August/September 2017

We are at the height of the summer season and many of our gardens are in peak bloom right now.  But soon all that beauty will come to pass.
What will also come to pass is the current look of our CFNEWS!  Starting with this issue we will no longer publish the TEXT ONLY version.   Also, you will notice that this issue reflects our current thinking to keep many of the articles submitted as links where you will find them documented in their entirety.  Note: index below (after President's message) for quick access to your interest.

Joan Burgess
News Manager

Quick link to calendar - click HERE for  print version

President's Message

Greetings Fellow Gardeners:

Haven't we been most fortunate here in Connecticut over the last couple of months with such an abundance of glorious sunny days?  Every now and then, the blue skies turned gray and Mother Nature rewarded us with plenty of natural water from above.   What more could we ask for.

Our gardens are looking just ever so beautiful; irises, daylilies and roses held their own for weeks on end; and Hydrangeas have gotten a jump start a month early.   Phlox, Rudbeckias and Echinaceas are not far behind. 

Summer is a time to relax from our busy garden club activities the rest of the year.
I hope you get a chance to do so.

Several upcoming events that we published in our June/July issue that you may want to consider attending are listed here one more time:

PLANT SCIENCE DAY: Held August 2 nd at Lockwood Farm, Hamden, CT, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The schedule includes lectures, presentations, displays and demonstrations throughout the day. 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. Lots to learn all day from experts at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and others. Walk around many fields of organically grown produce and enjoy the Bird and Butterfly Garden next to the pavilion.
NGC Schools held in September and October:   
  • Gardening School, Course IV, September 26-28 at CAES - register with Lesley Orlowski, Registrar, 16 Spencer Ave. Guilford, CT   06437, Click HERE. 
  • Flower Show School Course II, September 26-28 at Kellogg's Environmental Center in Derby - register with Lisa Stackpole, 44 Farm Hill Road, Orange, CT 06477, click HERE
  • Environmental School, Course II, October 11-13 at Kellogg's - register with Jeanette Barrows, click HERE.
Presidents Day:   Held September 20th at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's Jones Auditorium (CAES), 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, 10:00 a.m., for all Club Presidents, this meeting of The Federation Board will provide a half-day of information sharing and an opportunity to meet our Board members and engage with fellow Club presidents.   Reservations will need to be made with our Office Secretary, Barbara Romblad, click HERE.   
Annual Awards Luncheon Meeting:  Our 88th Awards Meeting will be held at Aqua Turf October 25th and requires early registration (see article below) since the number of attendees is limited to 390.
Beyond Beginning Design Workshops:    These just ever so popular workshops are held at CAES on September 8th, October 6th, and December 1st and are filling up fast.   Register with Cathy Ritch and send youe check for $30 to her address at 11 Old Fire Road, Trumbull, CT 06611.
President's 2017-2019 Contests:    If your Club is considering creating a Pollinator-friendly garden or a Xeriscape garden in a public place in accordance with my 2017-2019 Theme "Plant Connecticut - Be a Conservation Champion", that supports a healthy environment for today and for future generations by conserving water, assisting pollination and garden naturally, please register your intent with our State Projects Chair Holly Kocet.   Individual gardeners may also enter this contest by creating a Xeriscape garden on their private property.
We are also hard at work of redesigning our website and in due time will get more of the details of the "new look" to you.
In the spirit of Conservation,
Inge Venus

Join us at the  Annual Awards Meeting, October 25, 2017
by Nan Merolla
Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, October 25 th  (registration at 9:00 a.m., meeting at 10:00 a.m.), for the 88 th  FGCCT Awards Meeting and Luncheon at the Aqua Turf  Club in Plantsville, CT.  Over eighty State and National Garden Club Awards will be presented at this meeting for the exceptional work Club members have done during the past year.  You will see some of the winning projects documented by colorful display posters.  It is wonderful to see how much can be accomplished and you can get ideas for projects you can undertake for your town.

Reservations are open as of July 1st.  Please note - this is a very popular event and we anticipate high attendance so seating is limited.  I encourage you to click  HERE   for the registration form and mail it in early.

