CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 6 *  AUGUST 2015   

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This issue is bursting with news, from the new series of Floral Design workshops and Tips from the Judges to the three upcoming NGC schools: Flower Show School, Gardening Study School and Environmental Studies School. Special Events include Plant Science Day on August 5, Presidents' Day on September 24 and The Annual Awards Meeting on October 28, plus two exciting FGCCT Tours. Then you will want to read up on planting native Oaks for wildlife, Asclepias for Monarchs, and Hostas for your own pleasure.



President's Message

Dear Gardeners,

A walk in the woods: what a lovely way to spend a day-in the shade-especially on a hot summer day.  I live near the beach and appreciate my view of Long Island Sound every day.  But there is nothing like a change of atmosphere from sea air to the lush fragrance of moss and leaves and rich earth during a stroll under a tree canopy on a path in the woods.

We are all aware of the environmental benefits of trees; they clean the air, increasing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide; they clean the water in forested watersheds; they cool our homes and everything they shade; and they benefit wildlife, especially our native oaks.

But, I am always amazed as I survey my neighborhood for new street tree locations, when I come across an owner who flat out refuses a tree on his or her street-side property.  When the response is, "It's too much raking," or "It might fall on my house," I bite my tongue to avoid saying, "not in your lifetime!"

This is where we, as garden club members, can have an impact. We need to increase education in our communities on the value of trees.
We can stress the environmental impact, but should not forget the economic, health and psychological benefits of trees.
Properly placed trees can save the average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Studies of home sales in Portland, Oregon, and Atlanta prove that trees increase property values significantly. Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yields benefits that are two to five times that investment. So when The Federation invests in an oak tree for your club, we are more than doubling the value of our money. I hope you are all searching for that perfect location!

You might think that the psychological and health benefits of trees would be difficult to measure. But studies have shown that community trees cut back stress and crime. A scientific study published in the open access journal Scientific Reports just last month, correlating the tree canopy in Toronto with public health records and individuals' perception of their health, shows that trees have a significant impact on physical and mental health. "We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger." The study further showed that street trees seem to have more benefit than trees in back yards. So keep planting those community trees and we'll all feel younger.

One spot for a lovely walk in the woods is the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford. We recently held The Federation Board Meeting there where we included a guided walk of the CT Champion and notable trees on the grounds, plus a tour of its many gardens, one of which is a Monarch Way Station.  Events there regularly include adult classes, children's day camp, the Master Gardeners' program, concerts, weddings and many others.

For your information, The Federation makes a small donation to The Bartlett each year as we do to several other Connecticut-based environmental organizations.  Your input on worthy organizations that we should support is always welcome. Except for certain events, admission to The Bartlett is free, so don't forget about this Connecticut gem in your travels.

As you continue your summer gardening, plan to add some of the native plants that support our pollinators.  See Marty Sherman's article with specific information on varieties of milkweed with suggestions on sources for them, plus Barbara Deysson's article on native oak trees. And take some time to attend Plant Science Day on August 5 to gain expertise on many other topics.
Finally, as you start to fill up your September calendar, consider adding these worthwhile events. Club Presidents should not miss the opportunity to attend Presidents' Day where The Federation Board introduces itself and shares information on how we can assist your club.

September 2-4: New England Region (NER) Symposium in New Hampshire - not just for judges!

September 9-11: FGCCT Tour of the Hudson Valley (see article below)

September 24: Presidents' Day (a Thursday) - Important Information for all Club Presidents! Reservations necessary to [email protected]

September 25: Floral Design Workshop from Judges Council (see article below)

September 30-Oct. 2: Flower Show School (see article below)

October 28: Annual Awards Meeting and Luncheon. Click here to register.

Happy Gardening as we continue GROWING TOGETHER.

* Jane

Plant Science Day: An Event Not To Be Missed!

Put the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's 105th Annual Plant Science Day on your calendar.  It is scheduled for Wednesday, August 5th, from 9:30 until 4:00 at Lockwood Farm, 890 Evergreen Avenue in Hamden, Connecticut.

The schedule is jam packed with lectures, presentations, displays and demonstrations throughout the day.

Of special note is a lecture being delivered by Eric Hammerling, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association,   "Protecting Forests in Connecticut for the Future - How Are We Doing?  What Will it Take?"  Also learn about the vitally important subject of tracking ticks and tick-associated diseases in Connecticut.   You'll come away from the day better informed.

