The area around Small Hall holds a number of interesting specimens. Between Swem and Small as you head up the walkway, note the two fragrant olive bushes (Osmanthus sp.). These bushes have grown so tall that they have been trimmed into a tunnel to accommodate the walkway. All throughout campus Osmanthus spp. were planted decades ago and have matured to a magnificent state. These slow-growing shrubs have, arguably, one of the most beautiful and permeating fragrances that a flower can have. You might expect this because they are related to lilacs. However, their tiny white autumnal blooms are cryptic, stopping passersby in their tracks to look for the source of the aroma. Come back when they flower and smell for yourself!
Also spectacular in the fall are the three Japanese maples that flank Landrum, each turning its own particular shade of brilliance. Up the hill are two other interesting specimens. One is a snake bark maple (Acer davidii). Look for the striping on the bark and not a maple-shaped leaf because this maple does not have typical maple-like leaves. Next to the maple is a gorgeous, full specimen of a Persian ironwood, (Perrotia persica). This species may at first look like a giant witch-hazel. This is because it shares the same family. Like other member of the family Hamamelidaceae, the foliage can be spectacular in the fall and is generally highly deer resistant.
Continuing up the walkway to the south entrance of Small Hall you will find a group of 3 smallish trees, two of them with a big reputation. The two western-most trees are clones from the famous Newton Apple, Malus domestica ‘flower of Kent’ which inspired the theory of gravity by Sir Isaac Newton. Because the apples cannot self-fertilize, a compatible crab apple is planted near them so that apples can form. Read about how these trees found their way to William & Mary or, if you would rather, sit for a while on the bench and contemplate gravity.
Catty-corner to the trees, on the NW corner of Andrews Hall, is one of many specimens of small-leaf linden or basswood (Tilia cordata) scattered throughout this court yard and in other places on campus. The spring blooms of the linden are magnets for bees which gather nectar from the linden for energy and to produce honey.