CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 9 *  November 2015   

In This Issue
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In keeping with this season of giving thanks, we acknowledge the wonderful contributions of our members and supporters with awards. Read on to learn who earned our Bronze Medal and for information about FGCCT, NGC and Publication awards applications. We also listen to our members, both at the Idea Exchange Symposium and at Presidents' Day--here we have answers to your questions.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

For the Calendar, click here.


Lynn Hyson, Editor
President's Message

Fall is back-to-school and that was certainly the case for many Federation club members in September and October. While we don't prefer to schedule them so close together, we've just finished up three schools in September and October.  We had a total of 84 students in the three courses given, at least 16 of which were new to the school they chose.

As we approach the time of year for Thanksgiving, we can give thanks for the hard work of this fall's  school chairs: Pat Dray for Flower Show School, Polly Brooks for Environmental Studies School and Marilynn Klepfer and Joanne McKendry for Gardening Study School. They and their teams all did an outstanding job of planning, organizing and running their schools.

For Flower Show School, we draw on nationally accredited instructors.  For the other schools, we can be thankful to live in a state with a bounty of talented instructors -   professors from our many CT colleges and universities, and scientists and researchers from The CT Agricultural Experiment Station.

Our newest school, Environmental Studies, is the least well attended, a fact that amazes me because the content is so interesting.  Where else, without taking a number of college courses, can you learn about plant diversity, Connecticut's laws and activities related to solid waste management, local and global issues related to sustainability and much more in just a few hours?  If you had attended, you would know what is meant by the "tragedy of the commons" or that if everyone had your personal ecological footprint we would need 14 different planet earths to sustain us.  The lunch is delicious and the field trips are always great, this time to Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area. So consider signing up for next October.

I truly find all our schools fascinating, but just wanted to encourage you to consider this one, especially with environmental issues so important these days, and with so many of our club activities related to them.  Environmental education helps make us advocates for a better world. And don't forget to look for Landscape Design Studies School coming next March, chaired by Susan Laursen.

Finally, in the spirit and season of giving thanks, I want to thank all of our clubs and their members for their projects and programs and gardening events.  Whether they resulted in an award of silver or a certificate or no recognition at all (perhaps because you didn't tell us about it), they were important and you should be proud of your achievements.  It was so exciting to hear about some of them at the New England Region Awards Meeting in New Hampshire on October 21st and our own Annual Awards Luncheon on October 28th. Garden Club members DO make a difference!

The Luncheon was coordinated by our Meetings Chair, Margaret Hopkins, and the Awards Chair, Janet Spaulding, and her Committee. All that silver was prepared and shined by Inge Venus.  An added attraction were the "Whimsical and Wonderful Tablescapes" planned by Trish Manfredi and created by 10 of our clubs. We all had fun voting for our favorites in three categories. The winners with the highest number of votes by those in attendance in each category were as follows:

"My favorite - I'd like to party here" 
The Wallingford Garden Club 
"Most exciting use of color"     
The Wallingford Garden Club 
"Most innovative use of plant material" 
Danbury Garden Club

Here are the representatives of the 10 clubs that participated in the "Whimsical Tablescapes" designs.  Each of them was called forward and given a Certificate of Participation.   Chair Trish Manfredi (left) is joined by President Jane Waugh, with Barbara Bruce holding two awards for Wallingford Garden Club for Most Exciting Use of Color and for My Favorite - I'd Like To Party Here.   Danbury Garden Club won for Most Innovative Use of Plant Material.    Photo by Inge Venus.

As we continue GROWING TOGETHER, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.
*Jane Waugh

(For work done between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015)


The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.,  is pleased to give its highest award, The Bronze Medal, 2015 to Oswald Joseph Schmitz, Ph.D., Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University,  for his contributions to his academic field, his teaching, and his dedication to our Federation's Environmental Studies School.

2015 Bronze Medal winner, Dr. Oswald Schmitz, with President Jane Waugh (right) presenting the bronze medal and sponsor Polly Brooks joining the presentation.   Photo by Inge Venus.

Dr. Schmitz received a Bachelor's Degree in Science in 1982 from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Department of Zoology, followed by a Master's Degree, in 1984, in the same field. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources in 1989. He completed an M.A. Privatim at Yale University in 2003. In 2006, he was named Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology. His resumé on the Yale website runs to 23 pages--articles, studies, programs and awards.

