Coyote-mint, Monardella sp. © Chris Harvey

Matson-Mowder-Howe Celebration Garden

The Matson-Mowder-Howe Celebration Garden is one of a select few California native plant demonstration gardens north of Sacramento. This garden is free to all and provides a mix of native and non-native plants growing in harmony.

Collaboration between Shasta Chapter CNPS, North Valley Art League, UC Master Gardeners, and City of Redding continues to sustain this wonderful public space down by the Sacramento River, located at Carter House, the current home of North Valley Art League, in Caldwell Park on Quartz Hill Road, Redding.

Special Plants to See

  • Blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea) is a host plant for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle.
  • Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) flowers prolifically in June and July and is very photogenic.
  • Pacific bleedinghearts (Dicentra formosa) that dance with flowers from March to June.
  • Coyote mint (Monardella villosa) is a low-growing perennial herb loved by smaller pollinators.
  • Bush anemone (Carpenteria californica) is an evergreen shrub producing wonderful white flowers in June and July.

Volunteers Welcome!

Volunteering to maintain this historical garden is a good chance to get outside, have fun, and learn about the pruning and regular activities needed to sustain a native plant garden. Maintenance sessions are typically two hours and can include planting, pruning, spreading mulch, and weeding. Please contact for more information or to volunteer.


This public garden originated in the early 1980s when the Carter House Natural Science Museum was located there.  During that time, Gary Matson, horticulturist and co-creator of the science museum, began planting California native plants at the west end of the building.

In the late 1990s, the museum was absorbed into Turtle Bay Exploration Park.  In 2004, the North Valley Art League (NVAL) leased the Carter House building as their art studio and gallery.  At the same time, a community group began looking for a location for a memorial garden for Gary Matson, Winfield Mowder, and Marcia Howe.  Both Gary and Winfield were avid native plant enthusiasts and members of Shasta Chapter CNPS.  With renewed collaborative energy, NVAL and this community group resurrected and expanded the original garden.

Recently, with help from a Shasta Chapter CNPS grant, the east end of the building was landscaped with mostly native plants.  The garden contains shade-loving natives on the building’s west side and a mixed representation of native and non-native perennials on the south side.  The soil is silty and rich and many of the plants thrive and grow larger here than in the heavier soils prevalent in Shasta County.

Matilija poppies © Margaret Widdowson

Matilija poppies in the Matson-Mowder-Howe Celebration Garden

S. Brady Jarret, spreading wood chip mulch © Doug Mandel.

Spreading wood chip mulch, April 10, 2021.

Doug Mandel at Matson-Mowder-Howe Celebration Garden © David Ledger

Doug Mandel at Matson-Mowder-Howe Celebration Garden, May 1, 2021.

In Memory

Gary Matson © Record Searchlight

Gary Matson

(April 6, 1949 to July 1, 1999)

Winfield Mowder © Record Searchlight

Winfield Mowder

(May 30, 1959 to July 1, 1999)

Marcia Howe © Record Searchlight

Marcia Howe

(September 18, 1949 to April 20, 2003)


Nestled amongst massive sycamores, on a slight rise above the mighty Sacramento River, Carter House and the celebration garden can be found in Caldwell Park, at 48 Quartz Hill Road, Redding.

Caldwell Park, at 48 Quartz Hill Road, Redding, CA.

48 Quartz Hill Road, Redding.