Mark King Receives 2017 Master Gardener Community Service Award

Mark King Receives 2017 Fauquier County Master Gardener Community Service Award

Mark S. King, owner of The Pond Doctor in Warrenton, Virginia and a nationally-recognized water garden/aquascape industry expert, has been honored with The Fauquier County Master Gardeners Association’s 2017 Community Partnership Award.

The award recognizes King’s collaboration with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners to

  1. raise awareness of the importance and value of water gardens, ponds and features in landscapes, and
  2. encourage and promote sustainable gardening, horticultural and conservational practices.

The award was presented Thursday, Dec. 7, at the association’s annual holiday banquet in Warrenton, Virginia.

“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.”

The Pond Doctor’s contributions to the Fauquier County Master Gardener’s Association included:

  • A 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: 1) as an educational tool to demonstrate to the community the benefits of water gardens and how individuals could build their own water gardens in their own backyards, and 2) 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.

“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.”

Benefits of Water Gardens

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.”

King and his team at The Pond Doctor completely rebuilt the pond at the Schoolhouse #18 in Marshall, which was originally constructed in 1991 when several community groups including Keep Fauquier Clean, the Marshall Businessmen’s Association and the Extension Master Gardeners, came together with support from Fauquier County to restore the 19th century one-room schoolhouse and create a garden to surround it.

The “Garden With a Message”

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.

Pond Restoration Details

To restore the pond, King and his team completely dismantled the pond, saving the fish living there. They re-dug and re-shaped the pond, installed a new liner and a new pump, rebuilt the double waterfall pond and rock walls and coping around the pond’s edges, planted water lilies, irises and other aquatic plants, filled it with crystal-clear water and returned the fish to their home, along with new Shubunkin gold fish.

“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.”

Schoolhouse 18 Pond Restoration

HIstoric Schoolhouse #18 Pond Restoration Project

King was the presenter at both of the educational programs on Water Features in Landscapes held as part of the Extension Master Gardeners’ educational seminars in 2017. At these programs, King shared his expertise and experiences gained during his more than 20 years of experience in the water garden industry with one of the region’s leading garden centers, and with his own company, The Pond Doctor LLC, which he founded in 2006.

The Pond Doctor specializes in designing, installing and maintaining ponds and water features for residential and commercial customers throughout Northern Virginia. The Pond Doctor is a master certified Aquascape contractor, utilizing products that adhere to some of the highest quality standards in the industry. King is passionate about creating beautiful water features that bring joy and add value.

Community Service for Veterans’ Groups

In addition to his pro-bono work for the Fauquier Master Gardeners, King has also provided his professional services free of charge to several veteran groups in the area. His pro-bono services to local Virginia veterans groups include installing a:

  • “Serenity area” for the HEAL Foundation in Catlett that serves veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
  • Water fountain feature at the Serving our Willing Warriors’ retreat in Haymarket, a home-away-from-home available to veterans and their families while service members are recovering at military hospitals in the National Capital Region.

For more information on Mark King or The Pond Doctor, visit: ThePondDoctor.com

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, call :  540-341-7950 ext. 1, or visit FC-MG.org.