Dr. Schmitz has been awarded Class Teaching Awards for his excellence in teaching by the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies not once, but twice, in 1999 and 2014.

His passion for education extendsbeyond Yale. When asked to help
jump start the first Environmental Studies School for The Federation in September, 2008, he agreed to present the first topic of the first Course. He is the only original presenter who has contributed to every session of this school since. The topics range from Ecology to Earth Stewardship, Environmental Ethics, Effective Citizenship, Environmental Science, to Sustainability. He is our Key Speaker, whose availability we confirm first.

Every Environmental Consultant in our Federation received at least six hours of instruction from Dr. Schmitz, even more through Refreshers. We rely on his knowledge, passion and goodwill. He never fails to engage and inspire his students. He opened our recent Course I speaking on Ecology, as he did in 2009. In an hour, he encapsulated a semester's course. He did it seamlessly. He handles every topic seamlessly.

Because he is so knowledgeable and approachable, Helen Pritchard, former Bronze Medal winner, and Maria Nahom, Former President of The Federation and immediate Past New England Region Director, conveyed Dr. Schmitz's name to National Garden Clubs.

Next fall, Princeton University Press will publish The New Nature of Ecology, by Oswald J. Schmitz, Ph.D. He says his experiences teaching groups such as ours influenced the writing of this book. We cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel for the influence he has on our Federation. We can present the Bronze Medal in token thereof.

*Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair

* Inge Venus
Growing Together:
Ideas That Can Take Root In Your Club

At the September Idea Exchange Symposium held in Glastonbury,  members from 29 clubs shared a multitude of good ideas with one another.  Below are a few excerpts from the roundtable discussions that you may find useful for your club!

*    Refer to the Program "book" on the Federation's website updated September 2015, for     program ideas and speaker         contact information.
*    There is a free slide show and discussion provided by The Federation to introduce clubs to all the resources available through The Federation - contact Arlene Field, Second Vice-President, at [email protected] or (203) 268-6541.
*    Plant society speakers from many of our Affiliate Members listed on our website offer fascinating talks from experts at an, often, nominal fee.

Membership Ideas

*    Vary times and types of meetings, perhaps alternating evening and day meetings. 

*    Consider workshops and field trips in order to appeal to a broad range of interests.  Survey your membership annually to find out what people are interested in doing and learning about.

*    Publicity is key to attracting members.  Let the public know what your club is doing in the community.  Consider new ways of communication--club brochures at the library and around town, event flyers, print newspapers as well as digital newspapers, a website linked to the town website, a Facebook page-- and don't forget Twitter!


Club Management Concerns
*    Get every club member on a committee.  If you're on a committee, you are more likely     to participate actively.
*    Consider the social aspect of the club, as well as the club's mission.  In the summer, when many clubs don't meet formally, have a roving tour of members' gardens, with light refreshments and an explanation of the horticulture and design of the gardens by the homeowner.


*    Partnering with other organizations, town departments or other non-profit organizations like the scouts, land trusts, plant societies, arbor day foundation, etc., will help "lighten the load" from an organizational standpoint, as well as physically.  Consider the resources you need and who you are trying to benefit with your project when contemplating a partner for your projects.
Fund Raising Ideas
*    By far the fund raisers yielding the highest income for all clubs were their May Markets/Plant Sales.  Though labor intensive, they unite the club membership and rally involvement by all members in some capacity.  Beyond selling plants, educational opportunities and sales of other items create a draw for community members.  
*    Plant Day at a local nursery is less labor intensive. On that day, the nursery gives the club 20% of sales to a particular goal, like the club's scholarship fund.
 *    Another successful fund raiser for clubs is selling 'Spear Head Spades.' For all the information about how to do this at your club, contact Leslie Martino, First Vice-President, at [email protected] or (203) 389-4434.

* Leslie Martino
Ist Vice President


Presidents' Day

President's Day was jam-packed with information for club presidents.  With all the presentations, we didn't have time for questions, so attendees were invited to submit them in writing on cards provided. I thought that all of you might have the same, or similar questions, so am providing both the questions and answers for you to peruse by category.                                                       Jane Waugh, President


Q. Can program/speaker reviews be submitted online and viewed by members?
A. Not currently.  But there is a task force working on updating The Federation's website and this good idea will be considered for implementation.

Q. Can reviews be sent in for speakers not listed in the booklet?
A. Yes, please do. Speakers with good reviews may be added in the next printing, or online if we begin to keep updates that way.

Q. Why don't we at FGCCT coordinate our awards schedule with the NER so it's easier to submit in the proper year?
A. The New England Region (NER) awards and Connecticut awards are on the same schedule - June to May - because awards are presented in the fall.  National Garden Clubs (NGC) is on a different schedule (January to December) because these awards are given out at the annual convention in May. That said, I know understanding the various deadlines for awards and contests can be confusing. We are trying our best to clarify them for you. But rather than being uncertain, when you undertake a project, feel free to contact a Federation Board member who can advise you of the deadline and method to submit your documentation. The best resources are the Awards Chair, Janet Spaulding, and awards experts Inge Venus and Helen Pritchard.

Q. Can more than one club member win a Tribute Award during a single club year?
A. Yes, absolutely, and it has happened in the past. So submit all your good candidates.

Q. Why were three study schools scheduled within a three-week space? Could they be spread out over the course of the year in the future...2 in spring, 2 in fall?
A. We do try to spread them out, but this fall was particularly difficult to schedule with our first Idea Exchange Symposium, Presidents' Day, NER Symposium, NGC Board Meeting, and various national and religious holidays. Other factors in setting the schedule are the availability of instructors, field trip seasonality and curriculum requirements.

Q. Are Flower Shows mandatory for clubs in The Federation?
A. They are not.  However, they are an excellent way to promote horticulture and design in your club and your community - to both educate the public and to show off your good work!

Q. How do we get started with a Flower Show?

A. Judges Council Members and Flower Show School Chairs frequently include very specific helpful suggestions about Flower Show "How to's" in the CFNews.  You can look at back issues online starting with April, 2013, for articles nearly every month. Our Judges will assist, especially if you don't have one in your club. Remember, Flower Show School is a great way to learn the details even if your goal is not to become a judge.  And you may also contact Barbara Bosco at [email protected] to learn about "Flower Show in a Box" published by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. to get a head start.

Q. How many members?
A. The Board is generally comprised of about 40 members depending on special positions appointed by the president.  

Q. When do they meet?  

A. The Federation Board meets on a Wednesday in alternate months beginning in March, at 10 o'clock, that is, five times per year.

Q. What is the process to be appointed to The Federation Board?
A. The most important thing is that we have to know you are interested. And then we'd like to know in what area you would like to contribute. Most positions are elected at the Annual Meeting in April and about 10 other positions are appointed by the President. There are several ways for you to suggest potential board members to us. In the President's Annual Report, there is a question asking for nominees and a form to submit more detail. You may nominate yourself or others in your club with their knowledge. That is once a year, but you may contact the Nominating Chairman, Ronnie Schoelzel, at any time with your suggestions.  We have a couple of positions opening up now, so we'd like to hear from you.

Q. Can a "Cheer Fund" come out of the treasury?
A. According to the accountant used by The Federation, it can be included in the club's treasury so long as it is an insignificant amount relative to the overall funds of the club. It is even better if the funds are received as a donation or collection specifically for this purpose and so identified on the books.

Q. When is the Lockwood Farm open house?
A. Each year on a Wednesday (usually the first one) in August, the farm is opened for the annual open house, Plant Science Day.  Check  for details in 2016.

Q. Can The Federation have this kind of outreach meeting more than once every two years?

A. We'll consider it, but our Idea Exchange Symposiums may be the better way for outreach in between years


Need help with insurance:
Although we've tried, neither The CT Federation nor NGC has come up with any universal way to help obtain insurance for clubs at a very low premium. It seems that a local insurance broker is usually the best bet. We are going to try to prepare some guideline about types of coverage for a future issue of the CFNews, so look for that at a later date.

