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, Nov 17, 2017 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 state to the public. We will pull weeds, deadhead spent flowers, prune back over growth or dead growth and otherwise tidy up the garden, November is the time to prepare the garden for winter so we will apply compost and slow-acting fertilizer to the ground. We will also dig up some clumps of plants needing division and put these divisions in the Plant Sale next April. If we can accomplish these chores, we will not need to have a work party in December.

Please bring your hand tools (pruners, trowels, soil knives, and the like, also work gloves and kneeling pads). Larger tools and supplies will be furnished. We have work in the raised beds (standing work) and ground level beds (sitting and kneeling) so let your preferences be known. Restrooms are located in the Senior Center Building.

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.

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


Canna (Canna gesneriana)

Cannas are tropical plants originating in South America. They have been hybridized over many years to achieve plants with a range of heights and flower colors as well as leaf colors. They were widely used as formal bedding plants in the Victorian age but have made a comeback for modern garden use. The one depicted in the photo is believed closer to the species as it has smaller bright red flowers on 7-8 foot tall stalks with bronze foliage. Other varieties come in shades of yellow, pink, orange, and red. The range of foliage coloring is also wide: bright green to bronze to maroon to almost black. Some have variegated foliage. Cannas tolerate wet soils and can be grown in shallow water, but they are tolerant of regular garden conditions. Frost nips the top growth but they come back in spring with new growth. Cannas grow from rhizomes that can be divided for new plants, Culture is easy for cannas; they are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. We will have these plants in the Garden Club Plant Sale next April. Featured Plant: Canna (Canna gesneriana)

Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima)

This ornamental grass offers billowy plumes of leaves that move with the slightest breeze to add motion to the garden. The leaves are finely textured and arch outward and downward. Initially green in spring, they turn to a tannish color by midsummer and keep their color well into the winter, The clumps grow to about 2 feet in height. Of very easy culture, they tolerate dry soils and need little summer water once established. This grass is often used along swales to create a natural rustic look. The plants reseed prolifically, but the small seedling plants can be easily pulled out if unwanted or moved to other locations. No insects or pests bother this grass. We often have these plants at our Plant Sale in April. Featured Plant: Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima)

California White Sage (Salvia apiana)

This sage is a native plant that is grown for the heavy sage aroma of its foliage and its bold almost-white foliage. As a native plant it grows well in our climate and only needs minimal to no irrigation water in summer, It does produce whitish flowers in early summer that are intense attractive to bees (hence the species name apiana). Plants grow to 3-4 feet when blooming. Plants are effective after dark because of the white foliage that glows in moonlight. We cut back the plant after flowering to encourage new growth to carry on through the winter. The foliage is intensely aromatic and many people burn the dried foliage to mask unpleasant odors in their homes. Much in the same way as the native peoples did. The California white sage is easily cultivated and little bothered by insects or diseases. It is propagated from seeds or cuttings. Featured Plant: California White Sage (Salvia apiana)
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Camp Arroyo

No workparties are currently scheduled

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.

2017 Work days in the garden will continue to be the 4th Friday (most months!) but Kim is adding a community work day - usually on a Saturday maybe the occasional Sunday, this will include a quick (15-20 minute) garden lesson and then like our Friday work days a list of chores and set folks loose in the garden. The weekend work day will not include lunch but will include a snack. This group will not always be gardeners, so any Club members who would like to attend are super welcome - as in some cases it would be great to pair up less experienced gardeners with folks with more experience.

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

No workparties are currently scheduled

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.

We are now also 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.

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.

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.

Pictures from the 2017 Eden Garden

  • 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, is not active for the 2016-17 year while the present Pleasanton Gardens residential units are being demolished and rebuilt. When the construction is completed, the new housing for seniors will be 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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