A multitude of diverse organizations plan to be on hand to provide insight and counsel on horticultural and environmental issues that affect all of us in our gardening pursuits.  A must-stop destination is The Federation table.

For event details and a full brochure, visit the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website at  Click on the link for the Plant Science Day for the agenda.  I hope to see you all there!

*Arlene Field 
Vice President/Membership


Presidents' Day!
Thursday, September 24, 2015

Learn what FGCCT can do for you and your club.
Reserve your space now at [email protected]

The Middletown and The Bethel Garden Clubs Dedicate Blue Star Memorials

Two of our FGCCT member clubs held Blue Star Memorial dedications in May. On Armed Forces Day, May 16, 2015, The Middletown Garden Club dedicated a Blue Star Memorial Byway Marker on the Veteran's Memorial Green in Middletown. The very moving ceremony was attended by Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, representatives of the Armed Forces, and members of the Middletown Garden Club.

Ona McLaughlin, Middletown Garden Club Blue Star Memorial Coordinator and Pat Dray, FGCCT Blue Star Memorial Chair at the Middletown dedication. 

The Bethel Garden Club dedicated a Blue Star Memorial Marker and Garden at the intersection of Diamond and Greenwood Avenues in Bethel on traditional Memorial Day, May 30, 2015. The dedication ceremony was preceded by the showing of a half-hour film "Hometown Victory: Bethel Goes to WWII."  The very creative Memorial Garden includes plantings representing each of the branches of the Armed Forces.

The new Blue Star Memorial in Bethel.

Attending the Bethel dedication are Nancy Lenoce, Jane Waugh, Patricia Dray and Krista Swanson Fiorini.

The Blue Star Memorial is a tribute to our armed forces, and grew out of the original Blue Star Memorial Highway, which started in 1946 as "a ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state."  I encourage our members to visit these two Memorials and those previously dedicated in our State.  These include Danbury Garden Club's at Exit 5 on Rte. 84; Newtown Garden Club's at the intersection of Route 25 (South Main Street) and Wasserman Way (connector from Route 25 to Route 34/ I-84 Exit 11) bordering the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Durham Garden Club's at the Durham Town Hall and The FGCCT Highway Marker at the Westbrook Rest Area on I-95 Northbound.

I commend these Clubs on their hard work to recognize those who have served and currently serve in our Armed Forces.

*Pat Dray
Past Blue Star Memorial Chair


Gardening Consultants Council

Members of the Gardening Consultants Council on their visit to Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden on April 28.
Mary Sullivan, Jane Waugh and Jacqueline Connell on the GCC tour of Elizabeth Park in Hartford on June 25.

"Floral Design, Beyond Beginning"  

Have you ever wanted to learn more about floral design, but didn't know where to start?  Would you like to know what judges look for in designs?  Do you want to become a better floral designer?  

If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you'll be interested in "Floral Design, Beyond Beginning," offered by Judges Council.  Funded by Judges Council through the Marita Wezowic Fund, the series will take designers who want to progress beyond beginning to the next level.

Starting in September, 2015, four design workshops will be held at CAES (New Haven) Jones Auditorium.  The cost per session of $20 will cover materials.  Sessions will be taught by accredited judges Cathy Ritch, Barbara Bruce, Leslie Martino and Trish Manfredi.  

Included in each 2-hour session is a short lecture, followed by a hands-on workshop.  The instructor will aid participants in critiquing the designs at the end of the session to improve their design skills.   

Based on the results of a questionnaire sent to recent (non-judge) floral designers from the Hartford shows, the following workshops have been planned:  

September 25  Creative Line design;
October 9 Angular design;
November 20 Thanksgiving Design
December 11 Holiday Multi-Rhythmic Design

All are at 10 am-12 pm.

If you have any questions, email Cathy Ritch at [email protected].  To register, send a check made out to FGCCT (for $20 per class you wish to take) to Cathy Ritch, 11 Old Fire Rd, Trumbull, CT 06611.  Include your name/email/address/garden club/phone number/class dates desired.  Registrations must be received by one week prior to the class date. Space is limited.  E-mail confirmations will be provided.

How to Begin the Process to Have a Flower Show

1.    As soon as your Club has considered a date for your Flower Show (FS), clear your date with the Flower Show Schedules Chair to avoid conflicts with other shows or Federation events already scheduled. Please go to the Federation's website's LogIn section at for the current Board of Directors List to find the Flower Show Schedules Chair, which presently is Donna Nowak, 860-568-3724, or [email protected].