Ask town clubs to send out their events to The Federation office to be emailed out to all members in state to participate if they wish. Master calendar also would be invaluable to help get new ideas.
There is a calendar in each CFNews and on our website with activities submitted by all our clubs. To include your event, email Ellie Tessmer, the Calendar Manager at [email protected]. Having the calendar online allows all members to look up events at any time, rather than constantly flooding members with emails.  With the eventual installation of a new website, the calendar will become even more useful.

Comments on the meeting ranged from raves, with suggestions to do it more often, to comments about some speakers talking too long.  
We're pleased that nearly everyone found the meeting useful and informative. It's difficult to convey so much information in such a limited time and we try to be as efficient as possible. We  especially wanted to introduce you to the full board, all of whom can be of assistance to your clubs. Thank you for the comment, "Presidents' Day is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to lead our clubs better."

Then we have met our objective!

*Jane Waugh
Youth Activities  

Many of you have asked how to go about starting a youth program. It's actually very simple.  Start with a small committee, perhaps three members; it helps if someone has had some experience working with groups of children.  You may already have an idea for a program; if not, here are the steps to follow.  
*    Decide what you want your focus to be:  gardening, flower arranging, nature classes, tree planting, scout badge work, the restoration of a space or a combination of all these things.  
*    Decide where you want to hold your program:  school setting (what grade level), community club, town library, scout  troop or as part of community-wide event.  
*    Decide what you want the timing of your program to be:  once a year, seasonally, monthly or weekly. After you have made these decisions,   you can start to explore ideas for a program and come up with a plan.  You may want to add a few more people to your team to help brainstorm.
Your first step is to present your idea for a program to the head of the organization; either with a cover letter outlining your idea or with a request for a meeting.  At this time, you do not need to have a totally organized plan, but only a general idea of the timing and the scope of your program.  Once you have approval of your program, you will need to develop an outline with specific steps and goals.  You may need to meet with the leaders of your program  group to finalize plans. Present your program to your club, ask for needed volunteers and you are ready to start.
There is another option.  You can choose   an organization for your programs  and  then approach them to ask if they need help with a project or if they have a project in mind that they want to start.  You would then work with the organization to develop the scope, goals and timing of the program.

Each month, I will try to feature a different type of youth program that is being done by one of the garden clubs in our Federation.  This month the focus is on a once- a- year program that is easily run by only two members, has a big impact in the community and reaches a very large number of children.

* Ann Germano
Youth Chair


Long Hill Garden Club Project:   
First Grade Tree Planting

Chairs:  Lois Pfrommer and John Williamson

The conservation committee wanted to plant more native trees in Trumbull.  The school grounds were suggested and then someone mentioned that the First Grade Science curriculum involves journaling the seasons and growth of a tree. A letter was sent to the Superintendent of Schools with the suggested program of planting a native tree on the grounds of each of the six elementary schools.  He was enthusiastic and referred  the Chairs to the Curriculum Director and the Science  Coordinator, who both endorsed the program.  
Next, a contract was developed. The Principals choose the tree and the planting site.  The school grounds crew picks up the tree and digs the holes as well as placing the trees. One chairperson is responsible for making a list of suitable native trees to be sent to the  Principal of each school,  noting their choice,  setting up a schedule of planting ceremony , providing a program for the ceremony and getting copies of the program to the schools.  The other chairperson  goes to the nursery to select the trees, contacts the school grounds supervisor  with the choices and the pick up date, and oversees the planting site on the ceremony day.
On the day of the tree planting ceremony  the first grade students make a circle around the tree.  After a poem about trees is read, the children are told about their tree. They sing a tree song and recite a pledge to care for their tree.  Then each child helps to plant" his "class tree" by placing a trowel of dirt around the tree root ball.  The tree becomes part of the year- long science program and is studied again when the children are in the fourth grade.

This is the fifth year of this program.  Thirty native trees have been planted on the elementary school grounds and almost two thousand children have helped to "plant" a tree and pledged to care for it.

* Ann Germano,  
Youth Chair

EYE ON HORTICULTURE: The November Garden

With winter fast approaching and hopefully the garden clean-up complete, November is a good time to assess the "bones" of your garden. What exactly are the bones of your garden, you ask? This analogy may help. Think of the garden as a human being, strip away the skin and tissues, which represent the flowers and foliage and you're left with the "bones," otherwise known as the structural elements of the garden. Although items such as statues and benches can be used as structural elements, trees and shrubs strategically placed can be used as well, resulting in visual interest come winter, eliminating boring, empty, flat, brown beds of earth.

