Just announced… The SCSH Spring Garden Tour

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

9 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. followed by a Social Hour at Ken Elkman’s SCSH garden

Member Cost: $5.00

Guest Cost: $10.00

Maximum number of registrants - 100

Please register by 5 p.m. on March 22, 2018, by going to the Members tab, log in, then sign up!  Once you have registered online, please drop your payment in Box 55 in the Montecito at your earliest convenience. Please make sure your name is on your payment envelope. The tour program will be distributed via email the day before the tour. This is a Members Only event however Members can bring a guest. Guests must be accompanied by the member while on the tour.  To register by phone, please call Amy Tomlinson at 303-888-5429.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Our second Field Trip to the Sunnylands Public Garden

The SCSH Desert Gardeners Club invites you to join us for a walking tour of the Sunnylands Public Garden on Thursday, March 8th, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. Over 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean are displayed in the 9-acre garden. During this free 60-minute guided walk, we will enjoy a commentary by a member of the Sunnylands education department. Please wear comfortable shoes, bring sun protection and water. There will be an optional no-host lunch at a nearby restaurant following the tour. Please register by March 5th. Guests are welcome. Carpools will be arranged prior to the tour. Registration is limited to 20 so sign up today!

*Please note - This is a repeat of the trip we made to Sunnylands on January 24th.  There will be some repetition. However, Sunnylands does gear their presentation to what is going on in the garden at the time.

Thursday, February 1, 2018


It was another fabulous field trip!  We visited Gubler Orchids in Landers and The Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley, CA.  Plus we had a tasty lunch at the famous Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace!  For those of you who missed this trip, do not fret!  The retail prices and selection of orchids were fabulous, and the tour was so informative.  It will be on our schedule again in the future.

Thanks to Lucy Lee Crane for some great photos!

For those

A great time was had by all at our walking tour of

the Sunnylands Public Garden followed by lunch at The Yard House

Thursday, January 25th:

Over 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean are displayed in the 9-acre public garden surrounding the Sunnylands Visitors Center. During the free 60-minute guided walk, we enjoyed an informative commentary by a member of the Sunnylands education department.  We learned about milkweed and its relationship to Monarch butterflies, Palo Verde and Mesquite trees, Agave and other types of cactus and even some info on hummingbirds.  This walk to open to all on Thursdays (during the high season only/not in summer/check the website for dates) at 11:00 a.m.  Pre-registration is not needed.  We finished our day with lunch at The Yard House at The River in Rancho Mirage.

January 10, 2018 - Trip to Sunnylands

Our sold-out trip to Sunnylands on January 10th was a hit!  Thanks to Deb Weisgerber for organizing this event!

“The tour of Sunnylands on Jan. 10 was worth the wait!  A sense of history envelops you as you enter the estate.  It is amazing to be in the actual rooms where so many world leaders met, ate, and slept. The estate and beautiful furnishings have been meticulously maintained and our guide was thoroughly knowledgeable, really bringing the home to life with his comments. We also enjoyed exploring the public garden, a beautiful and tranquil environment of desert plants and reflecting pools.”

-Juanita F.

“Thank you for organizing the "Sunnylands " trip, it was quite interesting to see the Estate.”

-Karin Leman

“Debra - Thanks so much for all the organization to make the event happen.  I particularly enjoyed the memory room, guest rooms and the history.”

-Patte Foreman

“You beautifully orchestrated the event from beginning to end.  Yes, the lovely weather was an added bonus.”   -Sharon W.

“The Desert Gardeners trip to Sunnylands was everything I expected and more.

What an amazing place! I can’t wait to go back because it was impossible to see everything in just one tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and delightful, tho he often had to remind me to keep up with the group, there was just so much to see...

I was fortunate to be the last alternate to make the trip, next year I will sign up early!”

-LucyLee Crane

“Sunnylands exceeded my expectations. Actually, I didn’t know what to expect (lol) and I found it to be amazing and inspiring.”

-Marla Hendrickson

February 1, 2018 - Gubler Orchids/Cactus Mart Field Trip

Registration is open for our field trip to Gubler Orchids and The Cactus Mart on February 1st.  Please click here for details.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It was another great Happy Hour, featuring fabulous food, exciting door prizes and a great slide presentation.

