CFN Masthead

Volume 77, Number 8 *  OCTOBER 2014   

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Both this issue and the Calendar are chock full of wonderful fall events. Click here to plan your schedule. A special session of Environmental Studies School will take you onto Long Island Sound October 14-16. Then you won't want to miss the Fall Awards Meeting where we honor the accomplishments of our members as we enjoy a standard Flower Show mounted by the Judges Council!

Next comes plenty of great information and opportunities to make a difference, with children, butterflies, bees, trees, invasives and rain gardens. And we have another installment of our virtual trip around the world with the quickly approaching 2015 CT Flower Show, Ports of Call.

Jump in and enjoy!


President's Message
Celebrate "A Bountiful Connecticut"
at Awards Meeting

Greetings Fellow Gardeners!
All Connecticut Federation Members are invited to attend the Fall Awards Meeting on October 29 at Aqua Turf.  Join us in honoring our many fellow members as they receive Awards for civic development, flower shows, conservation projects and a host of other activities.  We are so fortunate to have such an active state.  The Awards meeting is sure to inspire all of us.

At the meeting, our talented Judges will stage an ode to our state in autumn as they present a standard Flower Show with the seasonal theme, "A Bountiful Connecticut." They will display stunning table designs around "A Progressive Harvest Dinner."  There will also be spectacular horticulture and informative Educational Exhibits on Pollinators and Composting.
The State Contests
The Native Tree Contest winners will be announced at the Awards meeting.Club Presidents, please poll your members and send your tallies of Native Trees planted since April 17, 2013, to Office Secretary, Barbara Romblad by October 17, 2014 at [email protected] or by snail mail to The Federated Garden Clubs, Inc., PO Box 854, Branford, CT 06405.  

No books of evidence are required for this award-- just list the type of tree, how many planted and where they are located (street address).  You can count trees planted by individual members at their own homes or as club projects.  You can even count those planted out of state at a member's vacation home whether on Nantucket or at an Adirondack cabin.  Four clubs will win this award, a small, medium, large and extra large club-it might as well be yours!
The Backyard Habitat Contest continues until next spring.  Please use the fall and winter to certify your backyard with the National Wildlife Federation.  See their website for details and requirements.  Together we are changing the landscape of CT, one backyard at a time.  By providing food, shelter and water for wildlife and using fewer chemicals, we are making our world more sustainable today and a better place for our grandchildren tomorrow, as well as for the wildlife that count on us.

Study Schools
Fall is school time, and our state scheduled three NGC study schools this fall.  Jessica Fischer and her committee staged a superb Flower Show School in September and Cheryl Basztura and Joanne McKendry put on a splendid Gardening Study School.  

Environmental Studies School is scheduled for October 14-16 at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.  Polly Brooks has lined up instructors from Yale, UConn, and the DEEP and because the course is focused around water issues, she has booked an educational cruise in Long Island Sound!  How lucky we are that our state Federation offers all four NGC schools. (Landscape Design School will be given next March in New Haven.)
After graduating from these schools, students become Consultants or Flower Show Judges, each with their own State Councils.  

Our Landscape Consultants are studying the gardens of important women landscape architects, in particular the designs of Beatrix Ferrand.  

Gardening Consultants visit gardens during the summer and award one very special garden the Love-ly Garden Award.  This will be announced at the Awards Meeting.  See you there at Aqua Turf on Oct 29.

Wishing Everyone a Beautiful and Bountiful Autumn!

*  Jacqueline Connell

 All Aboard for Environmental Studies School, October 14 -16, 2014

Join 59 fellow students for Environmental Studies Schools Course IV,
"The Living Earth--Water and Related Issues" for a 2.5 hour field trip aboard the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium's Research Vessel as the capstone for two days of presentations All About Water.  

One of the hour-long presentations will be about Stormwater and Green Infrastructures, led by Mike Dietz of UConn and co-developer of the Rain Garden app.

