Marin Art and Garden Center
Stunning gardens brimming with flora and fauna right in the heart of Marin (Ross) – that’s the Marin Art & Garden Center (MAGC, pronounced magic). Open free to the public dawn to dusk, the unique and eclectic collection of mature trees and diverse plantings offers something for everyone. One half of the Center’s dual personality presents a lush environment reminiscent of the formal gardens of bygone days while the other is current and topical – focused on sustainable gardening practices, growing native and low water use plants and educating the public about the importance of environmental stewardship.
Marin Master Gardeners are involved in a multitude of activities at MAGC; designing, implementing and continually improving demonstration gardens that are both educational and beautiful, growing plants from seed collected at MAGC and sharing with them with local schools, and guiding exciting field trips for first and second graders to enhance their knowledge of a garden’s myriad habitats. Read on to learn more:
"Exploring Habitats” field trips for first and second grade students
The “Exploring Habitats” field trip project is co-sponsored by Marin Master Gardeners and MAGC. Taking place in the inspiring Butterfly Habitat Garden, these field trips are educational and enriching to children, exposing them to aspects of nature and the environment they might not receive otherwise. Students delve into four distinct habitats – bird and butterfly garden, ponds, the woodland understory and composting. Some examples of things they may see and learn about are:
To get information on field trip availability, email MAGC.
MAGC is home to a number of areas and gardens that are visually stunning, and informative to the observer. Areas created and enhanced by Master Gardeners include:
Bay-Friendly Demonstration Garden
The Bay-Friendly Demonstration Garden is situated between the grove of magnolia trees (Magnolia grandiflora) and the large fountain. This recently renovated garden area has been transformed in a joint effort between MAGC, Marin Municipal Water District and Marin Master Gardeners, into a beautiful, colorful, ornamental, low to moderate water use garden, brimming with deer resistant, fragrant, low maintenance plants. To learn more about Bay-Friendly Gardening practices, click here.
Butterfly Habitat Garden
The Butterfly Habitat Garden contains a bounteous collection of plants that showcase the four components of habitat – water, shelter, food and nesting material. This garden area attracts and sustains birds, butterflies and other pollinators in the garden, while the mixture of California native and Mediterranean climate perennials, annuals and grasses create a kaleidoscope of colors during the peak of bloom summer to fall. The pond in this garden is ideal habitat for dragonflies, the "seep" at the shallow end provide wild creatures easy access to water. A bat box provides a daytime roost for these valuable insect eaters. The small lawn is an example of low water-use, infrequent mowing-need turf. Come and take a walk through the Butterfly Habitat Garden and get inspired!
Herb and Native Medicinal Garden
This site, once an herb garden of national renown maintained by the now defunct California Herb Society, includes plants with properties that made them valuable as medicine for both the Native Peoples, and the first Europeans to settle in California. Plantings include Allium schoenoprasum, Borago officinalis, Calendula officinalis, Eriogonum grande rubescens, Leonurus cardiac, Nepeta cataria, Pelargonium sidoides, Ruta grarveolens, Salvia officinalis minum and Thymus x citriodorus ‘Aureus’.
A variety of succulent plants and cacti display a tremendous range of color and form in this small garden including aeoniums, aloes, agaves, sedums, dudleyas, and echeverias. The collection is planted on a berm, built up with boulders and coarse soil to ensure perfect drainage. Some specimens were donated by local fanciers.
The Nursery at MAGC
Marin Master Gardener volunteers propagate and grow over 1200 plants annually at the MAGC nursery for use in school gardens, other Master Gardener projects throughout the county and the grounds of MAGC. The focus is on California natives, habitat plants, and drought tolerant species, with the goal of encouraging, supporting and contributing plants that attract butterflies, birds, bees and other native wildlife to gardens. Master Gardener volunteers learn about seed collection, storage and treatment techniques, different propagation methods and general care of nursery stock. Visit the California Native Plant Society to learn more about native plants.
Master Gardeners are an active part of the Garden Education program at MAGC, and assist in the development and presentation of horticultural and environmental programs for adults and children. Master Gardeners are currently working with MAGC on a plant identification project that will enable garden visitors to identify plants by common and proper name, and learn about their care and maintenance. Visit the Marin Master Gardener Water-Wise Plant Selection Guide to get information today on a wide variety of plants that perform well in Marin County and use less water.
Directions to Marin Art and Garden Center