Two plants that provide added interest in my garden are Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil' and Morus alba 'Chaparral.' I chose these plants in particular not only because they provide winter interest, but because they have similar growing requirements. Although their growing zones differ slightly, both do well for me here in Litchfield County. They like full sun to part shade, prefer slightly moist, well-drained soil, tolerate a wide range of soil types,are relatively pest free and, most importantly, are drought tolerant once established. Both showed no sign of stress in the hot, rainless summer just past.  

Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil,' also known as Japanese Holly,  is a narrow columnar evergreen hardy in zones 5-9. It has small spineless, glossy green leaves with insignificant white flowers that ripen to tiny black berries. Typically, a 4'-6' tall specimen will only be 12"' wide. It looks great used as a hedge, foundation planting, as a sentry on either side of an entryway, or nicely tucked into any small space. It adds vertical interest and a bit of formality. However, mine did suffer some leaf desiccation from the extremely cold winter of 2014-2015 as did many of the evergreens. I cut them back by a third and they recovered nicely.

Morus alba 'Chaparral' is a deciduous, fruitless variety of weeping mulberry. Hardy in zones 4-8, this cultivar is grafted onto a standard mulberry tree growing to a height of 8' with a spread of 12'-15'. The large leaves are glossy green and lobed and turn yellow in the fall. This is a male cultivar, eliminating the edible but messy fruits of the female trees.
I love weeping trees and this is one of my favorites.The lush green foliage on the weeping branches creates a nice focal point and works just as nicely with finer textured evergreens in a mixed border,   but, the real beauty of this tree is when it sheds its leaves.  The older weeping branches harden and the new growth remains supple. It resembles a frozen cascading waterfall, adding a graceful serenity to the winter landscape. Not widely used (I don't understand why), I know of only two mature specimens that I must steal a peek at when I'm in their vicinity.

Why not just plant a weeping cherry tree--you can readily find them most anywhere? They are beautiful weeping deciduous trees that flower, but I've lost three of them in the time I've had my weeping mulberry. My sturdy little mulberry stood tall when that October snow storm a few years back amputated all the branches off the last of my weeping cherries. The mulberry is worth the search.

Be it a deciduous or an evergreen, these are just two of the many trees and shrubs that could help provide the bones for  your garden. I hope that as you ponder your garden structure, you might find a place for one of them.  

*Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair

The Quintessential Wildlife Tree

As Doug Tallamy points out in his "must-read" book, Bringing Nature Home, the white oak tree supports more wildlife than any other tree.
I was so excited to Chair the Federation State project, "Growing Together," because I had a vision of getting white oak trees planted all over the state.  What an opportunity to beautify public areas and support wildlife at the same time.

Then came the big disappointment. I could not find a nursery that sold white oaks.  I learned that, because of their long tap roots, they are difficult to transplant.  They are also slow growing, so planting a tiny oak tree in a public space would have neither visual impact nor much chance of survival.  The white oaks that we see in fields and woodlands most likely grew spontaneously from acorns buried by squirrels or carried along by other wildlife.

The good news is that you, too, can plant a white oak by following the directions set forth by squirrels.  NOW is the time of year to plant a white oak. Unlike the red oak acorns, white oak acorns are ready to plant immediately. You will notice some of them already sprouting as they hit the ground.

Here are some easy steps:

1. Fill some large, deep flower pots with plain potting soil (I used 12-14 inch pots with at least the same depth).
2. Lay acorns horizontally on the soil near the top of the pot.  Cover with several inches of soil.
3. Cover pots with some form of netting and anchor with a stone.  The biggest threat to your planting project is tampering by squirrels or mice. After all, this is why white oaks are so valuable to wildlife.  If acorns were not so delicious and nutritious to critters, there would be white oaks growing everywhere.

You can also try planting acorns directly into the ground, but be sure to cover with netting.  I used a wire poultry netting which has a very tight weave, purchased in the garden department of Home Depot.
In Spring, when seedlings start to develop, transplant them to individual pots or directly into the ground. These plants will be very desirable to deer and other animals, so you must protect them with some sort of cylindrical sleeve.  This will allow sunlight and rain to reach the tree but protect the top from being munched off.

