Villa Finale’s Garden

A sander, a painter and an arborist were working on a historic house…

A chainsaw is buzzing out in the garden as I sit in Villa Finale’s kitchen – in fact there’s a cacophonous chorus all around me.  Hammers, sanders, nail guns, wood being thrown about, shop vacs running.   But the most important thing that is happening today is the removal of trees.   Select trees.  Trees that were never in the plan that Mr. Mathis created for his formal garden, plus one (shown in the picture) that is threatening the foundation of this National Historic Landmark.  As an unapologetic treehugger,  it is very difficult for me to see a tree come down.   However, our buildings and grounds department is very carefully following a Cultural Landscape Report completed in 2008, as well as the guidance of common sense and garden health.  Wood from the trees will be made into merchandise that will be available in our museum shop, and the leaves and small branches will be converted into mulch to help us get a little closer to our wish for Villa Finale’s garden to be  %100  organic and self-sustaining in five years.

If anyone out there has any questions or comments about our work, in the garden or elsewhere, please contact us by leaving a comment here, or dropping by the Villa Finale Visitor Center at 122 Madison Street, or calling or e-mailing any of us.  Staff contact information can be found at

Meg Nowack


2 Responses to “Villa Finale’s Garden”

  1. Jenna Schupska Says:

    I just graduated from SCAD with a degree in historic preservation. I really want to work on buildings such as you are. I want to get experience; do you know of internships or apprenticeships there in Texas or elsewhere? I keep hearing there is nothing due to the economy. I will gladly take any advice.


    • Meg Nowack Says:

      Hi Jenna,
      As you probably have discovered, Villa Finale has internships available, but they are unpaid. If you are interested, they are located on the museum’s website I have two SCAD interns at the moment, both in the same program from which you have graduated. A solution that has worked for other interns is to obtain a part time job, in their chosen field or close to it, and intern. My recommendation would be to call around to various museums, college architecture departments (UTSA has a historic preservation program), architectural firms (those that specialize in historic buildings) or even the city Office of Historic Preservation and actually talk to people about paid internships, or part time jobs. Asking doesn’t harm and may lead somewhere.
      Good luck! Feel free to contact me anytime.
      Meg Nowack

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