CFN Masthead

Volume 78, Number 7 *  SEPTEMBER 2015   

In This Issue
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is the deadline for the OCTOBER    

Mt Laurel

This month brings two firsts: The first FGCCT Regional Idea Exchange, this time for the Northeast corner of the state, and the first of a series of floral design classes, Beyond Beginning. Take advantage of these valuable offerings! Club Presidents don't want to miss their own informational event, Presidents' Day at the September Board Meeting.

And it's back-to-school season with Flower Show School, Gardening Study School and Environmental Studies School all coming up. It's not too early to save your seat at the The Annual Awards Meeting in October. And while you are planning ahead, make a note of the 2016 Flower Show and a wonderful trip to England.

For the younger set, be sure to read about NGC's
The Frightened Frog and the many possible activities surrounding it.
To track all these offerings, click here for the Calendar.


President's Message

Dear Connecticut Gardeners,

Whether you spent the summer enjoying your Connecticut garden or traveling to some exotic land, I know you will agree that Connecticut is beautiful at this time of year. We may have complained about the winter's snow, but we are lucky to have plenty of the world's most valuable commodity - water. As we witness drought in California and other areas of the world with the resulting consequences, we can be especially thankful for the natural resources of our state. If it hasn't come from your own garden, I'm sure you've partaken of the Connecticut bounty at your local farmers market...always delicious!

One of the things that makes our state so lush is the vast tree canopy that we enjoy.  But it is diminishing in size. Many of our members attended the very educational Plant Science Day at Lockwood Farm that is put on every year in August by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. A lecture by Eric Hammerling, Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, pointed out this issue quite quantitatively, discussing how development continues to eliminate contiguous areas of our forests which are so critical to wildlife. It means our urban forests and backyard habitats are increasingly important.  So please consider adding native plants to your fall garden planting plans. And make sure your club has selected a location for the native oak tree that The Federation will fund for you. Choose the location as carefully as an urban planner determines the location of a city; you ARE planning for a whole community with all the wildlife that a native oak will support. And this community needs plenty of space. Fall is the best time for planting trees of nearly all species, so don't let the season get by without arranging for your club's tree.

Planting a tree makes you part of a 400- million year history; that's the approximate time that trees have existed on our Earth...about 165 million years before the first mammal. Trees are the longest-living organisms on Earth. Some currently growing, California's bristlecone pines, are 5,000 years old. Aspens out west grow in genetically identical colonies connected by roots. One in Utah, comprised of about 47,000 trees, covers nearly 100 acres. This colony is over 80,000 years old. Talk about GROWING TOGETHER!
There are so many opportunities for fun and education in the fall: schools, symposiums, tours, workshops, lectures, lunches and interesting meetings.  Be sure to look at the articles below to find the ones of interest to you.

For club presidents, attending the September 24th Presidents' Day is an opportunity to interact with The Federation Board. It is an invaluable meeting to understand more about activities of The Federation and how it can help your club.  If your president can't attend, be sure to send an alternate to bring back all the information and ideas to your club.
Presidents' Day
    Thursday, September 24, 2015
Jones Auditorium
CT Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street,
New Haven, CT 06511
9:30:     Check-in and coffee
10:00:    Meeting
Noon:    Lunch
To reserve, contact Barbara Romblad at
[email protected] or
(203) 488-5528

I look forward to seeing many of you at one of the many FGCCT events this fall as we all continue GROWING TOGETHER!

* Jane


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.

Nationally renowned floral designer
Tony Tedesco:
"Designs for the Holidays"
on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015
at The Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club
overlooking Long Island Sound.
The Branford Garden Club invites you for
an 11:30 social hour & 12:00 lunch
Send check for $40 made out to BGC to:
Eunice Lasala,
245 Damascus Rd.
Branford, Ct 06405
For directions go to:

It's not too late to participate!
Northeast Idea Exchange Symposium  
September 8th

Clubs wrestle with similar issues and concerns with regard to keeping their focus, generating enthusiasm, addressing members' needs and impacting the community. Rather than recreate the wheel, we invite you to come to a forum where ideas can be exchanged with other garden club members about topics that interest you....Hear about what has worked, what hasn't and why from others....Meet kindred spirits in other Connecticut communities and leave motivated and enthusiastic to return to your club with new ideas!
...Open and free to garden club members!  

If you would like to participate in a half-day symposium to discuss topics that could help improve your club's functioning and level of fun AND you are willing to share what has worked well in your own club, this is the event for you!  

To participate, contact Leslie Martino, First Vice-President and Symposium Co-Chair, by phone, (203)389-4434 or email [email protected] with your contact information, including your name, club name, email address and phone number.  Additionally, please supply your top three topics of interest so that we can attempt to seat you with those having similar interests.  Topics may include fundraising ideas, attracting new members and so many others!

