Stunning gardens brimming with flora and fauna right in the heart of Marin – that’s the Marin Art & Garden Center (MAGC). Locals may routinely speed by the signature wavy brick walls as you travel east or west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Ross and miss the opportunity to savor the horticultural bounty of the space that was home to the Marin County Fair for nearly 30 years.
Open free to the public dawn to dusk, the unique and eclectic collection of mature trees and diverse plantings offers something for everyone. One half of the Center’s dual personality presents a lush environment reminiscent of the formal gardens of bygone days while the other is current and topical – focused on sustainable gardening practices, growing native and low water use plants and educating the public about the importance of environmental stewardship.
The horticultural bounty of the center is made possible in part by a multitude of microclimates and growing conditions, and water supplied by existing wells. A seasonal stream, Kittle Creek, bisects the property providing a riparian habitat and wild lands intersected by a nature trail surround the eastern border. The vibrant landscape at MAGC is maintained as a Pesticide-Free Zone and is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Habitat Sanctuary.
The diversity of plants provides fruits and seeds for more than thirty species of birds and a host of beneficial insects. It is also home to a number of owl boxes used for rodent control in conjunction with the Hungry Owl Project (HOP); one box is connected to a continuously running video camera during the breeding season for viewers to observe the development process of the barn owl from egg stage to fledgling. See links to the left for more garden information.