Community Outreach

The Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club has a number of service projects in the Tri-Valley Area. We also support the Penny Pines program, which is a joint partnership of the National Garden Club (NGC) and the USDA Forest Service sustaining our national and urban forests through this reforestation/forest education program.

Sensory Garden

Friday, Feb 16, 2018 9:00 am to Noon

5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton; Across from Raley's. Adjacent to the Pleasanton Senior Center on Sunol Blvd

The purpose of the work party is to maintain the Sensory Garden in a presentable condition for the general public. The usual chores include weeding, pruning, deadheading, and otherwise tidying up the garden, We ask that participants bring their own hand tools (pruning shears, trowels, soil knives, and the like), also your work gloves and kneeling pads. Larger tools and supplies will be provided. We have jobs working "high" in the raised beds and "low" in the ground level beds, so make your preferences known. Restrooms are available inside the building. After the work party, we get together at a nearby eatery.

Even if you cannot participate in the work party, you are invited to visit the garden on any day. You are also encouraged to get close, sniff and touch the plants, since many are fragrant or aromatic and have interesting textures.

Please signup at the monthly LAVGC meeting or RSVP Daniel McCright. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Dan's contact information.

For more information, please contact Daniel McCright. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Dan's contact information.


Bulbinella (Bulbinella floribunda)

This South African plant produces masses of bright yellow spikes of flowers. It grows from a rootstock and produces foliage that appears in October and lasts until after the blooms fade. Then it goes dormant through the summer until growth reappears in the fall. It is a plant eminently suited for our climate. It needs no summer irrigation. It spreads by yearly increase in the size of the clump and by self-sown seeds. In the Sensory Garden it has colonized a large section of the summer-dry area and also spread by seeds to form new clumps. This is a plant that is rarely available in commercial nurseries, so we cherish its being uncommon.

Featured Plant: Bulbinella (Bulbinella floribunda)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a quintessential plant for the Sensory Garden as it is a beauty for sight, aroma, texture, and taste. Rosemary is a native of the Mediterranean region and is used in the culinary treasures of that region. Rosemary adds herbal taste to many meat and casserole dishes.. Rosemary comes in two general shapes: an upright shrub and a lower growing ground cover form. The variety shown in the photo is allowed to cascade over the side of one of the raised beds. It bears dark blue-violet flowers that bees find irresistible. Rosemary thrives in our climate and is outstanding in the landscape and in a herbal garden.

Featured Plant: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora)

We are unsure of the variety in the Sensory Garden, but believe it is Howard NcMinn. Manzanitas are California natives; some are native to the Coast Ranges while others grow in the Sierra foothills. Also, some are shrubs and small trees while others are low in height used as ground covers. The variety in the Sensory Garden is a small shrub about 5 feet in height and equal width. It bears a profusion of white to pale pink flowers in small clusters in late winter, The other outstanding attribute is the bark, a rich reddish mahogany, and a branch structure with many interesting angles. The foliage is a rich green. Manzanitas are plants that look good in all seasons.

Featured Plant: Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora)

Moroccan Daisy (Rhodanthemum hosmariense)

This winter blooming daisy grows only to about a foot but the clump will spread over time. It is a native of north Africa and a Mediterranean-type plant that prospers in our climate. It bears a large number of white flowers on a gray-leaved plant. The foliage is dissected and attractive in all seasons. It requires little to no summer watering.

Featured Plant: Moroccan Daisy (Rhodanthemum hosmariense)

Daffodil 'Ice Follies'

Gardeners know daffodils as harbingers of spring. Ice Follies is an outstanding variety because it colonizes so readily to establish large clumps that faithfully announce spring to all. The flowers of Ice Follies consist of a white perianth and a large pale yellow shallow cup. Daffodils thrive in our winter wet, summer dry climate and really need no irrigation in summer but they tolerate it, Gophers will not eat daffodil bulbs. The only pest of note are snails that like to munch the flowers while ignoring the foliage. After the blooms fade, it is important to let the foliage age to yellow to insure food production for the next year. Overall, daffodils give much pleasure for little effort.

Featured Plant: Daffodil 'Ice Follies'

Daffodil 'February Gold'

As the name implies, this is one of the first daffodils to bloom. The flowers have an interesting swept-back form, and are therefore called cyclamineus because of the resemblance to a cyclamen. The flowers are all yellow, both cup and perianth. February Gold is short in stature, but like most other daffodils, the clumps increase with age.

Featured Plant: Daffodil 'February Gold'

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Camp Arroyo

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 9:00 am to Noon

5535 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550

Camp Arroyo is a 138-acre park owned and maintained by the East Bay Regional Park District since 1995. It is used by the YMCA for outdoor education during the school year and by the Taylor Family Foundation during the summer for children with serious illnesses. Camp Arroyo is a pesticide free garden with an emphasis on vegetables. There are jobs for all levels of gardening skills. Come and join in the fun.

Please sign up at the monthly club meeting or contact Kim Billingsley for more information.

Seee the LAVGC Yeartbook for additional contact information.


The address is 5535 Arroyo Road in Livermore. Once you are on Arroyo Road, continue past Wente Winery on the left. Camp Arroyo is a short distance from Wente and is located on the right hand side. The first gate is for the Taylor Family Foundation, you want the second gate and you will recognize it by the stone walls either side of the gate and of course, the sign!

Once inside Camp, you can park in the lot on the left and the garden will be across the road on the right.

If you're not sure where it is, ask to ride with someone.

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Pictures from 2017 Sensory Garden work parties

Here are some photos taken at Sensory Garden work parties in the recent past. Work parties are fun for getting to know our members and the participants learn about horticultural practices as they perform the work of transplanting, weeding, dead heading, pruning, fertilizing, controlling pests and propagation of plants.

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Eden Garden - an organic project

February and March, 2018: Pop Up Work Parties, contact the Chair for information.

April, 2018: Most Fridays

April, 2018: Third Saturday

1660 Freisman Road, Livermore. Pleasanton if you are using GPS! Although it is actually in Livermore!

'Eden Garden - an organic project', located on the grounds of Crosswinds Church, has 2 simple goals: to provide fresh, organic food for those in need and to give people a hands on opportunity to learn about growing their own food.

Beginning in April, we have 2 work parties a month, most Fridays and the third Saturday.

Much work is going on in our existing and new garden areas during our dormant season as we continue to accomplish our 2 simple goals of providing a place where people can come together: to grow food for those in need and to learn about growing their own fruits and vegetables. We will be having Pop Up Work Parties during the months of February and March as our schedules and weather permit. April will see us start our summer garden and regular work parties on most Fridays and on the third Saturday of the month (a change from last year).

For planning purposes, it is really helpful to know if you will be joining us but please feel free to just show up. If you would like more information or want to join us, please signup at the monthly club meeting or contact Barbara Stott or Karen Abbuscato. Conversely if you wish to no longer receive emails, please let Barbara know and we will remove you from the list.

Thank you for your support of the Eden Garden - an organic project and helping us meet our goal of getting fresh, clean produce to those in need. Happy Gardening!

We are famous! A video has been made about the Eden Garden - an organic project. Here is a link to the video which not only features the Garden but an insight into the South Hayward Outreach Center where much of produce is delivered.

Pictures from the 2017 Eden Garden

  • 2017 HARVEST
  • Beans 161 lbs
  • Berries 4 lbs
  • Carrots 5 lbs
  • Cucumber 831 lbs
  • Eggplant 79 lbs
  • Fava beans 150 lbs
  • Garlic 145 lbs
  • Melon 31 lbs
  • Onions 50 lbs
  • Peppers 120 lbs
  • Persimmons 9 lbs
  • Pomegranite 60 lbs
  • Summer squash 412 lbs
  • Tomatoes 248 lbs
  • Winter squash 422 lbs
  • GRAND TOTAL 2,727 lbs
  • 2016 HARVEST
  • Beans 30.5 lbs
  • Berries 21 lbs
  • Cucumber 103.25 lbs
  • Garlic 45 lbs
  • Leeks 8 lbs
  • Melon 82 lbs
  • Onions 12 lbs
  • Peppers 57.5 lbs
  • Potatoes 59 lbs
  • Summer squash 416.5 lbs
  • Tomatoes 204.75 lbs
  • Winter squash 57.5 lbs
  • Other (Tomatillo) 26.5 lbs
  • GRAND TOTAL 1,123.5 lbs
  • 2015 HARVEST
  • Apricots 2
  • Blackberries 16 lbs
  • Cucumber 495 lbs
  • Eggplant 10 lbs
  • Garlic 25 lbs
  • Herbs 19 bunches
  • Leeks 22 lbs
  • Onions 60 lbs
  • Peppers 170 lbs
  • Persimmons 32 lbs
  • Potatoes 71 lbs
  • Summer squash 327 lbs
  • Tomatoes 476 lbs
  • Winter squash 366 lbs
  • GRAND TOTAL 2,072 lbs
  • 2014 HARVEST
  • Basil 3.5 lbs
  • Blackberries 1 lbs
  • Butternut squash 32 lbs
  • Cucumber 3 lbs
  • Eggplant 196 lbs
  • Garlic 66 lbs
  • Leeks 16 lbs
  • Onions 277 lbs
  • Peppers 205 lbs
  • Potatoes 55 lbs/li>
  • Summer squash 672 lbs
  • Tomatoes 317 lbs
  • Winter squash 153 lbs
  • GRAND TOTAL 1,996.5 lbs
  • 2013 HARVEST
  • Beans 78 lbs
  • Cantaloupe 7 lbs
  • Eggplant 16 lbs
  • Garlic 25 lbs
  • Kale 16 lbs
  • Onions 36 lbs
  • Peppers 90 lbs
  • Persimmons 7 lbs
  • Potatoes 159 lbs
  • Squash 328 lbs
  • Tomatoes 390 lbs
  • GRAND TOTAL 1,152 lbs


