2019-2020 Continuing Projects

A Bouquet of Thanks - Honoring our Veterans

(An Ongoing Floral Project) 

Chair: Julia Sheldon

When you live in the San Diego area, you see signs all around that we are part of a military town. While enjoying our freedom, people often wonder how to acknowledge our local veterans. The Bouquet of Thanks Committee was established to give seasonally appropriate flower arrangements, cards, and plants to honor and thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Bouquet of Thanks tables brighten our meetings when they are overflowing with handmade cards, vases, shells, and succulent cuttings donated by club members in support of workshops during the year. In addition, we are grateful for funding pledged by generous donors during our annual membership renewal and throughout the year. These donations enable us to purchase supplies, plants, and flowers for our enthusiastic committee members to turn into wonderful gifts of thanks. We are also indebted to those who have provided us much needed working space and refreshments.

Our committee delivers floral tributes to the Veterans Hospital in La Jolla to be enjoyed by veterans, their family members, and staff. During 2018-19, Bouquet of Thanks organized five successful projects, delivering up to 180 items for each one:

(1) Succulent-Topped “Pumpkins for Patriots” in October

(2) Handmade, Personally-Signed Holiday Cards with Poinsettias in December

(3) Tillandsias in Shells and on Driftwood in February

(4) Lily Plants in April

(5) Red, White, and Blue Flower Arrangements in May

We are busy identifying and planning projects for this coming year, with team leaders and details to be announced as they are finalized. As always, we look forward to your ideas and support of this worthy cause.

Donation Form

Expressions in Art and Flowers

(An ongoing art and floral design project)


In the years that we hold our Expressions in Art and Flowers event, it is always one of the most enjoyable! This exciting annual show has become a wonderful showcase for established, as well as beginning, artists and floral designers to exhibit their creative work.

At the February meeting, members of the Club who have personally created art pieces in various media bring their art to display on tables and easels positioned throughout the room. Members interested in creating a floral design browse the wide array of art pieces on display and choose a piece of art as their inspiration.

In March, the art pieces are returned to the meeting room and the floral designers position their finished designs next to the artwork that inspired their creation.

During the Thursday program, a few of the artists and floral designers are interviewed to share the stories, inspiration, and creative process behind their works. Expressions in Art and Flowers is not a judged show. All members are encouraged to explore their creativity and participate, whether the member is a beginner or experienced.

Have fun with it! If members need advice or coaching, there are many other members willing to help.

Jacaranda and Native Tree Planting Program

 An ongoing Civic Beautification tree planting project for the San Diego area
and a contributor to “Millions of Trees for the Environment”
a National Garden Club, Inc. project

Devonna Hall
Penelope West

Our Jacaranda tree planting program was started in 1986 with the vision of an urban forest of Jacaranda trees (natives of Brazil and Argentina), whose profusion of lavender blooms in spring would enchant residents and visitors alike. Over the years, donations in remembrance or honor of someone special have enabled us to plant some 2,240 Jacaranda trees in public spaces throughout San Diego - none more spectacularly than those seen in spring, lining streets in Downtown San Diego with their glorious lavender blooms.

The program is funded by donations from club members as well as friends in the community who wish to commemorate or honor a loved one or special person, or who wish simply to help beautify and improve our environment. No tree is planted for any one person and no plaques are placed on any specific tree. Donors’ names and the names of their honorees are read aloud at a special Dedication Ceremony in May to which that year’s donors and recipients are invited and recognized.

This year we plan to explore the possible expansion of our mission in response to San Diego’s increasingly built-environment, and the resulting loss of habitat for wildlife. There is a growing awareness of the need for trees that will nurture our local birds, bees, and insects, as well as provide beauty and year-round shade to neighborhoods where tree cover is sparse.

Accordingly, our commemorative tree planting program will offer a choice of planting either a suitable native tree, such as Coastal Live Oak or California Holly Oak, or a Jacaranda tree.

Jacaranda Tree Donation Form

Moores Cancer Center Healing Garden Rejuvenation Project

(An Ongoing Project)

Debi Nichols
Karen Morse
Penelope West

Use this SignUp Genius link to sign up for volunteering in the Healing Garden.

Our committee has been working at UCSD Moores Cancer Center since 2012. The purpose of a healing garden is to provide a respite and retreat for cancer patients and their families. Our goal is to beautify and maintain their Healing Garden of Hope. Our vision has been to create lush plantings with interesting form, texture, and color and to provide an attractive and inviting space for all to enjoy.

In 2012, we re-landscaped the neglected and overgrown garden by removing woody shrubs and replacing them with flowering shrubs. We also added colorful ceramic pots which are planted with seasonal color and perennial plants. We were able to begin this project with the generous donations of Club members. The garden is a work in progress and it continues to evolve each year.

Our committee provides design ideas, horticultural expertise, new plantings, and year-round grooming for the Healing Garden. Each weekend throughout the year, three to four committee members meet to work together in the garden for about two hours. In the fall and spring, we hold garden parties with a larger group of committee members to amend and refurbish the garden. Afterwards, we enjoy a social picnic lunch in the garden.

This has been a wonderful way to get to know each other better. This is a cause that goes beyond words for those who are afflicted by cancer. We often have patients, family members, and the staff express their appreciation for what we do in the Healing Garden. Our gratitude and thanks go out to each and every one of you who have invested your time and physical energy into the Healing Garden of Hope. We also want to thank you, our cherished club members, who continue to support us financially with your donations.

