Master Gardeners transform Falkirk grounds, greenhouse
Masters of the House
Marin gardening group transforms grounds and greenhouse at Falkirk mansion
Marin IJ link to article
December 29, 2007
Just a few years ago, the grounds surrounding the Falkirk mansion's 1927 greenhouse with its gothic lath-house entry were bare in some spots and wildly overgrown in others.
Today the area is teeming with lovingly landscaped life thanks to the Marin Master Gardeners, brought in to transform the greenhouse and surrounding garden at the historic San Rafael property, a city cultural center.
The arrangement is working out so well that the rebirth of the gardens is expanding in scope now that the city has a memorandum of understanding with the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension. Marin Master Gardeners members work as unpaid staff for the extension, answering public inquiries and providing information on plant health and gardening practices.
The effort has been paid for with a $10,000 challenge grant from the Marin Community Foundation Partnership Fund, a $14,000 grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust and $16,000 in in-kind donations from local businesses.
The Master Gardeners has been toiling away at Falkirk since 2002, about two years into Lange's project to reinvent the gardens.
The city in 2001 tackled the bones: new plastic windows, paint, electrical work, steel structural support - all accomplished mostly through in-kind donations from local businesses. The renovation paved the way for the Master Gardeners, who in 2002 brought in design and planting expertise.
The enclosed garden, which thus far has kept out the many deer that roam the property, features a new fence designed by Stone to echo the historic lath work surrounding the greenhouse.
Having help from the Master Gardeners takes some of the pressure off,
Mayor Al Boro said.
From the gardeners' perspective, the program offers a chance to help adorn the historic property while schooling future gardening experts.
"This is a community project and it's an educational experience for the community and future Master Gardeners," Stone said.
"I don't think I'll live that long," he said.
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