CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 8 *  OCTOBER 2015   

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is the deadline for the NOVEMBER

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In case you didn't attend the Northeast Idea Exchange Symposium or Presidents' Day, read here to find out what you missed. Next up is the Annual Awards Meeting. Learn about Margaret Hopkins, the woman behind the event, and send in your registration form. Want to learn something new? ESS, GSS and LDSS are all on tap for your edification, and the Yuletide Tour is coming up soon.

Marty Sherman explains how to collect Milkweed seed to help support Monarch butterflies, and Liz Rinaldi tells us which plants did and did not tolerate the recent drought. Want to pass your passion on to the next generation? Ann Germano is full of ideas for youth programs. Get inspiration for your club from the project Lyme GC completed for their town. And finally, the Nominating Committee is looking for you!

For this month's Calendar, click here.



"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
Albert Camus

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

Living in the southwest corner of Connecticut, by the time my local trees are changing colors, the rest of Connecticut's hillsides have turned to rusts and browns. So even though it's a busy time of year, don't forget (as I sometimes do) to bask in the sights and fragrance of this time of year with its beautiful crisp weather.


September was a busy month for communication and sharing ideas, between clubs and with the Federation Board. Our First Idea Exchange Symposium for clubs in the Northeast was extremely successful and the ideas generated are continuing to be shared with all of you. Thanks to Leslie and her team for the great organization.

Presidents' Day - The Federation's board meeting shared with club presidents every two years - was well received and well attended. Some suggested that we should hold it every year and we will consider it. Thanks to the Board for all their effort to prepare the meeting and the delicious lunch organized by Inge Venus. Question and comment cards left after the meeting will be addressed in next month's CFNews.

The Native Oak Tree Project is accelerating since this is the best time of year to plant trees.  So if your club hasn't selected its public location yet, I hope you will move quickly to do so. This is not an opportunity your club should miss. You find and plant the tree, then The Federation will reimburse you for up to $200. If you need help, contact the project chair, Barbara Deysson at [email protected].


Flower Show School, Gardening Study School and Environmental Studies School are all scheduled for the fall. I'm looking forward to every one of them; hope you are too. Time in the garden diminishes at this time of year, so what a perfect time to gain knowledge for next year.  Check the website for the brochure and registration forms if you haven't yet completed them.

Join your fellow gardeners for some fun at the Annual Awards meeting at Aqua Turf on October 28th.  Hear about the wonderful projects of our Connecticut clubs as they come forward for awards and recognition for their effort. Hopefully you are among them. If you haven't applied for an award this year, remember that all you have to do is tell us about your good work; the process is pretty simple and our Awards Chair will help you. Also, come to see A Taste of The Holidays - Whimsical & Wonderful Tablescapes - where YOU are the judge.  When you arrive for lunch, you will receive ballots to select your favorites.  Thanks to Trish Manfredi for the idea. It should be a lot of fun, so sign up for lunch now.


Earth's earliest plants - mosses among others - were low growing and required damp habitat to survive, Trees, which evolved from algae, escaped this constraint by two unique adaptations.  First they developed vessels for conducting water upward and second they developed a hard structure, a rigid trunk, to support these water conducting tubes. Water travels upward through these columns of dead cells, called xylem, in defiance of gravity.  An average trunk has hundreds of millions of these which together span thousands of miles in length. As the trees grow taller, it becomes more difficult for water to reach the very top leaves.  The tallest trees standing today are the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in northern California at nearly 500 feet.  This is thought to be close to the limit for tree height, but no one knows for sure. There may have been taller trees in the past and they may continue to reach further toward the heavens in the future.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our schools this fall and at the Awards Luncheon.

Enjoy your fall gardening as we all continue GROWING TOGETHER!

* Jane Waugh

*Source: The Power of Trees by Gretchen Daly and Charles Katz

A: 29 Clubs and 90 participants
Q: Who Participated in the Northeast Idea Exchange Symposium?

On September 8th, the ideas were flowing at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center where garden club members from the northeast area of the state were joined by Federation board members to first review Federation and National Garden Club resources available to help achieve club goals. This presentation was followed by two roundtable sessions, with participants seated by the topics they had preregistered to discuss.  The range of topics assigned to various tables included membership, programs, projects, fundraising, club management and the awards process.  Based on the positive feedback from participants, we look forward to offering thisopportunity to other regions of the state.  In the meantime, we would like to thank all who attended and shared their ideas. 