This little white oak will not look like much for a very long time.  Think of it as a gift to posterity and to all of the insects that support our bird population and for all the turkeys, deer, squirrels, mice, black bear and raccoons who will enthusiastically dine on its future acorns.

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair

A Standard Flower Show
CT Convention Center
February 18-21, 2016

Only three months to go until "In The Spotlight" opens in Hartford.  As we move through this year's schedule (available on our website  we find ourselves at Section C "Popular Music."  This is the section of small designs that are always the favorite of so many - both designers and the public as well.

Our first class in this section is "Jazz It Up."  This class is open to all designers, EXCEPT judges.  This can be any design type, but must be no larger than 8" in any direction.

The second class is titled "Rock & Roll." This is a Multi-Rhythmic Design, again not to exceed 8" in all directions.  

The final class in this section is "A Little Bit Country & Western" and is to be a small stretch design.  Sounds like a lot of fun!

I only have two more months to write articles to get you excited about this year's flower show.  So let me finish this by saying that we need volunteers for some of our committees to make this show a success.

Hostesses are needed for the days the show is open to the public.  You'll receive free entry to the show if you volunteer.  Please contact Cheryl Damiani at [email protected] or 203-870-6442 for more information.

We will also need help painting our staging properties on Saturday,
February 13, 2016, in Hartford.  If
you'd like to help out, please contact Karin Pyskaty at   [email protected] or 203-265-1898.

I can't wait to meet everyone in February.

*Barbara Bruce
2016 Flower Show Chair


Hostesses Wanted

Please sign on as staff for the FGCCT 2016 Flower Show, IN THE SPOTLIGHT!  We are looking for hostesses and hosts to help guide our visitors through this year's  exciting interpretation of the performing arts.    Not only is this a way to do your part to make this show a success, but you receive a FREE ticket to the show!  Call a few friends and sign up for a two-hour shift.  

For details, contact Cheryl Damiani, Host/Hostess Chair, [email protected] or 203-870-6442 (landline), 630-835-6630 (iPhone). Thank you.

*Cheryl Damiani
Host/Hostess Chair



Photographers --- set your sights on entering the Photography Division of the Federation's State Flower Show, "In the Spotlight," February 18-21, 2016, at the CT Convention Center.  Flower Show Chair, Barbara Bruce, has written a spectacular schedule for the show and photographers will find fascinating classes around the show theme featuring landscapes, gardens, plants, pollinators, even a movie locale.           
The Flower Show Schedule where you can check out the various classes and Photography Rules is posted in the marquee of our FGCCT website at  Advanced registration to Photography Chair Leslie Martino at  [email protected]  is required by February 5, 2016.  Photography is open to all members of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc.   

* Jacqueline Connell
Photography Judges Chair


I'd like to thank the fantastic group of ladies who joined us on the Sept 9-11 Hudson Valley tour. We had a wonderful time and I would like to give you a brief synopsis of our trip.
We began our tour in Pawling, NY, to the private Brine Garden, where we walked the six-acre botanical garden with the owner and his wife. Many of the indigenous shrubs, trees and perennials were observed on our private tour.

Following a yummy lunch in a local restaurant, we ventured on to Stonecrop Garden. This absolutely stunning garden was created by Francis Cabot and his wife Anne. I was motivated to discover more about his life. I learned he founded the Garden Conservancy in 1989, was Chairman of the NY Botanical Garden  in the Bronx as well as being named an honorary Member of the Order of Canada. The private home on the property was designed in the French country style, and if I didn't know I was in NY, I might have believed I was touring a garden in glorious France.  The website will inform the reader of current blooms and much more. We were stunned with the beauty of this garden, and charmed by the docents who took us through it.

We returned to our hotel, freshened up a bit and went to dinner at a very nice local restaurant.

Our visit to FDR's National Shrine the next day was fantastic. After seeing it for the first time, I must say I was inspired to watch again the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts. I was particularly moved by the humble gravesite of Eleanor and Franklin.

We walked through the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, which was beautifully created in 1912 by Ms. Farrand. We had time to visit the Vanderbilt Rose Garden and see how the other half lived in the gilded age. We walked for many hours that day and so felt our meal at the Culinary Institute would have been easily earned.

