Last fall, we were fortunate to be able to borrow materials for a fascinating exhibition about the Presidio Tunnel Tops, the new 14-acre parklands being designed for the area opened up by the creation of the Presidio Parkway leading from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Presidio. The show was much too brief, and we are pleased to have it back again in The Studio through February. Renderings, models, and video tell the story of this ambitious design and the process of community input that shaped the final design, which will provide a dramatic new entry to San Francisco and recreational opportunities for all of us.
On February 1, we will hear from Richard Kennedy, lead designer for the project and senior principal at James Corner Field Operations, creator of New York’s famous High Line. He will discuss the evolution of the design, including the “Playscape” natural playground that is a central feature of the Tunnel Tops park. The talk is free, but you must register to attend.

We are grateful to our colleagues at the Presidio Trust and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for bringing this exhibition to Marin.

We’re looking forward to the return of Beatrice Bowles, who dazzled us at Halloween with her tales of Green Wisdom. On February 10 she will be back to enchant audiences with a new program, “Wild Rose and other stories of plants and flowers.” She will be joined by Laura Simms, herself a performer, writer, and educator who is the director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in New York. Bring the whole family and prepare to be enthralled as these two award-winning storytellers draw us into the garden—although we’ll stay warm and dry in The Studio, whatever the weather outside! Tickets are $20 per family and can be purchased online, and include refreshments.
register now!
The Octagon House is one of the most distinctive buildings at the Marin Art & Garden Center. Growing right next to it is a less obvious, but no less significant feature of the grounds: the Mission Pear.

You may have read about this renowned tree late last year, when the Marin Independent Journal covered the ceremonial planting of a new tree at the San Rafael Mission Archangel, that will eventually take a graft from our historic specimen. While the tree is quite unassuming at this time of year, it is the last of a line of stock given grafts from the original trees growing in the Mission’s orchard in 1817. Of three trees that were grafted by local nursery owner Karl Untermann some fifty years ago, the one growing at MAGC is the only one surviving. If the grafting process is successful, though, in a few years this ancient line will once again return to the Mission. We also recently gave cuttings from the pear to the garden team at Filoli in Woodside, so visitors there too may one day enjoy a little bit of the flavor of Marin.

Gary Scales, a trustee of the Ross Historical Society, is our on-site expert on the pear tree and the author of an article for the Pacific Horticulture Society that tells its remarkable story, very much interwoven with the history of MAGC and Marin County itself. Gary is also an accomplished photographer, be sure to check out the photos that accompany the article for stunning views of the MAGC landscape.
Many of the trees at MAGC have stories of their own, stories that can continue even after the tree’s life is at an end.

In late November, we learned that a Valley oak in the south parking lot had grown unstable with age and would have to be cut down. Rather than turning this stately giant into a pile of sawdust, though, we are going to use the wood to create benches for The Studio so that it will continue to have a role in the life of MAGC.

The felled tree will be cut into 2 ½ inch slabs and must then dry out at a rate of a year per inch before it can be carved, so it will be well into 2020 before we can expect to get a look at the benches. For now, a substantial cross section of the trunk remains near The Studio until it is hauled up to Novato for slabbing. If you dare, try to count the rings, one for each year of the tree’s life. The Marin Art & Garden Center’s entire existence represents only a tiny fraction of a great tree’s lifespan, which puts our role as conservators of these gardens in perspective!

Our Winter 2018 MAGC Conservation Series, “Air, Land, and Sea” will present speakers from three significant local conservation organizations, all of whom are doing innovative work to study and interpret the natural systems of the Bay Area. Register now for the whole series, or just one or two of these fascinating talks!
Jan. 31, 2018, 6:30pm - 7pm
Gulf of the Farallones: Hotspot for Whales and Other Marine Life Just Off our Coast
Roger Harris of the Oceanic Society will tell us conservation success stories from one of the world’s great wildlife areas.
read more
Feb. 15, 2018, 6:30pm - 7pm
Golden Gate Raptors, Rachel Carson, and the Evolution of Community Science
Allen Fish from the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory will trace the origins of community wildlife raptor monitoring.
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Feb. 27, 2018, 6:30pm - 7pm
Learn about fire’s long-standing and critical role in our ecosystems, and how our planet depends on its process.
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The lucky kids attending the Garden School spend their days at MAGC, taking advantage of all the grounds have to offer. Lucky parents, too: as a result of a successful fundraiser last spring, the school was able to sponsor a parent education evening on January 10.

Polly Ely, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and popular speaker in Marin, spoke for 90 minutes to a rapt group of parents and friends. Covering practical parenting strategies, she gave
examples of tools and language to use with our children to build connections and create a balanced family structure. Being a parent herself, she understands the challenges and stresses of Marin parents, and the audience was nodding and laughing in acknowledgement while she spoke.

Polly discussed the balance between being loving and being in charge, and offered practical tools for keeping your head and staying connected with your kid WHILE you hold firm boundaries in place. She shared the attachment science and neuroscience behind her approach, The Lab Method, telling us, “building healthy secure practices between parents and their children is my passionate crusade. It's my way of reaching into the future and changing the way it unfolds for the better.”

We are grateful to the Garden School community whose support helped bring Polly to speak to us, and we look forward to hosting future parent education events at the Garden School.
We are delighted to announce that the Marin Art & Garden Center is featured in the new book The California Garden Tour: The 50 best gardens to visit in the Golden State, by Donald Olsen and published by Timber Press. The book features exceptional photographs and detailed descriptions of gardens up and down the state, including our very own MAGC. The book is getting five-star reviews on Amazon, so pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift!
view on amazon
Marin Art & Garden Center - magc.org - 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross CA - 415 455 5260