Participating clubs included:

Belltown Garden Club of East Hampton
Berlin Garden Club
Bristol Garden Club
Brownstone Garden Club
Bud & Blossom Garden Club
Cheshire Garden Club
Colchester Garden Club
Country Gardeners of Glastonbury
Connecticut Valley Garden Club
Duck River Garden Club of Old Lyme
East Haddam Garden Club
East Hartford Garden Club
Enfield Garden Club
Evergreen Garden Club
Farmington Garden Club
Garden Club of Hartford
Glastonbury Garden Club
Green Bay Tree Garden Club
Haddam Garden Club
Hill & Dale Garden Club
Kensington Garden Club
Manchester Garden Club
New Britain Garden Club
Orchard Valley Garden Club
Simsbury Garden Club
Suburban Garden Club of Cheshire
Suffield Garden Club
Tolland Garden Paths Garden Club
Wethersfield Garden Club

*    Leslie Martino
1st Vice President and Symposium Chair

Reflections on our 2015 Presidents' Day

Every two years The Federation sponsors what has come to be known as Presidents' Day and is staged as part of the September Board meeting.  The location was the beautiful Jones Auditorium at The Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) that many of our Club members are familiar with who have attended some of our schools.    More than 70 representatives from our Connecticut garden clubs were in attendance, feted and "entertained" by 39 of our Board members.

CAES and FGCCT Board member Ellie Tessmer introduced Director Ted Andreadis who gave a fascinating overview of the Station's impressive scientific and health-related contributions to our community. In her introductory message, President Jane Waugh then highlighted her theme of "Working Together - Tiny Acorns to Mighty Oaks",  followed by an explanation of her State Project  and how clubs are encouraged to participate in planting an oak tree in their communities.

The meeting itself followed a unique pattern in that Board members were seated on stage in groups that represented their field of expertise.  Group 1 was made up of the Officers, each of whom discussed her position's duties.  The groups following shared information and helpful hints about NGC and NER projects; the Nominating process; our four schools and associated councils; various events and fund raisers; some ways we communicate with our club members; the whole awards process and the many Board members involved with it; and the various restricted funds to which our garden clubs make annual donations and how they in turn help us to help people in need.
What is a meeting without delicious food - both in the morning and at lunch time?   Board members went all out to provide an interesting variety of food dishes in addition to a sheet cake especially prepared for this occasion by Garden Therapy Chair Dottie Fox with the President's theme embossed on it. Also, our guests were able to admire the beautiful center piece made by Ronnie Schoelzel for the morning table as well as the exquisite design made by Barbara Bruce for the luncheon table.

Cake by Dottie Fox. 
Above, arrangement by Barbara Bruce; at right design by Ronnie Schoelzel. 
Photos by Ronnie Schoelzel.

 A number of educational tri-fold displays were staged throughout the
room for our guests to view and to help themselves to free handouts. Everyone in attendance was given a packet compiled by our Office Secretary Barbara Romblad that contained the Bylaws; the Awards Manual; the Club Directory; the Program Suggestions Book; the Board of Directors List; School brochures; the 2016 CT Flower Show Schedule; the Judges Roster; and several more flyers of interest--material that we hope will be of benefit to our clubs.
* Inge Venus
Presidents' Day Coordinator





I was delighted to meet so many Presidents at the Presidents' Day meeting.  The October 28th Awards meeting will be a wonderful meeting for all Garden Club members to attend. Get a group together and join us.

You will have an opportunity to see 10 Holiday Designs done by clubs that will give you ideas for decorating your own home for the holidays. You will learn of the interesting projects that clubs like yours have done in the past year to help beautify their towns - ideas that you can adopt in your area.
 I have some lovely new vendors for you to visit that day - hand-painted silk scarves, special salad dressings,  dried wildflower pictures, new items from Debbie's Pots, bulbs, plants and holiday decorations from Natureworks and the glorious items from our always-present vendors.
I await your registration forms. You may click here for the form, or go to and click on the link in the marquee of the home page. Fifty have already sent in their forms. Deadline for sending yours in is October 21.  Looking forward to seeing you and your members at this wonderful event. 

* Margaret Hopkins
Meetings Chair

Meet Margaret Hopkins

A native of Hamden, Margaret Hopkins earned her Associates Degree in Medical Technology from Quinnipiac University and a BS in Medical Technology from UConn. When she won a scholarship, Richard Hopkins wanted to meet the person who beat him out "when he deserved it." They began dating and then he went to war and she completed school.  At Quinnipiac, Margaret took a course in public speaking, which she says, "helped me more than anything else." And at UConn she learned how to make flower arrangements, which she got to take home. "That got me started," with floral design, she recalls.

After marrying Richard, Margaret worked at St. Raphael's Hospital until they moved to North Branford and started their family. They now have 5 children and 11 grandchildren who all live within 45 minutes of them in Madison, where they've lived since 1967. While raising her children, Margaret held several part-time jobs and has been president of 8 organizations. In addition to serving as President of the Woman's Club, St. Margaret's Ladies Church Guild and several Parent Teacher Organizations, Hopkins was the first woman President of her Parish Council. She was also the President of the Garden Club of Madison.

Margaret worked for the town of Madison for 15 years registering residents for the rental of town facilities. This included weddings on the beach. Margaret laughs, remembering "some wild events! We held one event on a deck during a hurricane, and in one wedding the best man was a dog! It was a great adventure."

So when President Jacqueline Connell needed a Meetings Chair, she turned to Margaret. "I love to be involved with people," says Margaret, "I love being Meetings Chair. Aqua Turf is so accommodating and the food is excellent." For this month's Awards Meeting, she has lined up 11 vendors.

Four years ago, Margaret worked with friends to create "A Man's Smoking Corner" for the CT Flower and Garden Show. Despite an ice storm and two collaborators who got sick, they won a blue ribbon. "We proved ourselves," says Margaret. The next year she won Best in Show at the Garden Club of Madison.

At home, Hopkins maintains perennial gardens in an oak forest. Her husband has built dry stone walls and she created garden rooms: a private area, a play area, a public area and a lawn for the kids. When she isn't babysitting for her grandchildren,  Margaret travels the world with her husband, collecting "beautiful things."

*  Lynn Hyson
News Editor

Milkweed Seed Collection

This fall, FGCCT once again urges clubs to contribute to restoration of habitat for monarch butterflies by participating in Monarch Watch's milkweed seed collection program. The seeds we collect will be sent to Monarch Watch in Kansas, where they will be grown into young plants, which will then be distributed to areas where milkweed is in short supply.

Connecticut lies in Ecoregion 221 (designated by the USDA Forest Service), and is within the main summer breeding area for monarchs in the eastern United States. Seeds that clubs collect will be sent to Monarch Watch, and will be used for habitat restoration efforts.

Here is what your club can do to participate:

* What to collect: The main monarch host plant in this region is Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), with other species used by monarchs, in their order of abundance and preference, being A. incarnata (swamp milkweed), A. tuberosa (butterflyweed), A. verticillata (whorled milkweed) and A. exaltata (poke milkweed). PLEASE BE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH VARIETY YOU ARE COLLECTING AND LABEL THEM!

A. syriaca

A. incarnata

A. tuberosa

A. verticillata

A. exaltata

* When to collect: ripe pods split upon touch and the seeds should be brown or "browning up." Do not collect pods in which the seeds are white, cream-colored or pale. Be sure to obtain permission before collecting on private property or federal, state or county properties!

* Be safe. Do not collect seeds along busy highways. Remember that milkweed sap can damage your eyes. Wear gloves while collecting milkweed pods and avoid contacting your face, or region of the eyes, with the gloves. Wash your hands carefully after handling milkweed pods. If milkweed sap gets into your eyes or that of a fellow collector, seek medical attention immediately. If you know you have an allergy to latex, be sure to protect your skin and eyes from the sap.

* LABEL a separate, sealed container for the seeds of each milkweed species you collect.  Ziploc bags work well. Include the following information:
o    Contact info: name, address, phone number and/or email for a representative of the club.
o    The date, county, and state of the collection.
o    The species collected.

* How much? Collect as much as you can. Many pounds of milkweed seeds are needed for seed mixes used in roadside or landscape restoration. You do not have to separate the seeds from the silk unless you wish to do so. (If you choose to separate the seeds, try placing a few coins in a clean, empty plastic container. Add the contents of the milkweed pod and close the container tightly. Now, shake the container until the seeds fall to the bottom and the fluff forms a ball on top.)

* Avoid milkweed bugs! Milkweed bugs (bright orange and black insects) use their beak or rostrum to pierce and feed on milkweed seeds, rendering them inviable. Please DO NOT COLLECT open pods with milkweed bugs on the seeds or pods. Avoid introducing milkweed bugs into the bags in which you are placing pods.

* Genetic diversity: Incorporate as much diversity as you can into your sampling of pods. You can do this by collecting your pods from more than one site.

Please send your labeled seeds to:

Marty Sherman
41 East Hill Dr.
Woodbury, CT 06798

Questions? Call Marty at (203) 263-2260 or email [email protected]
* Marty Sherman
State Project Chair

Nationally renowned floral designer
Tony Tedesco
will be the guest speaker of The Branford Garden Club on Thursday,
Nov. 5, 2015 at
The Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club overlooking Long Island Sound.
You are invited to join us for a delightful luncheon and program on
Designs for the Holidays
11:30 social hour  12:00 lunch
Send check for $35 made out to BGC to:
Eunice Lasala,
245 Damascus Rd.
Branford, Ct 06405
For directions go to:

Bring your friends for a pleasant outing.
Youth Programs

As Garden Club members, we are very aware of the natural world around us and the environmental issues that affect our worlds and our gardens.  We  love  our flowers and  the beauty of our flower arrangements.  Who is better qualified to show children the joys of a garden, to share love of the natural world and to teach the importance of caring for the environment?

Your club may choose to organize and/or sponsor a Youth Garden Club.  These clubs hold regular meetings and encourage leadership skills, teach the art and science of gardening, promote awareness of the environment and  explore conservation techniques.  Meetings are usually held in a school or a boys and girls club.

However, you do not need a youth chair or a youth committee or a youth club for your club to do a youth program.  What you do need are a few interested, willing club members, an idea and a group of children.  Your group can be a school class, a scout troop, a boys and girls club or a community center club.  You may even see an opportunity or a need for a program in a neighboring town.  Your youth program can be a single event, a series of seasonal sessions or a continuing weekly program for a month or two.  It can be part of an Earth Day Celebration, a School Science Fair or a town-wide event.  Youth programs are only limited by your members' time, talent and interests.

Your club can also sponsor an FGCCT Registered Youth Garden Club.  The main focus of these clubs is to teach basic skills and formal flower arranging techniques.  Children in these clubs may participate in standard flower shows and win ribbons.  

Whatever youth programs your club chooses to do, you will be encouraging  children to explore their environment, to enjoy gardens and to help improve our natural world. will be having fun!

*Ann Germano
Youth Chair

National Garden Club Youth Contests

Children love contests and projects.   The National Garden Club offers several contests for different grade levels.  The entries must be sponsored by a garden club or group of garden clubs.  The child who enters the contest may be a child or grandchild of one of your members, a member of a Youth Garden Club or a child from one of your youth programs.

All the contests are judged first on our state level.  State winners are sent on to the New England Regional contest.  Regional winners are then sent on to the National level.  Regional winners will receive a cash prize.  Awards at the National level vary by contest.

I am listing only the basic information for each of the contests.  Detailed information can be found on the National web site.  Go to, go to Youth Contests and click on the individual contest name.  You will be able to download specific contest rules and the necessary entry forms.

Woodsy Owl/Smokey Bear Poster Contest
    Grades    1-5
    Poster: 11x17 poster, not three-dimensional
    Original art work: need accurate colored costume for owl or bear
    Message: conservation, don't pollute, or fire prevention
State deadline: January 22,  2016
    Information: Inge Venus ( [email protected])

Poetry Contest
Grades   K-9
Subject: "Those croaking, leaping frogs"
Form: Any form of poetry.   Does not have to rhyme.
State deadline:  January 15,  2016
Information:  Ann Germano ( [email protected])
Sculpture Contest
Grades   4-8
Size: must fit on an  8 1/2" by 11" piece of paper
Made of recycled, reused or reduced material
How to enter:   two 4x6 photos attached to entry form
State deadline:   January 1, 2106
Information:  Ann Germano ( [email protected])