For more information and to register for Environmental Studies School, click here, or contact Polly Brooks, Chair, ESS, either through email at [email protected] or by phone at 860-567-4292.

* Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair


This view of Kathe Lomenzo's garden in the Hazardville section of Enfield was photographed and submitted by
Suzanne Giwoyna of the Enfield Garden Club.
Fall Luncheon and Awards Meeting

Plans are well on their way to a wonderful October 29th Awards Meeting of the FGCCT at Aqua Turf in Plantsville.
Besides the Silver Award presentations, the Judges Council is presenting a judged Standard Flower Show with Design, Horticulture and Special Exhibits for your enjoyment.
Five vendors will be offering their lovely and useful items.
Registration closes on October 22nd, so send your $31.00 check and registration form now (click here for form) to
Margaret Hopkins,
21 Godman Road,
Madison, CT 06443,

Looking forward to seeing you on October 29th.

* Margaret Hopkins
Meetings Chair

Scholarship News
  • Milford Garden Club awarded a $500 scholarship to a student from Jonathan Law High School in June 2014.
  • North Stonington Garden Club has awarded Joseph DellaPorta, a North Stonington Wheeler High School student, its annual $1,000 scholarship.
  • Leete's Island Garden Club has contributed  $100 toward the FGCCT Scholarship Fund. We thank them for their generosity.

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair

These irises bloomed in Ginny Turner's garden in June. She is a member of the East Haddam Garden Club.
Youth Programs

Our National Garden Club President, Linda Nelson, has urged us to promote and protect our environment.  One of the best ways we can do this is to engage our children in gardening, to introduce them to the natural world and to educate and inspire them to become more actively involved.

We need to have our youth look up from their I-Pads, cell phones, game boards, Kindles and computers.  Everywhere you look...on the bus, at the table in the home or the restaurant, at the ball park, waiting in line or standing on the street corner... children are engaged and focused on an electronic device.

Our Garden Clubs are filled with former teachers and scout leaders, experienced gardeners and people who love flowers. Your garden club youth project does not have to be large or lengthy.  You can do something as simple as bringing plants or bulbs to a classroom or planting containers for a school entry.  

Inner city children rarely get out into nature; your club can sponsor a trip and pay for the bus to a park or nature trail.

You can do a project that is as involved as meeting weekly with a group to teach gardening skills and grow vegetables.

Your group can be any group of children: an after-school program, a classroom, a scout troop or a boys' and girls' club.  Be creative and use the talent in your club.

The National Garden Club promotes the Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl poster contest and a poetry and sculpture contest.  You can contact me for information about these.

Check the NGC Web site
for more information and ideas by clicking on Youth Programs at the top of the page.

*  Ann Germano
Youth Chairman

 Fountain grass greets visitors on the walkway to Cheryl Pedemonti's house. Color comes from a Flowering Dogwood tree, a Cutleaf Japanese Maple, and a variety of evergreens. Tolland Garden Paths Garden Club.
Nominating Committee Is Now in Session

Would you like to join our Federation's Board of Directors? Currently we have three Board members who are finishing up their six-year terms, so the following Board positions will be opening up by April 2015:      
  • Environmental Concerns/Conservation
  • Legislation
  • Public Relations. 

If you think you might be interested in applying for one of these positions, I will be glad to send you the description of their duties.

The following members have joined my committee and we plan to meet right after the October 29th Awards Luncheon to review any candidates who have applied for one of the above Board positions:

We hope to hear from you.

*Inge Venus
Nominating Committee Chair

Sarah Morena, of the Green Fingers Garden Club in Greenwich, captured the zinnias in her summer garden.
From the Judges Council Corner


One of the first steps for your garden club to have a flower show is to "write a schedule."  Does this seem like an extremely difficult task?  Well, it doesn't have to be.

Using the 2007 Handbook for Flower Shows along with a copy of the previous year's state flower show schedule, you can assemble your General Rules, Horticulture Rules, Design Rules and Special Exhibit Rules.  You'll see that the guidelines don't vary.  They must be stated and listed in an easy to follow order, but "the rules are the rules."

This doesn't have to be a one-person job.  Get other interested club members to help come up with a show title or theme.  There are many ways to create one.

What season/date has been chosen for your club's show?

*    Fall - Back to School, Halloween, Harvest Time, Autumn
*    December - Christmas:  more ideas than can be listed here
*    Winter - Winter sports, Winter Wonderland, February Fun
*    Spring - Flowers, Gardening, Easter, June Brides, Weddings
*    Summer - Vacations, Road Trips, Summer Fun

Or, decide on a theme that coordinates with your town's history or some special event that everyone in your town knows about.  Have the show at your town's historical house - history is a great resource.

Have fun with this - it's the beginning of a great undertaking for your club.

* Barbara Bruce
2015 CT Flower Show Chair


The effort to save the Monarchs is a national one, affecting all states that are part of the monarchs' migratory route.  

Fall is here and it's a great time to help our butterflies. The fourth stage Monarch butterflies are hatching and are about to begin their long journey south to Mexico for the winter. National Garden Clubs has partnered with the University of Kansas' Monarch Watch program and Marian McNabb, NGC's Butterfly Chairman, has asked for our participation.  As part of this project, we are asking that individuals or clubs collect Milkweed seeds.  Milkweed is the ONLY host plant for the Monarchs. Monarch eggs are laid on the leaves.  The caterpillars hatch, eat the leaves and eventually attach to the milkweed plant and form a chrysalis.

Our national milkweed habitat is in jeopardy.  If you can collect at least � ounce of milkweed seed and label it with the variety name, as well as your club and contact information, we will forward it to the University of Kansas.   In the spring they will send us plugs from those seeds that can be planted for next year's Monarchs.  If you can participate, send seeds to

Leslie Martino,
Second Vice President, FGCCT, Inc.,
70 Penny Lane,
Woodbridge, CT  06525

* Leslie Martino
Second Vice President


BeeGAP Update

Gardeners Adding Pollinators has become the rallying cry for National Garden Club members recently.  NGC, in partnership with Crown Bees, is promoting the role of native bees, the mason bee in particular.  

Crown Bees is in the business of educating the public about mason bees, and selling nesting boxes and materials for them.  The Crown Bees website includes an interesting video of its founder being interviewed for a public TV program, Growing a Greener World.  The video includes excellent filming of the bees at work.  Visit or click here to learn about the BeeGAP project.

I learned that mason bees land on flowers with a belly flop, becoming coated with pollen in the process.  On to the next flower, another belly flop, and the pollen is spread around.  They don't make honey, but are very efficient at pollinating crops, both commercially, and in your own garden.  If you are a do-it-yourselfer, the video includes instructions for creating your own mason bee abode.

Using these mason bees on crops takes some of the pressure off honeybees to do all the pollinating.  Hopefully that will give honeybees a chance to recover from the various ills that have been decimating their numbers.

*  Lois Nichols
Special Project Chair


Native Trees

As the Native Tree Contest comes to a close, let's recap why we are planting Natives and which are the very best trees to enrich our home habitat.
We have been following the advice of Douglas Tallamy, entomology professor at the University of Delaware.  In his highly recommended book, Bringing Nature Home, Tallamy clearly describes the interactions between plants and wildlife, the relationship of planting natives to the whole web of life in our backyards. 

Native plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies and a host of other insects and animals and they provide valuable habitat and preserve biodiversity.  Natives usually require less water and maintenance and little or no fertilizer.  They also "offer a glimpse of the world as our ancestors saw it."