In addition, one of the highlights of the day will be  "Dinner and a Movie"  - inspired by movies with a food theme, ten local Connecticut Garden Clubs have designed creative and innovative  Tablescapes  for your viewing pleasure. You'll be "wowed" by classic and contemporary interpretations - and  YOU  are the judge!  Cast your vote for:  1)  My favorite - I'd like to party here!   2)  Most exciting use of color!   Or 3)  Most innovative use of plant material!   When you arrive for lunch, you will receive ballots - it should be great fun! Thanks to Trish Manfredi for the idea and thanks to the ten Clubs who created these fabulous Tablescapes.
Remember to purchase your drawings tickets when you arrive.  You may win one of the beautiful table centerpieces designed by four of our Garden Clubs.  Our interesting vendors will also each offer one of their lovely gifts for the drawing.   
I hope to see you there.  If you have any questions, please contact me. 

Nan Merolla, Meetings Chair
[email protected]

Meet Your Awards Committee
On June 22, 2017, our Federation's Awards Selection Committee met at Jones Auditorium at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station to review the many annual reports sent in by our clubs in addition to several three-page Awards Applications specially prepared for projects done throughout the year. Based on your submissions, we will have a great number of clubs and/or individuals who will receive recognition at our October 25th Awards Luncheon at Aqua Turf.

Clockwise: Awards Chair Janet Spaulding; Environmental Concerns/Conservation Chair Nancy Lenoce; Historic/Memorial/Public Gardens Chair Carol Steiner; Second Vice President and Tribute Awards Chair Polly Brooks; Horticulture Chair Liz Rinaldi; Garden Therapy Chair Peggy Lojoie; Youth Activities Chair Dottie Fox; and Civic Development Chair Jan Hickcox. Also in attendance was former Environmental Concerns/Conservation Chair Ellie Tessmer who had to leave early.

Photo courtesy of Inge Venus

Floral Design Workshops - Beyond Beginnings (Fall 2017)
Offered by Cathy Ritch
In the world of Floral Design, the only thing that is constant is change. This year,  in the world of NGC floral design, the change is a new Handbook for Flower Shows.
The Beyond Beginning workshops this fall will include information and Design Types from the new Handbook. 

The Fall Series is intended for designers who are comfortable with Creative Designs and the Principles and Elements of Design. Whatever your skill level, we welcome you to enroll as an observer at no charge.
Where: CAES (Jones Auditorium), 123 Huntington St, New Haven
When: Sept 8 (Low profile), Oct 6 (Cascade), Dec 1 (Grouped Mass)
Time: 10-12:30pm
Sessions will be taught by accredited NGC judges. Included in each 2.5 hour session is a lecture, followed by a hands-on workshop, and critique. Critiques are done in small groups by the instructor and other accredited judges to aid participants in improving their design skills. The cost per session of $30 covers all materials.
If you have any questions, email Cathy Ritch. To register, send a check made out to FGCCT ($30 per class you wish to take) to Cathy Ritch, 11 Old Fire Rd, Trumbull, CT 06611. Include your name/email/garden club/phone number/class dates desired. Space is limited. E-mail confirmations will be provided. Overflow enrollments will be placed on a wait list with an option to observe at no charge.
Cathy Ritch,
Beyond Beginning Workshop Chair

Flower Show School Course II
by Patricia Dray, FSS Chair

Need some help with the new Handbook for Flower Shows, 2017 Edition? If so, consider taking Flower Show School Course II which will be held at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby September 26-28. This is the first course that will be taught in CT using the new handbook , so it will be a great introduction to it by Barbara May on Flower Show Procedure and Design, and Cathy Felton on Horticulture. If you are in the process of becoming a Judge, please remember that you MUST have taken Course I, including the exam, in order to take Course II. Of course, anyone may audit all or part of the Course to begin to learn more about the new Handbook!
Hope to see you!

