oak Spring, for example, each contain a forest patch of 25 and 15 acres respectively. This is typical for upper Fauquier County. Considering this, and the additional benefits of forests as complex structure for wildlife, added diversity from multiple layers of vegetation, carbon sequestered through tree growth, and reduced management costs over the long term, Rokeby has an ambitious reforestation plan for 71 acres. Added to the current 25-acre woodland, and two acres of successional woods near Plum Run, the total forest at Rokeby would reach 97 acres, or about 22% of Rokeby’s land area. (The proposed 40 acres of reforestation at Oak Spring will bring that property also to about 22% forest when complete.) At Oak Spring, staff has carried out successful tree planting on a large scale. They’ve used an array of tree and shrub species, protection from deer and voles, and water as needed. The processes can be replicated on a larger scale at Rokeby. Rokeby differs from Oak Spring in being generally flatter and more homogeneous in substrate.

The map that follows divides Rokeby into three priority areas (non-contiguous) and each priority area is separated into zones. Larger zones may be divided as staff installs trees according to time and resources. At Oak Spring, the species list for the property was divided into hydric, mesic, and xeric tables. Oak Spring contains a broad floodplain of Goose Creek, and also dry hilltops with thin soils. Rokeby is more mesic and homogenous in its site conditions. Nevertheless, there are subtle differences; hydric sites occur along Plum Run, and damp sites occur along the southern property line. The species lists provided include only the mesic and hydric lists, slightly modified to reflect the conditions at Rokeby. Tables for the species list follow the map of zones. The three priority areas are listed as 1 (1a, 1b, 1c), 2 (2a, 2b, 2c), and 3 (3a, 3b). Priority area 1 includes the small, easy sections that really need to be forest (there’s no reason to mow any of these areas). These include: the far side of Plum Run (area 1a, 6.5 acres); the narrow ally near Plum Run (area 1b, 3 acres); and the triangle between the woodland and the coppice row (area 1c, 4 acres). One of these last two could be fenced, the grass killed, and then allowed to seed naturally. It could be an interesting experiment to see if oak will regenerate if the deer are excluded.

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REFORESTATION AREAS AT ROKEBY. 3a

3a

Colors indicate the three priority areas (1,2,3) and each of those is broken down below into units.

1c 2a 1a 3b 2c

1b

Priority 1: 1a: 6.5 acres 1b: 3 acres 1c: 4 acres Priority 2: 2a: 3 acres 2b: 5 acres 2c: 14.4 acres Priority 3: 3a: 31.4 acres 3b: 5 acres

2b

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All three areas have a mix of hydric and mesic sites. The slope on the far side of Plum Run may contain the only somewhat dry site at Rokeby as it is south facing. The riparian area of Plum Run will have hydric species, and the triangle area (1c) also has a seep or wet depression and will need hydric species. The north extent of area 1b is also hydric from a spring and Plum Run. See the soil maps for details. The priority 2 areas include mainly narrow areas on the borders as well as a larger 14-acre section behind the Cape Cod and Nantucket houses. Unit 2a on the north border contains 3 acres. Unit 2b on the south border contains 5 acres, and the larger unit 2c as mentioned is 14.4 acres. (This could be broken into smaller units to make planting easier.) Because the priority two areas are along borders it might be useful to include a number of fast-growing species and some evergreens mixed in. Tulip poplars and white pines should do well and serve that purpose. Priority 3 areas include two areas: the back reaches west of the airstrip (area 3a, 31.4 acres) and the near-side of Plum Run (3b, 5 acres). The western edge (3a) is entirely mesic and could have dry-sited species mixed in. The 3b section near Plum Run will need hydric trees along the stream and floodplain. This area should be thought-out on the ground as the shape of the edge will be visible from many locations at Rokeby.

Liriodendron tulipifera

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WET SITE SPECIES LIST FOR REFORESTATION. This list includes trees and shrubs only. Imp refers to importance value, with higher number species being planted more frequently as dominants. Some species are not purely â&#x20AC;&#x153;hydricâ&#x20AC;? as Rokeby contains a spectrum of wet site conditions. Species with asterisks are for the wettest sites. Com m on Nam e Species Nam e Im p Com m on Nam e Species Nam e Im p Red maple*

Acer rubrum

3

Cucumbertree

Magnolia acuminata

1

Silver maple*

Acer saccharum

3

Sweetbay magnolia

Magnolia viginiana

1

Serviceberry

Amelanchier sp.

1

Red mulberry

Morus rubra

2

Red chokecherry

Aronia arbutifolia

1

Black gum

Nyssa sylvatica

2

River cane*

Arundinaria sp.

