News Updates

News From The Mayfield Park Community Project

The Mayfield Council

We remain busy inside the walls at the Mayfield Cottage and Gardens although the continuing Covid-19 pandemic has moderated somewhat our volunteer efforts. The City of Austin and the Parks & Recreation Department (PARD), in accordance with the health authorities, deemed it unsafe for us to have Trowel & Error this year, and that was the correct decision. At that time there were just too many unknowns. The Austin Parks Foundation (APF) also felt it was not advisable to have a spring It’s My Park Day workday, so that opportunity to bring in outside volunteers to help spruce up the garden paths with new mulch passed. But 2022 we hope will be different.

The Mayfield Council, November 2023

As always my friends, we remain busy within the walls of the historic Mayfield Cottage and Gardens. I just finished rereading last year’s newsletter so I have some updates to pass along and then some projects we hope to accomplish in the new year cycle.

Beginning in late January 2023 and working under guidance from the Parks & Recreation Department (PARD), we contracted with Stonebridge Pond & Waterfall to sequentially drain and clean the historic lily ponds. Because the water gardens at Mayfield are called out specifically in the park’s National Register and Austin’s Historic Landmark narratives as lily gardens, the assorted aquatic wildlife that had taken residence in the ponds the last couple of years were relocated in order to re-establish this historically documented use. We also took advantage of this restoration project to bring in our good friends from Ash Historic Masonry, with guidance and support from Stonebridge Pond & Waterfall and our new friends from Hill Country Water Gardens, to rehabilitate and rebuild the rock waterfall that circulates the water in the hour-glass pond. Unfortunately, we were not able to go forward on having Brian Ash’s group do the minor clean-up projects on the dovecote this cycle, but we will put this project in our “to-do” pipeline.

We did again utilize the volunteers from the Young Men’s Service League, North Central Austin Chapter, to complete two projects, our annual mulching of the garden paths and the establishment of a specimen rose garden in the northeast corner of the park next to West 35th Street. As always, a big thank you to them for their service to our community. And on Saturday the 1st of April we again welcomed friends, old and new, to the park for our annual spring fund-raising event, Trowel & Error (T&E). We changed the format some this year with our having only two speakers rather than three, and during the heirloom plant sale we incorporated musical entertainment by the Peacock Recorder Consort. This year our first speaker was Darrel Mayers, editor of the austingarden.com blog, and his friends Thom the World Poet, Austin Davenport and Lori Daul, speaking to us on “A Celebration of Gardens and Gardening in Poetry & Music” followed by Renee Studebaker talking about “Rewilding a Home Garden”. Both presentations were warmly received. A special thanks goes to our good friends from Girl Scout Troop 42112 who again this year provided refreshments. T&E 2023 sponsors included PARD, West Austin Neighborhood Group, Friends of the Parks of Austin, the Natural Gardener and Frost Bank Tarrytown Branch. The kind folks at Shoal Creek Nursery, Anderson Coffee and the new HEB @ Lake Austin donated generously to our raffle. We thank them very much, also. And again this coming spring we will host-

TROWEL & ERROR 2024 ON SATURDAY 6 APRIL 2024

so, mark us in on your calendars with more information to come!

Going forward into the fall and winter seasons our major project is the final fabrication of guide stanchions by the Lars Stanley group and their placement in the upper lawns next to W. 35th Street, the eastern lawn areas, the tear drop planting area, and the formal front of the cottage. If you have been to the park lately it is very visible the impact the large number of visitors we have been experiencing the last several years are having on the lawns. The continuous foot traffic and the resultant soil compaction doesn’t allow for the ground covers or the trees to thrive as they should. The idea is to gently encourage folks to stay on the walkways in the lawn areas with the specimen lily ponds and the volunteer patch gardens being more open for exploration. And depending on funding, we will need to again address some structural problems in the rock walls, more specifically the small enclosure between the volunteer and the visitors’ sheds. We are also going to be looking at doing some arbor work, although PARD is tentatively allocating some funds for this.

As always, there are only limited funds and manpower that PARD is able to allocate to any park so it is through volunteer efforts that allow Mayfield to truly shine. The Mayfield Council wants to thank not only those who have given the money that make our projects feasible, but also extend a special thank you to those who have given of their time to the preservation and maintenance of this true gem in the City’s parks system. The Mayfield Cottage and Grounds, a recognized City of Austin Historic Landmark and a listed asset on the National Register of Historic Places, would not be what it is today without these volunteer efforts. Our Founders’ vision and their ongoing commitment to Mayfield has set the example for us as we continue their mission.

For tax purposes, contributions to the Mayfield Park/Community Project are channeled through an IRS § 501(c)(3) entity, the 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 pond rehabilitation project outlined above and the ongoing repairs to the park’s historic masonry. 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
512-541-5913 cell/text
Blake.tollett@earthlink.net

The Mayfield Council

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

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