Pay for plants but the advice is free at the Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club's annual plant sale being held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 6 at Amador Valley High School.
"What is unique about our plant sale is that these are tried-and-true plants donated from our members' gardens," event co-chairman Bill Tallon said. "These are plants that do well in our climate."
"Besides bargain prices, you can get free advice from our members volunteering at the sale," he added.
The sale has something for everyone -- from apartment dwellers wanting to enhance their balconies to seasoned gardeners with land to grow their own vegetables. Plants are arranged in orderly sections of edibles, ornamentals for both shade and sun, roses, succulents, shrubs and some trees.
"Our members start several months in advance, planting or re-potting some of their favorite plants from their gardens to donate to the sale," co-chairman Daniel McCright noted. "Since the garden club has over 200 members, we get quite a variety of plants for buyers to choose from."
Another popular part of the sale is Maudie's Boutique.
"This is a booth that offers recycled 'yard art and garden treasures,'" explained Lois Barber, club co-president. "Look here for gardening implements, plant pots, and more."
Club members volunteer for potting parties at homes that have lots of plants to donate. A dozen gardeners who call themselves "Hearty Potters" recently went to the Pleasanton home of Don and Judy Person to transplant nearly 100 plants for the sale.
"We are always grateful to those with abundant gardens who donate plants," co-president Dolores Bengtson said.
Nancy Harrington has set aside 200 plants to donate from her garden. Michelle Tallon experimented with starting plants from seed inside her home greenhouse on a heated surface.
"The plant sale is our major fundraiser, which helps us carry out several community service projects during the year," Bengtson said. "For example, in March, club volunteers provide programs about Arbor Day for every second-grade student in Pleasanton's public schools."
Throughout the year, club members care for the Sensory Garden at Centennial Park in Pleasanton, next to the Senior Center. In Livermore they maintain the Rose Garden and replenish the planters along First Street in conjunction with Alden Lane Nursery.
Members also grow edible plants at Eden Garden in Livermore, with most of the harvest being donated to neighbors in need, and they have helped with a garden at Camp Arroyo, which serves students for outdoor education and provides camp experiences for children with serious diseases.
The gardeners also spread their wealth by making packets of seeds available at the Pleasanton and Livermore libraries to encourage others to discover the joys of gardening. Proceeds from the plant sale help fund all of these projects.
Join the club
The Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. the second Thursdays of September through May in the multipurpose room of Alisal Elementary School, 1454 Santa Rita Road. Membership is $25 per year, and applications -- at a reduced fee -- will be available at the plant sale. For more information, visit the garden club's website at www.lavgc.org.