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Carmel Valley Garden Club Welcomes You To Our Club

The CVGC is a nonprofit organization that promotes gardening and education about gardening in our area.  We organize various projects in our community throughout the year and make donations to local nonprofits from our Annual Garden Show proceeds to help beautify the community.

Our regular monthly meetings, which are both educational and social,  are held on the 2nd Thursday each month (usually at 6:45 p.m. at the Carmel Valley Community Youth Center on Ford Road).  Our membership and meetings are open to everyone with an interest in gardening. Join us!


Picnic Perfection - By Mary Gale

What is so rare as a day in June? Coming after May’s gloom, the Garden Club’s annual welcome to summer featured delightful weather, a beautiful setting at the home and gardens of Doug and Lisa Steiny, delicious wine and taco plates, and many happy club members schmoozing the day away.

In the entry area wine flowed freely, and all arriving guests soon joined the already happy campers with glasses in hand. Through the house a marvelous array of desserts covered the kitchen counters, while out back we found our favorite taco folks with their wonderfully efficient line of servers and the help-yourself-to-as much-as you-want bowls of guacamole and salsa and slides. YUM!!!

The picnic tables beyond provided lovely shade or bright sun, and plenty of happy chatter to help the food go down easy. Then came the pleasant business of declaring our new president Patti Burrows (officially on duty), and speeches of praise for officers who had seen us through COVID times and other trials, Dianne Wood and June Dawson. The baton for the Garden Show was passed from Dean Hatfield to Bart Burrows, and many fine speeches and toasts ensued.

As we finished our desserts, some went back for more while others sat and soaked in the happy atmosphere. But at last it was time to end the day with much thanks to the Steiny’s for their wonderful hospitality. A marvelous time was had by all!


Photos from the 2024 Garden Show


What a special 2024 Garden Show!
Thanks to all our hard-working volunteers!

CLICK HERE to see lots of photos of this year's show.

(note:  photo page is still under construction)

April 11th Club Meeting - Show Preparation

April 11th
6:30 pm
Carmel Valley Community Center
25 Ford Road
Our last regular Club meeting of the 2023-2024 season was focused on preparation for our big annual event:  the 53rd Annual Garden Show.  This included coaching on how best to be ready for the competitive flower show, in which many Club members participate.  How best to win that coveted blue ribbon?

And the meeting was indeed a little bit more of a party, as the program did not start until well after 7PM!

The meeting came to order with the first order of business being election of new officers.  The Garden Club President and Vice-President officer roles were up for election.  We are delighted to announce that Patti Burrows is the new Club president-elect and will take office in June.  And Cassandra Mendonca is our new VP-elect and will take office at the same time.

Following the election Dean introduced the Garden Show chairs - and what a great group that is - and allowed each of them to speak to the membership about any key needs.

Finally, we had a great demonstration of key flower arrangement techniques to give members clues as to how to best compete in the flower show.

February 8th Valentine's Pot-luck Dinner

And A Great Time Was Had! - By Mary Gale
On a chilly and damp February evening recently, many lucky gardeners escaped to the dry, warm welcoming embrace of their fellow Garden Club members at our annual Valentine's Potluck. Our Party Guru, Patti Burrows couldn’t attend, but she must have had a good backup crew, because the room was very festive!

Debbie Langley seemed to be keeping an eye out for empty spaces to be filled at the appetizer table, and Karolyn Stone and other Ladies of the Club were working their magic in the kitchen. 
We found hearts galore, tables and chairs already set for us, and a huge long line of wonderful main and side dishes leading to the back corner where many delicious desserts lay in wait to tempt us. People were claiming dibs on Ed’s fabulous cheese cake a full hour or two before time to enjoy it.

But first to the appetizers and libations and conversations! As always the decibel count was high as old-timers and newcomers created and renewed acquaintances. President Diane Woods eventually made herself heard to a few people to start the lines down the table, and then others followed along. What a feast!

Once we were all settled, Diane and Dean took their opportunity to again remind us of the need to start plants now for the Plant Corral at the Flower Show in May. They were referring not to the planet or blossom you might enter in the competition, but to the plants we sell; last year the plant corral was a good fund raiser for the club, and we want to do just as well this year. So get those little seedlings started, or buy some baby plants and grow them big!

Alas, all good things must end, and before we could say "Jack Robinson!” (Or, more appropriately Gertrude Jekyll!) the rear doors opened and out came the racks for the gathering in of the chairs. The Valentine spirit seemed to prevail as even folks who usually scuttle away home to avoid the work joined in the dismantling of the room.