The Flower Show Schedules Chair will tell your Club the following when you contact her.
*    If the date you have chosen is available without conflicting with The Federation dates or other Flower Show dates.
*    Your Club President has a list of Judges given to her in a Presidential Packet. The names of Judges your club wants to invite to judge MUST be cleared by the Flower Show Credentials Chair who is currently Janet Ward 860-236-1019, or [email protected]. Please send your list of Judges to Janet early.
*    Flower Show Judges must judge Flower Shows to maintain their credentials as Judges. The Flower Show Credentials Chair will have a list of Judges who need a judging assignment. The FS Credentials Chair will ask that your club please consider inviting some of these Judges, although that will remain your Club's choice. Please note that it is the responsibility of all Judges to keep the FS Credentials Chair aware that she/he needs credit.
2.    AWARDS:
A.    The National Garden Club (NGC) Ribbons in Design, Horticulture and Special Exhibits are called Top Exhibitor Awards or TEA's. As long as the
requirements to give the ribbons are met, all Flower Shows are eligible to award the ribbons.
B.    NGC Flower Show Achievement Awards (2007 HB, pp.65-69) are only available IF your FS is evaluated. However, a Small-Standard FS is not eligible. If you wish an Evaluation, you must contact the Flower Show Evaluation Chair who is currently Barbara Bruce, 203-484-9160, or barbandchris2 Barbara will assign the panels of Judges for judging your FS. She will also assign Judges for Flower Shows not being evaluated.
*    Study the HANDBOOK FOR FLOWER SHOWS, 2007 REVISION (HB). Make any corrections and /or changes to your HB as they are printed in The National Gardener or our Federation's newsletter, the CFNEWS ( CFN).
*    The Schedule is the LAW OF THE SHOW.  Start working at least 6 months before the show. A YEAR is BETTER! Send the first draft of your Schedule, as soon as it is ready, to the Flower Show Schedules Chair. She can help you avoid mistakes that could impact your show's success.

Please allow enough time for emailing back and forth. Please send a Word Document as opposed to a PDF. Your FS Schedule Chair will not type on your document without permission but the Word Document allows her to copy portions into an email.

The above process will begin your journey towards a successful Flower Show. Details on how to write your Schedule will be forthcoming in future articles. As always, call or email any of the Chairs with your questions.

*Jessica Fischer

Judges Update

Congratulations on the following Judging Advancements:

Jerre Dawson is now a Life Judge
Cynthia Marien is now an Accredited Judge
Cynthia Pennell is now an Accredited Judge
MaryEllen Unger is now an Accredited Judge

Please make note of these changes on your Judges' Roster.

*Janet Ward
Credentials Chair Judges Update

Oak Tree Project

Thank you all for your inquiries about the Federation Oak Tree Project.  So far, two trees have been planted, and many others will be planted this fall.  The Middletown Garden Club has planted a Scarlet Oak, which was purchased at Northern Nurseries.  The North Haven Garden Club has planted a Pin Oak purchased at Van Wilgens. 

Walter Brockett of the North Haven Garden Club with the Pin Oak they planted.

Below is a list and brief description of Connecticut's native oak trees.
I am looking for a source for white oaks, which are the favored tree of wildlife.  Many nurseries do not stock them, because they are slow growing and need to be transplanted when small.  Pin Oaks are readily available, but are also commonly planted in all of our cities.  It would be great to plant some of the oaks not so commonly used so as to create more diversity in our towns.  Scarlet oaks, northern red oaks and swamp oaks are good examples.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

*Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair


Native Oaks of Connecticut

Quercus alba -
White Oak - A large tree (60-100 ft. tall), with a spreading habit and upright rounded form when mature. This majestic shade tree is the pre-eminent hardwood of eastern North America. This long-lived tree is often the central tree in town squares.  It is also a good choice for parks or your yard and is a most important tree for wildlife.  It is slow growing and does not like to be transplanted.

Quercus bicolor -
Swamp Oak - A medium-sized tree (50-60 ft. tall and wide) with an upright oval crown and moderate growth rate. Part shade to full sun.  Likes swampy areas but will tolerate drought conditions.
A good choice for a soggy area and also a good choice for a park or street tree as well, because it tolerates drought conditions and compacted soil.

