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

Third Fridays. Next: Friday, Oct 19, 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 monthly work party is to maintain the Sensory Garden in a presentable condition for public viewing. Our work parties are usually on the third Friday of the month. We weed the garden, cut back any dead growth, deadhead spent flowers and generally tidy up the plantings.

We ask you to bring your own hand tools, such as pruners, trowels, soil knives, etc. plus kneeling pads and work gloves; larger tools will be provided. As the Sensory Garden consists of 2 ground-level beds and 3 raised beds, we have chores that require sitting, kneeling or standing, so please let your preference be known.

Restrooms are located in the nearby Senior Center Building. After the work party, for those interested, we adjourn to a close-by eatery for lunch.

We invite all of the club members to participate. We will be happy to show less experienced members how to do the tasks. Even if you can't spend the full three hours working in the garden, any time that you can participate is welcomed, so please come early or come late.

Even if you cannot attend the work party, feel free to visit the garden on any day to relax and enjoy yourself. If you come on a calm sunny day, bees, butterflies, humming birds and other pollinators will be actively working their rounds for you added enjoyment.

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.


Our feature plants for October are fall-blooming favorites, all easy to grow in our region.

Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius)

This is a perennial sunflower that performs as a tall backdrop in one of the ground-level bed in the Sensory Garden, This particular sunflower grows to 7-8 feet and bears clusters of solid yellow daisy-like flowers in October. Many types of birds relish the seeds that ripen after the flowers are gone. The species name of this sunflower refers to the willow-like shape of the foliage. The plant grows from multi-stem clumps that expand each year. The plant dies completely to the ground in winter, but re-sprouts in the spring. These sprouts are robust and purplish in color. The clumps can be divided at that time. Note that since this photo was taken, we have installed a series of support stakes (actually very large tomato cages) to prevent heavy sprawling of the plant for a neater appearance. Like all sunflowers, this plant is native to the Great Plains of North America.

Featured Plant: Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius).

Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

This type of aster has myriad forms, heights, and colors, It is native to eastern North America, but has proven to do very well in California. In the Sensory Garden we have planted several varieties of the "dwarf" fall asters that form clumps that readily spread. We usually have divisions of these for our April plant sale. These asters are sometimes called Michaelmas Daisies. The dominant color is purple, but varieties bearing white, lavender, pink or red flowers exist. They are very easy-care plants and bloom for several months of the year, beginning in late summer. They attract butterflies as pollinators.

Featured Plant: Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

Zinnia (Zinnia marylandica)

Zinnias are annuals and like warm weather. The are native to Mexico and extreme southwestern United States. This particular kind of zinnia blooms for a long time from early summer through fall until the first killing frost. Zinnias are butterfly magnets. The remarkable qualities of this particular zinnia are its low, mounding growth and resistance to diseases that attack the more familiar taller types of zinnias. They are catalogues as the Profusion and Zahara series. They come in many colors (white, yellow, orange, rose, and red). We use them in the Sensory Garden to take the places where spring-blooming bulbs have bloomed and died off for the summer. After the zinnias have died off, the spring bulbs return for a repeat bloom. Thus, in effect, we get two crops of flowers in the same location.

Featured Plant: Zinnia (Zinnia marylandica)

California Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica)

This plant is sometimes listed under the alternative botanical name Epilobium, This is a California native plant found in many locations throughout the Coast Ranges and Sierra foothills. Unlike most native plant, it blooms in summer and fall. The dominant flower color is orange-red that contrasts with the gray-green foliage. Many forms and varieties in other colors have been developed. The tubular form of its flowers attracts humming birds in profusion. The plant spreads by seeds and by underground runners, so it can colonize a large area as it has done in the Sensory Garden. As a native plant, it withstands drought conditions and high temperatures. We usually have it at our April plant sale.

Featured Plant: California Fuchsia  (Zauschneria californica)
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Camp Arroyo

Friday, Oct 26, 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.

Our October work party is on Friday, October 26th. There will be cleaning up of areas for winter quiet, weeding, deadheading, trimming and possible final harvest. Help for the whole time or any portion of that time is very, very, very appreciated! Camp is a gated area and I will have the gate open from 8:45-9:45 if you are arriving after 9:45 please let me know and I'll have the gate open for you. Lunch will be available after at our camp dining hall - if you have not joined us for lunch it's always great - with options for all dietary needs. Thanks one and all for your help and support.

Please sign up at the monthly LAVGC meeting or RSVP to Kim Billingsley - Camp Arroyo gardener. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Kim's contact information.

For more information or if you would like to be on the notification list, contact KKim Billingsley - Camp Arroyo gardener. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Kim's 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 and 2018 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

3rd Saturdays. Next: Oct 20, 2018 9:00 am - Noon

Most Fridays (except Oct 19), 8:30 am - 10:30 am.

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.

Eden Garden is located near the barn on the Crosswinds Church property in Livermore, on the frontage road just beyond the Outlet Mall. Volunteers come from the garden club, Crosswinds Church, and the community.

We will be harvesting produce for the food bank and doing a variety of garden maintenance tasks. Our tasks range from heavy tasks that require some heft to lighter tasks, such as sowing seeds while standing at the greenhouse bench. No gardening experience is required. Our Eden Garden team members and other volunteers are happy to share their knowledge.

We also welcome volunteers to help with harvesting, which is every Friday morning in October except for October 19 (the day before the work party). We start at 8:30 and work until the produce is loaded up to go to the food bank, typically a couple of hours.

The garden tasks will be winding down through October as the produce output slows down. Starting in November, we'll be stopping our regular work parties. But we expect to have some "pop-up" (spur-of-the-moment) work parties periodically throughout the winter. Volunteers who are on the Eden Garden email list will get an email periodically saying that some of us have decided to go the garden on a particular day and we'd love to have other volunteers join us if they are free.

Last but not least, on Sunday October 28, at 1:00, the Eden Garden Board will be hosting a volunteer appreciation lunch in the barn next to the garden. If you have volunteered at Eden Garden this year, be sure to save the date. You'll be receiving more details about the lunch closer to the event.

Come for an hour or three, no experience required, just a willingness to help out. We will break for a snack. We are also willing to answer any garden questions we can.

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, Karen Abbuscato or Beth Clark. 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 Mary Davis for more information.See the LAVGC Yearbook for additional contact 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.

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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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