CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 3 *  APRIL 2015    

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This spring brings more change than usual, as we transition from one administration to the next. Jacqueline Connell and the chairs of her theme, Bee Kind to Pollinators--Plant Natives--and Create Backyard Habitats--say their farewells in this issue. Horticulture Chair Pamela Weil also steps down, with an important article on pesticides.Our Legislation Chair, Linda Helm, and Environment/Conservation Chair Louise Weber have completed their terms, too. We thank all of them for their hard work!

And we introduce you to our incoming President, Jane Waugh. You can meet her in person at the April 15 Annual Luncheon and Meeting, at which time we will install new officers and vote into office several new committee chairs.   You don't want to miss what promises to be an extraordinary design program by Candace Morgenstern, and we will also recognize the four clubs that have won the Backyard Habitats Contest.

Learn about the good FGCCT does with its World Gardening program, its scholarships, and its support of Habitat for Humanity. Then, get outside and get your hands dirty in your own backyard habitat!

For this month's Calendar, click here.


Lynn Hyson, Editor
President's Message

Greetings Fellow Gardeners!

In Just 
        when the world is mud-
                                                       -e.e. cummings

We welcome spring (at last) with an open heart and eager anticipation of new beginnings-spring rains and April flowers, and a garden freshly planted with new ideas.  Casting off the snowy winter we venture out into the warm sunshine seeing Mother Nature's world with fresh eyes.

     Bee Kind to Pollinators -
    Plant Natives-
    Create Backyard Habitats

We chose this, our State Theme, three years ago.  Knowing our pollinators are in trouble, we sought to bring a new awareness of their plight and to do something about it.  And club members responded, planting hundreds of native trees.  We registered backyards with the National Wildlife Federation certifying the provision of food, water and shelter for our birds and other wildlife.

We certainly have been on the right track.  After our State theme was chosen, a bee made the cover of Time magazine and countless related articles have appeared.  Most importantly - very recently the National Wildlife Federation has launched a program to encourage its habitat participants (over 1.5 million people) to plant milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies and other native plants for pollinators  (please see accompanying articles on the NWF initiative and on milkweeds in this issue).  

Many thanks to clubs that participated in our contests, had speakers such as our State Projects Chair, Lois Nichols, on bees and pollinators, and created educational exhibits to teach members about what they can do to help pollinators.

With April comes a new Federation administration.  Please attend the State Annual Meeting at Aqua Turf on April 15th.  Jane Waugh will be installed as our next State President.  Jane brings a wide range of capabilities to the job.  I know you will support her as you have me.  We wish Jane and her administration all the best.

Finally, many, many thanks to all the clubs who hosted me these last two years - I have so enjoyed being your President.  Together we have changed the landscape of Connecticut, making our State more Earth-friendly and kinder to wildlife.

* Jacqueline Connell


Deploying 185,000 Wildlife Habitats
To Save the Monarch Butterfly

The National Wildlife Federation is reaching out to its nationwide network of 185,000 certified NWF habitats to enlist their support in providing food and shelter for monarch butterflies and other pollinator species.

The Federation's Garden for Wildlife Program has certified many thousands of habitats with 1.5 million active participants in every state and nearly every county across the U.S.

These certifications range from hundreds of high-visitation locations such as the U.S. Botanical Garden and the San Diego Zoo, and major urban parks, to tiny gardens in Manhattan. Each certified site owner agrees to offer food, water, shelter and places to raise young for all types of wildlife.

Recent studies show that even a small property that contains these four key elements will see double the number of wildlife - birds, pollinators, small mammals and more - residing at or frequenting the site.
Since 1994, NWF has also encouraged entire communities to certify as habitats by meeting a rigorous set of criteria to adapt residential gardens, school lands, park lands, places of worship, and other locations as habitat.  Eighty cities, towns and counties have met the criteria and are certified including Austin, TX, Broward County, FL, Charlotte, NC, Fairfax County, VA, and others. Another 50 communities, including Chicago and Baltimore, are working on certification and 30 more anticipate enrolling in the Community Wildlife Habitat program in the next year. 

Cape May, New Jersey, one of North America's preeminent bird and pollinator migration locations, is working on certification with close support from the New Jersey Audubon Society, NWF's affiliate in the Garden State.

Throughout 2015, NWF is calling upon the more than 1.5 million people who participate in its Garden for Wildlife Program to help support the declining monarch butterfly by encouraging them to plant milkweed and nectar plants needed for food and habitat for this iconic species.  To learn more about this program:

* Kevin J. Coyle, JD.
Vice President, Education and Training
National Wildlife Federation
The Mighty Milkweed

The National Wildlife Federation is asking people to plant milkweed, Asclepias, because it is the host plant for Monarch butterfly larvae.  Asclepias incarnate  (Swamp milkweed) grows in sun to part shade and attracts swarms of butterflies.  Its seed pods provide late season interest in wildflower gardens.

Other Asclepias are available, most importantly Orange Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa.  Its July blossoms are vivid orange to red-orange.  Its nectar attracts scores of butterflies while its leaves are host to the caterpillars of Monarchs.

Your backyard habitat benefits most with a diversity of native plants, trees, grasses, perennials and annuals, all working together to provide a continuous succession of blooms, berries, seeds and nuts for foraging, suitable host plants or nests where pollinators can lay their eggs and a pesticide-free environment.

The best reference is the Xerces Society guide Attracting Native Pollinators - Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies.   

* Jacqueline Connell




Dear Friends,

Our backyard habitat contest is coming to a close and I hope you have certified your backyards with the National Wildlife Federation.  The winners of the contest will be announced at our April Annual Meeting at Aqua Turf.

In the two years that I've written articles for the CFN, I have learned a lot and hope to continue to look at my backyard through the eyes of its inhabitants and improve it so that so many more critters will benefit from my interest.  It's a year-round operation out
there as you well know, so please continue your good works for the benefit of all who inhabit your backyard.

* Anne Harrigan
Backyard Habitat Chair


To win this contest, club members will create or sustain backyard
habitats certified by the National Wildlife Federation. Club members may create new ones or count previously certified ones if they are still maintained as certifiable. The four clubs (1 each: small, medium, large and extra large club) with the most certified landscapes at the end of 2 years each will win a prize. The 4 winning clubs will be announced at the FGCCT Annual Meeting, April 15, 2015.

Please send your club's number of certified landscapes to our FGCCT Office Secretary, at [email protected] by April 1, 2015.

Note: These contest winners will be determined solely by the
numbers-there will be no books of evidence to submit. Clubs will
report the names of club members whose yards are certified
for the Backyard Habitat Contest.


Candace Morgenstern.

I look forward to seeing you at the April 15, 2015 Annual Meeting.  It will be our chance to thank Jacqueline for her two years as President and welcome Jane Waugh and her new board.

Our five enthusiastic vendors will be back with their lovely items.  I have 6 new vendors for you to visit at this meeting.  Natureworks of Northford, CT is an all organic nursery.  They will feature fragrant-smelling spring potted plants and shrubs (so welcome after all the snow) as well as organic solutions for your gardens.  Debra Pope is bringing her Hypertues Garden Troughs that can be used to plant fairy gardens and summer plants in your yard.  Lavender Pond Farm is a new business in Killingworth that impressed me at the Hartford Flower Show.  They will be offering lavender scented lotions, soap and linen sprays.  If the snow has not damaged their young lavender plants, they may have a few for sale that day.  Two more vendors have asked to come.  One will be offering sharp garden spades and another has designer jewelry of drowsy and precious gems.
Raffle tickets will be for sale for the vendors gifts and for Candace Morgenstern's designs.

I ask that you arrive before 9:45am so there is not a large influx of members at the last minute.  Registration check in will be by club name. A-L will be on the left side of the table and M-Z will be to the right side.
Thank you.

* Margaret Hopkins
Meetings Chair

Option for Returning Silver Awards
Won in 2014

If you or your Club won a Silver Award at the October 2014 Awards meeting and you wish to return it, you may do so at the upcoming Annual Meeting on April 15th to be held at Aqua Turf.

We trust you will find this arrangement convenient--it will save money and relieve you of concern about its safety.  Otherwise, the silver will
need to be returned via U.S. Mail, FEDEX, or UPS, insured, to a location to be announced in the next issue of our CF NEWS.

* Inge Venus
Silver Manager


Pollinators in Retrospect

In the time that I've been writing about pollinators, I've learned so much about the topic it feels the equivalent of earning a graduate degree.  
Pre-history finds the co-evolution of flowering plants and insects in the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras.  Bees evolved from wasp-like ancestors. In the Stone Age, roughly 10,000 years ago, humans were robbing wild hives, depicted in cave  paintings.  Closer to our time, roughly 3000 B.C.,honeybees were utilized and revered by the Egyptians, pharaohs and commoners alike.  Hives were ferried up and down the Nile as needed for crop pollination. Honey mixed with various powders was used to treat wounds, burns, abscesses and other skin conditions.  
Moving rapidly forward to Medieval times, hives were maintained, among other places, in monasteries.  Besides using the honey for sweetening (no sugar, then) the beeswax was utilized for making candles and providing illumination.  When European settlers reached North America, honey bees arrived with them. The colonists used bees for many of the same reasons that earlier Europeans did.  The pollination of agricultural crops leads to the uses to which honey bees were put as we move toward the 20th century.  
Bee-keeping hit a serious roadblock in the early 21st century, with the description in 2006 of colony collapse disorder (CCD).  There were many possible causes put out:  long-distance hauling of hives for crop pollination; monoculture crops leaving bees without pollen sources once the crop matured (besides eliminating the wild flowers along the edge of the fields;) urbanization, which eliminates wild areas and leaves desert-like lawns in their stead.  Besides these insults, bees were also subjected to pesticides, including the systemic neonicotinoids, and various pests and diseases.
Our native bees have been playing an increasingly important role in crop pollination, as honeybees have been impacted by the above-mentioned factors.  Rather than living in a permanent hive with multiple generations performing various tasks, solitary bees have an annual lifespan. These bees live in aggregates - like condo-livers under one roof, but having separate entry ways.  Probably best known of these native bees is the Mason Bee.  Its name derives from the building material used in nest construction.  Mud, sand and chewed plant material are used for its burrows.  

The females lay eggs in individual nests, seal them off, and the egg is left to its own devices as opposed to the rearing of honey bees. These bees are vital to the pollination of many crops, specifically orchard crops.  Nesting material for these  bees is readily available, so we can add them to our local ecosystem.
It isn't just a backyard effort that is being waged to protect pollinators. In June of 2014 a Presidential directive was issued to Federal agencies to create a strategy for promoting honey bee and other pollinator health. Pesticide use is an ongoing problem. The Fish and Wildlife service is phasing out the use neonicotinoids in all Wildlife refuges by 2016.  It is the first U.S. agency to do so.
In addition to what our elected representatives are doing, there is much we can do on the home front. Continue to grow bee-friendly plants. Neonicotinoids are sold at home-use concentrations greater than commercial use!  Carefully read the labels of all products you purchase for dealing with pests.    
Happy Pollinating!

*  Lois Nichols
State Project Chair

Insecticides In Your Garden

April is not too early to think about insect control. Better to think about it now so you can make some informed decisions when the beasties come, as we know they will!

A recent article in The New York Times ("Banned Abroad" by Danny Hakim, published on February 24, 2015) gives us all food for thought. The author talks about chemical compounds that are banned in the European Union but sold in the United States.
Generally speaking, the European approach incorporates the so-called precautionary principle and requires companies to establish that new chemicals are safe before they are put on the market. The American approach puts the onus on regulators to show some evidence of danger before taking action against new chemicals.
... One recent analysis found 82 instances of pesticides allowed in the United States but barred or restricted in Europe.

Many of these products are sold in the United States with labels that must contain words such as "Warning" or "Caution." The E.P.A. has identified some of them as "probable human carcinogens" or "likely to cause groundwater contamination." Yet they are still on sale.

The chemical imidacloprid is an example of this duality. On December 1, 2013, imidacloprid was one of three insecticides given a partial two-year ban in the European Union (EU) to allow time for additional study. These insecticides were banned because of their proven harmful effects on bees. On July 11, 2014, products containing imidacloprid were banned on Long Island because of proven groundwater contamination.

Yet imidacloprid continues to be sold and is currently the most widely used insecticide in the world. It has been used in products sold in the United States since 1994. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, there are over 400 products for sale in the United States that contain imidacloprid.

Dr. Kimberly Stoner, a research scientist at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has been studying the possible harm to bees caused by insecticides. From 2007 to 2012, she has collected the pollen from bees at five locations in Connecticut. Dr. Brian Eitzer, a scientist in the Department of Analytical Chemistry, analyzed the pollen for pesticide content.

Stoner and Eitzer discovered that the highest concentration of a single pesticide in a single sample was phosmet (an organophosphate mostly used in orchards). The second highest was imidacloprid. Imidacloprid belongs to a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids, which are often used in products sold to home gardeners.

Neonicotinoid insecticides are chemical relatives of nicotine and act on the insect nervous system. They are systemic, which means they can travel from the soil through the veins of the plant to the pollen and nectar, where bees can collect and consume them. Some neonicotinoids (as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, or dinotefuran) are very highly toxic to bees and to many other insects.


It's not clear at what concentrations neonicotinoids have measurable effects on the health and survival of honey bee and bumble bee colonies. Perhaps the most important sublethal effect of neonicotinoids on bees may be suppression of the immune system, making honey bees more susceptible to viruses.

We can help our bees by being selective about the garden products we buy and use. The neonicotinoids most widely used by home owners are imidacloprid and dinotefuran. They have several trade names, so read the fine print under "Active Ingredients" to see if the product contains these particular chemicals. The words "systemic" or "long lasting" on a garden label are another clue that the active ingredient may be a neonicotinoid.

Some trees, such as maples, do not have obvious flowers, but are important sources of pollen and nectar for many species of pollinating bees. Do not apply neonicotinoids to linden and basswood trees, or rhododendrons. The toxins in the nectar of these plants combined with neonicotinoid insecticides have caused "bee kills."

Honey bees do not visit eastern hemlocks, so a systemic insecticide treatment for hemlock woolly adelgid does not pose a hazard.

In addition to avoiding products containing neonicotinoids, we can help our bees by choosing flowering plants that they prefer. Stoner has published a fact sheet, "Planting Flowers for Bees in Connecticut," that can be downloaded from the CAES website or call to have a copy mailed to you.

* Pamela Weil
Horticulture Chair

Meet Jane Waugh

Our incoming President, Jane Waugh, grew up in western Pennsylvania, "where," she says, "gardening meant corn, tomatoes and geraniums. But, I always had a kinship with trees." She remembers her father taking her into the woods to dig up trees, and they had peach and apple trees in their yard.

Jane's career in computer systems and
banking had her at the forefront of technology. In the 70's and 80's her husband, Jim's, work at IBM took them to Japan for five years. When they returned to live in Stamford, a neighbor learned that Jane had studied Ikebana at the Sogetsu school in Japan. "She said I must join the Shippan Point Garden Club!"

Jane served as Treasurer and President of her garden club.  And as a member she has been involved with their planting of dozens of trees on Shippan Point. When she attended the Federation's Presidents meetings, Jane remembers, "Inge Venus found out that I had been Treasurer, too. She tapped me to be the Federation's Assistant Treasurer." Waugh went on to serve as Treasurer, 2nd Vice President and then 1st Vice President. In that role, she has been the liaison with North East Expos for the Connecticut Flower Show. Her administrative talents were put to use overseeing the logistics of the show, especially the calendar and set-up tasks,so the chair could focus on the creative aspects.

Her home garden is "tiny, a quarter acre with a view of Long Island Sound," as Jane describes it. "I'm a plop-in kind of gardener," she says, " I just like to try too many plants." But her garden has a shape to it and a tiny fish pond. "Jim is extremely helpful, he does the lawn and we basically do it all ourselves." She has had her yard certified as a Wildlife Habitat.. The mildness of the climate there allows her to grow a camellia tree and, she says, "Crepe myrtles love my yard!" And Jane grows dahlias in pots, which she overwinters in the basement.

"My peaceful respite is digging in the dirt, listening to the birds and watching the garden grow, " says Jane.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor


September  9-11  2015

Enjoy a late summer coach trip to the Hudson Valley, prime territory for lush gardens. Spend 3 days enjoying the majestic landscape that borders the Hudson River, an area rich in history and unique garden designs. The splendid setting encompasses an almost infinite variety of design approaches, from formal and traditional to naturalistic. 

Tour the great historic estate gardens of Franklin Roosevelt  and the Vanderbilts. Delight in seeing distinguished gardens such as Stonecrop and Innisfree, icons of landscape design that are now open to the public. Other treats include dinner at the Culinary Institute of America and a wine tasting at a Hudson Valley vineyard.
Springwood, the Hyde Park Home of FDR.

*    Holiday Inspiration in Brandywine Valley and Philadelphia
December 1-3 2015
Our rich three-day program promises to offer you inspiration for creative holiday decorations, flower arrangements and shopping possibilities. Tour three outstanding Dupont family estates: Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and Nemours. Tour the renowned art collection at the new home of the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum and a traditional German Market in downtown Philadelphia.


 For  information contact
Kathy Kobishyn, FGCCT tour coordinator
[email protected], 203 915 6017
Carew Travel  800.621-1113   [email protected]

World Gardening

As World Gardening Chair, I would like to thank the following clubs for their generously thoughtful monetary donations for 2014:

    Branford Garden Club
    Cheshire Garden Club
    Danbury Garden Club
    Garden Club of Old Greenwich
    Garden Club of Orange
    Glastonbury Garden Club
    Guilford Garden Club
    Haddam Garden Club
    Mountain Valley Garden Club
    Wallingford Garden Club
    Westport Garden Club

Donations to the World Gardening program by the Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc., have been traced back to 1986.  The World Gardening fund is totally separate from the Federated Garden Club of Connecticut's treasury, and relies entirely on the generosity of YOUR INDIVIDUAL CLUBS.  The decision for distribution of donations to appropriate programs lies with the chairman and her committee. She then presents her suggestions to the Federation's board for approval.  

The  National Garden Clubs, Inc.  encourages our participation.  Each year a single member garden club, a group of garden clubs (councils or districts), or a state garden club may apply for the Dean World Gardening Award in honor of Mrs. Charles O. Dean (silver tray donated by the Garden Club of New Jersey in honor of Helen Hull).  It is awarded for the most outstanding program or activities IN OTHER COUNTRIES.  This can be achieved by supporting international organizations that provide health, food, housing, fresh water, etc.   We can also donate for disaster relief, make donations of seeds and animals, support children in schools or orphanages, as well as promote conservation, reforestation and habitat restoration.  

In the past, Connecticut has supported the Heifer Program, Global Partners/ Running Waters, Inc., CARE, World's Children, Inc. and the Near East Foundation.  I am reviewing these organizations and will be making my recommendation to The Federation board at the May meeting.  I hope to support our outgoing President Jacqueline Connell's program of "Bee Kind to Pollinators" as well as our incoming President Jane Waugh's program, which will be announced at our spring installation luncheon at the Aqua Turf.  However I need your support to work with families and communities in other countries, to end poverty and care for the Earth.  I look forward to hearing from you!  If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected].

* Dottie Fox
World Gardening Chair


Over the next few months in the Judges Council Corner,   we are going to provide guidelines for putting on a Standard Flower Show according to National Garden Club, Inc. requirements:

          1.  The show must be planned and staged by National Garden Club, Inc.  member clubs.
          2.  Fresh plant material must be emphasized throughout the flower show.
          3.  Schedule must be written and mechanically reproduced with specific wording and inclusive of all essential  details.
          4.  Both horticulture and design divisions must be included in the flower show.
 a. Minimum of five horticulture classes, at least 20 exhibits
overall, any number per class, no minimum number of exhibits required in any class.
 b. Minimum of five design classes, four exhibits per class, at least 20 exhibits in all.
          5.  Must be judged by panels of NGC accredited judges.
          6.  Must be judged by the NGC Standard System of Awarding.

Next month we will discuss among other things the NGC Standard System of Awarding.

* Jessica Fischer
Flower Show School Chair


Do you want to know where the FGCCT Scholarship money goes? Here is the third in a series of articles by the 2014 scholarship winners.

Eric Fine is a 2014 FGCCT Scholarship winner and contender for the NGC Scholarship:

First, I want to thank the FGCCT once again for their generous scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year. My experience here at Yale so far has been even better than I expected and you helped make it possible.

For those of you I have yet to meet, my name is Eric Fine. I am originally from New Jersey and I have spent the past 15 years working in outdoor education throughout the Americas and Europe, mostly with Outward Bound.  Recently, I have been working as the Medical Director for New York City Outward Bound and directing the Outward Bound Patagonia program in Argentina.

Before I started working in Patagonia in 2005, I had never spent multiple seasons on the same glaciers. Seeing the Patagonian glaciers recede dramatically in just 10 years has inspired me to pursue a 2-year Master of Environmental Science degree at Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Specifically, I am learning to improve climate change communication strategies in order to increase action on the issue.

I came to Yale because it is a center of the new field of climate change communication. Since arriving, I have been working with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication as a research assistant and partnerships coordinator. Due to the lack of development in this field in Latin America, for my thesis I will interview Argentine climate change elites to explore public perception and attitudes and new communication strategies in Argentina. In my first semester I have focused on acquiring the skills and knowledge I will need for my thesis.This semester I am studying science communication, environmental campaigns, and the people and organizations I will be interviewing starting in May.

After graduation, I plan to move to Argentina and collaborate with the Fundacion Bariloche on improving Argentine climate change communication. My thesis work will help determine which steps to take. One possibility is to conduct a national survey to better understand the range of public perception and attitudes related to climate change. So far, there have been a few climate change related questions on environmental surveys, but no surveys focused on climate change in Argentina.

I really appreciate your financial assistance. Since our half-built house burned down a few years ago, my wife and I have been able to save $100,000. Now with an 8-month old baby, I calculate that by the end of my degree, we will have spent all of our savings and be around $40,000 in debt. This debt will be difficult to pay off on an Argentine wage. Thank you for valuing and financially supporting so many students that go on to benefit the environment in so many ways.

Sincerely, Eric Fine.

News from the Habitat for Humanity Fund:

The Federation will reimburse Long Hill Garden Club the sum of $150.00 for a tree and planting at Juliet Taylor's Habitat for Humanity Veterans Home in Trumbull, such funds to be taken out of our Habitat for Humanity account.

Juliet Taylor with her new tree.
*   Duane Luster
Habitat for Humanity Liaison

Share Your Garden!

CFNews is asking members to submit a favorite photograph of their gardens to share with our readers. A special spot, an unusual design, any image from your garden that you think is distinctive is welcome. We will publish them in the color Constant Contact version of the newsletter as space permits. Simply email a .jpg file to Lynn Hyson by the 10th of the month at [email protected]. Thank you.

Nancy Lenoce shares two views of the daffodil field of Bud McQuade in Redding, CT. 







To maintain your garden club's Tax Exemption status, your club MUST file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EVERY YEAR. You must file a form 990, 990-EZ, or 990N (the e-postcard).


Clubs that fail to file an annual 990-series return or notice, for three consecutive years, will AUTOMATICALLY lose their tax-exempt status.



o r Go To, then click link for "Charities & Non-Profits."




Deadline for MAY 2015 ISSUE  


Email Articles and Photos to:
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CT Federation NEWS

Published monthly except January/July


Direct Articles/Dates/Events to:   Lynn Hyson, Editor    

49 Seventy Acre Rd., Redding, CT  06896     203-431-0613


Direct Advertising Queries to: Diana Abshire, Advertising Manager

26 Diamond Hill Rd., Redding, CT  06896    203-938-1114


Direct Circulation Queries to:  OFFICE SECRETARY, FGCCT

P.O. Box 854, Branford, CT  06405     203-488-5528



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