"Oaks are the quintessential wildlife plants: no
other plant genus supports more species of
Lepidoptera,* thus providing more types of
bird food, than the mighty oak." **

Quercus coccinea -
Scarlet Oak - A large tree (75 ft. tall and 45 ft. wide) with an upright, round form.  It requires full sun and prefers acidic, sandy soil on the dry side. This is a good shade and lawn tree.

Quercus muehlenbergii -
Chinkapin Oak - This medium tree (40-50 ft. tall  and 50-60 ft. wide) is a wide-spreading tree with rounded crown,  moderate growth rate.  It likes full sun and prefers rich, well-drained, acidic soil.  Slow growing, difficult to transplant and establish. Good to use as a shade tree or street tree.

Quercus palustris -
Pin Oak -A large tree (75 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide) with a unique branching pattern.  The upper branches are upright, the middle branches are horizontal and the lower branches are pendulous. It likes full sun, moist, fertile and well-drained soil.  This tree transplants easily.  A good choice as a shade tree for landscape and parks.

Quercus prinus-
Chestnut Oak- This large tree (60-70 ft. tall) has an upright, rounded form with a dense crown when mature.  Needs full sun.  It prefers a moist, well-drained, acidic soil.  This very attractive oak is easily transplanted and is an excellent shade tree for large areas.

Quercus  rubra -
Northern Red Oak -A large tree (75 ft. tall ) with rounded outline.  Requires full sun and prefers well-drained, acidic, sandy loam. It grows rapidly and is easily transplanted. It is a good choice as a lawn tree, street tree, park tree or shade tree for golf courses and campuses.

"Acorns fill the bellies of deer, raccoons,
turkey, mice, black bear, squirrels, and
even wood ducks."  **       

Quercus velutina -
Black Oak - This medium tree (50-60 ft. tall) has a very
irregular spread and very dark bark.  It prefers moist, well-drained acid soil
and full sun. It is best to transplant at a small size. Long-lived and slow growing.  This is a good shade tree for large areas.

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair

*An order of insects including moths and butterflies.
** Doug W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home

Saving the Monarchs, one garden at a time...

As you probably know by now, our magnificent monarch butterflies are in serious decline in North America due to loss of habitat here and in Mexico, a series of disastrous natural weather events, and increasing use of herbicides that are eradicating their sole larval host plant: milkweed. These extraordinary creatures need our help! They are the only insect that makes a round-trip migration of up to 3,000 miles each year using sophisticated navigation cues at which scientists can only guess--and marvel! And there IS something very simple we can do. Right now. Right in our own backyards...


You probably know milkweed primarily in its common, roadside form: Asclepias syriaca L. Native to every New England state, these tall, large-leaved plants can be found along roads and in fields, festooned by early July with ball-shaped inflorescences of fragrant pink flowers (20-130 flowers each!) which will later yield to pods filled with silk-tasseled seeds. Native Americans used the young leaves and stems as well as the buds of this species as food. The outer bark was also used to make cord, thread, and bowstrings.

BUT... gardeners often struggle to find a suitable place for this plant in their gardens. In addition, they fear (with good reason!) the vigorous underground rhizomes by which common milkweed can "run," popping up in lawns and flowerbeds far from the parent plants.

Fortunately, A. syriaca is not your only option! Female monarchs will thank you for any form of milkweed, and a number of native selections make beautiful additions to any garden.

Consider Asclepias incarnata ("Swamp Milkweed"), whic
h is available  in both pink and white forms. (A. incarnata 'Ice Ballet' has white, vanilla-scented flowers in mid-summer.) Although also tall (39-59"), this variety forms erect clumps and plays well with others at the back of the border.

Or look for Asclepias tuberosa ("Butterfly Weed"). Easily grown and drought tolerant, it reaches a height of 1-2.5 feet and rewards you (and the monarchs!) with a blaze of yellow-orange bloom. This plant is easily grown from seed but can take several years to establish in your garden, and doesn't transplant well, so have patience and once it settles in, don't disturb it.

A lesser known native is Asclepias verticillata ("Whorled Milkweed"), a perennial herb with a single stem 1- 3 feet tall. Its very narrow, linear leaves (similar in look to Tickseed Coreopsis) are arranged in whorls. The blooms are clusters of greenish-white flowers. Preferring dry, hot soils in full sun, it will tolerate moist garden soil and some shade. It gets to 1-2.5 feet tall and spreads (though not invasively) via rhizomes.
Several Connecticut nurseries specialize in native plants, including Milkweeds. Check out Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery in Woodbury ( and NatureWorks in Northford (

The monarchs thank you!  