Professor Tallamy and his students have spent years calculating which of our trees are most utilized by butterflies and moths and therefore supply the highest levels of food sources for birds and other predators.   Here is their list of:   

Best Native Trees for Butterflies
and Moths in the Northeast

Common Name           Plant Genus           No. of Species
Black cherry 

Note: This will be our last regular column profiling native trees in this series.  In the next few months we will profile native shrubs, perennials and ground covers.  Together with trees these furnish the whole landscape from the tall canopy down to the understory small trees and shrubs to the ground level.

* Jacqueline Connell


Frogs are a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura.  (Definition from Wikipedia.)

As some of you may know, my husband, John, and I had some health issues this summer, which forced us to stay home and enjoy our backyard.  In so doing, we discovered we had two frogs in our pond.  For lack of imagination, we called them Little Freddie and Big Freddie.  You can imagine how excited we were - here we thought all we had to look at was each other and now we had the Freddies.  Let me tell you - it has made us a stronger couple and our relationship soared.

We found Little Freddie first and then Big Freddie.  For a while we didn't see Little Freddie and thought Big Freddie had used him for a meal.  But that is not the case.  They are happily living in our pond.

Of course, I had to do some investigating about frogs and I found that they, like all of the critters in our backyard, have four basic needs - shelter, moisture, food and a place to breed and raise their young.  

A pond provides all of these needs.  The pond should have shallow edges to allow frogs to get in and out of with ease.  At least one of the shallow edges should taper off into surrounding rough, moist vegetation such as a leafy mulch which will offer them food, shelter and hibernation.  Although frogs require shelter from the heat of the summer sun, you should ensure that this isn't provided by too many overhanging trees, as ponds need direct sunlight to thrive properly.  Buy a good mixture of native pond plants such as water violets and marsh marigolds, which thrive in ponds. Also the pond should be at least two feet deep.

One of the benefits of having frogs in the backyard is that they eat insects that are not beneficial.  They'll eat moths, mosquitoes and their larvae, snails, slugs, flies, and beetles.  And, of course, they are a source of amusement.

If you would like additional information about frogs, check the National Wildlife Federation website,, for an article entitled - "Want to Host a Garden Party for Frogs? Create a backyard environment the amphibians won't be able to resist."

Don't forget to send your NWF certification information to Barbara Romblad, the FGCCT Office Secretary.  Her email: [email protected]
.  Please cc me on your email.  Thank you.

Hope you are lucky to have a Little Freddie or Big Freddie in your garden.  If so, let me know.  Maybe we can plan a "play date."

* Anne Harrigan
"Invasive Plants 2014: Where Are We Now?"

Our affiliate, UConn's Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group, is offering a symposium on Tuesday, October 7, at the Student Union, UConn, Storrs, CT. The public is invited. For more information, visit their website:


Clean water is one of the basic necessities for our survival on earth.  It is imperative that we conserve and protect this most valuable resource.  Rainwater run-off is the major cause of groundwater pollution.  With development, ever more land is covered with tar, concrete and other impermeable surfaces.  This prevents rainwater from being immediately absorbed into the ground.   As it travels over greater surfaces, it picks up more pollutants on its path toward waterways.  Among these pollutants are pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria from animal waste, litter, eroded soil and road salt.

We can create a beautiful landscape and help to protect the water quality of our streams, ponds, lakes and rivers to the sea by planting a rain garden.  A rain garden can simply be a shallow depression in the soil (six inches deep or so) that accepts water from roofs, patios, driveways or sump pumps.  Planted with water-loving plants, a rain garden acts as a sponge and filters rainwater.  

Please download UConn's Cooperative Extension's free informative booklet, Rain Gardens in Connecticut:  A Design Guide for Homeowners  at


Acorus americanus    Rush                      
Angelica purpurea   Angelica                    
Chelone glabra   Turtlehead
Clethra alnifolia Sweet pepperbush    
Cornus sericea   Red osier dogwood          
Elymus riparius  Wild rye            
spp. Hemp agrimony       
Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel    
Helenium autumnale  Sneezeweed
Ilex verticillata  Winterberry
Iris versicolor  Blue flag     
Lobelia spp.  Lobelia    
Myrica gale    Bog myrtle
Rosa palustris  Swamp rose
Rudbeckia laciniata  Cutleaf Coneflower
Salix discolor  Pussy willow
Sambucus canadensis  American elder
Veronia noveboracensis  Ironweed
Viburnum dentatum   Arrowwood

Add texture with:
Matteuccia struthiopteris  Ostrich fern
Onoclea sensibilis  Sensitive fern
Osmunda cinnamomea  Cinnamon fern
Scirpus cyperinus  Perennial sedge
Prefer damp feet:
Caltha palustris   Marsh marigold        
Cephalanthus occidentalis    Buttonbush
Sanguisorba canadensis  Burnet
Please see the UConn pamphlet above for additional, more common plants.

* Jacqueline O'Connell

Sedum telephium 'Matrona' and Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose' make a lovely combination in the fall garden.
The October Garden

As I write this column, our October weather is a great big Unknown. Will we have a long, warm Indian summer, or will it turn cold quickly? Warm or cold, here are some chores to consider doing in the garden.

Dig and divide peonies
October is the perfect time to dig and divide peonies. Remember that peonies are long-lived and nutrient needy so begin by digging a large hole. Supplement the soil with plenty of compost or composted manure. The growing tip should be one or two inches below the soil surface.

Lime lovers
You can apply a large handful of ground limestone around the crowns of plants that prefer a sweet soil. Lime-loving plants include baby's breath, bellflower, clematis, delphinium, dianthus, candytuft, German or bearded iris, lavender, lilac and scabiosa. Over the winter, the lime will work its way down to the plant roots.

Fall lawn care
Many lawn experts consider fall the most important time of the year to fertilize your lawn. You can fertilize anytime from Labor Day until October 15. Choose an organic or slow-release fertilizer.
Research conducted at UConn has shown that 60% or more of the nitrogen in fertilizer applied after October 15 will not be picked up by the grass roots. Instead it will leach into our groundwater or surface waters.

Divide and plant
As a rule, plantings should be completed about 6 weeks before the ground freezes. As we don't know when that will be, think November 1 in zone 5 or November 15 in zone 6, in case freezing weather comes early.
Garden centers are full of bargain plants at this time of year. After they have been planted, they will benefit from a layer of winter mulch, which will keep the ground frozen. When soil freezes and thaws, plant roots can heave out of the ground, where they can die from exposure to cold air and drying winds.
Winter mulches can be any kind of loose mulch material (pine needles, horticultural straw) or branches from your Christmas tree. Apply them after the ground has frozen.

Cut down and clean up
As long as the leaves of your perennials are green, let them remain to feed the roots of the plants. When the leaves turn yellow and brown, it's time to cut them down.
Pick up all diseased leaves, especially peony, iris, phlox and rose leaves. Iris borers, black spot, mildew and other leaf diseases will overwinter in the infected leaves. Do not compost these leaves; treat them as garbage and put them in the trash.

I am a relaxed fall gardener and don't do much else to end the growing season. Indian summer is my favorite time of year and I'm hoping for some comfortably warm weather ... with plenty of time to sip my coffee and enjoy the beauty of my garden.

* Pamela Weil
Horticulture Chair

A Standard Flower Show
CT Convention Center
February 15-22, 2014

As we leave the eastern coast of Africa, our ship heads south and cruises past Madagascar, around the Cape of Good Hope and into the Southern Atlantic Ocean.  We will cruise for days in the open ocean until we reach the Caribbean Sea and begin our "Caribbean Cruise."

Can you feel the warm breezes and hear the steel drums?  The Caribbean Islands have a magic of their own.  Our first stop is Aruba, the "Golden Sands of Aruba."  This is a design of any type.  Aruba has beautiful beaches of golden sand - use your imagination!

The next class in this section is "Bustling Antigua Nightlife."  This is a colorful design staged on a 30" round x 4" high wooden disc.  You can create something tall and exciting.

Our final stop is Barbados - "Coral Fringed Barbados."  This too, is a design of any type, and is staged on a 12" high x 36" square box with a five- foot-high frame placed to the rear of the box that will be covered with a lively turquoise print fabric. (No real coral may be used in this class.)

All classes in this section are eligible for "Designer's Choice Award."  Designer has freedom to use any type of plant material and create any type of design.

We have one more exciting stop on our world cruise. I'll fill you in in the next issue of CFNEWS.  

Don't forget "PORTS OF CALL," our state flower show at the CT Convention Center, Hartford, from February 19-22, 2015.

* Barbara Bruce
2015 Flower Show Chair

Callicarpa 'Early Amethyst' and Rue in late summer garden in the Wine Garden at Rose Riley's Crabtree Cottage. Rose is a member of the Wethersfield Garden Club.

Update: Website

Nowadays if we want to look something up we do it digitally, via computer, tablets, or smart phones.  And The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., has been right at the forefront with our CF NEWS, which we send out to you electronically via Constant Contact.

We also strive to be current with our FGCCT website by updating each page as often as possible. In the password-protected Clubs Only page-accessed by logging in as a member on the home page--we have posted our Board of Directors List as well as the Club Calendar.

In order to be of even more service to our Connecticut garden clubs, we have now posted the Club Directory and the Judges Roster as well - all in an effort to achieve a paperless society.

If you currently do not know the user word and the password to access this protected part of the site, you will need to check with your Club President or you can get in touch with our Office Secretary, Barbara Romblad, by calling her at 203-488-5528.

* Lynn Hyson and Inge Venus
Webmaster and Website Chair

Meet: Inge Venus

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Ingeborg Venus moved with her family to Austria during the war and back to Hamburg before settling in the US.  She is a woman of many passions and the energy to match. After studying Biology and earning a Masters in Psychology, she worked at Yale as the Director of Post Graduate Education, conducting 63 Ultrasound courses over a 12-year span for physicians from every corner of the world.  She joined the Faculty at UCONN as a Genetic Associate before retiring.

A lover of Classical music, Inge was a long-time choir member who had the opportunity to sing at such venues as the Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall and Yale's Woolsey Hall as President of the New Haven Chorale.

It wasn't until she moved to Cheshire in 1984, that she began to garden. Then "I dove head first into gardening-It was a passion, " she says. Inge's garden features 63 flower beds, each dedicated to a friend or family member, living or dead. Certified as a Wildlife Habitat, her garden has been featured in town-wide tours. As a member, and past president, of the Cheshire Garden Club, Venus also created and maintains eight gardens in her town.

A pet project is the Cheshire Garden Club's Beauty Spot of the Month program, which Inge has spearheaded for over 20 years. She drives around town to select the most beautiful front yard or business plot. She says she loves giving the awards to winners.

"When we ring the doorbell, they literally fall over for joy!" And, she says,the neighbors are then inspired to upgrade their properties.After moving 15 times, "Cheshire has become my home, " Inge says, "I'd do anything and everything for Cheshire."

Luckily, it seems that she feels the same about The Federation. She currently serves on the FGCCT Board as Parliamentarian, Nominating and Website Chair, as well as being an active member of the Finance, ByLaws and Awards Committees. Venus also works closely with the editor of the CF News and  photographs FGCCT events.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor





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.



or Go To, then click link for "Charities & Non-Profits."




Deadline for NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE  


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CT Federation NEWS

Published monthly except January/July


Direct Articles/Dates/Events to:   Lynn Hyson, Editor    

49 Seventy Acre Rd., Redding, CT  06896     203-431-0613


Direct Advertising Queries to: Diana Abshire, Advertising Manager

26 Diamond Hill Rd., Redding, CT  06896    203-938-1114


Direct Circulation Queries to:  OFFICE SECRETARY, FGCCT

P.O. Box 854, Branford, CT  06405     203-488-5528



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