Thanks so much to our door prize donors – Cheryl Croonquist, Kathy Pettit, Amy Tomlinson and Moller’s Garden Center.  If you did not attend you missed a chance to win the $100 gift certificate graciously donated by Moller’s!!

Many thanks to George (and Betty!) Shultz, who shared a terrific slide presentation titled “Gardens of Our World”.  George spent hours and hours perfecting the program and that time was well spent.  The beautiful photos were a travelogue of all the places they have been or lived.

“Amy - Andrea and I want to say a GREAT BIG THANKS to you for being our splendid leader these past couple of seasons.  As you are the only club president Andrea and I have known, we are totally impressed with how much energy and effort you put into Desert Gardeners. Your enthusiastic, leadership, communication skills and caring nature towards all members is enviable and much appreciated.”

-Corey and Andrea Unfried


New Officers for 2017-2018

New officers were elected at the December 2017 meeting.

But first, thanks so much to our outgoing people – Linda Delaney, Donna Zelazny, Marje Burdine and Maureen Whittaker.  They gave lots of time to the club and we so appreciate it.  The new Officers for 2017-2018 are

President – Amy Tomlinson

VP - open

Secretary – Diana Gomez

Treasurer – Deb Weisgerber

Marje Burdine will be our Communications person and Corey Unfried will be our Membership Chair.  

Volunteers Needed

There are a few spots where we need volunteers including the Program Committee and Website Management, and we could use another person to help with Membership.  The club also needs a Vice President, which is critical to the continuity of the club.  We will be scheduling a Volunteer meeting after the first of the year.  The next event that will require a cadre of people is the Garden Tour.  Please consider giving the club a bit of your time so we can continue this unique opportunity to see some great SCSH gardens.

Succulent Pots for Sale! (as of Dec. 14, 2017)

We had some leftover succulents and those have been planted into 2” miniature buckets and 6” ceramic pots that would make great gifts!  We have 9 of the 2” pots, which are just $2 each and four of the 6” pots at just $10 each.  The 2” pots could hang on your holiday tree!  Please contact Deb Weisgerber at to purchase these. Please note that the pots have a drainage hole so they are not water-tight.


Lush and Efficient Gardening Books available (as of Dec. 14, 2017)

We have a few “Lush and Efficient” gardening books available for $5.00.  Please email me at if you would like one.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

We had 14 members make a succulent bowl to enjoy all season.

Each person received a kit with a bowl, soil, tons of plants and rocks and other goodies.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The “hands-on” pruning demo by our favorite arborist, Donna-Lee Ekstrom drew a huge crowd (45+!) to Vintage Nursery (78755 Darby Road in Palm Desert).  Donna-Lee pruned a citrus tree, a Texas Sage shrub and a staked Lantana.  

“I really enjoyed my time  at the gardens and did learn a lot about pruning. Thanks for organizing this.”

Kind regards,

Cathy McLean


Our meeting and field trip schedule is coming together.  Here is just a brief list of what we have in mind:

November 8 - (Regular meeting) Hands-on pruning demo by Donna-Lee Ekstrom - at Vintage Nursery in Bermuda Dunes

November 30 - (Workshop) Make a succulent bowl

December 13 - (Regular meeting) Happy Hour with a presentation by nature photographer George Shultz

January 10 - (Field Trip) Sunnylands (No meeting in the clubhouse)

February 1 - (Field Trip) Gubler Orchids in Landers, CA and The Cactus Mart in Moreno Valley

February 14 - (Regular meeting) “Pollinators of the Southwest” by Kurt Leuschner

March - (Regular meeting) The Parts and Pieces of Irrigation Systems

Annual dues will be $15.00 per person and can be paid beginning October 1.

We are still in need of volunteers to serve on the Program Committee and we really need someone to be the Vice-president, even if you only have time to attend Board meetings approximately three times per season.  

HAPPY HOUR AT KEN ELKMAN’S - April 8th, 2017

Even though we had to move the event to the Montecito due to high winds, it still turned out to be a great night.  Thanks to everyone for bringing such fabulous food. Ken has invited us back next Fall, so if you missed this Happy Hour, you will get another chance to see his incredible night-time landscape featuring approximately 250 lights.