*Marty Sherman
National Project Chair



They are the number one perennial in the United States, and since August is the prime time for dividing them, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss another of my favorite plants... Hosta.

They weren't always one of my favorites. When I began gardening I didn't give them a second glance. I grew a few of the older varieties friends had shared, but that was it. Until I happened to be on a summer garden tour where one of the properties specializing in Hosta awakened an insatiable desire. The combinations I came across were stunning. I'm sure there were well over 1,000 named varieties beautifully arranged with ferns and other shade lovers. Words can't describe the ethereal beauty of this garden. One of the reasons this garden worked was they knew just how to place them to highlight their differences.

The differences in Hostas can be extreme. In size alone they range from miniature to giant, not to mention the differences in color, form, and texture. They do have flowers, some prettier than others and some fragrant but, to me they are inconsequential when compared to the leaves, and I will not elaborate on them at this time. So, to help awaken this desire in you, I'd like to share some of the more unusual varieties.

Relatively new to the market is H. "Fire Island." Early to emerge in spring, its brilliant gold rippled leaves on deep red stems are so bright it can be viewed from a distance away. A standout in the garden, it is a fast growing, medium-sized Hosta. Give it all-day shade to prevent leaf scorch.

I am drawn to Hostas with a heavily corrugated texture. H. "Brother Stefan," the 2017 Hosta of the Year, has some of the heaviest corrugation I have seen. Its heavily corrugated chartreuse leaves are edged in a wide border of blue-green. It is a large plant with a moderate growth rate. Plant it with a smooth-leaved yellow Hosta such as H. "Sun Power" or H. "Sea Gulf Stream" for a great contrasting combination.

A beautiful large-to-giant Hosta is H. "Liberty." It has an upright overall form. The heart-shaped dark blue-green leaves are widely margined golden yellow, turning ivory-cream toward the midrib with a glaucous (waxy blue) coating. This is a great specimen plant that will help brighten a dark spot in the garden.

H. "Stitch in Time" is very unusual and somewhat difficult to grow, but it is a beauty. A small plant, it has golden heart-shaped leaves whose thin green centers appear to have been stitched on. The difficulty lies in that it has a tendency to lose the stitching that gives this Hosta its uniqueness.

Not so new, but I've included it because of its color and form, is H. "Love Pat." It forms a medium-to-large, dense mound.  It has deeply blue, intensely seersuckered, deeply cupped, nearly round leaves that are rarely bothered by pests. It contrasts nicely with just about anything, but I love it paired with the cascading variegated elongated leaves of H. Montana "Aureomarginata."

Hosta 'LovePat' is at far left, the green one with chartreuse edge is H.'Tokudama Flavocircinalis,' gray green with white edge is H. 'Barbara Ann', blue elongated, ruffled edge is H. 'Neptune,' gold with green edge is H. 'Paradigm' and the green with gold edge and elongated vase shape is H. Montana 'Aureomarginata.'

I could go on and on about the endless varieties and eye-catching combinations but some points of interest must be noted. Although Hostas are one of the easiest plants to grow, they aren't without problems. Hosta leaves are the food of choice for deer, and voles love the roots. I've heard slices of Irish Spring bath soap scattered around the garden perimeter help ward off the deer and some people resort to planting their Hostas in chicken wire cages to deter the voles. Fortunately I don't have these problems.

Slugs can do a number on them as well. The best defense against them is to choose varieties that they don't like. Plants with a heavy substance such as H. "Love Pat'" and H. "Brother Stefan" are rarely bothered by these pests. Do a little research before purchasing and this problem can be avoided.

Hosta 'Brother Stefan.' 

Hosta Virus X is a problem to watch for.  is a great source of information on how to diagnose and resolve this problem. It is a great source for just about everything Hosta. Pictures of almost every named variety are listed alphabetically as well.

Keep in mind that most nurseries sell juvenile plants and that most Hostas take a few years to reach maturity. This means the young plants will not exhibit the characteristics they will have when mature. In young plants the leaf size and shape may be smaller and narrower.  Corrugation may not be present at all. Overall size may vary greatly. Know your plant and you will avoid having to transplant that little one gallon pot of H. "Sum and Substance" because it has come to cover everything within a six-foot radius. Also note that if you purchase certain varieties early in the season they may change color as the season progresses. Some become lutescent (more yellow) and some viridescent (turning greener).  

