Situated along the northern side of Capitol Square on a three-block length formerly known as Capitol Street, the Colgate Darden Memorial Garden provides a transition between the park-like Capitol Square and metropolitan Richmond. Occupying little more than an acre, this axial garden provides a pedestrian corridor between the Capitol and the General Assembly Building. Meade Palmer was commissioned to design the pedestrian way which was dedicated in 1982 in memory of former Virginia Governor Colgate Darden.
Organized on axis with the existing street grid and surrounding structures, the garden occupies the eastern and western blocks but leaves the central block open for traffic circulation and parking. The two peripheral sections are united by a rectilinear network of slate slabs intertwined across brick paving laid in a herringbone pattern. Two grade-level, rectangular planting beds bordered by cut granite blocks feature boxwoods, sedges, and raised elliptical expanses of turf grass. These beds are flanked by rectangular sections of cobblestone with bosques of crepe myrtles and dogwoods. Though each of these small plots was originally shaded by canopy trees, many have been removed and a few replaced with ground cover. The central block of the garden is lined with a row of eight deciduous trees on the north edge and a row of small, sunken, rectangular planting beds on the south edge. Planted with grasses and small shrubs, these beds, later additions to Meade Palmer’s design, capture rainwater from the street.