CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 5 *  JUNE/JULY 2015   

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JULY 10 
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Mt Laurel

We are off and running with our new state project, "Growing Together." Read below about why and how to plant native oak trees for the project and the planet. Then nominate a deserving member for a Tribute Award--or submit a garden for the Love-ly Garden Award. Learn about growing peonies from seed and plan your next trip with FGCCT.

See what's happening in the Calendar and enjoy this long-awaited summer. If you want to have your event listed in the Calendar, click on "Calendar Guidelines" in the left column.


President's Message

Dear Garden Club Members,

What a wonderful time of year, as iris and peonies burst forth, and we can finally spend time working in and enjoying our gardens.  I'm excited to report that we are already GROWING TOGETHER!  The North Haven Garden Club has taken the lead by being the first to plant a native oak tree between two community ball fields.  Just think of the ball players finding respite in the shade of that tree in the future.  What club will be next?   Be sure to read Barbara Deysson's article in this issue about why it is so important to plant native oak trees.

With great enthusiasm I report to you as I return from the National Garden Clubs (NGC) Annual Convention in Kentucky, home of the new NGC President. What a strong group of women and men we are, making a huge difference in communities around the country and throughout the Americas.  We are an international organization!

As states reported their accomplishments, no one could help but be inspired and somewhat in awe. Projects range from the creation of hundreds of Monarch Stations to refurbishing our offshore coral reefs.  

Newly installed NGC President, Sandy Robinson, announced her administration's special projects.  They are:

*     Pollinators: Bees and Butterflies, including Monarch Watch, Crown Bees BeeGAP, and Backyard Wildlife Habitat
*     Amphibians: "The Frightened Frog," a book and curriculum for children
*    Leadership: Developing NGC's Future, a plan for more leadership programs for states and clubs

These projects are intended to increase awareness of the seriousness of the demise of pollinators and amphibians and encourage conservation and protection efforts by clubs, the general public and governmental agencies.
At the awards dinner, Connecticut can be proud to have received a number of hard-won ribbons and awards which you will hear about at the Connecticut Awards Luncheon this fall. One of the most significant of these was a national award for the "Bee Kind to Pollinators" state project led by Jacqueline Connell over her two-year term--an honor for Connecticut.

Because we have concentrated on bees and backyard habitats for two years, we will focus on butterflies and Monarch stations for the next two years. Of course gardening in support of butterflies supports all pollinators, including bees. And we will see how we might incorporate the frog curriculum into our youth programs, and leadership programs into our Idea Exchange Symposiums.  

Our new President, Jane Waugh, receives a Certificate of participation on the NGC board from NGC President Sandy Robinson.

As Connecticut President, I'm very proud to be able to say I am now part of the NGC Board of Directors.  And we are honored to have three other members from Connecticut serving the board: Jacqueline Connell as Chairman of Crown Bees BeeGAP, Leslie Martino as her Vice-Chairman and Maria Nahom on the Flower Show Schools Committee. The four of us plus Barbara Bruce were your delegates to the convention.  Barbara did us proud by creating a beautiful design in the hallway entrance to the convention ballroom.

Special upcoming events you may want to note include:

June 7 - 13:      National Garden Week.   Take a garden tour. Enjoy the outdoors. Have fun!
August 5:     Plant Science Day at Lockwood Farm, Hamden, CT, 10:00AM. Lots to learn all day from experts at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) & others.

August 15:      Deadline for Tribute Award nominations in Civic
Development, Conservation, Design, Garden Therapy, Horticulture, Landscape Design, Youth, and All-Around Excellence. Send to Arlene Field, Second Vice President, at [email protected]. Take this opportunity to recognize one of your club's own major contributors.

September 2 - 4: New England Region Flower Show Symposium, Manchester NH. It's not just for judges! Design, Dahlias, Bromeliads and how to take excellent photographs are on the agenda.
September 24: President's Day at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), 10:00AM.  Note this is a Thursday!   All Connecticut Club Presidents are invited to join this meeting of the Federation Board.

Get many more dates and details of Federation schools, tours and club events on our website,  And look for the new board of directors list in the logon section.

And speaking of President's Day, congratulations to all of the new incoming club presidents and officers.  You have great responsibility and great fun ahead. I look forward to working with you all and hope to be able to come and visit with your club. Let me or any board member know if you need help with one of your many projects!

Happy Gardening as we GROW TOGETHER!

* Jane

Why Plant Native Oaks?

There are many reasons to plant native oak trees.  They are beautiful and majestic; they are our national and state tree; they are long lived (hundreds of years); they are well suited to our New England landscape; they are great shade trees, etc.  However, much more importantly, they are the quintessential wildlife plant.  As entomologist, Douglas Tallamy, points out in his book, Bringing Nature Home, oak trees support 517 species of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). It is this native insect population that supports our ecosystem.  

Plants store energy. Insects eat and store the energy.  The animals that eat insects access that stored energy. For example, 96% of our North American bird population feeds their young native live insects and arthropods (spiders that eat insects).  Without native insects, we lose our native birds.

No groceries in the house?  How about munching on the door knobs?  Well, that is how a native insect feels when facing all of the beautiful non-native plants in our gardens.  Their digestive systems simply can't work eating non-native plants.

Seventy percent of our native forests along the Eastern seaboard are gone. As you know, with the loss of habitat has been a huge loss of biodiversity.  As Tallamy and many others point out, there is something we can do about it in our own gardens--invite native insects by providing the food that they can eat. It is in this way that we can each make a contribution to restoring our lost habitat.

I am not suggesting that you rip your garden apart.  I don't want to part with my German iris, Chinese peonies and Korean Stewartia, but from now on, I will add natives wherever and whenever I can.  If you lose a plant in your garden or a tree blows down in a storm, think native when replacing it.

There are many definitions of "native" out there.  I like Tallamy's definition the best.  He says "that a plant can only function as a true native while it is interacting with the community that historically helped shape it."  For example, a plant native to Ohio is not native in CT unless it has historically interacted within our ecosystem.  It might grow well in our gardens, but it will not nourish the insects that support our ecosystem.

According to the UConn native plant database, native oak trees in Connecticut are the Quercus alba (White oak), Q. bicolor (Swamp oak), Q. muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak), Q. coccinea (Scarlett oak), Q. palustris (Pin oak), Q. rubra (Northern red oak), Q. velutina (Black oak) and Q. prinus (Chestnut oak).  My next article will treat the individual differences of these trees and the most appropriate planting sites for each.

The Federation's state project this year, "Growing Together," includes a program to encourage planting native oak trees around the state.  Work with your garden club to choose an ideal public site, get permission to plant there, then choose a native oak and The Federation will reimburse you up to $200 for the tree.  Please contact me at [email protected] for more information on the project.

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair

Native Oak Tree Project

As you've heard at the annual meeting or read in the CF NEWS, The Federation is helping to fund a native oak tree planting for all member Garden Clubs. Here are the details:

What:   Plant a CT native oak in a public location
            (park, school, street, etc.).

When:   Now through April 1, 2017.
Why:     It's our state and national tree and the best tree for supporting local wildlife.
?    Find a public location with lots of space for future growth.
?    Obtain permission to plant there.
?    Determine the best native oak variety for that location.
?    Locate a native tree to plant; we can help.
?    Establish a maintenance plan - who will mulch and water regularly the first 2 years.
?    Buy the tree (save the receipt) and plant.

?    The Federation will reimburse your club up to $200 for the tree (does not include planting).
?    Submit a copy of the invoice with the following: club name, tree location, native oak tree variety, date planted, brief description of planned maintenance, and the contact person and address to which the Federation check should be mailed.
?    No special format is required.  
?    A photo of the tree and/or dedication would be most welcome.

Project Chair Contact information:

Barbara Deysson,
216 Sylvan Knoll Rd.,
Stamford CT 06902                                      
(203) 249-0199       
email:  [email protected]



...the hard work of club members.
Recognize and show appreciation for the people who do the work.  Whether they're a club leader or someone who works hard to get a job done, let us know!  We are accepting nominations for TRIBUTE AWARDS in the following categories:

*    Civic Development
*    Conservation
*    Design
*    Garden Therapy
*    Horticulture
*    Landscape Design
*    Youth
*    All-around Excellence

Tribute Awards are different from the awards that clubs have applied for this year.  They are separate awards determined by the Federation's Second Vice-President as a way to honor individuals who have made a real impact on your club, The Federation and/or the community through their efforts.  Individuals can be nominated by ANYONE in The Federation.  

To nominate a club member, a letter is submitted explaining who the candidate is and all of their contributions that make them worthy of this distinction.  The letter may be submitted by email to [email protected] or by standard mail to Arlene Field, Second Vice President, FGCCT, Inc., 105 Meadows End Road, Monroe, CT  06468-1705. Please include your contact information in the letter. The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2015.  Recipients will receive their awards at the Annual Awards Luncheon on October 28, 2015.

Another way to recognize individual accomplishments and dedication to your club is to honor an individual with a CONNECTICUT LIFE MEMBERSHIP to The Federation. A life membership is obtained by submitting a letter, again to the Second Vice-President, using the contact information above, outlining why the individual is being recognized by your club.  A $100 check, made out to FGCCT, Inc., should accompany the request, along with the date of the presentation.  You will receive a congratulatory letter from The Federation, a beautiful pin and card to formally present to this individual ----  a great idea for your club's annual luncheon. This honor differs from the National Garden Club Life Membership, another option available to recognize club members.  Contact Arlene Field at [email protected] or (203)268-6541 for more information.


Perennial Planters Garden Club

of Manchester, CT

invites you to attend our


of 7 unique gardens


9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m


Advanced Tickets $20.00

Day of Tour $25.00

For more information, please go to 

perennial planters 



This month we thank the following club for its generous contribution to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund:

Greens Farms Garden Club     $100

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair


As our flight left the frigid northeast, it transported us to the sunny south in less than two hours. Local guide, Virginia, spoke to us with pride about her city of Charleston. We drove past many of the sights before we were dropped at our hotel in the center of the Historic District.

The weather was sunny, the food was heavenly and the legendary hospitality did not disappoint.

A private home on Kiawah Island where we enjoyed an outstanding lunch was a rare treat. Our hostess, former President of the Kiawah Garden Club, greeted us like long-lost friends. Her garden was a clever arrangement of yellow iris, potted plants, palms and more. The photo of the white stepping stones around a small pond stands out. The stones were her great grandfather's and were used to print money on during the Civil War. 

During our visit to Kiawah we were taken to a Demonstration garden by members of the Nature Conservancy at the Night Heron Garden. We also met with Bill Maneri, landscape architect who designed many gardens on Kiawah and in Charleston. He spoke with us and answered all our questions. The delicate balance between development and native habitat is fiercely protected by the Conservancy.

During free time, our travelers took the opportunity to go to gospel themed concerts, haunted cemeteries,Plantation gardens, shopping on King Street and much more.

Our dinners and lunches were bountiful...Cocktails on the rooftop of the romantic Vendue hotel...A cruise of the harbor highlighted events of the attack of Fort Sumter and history of Charleston.  Did I mention the charming streets filled with stunning flower boxes, slow moving fringe-topped carriages being pulled by horses as the tourists took in the sights? We paced our Glorious Garden tour to end at the Nathaniel Russell House for a tea, lemonade and wine reception.

A walking tour that included the Joseph Maginault House, the historic College of Charleston campus and the Second Presbyterian Church was a wonderful way to spend the morning.

The Middleton Plantation was a gorgeous location to see as the azaleas were in full bloom.

Reflecting on our trip will bring great pleasure to everyone who experienced it. I do hope you can join us for one of our fun-filled trips soon! We gardeners know how to have a good time!

* Kathy Kobishyn
FGCCT Tour Coordinator


Our gardens are now flourishing. As you view your gardens blooming, please consider entering them for the Love-ly Garden Award.  This award is in honor of Penny Jarvis, who loved to garden and bequeathed funds to the Gardening Consultants Council.  

The application and directions are available on the FGCCT website under "Forms."  Applications can be submitted online or by standard mail.  It is also very helpful to have a few before-and-after photos of the gardens. The deadline is June 15 and judging takes place in July when most gardens are at their peak.  However, if your garden appears at its best in Spring or Autumn, indicate this on your application.  We hope to be visiting YOUR garden this summer!    

* Mary Sullivan,
Gardening Consultants Council Chair  

Meet Nancy Lenoce

For Nancy Lenoce, it all comes together in the rose garden--her first love, photography, and her passion for gardening. Her husband, Al, started 15 years ago with five rose plants. Now their garden contains 500 roses and has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine in addition to many local publications. "Al does the roses and builds the arbors and I do the perennials, the photos and the picking up," says Nancy with pride.  "We've been recognized by NGC on the cover of the National Member Services catalog. " Her photos have also been featured in the Visons of Beauty calendar.  

It was also 15 years ago that Nancy joined the Long Hill Garden Club in Trumbull. "As a brand new member, I was immediately attracted to The Federation's Gardening Study School and Landscape Design Study School. I signed up to exercise my brain," she laughs.  Nancy has now completed three of the NGC schools-all but the Flower Show School.

She soon became a member and then Chair of the Gardening Consultants Council . As Chair of the GCC, Lenoce was instrumental in starting the Love-ly Garden Award in honor of Penny Jarvis.  "I wanted to acknowledge the efforts of regular gardeners," she says. So each year, the Gardening Consultants Council visits garden club members' gardens and selects one for the award.

Nancy also initiated the Scholarship for Gardening Study School with the idea of attracting more students. "People have to get out of their own little circle and exchange ideas," says Nancy.

Nancy joined The Federation Board in 2005 and is now in her fifth year as The Federation's Chair for Historic/Memorial/Public Gardens. In that role, she reviews the annual reports from garden clubs to choose recipients for the state and national awards. She found it very instructive to go on the Landscape Design Study School visits to historical gardens around the state. "You don't realize what garden clubs are doing that may earn an award. And if people don't know what you've accomplished, they may not join the clubs."

As a photographer, Nancy has won blue, white and red ribbons in the new Photography category at the CT Flower and Garden Show. She also has photos in the CT Rose Society Calendar. In June, 2015, her picture of the 4th of July rose will be featured. And she will have two photos in 2016.

Nancy worked as a Branch Manager for World Book, handling sales and service for clients in the Northeast. Later she established her own company supplying schools and libraries with educational materials.

Al and Nancy enjoy opening their garden to visitors for free. They have had up to 1500 visitors in one weekend. During her eight-year stint as Membership Chair for the Long Hill Garden Club, Nancy often invited garden visitors to join the club. Last year she won the CT Tribute Award for All Around Excellence for helping to contribute to the growth of the club and to involvement in The Federation. She has also been awarded a Lifetime Membership in Long Hill Garden Club.

Married 58 years this July, Nancy and Al will watch their daughter wed in their rose garden this June.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor


When it comes to the June garden, the first thing that comes to mind is peonies. Nothing is more glorious--I love them all. Beautiful, fragrant, large double blooms atop of pest-free glossy green foliage that looks great all summer, what could be better? 'Sarah Bernhardt', 'Festiva Maxima' and 'Raspberry Sundae' are a few of my old time favorites. If I had to say these plants had a downfall, it would be that their bloom times usually correspond with heavy June rains. We all know what that means.