Essay Contest        
(A National Scholarship Contest)
Grades   9-12
Topic: "Don't Let the Frogs Croak"
Form: must be typed 600 to 700 words
State deadline: January 1, 2016
Award: $1,000 scholarship.if underclassman, will be saved til senior year)
Information: Ann Germano ( [email protected])

Distinguished Service Project  Youth Award  # 76
Grades  9-12
Time frame:  June 2015-May 2016
Project:  something that has significant improvement for public benefit:
such as  a landscape project, a garden, a conservation or environment project
Award:  $100.00
State deadline:  April  1, 2016
Information:  Ann Germano ( [email protected])

Container Garden Contest   
(Garden project done by a school group)
Grades  1-5
Theme: "Protect our friends the pollinators"
Type of container: portable or stationary
Plants: emphasize native plants that attract pollinators
State deadline:  February 1 , 2016
Information:  Ann Germano
( [email protected])

Last ESS Invitation for 2015

*     No, it is Not Too Late! Yes, you can hear seven superb speakers cover eight topics over two days AND explore Sessions Woods' "Backyard Wildlife Habitats" with one of its designers, Peter Picone, CT DEEP.

*     You do need to act quickly, though. Course I, Series 3, "The Living Earth," starts Tuesday, October 6, and meets Wednesday, October 7, as well.

*    (Those who wish to take the course for credit need to know the exam will be in the morning of October 8.)

*    All Tuesday and half of Wednesday, we'll meet at the Kellogg Environmental Center, Derby.  Wednesday, after lunch, we'll drive to Sessions Woods, Burlington.

*     Who else will present?

    Oswald Schmitz (Yale University) who always covers at least one topic, will be our first speaker Tuesday. He'll cover "Ecology," and set the bar high for everyone speaking.

*    Neil Schultes, (CT Agricultural Experiment Station) follows. The scope of his topic, "plants- Biodiversity," expanded. Now the speaker is asked to cover a species in depth, discussing its value and ecological niche. Neil can focus on corn, historically, hybridized and genetically modified.
*    Martha Phillips, Litchfield Garden Club, received the Garden Club of America's Margaret Douglas Medal at last spring's Annual Meeting, for her notable service to the cause of conservation education.  She'll tackle "Historic Environmental Actions and Leaders" and after lunch, investigate "Networking and Outreach."
*    Susan Quincy, one of CT DEEP's two educators, will introduce a topic new to Course I- "Sustainability."
*    Sherill Baldwin (CT DEEP, Hartford) will uncover "Environmental Issues," and share her list of Dirty Words.
*    Laurel Kohl (Eastern's Institute of Sustainable Living) will connect everything in "Environmental Science."
*    You may have read or heard about Sessions Woods recently. Exploring it with Peter Picone will be quite a treat.

*    You do need to register. You can take the course for credit or for fun. You can attend for one day. The brochure is your best guide and it can be found on The Federation's website

*    The Registrar is Meredith Penfield [email protected].
*    Polly Brooks, ESS Chair, will happily answer any questions you have. Find her either by email [email protected] or at 860-567-4292.
*    It is past the date to reserve a lunch. You will need to bring one. ESS will provide morning refreshments Tuesday and Wednesday.

*  Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair

OCTOBER 13-15, 2015

Plans are well underway with a great line up of instructors for this year's Gardening Study School being held in the Jones Auditorium of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven.  The two days of courses are followed by a third day when optional tests are administered for those participants seeking credit to become a NCG Gardening Consultant.  Participants who are already accredited Gardening Consultants may Refresh their status by attending the classes but are not required to take the tests.  The topics to be covered this year are:

Understanding Plant Diseases and Garden Pests
How New Plants are Developed and Evaluated
Techniques for Growing Lawns and/or Lawn Alternatives
Techniques for Growing Vegetables and Herbs
Composting Basics
Container Gardening  

Full Course - $110 (Garden Club Members)/$120 (Non-Members)
Optional Lunch - $12/day

Come join us for two information-packed days with passionate fellow gardeners  intent on improving their gardening skills. Click here for the Registration Brochure.  If you have any questions regarding this year's course content, course registration or the benefits of becoming a NGC Garden Consultant please contact the 2015 GSS Co-Chairs:  Marilynn Klepfer at [email protected] or Joanne McKendry at [email protected].

*Marilynn Klepfer
Gardening Study School Co-Chair


All Connecticut garden club members are welcome to attend the NER
Annual Meeting October 20-21.  If you are interested in a couple of fine lectures and to hear about what regional awards clubs and individuals have won, plan to attend-especially if it fits with your own New England leaf-peeping trip.  It's in Portsmouth, NH, at a great time to be traveling to that area.  There is much to see and do in this picturesque and vibrant harbor town.  Visit our FGCCT website at and click on the info in the marquee.


Last month I discussed some plants that held their own in the summer's heat, but I would be remiss if I did not elaborate on one plant in particular that did not fare well during the late summer drought.

All my Astilbe except those planted in deep shade suffered some degree of burn-out. Now, I love Astilbe with their fern-like foliage and their fuzzy plumes in shades of pink, red, white and lavender.  I have many varieties and use them throughout the garden where it calls for the graceful look of the ferny foliage.  Even the ground cover Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' dried out, and this variety can tolerate drier conditions than most. The dried out parts will not recover and it will not put out new growth once watered.

Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' as it looks in our dry conditions.

Astilbe will tolerate drought to some degree if given shade. I must admit that many of mine are not planted in the shady, moist conditions this plant requires and I was not diligent in watering, so areas of the garden look a little unsightly. I probably won't lose them, but this is a prime example of the right place for the right plant. I will have to live with the bare patches in the garden until next spring and hope we have a more consistent rainfall.

A plant that looked good all summer and puts on a great end-of-summer/early-fall show is Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly.' I've grown this for a few years now and have come to love it. I planted it in a hot, sunny, dry part of the garden in some of the worst claylike soil. I placed it there to fill a gap without reading up on its growing requirements, figuring I could always move it. After all, what besides a cactus could possibly like those conditions? I don't recommend this approach to gardening but, to my surprise, it came back the following spring and it looked even better.

So with my curiosity stirred I did some research and found that this plant is native to the dry rocky soils of Oklahoma and Arkansas. I lucked out! The right plant was in the right place and it continues to look better year after year.  The thin, willow-like leaves resemble those of Amsonia hubrechtii (another great plant) and it has clusters of purple aster-like flowers atop two-foot stems that bloom in September and October.
At left is
Vernonia lettermannii.
Above is the plant in bloom.

For those of you who are a little more adventurous, you may like V. lettermannii , 'Iron Butterfly's' big cousin Vernonia noveboracensis. Commonly called New York ironweed, it grows 4-7 feet tall and prefers moist soils. Its leaves are lance-shaped and it, too, has late-summer/early-fall-blooming purple, aster-like flowers. Mine has stood tall all season and it makes a nice focal point in the fall garden.

Of course, October is the perfect time to plant bulbs for next spring. I know it's hard to resist the fancy new varieties of Narcissus with their double ruffled cups in shades of pink and peach, but, why not try something different? Any of the Hyacinthoides put on a great late-spring show. Commonly called bluebells (although there are varieties that are pink or white), they tend to naturalize beautifully. Have a wet spot where most bulbs would tend to rot? Try a variety of Camassia. They have long stems with star-like flowers and strappy green foliage. I have a clump of Camassia quamash whose periwinkle blue flowers are among my spring favorites.

Lastly, we all know October is the time we put the garden to bed.  Many of us have our own process for doing this, but just a reminder to discard in the trash - and not the humus pile - any questionable plant material that may contain disease. Not one of my favorite aspects of gardening, but once completed I can revel in the accomplishment and look forward to the promise of next spring.   

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair

Nominating Committee is now in session

 Our Federation's Nominating Committee has been activated and is accepting nominations from garden club members interested in being considered  for a position on our Board.

The following positions will be opening up:

     CFNEWS Editor

Feel free to contact any one of our committee members, as follows:
Melanie Goldstine, Redding Garden Club    [email protected]
Rodney Hayes, Branford Garden Club  [email protected]
Donna Nowak,  Former FGCCT President [email protected]   
Ronnie Schoelzel, Chairman   [email protected]
Carol Steiner, Wilton Garden Club  [email protected]
Inge Venus, FGCCT Board Member  [email protected]


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.

A yuletide tree at Winterthur.

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 Tour Chair

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

Section B in our "In the Spotlight" schedule is Circus Acts.  Great physical strength and agility are required in all the acts of a circus.

The first class in this section is "Flying Trapeze."  It is a hanging design where you can really use your creative talents.  The second class is "The Fire Eater," which is a design staged on one of our new pedestals that are 15" square and only 35" high.