Donation Form

View of the Healing Garden, Spring 2016

View of the Healing Garden, Spring 2016

Penny Pines

(An ongoing NGC and CGCI conservation project)

Margaret Herrick
Linda Karpowich

The Penny Pines Project was established in 1941 to assist in replanting burned and otherwise damaged forests. It now plays a vital role in renewing the national forests in California, which cover some 20 million acres, and include a variety of terrain and vegetation types. These areas of great beauty and majestic stature are plagued by diverse problems, such as fire, pests, and disease.

Our club is one of many organizations supporting California’s Penny Pines Project. Over the years, groups have contributed more than $1M to the Penny Pines Reforestation Program, renewing 88,000 acres of national forest land in California!

In southern California, contributions may be used to prepare plantation sites for new trees to plant seedlings grown in U.S. Forest Service nurseries throughout California or to maintain existing tree stands and improve wildlife habitat. Penny Pines Plantations (350 trees on a little less than 1 acre) are important for watershed protection: helping the ground store precious water; for soil stabilization: protecting against soil erosion; and for shade in recreation areas: adding to the scenic beauty of the national forests.

At VGCLJ meetings, a collection bottle is available or circulated, and members are invited to contribute to the Penny Pines Reforestation Project from their change purse. Donations of a plantation ($68) in someone’s honor can also be made. For information contact the Penny Pines Co-Chairs. Thank you to our members who have generously contributed to this valuable project.

Donation Form

Schoolyard Gardening Grants Program

The Schoolyard as a Classroom
(An ongoing Youth-education Project)

Leigh Hartman
Mary Lippman

Do you remember when you first watered a flower; watched a hummingbird or a tiny bug; stamped through a puddle or planted your first seedling?

 The opportunity to plant and watch a flower grow, or pick a carrot to bring to the table, brings the wonder of nature closer to children at school.  The Schoolyard Gardening Grants program is dedicated to spreading this wonder to as many schools as it can reach.

 Schools provide the place and time for students to develop these skills. From initial planning, to construction, to working the ground, to planting, watering and tending their crops, to harvesting flowers and food for the table, these young gardeners are learning the value of nurturing the environment in which we all share.

 Since 2004 when Ruth Barnett founded the program, VGCLJ has promoted and supported an increasing number of schools in the city and county of San Diego.  To date we have reached over 100 schools with $110,818 in funding, mostly from club members.  Last year the SGGP awarded 24 grants totally $11,449 including the San Diego Unified School Districts Garden to Café Program.

If you are interested in applying for a Schoolyard Gardening Grant, please click on the link below where you will find the application.  All applications must be received by October 15, 2019

Please note the following schedule for the 2019 application process:

• September 5 – Applications will be available online
• October 15 – Application deadline 
• November 15 – Checks Allocated

Donations - Donations to this program are tax deductible and distributed annually.  Funding for this project depends on the generous donations of our members and others in our community who believe in this effort. By contributing to this program, you are helping to grow environmentalists of the future. We are grateful for the past support that has allowed our program to touch 1000’s of children throughout San Diego with the magic of gardening.  If you wish to donate to Schoolyard Gardening, please click below on the Gift Donation Form, for information about how you can help.

Schoolyard Gardening Grant Application
Donation Form


Jill Coughlin, a member of the Schoolyard Gardening Grants Committee, has been collaborating with the year-round schools and the San Diego County Fair since 1989. The annual Plant-Grow-Eat educational gardening program teaches elementary school students how to plant a seed, watch it grow, and eat their harvest!

Students from kindergarten through third grade plant radish seeds in 4-inch pots; fourth through sixth grade students plant a 4-inch market basket with their choice of a salad bowl, herb garden, or edible flowers.

The San Diego County Fair provides all the supplies necessary, hosts a free field trip to the Fair for the students, and covers the cost of transportation. Jill and other club members judge the competition and the Club receives funding from the Fair for their volunteer time. This very rewarding program encourages the students to participate in the educational aspects of the Fair.

Free busing for Title 1 Schools, in which more than 80% of the student body receives free lunches, is paid for by The Don Diego Scholarship Fund. This past year the Fund was able to sponsor 89 buses. The Plant-Grow-Eat program has educated over 9,700 students a year, with a grand total of over 331,000 students over all 30 years!

Wreaths Across America

Chair: Karen Novak 

Wreaths across America is a nationwide program where on the same day wreaths are placed on veterans’ graves in all 50 states and abroad. This year it will be December 15th . This is an all-volunteer effort. Volunteer truck drivers deliver the wreaths. Volunteers place the wreaths. And sponsors like our membership donate the wreaths. For each wreath donated through VGCLJ, the Club receives $5.00 for their efforts in obtaining the donations. Your friends and associates can also donate through our club. Spread the word!

This is a win-win for our club as the funds raised help support our “Bouquet of Thanks” program.

How to Donate a Wreath:

Go to the WAA website 

Just below the box that says SPONSOR click on “local fundraising group.”

On the search line type: Village Garden Club of La Jolla

Select a cemetery and donate.

Currently you can select from:

  • Arlington National Cemetery

  • Edgar Cemetery

  • Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

  • Greenwood Memorial Park and Mortuary

  • Miramar National Cemetery

  • Santa Fe National Cemetery

By following these steps, the VGCLJ will receive credit for the donation. Wreaths Across America is a 501 (c) (3) organization.

For additional cemeteries, donations to a specific gravesite, or any other questions please contact:
Karen Novak, WAA Administrator for VGCLJ 

Video Library

DVD's from prior programs are being held at the La Jolla Historical Society