3

White pine

Pinus strobus

2

Pawpaw

Asimina triloba

2

Sycamore*

Platanus occidentalis

3

Black birch

Betula lenta

2

Eastern cottonwood*

Populus deltoides

3

River birch*

Betula nigra

3

Swamp white oak*

Quercus bicolor

4

Musclewood*

Carpinus caroliniana

3

Pin oak*

Quercus palustris

4

Bitternut hickory

Carya cordiformis

2

Willow oak

Quercus phellos

2

Shagbark hickory

Carya ovata

2

Shumard oak

Quercus shumardii

2

Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis

3

Common elderberry

Sambucus canadensis

2

Redbud

Cercis candensis

2

Bald-cypress*

Taxodium distichum

1

Sweet pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia

3

American basswood

Tilia americana

3

Dogwood

Cornus florida

3

American elm

Ulmus americana

3

Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana

2

Slippery elm

Ulmus rubra

3

Black walnut

Juglans nigra

2

Highbush blueberry

Vaccinium corymbosum

2

Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

3

Southern arrowwood

Viburnum dentatum

1

Tulip poplar

Liriodendron tulipifera

3

Southern wild raisin

Viburnum nudum

1

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MESIC SITE SPECIES FOR UPLAND REFORESTATION PLANTINGS. This list includes only trees and shrubs. Imp refers to importance value and indicates relative abundance of each species for plantings. Higher numbers indicate higher dominance. The list includes a spectrum of species with some preferring drier sites and others wetter sites. Com m on Nam e Species Nam e Im p Com m on Nam e Species Nam e Im p Sugar maple

Acer saccharum

1

Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

2

Serviceberry

Amelanchier sp.

2

Tulip poplar

Liriodendron tulipifera

4

Pawpaw

Asimina triloba

2

Cucumbertree

Magnolia acuminata

2

Black birch

Betula lenta

3

Southern magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora

1

Bitternut hickory

Carya cordiformis

3

Black gum

Nyssa sylvatica

2

Pignut hickory

Carya glabra

3

Hophornbeam

Ostrya virginiana

2

Shagbark hickory

Carya ovata

2

Sourwood

Oxydendrum arboreum

1

Mockernut hickory

Carya tomentosa

2

Shortleaf pine

Pinus echinata

1

Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis

2

Eastern white pine

Pinus strobus

2

Eastern redbud

Cercis candensis

2

Black cherry

Prunus serotina

3

Flowering dogwood

Cornus florida

3

White oak

Quercus alba

4

American hazelnut

Corylus americana

1

Southern red oak

Quercus falcata

3

Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana

2

Chestnut oak

Quercus montana

3

Honeylocust

Gleditsia triacanthos

1

Northern Red oak

Quercus rubra

2

Witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

3

Post oak

Quercus stellata

3

American holly

Ilex opaca

3

Black locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

2

Black walnut

Juglans nigra

3

Raspberry

Rubus spp.

1

Eastern red cedar

Juniperus virginiana

2

Elderberry

Sambucus sp.

1

Mountain laurel

Kalmia latifolia

1

Sassafras

Sassafras albidum

1

Spicebush

Lindera benzoin

2

Viburnum

Viburnum sp.

2

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S CRUB S HRUB

AND

O PEN W ETLAND

Rokeby has a number of small springs, seeps, and seasonally wet depressions. It’s somewhat surprising that none of these had ever been turned into ponds, as they have at Oak Spring and other local farms. Perhaps because the Mellons didn’t live at Rokeby, they saw no need to add ponds. The main springs were described in the Field Inventory. Most are developed springs, or treed, or have been incorporated into reforestation plans. These sites tend to occur on the peripheries of the property so are good candidates for trees. Two areas stand out to plant/develop into wetlands. First, near the Cape Cod and Nantucket houses, a spring runs into a drainage ditch and flows seasonally. It flows from the driveway of those houses generally to the south to where it exits the property onto Blue Ridge Farm. For most of its course, this feature is an open ditch, up to several feet deep. A few trees dot the banks, but it is otherwise mowed. This feature should be planted into a scrub-shrub wetland. The banks and top edges can be planted with hydric shrubs such as alder, dogwoods, buttonbush, viburnums, and more. Planting the swale this way will eliminate maintenance costs, add thicket habitat for birds and other animals, increase water retention and transpiration, and add plant diversity to a grass field. The swale is about 1,600 feet (500 meters) in length.

The second potential wetland site is Spring 1 at Rokeby’s north end near Plum Run. The feature is somewhat removed from the main activity areas of Rokeby, but it is a unique feature not found anywhere else on the property. It is similar to the Loughborough Spring at Oak Spring, except perhaps larger in extent, and a greater volume of water. The site already has standing water and hydric plants. Rushes, sedges, and cattails reflect the hydric nature of the substrate. Left alone, the small central core area may remain as open wetland, however, the peripheries will grow red and silver maple, sycamore, and others as the site changes into a swamp. Because it has been mowed periodically it remains open. An open wetland (as opposed to forested swamp) will offer greater plant and animal habitat as high levels of sunlight are allowed to reach the water. Managing to prevent a takeover by trees will be a priority. Both of these features will interface with Rokeby’s proposed trail system. This will be an important consideration for the Spring 1 site. That site may need a boardwalk depending how close the trail will approach the wet area and how much OSG wants to invest in the site. A boardwalk may complicate future management by preventing mowing. These challenges will be worked out as Oak Spring staff sorts the implementation priorities.

