Sarah FitzGerald
Designer and Owner of Mandeville Garden Company

Sarah came honestly by the title of English gardener. She was born in Salisbury in the South of England and learned to prune roses properly about the same time she learned to walk. She trained at Bristol University as an Architect. After working for several years in the practice of a rural architect designing everything from convalescent homes to septic systems, she brought her new baby to the States to become a corporate wife in the biotech business. The former was a good idea, the latter terrible. After the divorce, with two daughters, she met Mandy and fell in love with Mandeville Garden Company. She and Mandy worked together for a year before Mandy handed over the business and took her young family back to school in her native New Zealand. That was 1996 and things have been wonderful ever since. She frequently acknowledges that she has found her bliss, and offers thanks to the gardening gods.

One of our clients produced a video interview giving overview of our approach to outdoor spaces. Warning; it gives the appearance that we do not like artificial turf. The rest of the sentence was cut because of lack of time. We love really good artificial turf, not "AstroTurf". To view it, click here

Michael Behen
Head of Maintenance

Michael joined Mandeville in 2000. His background education is in the visual arts and he made his living for ten years as a photo journalist. He had a regular back page spread in a Westchester newspaper, mostly taking pictures of plants and, as he does with his gardening, making us see plants a little differently. From the moment he started with us, he has acknowledged finding the job he was meant for.

From the start, Michael has been a plant person and a natural gardener. He is on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Succulent and Cactus Society,
and has been actively instrumental in the restoration of the Stanford Arizona Garden on the Stanford University Campus. (It's near the museum if you are
looking for it, beyond the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture.)

Michael is responsible for the day to day running of the maintenance department. He monitors the schedule and makes sure that things really happen as they should. He brings his magic touch to all of the gardens.

Company History

Mandeville Garden Company was founded by Amanda Villecorte in 1989. She comes from a famous New Zealand gardening family. An Uncle has written a book on Camellias and Camellia breeding is in her blood. She was completely sick of the hotel industry. Her ambitions were nurtured by an old timer of the San Francisco gardening community, Arthur Alison. He was famous for his care of roses in our difficult climate. When he became too sick to work, he handed on the gardens that formed the basis for the company.

Mandy worked the company out of two air cooled VW camper vans, and her driveway. She had a deep knowledge of plants and their culture, and a lot of determination. Having got the company to a certain size and reputation, she decided that the time had come to take her young family back home to the New Zealand school system. In 1996 she sold out to Sarah FitzGerald and left. She founded Mandeville Gardens New Zealand the next year. This is a hillside nursery south west of Auckland, developed on her family farm. She welcomes tours and is becoming well known for native New Zealand plants, a hot topic as New Zealand is trying to restore its native habitat and eradicate non native invasive species.

Amanda Villacorte
RDI Tuakau
New Zealand

011 64 923 28433

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Michael Behen
Sunset District Garden with views of the Farallons on a good day
Potager style Rear Garden in San Francisco
Rear Garden in Marina District
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Copyright 2002 Mandeville Garden Company
716 Hacienda Way, Millbrae, CA 94030
(415) 626-6243, sarah@mandevillegarden.com
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