We will meet at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center from 9:30-1:30 p.m. and will provide morning refreshments and a light lunch.  We hope you can join us.  The more participants, the more ideas we can share!

*Leslie Martino
First Vice President


The Annual Awards meeting of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT will be held on Wednesday, October 28th at Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT. At this meeting awards are given for the outstanding work club members have done during the past year.  It is wonderful to see how much can be accomplished by other clubs and you can get ideas for projects you can undertake for your town.

At this meeting Trish Manfredi has planned a wonderful event.  Ten clubs will design "Whimsical & Wonderful Tablescapes for the Holidays." Attendees will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite design. It will also give us ideas for our holiday tables.

We anticipate a large crowd, so I encourage you to click here for the registration form and mail it in early.  Unfortunately, I had to turn 30 people away last October.
I have a few new vendors for the October meeting, so come and have a pleasant day. To register, click here.

* Margaret Hopkins
FGCCT Meeting Chair

FLORAL DESIGN--Flower Show School, Course II, and Beyond Beginning

Flower Show School you say?  No, not for me - I don't think I want to be a judge.   Well, let me tell you, if you're interested in design, it's a great opportunity to learn from top designers.  And, there's also a horticulture component.    

From my experience, learning about various plants was very helpful in choosing flowers and foliage for design work.  I remember 'seeing' shapes, colors, and textures in a completely new way after each Flower Show School.  In my yard and gardens, along the roadside, and everywhere, I saw plants, flowers and trees more fully.   Flower show school helped broaden my repertoire from the traditional mass flower arrangements to more creative interpretations and even abstract ones - about which my hubby says, "Where are the flowers?" Now I feel comfortable with a range of design styles and types -making the centerpieces I do for community and professional events so much more interesting.

In Flower Show School, the exposure to tropical flowers expanded my horizons from what I'm able to grow in a Connecticut garden.   Learning how to condition flowers to last longer, ideas for containers, and expanding my notion of mechanics (like floral foams, wires, and other stuff) and how to select flowers to interpret a theme have been invaluable.  I learned what makes a blue-ribbon horticultural specimen, which meant that I now know how to select and maintain flowers used in designs "at peak of perfection."

Yes, I learned about organizing and judging a flower show.  However, the basics of design and horticulture were so well inter-twined that if you think of yourself as only a 'dirt digger," you'll find that the design concepts will translate to your garden.  If you prefer design, you'll find that the horticulture component will make you a better designer.

So block out time for Flower Show School, Course II this fall - Sept 30-Oct 2(test).... you'll have a fantastic, fun learning experience! To download the registration form, go to or contact Sheila Ciccone, Registrar at [email protected]

Also, consider enrolling in the Beyond Beginning Workshops, details in the CFNEWS, Aug 2015 issue:  Sept 25 (Creative Line design), Oct 9(Angular design), Nov 20 (Thanksgiving design), Dec 11 (Holiday Multi-rhythmic design).  Questions, contact Cathy Ritch, [email protected] or 203-452-5918.

*Trish Manfredi
Accredited Flower Show Judge

Native Tree Project: Garden Club of Madison

On April 30th, 2015, seven Pin Oaks were purchased from Madison Flower Shop and planted in the newly dedicated Salt Meadow Park in Madison. This is the site of the previous Griswold Airport with 400 feet on the Hammonassett River and a 2,000-foot salt marsh bordering
Hammonassett State Park. Slated for a cluster of 127 apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes, the 42-acre site was saved from development by The Trust For Public Land and the Town of Madison.
Garden Club of Madison President Jodi Godbout and Jay Santoro of the Madison Flower Shop and Garden Center with one of the Pin Oaks they planted. Photo Courtesy of Liz Duffy.

The new park provides three soccer fields and preserves a very important stretch of coastal forest. The Pin Oaks were planted in an area with picnic tables and will provide shade. They were chosen as a good adaptive landscape tree, a quick grower, and very tolerant of stress and pollution. Pin Oaks also can withstand some flooding.

New Pin Oaks in Salt Meadow Park.

Madison Flower Shop has guaranteed the trees for a year and the town will provide water and maintenance for the first two years.

* Dianne Roberts
Garden Club of Madison

EYE ON HORTICULTURE: The September Garden

It's been a long, hot summer here in Connecticut and as I perused the garden on the third day of a 90-degree stretch, I noted some of the plants were definitely tolerating the heat better than others.

I'd have to say that the stalwart of the summer garden is Hemerocallis, more commonly known as daylilies. Granted the blooms have to last only a day, but they do so with ease. I've never seen a wilted daylily. The varieties are numerous. The flowers alone have vast differences - some are doubles, fragrant, ruffle-edged, reblooming, spider-shaped, some with eye zones and watermarks, just to name a few.

