Los Osos Valley Garden Club Members after tour at Los Osos Valley Nursery.
Photo submitted

They might have dirt under their nails and an occasional weed in their hair, but they leave a place looking more beautiful than when they found it.

The Los Osos Valley Garden Club has been beautifying the community and educating folks since 1933 as the first California Garden Club, Inc. in the county.

They recently received three first place awards from CGCI for their work on the pollinator garden at the Los Osos Library. The non-profit was recognized for Civic Development, Operation Wildflower and Pollinator Education.

“Our club was thrilled and very proud to receive three first place awards,” said Wendy McKeown, president of the 14-member LOV Garden Club. “California Garden Clubs, Inc. is the largest nonprofit, volunteer gardening organization in California and has over 350 garden clubs, plant societies, affiliates and youth groups representing more than 21,000 members. So, winning three first place awards with CGCI is a significant achievement.”

Members of the LOV Garden Club began installing the pollinator garden at the Los Osos Library in March of 2019. The club’s vision was to create a garden in front of the library parking lot that would provide habitat for local hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

This pot popping with eye-catching succulents is at the entrance to Los Osos Post Office. Photo submitted

“The library serves as a community gathering space,” said McKeown. “People from our area and surrounding areas visit the library for books, resources, children’s story time, poetry readings, and classes. We felt that the exterior of the library needed to be just as welcoming and cared for as the interior of the library.

“We also felt it was a great opportunity to educate the public about how drought-tolerant and California native plants could be used in the landscape for beautification and promotion of pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds for a healthy environment.”

Plants were donated by the Los Osos Middle School Native Plant Restoration Project or purchased at local nurseries. Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos donated the mulch.

The LOV Garden Club promotes local gardening and landscaping projects through educational talks, tours, hands-on projects and charitable contributions that include donating gardening books, vegetable flats and plants to other organizations as well as gifting monetary funds to the Los Osos Middle School’s California Native Plant Program, the Los Padres National Forest for forest restoration and the SLO Food Bank.

Preservation of the environment, beautification projects and community donations are all part of the mission of LOV Garden Club, but relationships also take root.

Los Osos Valley Garden Club’s award winning pollinator garden project at the Los Osos Library. Photo submitted

“Members enjoy forming friendships with like-minded gardening enthusiasts, and learning gardening skills through attending workshops, lectures and field trips,” McKeown said. “We also enjoy encouraging the love of gardening in others, especially the children of our community.”

Currently, due to the coronavirus protocols, members can’t hold regular in-person meetings, but plans are in the works to monthly meetings via video conferencing — the public is welcome to participate.

Anyone interested in joining the LOV Garden Club is encouraged to attend a meeting first, virtually for now. Annual membership dues are $25 for an individual membership and $35 for a family membership. More information can be found on their website at lovgardenclub.org. Questions should be directed info@lovgardenclub.org. Green thumbs are welcomed, but are not a requirement.

“We welcome all levels of experience,” McKeown said. “We are all here to learn and grow at our club.”