Did you ever notice your clump of solid gold Hosta has sprouted some leaves with green margins or some leaves that are solid green? This is an example of a naturally occurring mutation called sporting. Many new varieties have been introduced to the market by observant growers who remove the sport from its parent to cultivate a whole new variety. Certain varieties are more prone to sport than others. Keep your eyes open--you may find a new variety in your own garden.

Lastly, most Hostas do prefer shade, but keep in mind many can tolerate quite a bit of sun. Ideally, good garden soil that is moist but drains well is what they need. They prefer to be planted in a hole that is wider than it is deep. Make a mound in the middle of the hole, set the crown on it with the roots running down around the sides of the mound, backfill and water.

With all the differences among Hostas, there is literally something for everyone. I hope you will try a few of the aforementioned varieties in your garden, but be warned it may just be the start of something insatiable.

*Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair


The Federation expresses its gratitude to the following clubs for their generous contributions to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund:

Connecticut Valley Garden Club: $50
Farmington Garden Club: $50
Guilford Garden Club: $100
Haddam Garden Club: $50
Leete's Island Garden Club: $100
Litchfield Garden Club: $150
Garden Club of Madison: $1,000
Middletown Garden Club: $50
Garden Club of Old Greenwich: $200
Old Saybrook Garden Club: $100
Riverside Garden Club: $100


Ledyard Garden Club Awards $1,500 Scholarship

The Ledyard Garden Club has awarded Jenni Agosto a $1,500 scholarship for Fall, 2015. Jenni will be a sophomore at Delaware Valley College in the fall, pursuing a degree in Horticulture.  This is the second year that Jenni has received an award from the club.

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair

Meet Nancy Baker

Nancy Baker, our new Landscape Design Council Chair, calls herself "a mongrel" because she has lived all over the country. Thanks to first her father's and then her husband's transfers, she has gone from California, where she was born, to Arizona, Chicago, western Massachusetts and Boston before settling in CT. She's been in CT 21 years now, the longest she's lived anywhere, and considers herself a New Englander.

Nancy has also had a varied job history. After working at Crane & Company, she spent some time as a stay-at-home Mom with her daughter and son and later managed a gift shop. It was her volunteer work for the Junior League in Boston that led to her next career. On the board of the Junior League, Nancy was Chair of Education and Training, traveling the country to give courses to members. She then worked professionally in Human Resource Training and Development.

Baker became a Certified Master Gardener in 2005 and an Advanced Master Gardener in 2006. "I started with a couple of clients and it's evolved," she says, describing her business of landscape care, design and coaching, Gardens By Nancy.

 "I love the work that I do, but running a business is hard. I don't always get to spend as much time gardening as I would like, and my own garden looks terrible!" says Nancy. "I enjoy working and getting to know the garden and the client. Then an idea comes up, the garden gives me the inspiration. I also like giving the plants good care. It may take several years to see the results, but my clients' gardens are looking good. It's a process." She is a NOFA accredited organic landcare provider.

A member of Trumbull's Long Hill Garden Club, she credits Board Member Nancy Lenoce with encouraging her to try FGCCT's Landscape Design Study School. She completed LDSS and joined the Landscape Design Council, which led to her handling their awards and now taking over as Chair. In this latest role, Baker plans trips, lectures and other events for the Landscape Design Council. And "council members judge the professional landscapes at the CT Flower Show for the Award of Excellence,"she notes.

Last year the council had a theme, visiting gardens designed by Beatrix Ferrand. This year, Nancy's ideas  include studying Olmsted's work in CT, and  visiting a LEEDS certified home and garden, the High Line and area town greens.

Of The Federation, Nancy says, "I think we are very lucky in CT to have such a strong organization and I am proud to be a part of it. The schools are fabulous and more members should take advantage of them. I feel I've been enriched as a person, learning a lot and meeting people all over the state." She believes that the more active one is in FGCCT, the more they get out of it. As LDSS Chair, she wants to bring people along and encourage them to try the schools. In fact, looking back, Nancy sees an educational theme to all her pursuits, but says that, "I wished I'd gotten into gardening sooner in my life. It's so peaceful and relaxing and it's a good excuse to be outdoors."