So to alleviate the mess and to quench my desire for peonies (one can never have enough), I've turned to the singles, the semi-doubles and the Japanese types. While not as showy, they are pretty and are more apt to stand up without support. 'Charles Burgess,' 'Do Tell' and 'Nippon Beauty' are interesting varieties with single to slightly double outer petals and contrasting center petaloids.

Single pink herbaceous peony.

In recent years a coral color has been introduced. 'Coral Charm' is a semi-double that blooms coral and lightly fades from peach to pale yellow. The corals tend to bloom a little earlier, so don't worry about them clashing with the strong pinks.

Always on the hunt for the unusual, I came across a variety aptly named 'Alley Cat.' It has shaggy (almost scraggly) cream blooms with raspberry colored tips. So anti big perfect double type I had to give it a home.

Tree peonies are really a deciduous shrub. Unlike herbaceous peonies, they are not to be cut down at the end of the growing season and bloom approximately a month earlier. They are equally gorgeous, if not more so. There is a wide variety of color choices including multi-colored ones and others with contrasting centers.  After blooming, tree peonies should be deadheaded so the plant's strength will go to the roots and not into seed production.

I once mistakenly let one of the seedpods ripen, so, on a lark at the end of the season, I stuck the three black seeds it contained into the ground under the mother plant. The next spring, to my surprise, I had three little leaves, one per seed. I let them establish a root system for the next few years before I moved them away from their mother. It took another ten years before I saw any blooms. While all pretty, only one of the three resembles the mother. If you have time and are willing to wait, they can be grown from seed. Dividing tree peonies can be difficult and cannot be done on all types of tree peonies, so this gardener chooses to leave it to the professionals.

Tree peony grown from seed.

Two tree peonies grown from seed with the mother plant in the background.

One issue to watch for once you've made a tree peony yours is that some growers graft a piece of the parent plant onto a piece of herbaceous root stock in order to quickly increase supplies. As a result, the herbaceous root takes over to the detriment of the tree peony. You won't know this has happened until you see the fat, round herbaceous buds atop of new green stems at the base of your tree peony.  Tree peony buds are on the woody branches. If this happens, resist the temptation to let the herbaceous buds bloom and cut them off at ground level or your tree peony will suffer the consequences.

Intersectionals or Itoh peonies are relatively new to the market. They are a cross between herbaceous peonies and  tree peonies. They more closely resemble a lush, smaller tree peony but like the herbaceous types will completely die back to the ground in winter. They, too, come in exciting new colors. 'Julia Rose,' for example, is a cherry red fading to orange then yellow. They are gorgeous, but until supplies are increased, will remain a little pricey.

All types of peonies require basically the same growing conditions, full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. The tree peony is the only one that could take a little less sun. When given some afternoon shade, the blooms will last longer. They are also the largest peony, so be sure to give them ample growing room. Preferably all should be planted in the fall. The eyes of the herbaceous type should be no more than two inches below soil level. With the exception of the tree peony, fall is best time to cut down all stems and discard in order to prevent disease. Often these beauties may take a few years to reach their full potential, but they are certainly worth the wait.   

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair



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."
For more information, click here.

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


Holiday Inspiration in Brandywine Valley and Philadelphia
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  

Share Your Garden

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.

Spring in the front garden of Christine Griffin, of the Milford Garden Club.

Spring in the garden of Inge Venus, member of the Cheshire Garden Club.





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."



JULY 10:

Deadline for AUGUST 2015 ISSUE  


Email Articles and Photos to:
[email protected]
Email Advertising to: [email protected]
Email Calendar Items to: [email protected]
FGCCT Web Site:

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



Our Mission Statement 

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


To protect and conserve our natural resources, preserve our heritage and promote civic beauty.   Federation logo


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Mt Laurel