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Origin of LVBHS and the Botanic Garden at Allan Hancock College

     History 101  

The Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society was originally formed as a community support group for the Burton Mesa Chaparral Garden*, overseeing the maintenance of paths and signs. Through the years the Society has grown to include other horticultural activities but maintains a strong interest in plants native to Santa Barbara County.

*Burton Mesa Chaparral Garden at The Lompoc Valley Center of Allan Hancock College
is also known as "Chaparral Botanic Garden" and "Lompoc Botanic Garden" (n
ot to be confused with the "City of Lompoc Drought Tolerant Garden") 

From an undated pamphlet when LVBHS dues were $2:

“History: In the main, two people are responsible for the Lompoc Botanic Garden: Henry Bauerschmidt and Warren Arnold. The late Henry Bauerschmidt, at the time a landscape architect for the Santa Barbara County Parks, recognized the worth of the Burton Mesa and conceived of the Botanic Garden here in its present location. He spurred the county to purchase the land, at that time a part of the federal Correctional Institution, from the Federal Government. Once obtained, he began the long, painstaking task of drawing up plans for the garden. Where he left off, Warren Arnold, a science teacher at Cabrillo Senior high School, took over. With members of his high school’s science club, he kept up the trails and the signs that Bauerschmidt had initiated. With the formation of the Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society in 1977, increasing attention is being paid to this local natural resource. As development proceeds on much of the Burton Mesa, preservation of this small part of the native plant community takes on ever-increasing interest and urgency. It is, as few other places in the Lompoc Valley are, a direct link with our past: the importance of these native plants goes beyond their natural beauty, for they are today much as our Chumash predecessors saw them centuries ago. The live oak and the manzanita were mainstays of the Indian diet, providing them with an ease of living not known among other Indians of the Pacific Coast. Many other plants of the community were important for their medicinal properties; and, perhaps most significantly, we are still learning of the important uses of this plant community to the Chumash.”

Then the pamphlet goes into more detail regarding the "chaparral community, chaparral adaptations, fire in the chaparral" and a bit more history of LVBHS links.

LVBHS Timeline

     History 102  

This is the time line that Warren Arnold has written about the development of the Society:

1.    In the early 1960’s, a professional botanist leads the Sierra Club over property recently acquired by Santa Barbara County from the Army.

2.    This newly acquired property becomes Ken Adam County Park.

3.    In 1966, Cabrillo High School occupies its new campus in Vandenberg Village.

4.    In 1970, a second botanic survey is made in Ken Adam Park and a list of native plants is produced.

5.    Cabrillo Science Club, advised by Warren Arnold, forms a partnership with S.B. County Landscape Architect Henry Baurenschmidt to make signage for a proposed botanic garden at the north end of Ken Adam Park. George Keep, Head Ranger at Jalama Beach County Park is to oversee the work and provide materials. 1970.

6.    H. Baurenschmidt lays out paths for the proposed botanic garden, with the idea that it will show examples of many different California plant communities. Many plants are introduced and an irrigation system is installed. 1970.

7.    While installing signs at this newly formed botanic garden, Mr. Arnold and several students from the science club are seen by Vaughn Proctor, a reporter with the Lompoc Record.

8.    Mr. Proctor proposes forming a group of like-minded citizens who could promote interest and support for what the Science Club was doing there. 1977.

9.    Around a picnic table, under a large oak tree on the south edge of the botanic garden, “Friends of the Botanic Garden” is organized. May 1977.

10.    A constitution and by-laws for the new group is approved. By June of 1977, because of the broad range of interests in the group, the name is officially changed to the Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society.

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     Constitution of LVBHS (last revised 2016)  


Lompoc Valley, Santa Barbara County, California




The name of this organization is the Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society (hereinafter referred to as "the Society" or "the LVBHS").



The purposes of the Society are: (1) to collect, preserve, protect and study plants native to California, especially those native to and cultivated in the Lompoc Valley, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties; (2) to promote, develop and increase public awareness of the Burton Mesa Chaparral Garden at Allan Hancock Community College, Lompoc Campus; (3) to seek to broaden horticultural and gardening interest in the Lompoc Valley; (4) to cooperate with the City of Lompoc in the development and maintenance of drought tolerant gardens on public properties; and (5) to cooperate with other organizations and individuals with like purposes.

Notwithstanding any of the above statements of purposes and powers, this organization shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the specific purposes of the Society.



Membership in the Society shall be open to all interested persons and organizations.



Officers of the Society shall be the president, the vice-president, the secretary, the treasurer and the immediate past president. The term of office for each officer shall be one year. These officers shall comprise the Executive Committee.



The Board of Directors shall consist of the Executive Committee, the Chairs of the Standing Committees, and up to three persons selected from the membership by the Executive Committee to serve as At-Large Representatives.



Membership meetings shall be held at least four times each year. Special meetings may be called by the President with the approval of a majority of the Executive Committee. Those members present at a membership meeting shall constitute a quorum.



Standing committees shall be: (1) Botanic (natural plant); (2) Horticultural; (3) Membership; (4) Education; (5) Newsletter and (6) Publications. Ad Hoc committees may be appointed by the Board of Directors.



The fiscal year of the Society shall be from January 1 to December 31.



The LVBHS does not contemplate pecuniary gain or profit to its members, and is organized for nonprofit purposes. The property of the Society is irrevocably dedicated to social welfare purposes and no part of the net income or assets of the Society shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer, or member thereof or to the benefit of any private person. Upon the dissolution or winding up of the Society, any assets remaining after payment, or provision for payment, of all debts and liabilities of the Society shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or organization which is organized and operated exclusively for social welfare purposes and which has established its tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code.



This Constitution and/or By-Laws may be amended by a ten (10) day written notice of the proposed changes to the membership. Written notice can be by mail, in the newsletter, by e-mail or a combination thereof so long as all members in good standing have been noticed. An amendment passes after notice has been given and if a majority of those voting by a written and/or e-mailed ballot respond affirmatively. Votes are to be counted at the next regular meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose of counting ballots.



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1. Use of Name - No member shall make a statement in the name of the Society without prior approval of the majority of the Executive Committee, unless the Society has previously taken a position on the issue about which the statement is made.

2. Membership -

General Members - an individual, household, or organization who or which pays annual dues.

Life Members -

Paid – a general member may become a life member upon a one-time payment of 20 years’ dues, based on the amount of Society dues the year the member elects to become a life member. Thereafter, the life member shall be exempt from the payment of Society dues.

Twenty-five year honor - an individual member who has paid Society dues for twenty-five years shall become a life member and shall thereafter be exempt from the payment of Society dues.

Privileges - a life member of the Society shall be entitled to all Society rights and privileges.

3. Dues - Dues shall be established each November by the Board of Directors and shall be paid in January of each year.

4. Use of Funds - No member can commit funds of the Society without the prior approval of the Board of Directors.

5. Duties of Officers -

President - shall perform such duties as shall be ordinarily incident to the office of President; shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors, of the Executive Committee, and of the general membership; may call special meetings of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors; shall recommend to the Board of Directors persons to fill vacancies on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors; and shall act as liaison between the Society and other organizations, both public and private, including the City of Lompoc.

Vice-President - shall assist the President in the discharge of his/her duties; shall be responsible for programs; and shall perform such duties as shall be ordinarily incident to the office of Vice-President.

Secretary - shall keep minutes of all membership, Board of Directors meetings, and Executive Committee meetings, and shall attend to all correspondence.

Treasurer - shall receive all monies due to the organization from any source whatsoever, including membership dues; shall keep correct accounts of all monies received and contributions made; shall review all routine expenditures of less than $100.00 prior to their encumbrance; and shall pay all bills. He/she shall file Form 990-N, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax; Form 199N, Organization Exempt from Income Tax; and Form RRF-1, Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report to Attorney General of California. He/she shall prepare each year a full and complete statement of all the transactions of the office, showing the amounts received from any source whatsoever, the amounts disbursed and for what purpose, and the balance on hand, and shall submit the same to the Board of Directors at the last meeting of each year.

6. Duties of the Executive Committee - The Executive Committee shall: (1) act for the membership in case of emergency; (2) respond to crisis situations without the approval of the Board of Directors or the entire membership; (3) immediately advise the Newsletter Chair of any changes in officers and/or members of the Board of Directors.

7. Duties of the Board of Directors - The Board of Directors shall: (1) Open positions should be filled as soon as possible: appoint Chairs of the Standing committees; and the At-Large Representatives and advise the membership of the appointees; (2) establish other committees as needed; (3) determine annual dues; (4) approve non-routine expenditure of less than $100.00; (5) present non-routine expenditures of over $100.00 and other actions to the membership for a vote; (6) fill vacancies on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors upon the recommendation of the President; (7) plan activities and make recommendations to the membership regarding Society business; and (8) appoint an Ad Hoc Nominating Committee which will present a slate of officers at the first membership meeting of the following year.