It had been a lovely party, so let's raise our glasses in a toast to Patti and all her pals!

January 11, 2024 Club Meeting

Promiscuous Plants and Liquid Smoke with Lucy Ferneybough - By Mary Gale


A lively crowd ventured out on a cold Thursday night to enjoy the first Garden Club meeting of 2024.  Happy New Year greetings warmed the air and delicious treats were washed down with good spirits. President Dianne and Garden Show Head Dean reminded us that we need to be rooting plants for the  Plant Corral - they must appeal to buyers just a few months from now! Those unable to tend plants can send their check for $50.00 to the club treasurer; the money provides materials needed for the show in May.

Ed Morrow, our tomato guru, treasurer, and program chair assured us that the club is “Still Solvent” (his favorite words!) because of last year’s successful show, and with all members pitching in, we can do it again in 2024.

Ed next put on his program hat and introduced our speaker:  Lucy Ferneyhough directs the Native Plant Program at the UCSC Arboretum, and also oversees the perennial landscape and fruit and vegetable gardens. Lucy is a 2008 UCSC grad who stayed on in a job that takes her all over California to collect seeds of native plants for the arboretum’s seed bank. This collection helps to insure that catastrophes such as wildfires will not eradicate our state’s natural legacy; after any disaster we’ll draw from the bank the means to renew our natural landscapes.

But it’s not as simple as it sounds. You can’t just wander about cutting flowers and tossing them in a box labeled “seeds for the future”.  You have to record where every plant was found, under what growing conditions, “maternal lineage”, genetic depth and breadth (is it new in the area? Rare?  Etc.?), and so forth.

Back at the arboretum, the seeds require “herbariaum vouchers” which seems to mean you must actually grow a few specimens of each type of seed to prove that it’s fertile and get more seeds for the bank. Ideally you’d have gathered at least 300 seeds from 50 maternal plants, dried them carefully within 3 to 5 days, documented where they were found, and processed them according to protocol.

Huh?  Protocol? Is this the state department or a garden? Well, hmmm…. a seed aspirator (machine, not human) blows the chaff off the seeds, and then an app counts them, saving wear and tear on human eyes which can barely see some of the tiniest seeds. Only viable seeds (they must look fat and happy) are then soaked in liquid smoke to aid in germination, and the lucky ones are planted to grow flowers to get more seeds.

Then half the seeds go to a bank in Denver as a back-up if UCSC were to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth, and the rest are put in labeled foil packets in a freezer on campus.  Whew!! You’ve just read the short version of what goes on to create and maintain a seed bank. Who knew?

But wait! That’s not all Lucy and her team do!  Thanks to state and federal grants, they’ve been able to undertake vegetation mapping in far-flung areas around California. With the help of agencies such as CA Fish and Wildlife and the CNPS, they work to create a “family tree”, a map of what flora grow where in the golden state. One such trip took them to the “Internal central coast range) east of Bakersfield and similar to the Carizzo Plain.

Another goal is to monitor recovery from wild fire. They needn’t travel far to see a devastated landscape, as both private properties and public lands have burned repeatedly in the past few years. Photos show good recovery in amazingly short time, and suggest the wisdom of prescribed burns to help prevent the recurrence of catastrophic fire.

Ed tells us that an outing to visit the UCSC Arboretum may be in the offing. Let’s do it! And don’t forget your liquid smoke—might lead to fertility—or perhaps a good BBQ. 

Our Club Has A New Shed!

The Carmel Valley Garden Club has new storage shed.  Delivered just before the holidays this new shed is located in the east gravel parking lot of the Community Park, in a space leased from the Park District.

The new shed will provide the Club with much needed clean, dry, and safe storage for items used in our events, the annual Garden Show in particular.  A few pictures of the shed and its delivery are shown below.

December 14 - Holiday Party A Delightful Success!

See more photos here: Holiday Party 2023 Photo Album

HO HO the Holidaze! By Mary Gale!

Dazed and delighted by the lovely venue (thanks to Alex and Pat Gray), a spruced-up crowd of smiling gardeners in holiday garb admired the festive decor, greeted friends old and new, enjoyed a wonderful (but too brief) flute concert and devoured delectable food and drink: the Garden Club celebrated the holidays in style!

Thanks to Patti Burrows and her marvelous planning, all proceeded smoothly, with a lovely selection of wines (helped by Debbie Langley’s fine stock!) and various stuffed peppers circulated on huge trays by adorable children disguised as waiters. Among those enjoying them, this writer noticed a somehow familiar face whose owner wore dress jacket and pants, without his usual John Deere hat to hide his head—who could that have been? Our tomato guru? Hmm….perhaps if this writer had not had a full glass of wine poured out by her chauffeur for the evening, we might have certainty on this I.D.

