An impossible hybrid in the gardens

As you wander up the path from the main entrance to Marin Art and Garden Center, you might wonder at an unusual new sight off to your left, nestled in among the trunks of the crape myrtle trees. A grove of not-quite-plants has sprouted up, the creation of Berkeley-based artist Marcia Donahue. A fanciful suggestion of a cross between fungus and grass, these ceramic sculptures are at 

once both remarkably lifelike and wonderfully outlandish—as Marcia says, they are “real, but not alive.”

Artist Marcia Donahue installs “Amongus” in the gardens

You are welcome to step in among these sculptures, and even touch them gently—please leave pets on the path!

The sculptures are made of layers of different stoneware clays, which the artist chooses for their beautiful natural colors. Marcia stacks the clay, using an extruder to help form the organic shapes, and carving pieces to resemble chanterelle, trametes, and boletus fungi, and columns of bamboo in a time-consuming process. This installation is composed of individual units that Marcia has assembled on site, in a shaded spot she chose for its natural frame of tree trunks and half-wild undergrowth.

Marcia describes these pieces as a “horticultural joke,” which is meant to amuse rather than educate even as it draws the inquisitive eye. Her work intertwines with natural settings at many different locations around the country. 

Visit Woh Hei Yuen Park in San Francisco to see her sculpture “Five Carved Stones;” Chanticleer Gardens in Pennsylvania also features Marcia’s works in stone as well as an early version of her Bambusa ceramica. Her own garden, at 3017 Wheeler Street in Berkeley, is open to the public on Sunday afternoons from 1–5 pm. And of course, closest of all, you can find her artwork in The Shop, where you could choose an acorn or a narcissus bulb to bring a little of this fantastic world into your own home or garden.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center