We went to Poughkeepsie and had the chance to stroll on the "Walkway over the Hudson." (One of our group actually made it across and back in a very short time!) The view was breathtaking and it seemed to be quite a popular spot for walking, sightseeing and events such as races on foot.

Innisfree in Millbrook, NY, was a magnificent garden. Done in the Chinese and Japanese style, the garden is a peaceful and contemplative place. Please see for more in-depth information. Our docent was wonderful as she answered all our questions while we walked along the paths together. I did overhear several travelers say it was the most beautiful garden they have ever visited. Indeed it is listed as one of the "world's top 10 gardens."

We finished up with Millbrook Vineyards and Winery in Millbrook, NY, where we had a tour and tasting event after our "picnic" style lunch outdoors.

We arrived safe and sound back in Connecticut with many happy travelers who were inspired by all that they saw during our trip to the Historic Gardens and Estates of the Hudson Valley. I hope to see you on our next trip, December 2-3, to Longwood Gardens for Yuletide and the Barnes Exhibit. Space is closing quickly so do get going if you want to join us. 

Happy Trails to you!

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



Space is now filling up, so don't delay in sending in your registration!
What a wonderful way to put you in the mood for the upcoming Holidays!!
ON DAY 1 the FGCCT Yuletide Tour will transport you in comfort to Winterthur and Longwood Gardens.  A catered boxed lunch is included.

Winterthur is the premier museum of American decorative arts. Yuletide has been a tradition there for over 25 years. Holiday trees, greenery and flowers will delight you. Check for the slideshow.

After an early dinner, we will be going to nearby Longwood Gardens to see the holiday wonderland. Imagine over 400,000 lights, flowers and Christmas trees filling the Conservatory's Crystal palace!

At the end of the day we will spend the night at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn at Kennett Square.

ON DAY 2   The docents at the Barnes Exhibit will guide you on a private tour of the stunning collection of Post Impressionist, early Modern and African Art said to be worth 25 to 30 billion dollars. Please check

Next we are off to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the special exhibit  "Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life." You are free to explore the museum and have lunch on your own. Check

Finally, our journey will transport us to a traditional German Christmas Market.  You will be delighted by the variety of small stalls and the charming gifts within. Prepare to have a good time here!

The comfortable trip home will allow you time to rest and review the wonderful moments we will have spent together on our FGCCT Yuletide Tour. Click here for the registration form.

* Kathy Kobyshin
FGCCT Tours Coordinator

National Garden Clubs Awards Applications Due

If any club currently has a project whose completion date went beyond the FGCCT deadline of May 31, 2015, but will be completed by November of this year, they may complete the NGC Awards Application and submit it directly to Awards Chair, Janet Spaulding, before the December 15th deadline.

For an application form, go to our website at 
* Janet Spaulding
Awards Chair

Judges Update

Congratulations to Anne Harrigan and Leslie Martino, who are now Master Judges!!

Please note the above changes on your Judges Roster.

* Janet Ward
Credentials Chair
Judges Council


The deadline for submitting your club's publications for consideration of an award is rapidly approaching.   You will need to submit the following by the December 15th deadline:

1. Three different issues of your newsletter, either as hard copy or electronically.  Winning ones go to National Garden Clubs (NGC) by January 15th.   Awards Year is January 1st to December 31st.
2. One original copy of the following:  Blogs; calendar; club history; cookbook; educational pamphlets; Facebook page; manuals; newspaper columns; power point presentations; scrapbook of special events; videos; websites.

Your submissions will be judged and may be forwarded to the New England Region (NER) for consideration for one of their awards.  Please submit any of the before-mentioned publication items your club has developed during the year.

The only exception to the December 15th deadline are the Publicity Press books covering your club's publicity from January 1st to December 31st. These are not due until January 25th  in order to be submitted to NER for their February deadline.

We are hereby directing our Clubs to the AWARDS MANUAL posted at This manual provides deadlines as well as the Scales of Points to judge items.

* Barbara Bosco
Public Relations Chair

24 Old Still Road, Woodbridge 06525
[email protected]

Meet Terry Lubman

Our Finance Officer, Terry Lubman, earned her MBA in Finance and worked for years at New York City financial institutions and brokerage firms including Lehman Brothers and Manufacturers Hanover. When her husband's job moved to Connecticut, Terry joined him with their 2-year-old son in moving to the Riverside area of Greenwich.

