The south entrance to James Blair Hall is flanked by two Lusterleaf Holly (Ilex latifolia) trees. This nonnative species has unusually coarse-textured and long (up to 6 inches) leaves and bears dense clusters of large red berries.
Directly west of the building is the Tyler Family Garden, dedicated in 2004 in recognition of the Tyler family's extraordinary legacy to the College over three centuries. Three bronze busts feature Lyon Gardiner Tyler, the 17th president of William and Mary; his father, the 10th U.S. President, John Tyler, who served as rector and chancellor of the College; and Lyon Gardiner Tyler’s grandfather, John Tyler, who served as the 18th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Just below the west brick wall of the Tyler Garden are two large Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) that were shipped to the College from California around Cape Horn and planted as cuttings in 1953. The northern tree lost a large limb during a 2002 windstorm; and the southern tree lost its top during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Adolph Hight, then director of facilities management, saved the debris with the idea of shaping something both practical and unique. His hope was realized in the bench now placed between the trees – the result of a collaborative effort involving Professor Pease (Art and Art History), students Emily Fraser ’07 and Nathan Burgess ’08, senior carpenter Mike Wood, and College arborist Matthew Trowbridge.
This area also contains a Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and several Tulip Poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera). Across James Blair Drive grows a large American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).