The Community Garden Charitable Fund was formed in the spring of 2007 by a group of local citizens who recognize the vital importance of preserving and enhancing the horticultural beauty of our public green spaces, particularly at Pinecrest Gardens. The Garden Fund is a grass roots organization that works closely with the Village of Pinecrest in their efforts to maintain and improve this diverse and rare place of beauty. Since its inception, the Garden Fund has attracted a wide range of supporters, has raised significant funds, and has used those funds for specific botanical improvement projects in Pinecrest Gardens. The Garden is an oasis, a 14-acre historic site with a distinct and dramatic natural topography which houses limestone outcroppings, ponds, cypress sloughs, a piece of Snapper Creek, and a tremendous variety of plant life. The preservation and improvement of this Garden will ensure its continuation as an enchanting destination for many generations to come.

Thanks to the generosity of Mayor Cindy Lerner and the Pinecrest Village Council members, the Garden Fund is now headquartered in the historic Whilden-Carrier cottage which is located near the Pinecrest Community Center at 5825 S.W. 111th Street. Our home is a continuing source of pride and inspiration for the work that we do.


As a result of the efforts of the Garden Fund’s board of directors, the Hidden Garden at Pinecrest Gardens is now a reality. It is a lovely winding pathway lined with coral rock, and it is located to the left of the Garden’s main entrance. The pathway leads into the historic hardwood hammock where hand painted tile benches now line an open semi-circle under an ancient tree canopy. The area, which had been completely overgrown and inaccessible, is now cleared of all debris and invasive species, and it has been replanted with slow growing and easy to maintain foliage which allows the rare beauty which surrounds it to shine through.

The Hidden Garden was intended as a place for the public to experience the majesty of a section of the garden which had previously been completely overlooked, and now many people are regular visitors into the site.

The vision has come to fruition, and the new addition to the Garden is one which fits beautifully into the flow of the many areas of interest to be found throughout.


The terrace area at the Garden overlooks magnificent Swan Lake, and it is the most frequently visited section of the property. It is a common backdrop for photos, and many brides can be seen posing there at all times of the year. The land adjacent to the lake, known as area 12, houses tall oaks and beautiful foliage, but until recently much of the beauty of its nearly 5000 square feet was obscured by a great deal of overgrowth, and many invasive species were threatening to overtake it completely.

The Garden Fund’s board of directors targeted the renovation of this area as a worthy undertaking, and after careful consultation with Parks’ director Loren Matthews and horticulturist Craig Morrel, plans were made to clear the site. Approval was received from the Village Council and the Historical Review Board, and the work began soon after.

The walkway leading up to the terrace now affords a much more open vista, and as people ascend the ramp toward the lake, the section to the right is completely cleared, beautiful plants can be seen throughout, and a true sense of the depth and scale of the area has come to life.


February 26, 2010 was one of the coldest nights in recent history, with temperatures dipping into the low 50’s, but nearly 200 guests braved the chill in order to attend the Garden Fund’s fourth annual Soiree in the Garden. They had left their party attire behind in exchange for coats, scarves, and even gloves, but their spirits were lifted by the beauty of Pinecrest Gardens, which was dressed for the occasion in special lighting focusing on the majestic Banyan trees, the lake, the terrace, the meadow, and much more.

Good Friends

Appetizers, drinks and the beautiful piano music provided by Jimmy B brought guests to the terrace and the silent auction, which successfully supplemented the evening’s proceeds. The meadow was once again the setting for dinner and a concert which followed, this time performed by Grammy award winning jazz flutist Nestor Torres.

Garden Fund organizers and volunteers can once again be proud of the magical evening that they helped to create and execute. There are very few night time events that take place at Pinecrest Gardens, and all who attend the Garden Fund’s annual soiree can appreciate the magnificence of the Garden as it comes to life after dark.

Plans are now fully underway for next year’s fete, which is scheduled for Friday, February 25, 2011. The many aspects of this very special fundraiser are being carefully worked out, and the Garden Fund’s executive committee is focusing on every detail in order to make this our most successful fundraiser yet.

Volunteers and committee chairs will soon be brought together for a reception which will celebrate their past achievements as we rally together for the start of the organizing work ahead. Save the date for what promises to be another magical evening in Pinecrest Gardens.

Great Food

Art Showing at Soiree

Music, Nestor Torres


Pinecrest Garden’s new director, Alana Perez, is off to a flying start in her mission to make the Garden a world class destination. She has enacted cultural and special event programs, hosted art exhibitions, and is working diligently to bring the Banyan Bowl to life with a full slate of theater and concerts. She is a welcome addition to the Garden team, and her wealth of experience in marketing, public relations, organization, and leadership will go a long way toward fulfilling her goals. She has embraced the community with open arms, and she has been particularly generous to the Garden Fund, offering her expertise in the promotion of our events. The Fund’s board looks forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Garden’s dynamic director.


Ms. Perez has enlisted Garden Fund board member Annette Bonnier to become part of her ongoing art in the Garden series. Annette is a renowned photographer and photojournalist whose work will be on display beginning on Friday, December 3, 2010, when an opening reception will take place in the Garden’s Hibiscus Room. The event will begin at 7PM and will end at 10 PM, and it is open to the public free of charge. We encourage all to come and support Annette’s opening at the Garden.


The Garden Fund enjoys a strong base of support from throughout Pinecrest and the surrounding area. In the board’s efforts to encourage and continue that support, and to show their appreciation for the tremendous positive response that they have received, a new program has been put into place that will benefit both the Fund and its members.

For an individual yearly membership price of $60, one orchid or other exotic plant will be available to members from the Fund’s office on a quarterly basis. There will be a wide variety from which to choose, and collection will be on a first come, first served basis. Emails will be sent to members with specific dates and times for pickup. The program is the brainchild of board member Paul Sasso, who also oversees and organizes the giveaway. His hard work is greatly appreciated by all.

The Community Garden Charitable Fund is a not for profit 501c (3) organization, and all donations are tax-deductable. For information about volunteer opportunities, membership, upcoming events, or to make a donation, contact the office at 305-669-1028, or go to


Karen Mashburn, President
Lynn Wille Fichman, Vice President
Pat Vandenberg, Secretary
Ricardo Garbati, Treasurer
Paul Sasso, Esquire
Candy McDonald
Stella McLaughlin
Ellen Book
Christian Armstrong
Cedella Marley
Betty McCarthy
Annette Bonnier


Edited by Karen Mashburn
Written by Lynn Wille Fichman
Photographs by Annette Bonnier & Ari Sasso

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