Mrs. C's Retreat

A project by: Lisa Marotz

$3,020
pledged of $3,500 target
86%
FUNDED
8
DONORS
Garden Glow 2019 needs your help building a space of rest & relaxation for Mrs. Claus (and you!)

short summary of our project 

We're raising $3500.00 to add even greater nostalgia to the holidays at McCrory Gardens. More than 3700 visitors came to view the 100,000+ lights of Garden Glow 2018.  It's our nature to grow things like plants and trees, but we also want to grow Campus and Community spirit! 

2019 Goal:  Design and install a retreat space for Mrs. Claus (and you) within the Herb and Rosenfield Gardens.  A new house for Gramma Nut, a surprise at the end of Rainbow Pass, and more trees for the Reindeer Meadow is also in the scheme.

Humble beginnings

2015.  McCrory Gardens twinkled by the lights of 11 fresh-cut evergreen trees, wrapped in 1,000 incandescent colorful strings of light.  Viewing took place over 7 nights, Santa came to visit as did 51 visitors.  Music and Mistletoe, McCrory's annual event to kick-off the season, became the night when the lights were lit for the very first time for the public.

2016.  The "glow" began to grow, as did the number of visitors.  We welcomed 800 visitors over the twenty-seven nights we were open, including six Santa visits and one Sunday afternoon of trolley rides .  Individuals, local business and service providers supplying funds to sponsor our now 20 fresh-cut evergreen trees was thrilling.  To bring attention to other areas of the gardens, we installed a display called "The Journey", projected lights on structures such as the fountain in the Perennial Garden and the Hummingbird Trellis, wrapped trunks of trees in nets of lights, glitzed up the Cottage (Santa's Summer Home) and filled the Strawbale House with the elves' workshop.

2017.  With the Vaudrey Family's earlier gift of an endowment to McCrory, electricity was installed in the Perennial Garden. More than 1600 Garden Glow visitors got to experience the brand new, life-sized light display of the "Candy Land" game board.  The generosity of the prop making class of our SDSU Theater department really brought the theme together.

A lone standing buck held its place in the lawn of the Pharmaceutical Garden, serving as a talking point for the dream of an entire herd of reindeer to dwell there the following year.  We were open twenty-eight nights, with Santa visiting six times, and one Sunday afternoon's worth of trolley rides.

2018. With the goal of consistently enhancing existing displays, King Kandy got a castle. A sound and lights display was added to the Cottage, made possible through funds granted through the Brookings Chamber Tourism Enhancement program. 

The lone standing buck got his entire family, sparkling trees to set the scene, starbursts of lights on high tree bows and shooting stars. Reindeer Meadow unfolded from dream to reality.  With the generosity of 42 donors, over $4,200 were raised through our first ever Rabbit Raiser crowdfunding endeavor.  THANK YOU!

It also became apparent that Garden Glow and all of its festivities was catching on.  The weather in 2018 was the harshest we've faced in our five years, which caused some nights of cancellation.  However, are you ready for this?  All in all, we joyfully welcomed 3,783 people to Garden Glow, Santa visits and one Sunday afternoon of trolley rides.  

Who are we? 

I am Lisa Marotz, I'm a 1989 Jackrabbit from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.  In my household, there is 1 Gopher, 1 Jackrabbit and 1 Jackrabbit-In-Progress.  The significant others of those Jacks are Jackrabbits too!  I've been the Director of Operations for McCrory Gardens since July 1, 2016. This will be my fourth Garden Glow.  My main focus right now is to get the word out about Garden Glow and its funding opportunities.  JOY is my word for this season - welcoming guests, serving hot chocolate floats (SDSU peppermint ice cream atop hot chocolate), and hearing from the littles about what their favorite place in the gardens is.

Christina Lind is a 2008 Jackrabbit with her Bachelors of Science degree in Landscape Architecture.  She continued on and in 2009, received her BS in Horticulture and Spanish.  Christina is the Education Coordinator, Horticulturist, Co-Dreamer & Designer of Garden Glow.  Christina has been a member of the McCrory team since her college days (give or take some time out to try her hand elsewhere.)  Her darling Leiana looks great in her Jackrabbit gear already, as does Christina's mom & dad.  This family is the epitome of what McCrory Gardens is all about - here for ALL generations.  It's Christina that you see in the video promoting this year's Rabbit Raiser as well as the success of last year's.

Christopher Schlenker is a 2009 Jackrabbit with his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture.  In addition to his title of Director of Horticulture, he's also McCrory's Mechanic-Electrician-Plumber-Carpenter and Chicken Wire Designer extraordinaire.  (When you come to Garden Glow, you'll see what I mean.) Chris is the eldest of the team, when it comes to the amount of time he has been at McCrory Gardens.  Although "You can go anywhere from here" was State's motto at the time, Chris knew that "You can stay here if you want to!"  Chris and his wife Abbey (2012 Jackrabbit with a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics) are a family of 3.  Miss Willow Kathleen will be two years old in March.  And yes, she is as adorable as her name!  Chris has been a driving force of making Garden Glow come to light since it began in 2015. 