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SCRUB-SHRUB AND OPEN WETLANDS AT ROKEBY The narrow drainage near the Cape Cod House (colored orange) is currently a spring fed ditch approximately three feet deep (one meter) and mowed grass. The proposal is to turn it into a scrub-shrub type linear wetland. The open wetland area of Spring 1 in Rokebyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s north (turquois on the map). The site is regularly mowed, which has prevented it from becoming a wooded swamp. A number of hydric graminoids are present.

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LIST OF HERBACEOUS PLANTS FOR USE IN THE WETLAND at Spring 1 (or elsewhere).

Herbaceous Forbs, Graminoids, Ferns Sweetflag

Acorus calmus

Marsh marigold

Caltha palustris

Tussock sedge

Carex stricta

Sensitive fern

Onoclea sensibilis

White turtle-head

Chelone glabra

Compact dodder

Cuscuta compacta

Spike rush spp.

Eleocharis spp.

Joe pye weed

Eupatorium fistulosum

Virginia blue flag

Iris virginica

Virginia sweetspire

Itea virginica

Turkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cap lily

Lilium superbum

Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Water purslane

Ludwigia palustris

Cinnamon fern

Osmunda cinnamomea

Pickerel weed

Pontederia cordata

Broad leaf arrowhead

Sagittaria latifolia

Lizardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tail

Saururus cernuus

Green bulrush

Scirpus atrovirens

Marsh fern

Thelypteris palustris

Cattails

Typha spp.

LIST OF SHRUBS FOR PLANTING IN WET SITES at Rokeby. These species are suitable for both the margins around the Spring 1 open wetland, and also to line the spring fed swale. Shrubs Smooth alder

Alnus serrulata

Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Sweet pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia

Silky dogwood

Cornus amomum

Smooth winterberry

Ilex laevigata

Winterberry holly

Ilex verticillata

Spicebush

Lindera benzoin

Swamp azalea

Rhododendron viscosum

Swamp rose

Rosa palustris

Silky willow

Salix sericea

Elderberry

Sambucus canadensis

Common greenbrier

Smilax rotundifolia

Highbush blueberry

Vaccinium corymbosum

Southern arrowwood

Viburnum dentatum

Southern wild raisin

Viburnum nudum

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A RBORETUM / O RNAMENTAL Three areas at Rokeby are suggested as ornamental or arboretum type covers. These sites are already scattered tree areas with a variety of species, and the plan here is to only define these spaces as such, and to expand them spatially and/or botanically. The first area occurs at the gateway of Rokeby Road and Mill Reef Road. Small groves of mature trees cover both corners. These stands include a variety of hackberry trees, oaks, dogwoods and more. The proposal here is to expand both these areas deeper into Rokeby. The overall size will approximately double. The second site is the abandoned nursery behind the Rokeby barns. While out of the way and somewhat invisible to most of the buildings at Rokeby, this small site contains a grove of tall white pines, trifoliate orange, apple trees, boxwoods, and

others. Perhaps a thoughtful design element can make this space more interesting. A number of rock outcrops add intrigue to the site. Lastly, the areas around the Nora Mellon House form a scattered tree, arboretum type environment currently, and the proposal here is to expand the site spatially and to add botanical richness. The site already contains trees from roughly a dozen species including Larix, Pinus, Acer, Salix, Maclura (huge), and Aesculus, and more. As mapped below, the area offers significant space to expand as an arboretum. The potential species list for these areas is unlimited. Exotics (noninvasive) and ornamentals, interesting and obscure varieties of Asian trees, and their American counterparts, would bring some botanical intrigue to Rokeby. The gateway site is close to Oak Spring will make for easy walking on paths for guests to explore.

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AREAS OF ORNAMENTAL TREES AND PROPOSED ARBORETUM AT ROKEBY: From upper left to lower right, the areas include: • • •

Abandoned nursery Nora Mellon House Rokeby Gateway

Current species can be found in the tree section of the field inventory. Potential species to add is unconstrained.

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A GRICULTURE ( POTENTIAL ) Agriculture has been a part of Rokeby since its establishment in the early 1800s. Grain crops, livestock, orchards, horses, hay and much more have been grown at Rokeby at various times. The adjacent map suggests nearly 30 acres of potential agricultural space (this is in addition to the 100 acres of hayfield at Rokeby and 15 acres of agriculture at Oak Spring). The sites were chosen for being close to Rokeby infrastructure (water, power, equipment) and the results of the type 1 soil survey. That report (see Soils section of the Field Inventory) indicates most of these areas are considered prime cropland. Small portions are considered secondary. While these spaces are planned here as potential agriculture, they will, in the short term, be used as hayfield, grazing, or grassland. Oak Spring may also explore obscure or specialty crops such as saffron, lavender, or ginseng.

