The Fauquier County Master Gardeners Association announced Mark S. King is the winner of its 2017 Community Partnership Award. He is a leading water garden industry expert and the owner of The Pond Doctor in Warrenton. This award recognizes community partners of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties which work to encourage and promote sustainable gardening, horticulture and conservation practices.
King has been recognized for collaborating with the Extension master gardeners to raise awareness of the importance and value of water gardens, ponds and other water features in landscapes. The award was presented December 8 at the association’s annual holiday banquet in Warrenton.
“With this award, we would like to thank and recognize Mark for his outstanding contributions and generosity to the Extension Master Gardeners in 2017,” said Janet Nixdorff, president of the Fauquier County Master Gardener Association. “Throughout the year, Mark gave generously of his knowledge, his professional expertise and even his staff and materials. Collectively, his actions directly strengthened our educational and community service capabilities – two core values of our organization.”
Nixdorff identified King’s contributions:
Complete restoration of a 25-year-old pond in the Extension Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Gardens at historic Schoolhouse #18 in Marshall. The new pond, which King restored as a pro-bono gift, serves several important purposes. It is an educational tool to demonstrate to the community the benefits of water gardens and how they could build one in their own backyards, and it provides a sustainable source of clean water to attract birds, bees and other pollinators and wildlife into the community garden.
Two educational programs on Water Features in Landscapes including an educational and training session for Extension masters gardeners to broaden their knowledge and capability to serve as community educators as well as stewards of our natural landscapes, and a free public lecture for home owners, land and farm owners, educators and other interested members of the community.
Nixdorff added all of these contributions were “pro-bono, provided to the Extension master gardeners in the spirit of true community partnership.”
“I am humbled and delighted to receive this award,” King said. “It was a pleasure to work with the master gardeners to restore and revitalize the pond at Schoolhouse #18 to serve as a gathering place for the master gardeners who care for the gardens, as well as a sustainable habitat for the frogs, fish, birds, insects and other wildlife that call the demonstration gardens their home.”
King added: “It is my hope that our collaboration has helped to raise awareness of the many positive benefits of introducing water features such as ponds, fountains, and waterfalls into landscapes. These benefits range from creating beautiful and serene settings that provide healing and relaxing environments to playing an important role in water conservation and sustaining natural ecosystems.”
Today, the “Garden with a Message” continues to be maintained by the Extension Master Gardeners and has grown significantly to fill the half-acre space with more than a dozen garden beds. In addition to the water pond garden, the Schoolhouse gardens demonstrate shade and sun gardens; growing herbs, vegetables, cutting flowers, grasses and perennials; a Piedmont native pollinator garden; and a composting demonstration. Unfortunately, the water pond garden was badly in need of repair and restoration. Layers of muck clogged its bottom, overgrown plants nearly hid the pond from view and the pump operating the once lovely double waterfall was no longer working properly.
To restore the pond, King and his team completely dismantled the pond, saving the fish living there. “The new pond is bringing new life, sounds and energy into the gardens,” said Master Gardener Alice Shelman, who heads up the Extension Master Gardener volunteers who maintain the gardens. “We are seeing more birds and an increase in bees and other pollinators needed to ensure the future growth and development of the gardens.”
For more information on Mark King visit the website for The Pond Doctor.
About the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners
Master gardeners are volunteers for the Virginia Cooperative Extension who are dedicated to working with the community to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticultural practices. The Virginia Cooperative Extension is currently accepting registrations for the 2018 Extension Master Gardener Program. The program is open to residents of both Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.
For More information on the Extension Master Gardeners, or how to become a master gardener, contact: 540-341-7950 ext. 1, or www.fc-mg.org.
By Timothy Ohlwiler
Extension Agent – Horticulture
Fauquier County Office
24 Pelham St., Warrenton, VA 20186
540.341.7950 ext. 3
Serving Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties