About Us

Gardening Volunteers of South Texas is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, founded in 2002. It is organized exclusively for educational, civic, scientific and charitable purposes. Our fundamental efforts are focused on water conservation, and environmental awareness while working collectively with fellow private, public and educational organizations to serve as an educational resource for the community.  

Joining GVST has its perks! Members enjoy a 10% discount card to select nurseries, an annual Member Appreciation event, our Happy Hour get togethers at Members homes, and field trips to various local gardening venues. Being a Member only requires a love of gardening and a willingness to share knowledge with others and to fill out the Census Form located on the Website. GVST equips Members and volunteers with knowledge through Essentials Classes the third Monday of the month via Zoom until we can have social gatherings again. GVST has no formal meetings and we do not count the hours you volunteer. Having you at our events, classes and special projects is what makes our organization and community great!


  • We work closely with San Antonio Water System (SAWS) to promote watersaver practices in outdoor gardening, landscaping and horticulture.
  • We are members of these organizations:

Community Outreach

We participate in major gardening events throughout the year.

Previous examples:

SAWS Spring Bloom (March)

Garden Center Plant Sale (March)

Festival of Flowers (May)

Top Tomato Contest (June)

Garden Conservancy Tour

Herb Market (October)

Mitchell Lake Hoot n Harvest Festival (October)

Service projects involving our volunteers:

  • Gardens, Warrior and Family Support Center, Brooke Army Medical Center
  • Haven for Hope vegetable garden

Neighborhood Fairs (hopefully in the future we can have these again)

GVST will come to your neighborhood for a Saturday morning Neighborhood Landscape Fair, presented in partnership with San Antonio Water System.

We bring lots of information about watersaving landscaping and gardening, drought-tolerant plants and latest rebate and coupon programs offered by SAWS.  Other activities are often offered, such as “Ask the Expert”, tool sharpening and, based on availability, drought-tolerant plant sales.

Neighborhood Landscape Fairs are coordinated through Homeowner, Neighborhood and Property Owner Associations.

For others, check UPCOMING EVENTS


In the past, GVST has awarded multiple scholarships to students attending Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.


  • Be a sophomore or higher and remain in good standing with the University.
  • Maintain a 2.6 or higher Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Be a citizen of the United States, and a resident of one of the following counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina or Wilson.
  • Must be a fulltime student majoring in horticulture, landscaping or related field, with a focus on water conservation, drought-tolerant plants, or watersaver landscaping.

The university should suggest the students who meet the criteria and GVST will participate in the final selection. If no students meet these criteria, we would consider other suitable agriculture students. The scholarship is awarded before the start of the school year.

If you know a student who might lik eto apply for the Dr. Tom Harris Scholarship, administered through GVST, we suggest that they contact the financial aid department of their school. For more information, contact GVST at info@gardeningvolunteers.org or (210) 251-8101.

If you’d like to donate to the Dr. Tom Harris Scholarship Fund, click the Donate button below.



GVST started as a group of gardeners that were part of the BCMG program.  These members wished to take a different path and with the encouragement of several prominent garden mentors, began the organization in 2002. Today, it is great to have members that are not only in the Master Gardener program but members of other organizations such as SA Botanical, Native Plant Society, Rose Society and other groups that have as their focus good gardening in the South Texas area.

GVST’s original “charter group” were all members of Texas A & M’s Dr. Jerry Parsons’ research and development team that propagated plants at the old Peterson’s greenhouse on Seale Road. Calvin Finch, who was then Conservation Director at SAWS, saw the potential in a new outreach group with a “Can do! When do we start?” attitude. With Calvin’s encouragement, we formed a non-profit 501c3 corporation.

Calvin suggested that “educator turned Hill County Gardener” Tom Harris, Diane Dondero and Anne Schiller get things organized. Tom and Anne remain active today. When Diane passed away a few years ago, GVST planted a tree in her memory at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.

• Created a rose and herb garden at the Ronald McDonald House in the Medical Center
• Restored the historic Stillwell House landscape on Fort Sam Houson
• Helped install a xeriscape garden at the Nellie Reddix Center for special education students in the Northside School District
• Helped plant the Watersaver demonstration garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden