April, 2021 Newsletter

Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful
Presidents' Letter
Dear New Canaan Beautification League Members and Friends,

Time to take down the last lingering winter decorations, store your extra-heavy-duty puffy coat and get in tune with the rhythms of longer days and warmer temperatures. Lively crocus, hellebores, snowdrops and daffodils are blooming!  SPRING HAS ARRIVED!

Traveling Trowels volunteers have been out cutting back and cleaning up at the Pine Street mailboxes and in Mead Park.  Lee Garden volunteers are also hard at work.  Clearing of triangles is another ongoing project prior to mulching. Our gardening activities adhere to guidelines for masks and social distancing.

Of course, you noted the innovative format for our Annual Appeal letter this year!  The new look features colorful photos of our work and a tear-off bookmark.  This has brought in new donors and an increase in contributions so far.  Added this year is a mailing to local businesses, an effort to increase exposure and contributions.  Unable to meet to write personal notes or hold an envelope stuffing party as in past years, we adapted to the times.  Very special thanks to Patricia Spugani, Amy Weber Reid and their committee for tailoring the Annual Appeal to showcase NCBL’s contributions to our community.

Please take special note that the April program, a shared activity of New Canaan Garden Club and Beautification League, will take place on the second Wednesday of the month, April 14.  Barbara Paul Robinson, author of Heroes of Horticulture, will be our fascinating guest speaker.  (See registration information.)

What do you plan to be doing in April?  Raking, weeding, pruning, edging, mulching and planting can be fantastic exercise, mentally energizing and ever so satisfying.  Another enjoyable activity is taking a mindful walk and noticing all the natural changes day by day.  

Soon, the boisterous yellow blooms of forsythia will brighten our landscape!

Carol & Karen

“One great advantage of the creating of gardens over other kinds of creative work is that you are never finished … A garden … is a little world perennially in the process of creation … a passion which adds to, instead of helping to destroy, the world’s store of beauty.”
Gove Hambidge writing about Samuel Untermyer in 1928

Programs During the Pandemic
Programs for 2020-2021 will be virtual via Zoom webinars.
The Zoom link will be sent by email 1-2 days prior to each event.
Zoom will work on your computer, iPad or any smartphone.

Each month, members, and if permitted, guests, will be asked to register for the Zoom program. (Not all programs will be open to the public - some will be for Members only.) A few days before each Zoom program, you will receive an email from NCBL with the invitation and Zoom registration link. Please register using your email, first and last name. You will then receive an email with your personal “one-click” link to use for the event. A reminder email with the same link will also be sent one hour before the program begins. Please do not share your link; it is unique to you. Note: You do not need to have a Zoom account to join NCBL events.
Also, there is no cost to participate in any Zoom event.
April Program
Heroes of Horticulture program
The New Canaan Garden Club and the New Canaan Beautification League will host their annual joint meeting on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 9:30 AM. This year’s meeting and featured guest speaker, Barbara Paul Robinson, will be open to the public and available via Zoom.

In her latest book, Heroes of Horticulture, Barbara Paul Robinson tells the vibrant stories of 18 contemporary pioneers of the plant world-- institution builders, plant explorers, and garden creators—who have all had a major impact on the American landscape. Some have helped preserve exceptional gardens for the public to enjoy or introduced new plants to the west, while others have restored and enhanced public parks and spaces, each setting new standards for aesthetics, encouraging land preservation, and promoting public use of the land.
Barbara Paul Robinson
A hands-in-the-dirt gardener, Robinson, and her husband Charles have created their own gardens at Brush Hill in Connecticut. Barbara’s first book was Rosemary Verey: The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener. A frequent speaker for horticultural organizations and garden clubs, Barbara is Director Emeritus of Wave Hill and The Garden Conservancy and a former board member of Stonecrop. To purchase an autographed copy of “Heroes of Horticulture,” learn more about Barbara, and take a virtual tour of her gardens, visit www. brushhillgardens.com.
for later viewing,
per reNOTE: Ms. Robinson's talk will NOT be available for later viewing.quest of Ms. B
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Registration is required, but you only need to register once.
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Once you have registered, an email will be sent to your inbox with the webinar link. You will also receive the webinar link in an email 1-2 days prior to the event.
May Program
'Welcome Home, George Washington: Mount Vernon's Gardens'

Dean Norton, director of horticulture at Mount Vernon will give us an entertaining look at the gardening world of the first U.S. president. Employed at Mount Vernon since 1969, Mr. Norton will explore the beauty, use and importance of Mount Vernon's gardens and landscape, as well as the preservation efforts of the recently restored pleasure garden.
He will discuss the history of Mount Vernon and its gardens, archeological digs used to inform the restoration of the 4 gardens, the stewardship of the gardens by the Mount Vernon Ladies Society, conservation of the property and the ongoing development and maintenance of their showcase gardens. Dean is a renowned expert in boxwoods and has plenty of tips and tricks for their care. He will walk us through his oversight of the 250 year old kitchen garden and ornamental showcase gardens.

The book, The General in the Garden is available at:
Elm Street Books,
35 Elm St.,
New Canaan, CT
Prior NCBL Webinar Links
Click on the linked titles below to view our past webinar programs! You can also find these links on our website.
Annual Appeal
The 2020 Annual Appeal has concluded quite successfully! With the generosity of our friends and neighbors, we received a record amount - and number - of donations. These donations fund a significant portion of our annual budget. 

Our 2021 Annual Appeal is now underway with mailers recently sent. Look for a colorful new format in your mailbox, with a photo of the “Welcome to New Canaan” sign on the cover.

Thanks to the entire committee and extended team: 
Amy Weber Reid, Richard Duffee, Lisa Ferrante, Faith Kerchoff,
Karen Hanson, Jane Campbell,
Dody Whitehurst and Eva Wingate.
Karen Hanson picks up some donations from PO Box 4
White Oak Shade Rd. & Nursery Rd.
Some snowdrops pick well and smell delicious.
Crocuses herald the coming spring.
The Hansons enjoying lunch on their terrace.

The following triangles are in need of some one to care for them. If you are interested in helping out, kindly email Barbara Wilson at: barbara@wilsonlandscapearchitect.com
Triangle at Rt. 124 & Luke's Wood Rd
It is mostly shrubs and big rocks.
God's Acre triangle

Triangle care is minimal: It involves keeping an eye on the plantings, deadheading and weeding during the summer, and cutting back in preparation for winter. Maybe an hour per month.
Triangle (to come) at the intersection of 106 & Lapham
The triangles around town are getting their mulch and are looking fabulous!
Thank you Claude, Barbara & Greg.
Hanging Baskets
Next month, our hanging baskets will be gracing the streets of town. This year, the color combination was chosen during a meeting with our Hanging Basket Chairs and was initially inspired by a bouquet of Carol Seldin's dahlias on Bianca Romano's table. Ideas for the color combination then grew to mimic a collection of tulips Bianca was planting for a client. Without further ado, our hanging baskets 2021 will contain the following plants:
Sun basket from left to right: Petunia 'Supertunia Indigo Charm', Petunia 'Supertunia Vista Fuchsia', Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Crackling Fire', and Petunia 'SuperCal Yellow'
Shade basket from left to right: Browallia 'Endless Illumination Blue', Begonia fuchsioides 'Pink', Begonia 'Illumination Apricot', and Lysimachia
Lee Garden

Spring fever will hit the area hard this year! It will hit suddenly and without warning.
You will buy tons of any plant that has color and is blooming. You may fill every room with them!
Go crazy.
But when they are finished blooming-- please keep Lee Garden in mind for those primrose, daffodil & hyacinth plants you are finished with. We can plant them for next spring. They may be dropped off in our parking lot area, or put on the patio.
We thank you in advance.
Faith has created a new map for the Kiosk in Lee Garden. Over the winter, the map was updated to include the new barn and terraces, the Secret garden and a few other newer changes to the garden. There is apparently no end to Faith's talents. THANK YOU!
The map in the kiosk
Narcissus cyclamineus (cyclamen daffodil) by the bridge in a cluster that grows in the black mass of cinnamon ferns.
A frog surveys his kingdom.
rock iris, Hellebore, & double snow drop
Lending Library
If you need some inspiration for spring planting, click the button below. There are a host of books stored at the Lee Garden barn available to any member. Call or email Faith Kerchoff or Betsy Sammarco, who will get the book(s) to you.
Thank you to the Town of New Canaan which brought and spread new gravel in Lee Garden's driveway.
Remembering Joan Sargent 
by Lois Himes

Lois was a fellow gardener-friend of Joan, and it was Joan who introduced her to Lee Garden. Lois is a plant collector who has a particular interest in Epimediums, having worked for Harold Epstein who was known for his extraordinary collection of shade- loving plants. In 2019 she moved from her lovely gardens in Westport, to a condo here in town. Lee Garden benefitted from many donations of plants from her Westport garden. Lois continues to volunteer at Lee with a special interest in our Epimedium collection.
There is a small garden behind the seating area in Lee Garden near the shed called
Joan’s Garden, memorializing Joan Sargent. Who was this woman? Why does she
have a garden dedicated to her?

Joan was a gardener extraordinaire and headed up Lee Garden through the 1990s. She
was very well known in New Canaan’s gardening circles for many years: New Canaan
Garden Club, Waveny Walled Garden, New Canaan Nature Center Greenhouse, and of
course, Lee Garden. They all benefitted greatly from her horticultural expertise, great
generosity and involvement.

Joan was born in England; one might say she had gardening running through her veins.
She was a woman of tremendous drive and energy, a bit like our own Faith Kerchoff!
She was a voracious reader and a natural teacher. Her gift was not just to impart
knowledge, but to teach others to think for themselves, by allowing them to make
mistakes and learn from them. She kept voluminous notes and religiously kept a
garden diary even noting sightings of birds. To encourage others to do the same she
would give friends a garden diary as a Christmas present and took the liberty of
starting a page or two so the recipient would know how to do it!

She wrote a regular column for Horticulture magazine, led workshops, and gave
numerous lectures. Clematis and Hellebore were two of her favorite topics. She
worked at White Flower Farm for a while and would think nothing of going into the
Brooklyn Botanic Garden to work as a volunteer guide, thus all the time increasing her
knowledge of plants.

She had a beautiful garden of her own which she loved to share with others. Starting
plants from seed gave her tremendous pleasure. She would transplant masses of wild
violets (white, lavender, deep purple) from her lawn to another area in her garden where
she could enjoy them en masse. She pointed out that they were weeds in her lawn but
flowers in her garden. A true plant collector, she never bothered about the spacing of
plants: if there was a 2” x 2” bare patch of soil she’d throw a snapdragon in there. She
was never shy about bringing her garden indoors. Her house was dotted with what she called “not flower arrangements”: little vases of this or that that she had picked that morning.

She’d bring the odd branch or bud into the house to watch it open and enjoy it close
up. She once said, “Gardening is a way of life for me. Deadheading starts my day;
seeing what happened overnight; who is eating what; watching the swallowtails in the
buddleia and phlox enthralls me still.”

Joan, a gardener of more than sixty years, was a presence, forthright in her opinions
and willingness to share her knowledge. Inside this unpretentious hands-in-the-dirt
gardener lived a great lady, in the best sense of the word. She died in 2012 and is
sorely missed. However, her friends are reminded of her each time they visit one of New
Canaan’s gardens.

More next month!
Left to right: Tracy Phillips, Susan Bergen, the late Chris Falco, Yvonne Hunkeler, Ann McCulloch, and Joan Sargent.
The collection of Joan Sargent's gardening essays, written for our league when she was a member, can be found on our website by clicking the button below:
Faith, Yvonne & Kathy are at Lee Garden every Monday and Thursday from 10-2, weather permitting. They are always happy to have help
and in return dispense useful knowledge.
To reconfirm, email Faith at: Faithkerchoff@hotmail.com
Traveling Trowels
The Pine Street drop-off garden is starting to bloom....
rock iris
winter aconite
Jill Ernst carries a big load of cut grasses.
Faith cuts a group of grasses.
Mail box before clean up.....
...and after clean up
Mead Park looks great after its clean up.
Thank you Lois, Yvonne, Stephanie, Jill and Faith.
Mead Park after clean-up today
Mead Park Plaza
Thank you to all who came out to make the mail box area and the Mead Park plaza look so nice!
Faith and Rob are generally at the Pine Street mailboxes on Friday mornings. Again, they welcome help and in return dispense great information about the plants.
To sign up for notifications about caring for the Pine Street garden and Mead Park's plaza and gold star walk, email Faith at:
Pollinator Pathway News
Native Plug Sale
Have you been thinking about planting more native plants on your property to help the survival of insects and pollinators? Look no further as Planet New Canaan is having a Native Plant Plug Sale to benefit the Pollinator Pathway movement!

What is a plug? A plug is a small, young plant grown from seed. The plugs being offered here are CT NOFA certified native plants, started from seeds collected sustainably from wild spaces in Connecticut. You can't get any more native than that!
The Native Plant Plug pre-order sale is happening now, until April 18th. Pre-order a flat of 32 plugs for $75. One flat too big? Grab some friends and split your flats!
To see the species being offered and make a purchase, click the button below:
Pick up will be May 8th at the New Canaan Nature Center between 8:30am-11:00AM.
Local Lepidopterist Talks Meadows and Monarchs
Wednesday March 31

Victor DeMasi, a lepidopterist and artist from Redding, will speak on butterfly gardening and ways to attract pollinators to one's own backyard. Always an entertaining speaker, Victor's talk can be watched by registering with the New Canaan Library by clicking the button.
NC Library Pollinator graphic
NCBL YouTube channel
Make sure to check out New Canaan Beautification League on YouTube! All of this past year's programs can be viewed on our YouTube channel and if we get 100 people to subscribe, we will be able to get our own custom URL.

Click on the YouTube icon below and you'll be directed to our channel.
Then hit subscribe! We only need 54 more subscribers!
NCBL Election
The Board of NCBL has put forth a slate of proposed board members for election. The election will occur at the June members' meeting. Kindly review the nominees below in preparation.

Proposed slate of board members of NCBL for 2021 – 2022

President - Karen Hanson and Carol Seldin 
Vice President - Jill Ernst
Recording Secretary - Nancy Jordan
Treasurer - Dave Hunt
Vice President Beautification - Rob Carpenter, Faith Kerchoff
Triangles - Greg Brown, Claude Colabella, Barbara Wilson 
Flower Arranging for Meetings and Events - Jacqueline Harmody 
Flower Arranging for Waveny Care - Betsy Bilus, Eniko Szatai 
Hanging Baskets - Betsy Sammarco, Jessica Havens 
Holiday Decorations - Laura and Andrew Ault, Kathleen and Peter Murphy  
Public Relations - Robin Bates-Mason 
Photos - Peter Hanson, Yvonne Hunkeler, Nora Fay 
Webmaster - Lisa Ferrante 
Newsletter - Fanny Moran, Betsy Sammarco  
Programs - Kirsten Gregorio, Nancy Malling, Aoife Maynard, Ty Tan, Sue Hull
         Zoom Host – Patricia Spugani 
Annual Appeal – Patricia Spugani, Amy Reid, Richard Duffee, Eva Wingate, Lisa  
        Ferrante, Jennifer Bergen 
Annual Appeal Treasurer - Karen Hanson   
Membership – Laura Ault, Rose Bauersfeld, Christina Fagerstal, Krystie Inman 
Corresponding Secretary – Libby Butterworth                                                                                                       
Hospitality for Meetings - Cindy Bamatter, Robin Miner, Anne Tropeano 
Hospitality Special Events - Gloria Simon, Sara Hunt 
Nominating – Cindy Bamatter
Lee Garden – Yvonne Hunkeler, Faith Kerchoff, Kathy Lapolla 

New Members
NCBL Banner
Please welcome our newest members:
Jo Crane
Susan Isaacs
Roger Williams
Linda Hamady
Susan Donaldson

Invite your friends to join us! We love having new members.

To download the membership form, click HERE.

NCBL Membership, PO Box 1244, New Canaan, CT 06840.

Please write 'FOR MEMBERSHIP' on checks.
clover and snacks


Makes one 8-inch loaf


  •  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  2 large eggs at room temperature
  •  2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  •  1/2 cup milk at room temperature
  •  1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed, drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  1/3 cup sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Using electric mixer, cream butter with 1 cup sugar in large bowl until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon peel. Mix in dry ingredients alternatively with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. 
2.     Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. 
3.     Pierce top of hot loaf several times with toothpick. Pour hot lemon mixture over loaf in pan. Cool 30 minutes in pan on rack. Turn bread out of pan and cool completely on rack. 

Submitted by Cindy Bamatter
clover border
Buds and Blooms
Looking for “Blooms”

We have more new members joining us!  Please volunteer to be a “bloom” and help us welcome our 'buds'.  Just share your enthusiasm and alert them to upcoming events.  We want to be sure everyone feels welcome. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Jill Ernst.

Spring Bouquet Zoom Meeting

The newest member “Buds” and their seasoned “Blooms” will welcome spring together and share ideas for garden activities on a Zoom meeting April 12 at 1:00.

Please respond to the email you will receive and the link we will be sent to you.  If you have any questions, contact Jill Ernst.  jrvernst@gmail.com
If you have changed any of your contact information (home address, email address, or phone number), please let membership know.
Moving Day graphic
teddy bear with flowers
Please let me know if one of our NCBL members needs some "cheering up” in the form of a note, a plant or just a friendly call.
Libby Butterworth (203-801-0862)
Change in Bylaws
Who would have thought many years ago, when our bylaws were written, that we'd have to take into account a pandemic that prohibits gathering? Since that is exactly what has happened, the following change was proposed and voted on at our March board meeting:

QUORUM Section 4.4 Thirty members present in person shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the corporation.

has been changed to:

QUORUM Section 4.4 Thirty members present shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the corporation.
Of Interest...
Karen Bussolini specializes in garden photography, writing and eco-friendly garden coaching and design. She has spoken to NCBL members in the past. To see what she is currently interested in, visit her website.
Final Notes....
More armchair travel.
This time we follow Monty Don to Italy. For a half hour tour, click below.
And thank you, Sara Hunt.
To find native plant ideas for your garden, wherever you live, there is a website that gives you good information on plants that host lots of butterflies and moths and other insects that birds love. Look on the Native Plant Finder website.
How did the Pussy Willow get its name???

The Legend of the Pussy Willow

According to an old Polish legend, many springtimes ago a mother cat was crying at the bank of the river in which her kittens were drowning. The willows at the river’s edge longed to help her, so they swept their long graceful branches into the waters to rescue the tiny kittens who had fallen into the river while chasing butterflies. The kittens gripped on tightly to their branches and were safely brought to shore. Each springtime since, goes the legend, the willow branches sprout tiny fur-like buds at their tips where the tiny kittens once clung.
Our NCBL Newsletter is used to distribute information regarding NCBL activities and announcements that pertain directly to our stated mission. The newsletter shall not be used for political issues, or for the promotion of merchandise or services unless such merchandise or services are part of a joint venture with NCBL.