The seven nicest people you could ever meet. That’s how I think of the all-volunteer Mary Lou Heard Foundation Board. They donate hours and hours of time all year round to make the garden tour, on the first weekend in May, possible, and I thought it might be fun to get to know them a little better.
Let’s start with Madam President herself, Kathie Ferree. You’ve probably already met her garden. Yes. It’s the one at 8484 Shamrock Circle in Huntington Beach AKA
Here’s an insider secret: Kathie typically only puts her garden on the tour every other year but she leaves the gates unlocked on tour day every year in case someone just happens to stop by.
The tour simply wouldn’t be possible without Member At Large, Ron Ferree (Kathie’s other half). After 58 years of marriage, Ron still hasn’t figured out his boundaries when it comes to the garden. There is no doubt that Kathie is the creative one when it comes to the garden. So, you wonder, (as does Kathie) why does Ron keep doing stuff that he doesn’t know about, like pruning and whacking plants and flowers that should be left to the expert? Kathie is happiest, and Ron is in less trouble when he sticks to mowing, digging holes, or pruning trees (as long as he cuts the limbs and branches she points to)
Madam Vice President, Denise Pulley and Member At Large, John Pulley (yep, another couple) are both gardeners, but mostly Denise. John is a really, really good Hole Digger which is a BIG part of gardening, and he takes gardening directions well.
They accidentally entered into “serious gardening” when they bought their first “our” home in Huntington Beach. Inherited in the purchase were about a dozen unnamed rose shrubs. Denise decided it would be a good thing to join the local Rose Society to help in identifying them and possibly plan more. That was 1997.
They both worked in aerospace. John, now a retired Engineer and patient Hole Digger. Denise left in 2001 to pursue Ornamental Horticulture at a local community college and has never looked back. Together they have a home-based business for residential garden design. Denise and John were part of the team that implemented the first Heard’s MEMORIAL Garden Tour held in 2004.
Madam Treasurer is Jan Stephenson Kabat. She has been in the Master Gardener program since 2010, a program she was introduced to through a close friend. Through the
Jan has been a follower of Mary Lou Heard since the early ’90s. She loved Mary Lou’s garden and is the proud owner of one of Mary Lou’s potting benches from the now-closed nursery in Westminster. Mary Lou has always been an inspiration to Jan, and Jan still has plants in her garden that she bought from Heard’s. Gardening with her three-year-old granddaughter, who loves to put plants in the ground and garden with “Grammy”, is a new adventure for Jan.
I would like to recognize Alexandra Anderson, former Chief Information Officer, who even though a wife and mother with an active young son, volunteered to help the Foundation stop paying for IT services and become self-sufficient; which translates to more money going to The Sheepfold. Alex left the Board recently but can still be found via her blog peaceloveandgardening.com.
Sarah Eakins is the newest Board member – having joined the merry band in 2018 as Chief Information Officer and Web Master (thank goodness someone knows about that stuff!). She is a self-described plant nerd. Identifying plants and understanding the little ecosystems they live in is a passion of hers that began in Solana Beach – where she first fell in love with native California plants – and now happens everywhere from Disneyland to the landscaping along freeways. She loves a bounty of foliage, flowers, scents, and textures pruned into a wild sort of order, and she’s especially interested in region appropriate gardening. We are excited that Sarah is making some big enhancements to the website and think you will enjoy some of the fresh ideas she brings.
Jennifer McInteer (Madam Author) might hold the title Secretary but is more commonly known as “potluck lady” (we host a potluck two weeks after the garden tour as our way of saying THANK YOU to our wonderful garden hosts). She is an enthusiastic gardener with a flea market addiction. She had the pleasure of discovering Heard’s nursery in about 1995. When Mary Lou herself would ring up her purchases she would get star struck.
She also has the
I would also like to recognize Kama Langston.
The Mary Lou Heard Foundation Board meets once a month – taking turns hosting at their homes. The obvious common thread is a love of gardening and the very great pleasure to be a part of the legacy of a special lady named Mary Lou Heard. They are united in their desire to put together a “really nice garden tour” that just happens to raise funds for a worthy cause.
Contributed by Jennifer McInteer, Secretary
Mary Lou Heard Foundation