May 2017

We say a hearty "Welcome!" to our new President, Inge Venus, and our new Board Members.  Learn about our President's projects and goals, and share in the review of the events at the April 19th Annual Meeting.   Catch up on the good works we are pursuing, including Youth Contests and Love-ly Garden Contests.    And mark your calendars for wonderful club flower shows and garden tours in the works. 

For all the spring events and plant sales in this month's Calendar click 
For Board of Directors List click here .

President's Message

Happy Spring Fellow Gardeners!

The growing season is now upon us - with Nature providing tantalizingly beautiful sceneries throughout our landscapes and gardens.
With that in mind, I trust that my President's Theme "PLANT CONNECTICUT - BE A CONSERVATION CHAMPION" - will spike your interest in becoming involved.  Connecticut is considered at the forefront of environment-friendly practices throughout our State.   I invite you to become stewards in your own community and help in three major areas that continue to be of concern in supporting a healthy environment for today and for future generations.
A deficit of more than 12 inches in rainfall has substantially dropped our water table - so let's strive to CONSERVE WATER.  Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides is raising havoc among our pollinators - so let's strive to ASSIST POLLINATION.  Without resorting to chemical sprays and fertilizer, there are many ways to grow plants in our gardens and town parks - so let's  GARDEN NATURALLY.
Moving on to my President's Projects - I hope to  engender  real interest among you as a garden club to participate in creating either a  Pollinator-friendly garden or a  Xeriscape garden in your community over the next two years, and for you as a garden club member  to create a Xeriscape garden section in your own garden.

Our State Projects Chair is Holly Kocet, of the Garden Club of Newtown,
[email protected] who will be your go between in participating.   Contest rules are published in my brochure available upon request, and further details will be posted on our website.    In April of 2019 we hope to present a  Conservation Championship Award  for both garden projects to garden clubs in small, medium, large and extra large club size categories as well as of up to five garden club members with the most impressive Xeriscape garden.  

If you've attended our Annual Meeting you were privy to outgoing President Jane Waugh's documentation of her very successful two-year administration - with emphasis on her Oak Tree Project, the Idea Exchange Symposia, her monthly Update to Club Presidents newsletters, as well as our Federation's continuation to sponsor the four Nationally accredited schools of Environmental Studies, Flower Show, Gardening Study and Landscape Design.

With that in mind, let's strive to make the next two years equally successful.
In conclusion, I feel honored to take the helm as the 44th President of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc. for 2017-2019.
In the spirit of Conservation,
Inge Venus
The 88th Annual Meeting of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc., was
held at Aqua Turf on April 19, 2017, with 309  members in attendance.  It was truly a most inspirational and enjoyable event.                       
The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag was given by Second Vice President Arlene Field.
President Jane Waugh welcomed Presidents-elect from the New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Federations, including
New England Region Director Vera Bowen.  She further acknowledged former NER Directors Joyce Kimball, of New Hampshire, and Maria Nahom, of Connecticut, who together with Donna Nowak and Ronnie Schoelzel were Federation presidents from 2007 to 2013.
Meetings Chair Nan Merolla was thanked by Waugh for superbly organizing this event and also Office Secretary Barbara Romblad for handling the Registration Table and making up the 309 name tags.
President Waugh's annual report was full of praise for the many members who contributed to the success of her Oak Tree Project, and for events held during her two-year term, which included two Idea Exchange Symposia; the four NGC Schools;  the always well attended CT Flower Shows and the many programs our CT Clubs sponsored for their own members.
Jane's report was spoken with  eloquent words and resonated with
gratitude and pride on the success of  her theme: "Growing Together - Tiny Acorns to Mighty Oaks".  She was given a standing ovation.
She thanked the Cheshire Garden Club for the beautiful Rex Begonia table Centerpieces.  She then introduced  State Projects Chair Barbara Deysson who stated that 78 garden clubs participated in planting an oak tree in their communities - some even planted up to five trees.  All those who had two seed packets inside the Program Agenda were asked to stand and be recognized for their involvement.   A well deserved applause was given to them.
Jane then presented presidential  citations to Barbara Deysson; National Projects Chair Marty Sherman; Environmental Studies School Chair  Polly Brooks; Garden Therapy/World Gardening Chair Dottie Fox;  Historic/Memorial/Public Gardens Chair Nancy Lenoce; Environmental Consultants Council Chair, Calendar Manager and CAES Liaison Ellie Tessmer.  And to Inge Venus for her 12 years as Parliamentarian, six years of Website Chair and her many contributions throughout the years.
Barbara Deysson
Marty Sherman
Nancy Lenoce
Polly Brooks
Dottie Fox
Ellie Tessmer