Lubman became involved in the Riverside Garden Club, serving as Civic Chair and eventually becoming President of the club from 1999-2001. She is also the Treasurer of the Greenwich Daffodil Society and contributes to their show yearly. In addition to floral designs, they display cut daffodils. "I like it," says Terry, "because they're not all yellow!---And they don't get eaten by deer."

"I guess word gets around," she says modestly, because Inge Venus called Terry to join the Federation, initially as our Civic Chair. She held that post for 6 years and two years after that took on the job of Finance Officer. In this role, she chairs the Finance Committee, which approves large capital expenditures, advises on investments and handles insurance policies. The Federation carries General Liability and Directors and Officers insurance in addition to Workers Compensation for our one employee, Barbara Romblad. Terry enjoys the Federation, saying, "I think we do good work and we have wonderful people."

Her garden is on a hill with a water view. She says that the slope and rocks and shade trees make it a difficult site, "but I do my best." She has also planted the flat area by the road "to beautify it for passersby." Her other passion is playing duplicate bridge and she tries to attend the three national tournaments each year.

These days, her son is 32 and lives nearby with a 4-year-old son and a daughter on the way. Though Terry's husband spends the winters in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, she comes and goes because she doesn't like to be away from her grandson too long.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor
Establishment of Bethany
Organic Community Garden

Members of the Bethany Garden Club's Organic Community Garden met to celebrate a successful first season.  The community garden is the work of six members of the Bethany Garden club, (left to right) Nancy Scanlon, Aileen Magda, Chairman Mary Ellen Unger, Anne McDonnell, Gale Tirrell and Jim Hsiang.   It is the culmination of over 20 months of work, and the garden was overwhelmingly well-received by the community in its first year.

The garden will eventually consist of 49 4'x 8'x1' raised beds, with 19 already available and used this year.  A water system, storage shed and deer fencing are also on the property located on Pole Hill Road.  Mobility impaired residents are welcomed and accommodated.

There are beds dedicated to grow food for a soup kitchen and local families in need, who have been sharing in the harvest. The Bethany Garden Club provides support with several Master Gardeners who are available to provide education/assistance.

The community responded enthusiastically and all beds available were used. There is a waiting list for the next phase. 

Congratulations to all our members who worked so hard to provide an organic, handicap-accessible place for Bethany residents to garden!

* Maureen Baldino
Bethany Garden Club President


Bethany Garden Club Recognizes
Long Standing Members

Two Bethany Garden Club Members were recognized with Lifetime Membership Awards for their long-standing service to the club.

Rosemarie Hohman (left) and Gerry Shaw were honored. 

Rosemarie Hohman was honored for having over 46 years of continuous service.  She has served in many leadership roles, most notably recognized in the community for her work with seniors in Garden Therapy.  The Town of Bethany has named their annual senior center holiday activity as "Centerpieces with Rosemarie" in her honor.  Rosemarie is well-loved by the club and welcomes all members with her smile and willingness to help out however she can.

Gerry Shaw was also recognized as a well-respected member and our only remaining Charter Member.  With a small group of friends, Gerry officially started the Bethany Garden Club in 1967.  She is still active in the leadership, sitting on the Executive Board and receiving an award last year for her newsletter to the community.  Gerry is considered a "living treasure" in the club.

*Maureen Baldino
Bethany Garden Club President

Landscape Design Study School

Save the dates:  March 22-24, 2016
Location:  CAES, New Haven, CT

*    Course includes 2 days of speakers March 22-23, and an optional exam on March 24.
*    Course fee is $120 (includes lunch for both days).
*    This course is for the everyday gardener and for those who wish to provide input to projects in their community.  Courses may be taken in any order, March is Course II of IV.  Taking two course exams results in 'Provisional Member in Landscape Design Council' and four exams obtains 'Certification in Landscape Design.'
*    Registration forms will be available in November.

* Susan Laurson
Landscape Design Study School Chair





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 DECEMBER 2015 ISSUE  


Email Articles and Photos to:
[email protected]
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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



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