Mayfield Park/Community Project (MP/CP)

The Mayfield Council October 2020

As always things have been busy inside the walls at the Mayfield Cottage and Gardens although our community having to deal with the Covid-19 virus has made 2020 challenging. On Saturday March 7th we again participated in the semi-annual “It’s My Park Day” sponsored by our good friends at the Austin Parks Foundation (APF). Using garden funds collected in 2019 at our annual Mayfield Park Trowel & Error fundraiser, we purchased 10 cubic yards of Kiddie Kushion mulch from Whittlesey Landscape Supplies; after we spread the mulch along the garden paths the subsequent fall of the live oak leaves wasn’t so visible against this lighter colored mulch. Thank you, Garden Coordinator Janice Brown, for this suggestion. All in preparation for Trowel & Error (T&E) 2020 scheduled to be held on Saturday April 4th. Unfortunately, our annual fundraising symposium did not take place as the park was closed due to the pandemic and most of us were sheltering in place. The speakers we had lined up were Jay White, Editor of Texas Gardener Magazine, Dr. Molly Ogorzoly, and Theresa Anderson from the Austin Rose Society and we thank them for graciously volunteering to come speak with us. The most disappointing aspect of the cancellation was that we were not able to dedicate the Founders’ Bench with a City Council resolution honoring the original founders of MP/CP, Mary C. Kaiser, Karen Cannatti and Barbara Watt. Regardless, a big “Thank You!” to the sponsors of T&E 2020, Friends of the Parks Austin, Friends of Reed Park, Barton Springs Nursery, West Austin Neighborhood Group and Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department (PARD). We were all disappointed, but-

T&E 2021 will be on Saturday 10 April 2021!

With the park being closed most of the last several months, volunteer work on the gardens and ponds have come to a virtual standstill as the City has deemed entrance to the grounds by volunteers as non-essential. Our good friends Jeannie Ferrier and the Austin Pond Society had been hard at work restoring the water gardens after the City engaged crews had resealed the ponds. The patch gardens were all adopted and cared for. The peafowls presented as happy and healthy. And then we all went home. But we looked at this as a pause, not an ending.  

UPDATE: As of September 16th the park has again been reopened.

When we were briefly allowed back into the park in June, we found the ongoing PARD project of skirting the main cottage and the reinstallation of the irrigation system in the cottage beds completed. Our task now is to refill the beds with garden soil and replant. We have had the good fortune of a generous donation of several dozen heritage Ellen Bosanquet Crinum bulbs from the Sachin Parate family, and we have the plants we normally sell at T&E to draw on also. We have been assured by PARD that there are several maintenance/repair projects slated for Mayfield over the next year including the repair of the damaged parking lot exit gate, the repair of the pillars supporting the back garden gate, and the replacement of the roofs of the volunteer sheds.

MP/CP has undertaken in coordination with PARD the reconstruction of a 75-foot section of the historic rock wall behind the dovecote. All the rock walls at Mayfield were constructed without proper footings and with mortar that has now deteriorated, and eventually they will all need to be reconstructed.  Our independent masonry bid for this project is $51,874 and we have received a heritage grant from the City’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) fund for $37,492. We will be kicking in the $14,382 difference, and with no Trowel & Error this year, your donations take on a special importance. We have been very fortunate to receive a Benefactor contribution pledge towards this project, and we hope to start work before the end of the year.

Of course, there are only limited funds and manpower that PARD is able to allocate to a park, and it is through volunteer efforts that allow Mayfield to truly shine. The Mayfield Council wants to thank those who have given their money, but especially those who have given their time, to the preservation and maintenance of this true gem in the City’s parks system. The Mayfield Cottage and Grounds, a City of Austin historic landmark and a National Registered District, would not be what it is today without these volunteer efforts. For tax purposes, contributions to the Mayfield Park/Community Project are channeled through an IRS § 501(c)(3) entity Friends of the Parks of Austin and can be sent to:

Mayfield Park/Community Project
PO Box 5721
Austin, Texas 78763

We also have two funds registered with the Austin Community Foundation, the Mayfield Park Community Projects Fund and the Mayfield Park Cottage & Gardens Endowment Fund. The Community Projects Fund is our reserve for projects such as the rebuilding of the stone arch and the ongoing rock wall restorations. The Endowment Fund was opened with an initial donation of $20,000 from the Mayfield Council. Our Endowment Fund goal is a million dollars (maybe not in my lifetime) with the long-range well being of the cottage and grounds in mind. Donations may be sent to:

Austin Community Foundation
Mayfield Park
4315 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78751

That’s it for this year, and again, thank you. Keep us in mind and come visit the park. We are expecting you.

Blake Tollett, Chair
Mayfield Council
3701 Bonnie Road 78703

The Mayfield Council

Karen Cannatti
Rick Chance
Janice Brown
Tricia Zeigler             
Barbara Watt
Sharon Lamb
Shawnee Merriman