On April 5th, members of our club and the Sun City Palm Desert Garden Club went on the

SCSH Lifestyles department-sponsored trip to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets and The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.  The Flower fields are only open while the giant “Tecolote” Ranunculus are in bloom.  Vast fields of flowers in at least thirteen colors were a sight to remember.  The Flower Fields property also had a water garden, a water-wise garden, a sweet pea maze, an orchid greenhouse featuring beautiful Cymbidium orchids, a poinsettia display, aviaries and an Armstrong Garden Center.  


Join your fellow members for a Potluck Happy Hour on Saturday, April 8th, 2017, from 6-8 p.m. at the home of Shadow Hills resident Ken Elkman.  Ken has approximately 250 lights in his rear landscape, which we will get to see.  Spouses are welcome.  If you have not yet signed up, go to the Members Only tab, sign in and then click on Event Registration.  You will see the form for Happy Hour at Ken Elkman’s.  The final date to register is April 1st.

***Please note that there will not be a regular meeting on Wednesday, April 12th and there is nothing going on April 7th, contrary to what you might see on the calendar in The View.   The Potluck Happy Hour will be our last activity until next Fall.  

Have a great summer if we don’t see you on the 8th!


All we can say is “Wow!”  On March 30th, 2017, 25 of our members went to Sun City Palm Desert to experience their annual Home and Garden Tour.  Yes - HOME and garden.  8 gracious homeowners opened their interiors and exteriors to tour attendees and every one was spectacular.  We saw beautiful water features, elaborately decorated patios, outdoor art, birdhouses, bee houses, unique exterior furnishings and some unusual plant material as well.  Everyone came home with a new idea for their own property.  Here a a few photos-






16 members enjoyed a walking tour given by Preserve volunteer Harlan Walker.  We learned local history, ancient history, geography, geology, plant biology, pond biology, and about ten other “-ologies”!  We even got to taste a palm seed from a Washingtonian Palm, which tastes much like a date, but is pea-size.  The wildflowers were in bloom, and many said they would be going back soon for another look.  The tour was followed by a great lunch at the all-new Big Rock Pub in Indio.  Thanks so much to Mary Riege for organizing this event!  For those who didn’t get to go, the Preserve is open to the public.  Go to for hours and more info.

Here are some comments from those who attended:

“Wally and I really, really enjoyed the lecture and tour today!  It was so much better with a guide, and the guide was great.  I think everyone else liked it too.  We learned so much today.” - Dana B.

We enjoyed the Thousands Palms Oasis tour. I have hiked the trail before but it is more enjoyable having a docent explain all of nature’s hidden secrets.” -Diana G.

“I had a great time yesterday. It was a great outing.” - Donna Z.


What a great day we had for the tour - the wind quit and the sun came out as did so many of our members. Here are some comments from those who attended-


The gardens were all so different. Great hosts. Great job!

 Looked like everyone was enjoying themselves and the weather smiled on us!!

All homes offered landscape and/or hardscape that was unique and beautiful.

#8 Home  -  Mike and Darci McMichaels' landscape was over the top outstanding.

This is my first event and it was very well organized, informational and easy to get around.  The hosts were also very cordial.

We had nine lovely landscapes to view, from small and intimate to one of the largest lots in the development.  The hosts had a great time sharing their vision with us, and several even said “I’m going to have to join the club - you are all such nice people!”


Kurt brought a great program to the club - “Attracting Beneficial Critters to your home garden”.  Bee houses, bird houses, scrap brush piles, plants and hardscape all provide homes for so many species that make up our desert environment.  Kurt is also the leader of the Desert Cities Bird Club.  Thanks to Linda Delaney for bringing Kurt to us.

DONNA-LEE EKSTROM was our speaker on January 11th, 2017

Donna-Lee is an ISA Certified Horticulturalist and Arborist, who was a golf course superintendent here in the valley and on the coast before becoming an Arborist.  She shared her wealth of knowledge about tree pruning, watering and fertilization.  She gave us a bit of biology, followed by some do’s and don’ts of pruning, and then talked about the importance of watering judiciously and strategically.  Donna does home consultations.  Many of the members asked for her contact information, so here it is:

Donna Lee Ekstrom


Thanks to club member Marje Burdine, who was the person responsible for bringing Donna-Lee to us.