Lori Puetz is the newest member of our full-time team, but not new to McCrory Gardens or SDSU.  Lori is a 1986 Jackrabbit with a degree in Apparel Merchandising.  Her path has taken her from CitiBank to Assistant Director of Admissions to full-time mom of two sons, and then stretching back to SDSU at McCrory Gardens.  Lori was on the garden crew for a couple of summers, and then she came to work in the Education & Visitor Center part-time.  She's now our super-human, pay-attention-to-details, Venue Sales and Services Coordinator extraordinaire.  Hailing from Clear Lake, SD, Lori often travels back and forth to Brookings with her husband John, a 1987 Electrical Engineering Jackrabbit.  Pending your age, you might know John as the IT guy, bringing in film projectors, TVs and the like into our SDSU classrooms.  Their eldest son Andrew, is of the 2017 graduating class of Mechanical Engineers.  Eric, Range Science major, anticipates a May 2021 graduation date.  Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a part of their sons' upbringing and SDSU experience, just like their dad's.

Our team is small, but very resilient and exceptionally creative. We've been primarily privately funded for several years, so we know how to stretch the gifted dollars that we receive, while still maintaining a premier botanical garden and arboretum.  (The only one in the state!)  

 McCrory Gardens won the "Facility of the Year Award" from the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce for our ingenious and successful ways to bring tourists, guests and visitors to a location at non-peak season times. 

By donating to Garden Glow, you have tapped into a way to give something unique to our SDSU campus and Brookings community.  If you are seeking a way to remember and honor a loved one, you can do that too by giving to Mrs. C's Retreat.  No where else will you find such an opportunity to be a part of another's holiday tradition, may it be individuals or families.  Did you know: Individuals with hopes of becoming a family come to Garden Glow with a purpose in mind - a proposal of marriage under the lights.  It's a common event!

Your gift will afford McCrory Gardens the means to create a magical wonderland for all who come to visit.  If you are reading this, I don't need to tell you about the joy and pleasure that giving brings to a person.  It makes you smile - it makes you happy - it gives an extra jolt of energy to your brain.  Now multiply that by the thousands of people that will stop and marvel at the lighted features of Mrs. Claus's Retreat.  Hot chocolate in one hand.  Maybe the hand of their little one, their beloved or elder in the other.    

 An underlying key benefit for your decision to give is that you will be creating an extra opportunity for people to come to the gardens.  For visitors to see what we can do now that this gem of the Campus and Community is protected, is crucial for continued growth to take place.  We want to uphold the mission of McCrory to be a place that is about research, education, discovery and enjoyment of the natural and built landscape.  We're always looking back to those that came before us - remembering why this one-of-a-kind garden was established.

Where will the money go? 

By receiving our minimum of $2000 in donations, we will be able to add more soft white lights to the cozy bench seating that was started in 2018.  A trellis on each side of the bench will be enhanced with lit snowflakes and climbing vines and outreaching branches.  We'll be able to light the perimeter of the beautiful boxwood hedges with draping net lights.

Reaching further towards the goal of $3500, the Gazebo will be able to install a soothing sanctuary of classic Christmas color.  Traditional strings of lights held red, blue, golden orange and green bulbs.  Thus the inspiration for Mrs. C's garden escape.  Arcs of lights provide solace, along with flower baskets, trees and hanging ornaments.

Enhancements between the retreat seating in the Herb Garden and the garden escape in the Rosenfield Garden, we hope to add graceful dripping icicle lights from the branches above, as well as pops of sparkle along the pathways.

Find us here

Website- McCrory Gardens

Facebook- McCrory Gardens

We will be updating these sites especially with the progress of donations, as well as the construction of Mrs. Claus's Retreat! 

During the week of November 4 - 8, Candy Land and a couple of its new features were installed.  With this cold, cold weather, getting the characters staked into the ground NOW was important.  The Reindeer are in the Meadow as well!

November 12 -15, as well as November 18 -22, much of the other outdoor displays will be constructed, including Mrs. C's Retreat (as funds become available).  

November 25-27 and December 2-5, indoor decorating INCLUDING the tallest live tree in Brookings, and finishing touches on the outdoor trees and decor.  

December 6th - our 7th annual Music and Mistletoe event - live music, fabulous food and the Grand Lighting of Garden Glow 2019.

For more info on any and all of this, call, write, stop out! 

Most importantly, we ask for your support - financially and also sharing the word the McCrory Gardens is THE place to be. ESPECIALLY during the month of December!

Help us succeed!

  • You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.
  • In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.