As always my friends, we remain busy within the walls of the historic Mayfield Cottage and Gardens. And thankfully, for now, the pandemic seems to have relaxed its grip on us.

As reported last year MP/CP, in coordination with the Parks & Recreation Department (PARD) and the City’s Historic Preservation office, undertook the repair and restoration of the rock wall section behind the dovecote. Our original plan called for the dismantling of a 75-foot section of the wall, adding a foundation, and then rebuilding under a $51,874 contract with Ash Masonry Masterworks. We applied for and received a reimbursable grant from the City’s Heritage Grant Program for $37,492 towards this project. As Brian’s team were completing repairs near where the east wall turns to the west along W. 35th Street the remaining unrepaired section of the wall collapsed. Because PARD was not going to be able to do this new repair in a timely manner due to budget constraints, and because this collapse was not only unsightly for but also a danger to our visitors, we took this emergency project on. Our original budget of $51,874 had to be extended to $80,648 to cover this unexpected extension, a net outlay of $43,156 of our funds when the heritage grant is figured in. We had the money in hand due to your generous donations, and to me, your donations are intended to do these kinds of projects.

Post pandemic, our friends at the Austin Parks Foundation revived their semi-annual city-wide volunteer day, It’s My Park Day. After consultation with Janice, we decided to not be under their umbrella this spring as we have in the past but still have a work day, so on Saturday March 5th we had our neighbors from the Young Men’s Service League, North Central Austin Chapter come to the park to spread new mulch on the garden paths. We thank them very much. And on Saturday April 2nd, we also revived our annual gardening symposium Trowel & Error 2022. Our speakers this past spring were Colleen Jamison (“Inspiring the Accidental Gardener”), Theresa Anderson (“Natural & Organic Amendments for Roses”), and Wizzie Brown (“Inviting Insects & Pollinators into the Garden”). The refreshments were again handled by Girl Scout Troop 42112 and our symposium sponsors included PARD, Frost Bank Tarrytown, West Austin Neighborhood Group, Friends of the Parks of Austin, Shoal Creek Nursery and Wild Birds Unlimited, Westlake. We thank them very much, also. And again this coming spring we will host-


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

Going forward into this fall and winter, we have a full slate of projects we are going to try and address before spring arrives. Our first project is to return the ponds to their historically accurate appearance. There are six ponds on site, the four-petal flower configuration with its circular center pond and the hour-glass shaped pond with rock waterfall. During the pandemic when the park was closed some aquaculture steps were taken that while interesting do not reflect the ponds’ period of significance; specifically, the Gutches’ vision when the ponds were constructed between the 1920s and the 1940s was for them to be specimen lily ponds with some secondary taller aquatic plantings to add contrast. With PARD authorization, and engaging a professional pond maintenance company, in late January we will begin phase one of the project, the sequential draining and cleaning of the ponds along with some minor masonry repairs to the ponds’ coping. The second phase will involve the replanting of the ponds with the more historically appropriate aquatic plants in coordination with PARD’s Zilker Park team and our friends at the Austin Pond Society.

Two other projects that have been submitted to PARD for approval are masonry projects. We are again working with Ash Masonry Masterworks to address some structural issues with the pidgeon (or dove) cote. PARD has instructed us to scale back our originally intended plans out of concern that good intentions can sometimes lead to unforeseen consequences such as a structural failure, an outcome none of us want. But we are in agreement that there are some less ambitious rehabilitation maintenance issues that can be safely accomplished. The second masonry project is the dismantling of the historic rock waterfall that circulates and aerates the water in the hour-glass pond. There are plumbing issues within the structure that can only be accessed through taking down the feature. While the stones are disassembled, we will incorporate a compartment for the replacement pumping assembly and the attended internal plumbing elements so as to facilitate future repairs and maintenance. Brian Ash’s team is currently working on several major projects in the Austin area but if all goes well and their schedule allows, the work on the waterfall will be coordinated with the first phase of the pond maintenance this January.

Our last major project will be the establishment of a specimen rose bed in the northeast corner of the grounds, the area where we just finished the major rock wall reconstruction. Under the guidance of our friends at the Austin Rose Society we are going to privately contract to replace the existing soil with a special rose soil mix. And then in February or March, once the new bed has “mellowed”, the fun part of scouting out, buying and planting heritage roses will be done. I foresee a road trip to Brenham and the Antique Rose Emporium.

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.

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