The final class in this section is entitled "The Juggler."  It is a Companion Class.  This is a new idea we are trying to help Novice Designers gain a bit more confidence in entering the state show.  The Novice Designer is required to work with another designer to complete their design.  The companion can be a judge, a friend, or any other helper the Novice needs to feel confident.

We're now one month closer to this year's show. My committee is formed and many chairmen will be looking for volunteers to help out.  We'll need Hostesses, Judges, Clerks, Painters and helpers to set up and place Horticulture and Design.  Articles will be appearing in future issues of the CFNEWS as well.  I hope many of you will be willing to help out. For the flower show schedule, go to More to come!

* 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

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


More than two years ago, the Town of Lyme building committee approached the Lyme Garden Club about landscaping the proposed new Town Campus Center that would include a new library, a renovated town hall, and a new Town Green.  The town had not allocated money for landscaping the project, but knew Lyme Garden Club had an endowment of about $17,000: a bequest in memory of a former member.  Lyme Garden Club members voted to spend the endowment for landscaping, and a volunteer sub-committee of the garden club was formed.

The committee hired Lyme Landscape Architect Sarah McCracken to develop plans. The committee requested that the landscaping fit the ethos of Lyme, be sustainable by an aging garden club population, and be affordable both to plant and to maintain.

In spite of a sizeable endowment, it quickly became evident that the money would not support the scope of the project.  Through word of mouth and local media, a fundraising campaign to donate memorial trees, purchase daffodil bulbs, and build a contingency fund brought in enough money to complete the project.

In fall, 2014, Phase I of the project began. Sixteen native trees, more than 6 ft. to the lowest branch, were purchased and two local landscaping companies donated their crews to plant these.  In addition, the Lyme town crew planted another four trees and large shrubs, and another local landscaper planted boxwoods in front of the new library and some additional shrubs at both the library and town hall.  In late fall,  the committee planted several hundred daffodils and other bulbs that the committee purchased, as well as planted 400 donated daffodil bulbs with volunteers from High Hopes, a local, not-for-profit.  The Town Campus Building Committee absorbed the cost of adding topsoil to the Green.  It was November 1 before the Green and Meadow were hydroseeded.  

Phase II began in the spring.  The committee was amazed that everything planted had survived.  Boxwoods and other heeled-in shrubs were planted in front of the renovated town hall.  Garden club members added beautiful Hellebores to the shrubs, and Vinca was planted as a ground cover.  At the library, Hellebores, more boxwoods and an assortment of other plants were added to complete the entry gardens.  

To complicate things, Gypsy moth caterpillars invaded the trees and BT was sprayed by Bill Denow, who became the most hands-on working member of the committee.  He had set up a watering system for the property, but the town had not provided large enough pipes to support more than building use.  So, the committee sustained the trees and the gardens at each building, but the Green and Meadow suffered.  The grass was not able to germinate because of lack of water.  However, the daffodils and other bulbs, as well as the shrubs were beautiful.

Phase III, in early June, began with the planting of two herb gardens on either side of the library entry.  These were done in honor of Betty Cleghorn, who had designed the herb garden on the original library property.  St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardening was again placed in the herb garden.

Newly planted herb garden in July.  Watering system that Bill Denow set up throughout the beds.

Phase IV began in September with reseeding of the Green and meadow.  This time water will be trucked in if needed, with two members working with a local landscaping crew to distribute the water.  Additionally, daffodils will be added to the landscaping and along the wall that surrounds the property.  Trees and shrubs will continue to be watered and maintained until the end of the season.

Ann Evans, LGC president, watering newly planted trees in October, 2014.

The Lyme Garden Club will continue to support the trees for the next two years as well as provide maintenance for the plantings at the town hall and at the library as our regular town commitment.  The town will provide a crew to maintain the lawn on the Green and to sustain the meadow.  This is still a work in progress, but a really important collaboration between a town and a local garden club.

* Mary Ann Kistner,
Lyme Garden Club Town Campus Committee Chair

Share Your Garden 
A view of Margaret Hopkins' garden. Margaret is a member of the Garden Club of Madison.
Margaret Hopkins' border in front of the stone wall built by her husband Richard. 





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.



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Deadline for November 2015 ISSUE  


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