2017-2018 Continuing Projects

A Bouquet of Thanks

(An Ongoing Floral Project) 

When you live in the San Diego area, you see signs all around that we are part of a military town.  As we enjoy our freedom, we often wonder how we can acknowledge our local veterans.  The Bouquet of Thanks Project gives seasonally appropriate flower arrangements and plants to honor and thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice.

The Bouquet of Thanks tables brighten our meetings when they are overflowing with plants and floral arrangements, generously donated by our committee and the club membership.  Our committee delivers these donations to the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in La Jolla to be enjoyed by veterans, their family members, and staff.  During the 2017-18 club year, we invite the general membership to donate a plant or floral arrangement at our club meetings in December and March.

In addition to our December and March call for membership-wide floral donations, Bouquet of Thanks used donations to fund four wonderful projects last year: 

·         Succulent-topped “Pumpkins for Patriots” in October

·         Tillandsia Terrarium in February

·         Easter and Passover Flowers in April

·         Red, White, and Blue Memorial Day Workshop in May

Two of our past projects (Pumpkins and Terrariums) have become annual traditions by popular request from the VA.  In addition, as time and donations permit, we will plan other projects for this coming year with details to be announced as they are finalized.

As always, we look forward to your support of this worthy cause.

Julia Sheldon, Chairwoman

Donation Form

Expressions in Art and Flowers

(An ongoing art and floral design project)

Lacey Colmore
Ann Craig

One of the most enjoyable and anticipated events of the year is Expressions in Art and Flowers.  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 in their art to display on tables and easels positioned in the room.  Members interested in doing a floral design browse the wide array of art pieces on display and choose a piece of art as their inspiration to interpret in flowers at the March meeting.

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 Tree Project

 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

Jan Nelte
Linda Shaw

The Jacaranda Civic Beautification Project has been ongoing since 1986.  In the past 28 years, we have donated over 2,240 Jacaranda trees from San Ysidro to Camp Pendleton and La Jolla to El Cajon.  Trees are given to schools, public parks, recreation centers, hospitals, libraries, churches, and public facilities all over San Diego County.  We have donated trees to Miramar National Cemetery, 42 trees to the Embarcadero on Harbor Drive, and 40 trees to the YMCA in La Jolla.  We have also donated trees to the new Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego, the downtown Central Library and, most recently in cooperation with the Balboa Park Conservancy, 21 trees to Morley Field in Balboa Park.

Last year the Jacaranda Committee took a hiatus and did not search for places to plant trees due to our severe drought. Because of our wonderful rains in 2017 and Governor Jerry Brown’s declaration that the drought is over, the committee has decided to reactivate and once again seek locations to plant Jacarandas.

Club members and friends from the community may donate funds designated in memory of a loved one or as a memorial to honor a special person, commemorate a special event, or to simply help beautify and improve our environment.  Contributions to the fund are combined to purchase the trees, which are then planted for the public to enjoy. 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 where all donors and recipients are recognized.  One hundred percent of your donation goes toward the purchase of Jacaranda trees.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Jacaranda Tree Donation Form

Moores Cancer Center Healing Garden
Rejuvenation Project

(An Ongoing Project)

Susan Star
Janet Davis

Debi Nichols

Since 2012 our club has been working with UCSD Moores Cancer Center to beautify and maintain their Healing Garden of Hope.  The purpose of a healing garden is to offer patients, families, and staff an outdoor retreat from the tension and stress of the hospital setting.  Our goal is to create lush planting with interesting form, color, and texture and provide attractive and inviting views from inside and outside the building.   The garden is located on the west side of the Cancer Center building.  Signage to the Healing Garden can be found in the main lobby.

With member donations, we re-landscaped the overgrown, low-maintenance garden and added trees, flowering shrubs, and colorful ceramic pots, which we keep planted with seasonal color.

Our committee provides design ideas, horticultural expertise, plants, and year-round grooming.  Each weekend throughout the year three or four committee members work together in the garden for about two hours, usually on Saturdays.  In the fall and spring, we hold work parties with larger groups to renew plants and pots and enjoy a social picnic lunch in the garden.  On average, garden groomers spend about two hours gardening once a month.

We coordinate with the UCSD gardeners, who are responsible for the basic maintenance and irrigation.  Susan Starr has made it easy to sign up online to work in the garden.  To access SignUpGenius, click here

We are very grateful for our members’ support of this garden.   

Your tax-deductible donation will be greatly appreciated by patients, their families, and the staff. 

Donation Form

Moores Cancer Center Parking Instructions

  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 natural and man-caused 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 a million dollars 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 US 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 club 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.

Donation Form

Schoolyard Gardening Grants Program

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

Leigh Hartman
Sue Kalish

 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 over $87,400 in funds mostly from club members. Last year the SGGP awarded 20 grants totaling close to $9000

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 17, 2017.

Please note the following schedule for the 2017 application process:
• September 5 – Applications will be available online
• October 17 – 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 60 buses.  The Plant-Grow-Eat program has educated over 9,700 students a year, with a grand total of over 325,000 students over all 28 years!

Video Library

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