8. Elections - All officers, except for the immediate past president, shall be elected from the slate presented by the Ad Hoc Nominating Committee and nominations from the floor at the first membership meeting each year. No one shall be nominated to serve as President who has not been a member for at least two years and who has not served on the Board of Directors or a standing committee. The officers shall assume office at the close of the meeting at which they are elected and shall serve for one year or until the election of their successors.

9. Vacancies - Any vacancy other than that of past-president occurring on the Board of Directors shall be filled by appointment by action of the Board of Directors upon recommendation of the President. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice-President shall succeed to that office.

10. Meetings -

Membership - meetings shall be held at least four times each year.

Board of Directors - meetings shall be held quarterly within two weeks of and prior to the membership meetings, and at such times and places as may be determined by the President. The President may call special meetings of the Board of Directors.

Executive Committee - meetings shall be held as required. Any member of the Executive Committee may call a meeting.

11. Quorum

Membership Meetings - Those voting members present at a membership meeting of the Society shall constitute a quorum.

Board of Directors Meetings – One-half the number of directors plus one shall constitute a quorum.

Executive Committee – Three of the four members of Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum.

12. Responsibilities of the Standing Committees -

Botanic (natural plant) - shall coordinate the Society's activities at the Burton Mesa Chaparral Garden.

Horticultural - shall be responsible for encouraging and supporting horticultural interests in the Lompoc Valley.

Membership - shall encourage the expansion of the membership of the Society and shall maintain membership records.

Education - shall make recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding contributions to educational institutions or individuals and shall act as liaison with such organizations and individuals.

Newsletter - shall be responsible for the compilation, publication and distribution of the Society's newsletter.

Publications – shall be responsible for keeping records of the publications (books, videos, DVDs, pamphlets, etc.) of the Society, including, but not limited to, an accounting of the numbers and making recommendations as to when and/or if additional copies will need to be made.


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About our Plant Sales

     History 103  

This was written by Bess Christensen around 1999 or 2000:

After 22 years of increasingly successful plant sales, we thought our newer members might be interested in how this all came about.

The Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society began in 1977, with no source of income except the $2 annual dues. One of our founding member thought “the ladies” might establish a cottage industry by collecting and drying flowers to make notecards, bookmarks, etc., but this idea found little enthusiasm among “the ladies”.

In 1980 another of our founding members, David Lemon, then Research Director for Denholm Seeds, proposed a sale of plants that would be donated by the three seed companies then in the Valley. Burpee was still at its historic location on Floradale Ave., Bodger Seeds was then as now at its long time site on West Olive Ave. Denholm Seeds was at North A and Chestnut, where David's Oglevee greenhouses are now.

David proposed to the seed companies that instead of hauling their beautiful blooming annuals to the landfill when the pack trials were over, they donate them to the Society for sale to the public. The heads agreed; David arranged with his Rotary Club friend Gary Williams, manager of what was then Security Pacific Bank at the north west corner of North H and Pine for use of their parking lot, and the tradition began. Members then as now brought plants from their own gardens. The bank, under successive names and a new manger when Mr. Williams retired, has generously provided the sale site for all of the sales since. One year we shared the location with a barbecue, which was a nice addition – sales were much smaller then – but since then we've had exclusive use of the site, working our way through accommodation with the new ATM and drive-through windows.

Crowds waiting for the opening minute have grown so much that systems had to be set up to keep the buyers out of the way of the trucks bringing the plants from the greenhouses and still keep the customers happy. We never cease to marvel at the number of people who gather an hour before opening time.

Revenues have grown; this year's sale brought in $8,758, bringing the total for the 22 years to just under $95,000. Armies of helpers from the membership and their friends take care of the transport of plants to the sale site, and assist in selling. Proceeds have gone back into the community: to the Lompoc Library for books relating to botany and horticulture; to local schools as they apply for funding for particular projects; the Alpha Club for Flower Show trophies to the Environmental Horticulture Dept. at Cal Poly where our contribution now goes annually to the California section at the Leaning Pine Arboretum, and to UCSB for studies of local interest. One such dealt with the fire ecology of the Burton Mesa Chaparral community. We funded Tony Sehgal's excellent video on the Burton Mesa Chaparral; oversight of the Drought-Tolerant Display Garden on West Central in front of the City's wastewater treatment plant; and since the Society's beginning we have committed many dollars to the chaparral garden on what is now the Lompoc Allan Hancock campus. We share with the City Beautification Commission the cost of winter blooming plants for the gardens at City Hall, and the Society's bimonthly newsletter is an ongoing expense. We respond to requests for funds as the membership deems appropriate.

We try to give guidance to garden novices, many of whom love the colors but have no idea what would do well for their yards, and we're always happy to thrust a membership form to those who say “How do you join this group?” It's not an exclusive organization; $5 a year pays for your family membership.

This happened in 2016: The End of Our Plant Sales!

Floranova Ltd, the seed company that generously donated thousands of plants for our LVBHS plant sales for the last several years, and which was the only such company left in Lompoc, left town in 2016: moved to Chile. Therefore, we could not have a plant sale in 2016, and we do not anticipate any future sales on the scale of what we had for 36 years.

About the Drought Tolerant Garden

     History 104  

Evolution of the City of Lompoc Drought Tolerant Garden.

Copied verbatim from a City of Lompoc Utility Department 1999 Commemorative Calendar, as printed above the month of May:

“From 1986 to 1991 California experienced a serious drought. The City of Lompoc Water Department, Water Commission and the City Council gave priority to finding ways to protect our City from serious shortages and rationing. New and innovative ordinances were passed that would encourage City departments and the residents of Lompoc to reduce water usage without reducing our quality of life, or sacrificing services offered to the public.

  Bess Christensen was a member and chair of the Lompoc Water Commission at this time. She and her husband had planted a drought tolerant landscape in their front yard and had quickly come to appreciate the beauty of the plants, the ease of care and the lower water bills. Mrs. Christensen took it upon herself to campaign for a demonstration garden of similar plants within the City. The Central Avenue frontage of Lompoc Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant was found for the garden, but it was much larger than first visualized by Mrs. Christensen and she realized that help was needed.

Mrs. Christensen also belonged to the Lompoc Valley Botanic Society, and she enlisted their help with this project. Because of the lack of experience and the complexity of the area the Society found that the design was beyond their capability and a landscape design firm was hired to provide the needed expertise. The Society paid for this work and City staff was asked to volunteer for the planting of the Garden.

It is well worth a visit to the Garden. There is off street parking along Central Ave about midway along the garden. A walk at anytime of year will find some plants in bloom. The colors of green and the fragrance of the leaves is always delightful.

Thank you Bess Christensen and the Lompoc Valley Botanic Society.”

Postscript on the Drought Tolerant Garden (DTG): in more recent years, from ? to present  - Members and friends of LVBHS have volunteered their own time to mulch and weed at the DTG, sometimes on Make a Difference Day, sometimes by dates arranged within LVBHS. The Lompoc Recreation Dept or the Wastewater treatment plant has helped provide mulch and remove piles of weeds on volunteer days. In 2019 people on the LVBHS DTG Committee improved or added plant identification signs and placed a few new plants in the ground. (For photos, see Activities-Projects).

LVBHS Awards and Honors

     History 105  

These awards and honors went to LVBHS or to members of LVBHS:

1.    LVBHS received an organization award from the Lompoc Beautification and Appearance Commission 2014 on June 24, 2014.

2.    AL THOMPSON received the Environmental Protection and Sustainability Award during the 2015 North County Looking Forward Awards Dinner on Sunday, June 7, 2015. Details of his contributions, were printed in the Lompoc Record. May 06, 2015 4:47 pm The Forward-view   http://lompocrecord.com/news/opinion/editorial/commentary/forward-view/honoring-north-county-community-heroes/article_1024910e-1350-5365-84da-d2c1775ad2af.html

3.    Members honored with trees and plaques at Recognition Grove in Beatty Park for their botanic or horticultural contributions. WARREN ARNOLD, CHARLIE BLAIR, BESS CHRISTENSEN, MIMI ERLAND, MARTHA GALISKY, CONNIE GEIGER, DAVID LEMON, AL THOMPSON.

Page Created Mar 13, 2014; updated 5-15, 1-17, 6-17, 3-18, 3-21, 4-21, 7-21, 11-21, 5-22.  Please send your thoughts and ideas to:   lvbothortsoc@gmail.com