Spindrift August 31, 2023


President Shirley opened the meeting with Leo presenting the invocation, a plea that the resilient people of Ukraine be safe and secure and know a free and unwavering peace. Bob Wood led our pledge of allegiance with no comma. between “nation” and “under”.


The Installation Dinner will be at Gullivers at 6pm on Tuesday, 29 August. The price is $50 for a member and $100 for non-members. The food is likely to be wonderful. If you want to know if you have signed up to come, Shirley can tell you. Cynthia is looking for a volunteer to check the emails that go to our website. Cynthia also announced a planning meeting for an All American Bingo on Sept 12 from 10 to 11 AM at Peet’s Coffee, 894 Avocado Ave. Come and help plan this special event. Bob Wood announced that the football books are available at various prices, all discounted but the best deal is five for $100. Deducible if written by check. First game is Sept 11, so please bring a check if you want to buy any. There are 25 payouts of $50 each.


Scott LaFleur, Executive Director of Sherman Gardens was our speaker today, telling us about all the aspects of the gardens. He was introduced by Docent Wally Ziglar, who asked how many have been to Sherman Gardens, and was amazed that nearly everyone in the room had.

Some people go to weddings or memorials or a walk around the gardens. We also have the library as well. Mission: provides inspiration, education, and appreciation for regional history, horticulture and the arts, for all. Not only do we have the gardens, which are a living museum but we also have the research library where all the books are cataloged and numbered. The plants in our garden are cataloged and numbered. We have a great art collection in our library as well. Paintings are taken off the wall for art exhibits such as a recent one in Laguna. That gave us a chance to get new works of arts up on our walls.

There is a garden, a library, arts and a cultural center, all connected to our educational program. Vision for the future: Thirty-two million dollars is the ten year plan for Sherman Gardens. You should belong by joining, getting the inside information. We took in $40-50K last year and had 115,000 visitors. We were open during Covid, benefited from it, with the fresh air. We have 5000 members. Every single one of you needs to be a member. We depend strongly on docents like Wally.

We had 21 different school visits and pay for the buses to bring them. Mostly Title One schools. We had 8628 volunteer hours donated, including 98 hours for the library. 3210 people took docent-led courses, which include learning how to garden by doing things together.

Education is one of the cornerstones of everything we do. There are robust classes for learning the history. They sponsor internships with colleges. Recently CalPoly San Luis Obispo did a project in the Garden. A student comes back, designs one of the gardens. We’re trying to impress the students that they are in a career in a green industry. We have an amazing library that covers the entire Pacific Southwest.

History. Moses Hazeltine Sherman was the name selected by the founder Arnold Haskell. It was built to serve the community as a sanctuary and educational beacon for history, horticulture and the arts. Henry Huntington was involved in developing Griffith Park from the real estate sign HOLLYWOODLAND.

Our horticulture. Our garden has 2500 plants, including 119 species of palms, and 75 camelias. We have sponsored community events, such as a backhouse dance. Santa Ana Schools brought 3 buses for a teacher performance with Q and A, “Creatures of the Night” with live animals, tarantulas.

We are aligned with the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce with 12,000 members. We do plant shows with begonia, camelia societies.

We have an amazing restaurant, very busy, with food fresh from garden to table. Biscuits: we served 39,140 biscuits last year. Biscuits are a big thing.

The facility is 60 years old, and has some rotted wood. We have big plans, Phase 1 to be complete Jan 2025. The library tells a story. We plan a NEW library. We also have plans to sink the back parking lot to underground parking. Photos show the hopes and dreams of the moment. Some funding comes from the Sherman Foundation, but those funds are forbidden to be used for upgrades. We have a great gift shop, but our mission is not to sell stuff from China. There is an artist’s corner now in the gift shop. $5 admission fee.

Future plans are laser focused on Phase One, our new front doors with brand new entrances, which are small to help people feel welcome. Education is our major focus. The garden shop is an important part of the educational process. We want to let people know we are here. Our goal is to raise $13M by Jan 2025.


Chuck Seven won first place, Leo Fracalosy second.

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Robert Wood

Robert Wood