Marina Tree and Garden Club

Hillcrest Native Plant Garden

Hillcrest Garden

How a community helped build a garden

This garden began with a single tree—a California live oak. City of Marina Tree committee member, Mike Owen, suggested that the Marina Tree and Garden Club plant a tree to honor former City of Marina Council member Ken Gray. The City gave permission to plant the oak next to the council chambers in January 2016, but the small oak was swallowed up by the barren site.

The club then collected funds to purchase a bench and commemorative plaque to add to the site. A tinted cement pad was added by City Public Works staff for the bench to sit on.Ken Gray Memorial Bench

Hillcrest Garden

It became obvious that this space needed more than a tree, a bench and some colored concrete. This site could become a welcoming green space in an area dominated by parking lot. It could become a beautiful memorial garden!

Club members Grace Silva-Santella and Juli Hofmann, created a landscape plan, budget, plant list and submitted a proposal to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District’s Open Space and Coastal Preservation Grant Program.

The club was awarded a grant in early 2017, and the garden quickly took shape. The site defining hardscape rock wall and stone walkway were assembled in one day by local stone masons in February. Another full day by club volunteers accomplished all of the sheet mulching and planting. A Saturday afternoon club crew (with strong hands) assembled the drip system to each and every new plant in March. Coordination with Marina Public Works enabled hook up to city water and the installation of programable irrigation valves to provide reliable, measured water for the new garden.

Hillcrest Garden

The bench was installed in April with a dedication ceremony attended by Ken Gray’s family, friends and associates.

Ken Gray's family

The oak tree, bench and the garden honor Ken Gray and his service to the community. Ken had a deep appreciation for open space and for the plants and animals of California, as evident in his long career as a naturalist with California State Parks. He was a tireless volunteer, an activist for open space, and he served eight years on the Marina City Council. The hardy, native California plants in this design were chosen to inspire home gardens and provide habitat for birds and pollinators. This new public space offers a welcoming respite for the surrounding Marina community.

More information on the garden

Plant list and plot plan bw

Site Plan color

facebook photo album

Special thanks to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District for providing the funding.

MPRPD logo

Photos: Juli Hofmann, Pat Clark-Gray, Grace Silva-Santella