Federation Tour to Boston in December & Holland in April!
Tours from Donna DeSimone
Holiday Tour to Boston: December 6-7, 2017
Enjoy a wonderland of lights, decorations, museums and a Boston Pops holiday
concert for fun and inspiration.   Join our two-day tour to experience Christmas in Boston, when the city turns into a festive wonderland of lights, spectacular decorations, holiday magic  and plenty of good cheer. 
Day 1:  December 6th, Wednesday - Boston (Lunch/Dinner)
Our private coach picks up members at Westport, New Haven and Cromwell. Relax with a box lunch on board as we drive directly to Boston. We begin the tour at historic Beacon Hill.  Members of the Beacon Hill Circle for Charity  will  welcome you into three of their own homes, showing how the homes, mostly built in the early 1800s, had been restored, decorated and now lived in.  We check into our hotel, Doubletree Hotel Boston Bayside, near Boston's picturesque Harbor Walk.  Tonight after dinner we have tickets for the Boston Pops Christmas Concert at Symphony Hall, which has become a much-loved Boston holiday tradition. Historic Symphony Hall becomes a winter wonderland as conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra perform classically loved holiday music. 
Day 2: December 7th, Thursday - Boston  (Breakfast/Lunch)
After breakfast we tour the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and get a closer look at the Museum's unusual and exquisite plants, and chat with a member of the Gardner's horticulture staff. The festive Courtyard has masses of flowering jade trees  over three feet tall and the dark red winter blooms of Amaryllis. You have free time to see the renowned art collection.  Following lunch, tour the collection of  glass models of plants at Harvard University's Museum of Natural History. Popularly known as the Glass Flowers, this collection is con sidered one of the University's greatest treasures and is the only collection of its kind in the world. There are 847 life-size models as well as over 3,000 models of enlarged parts. The collection comprises approximately 4,300 individual glass models. 

You return to CT pickup locations in the evening.
Tour Cost per person.  $475.* (sharing a room)
Additional $75. for single room  *cost based on minimum of 35 persons

  • Motor coach transportation with stops at Cromwell, New Haven & Westport
  • 1 dinner, 2 lunches, 1 breakfast
  • Boston Pops Concert
  • Private tour of Beacon Hill homes
  • Tours of Gardiner Museum and Harvard Glass Flower Collection
  • 1 night's accommodations inclusive of tax
  • Members and their guests have the opportunity to register first.  Non members not accompanying a member can register after September 30 at an additional cost of $10.00.
Tulip Cruise in Springtime: April 30, 2018 - May 8, 2018
A scenic river cruise will take you through Holland and Belgium at peak blooming time.   Highlights include a visit to see the breathtaking colors of Keukenhof, also known as the "Garden of Europe" where seven million flower bulbs are planted! This beautiful and historic springtime river cruise vacation stops at charming cites including Antwerp where its Botanical Gardens display many hidden treasures.  The holiday concludes in Amsterdam with a canal cruise to some of the city's best-kept secrets: private gardens and courtyards.
For a brochure on these trips -
Call:  860.521.5278
Or email your request to:  Donna De Simone
Looking forward to fun tours with former and new travelers.
Donna De Simone
FGCCT Tours Coordinator 

The Federated Garden Clubs of CT Calendar of Events   
by Ellie Tessmer
August 2017
2nd:  The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Plant Science Day at Lockwood Farm , 890 Evergreen Avenue in Hamden - 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Open to the Public. Free of charge. With barn displays, field plots and exhibits including The Federated Garden Clubs of CT.  Check website for details and program booklet. .  Contact: 877-855-2237

4th:   Southbury Garden Club "Insects and their Amazing Stories" by John Himmelman, at Southbury Public Library, 100 Poverty Road - 1:00 p.m. Free of charge. Contact: 203-262-8033.

Click HERE for events in September & October.


2017 Scholarship Winner, Quiet Corner Garden Club

The Quiet Corner Garden Club awarded a $1000 scholarship to Elizab eth Antonelli, from Danielson.  Liza, as Elizabeth is known to her family and friends, took science classes in the agriculture program at Killingly High School, which helped her decide to study plant biotechnology in college.  Plant biotechnology helps farmers have higher crop yields, while also using reduced amounts of pesticides and herbicides which, in turn, helps the farms be more productive and cost-effective.  Liza has volunteered in community activities related to horticulture, which included working at a local nursery and participating in a floriculture competition.  She also developed a home-based business selling chrysanthemums.  Liza will be attending Gordon College in the fall.   