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

Flower Show School--It's Not Just for Judges

Flower Show School Course II will be held at CAES in New Haven from September 30-October 2. Our two NGC approved instructors, Dorthy Yard and Kaye Vosburgh, will be sharing their knowledge of horticulture, design, and flower show procedure.

Dorthy (Dot), who is a Five Star Member of the NGC and is the NGC Board Chair of Flower Show Schools Committee, will be teaching the horticulture and flower show procedure curriculum. Kaye, who is an Accredited Master Judge and holds the highest rank, Riji, in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana where she is an active teacher, will be teaching the principles and elements of design and American Creative Design. You will walk away with a wealth of knowledge-not just about flower show procedure, but also about growing and showing herbaceous perennials, and Creative Design.

Remember, you can attend one or both days of Course II, but must have attended all sessions to take the optional exam.  We are also offering a special "bring a friend" discount. This is truly an opportunity to learn from the best! Registration forms are available on-line at or from [email protected].

*Patricia Dray
Flower Show School Chair
National Garden Club's
OCTOBER 13-15, 2015

Plans are well underway with a great line-up of instructors for this year's Gardening Study School being held in the Jones Auditorium of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven.  The two days of courses are followed by a third day when optional tests are administered for those participants seeking credit to become a NGC Gardening Consultant.  

Participants who are already accredited Gardening Consultants may Refresh their status by attending the classes but are not required to take the tests.  

The topics to be covered this year are:
Understanding Plant Diseases and Garden Pests
How New Plants are Developed and Evaluated
Techniques for Growing Lawns and/or Lawn Alternatives
Techniques for Growing Vegetables and Herbs
Composting Basics
Container Gardening  

Full Course - $110 (Garden Club Members)/$120 (Non-Members)
Optional Lunch - $12/day

Come join us for two information-packed days with fellow passionate gardeners  intent on improving their gardening skills. A Registration Brochure is available online at the FGCCT Website.  If you have any questions regarding this year's course content, course registration or the benefits of becoming a NGC Gardening Consultant, please contact the 2015 GSS Co-Chairs:  Marilynn Klepfer at [email protected] or Joanne McKendry at [email protected] or visit
*Marilynn Klepfer
Gardening Study School 2015 Co-Chair

ESS Alert

This alert is for those of you who have never tried Environmental Studies School.

Last fall, we finished Course IV, Series 2. (ESS comprises four courses-we hold one a year.) Yes, you can take any of the four courses in any order (but some of you are certain that's just not true).

We begin Course I, Series 3 this October 6th. If you've said to yourself you want to start at the onset, this is your opportunity. It will be held at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.

Whether you wish to take the course (and exam) for credit OR not for credit OR either of the two days of instruction, just come. I promise you, you'll return the following year. I did.

We offer eight hour-long topics and a field trip-the content is real and the instructors are superb. Please call/email me, Polly Brooks, with your questions regarding dates, times, costs, content, instructors...etc. Please find me at (860) 567-4292 or via [email protected].

* Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair

Share your Garden!
Our photo this month comes from Flower School Chair Patricia Dray. She calls it, "Chicks hanging out in our Garden on the 4th of July." There are 6 baby turkeys that follow their mother around Patricia's garden in Orange.


September  9-11  2015

Enjoy a late summer coach trip to the Hudson Valley, prime territory for lush gardens. Spend three 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.

In Pawling, NY, we will tour a private six-acre botanical garden designed by Duncan Brine. In Hyde Park, we tour Franklin Roosevelt's National Historic Site, the Rose Garden with 28 varieties of roses, as well as tour the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield.  

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 and a wine tasting at a Hudson Valley vineyard as well as a stroll across the longest and highest pedestrian walkway in the world on the "Walkway Over the Hudson."

Innisfree Garden

For more information, click here.

* Kathy Kobishyn
FGCCT Tour Coordinator
26 Pond Street
Milford Ct 06460

December 2-3 2015

Our rich two-day program promises to offer you inspiration for creative holiday decorations, flower arrangements and shopping possibilities. Tour outstanding Dupont family estates--Winterthur and Longwood Gardens.  See the renowned art collection at the new home of the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Shop at the 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]

* Kathy Kobishyn
FGCCT Tour Coordinator
26 Pond Street
Milford Ct 06460





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 SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE  


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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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To coordinate, stimulate and encourage higher standards in all aspects of Garden Club work


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