Dig this: Village Garden Club of La Jolla gives 14 Jacaranda trees to Balboa Park

A gray day at Balboa Park was brightened by ladies in lavender and spring saplings on March 22, when the Village Garden Club of La Jolla (VGCLJ) donated 14 Jacaranda and seven Torrey Pine juvenile trees to the Morley Field Dog Park. It marked the first time the VGCLJ added trees to Balboa Park through its Jacaranda Planting Program, so a small ceremony was held to celebrate.

Mauricio Medina, on behalf of City Council member Barbara Bry, offered a congratulatory message to the Club for “its successful Jacaranda Tree Planting Program” and for keeping San Diego “beautiful and green ... well, purple.”

Since the Club was founded in 1974 — and the Jacaranda Tree Planting Program was established in 1986 — the members have planted more than 2,200 trees in San Diego County. Some are at the Central Library, the Embarcadero bayfront park, Horton Plaza downtown, and recently, 45 trees at the La Jolla YMCA.

VGCLJ president Devonna Hall explained, “The goal of the project is to help beautify our neighborhoods and City landscape. We hope these trees will help the dog park and provide shade for those who come here to walk their dogs, and so that they won’t just see dirt. The Torrey Pines provide a big statement and the Jacarandas will provide shade and beauty.”

The Jacarandas should mature in two years, and bloom in April or May, she added.

The idea for the Morley Field trees came about after a VGCLJ member met with the Balboa Park Conservancy to suggest a partnership between the groups. Club member Linda Shaw said, “Having lost more than 50 trees in the park since the beginning of this year due to winter storms — on top of a massive die-off caused by five years of drought — the Garden Club is determined to help reverse the trend by planting these trees in Balboa Park.”

At the ceremony, Balboa Park Conservancy president and CEO Tomás Herrera-Mishler said, “Today is an example of the kind of collaboration the Conservancy was established to facilitate. (When you) think about the incredible generosity of the Village Garden Club of La Jolla, and the partnership with the City of San Diego Park & Rec Department, the expertise of our landscape architects … you see it truly takes a village to make this park the world-class destination we’re working toward.”

Hall agreed. “We love Balboa Park and hope this will be the first of many plantings and partnerships. We are always looking for places to donate trees where they will make an impact and help the community,” she said.

The Club accepts donations of $50 to plant a tree, and Hall said several trees are planted in memory of a loved one or to commemorate a special occasion. Donations can be made to The Village Garden Club of La Jolla, The Jacaranda Project, 1140 Wall St., #783, La Jolla, CA 92038-7033 or through its website: vgclj.com

VGCLJ meets 9 a.m. fourth Thursdays, September-May, at Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Centre Drive. Their theme for 2016-2017 is “Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together.”

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