The Garden Fund is a non-profit 501 c(3) organization that was created to meet the botanical needs of our public green spaces, particularly at Pinecrest Gardens, a topographically diverse historic garden nestled in the quiet community of Pinecrest, Florida. The Fund is comprised of a group of volunteers who appreciate the vital importance of preserving and enhancing local places of beauty and tranquility, and who believe that our public gardens need extra help from the community to ensure that they survive and thrive. Most botanic and historic gardens have a not for profit organization that fulfills this specific need, and the Garden Fund was formed as an adjunct to the work that Pinecrest local government does in the Garden.
Pinecrest Gardens Lake
Several years ago a woman named Karen Mashburn had a vision. She was a master gardener and long time community activist, and when the Village of Pinecrest purchased the old Parrot Jungle property, she was enthralled with the potential this wondrous garden held. That mood was soon dispelled, as budgetary realities and the ravages of two hurricanes left their toll, leaving the Gardens in terrible disrepair. The newly anointed Pinecrest Gardens clearly needed help, and using the skills that she had honed over the years, a group was gathered, non-profit status was obtained, and the Community Garden Charitable Fund was born.
Many bumps and obstacles later, the Garden Fund is now an established entity in the village of Pinecrest, and local government heartily embraces the vision and the work that Karen began. Health issues have dictated that Karen now takes a temporary back seat, but her intentions and drive have inspired those of us who continue her work. A recent article in the Pinecrest Tribune focused on Karen, what she has accomplished, and the huge impact that she has had on our community. Her tenacity and unwavering love of a garden has been contagious, and because of her a light now shines on fourteen ever-improving acres in the heart of a little village. The Garden Fund’s board of directors is gratified that through this article Karen has received the recognition that she so deserves, and we look to her example as we carry on in her stead.
Pinecrest Gardens, formerly the Parrot Jungle, consists of fourteen acres that include a Cypress Slough, majestic Banyans, a piece of Snapper Creek, ponds, a magnificent lake, winding pathways, an ancient hardwood hammock, and a vast array of exotic plant life. The property was purchased by the Village in 2002, and at that time it was in terrible disrepair. Great strides have since been made by local government, but budgetary limitations persist.
Since its inception in 2007, the Garden Fund has raised significant monies through events and donations, has attracted a large number of volunteers and members, and has targeted and funded specific botanical improvement projects in the Garden. Our annual “Soiree in the Garden” has become a highly anticipated nighttime event which showcases the beauty of the garden and attracts a large number of guests, while at the same time raising much-needed funds. We also participate in local events and partner with other organizations from time to time in order to promote awareness of this unique garden and its many needs.
The Garden is alive with opportunities for discovery- historic, botanical, and educational. As the world around us becomes ever more developed, our gardens offer the beauty and serenity of unspoiled nature. Our goal is to help preserve the integrity of the landscape, thoughtfully guide its evolution, and to share it with the public for generations to come.
Garden Fund Board of Directors 2015/16
Lynn Wille Fichman – President
Pat Vandenberg – Vice-President
Candy McDonald – Secretary
Ricardo Garbati – Treasurer
Paul Sasso – Esquire
Karen Mashburn – Chairman Emeritus