What’s Happening in the Garden This Week

With spring in full swing, there are so many great community-wide events to get your green thumb on. Here are a few to check out this coming week.

  • Come learn how to turn your food scraps and yard waste into “gardener’s gold” at the Library’s GardenSmart class “Compost Happens Compost 101.” This hands-on workshop on Saturday, April 11 will teach you to make, harvest and use this valuable soil amendment in your garden. The program will be held from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in the Library’s Peter Dreyfus Garden. Click here for more details and to register.
  • The Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society celebrates California Native Plant Week April 11-19 by sponsoring a variety of events. A week of FREE gardening activities are planned including plant sales, workshops, hikes, tours, volunteer opportunities and more! Click here for more details on the day-by-day event offerings.
  • The Annual Marin Master Gardener Tomato Market and Information Exchange is on Saturday, April 18 between 9am-12 noon at the Bon Air Shopping Center in Greenbrae and Pini Hardware in Nave Center in Novato. The Market will feature prized heirloom and hybrid tomato plants selected for their exceptional taste, superior growth habits, disease resistance and their performance in Marin’s microclimates. The plants are all organically grown from seed by Marin Master Gardeners at the gorgeous Falkirk Greenhouse in San Rafael. This is the sole fundraising event produced by Marin Master Gardeners each year, so be sure to come out and support their programs, and bring home some versatile and succulent tomatoes to enjoy. For more information about the Marin Master Gardener Tomato Market and Information Exchange, click here.



Spring Into Gardening Now

On March 4th, the Parks and Recreation Commission approved the SmartGarden design. We are very excited to break ground on the garden and look forward to a busy spring/summer filled with activity. Installation of the first two phases of the garden will start in early May.

Here are five great ways you can help us grow the SmartGarden!

Consider making a donation: Concerned about the drought? Want to help protect our creeks? Help us realize the full potential of this educational demonstration garden. The SmartGarden will teach people how to make small changes at their homes that collectively can have a huge impact on our environment. If you are interested in making a donation to the SmartGarden project, contact Kristen Clark at kclark@cityofmillvalley.org.
Garden Shed construction: The program needs a handy person with experience in building a small shed to house all of the garden’s tools and other supplies. Many of the building materials will be provided by local sources if we supply a cut list. Now all we need is a community member to lend a hand!
Spread the word: The buzz is in the air about the SmartGarden and you can help keep it going by sharing news about the SmartGarden with your neighbors today. Let’s grow together! New classes on gardening tips are added to the Library calendar every month. Updates on the progress of the SmartGarden will be available frequently on this website.
School participation: (elementary – high school): There will be many exciting opportunities for kids in our community to get involved with each phase of the SmartGarden and beyond its completion. For more information on how your school can participate, contact Laurel Hilton at lhilton@cityofmillvalley.org.
Classes/workshops: We are looking for experienced instructors to lead classes on gardening; water conservation and management; and native plants. Contact Kristen Clark at kclark@cityofmillvalley.org for more details.

SeedSmart Seed Sharing Program: Its springtime, time to plant seeds for summer and fall blooms and harvest. Did you know you can borrow seeds from the Library, just as you borrow books? If you are ready to start your own garden now, you can browse the seeds available here. Visit our SeedSmart page to learn how to get involved.

SmartGarden Program Ready for Public Input and Review

On Wednesday, March 4th, the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Commission will meet to hear public input on the Mill Valley Library’s SmartGarden Program. Parks and Recreation will also review the 90% design plan for the SmartGarden and if approved, construction will begin in April 2015. The project is anticipated for construction in four stages. The first two stages of the proposed garden project, the majority of which is funded by a $40,000 “Pitch an Idea” grant from the California State Library, are anticipated for completion by the end of June 2015.

We need you! Your participation and input in the process are welcome and encouraged. Here’s how you can help the Library take this project to the next level.

*Attend upcoming Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at 7pm.
*Provide public input and comments prior to the meeting to Public Works at vtyler@cityofmillvalley.org

To view the design, click here. To view the staff report, search the City’s website under Parks and Recreation Commission, March 4, 2015 meeting agenda and staff reports. Residents can also stop by City Hall, Public Works (2nd floor) or the Mill Valley Public Library Reference Desk for a hard copy of the design.

For questions about the SmartGarden program, please contact Kristen Clark, Library Operations Manager, at 415-384-4730 or by email, kclark@cityofmillvalley.org.

SmartGarden Update!

Though there’s still winter’s chill in the air, the Library’s SmartGarden program has its sights set squarely on spring. And we can’t wait to share the latest updates with you!

In late summer 2014, the Mill Valley Library announced to its patrons and members of the community that it had received a $40,000 grant award from the California State Library to initiate design and development of our SmartGarden. The SmartGarden is a demonstration garden that teaches the importance of native plants and the necessity of water management. The program’s goal is to inspire the local community about the benefits of harvesting water and creating a sustainable native garden and to promote grassroots change in people’s homes. Small changes at this level can have a huge impact on the preservation of our local environment.

Since receiving the grant last year, Library staff, landscape designers and water management experts have been working diligently to complete the design, assess local resource opportunities, and participate in public review sessions.

Mother Nature gave us a little surprise with the arrival of an early and plentiful rainy season. But who can really fault her, with the state-wide drought in effect! Though the recent storms and holiday rush gave us momentary delay with the program, we are pleased to let you know that we are on track in Phase One of the project. In the next month, our team will finalize the design plans and seek project approval at the Mill Valley’s Parks & Rec public review session on March 4, 2015.

While waiting for construction of the SmartGarden to begin, make sure to take advantage of our ongoing GardenSmart classes. We have a great lineup of educational opportunities for the new and veteran gardeners in our community, those interested in learning more about the right tools for your own garden space and even the Feng Shui of creating a healthy and dynamic garden in 2015. Visit our events calendar for more information.

The Library is so honored to have the support and commitment from our patrons and the community for the SmartGarden. Many people have already expressed interest in getting involved and we want to spread the word about all of the great things that will be happening with this innovative program.

With a brand new website, and new information on the project on a regular basis, we hope you will follow our posts and check back often for news of events, classes, and ways to get involved.

Grow with Us!

The SmartGarden Team