Inge Venus

Jane  then called on Nominating Chair Ronnie Schoelzel to present the proposed 2017-2019 Nominating Slate.  Before doing so, she  presented Ronnie with a Certificate of Five-Star Membership from National Garden Clubs and the coveted pin.  Ronnie then proceeded to announce the proposed slate for the new Officers as well as the new Chairmen, both of which were adopted by unanimous vote.

Ronnie Schoelzel
Polly Brooks; Arlene Field; Vera Bowen; Inge Venus; Jane Waugh
Each of the newly elected chairmen was then presented with a name badge by  Ronnie.
New England Region Director Vera Bowen  undertook the installation of Second Vice President Polly Brooks and First Vice-President Arlene Field.  Each was given a new name badge and a plant.  Vera then asked Inge Venus to step forward and read a beautiful poem before installing her as the new President.  Inge was then presented by Jane with the President's pin while receiving the former president's pin from Inge.
 Inge, as the 44th President, gave a brief historical overview of the formation of The Federation and the National Council of Garden Clubs 88 years ago back in 1929, as well as the New England Region in 1934, asking the three NER directors present to stand one more time.    She then outlined her theme and projects for the next two years   of "Plant Connecticut - Be a Conservation Champion" pointing to the several poster displays she
had prepared for this occasion and emphasizing her own passionate conservation ideas developed more than 30 years ago.   
She encouraged garden clubs as well as garden club members to participate in her contests of creating a "Pollinator-friendly garden" or a "Xeriscape garden" in their community, or a Xeriscape garden section in their own yard over the next two years, to be considered for the newly created Conservation Championship Award to be presented in April of 2019 to clubs in small, medium, large and extra large club size categories for the most beautiful garden in either of the two garden projects as well as to five individual garden clubs members for the most impressive Xeriscape garden.

Inge held up her newly created brochure available to all those interested in participating, and pointed to the posters displaying many theme-oriented articles and brochures for interested members - to acquire from State Projects Chair Holly Kocet, of the Garden Club of Newtown, whom Inge recognized at that time and asked to stand.
In line with her theme, Inge explained the items displayed in the centerpieces as being real beeswax lotion bars made by Dottie Fox as well as edible bumble bee  cookies made by Cheshire Garden Club member Francine Shannon for members to share at each table.   She asked both of them to stand to be acknowledged.   Lastly, Inge read the list of the eleven appointees to the Board who will join the elected Board members during her two-year term.
The meeting was then turned over to Program Chair Gini Mita who introduced nationally acclaimed designer Jeanne T. Nelson who fashioned nine beautiful designs - all of which found a new owner after the drawing.  
Designer Jeanne T. Nelson
Nan Merolla also handled the drawing of the contributions made by each of the twelve vendors.
The Blessing was given by newly elected Second Vice President Polly Brooks.   During dessert, Nan Merolla announced the winners of the Rex Begonia centerpieces as being those whose birthday was closest to April 19th.
After lunch, both  Jane and Inge  held the gavel and together closed the 88 th Annual Meeting.


If your Club is finishing up a project by May 31st, you may apply for a Connecticut State award.  Please use this interactive Award Application (  click here ), which permits you to complete it online by typing directly into the document, printing it out as well as saving it to your computer files. Note:  Save it to your computer files first.  This application form can also be found on our FGCCT website . Find it by clicking on "Forms" on the left side of our home page. This FGCCT form is an adaptation of the NGC form.  Please note that we no longer require Books of Evidence. Send your completed three-page Awards Application to the appropriate committee chairs, as follows: 
Civic Development, Jan Hickcox, 148 Keeney Avenue, West Hartford 06107 
Environmental Concerns/Conservation, Ellie Tessmer, 115 Cheshire Road, Wallingford 06492-3334.  Copy to Nancy Lenoce.
Garden Therapy, Dottie Fox, 99 Cole Lane, Kensington 06037.  Copy to Peggy Lajoie, 12 Eastview Road, Southington 06489
Historic/Memorial/Public Gardens, Nancy Lenoce, 59 Spinning Wheel Rd., Trumbull, CT 06611-2674. 
Horticulture, Liz Rinaldi, 59 Neil Drive, Watertown 06795
Youth Activities , Ann Germano, 30 Natalie Road, Trumbull, CT 06611.  Copy to Dottie Fox.  
* Please send a duplicate copy to Awards Chair Janet Spaulding, 9 Applewood Lane, Glastonbury, CT 06033.