As tempting gourmet meats and sides began to appear on the buffet table, two well-managed maneuvers prevented a mad stampede by the energetic would-be diners. First, our party planner announced that only one table at a time would approach the groaning board. Second, a charming young flautist stepped up to soothe the savage beasts with his talented performance of two solo pieces. Charmed into good behavior by the lovely music of the Korstanjes’ grandson Kasen (who had traveled all the way from Michigan for our listening pleasure), the ravenous crowd submitted meekly to Patti’s rules. Her enforcer, Bart, efficiently monitored the “one table at al time” regime so that no long lines could dampen our lively spirits.

If that were not enough, leftovers were generously shared with members in available plastic clamshells.  The cheerful goodbyes as the room emptied out, left no room for doubt: the 2023 Holiday Party was a roaring success! Our gratitude and congratulations to Patti and her crew for a fabulous event. Happy holidays, one and all!

October 12 Club Meeting - Wild Flowers of Monterey County

David Gubernick was our speaker for the October meeting.  David is an award winning photographer known for his use of color and light to reveal the intimate beauty of nature. His book Wildflowers of Monterey County has long been the preeminent photographic guide for Monterey County wildflowers.  As part of our ongoing series on Gardens In A Special Place, David showed us his recent work on the natural landscapes of Monterey County where he captures the unique nature of the place where we live.

And now a lively summary of David's presentation by Mary Gale:

Photos Gorgeouso!

In unison with other Garden Club members I gasped in amazement at the brilliant photos of rural Monterey County shared by David Gubernick at our October meeting. Our speaker first reminded us of the geography of our county, extending south from the Pajaro River nearly to Paso Robles, and from the Pacific to the Pinnacles (mas o menos). Having traveled all the back roads of this ginormous area (3771 square miles!), generally in spring when grass is green, he delighted us with vistas of gorgeous mountains, pastures, trees, and waters, with an occasional flower or cow thrown in to remind us of our county’s incredible biodiversity.

I couldn’t believe how green the grass and yellow the dry areas seemed, so much more eye-popping than the snaps lurking in my phone.  Perhaps I need to find Peachtree Road (just one of many cited for fine scenery) and see if the grass is really greener there. Then a question from the audience opened my eyes to the artist’s process: like all real photographic artists, he plays around with color on his computer! Who knew? Not this luddite. So having got the picture (so to speak…) I just relaxed and enjoyed the marvelous views.

Suddenly, up on the screen popped a picture of something I know well from my explorations of Point Lobos: trentepohlia! Bright red! Hmmmm……at the outer edges of Cypress Point, the trees and even some rocks have a very orange cast to them, caused by algae that cling to bare branches. Though it’s a green algae (which makes its own food from air, light and moisture), carotene makes it the color of Halloween and picnic veggies. Now I realized the extent to which the photographer/artist manipulates reality to challenge our willingness to suspend our disbelief. For some reason, this realization brought to mind one of my dear departed Dad’s favorite verses:

        I never saw a purple cow,
        I never hope to see one.     
        But I can tell you anyhow,
        I’d rather see than be one.

Fair enough—a photographic armchair tour of beautiful Monterey County as seen through David Gubernick’s lens is a treasure. For that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, and perhaps next spring to get out into the hills more often to admire nature’s treasures. Perhaps I’ll even see a purple cow!

September 14 Club Meeting

September 14 - David Law, Hidden Gardens of Monterey

David Law provided an excellent talk, and here to summarize (and editorialize) is an article by Mary Gale!

One Week (Seven Days!) after enjoying David Laws’ slide show and talk about Monterey’s Historic Gardens, I was asked to produce an account of what he said.  WHAT!?! Don’t these people know that I’m an octogenarian who can’t even remember by the next day what I did on the second Thursday of the month???


But duty calls, and I must answer. Here’s what I do recall: David Laws was very tall and told us about many historic gardens of Monterey, most of which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. I don’t recall in what order he discussed them; so forgive me if I forget some and perhaps add others that he didn’t mention.


One of my favorite historic gardens grows near some very nice (and somewhat modern) public restrooms, not mentioned by David but important to people on walking tours of Monterey. Near the corner of Pacific and Scott, downhill from First Theater, this small garden features a bed of many herbs, presumably known to and loved by the Spanish and Mexican colonists of the nineteenth century.  When last I saw it, the plants were labeled so that one might see how these delightful flavors look in growing mode.