From Dublin, take 580 east towards Livermore. Get off at El Charro/Fallon Road and turn right on to El Charro. Turn left at the Outlet Mall and then left again at the end of the Outlet Mall block. Keep to the right and turn right at the end of the road (onto the frontage road). Drive past the golf driving range to the end of Freisman Road. Freisman dead ends at the property. Turn right on to the property. Once on the property take the first left. Follow the road around, across the bridge and you will see a large metal barn. The garden is behind the barn.

From Livermore, you can take 580 west and exit at El Charro/Fallon Road or you can access the property from Jack London Blvd (via Isabel/84). Turn right at the outlet mall. Keep to the right and turn right at the end of the road (onto the frontage road). Drive past the golf driving range to the end of Freisman Road. Freisman dead ends at the property. Turn right on to the property. Once on the property take the first left. Follow the road around, across the bridge and you will see a large metal barn. The garden is behind the barn.

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Livermore 1st Street Pots

No workparties are currently scheduled

Please contact Lydia Roberts for more information.

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Pleasanton Gardens

251 Kottinger Drive, Pleasanton

The Pleasanton Gardens project, which the LAVGC initiated in 1987, closed in 2016 due to construction of the new housing for seniors called Kottinger Gardens. The role of the garden club with the new residential development is in discussion.

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Garden Angels

We have a group of members willing and eager to go out and help any garden club member that is not able to keep up their garden temporarily possibly because of illness, chemo, etc. We can deadhead, sweep, plant annuals, and generally tidy up the garden. Do you need this kind of help or know someone who does? If so, please use the signup sheet at the monthly club meeting or contact Peggy Despotakis.

Looking for Garden Angels. Periodically club members need some help in their gardens due to illness. If you would like to be on the Angel call list for a workparty, contact Peggy Despotakis.

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Penny Pines

The Penny Pines program, which is a joint partnership of the National Garden Club (NGC) and the USDA Forest Service sustaining our national and urban forests through this reforestation/forest education program.

Have you wondered what that cute green box that is passed around at the meeting and people are putting money inside is for? Each $68 that we collect is used to plant an acre of burned out national forest land. Since 1999, our club has donated money to help plant 109 acres of trees for a total donation of over $8,000.

In addition to donations made by the club, you can make private donations as Jeri Stark did this Christmas. She felt her children have everything they need and so she gave them each a certificate honoring them in the forests near Yosemite where they have spent many years at their grandparent's home. Giving back a bit for all the years of enjoyment for the many happy and fun filled days spent in the area. How it works:

  • LAVGC can honor current or past club members, a member's life partner, or child by contributing funds to the USDA Forest Service.
  • A club member may privately honor an individual by submitting a completed form along with a check for $68, payable to LAVGC.
  • At each monthly meeting, the club collects change that is set aside for a time when a plantation is to be purchased to honor a club member.
  • A PENNY PINES Certificate will be sent to inform the family of the location of the plantation.
  • Nomination to be approved or denied by the LAVGC Executive Board within 60 days of receipt.
  • The Executive Board may also direct purchase of a Penny Pines Plantation for other reasons.
  • To obtain a form from the LAVGC Members Only section, signin, click 'Forms', click the 'Penny Pines' form you want.
  • To obtain a form or for more information, please contact Jeri Stark. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Jeri's phone numbers.

Click to see the NGC Penny Pines information.

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