Be a "Sweet Pea!" and join the 2018 "Breath of Spring" Flower Show Committee.  There's an exciting opportunity for you to become a team member of an enthusiastic, creative, and dedicated group of volunteers.  We have several openings and feel sure we can match your skill set to a position that you will find fun and rewarding.  Sound interesting? Please contact:
 Cathy Ritch 203-452-5918 or [email protected] for more information.

Eye on Horticulture:   

If you enjoy spring flowering trees (and who doesn't) then May must be your month. One of my favorite May flowering trees happens to be a small native named
Prunus virginiana 'Schubert'. Commonly known as chokecherry it has an open oval crown and covers itself with 3" to 6" long racemes of sweetly fragrant white flowers that bloom alongside the finely serrated 2" to 4" oval green leaves. It gently billows in a spring breeze releasing its delicious fragrance. The overall effect is stunning and quite pleasing to the senses.  When done blooming the flowers are followed by pea sized dark purple fruits that the birds just love. Not a single drupe will remain on my tree by midsummer. If this wasn't enough of a reason to love this tree the show continues on slowly and by midsummer the leaves have changed from green to dark purple.  If you didn't notice the gradual change you would think it was a different tree. Not too large, easy to grow in zones 2-7, beautiful fragrant flowers, a changing leaf show and fruit loved by wildlife what more could you ask for in a native tree?  Well, unfortunately
Prunus virginiana like other stone fruit trees are susceptible to disease.
 Black Knot is one such disease that is rapidly becoming a major problem affecting trees in the Prunus family. 
 Black Knot Disease is caused by the fungus Plowrightia Morbosa (Apiosporina). It is easily identifiable by the long blackish swollen unsightly galls or knots that form along the length of stems and branches and even on the trunks of affected trees. The gall will encircle the branch and may cause the part of the branch beyond the gall to die. If the branch lives the gall will continue to grow and will continue to release spores every spring. It is during wet periods in the spring that the galls or knots expel spores that will infect young shoots or wounded branches causing more galls to form. If left untreated the tree will become highly stressed and very unattractive.
Since Black Knot does not systemically affect a tree the best way to treat this disease is to prune out the infected branch. Remove at least 4" of healthy wood ahead of the gall. You will have to be vigilant in this as it may take several years to completely remove all infections as young galls are easily overlooked. Once removed burn, bury or dispose all branches from the site as spores can still be produced on pruned branches and spread to new areas. I have read that fungicides can help but I'd recommend contacting your local extension office to see what could be safely used in your area.  

Sadly, my 'Schubert' is afflicted with this disease so every spring for the last few years we prune out all of the visible knots.  I am not sure if we bought it with this disease or if it contracted it when I brought it home. Once I became aware of the disease I noticed a stand of wild chokecherries about two miles away that are infected. It is important to try not to spread this disease and had I known at the time I would have purchased a different flowering tree. But for now I'll keep pruning galls. It's such a pretty little native that I won't give up on it unless I see the problem has spread beyond my tree.
Liz Rinaldi, Horticulture Chair.

      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

Woodsy Owl And Smokey Bear Poster Contest   Recognition Ceremony  

Sponsored by The Wallingford and Cheshire Garden Clubs, this ceremony
took place on  Sunday, April 23, 2017 
in the Wallingford Public Library.  

Elementary students who took first place in the State contest gathered with their parents and family members in the Community  Room of the Wallingford Library.

Inge Venus, President of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc. presented each of the four students with a framed
first place certificate as well as  a number of books:  "The Frightened Frog";
'Kids Guide to Exploring Nature"; and "Fun with Nature".

FGCCT President Inge Venus with the four first place Connecticut winners, with organizer of the event Wallingford Garden Club Youth Chair Linda Miller looking on.

Linda Miller, Youth Committee Chair of the Wallingford Garden Club, and organizer of  this event, presented each student with a Certificate of Participation from the New  England Region of Garden Clubs, Inc.