The Quiet Corner Garden Club raises scholarship funds every year by hosting a large plant and flower sale the day before Mother's Day in May.  This year, the sale was held in the agriculture building on the Woodstock Fairgrounds.  QCGC hosts interesting and informative programs related to all types of gardening and wildlife, arranges group garden tours and outings, and several members volunteer for local civic programs.  The club meets the first Monday of each month at the South Woodstock Baptist Church. 

Club Donations to Scholarship  and
Garden Therapy and  World Gardening

Club Donations received since our June/July issue:
Guilford GC
Leete's Island GC
Farmington GC
Wilton GC
GC of Madison
GC of Old Greenwich
Middletown Garden Club
Mt. Valley GC of West Hartford
Mt. Valley GC of West Hartford
Guilford GC
Your donation is very much appreciated.
Peggy Lajoie Garden Therapy and World Gardening Chair [email protected]
Margareta Kotch Scholarship Chair [email protected]  

Beneficial DOT Changes for Pollinators
Article from Mary Gaudet-Wilson

The Connecticut DOT has recently issued three important policies which address pollinator habitat along roadsides. Those policies include reduced mowing, plant replacement plots, and establishment of native plants at new construction sites.
Along highways in Connecticut, medians which are 60' or wider will be cut only 15' along the roadside and will be cut only once or twice during the season. Spot treatment of herbicides will be used for invasives only as needed. In general, mowing will be reduced to one major cut at the end of the season.
Plant replacement plots are being developed to create additional pollinator habitat areas. Each of the four DOT districts will have two plots, one naturalized and one planted. In District 4 there is one naturalized plot (over an acre at Exit 10, westbound shoulder, Newtown) and one planted plot (Torrington, Route 8, Exit 46 center median.)
At new transportation sites DOT will prioritize with native plants which are beneficial to native insects and other forms of wildlife.
Already there are visible signs that these changes are making an impact. Driving along I-84 one can see the emergence of wildflowers such as crown vetch, flea bane, birdfoot trefoil and daisies. Reduced mowing (which one would assume reduced cost benefits as well), has allowed Nature to rebound to a more natural state which is certainly pleasing to the human eye as well as to the eye of the pollinator.
 With 10,000 miles of state highways these linear corridors of improved habitat could make a significant difference for our bees, insects, birds and other wildlife. Roadside lands provide shelter, food and breeding opportunities for many species, representing one of the most widespread networks of linear habitats on earth. They are corridors for species distribution because they connect fragmented existing landscape patches.
DOT's efforts to improve and create more pollinator habitat is a positive example of what can be done to align our cultural practices with what we know makes environmental sense. 
We need to celebrate these changes and encourage state agencies to continue this shift in thinking. We need also to shift local and personal paradigms to a more natural way of doing things. Let's take a cue from the State and institute measures in our own yards and communities which recognize that we are part of an ecosystem that needs thoughtful care. Understanding the importance of pollinators and their difficulties may well be the tipping point to better stewardship of our land.
Mary Gaudet-Wilson
12 Whippoorwill Hill Road
Newtown, CT  06470
Garden Club of Newtown

