The Mill Valley Public Library is ready to host a groundbreaking ceremony for its innovative SmartGarden on Friday, May 1 at 5pm in the small redwood grove adjacent to the Library (the entrance to the Amphitheater pathway). The event is free and open to the public.

SmartGarden is the Library’s latest endeavor to provide opportunities for experiential learning, building on the success of the Fire Department’s fire resistive garden. SmartGarden is a demonstration garden intended to educate the community about rain water harvesting and water-wise gardening techniques using native plants. The Library will offer workshops to community members to learn how to apply these practices at their own home. 

Mayor Ken Wachtel will be present at the groundbreaking with shovel in hand to help break ground. Library officials promise plenty of fun for everyone, including activities for kids with a May Day theme. Refreshments will be served including lemonade and cookies.

Library officials hope SmartGarden inspires the local community to take advantage of the benefits of harvesting water and creating a sustainable native garden. Small changes in people’s backyards can collectively have a huge impact on the preservation of our local environment.

The initial response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people have already contributed their time and ideas to the project. Geoff Hall and Kamala Bennett of Sentient Landscape, along with local water expert Apryl Uncapher designed the SmartGarden using the principles of sustainable gardening.  Iris Landscaping from Novato was chosen to install the garden. Installation will start the first week in May and be completed by the end of June.

“The SmartGarden on the grounds of the Mill Valley Public Library exemplifies a true community partnership,” City Manager Jim McCann said.  “From promoting the importance of native plants, sustainability and water management to working with school groups and gardening enthusiasts of all ages, the SmartGarden is an opportunity for the entire community to participate. We are enormously proud of the Mill Valley Public Library and the staff for their leadership and cutting edge work in creating the SmartGarden.”

The project is the vision of Kristen Clark, the Library’s Operation Manager, and is partially funded by a Pitch an Idea Grant from the California State Library Association. The grant, along with some private donations, is helping to fund the first two phases of the project. The Library is seeking additional contributions and in-kind donations to complete phases three and four, which would include more garden beds, showcase a wider array of native plants, and demonstrate additional features like flow forms.

For more information about the SmartGarden, including how to get involved with or contribute to the effort, contact Kristen Clark at Residents are also encouraged to visit the SmartGarden blog to see a full list of gardening-related events at the Library.

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