South County Teaching & Demonstration Garden

Welcome to South County Teaching & Demonstration Garden (SCTDG)

We are very pleased to announce that this garden won an award in UCCE's 2014 state-wide Search for Excellence as a successful, innovative project.

UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County conduct sustainable gardening and hands-on workshops for the public.

The demonstration garden was designed to create educational outreach opportunities in the far southern portion of the county. UC Master Gardener volunteers provide hands-on public workshops in the garden as well as classes in both the hospital boardroom and community libraries. The objectives of the St. Louise Hospital garden includes teaching residents about low-water vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants well-suited to local growing conditions, and modeling sustainable gardening practices reflective of UC research-based horticultural principles.

We invite you to come visit us!

Our garden is always open, but if you’d like a personal tour, our scheduled work day is Monday, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. We also have regular workshops in the garden on Saturdays and at the Gilroy and Morgan Hill Libraries - check Events & Classes for the next workshop!

Location: 9400 No Name Uno on the St Louise Regional Hospital site in Gilroy.
Directions [Google Maps]: While heading south on 101, take the Masten Avenue exit, make the first right over the freeway onto No Name Uno, follow the road approximately two miles and the hospital will be on your left. Veer to the left park in the lot across from the main entrance. Our garden is between the back of the hospital and the medical building at the north.


History and Thanks

In the spring of 2009, the Gilroy Rotary Club invited the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County to give a presentation explaining who they are and what they do. Bette Lloyd, MG’99, made the presentation and closed by asking if anyone knew of a good place for a Demo Garden in the south county. Master Gardeners who have lived in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and San Martin were looking for a site to start a project. Michele Averill, CEO of Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation, had an available piece of land on the hospital grounds. She and Bette started the conversation about the project and Michelle offered the land right then and there. Read on to see how this weed-filled compacted piece of land began to bloom like a rose and bring joy to not only hospital patrons and employees but all garden lovers in the community!

By August 2009, a partnership between Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County and the Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation had been formed. The mission of the project is to extend University of California horticulture-based information to the residents of the south county with the goal of developing sustainable gardens. It was also decided that the fruit and vegetables raised in the demo garden would be donated to St. Joseph’s Family Center of Gilroy. Late into August 2009, a small team of Master Gardeners started to prepare this one-acre of designated space for gardening. There was much support by the business community in the way of donations and deliveries of mulch, compost and card board. From the beginning, the hospital provided water and electrical services free of charge.

In the fall of 2009, we prepared a conceptual design and planting plan. In the spring of 2010, we began planting the California Native Garden including shrubs, trees, grasses and annuals. We also built ten raised beds fitted with drip irrigation hardware that soon became planted with vegetables, herbs and ornamentals. It was decided that tomato plants would be planted directly into the ground. By this time we had enough rose bushes donated, heirloom and other varieties, to complete the demonstration rose garden. It now provides a sea of color along the walkway into the back entrance of the hospital.

 The South County Demo Garden now boasts an extensive irrigation system, a 10x12 garden shed we purchased and installed filled with tools and supplies so we no longer need to haul our own to the garden, a high-density fruit orchard, 10 wine barrels to demonstrate container gardening, a three-bin composting system, a large worm composting box and an arbor that graces the entrance to the garden. The fruit orchard consists of apples, Asian pears, citrus, nectarines, peaches, persimmons, etc., all varieties chosen because of their ability to thrive in this south county climate. The perimeter has been planted with natives and drought resistant plants. Our future plans include a handi-accessible raised gardening bed, a path through the garden and, when inspired, more garden art.

Our growing beds are changed seasonally by direct seeding or with seedlings grown by Master Gardeners. We grow a variety of vegetables in-ground, display various ways to trellis including espaliered apple trees, incorporate garden art and continue to add edible and non-edible native and water-wise plants to the periphery of the garden to provide food and shelter for beneficial insects, butterflies and birds. We also host a garden market on the hospital site selling plants provided by other Master Gardener projects or by our local Master Gardeners.

South County MGs wish to thank the following donors: ST. LOUISE REGIONAL HOSPITAL FOUNDATION, Brian Humphrey from Pleasant Valley Tree Care, Boy Scout Troops 707 and 708 of Gilroy, City of Gilroy, Dave Wilson Nursery (who donated all the fruit trees for the orchard), Google – Doug Coker, Guglielmo Winery, Home Depot, Regan Nursery of Roses, South Valley Recology, South County Rockery, Summer Winds Nursery, Temple-Inland Box Company and The Church of Latter Day Saints Young Men & Young Women. Special thanks to Jane Azevedo for building the Bug House.