Oak Tree Planting with Youth in Colchester 
Article from Katherine Kosiba

Elementary Students Participate in Planting a Chestnut Oak Tree in Colchester
In February 2017, the Colchester Garden Club sent an email to the Director of Teaching and Learning in the Colchester School System to inquire whether one of the schools would be interested in our club's oak tree donation.   The very next day a reply arrived with the names of two teachers who were excited about the opportunity to plant a new tree on the school grounds and create a unique learning experience for their students of the "Beautify Our School" production company.   After two meetings including one with the teachers, school administrators, other staff and the Public Works Director, everyone agreed a new Oak Tree on school grounds would be welcomed.
The Beautifying Our School Production company is one of a number of HOT School Production Companies which enhances the school curriculum at Jack Jackter Intermediate School.   The Connecticut Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools Program has been in place since 1994 and served over 47 schools in all congressional districts.  " The HOT program builds higher-order thinking skills in students and prepares them to be successful learners and contributors in the 21st Century through three core components: strong arts, arts integration, and democratic practice.   The HOT Approach, reflected in a school's commitment to child centered, experiential, arts integrated teaching and learning weaves best practices in arts in education with present-day needs and experiences of urban, suburban, and rural school communities.  HOT Schools cultivate a school culture in which purposeful activities support choice, voice, participation, and responsibility, promoting connection and contribution to celebrate the unique voice of each member of the school community."   Source
Although we did not meet these 3 rd , 4 th and 5 th grade students until the planting ceremony in June, we contributed materials to the teachers to create this unique learning experience associated with our tree donation.  It began with the loan of the Native Oak Tree exhibit created by Jane Waugh placed in the display case to excite students about the new tree coming to their school.     Read Complete Article
Watering in the newly planted tree

One of the students plays the violin for entertainment
Listening attentively to learning about the chestnut oak tree
Everybody posing for a group picture around the newly planted tree

Connecticut Had Two Winning Photography Entries at National Convention in Richmond, Virginia on May 19, 2017

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Dianne Roberts, a member of the Garden Club of Madison, came away with two winning entries into the Photography Contest sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

            Closeup of her "Brugmansia"                     Closeup of a Ladybug feasting on aphids

National Youth Contests
from Dottie Fox
Consider Participating in our National Youth Contests
My name is Dottie Fox and I will be your new YOUTH ACTIVITY Chair for the next two years. I have been the Garden Therapy Chair for the past six years.  I am excited to be working at the other end of the age spectrum, since I have been a pediatric nurse for the past 50 years.
I'm asking our Garden Club's Youth Chairs to consider sponsoring one or more young students in one or more of the National Garden Club Youth contests being offered. It's really very easy to do!  Enlist the help of your local schools now for these projects- it can be tied into conservation, a love of nature or safety lessons.   Go to the website of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and click on the tab "Youth Programs".   That will bring you to the following contests available:
Poster Contest-Woodsy Owl or Smokey Bear: Children in grades 1-5
Poetry Contest: Grades K-9
Sculpture Contest: Grades 4-8.
For the Poster Contest as well as the Poetry and Sculpture Contests, entries are to be completed by individual student artists and then submitted to you as the Local Garden Club Youth Chair.   You would then select the "winning" poster or "winning" poetry or "winning" sculpture for each grade level from all of the entries you receive and submit them to me as the State Chair no later than January 19, 2018.  For the posters you will add your club's and the student's name and address to the back before sending it to me.
I will then submit the winning entries for each grade level in each of the three contest categories from our state to the New England Garden Clubs Chair by February 23, 2018. 
Start thinking about how and where you can advocate for these projects now.
I look forward to working with all of you - if you need to contact me, simply call 203-592-9980 or send me an EMAIL .
Have a wonderful summer!
New Life Memberships Awarded
Reported by Polly Brooks

Three of our garden clubs have awarded life memberships to their fellow members at their Annual Meetings as follows:

#729   Fannie Roe Cleary, Perennial Planters Garden Club of Manchester - June 15, 2017
#730   Kathleen Kobishyn, Garden Club of Milford - June 13, 2017
#731  Denise Rock, Garden Club of Woodbridge - June 6, 2017

Polly Brooks,  Second Vice President and Membership Chair

Eye on Horticulture - August 2017
Reported by Liz Rinaldi
What a summer we are having thus far. The balanced amounts of rain and sun have the garden looking better than it has in years. The plants that suffered drastically during the previous year's drought are currently looking robust and the plants that didn't suffer are phenomenal.