First Grade:  Leah Mosher  
Stevens Elementary School, Wallingford
First Place State / Fourth Place New England Region  

Second Grade:    Emily Junaedi
Doolittle Elementary School, Cheshire
First Place State / Fourth Place  New England Region

Third Grade:    Isabella Galushko
Pond Hill Elementary School, Wallingford
First Place State / Third Place New England Region

Fourth Grade:    Katherine Lombardo
Parker Farms Elementary School, Wallingford
First Place State / Fourth Place New England Region
A reception followed, with sparkling apple-cider, flutes and an assortment of cookies served by hostess Linda Miller.


The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc. 
Headquarters - P.O. Box 854, Branford, CT 06405-0854 
This Award is presented to a Gardener who has shown a Love of Gardening.
Open to all garden club members who have created and maintained her or his own  garden.  Form must be completed and sent to Chairman by  Page2 for guidelines).
Summer Visits will be made by the Committee.
Award is presented in  October.
Name of  Gardener______________________________________________________________________________________
Address  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Phone____________________________ Email                                             _______________________________
Name of Garden Club______________________________________________________________________________________
OR Name of  Nominator and Garden Club                                                                                      __________________      ___
Brief description/history/purpose of the garden.                                                                                                           
    (use back of page)
How  did it get started?What did you do?....Tell us why you enjoy    gardening...
We want to hear from you, OR about this garden from a friend!
-    Please include 3-5 photos (one of"before", if possible)
-    Please enclose directions to the"LOVE-LY Garden"
Return form to...  Rodney F. Hayes    4 Grove Street, Branford, CT 06405
 (203) 640-2638    [email protected]             by June15th

The Love-ly Garden Award was established in 2006 to recognize someone who "loves to garden". Penny Jarvis of Portland and Old Lyme, Connecticut, loved to garden and endowed The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut and the Gardening Consultants Council with a generous gift of $5000.  
* The gardener must be a member of a Federated Garden Club of CT. * A gardener may nominate her/his own garden. * Nominations from friends or garden club members should first be approved by the garden owner. This aids immensely with receiving "before" and "after" photos and with the gardener's story since the emphasis is on someone who "loves to garden". * The garden must be established and maintained by the garden owner. * If significant changes have been made to a garden during a 5-year period, the garden can be re-nominated for the award. * After greeting the gardener/homeowner, the Judges will stroll the garden as a private group during judging.

"We extend our sincere condolences to our Former President Lee Bauerfeld on the loss of her beloved husband and long-time partner Dick Bauerfeld".

The Westport Garden Club will have its annual plant sale, Friday May 12 at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East. It runs from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, rain or shine.
It will be our largest sale ever with an extensive selection of perennials, mostly home grown and guaranteed to thrive in our local climate. This year, there will be a "Plant Doctor" on hand to give advice and a special "edible garden" section. We're also featuring unique gifts appropriate for Mother's Day and our delicious array of baked goods created by members.
 The photo posted on line shows representatives from the Wakeman Town Farm. The club made a $5,000 donation to the farm, the largest single donation ever made by the club. It will be used to create a variety of perennial gardens that will grace  the renovated and enhanced property.
This gift is one of many facilities the club supports. Members are involved in the rejuvenation of Grace K. Salmon Park, maintenance of the town's historic cemeteries and various local gardens.

Top row, from left: Katje Donovan, club treasurer, Ellen Greenberg, Westport Garden Club President and Carrie Aitkenhead, farm steward.
Bottom row: Kathy Oberman Tracy, Wakeman committee and plant sale chair, Liz Milwe, Wakeman co-chair (giving a thumb's up in appreciation of the gift) and Christy Colasurdo, Wakeman co-chair

IMG_ 1
Seamus enjoying a drink!
Garden of Ginny Turner
 East Haddam Garden Club

Garden of Margaret Donahue
 Nichols Garden Club

Saturday, May 6, 2017
8:00 a.m. to Noon
Enfield Senior Center
299 Elm Street, Enfield
Rain or Shine
The Enfield Garden Club's Plant Sale features
 a  wide variety  of healthy perennials  grown 
by club members.  Annual and hanging 
baskets, from Garden's  Dream Farm,
 a local grower, will also be available.
Friendly and knowledgeable gardeners
 will be  ready to help with selecting plants 
appropriate for your garden or containers.


Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.
[email protected]

 6537 Members   124 Clubs    17 Affiliates