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W ATCHABLE WILDLIFE The combined Oak Spring and Rokeby bird list totals 97 species. An amphibian and reptile inventory is underway at Rokeby. Although wildlife is not explicit to OSG’s mission, by their very nature, plants need animals. Additional inventory should include insects and other invertebrates and small mammals. Both of these groups (and also birds) are very closely woven with their vegetative habitats. An interesting study could be done comparing taxa before and after restoration. Creating habitat complexity, adding plant diversity, and placing artificial nest boxes and platforms will increase watchable wildlife at Oak Spring. Habitat complexity and diversity has been addressed in the vegetation plan (reforestation, savanna, scattered trees, shrub islands). To summarize the additional features: •

NEST BOXES: Populations and visibility of kestrel, bluebird, owls, and bats (among others) can all be increased with installation of nest boxes.

RAPTOR POLES/PERCHES/PLATFORMS: Perches in the open areas, especially near the wetland and Plum Run, will permit raptors and other birds to hunt and rest.

SCATTERED TREES: These keystone structures have been discussed above.

SHRUB ISLANDS: Patches of shrubs in the open savanna areas can create excellent habitat for fauna. Species mix is above.

CONIFER GROVE: A patch of conifers or clusters of conifers offer excellent habitat to owls and other birds especially in winter where they roost on cold nights. A patch is proposed in the reforestation area.

ADDITIONAL WATER FEATURES: Rokeby has no ponds; perhaps one or two of the smaller springs could be excavated slightly to create a vernal pool type environment. The springs west of the wetland and Plum Run might serve well for this purpose.

A Wildlife Plan could be developed to detail locations for artificial features.

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T RAIL P LANNING Rokeby and Oak Spring will host guests from all over the world. With proper trails, a map, and wayfinding, guests can experience the richness of the special places and landscape described in this report.

The Rokeby trail plan is designed with these considerations. The system totals 5.1 miles and takes in Rokeby’s sweet spots. Most trails will be mowed paths; some will still have rugged sections (The Holloway). Some may be complicated in the short term by reforestation efforts. Added to that is Rokeby’s 2.4 miles of roads which creates an array of loop options.

To do that, Rokeby needs a trail network. While Rokeby’s 2.4 miles of roads serve as fine walking paths, it is also nice to get off the roads and traipse along the walls, oaks, and rolling countryside that the northern Piedmont is famous for. Most trails at Rokeby will consist of little more than a mowed path.

The map that follows details the proposed trail system. Beige areas indicate high points and views, while blue areas are seasonally wet low spots. The trail system should invite exploration and relaxation.

Rokeby is generally flat or gently rolling so steep grades are of little concern. Perhaps of greater concern, trails should avoid wet areas. Considering that the land is flat, this may be unavoidable during the wettest weather, however, most of the wet locations are mapped (blue on map). A good trail plan: • •

• •

Connects a series of special places. Considers the user’s movement through the landscape with regard to near-by features, distant views, sounds, seasonality, diversity, and difficulty. Considers amenities such as places to rest, shade, etc. Is designed for sustainability with regard to slopes, soils, erosion, surface, and ecology.

Because Rokeby is a long and narrow property, the system has a number of loop options. For perspective, the full loop around Rokeby’s perimeter totals 3.35 miles (5.4 km). A number of loop options are possible nearer Oak Spring. The airstrip creates an unavoidable obstacle. To make loops of reasonable lengths – or to simply have options to return – the airstrip had to be crossed. Nothing elaborate is needed here; simply a post on either end to show the trail locations. On the ground, trails should be laid out with three objectives: (i) offering a diverse trail experience; (ii) directing the users eye toward views and features; (iii) keeping grades appropriate to prevent erosion and maintain access for everyone.

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© 2018 Google

ROKEBY TRAIL PLAN: The 5.1 miles of trail are in green. Roads are light gray. Beige areas are high points with views; blue areas are low and seasonally wet. The airstrip is exactly 1-mile long.

N 2000 ft

© 2018 Google

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THE MISSION OF THE OAK SPRING GARDEN FOUNDATION is to perpetuate and share the gifts of Rachel (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bunnyâ&#x20AC;?) Lambert Mellon, including her residence, garden, estate and the Oak Spring Garden Library, to serve the public interest. Oak Spring is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being.

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Rokeby: A Landscape Biography  

History, Ecology, and Management at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

Rokeby: A Landscape Biography  

History, Ecology, and Management at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

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