I've stated many times my love of plants and that I'm always on the hunt for the new and unusual. Well, I guess I must really be an old fashioned girl at heart because one of my favorites is a common plant that I'm willing to wager can be found in most everyone's garden. I have a vivid childhood recollection of this plant most likely due to its delicious clove like scent. It never seems to suffer from lack of rain and if situated in the well drained soil it prefers the rains shouldn't bother it either. It forms a low growing dense greenish grey mat and in late spring early summer it produces masses of flowers in shades of either pink, red, white or some combination of these colors. I'm sure you realized I'm speaking of Dianthus.

Dianthus is a genus with numerous species but the one I'm referring to is Dianthus gratianopolitanus, commonly called Cheddar Pinks. The common name Pinks comes not from the flower color but from the notched edges of the flower petals that looked like they've been nipped by pinking shears. Grown in full sun they prefer a dry soil that is slightly on the alkaline side. Numerous cultivars exist but my absolute favorite is D. gratianopolitanus 'Tiny Rubies'. Being very low maintenance it forms a petite dense gray green mat that will smother itself in bright double petaled pink flowers only 3-4 inches high providing that clove like scent I just can't get enough of. D. gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' is a similar variety that grows taller than 'Tiny Rubies' and has singular dark pink flowers. 

Tiny Rubies

Being so low maintenance the only chore would be to shear off the spent flower stems. I generally do this after they've gone to seed because I'm happy to find the occasional seedling. This tough little plant reliably puts on a show no matter the current year's growing conditions. Placed in front of leafy green plants its blue green mat-like foliage will provide a nice contrast.  Dianthus gratianopolitanus in my opinion is much loved and under- appreciated. In order to give it its due the next time you are strolling through your garden remember to take a moment to appreciate the subtle beauty and old fashioned memory evoking scent of your  Dianthus variety and hopefully you'll see something old in a whole new light.   

Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair 
Former President Susan Faulkner's Legacy
by Helen Pritchard

Did you know that The Federation, under the leadership of former President Susan Faulkner, is in a great measure responsible for the concern for, and legislation about, the problem of invasive plants?
Susan, who died early this year, had as her presidential project the reprinting of a booklet for The Federation on endangered and threatened plants.  To the committee she called together for this she added Les Mehrhoff, State Botanist with DEP, who could ensure that the information was up to date.
Under Susan's aegis, your Federation Board resolved that plants listed in the booklet should not be used in flower shows.
At the same time, Les Mehrhoff inquired if we could include a list he was compiling about invasive plants.  This was agreed to enthusiastically, and this became the first published invasive plant list.  Shortly after the booklet was published under the presidency of Dee Mozzochi, Les called together a group which became known as the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG).  Susan, Dee, and some of the committee members were among the founders of CIPWG.
While her other concerns were many, for me this activity of Susan's puts her in the forefront of current concerns for Invasives and their impact on the environment.

Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group  (CIPWG) 
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)

About "Common vs. Invasive Hops"
Contributing Authors Dr. James LaMondia and Dr. Jeffrey Ward

Prior to Prohibition, common hops (Humulus lupulus) were grown in Connecticut by folks brewing their own beer.  Some of these may have survived in the wild, but may be confused with the invasive Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus).  If we were to find any common hops growing in Connecticut, they could possibly be more resistant to diseases (e.g., downy mildew) than cultivated varieties.  If so, we would like to target breeding this disease resistance into a domesticated variety - and thus reduce pesticide use for locally grown hops.

The species are easy to distinguish as common hop leaves are 3-lobed or non-lobed while Japanese hops have 5-7 (sometimes 9) lobes (see attached).  If you find any common hops, please provide Dr. James (Jim) LaMondia with a pressed sample/photo and good directions.  This would be a great help to Connecticut's growing hop and local brewing movements.

Jeffrey S. Ward, Chief Scientist
Department of Forestry & Horticulture
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
PO Box 1106, 123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT  06504-1106
Phone: 203.974.8495

                      Common Hop                                                    Japanese Hop
Deadline to submit articles/photos, ads and calendar events for the October/November issue of the  Connecticut Federation News is September 10, 2017.  Please submit to:

Joan Burgess

PO Box 854, Branford, CT 06405
Ellie Tessmer

Direct Circulation Queries to: Office Secretary, FGCCT, PO Box 848, Branford, CT 06405

Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.

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