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Our Story


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 current and past members of  the Master Gardener program, but members of other organizations such as San Antonio Garden Club, Native Plant Society, Rose Society, Herb Society and other groups that have as their focus water conservation and best practices gardening in the South Texas area.

GVST’s original “charter group” were also all members of Texas A & M’s Dr. Jerry Parsons’ Research and Development team that researched and propagated new-to-the-market plants at the old Peterson’s greenhouse on Seale Road. Dr. Calvin Finch, who was then the 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,  a non-profit 501c3 corporation, GVST, was formed.

Calvin suggested that “educator turned Hill County Gardener” Tom Harris, Diane Dondero and Anne Schiller get things organized.  When Diane passed away a few years ago, GVST planted a tree in her memory at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. When Tom passed away in 2020, a GVST scholarship fund was established in his name.



  • 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

Today, the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas (GVST) mission is to provide informational and educational resources for individuals and organizations that help residents and businesses promote water conservation tips & techniques while gardening and performing other daily activities by helping them implement and adopt a culture of water conservation as they become a WaterSaver Community member.

Many Thanks to Our Wonderful Partners

While GVST has many dedicated volunteers, we really could not exist without the financial and in-kind services support from these great sponsors. We would encourage to visit their websites and learn about these organizations who believe in conserving water through excellent landscape design and bringing our community members together.

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