Close by is Pacific House with a huge garden of trees and shrubs, often used for barbecues and other events. A huge wall surrounds it, but it is open to the public most of the time and one can wander at will. At the front of this garden, a path leads one out to Custom House Plaza. It’s not a garden, but the bocce ball courts have a bit of greenery, and closer to the wharf are some nice succulents.


Inland from these attractions, up along Pacific Street, we find more old adobes; many of these had abalone shells outlining the paths and margins of the beds. Colton Hall sits in a ginormous garden, though its huge lawn is not typical of old Spanish gardens, which usually had graveled paths around bare dirt with beds of flowers as well as shrubs and trees and hen houses and sheds. However, the grass is great for picnics, and hosts a grizzly bear which would be very historic if it were alive!  Of course, such a phenomenon would render the lawn a bit less enjoyable for picnicking. 


Downhill and across from Trader Joe’s we can access the garden behind Stevenson House, a location that seems to elude lots of people, even a few Monterey natives. I always tell them that if they were to drive through Federico’s shoe repair drop-off from Abrego to Houston St., Stevenson House would be to their right, though they’d have to turn left, as Houston is one way. At any rate, the garden is large, and has benches for the weary or contemplative. It’s a lovely oasis in the heart of town.


Back at T Joe’s, we are right next door to Cooper Molera, a wonderful combination of historic house, barns, orchard (small), gardens, and a yummy bakery. Here one can enjoy a pastry while admiring the gardens, so beautifully designed and tended, in part at least by a CVGC member whose expertise in preparing flowers for the garden show is known to members who attend the April meeting each year.  Of this David made no mention, perhaps because her contribution is widely known. But we can all be very proud of her! The gardens are always lovely here, just over the wall from frustrated drivers endlessly circling to find a parking space. If you are such a person, take a moment to recuperate by going into the garden and admiring her work.


Nearby, up on Larkin Street is the Larkin House, where the US trade consul lived back then. Mr. Larkin was much esteemed by the local folks. When the Americans arrived to take charge Monterey during the Mexican War of the 1840’s, Mr. Larkin (and William Hartnell) reassured them that the Americans would not kill them all, but would eclipse them and educate their children. The old folks would cling to their culture, but the newcomers would win over their descendants. And so they did. Whether Mr. Larkin’s garden was as desirable as his advice I have no idea.


So —having no more to add about gardens, I’ll close by urging us all to venture out of the valley and into town to traipse about the historic gardens with never a fear of ticks (they’re all out at Garland Ranch) or pickery stickery weeds (ditto). Have a civilized walk, free of dust and full of delights.


2023 Garden Show Recap


May 13-14 52nd Annual Garden Show A Huge Success

Mother nature cooperated to deliver two days of spectacular weather which contributed to an excellent attendance and great enjoyment of all the Garden Show had to offer.  Parking $1 fees suggested that well over 1000 visitors arrived, not to mention many more who walked or elected to park elsewhere.

Strong attendance and related fund raising will ensure that the Carmel Valley Garden Club can continue its decades-long support for other local Carmel Valley non-profits.  Many thanks to all our valued community guests who attended.

And for a great selection of photos from this wonderful event just click on Garden Show 2023!


Rosie's Garden Spring Clean-Up - Saturday, March 18

Spring Clean Up Success!


In a lucky break from this winter's frequent rain, Club members gathered on a sunny Saturday morning for spring clean-up of Rosie's garden.  With a stormy and windy winter, many twigs and branches had fallen, and even though most had already been collected, there were even more to recover.  Not to mention leaves, cutting back frost damaged plants, and the spring garden curse: WEEDS!  We had a good turn out and an energetic crew.  And the garden does look great, once again!  Please think about volunteering this fall to keep Rosie's in good shape!

Valentine's Pot-Luck Party - February 9

And A Good Time Had By All!

The Stage Is Set Social HourDinner Is Served

Just a few days shy of the actual Valentine's Day, more than sixty Carmel Garden Club members gathered for this popular annual pot-luck party.  The party was especially welcome after the pandemic era cancellations in 2021 and 2022!

Club member's cooking skills and generosity were on full display with a lavish array of appetizers, salads and sides, entrees, and desserts of all kinds.  It was great to see members - both new and old mingling during the happy hour and enjoying a wonderful meal together.

January 12 Club Meeting - "It Starts With The Soil"

The January Cluib meeting was very well attended.  Our speaker, Dr. Muramoto, a soil scientist and agro-ecologist, is the first organic agriculture dedicated specialist in the University of California system. Since May 2019, he has assumed statewide responsibility for research and extension in organic systems.

Since then, he has been studying fertility and soil-borne disease management in organic strawberries and vegetables in coastal California. His current research focuses on nitrogen management in organic production, integrated soil health management, and sustainable organic agriculture and food systems in California.

Dr. Muramoto's presentation was well illustrated with an excellent presentation that contained a tremendous amount of useful information.  For example, who knew that organic fertilizers need to be converted into inorganic in soil to be absorbed by plants?  Numerous questions followed his talk.

December 15 - Holiday Party Returns!

Carmel Valley Garden Club Holiday Party
After two years of dismal COVID-related cancellations, the CVGC Holiday Party was back in 2022 and in great style!  Some sixty members enjoyed great hors d'oeuvres, a selection of wine and beverages, and fellowship conversation.  This was followed by an outstanding buffet of lasagna and salads, and then desserts (of course)!

This year the event was held in the new Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church hall, wonderfully decorated in advance of our event for the holiday season.  Karolyn Stone and volunteers added to the festive atmosphere with beautiful table arrangements.

President Dianne Woods thanked Karolyn Stone for making the arrangements, the many shopping trips she made to assemble all of the items needed for an event of this scale, and the hard work of actually conducting the event.  Certainly, the Holiday Party attendees agreed: a wonderful time was had by all! - Alex Gray

A nice selection of photos by June Dawson is available in Holiday Party 2022.  Check it out!

  Click here to register.

Rosie's Garden Fall Clean-Up - Saturday, October 15

Fall Clean Up Well Attended - Garden Looks Great!



On a crisp fall Saturday morning members of our Club and several guests (please see our youngest ones in the picture top left) joined forces to do the fall clean-up of Rosie's garden.  This involved the usual chores of trimming, weeding, and leaf raking.  In the spirit of many hands making for light work, our work was mostly over by about 11AM.  And the garden does look great!  Please think about volunteering next spring to get Rosie's in good shape for the next season!

FIESTA Roundup - August 6-7, 2022

Fiesta 2022

Fiesta 22 Pix1             Fiestan22 Pix2

In the days leading up to the Fiesta weekend, our efforts to recruit both seasoned and new members to volunteer in the Garden Club booth were very successful. As many of you know, the Fiesta is a great place for members to get to know each other and work together representing the Club at a vibrant community event. As it turned out, we had plenty of volunteers (see list below) which meant each of us had time to walk around and check out all the impressive vendors, and EAT!


The many visitors to our booth showed their support for the Garden Club with their purchases. We sold lots of plants, all succulents – echeveria, aeonium, agave, and euphorbia - propagated and generously donated by Margaret Johnson and Steve Hoch.  Additionally, we made sales of tee shirts, denim shirts, and a few other clothing items emblazoned with the Club’s logo.


Again, because of our members’ generosity, we were able to offer cold and refreshing lemonade provided by Julie Moore on both Saturday and Sunday. Dianne Woods donated a box of tools she has used but no longer needs. (No doubt they are imbued with a true gardener’s magic.) The last but not least of our give-aways was a bit of gardening advice, offered by whichever volunteer felt moved to answer a question posed by a visitor to our booth.


We did have a few membership renewals for 2022-23 and we sent some membership applications home with some seemingly interested passersby.

Special thanks to our volunteers including
June Dawson, Gordon Dill, Margaret Johnson, Dianne Woods, Penny Wood, Jackie Lynch, Marlene Martin, Lauren Meiklejohn, Ramie Allard, Zack Schneider, and Suzanne Laurens.


Garden Gala, Saturday, April 30
The Carmel Valley Garden Club's 51st annual Garden Show was held with great results the weekend of April 30 to May 1. Due to the pandemic the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so it was wonderful to host the 2022 event with an enthusiastic response from sponsors, vendors, and the surrounding community.

Check back soon for a more detailed update but meanwhile Garden Show 2022 is an album of outstanding photographs documenting every aspect of the show!

Don't forget to "Like" us on FaceBook and Instagram

   Event Schedule


Theme for the year:
"April Showers Bring May Flowers"

See You In September

Thank You
  Garden Show 2024

Grandiforal Level

Griggs Nursery

Floribunda Level

Pat & Bart Burrows

Alex & Pat Gray

Dean Hatfield & Karolyn Stone

Peninsula Septic Tank Service

Magniflora Level

Ceramic Pro

Hatten Plumbing

Kathy's Little Kitchen

Martin Electric & Solar

M. J. Murphy
Lumber & Hardware

Polaris Consulting

Regency Construction Company


         Carmel Valley Garden Club                                                             P.O. Box 72 Carmel Valley, CA  93924                                                                      831-277-2670