Volunteer Development Committee honors long-time volunteers

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Gamble Garden. They run classes and events, raise funds, and keep the house and gardens fresh and beautiful for all to enjoy. To honor and thank our amazing volunteers, the Volunteer Development Committee hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Party on the 21st of June. Recognition was given to some long time volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their service to Gamble. Long time Dirty Knees volunteer Georgina Bailie, Roots and Shoots organizer Jane Farish, and Flower Arrangers Judy Harris, Marion Mack, Diana Plummer, and Joan Tankersley were honored for their many years of dedication to Gamble Garden.

Georgina Bailie – Dirty Knees Brigade Volunteer

Georgina (Gee) Bailie started volunteering at Gamble Garden in 1998 in the garden volunteer group. She assists Gwen Whittier with her planting plans and propagation efforts. She moves the seedlings into larger pots as they grow. Gee has learned how to pot succulents and it is one of her favorite activities! These plants are then sold at the plant sales.

Before Gee started volunteering at Gamble Garden, she worked as a team member with a group of computer analysts. They created computer software for cruise missiles, inserting into their “brain” their launch destination. So yes, you DO
have to be a rocket scientist to volunteer with the Dirty Knees Brigade!!!

Gee’s favorite thing about Gamble Garden is the people. She has good friends at Gamble and feels very appreciated.

Jane Farish – Roots and Shoots

Jane started volunteering with Roots and Shoots in 2003. She met R&S organizer Barbara Christiani working with her at the East Palo Alto Collective Roots organization. Jane had visited Gamble Garden on and off and thought it would be a good place to give back to her community after her retirement. Jane is co-director of R&S and is in charge of the curriculum.

Jane grew up in England and learned the love of gardening from her grandfather and father. She was a high school teacher. She moved to the East coast in 1967. After she had her own children, she decided to get her masters degree in early childhood education and teach preschool. She was the head teacher at Bing Nursery School at Stanford University for many years. She also was a lecturer in the Psychology Department for human development. She felt that it was a privilege to be working at Stanford. Jane feels that working with Roots & Shoot is a perfect match for her because of her love of gardening and her love of teaching young children.

Jane’s favorite thing about Gamble Garden is the people. The friendships developed from working together, gardening, working with the children, and feeling part of a caring community are very important to her. She appreciates that the work gives her a feeling of accomplishment and that she is still making a difference in our community after retirement. She feels that Gamble Garden is an ideal happy place to spend her retirement time!

Jane’s personal goal in life is to give children the love of gardening and Gamble Garden is the very lucky recipient of her endeavors!

Diana Plummer – Flower Arranging Committee

Diana Plummer is a long time member of Gamble’s Flower Arranging Committee. She had been a flower arranger at Filoli when Gamble Garden opened up. Since Gamble was closer to her house, she decided to volunteer here.

There was no flower arranging committee at the time, so Diana asked some of her friends from the Garden Club of Palo Alto and Filoli to join her. Gwen Whittier searched the archives and found mention of the a flower arranging group as early as 1989. Diana was asked to be Flower Arranging Chair and establish an official Committee and regular schedule in 1991. Also, Diana was a member of the group from the Garden Club of Palo Alto who worked in the garden before it was called The Dirty Knees Brigade as the non- profit was taking shape.

Diana’s favorite things about volunteering at Gamble are the friendships and camaraderie of working together with the flower arrangers, the association with Paul Althouse, and just being in the garden. Gamble is fortunate to have Diana’s lovely flower creations gracing the main house.

Marion Mack – Flower Arranging Committee

Marion Mack’s interest started with the Garden Club of Palo Alto’s involvement in helping restore the garden. She was one of a group of Garden Club members who worked in part of the garden before the non-profit horticultural center was started in the early 1980’s.

Marion was a member of the House Decorating Committee and worked to restore the interiors emphasizing historically compatible furnishings. Marion joined Diana Plummer’s newly formed Floral Arranging Committee from the very beginning. She was a member of the Garden Committee for many years as well. They worked to restore the Grotto among other things. Marion, along with Barbara Pande and Mary McCullough, donated money to fund the plan for the “Garden Room” along the fence near the woven hut. She remembers that Jan Wasson picked out the fountain in the Wisteria Garden.

Gardens have always been Marion’s passion. She acquired the love of gardens from her father. She lived in Honolulu for a long time and was a member of a garden club there.  When Marion moved to the Bay Area, she joined Allied Arts and the Garden Club of Palo Alto. She has taken floral arranging classes from Virginia Farewell and Jack Daniels. Marion has also led tours and worked in the Filoli’s garden in the past.

Marion loves the fact that Gamble Garden is open to the community for free so people can enjoy and learn about gardens. The volunteers are wonderful and dedicated. She likes the informal rules about volunteering and loves arranging the flowers with her committee members. Marion loves being at Gamble Garden and is happy to see the growth and restoration progress through the years.

Judy Harris – Flower Arranger

Judy began arranging flowers for Gamble in 1993, when Diana Plummer (whom she had met while arranging flowers at Filoli) asked if she would like to join the flower arranging committee at Gamble Garden.

Judy has had several jobs during her professional career. She was a school teacher in the San Mateo School District at Hillsdale High teaching the educationally handicapped for four years.  After that she worked at Mid Peninsula Health, a free medical clinic, then in admissions for Stanford University. Judy was a long time volunteer in public school classrooms. She also volunteered at Filoli for 36 years doing flower arranging, hostessing, and docent training. Judy used her flower arranging expertise to be the first arranger to represent Filoli at Bouquets to Art, which she did 4 times! She wrote a program on how to preserve flowers for arranging and mechanics. She helped Virginia Farewell teach near the end of Virginia’s career. Judy also arranged flowers for the De Young Museum for 9 years!

Judy loves the fact that Gamble Garden is such a peaceful retreat in the middle of busy Silicon Valley. The people are friendly and the small size is good. Judy hopes that Gamble Garden remains a gracious inviting home and horticultural oasis, and does not become a “museum” with too many rules and restrictions for the volunteers.

Joan Tankersley – Flower Arranging Committee

Joan (Jo Ann) Tankersley was a member of the Palo Alto Garden Club in the 1980’s and became interested in the Garden Club ‘s effort to preserve Elizabeth Gamble’s home and garden. Joan was a Dirty Knees Brigade volunteer when a friend, Diana Plummer, asked Joan if she would like to help with the floral arranging efforts. The Flower Arranging Committee was officially formed in 1991. Joan is a watercolor artist and her beautiful watercolors decorate the Gamble Garden Cookbook and Notecards.

Joan was a elementary school teacher in San Francisco. She has always been very interested in art and has taken many classes including painting, leatherwork, copper work, ceramics, and flower arranging. Joan is currently a member of the Los Altos Garden Club and still loves doing her art work. She loves to work her garden and deadhead!

Joan loves to do flower arranging at Gamble Garden, especially the Luncheon flowers. She likes the smaller size of the garden and the camaraderie that she shares with the other volunteers. Many of the flower arrangers have been involved since the committee began!


We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to our 2018 Volunteer Honorees. Gamble Gardens would not be the wonderful place that it has become without your efforts. We are very grateful that you have chosen Gamble Garden to connect, contribute and thrive!