January 21, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m. Desert Rose Society will have their annual rose pruning demonstration followed by the pruning of the roses at the Palm Desert Civic Park Rose Garden, 43900 San Pablo Avenue, Palm Desert. Hal Reynolds, the rose expert who spoke at our April 2015 meeting will be showing you how to prune roses. This is a great opportunity for a free pruning lesson and you will get to practice your new skills on someone else’s roses!  Please check in with Hal Reynolds and identify yourself as being from SCSH Desert Gardeners, bring a sharp/clean pair of pruners and gloves if you wish to participate in the pruning of the rose garden (A kneeling pad is also helpful).  Actual pruning of the garden will follow the demonstration. This is not a SCSH Desert Gardeners sponsored event.  Just go on your own and enjoy the free lesson!!!



For the second year in a row, Blooming Events Florist came to SCSH to help us make holiday arrangements.  They were lovely and many have said the flowers lasted well into January!

Desert Gardeners Go Off the Concrete Path, November 17th, 2017


The Living Desert was the site of our November field trip.  The guided tour was lead by the ever-so-dedicated Suzanne Jarvinen, a two-time (CA and CO) Master Gardener and SCSH resident. A group of 18 Club members visited the North American, Madagascar and Eastern African gardens, and caught glimpses of various zoo inhabitants along the way.  The cheetahs were out, as were the Bighorn sheep. There was even a Boa Constrictor (in the capable hands of a zookeeper) there to greet us at the gate.

The Living Desert has an amazing variety of native and non-native plants throughout the park.  With Suzanne’s guidance we negotiated the sand pathways that weave around the areas between the concrete sidewalks, which most visitors don’t even know are there.  The cactus, shrubs, perennials, vines and trees are left to grow naturally and receive little or no supplemental water.  It was a great opportunity to see what things look like when left to grow without much human interference as well as how they adapt to the harsh conditions of this area.

Everyone had a great time – a nice walk (lasting about two hours), cool weather, a great guide and good company.


For more information on upcoming workshops, hikes and tours being offered by The Living Desert and various partners, go to

The Living Desert University

“Thanks so much for another fantastic event with the Desert Gardeners on Thursday! I enjoyed every minute of it, and could listen to Suzanne for hours. I appreciate all of your efforts to make this club a terrific learning experience and loads of fun, too. “  Wende G.


The club had the first meeting of the season today, and the turn-out was spectacular!  We had a little social time, a brief Business meeting, and a great “Open Mic” session, where several people posed questions about particular problems they are having now or had over the summer.  Not surprisingly, there were some great contributions from the audience.  

The website was unveiled and received great reviews.  Many thanks to Peg Ortgiesen for her expertise and input.  The website will be the go-to spot for all of the latest info on our meetings and events, event registration, gardening resources and so much more.  Any input is welcome.  We want the website to be a valuable tool for club members and non-members alike.  Take a moment to cruise around and see what it has to offer:

Our next event is a field trip to the Living Desert.  You can find all the details on the website!


At the April 13th, 2016, meeting of the Members, President Linda Delaney presented the following Slate of Officers for 2016-2017:

President:                Amy Tomlinson

Vice President:        Linda Delaney

Treasurer:                Maureen Whitaker

Secretary:                Marje Burdine

The slate was approved as presented.  These Officers will begin their one year terms on July 1, 2016.

A number of Members have volunteered to serve in various other positions including:

Program Advisory Committee - Kathy Pettit, Debra Weisgerber, Mary Reige

Membership Chair - Donna Zelazny

Check-in Desk - Marita Barker, Mary Ellen Gorske

Website Development - Amy Tomlinson, Kathy Pettit, Judy Wilson, Debra Weisgerber, Pam Glazer, Linda Delaney, Mary Reige

Co-Treasurer - Debra Weisgerber

There are a couple of open positions:

Club Photographer - Takes photos at meetings and events

Communications Chair -

Prepare and send meeting announcements and reminders (via email) to Members

Communicate info regarding club activities and meeting arrangements to Lifestyles department and Security (as needed)

Prepare and deliver information for The View to the Lifestyles Department

Deliver event flyers to the Lifestyles Department for approval and distribution

If you have skills that we can use or just have an interest in getting more involved with the club, please contact Amy Tomlinson at 303-888-5429 or