Two examples of the variety in daylilies.

Depending on the varieties you choose, you can stretch out their season of bloom for over two months. H. 'Catherine Neal' is one of the last to bloom in my garden - its velvety, deep purple flowers are gorgeous. You can have a border of just daylilies, but I like to mix them in with other perennials. I could continue to sing the praises of the humble daylily, but since the purpose of this article is to highlight those plants that are heat tolerant, I'll save that for another day.

One such perennial that can stand the heat is Platycodon grandiflorus 'Mariesii'. For three weeks or more it has put on a great show paired with the lemon yellow of H. 'Big Time Happy', but any other yellow daylily paired with the periwinkle blue of the Platycodon will give the garden a French country feel. Platycodon is commonly known as balloon flower because the ripening buds look like tiny hot air balloons. It will seed in freely. I love them so I let them.

'Big Time Happy' with Platycodon grandiflorus.

I love the huge, pure-white, extremely fragrant blooms of Lilium 'Casa Blanca'. They grow 5-6 feet tall and are a great filler (as are all of the oriental lilies) in the summer garden. They are great for adding a pop of color and the heat doesn't seem to bother them either. Although the red lily beetle did sample my oriental lilies it seemed to much prefer the asiatics so I was able to keep it at bay on my L. 'Casa Blanca" with a daily hand picking.

Lilium 'Casa Blanca.'

Of course, all the Sedums can tolerate the heat. Sedum spectabile 'Autum Joy' is quite popular, but I prefer the similar S. 'Brilliant,' with its bright pink flowers that bloom a little earlier. S. 'Angelina,' a golden yellow ground cover, looks great in the front of the border all season long, never seeming to stress in the heat.

Worth noting is that some plants that may have already bloomed continue to look great despite the weather. One such plant is
Amsonia tabernaemontana. This plant is one of my all-time favorites. Nothing seems to bother it. In spring it has small but many steel-blue star-shaped flowers. It continues to grow after flowering to form a beautiful bush-like plant with green willow-shaped leaves. Not only is it not bothered by heat (or much else), it turns a beautiful yellow in fall before going dormant. It is a great back-of-the-border plant.

So when perusing your garden, take stock of what looked good this summer and what didn't. As a gardening friend of mine and I like to say, "Don't give prime real estate to any plant that is subpar." There are plenty of plants out there to fill the bill and since most garden centers have marked down their stock at this time September is the perfect time to give some a try.  

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair

National Garden Club's
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 fellow passionate 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

The Gardening Study School Scholarship is awarded yearly in the name of Penny Jarvis to any FGCCT garden club member attending a class.  The scholarship is renewable for consecutive classes taken to complete the course.  A name is drawn by the Gardening Consultants Council, and upon passing the exam, $75 of the course fee is reimbursed.  The application for the scholarship is available at  under the link "Education Program."  Applications for this year are due October 10.  Those who submitted applications during last year's class do not need to reapply.  Address questions to Mary Sullivan ( [email protected]).

REMINDER:  If it is 5 years since you completed the Gardening Study School or 5 years since your last renewal, then it is time to renew in order to maintain your Gardening Consultant status and membership in the Council.  It is necessary to register for the course and pay the fee, but it is not necessary to repeat the exam.

*Mary Sullivan
Gardening Consultants Council

Meet Mary Sullivan

Gardening Consultants Council Chair Mary Sullivan remembers Nancy  Lenoce looking for help. "I said I'd help, and the next thing you know you're chairman," Mary laughs.

A Connecticut native who grew up in the Hartford area, Mary watched her mother and grandfather garden. Mary lived with her husband in Cheshire before retiring to Oxford. That's how she got started with the Suburban Garden Club of Cheshire more than 20 years ago. She remains a member there. "They are a nice group and I went through all the ranks, ending up as president." Currently Mary is their co-chair of Membership with Jessica Fischer.

She worked for 30 years in research and development for Hartford Hospital, establishing the mycology lab to study fungi as organ transplants brought them into the medical forefront.

Gardening was Mary's outlet in her spare time. She maintains a perennial garden and has enjoyed taking The Federation's courses, having reached the level of Consultant in Gardening and Landscape Design. She has audited the FSS and ESS courses.

As Chair of the Gardening  Consultants Council, Mary is in charge of awarding the GSS Scholarship and the Love-ly Garden Award, both supported by the Penny Jarvis fund. She organizes the GCC events, including visits to nurseries & gardens as well as lectures. Other duties include writing the GCC newsletter to update Council members, hosting the GSS courses and providing refreshments. Mary says, "the schools are very helpful to get in-depth knowledge of gardening, and the council members are helpful and good company." She encourages all Federation members to take advantage of the courses.

Mary and her husband enjoy traveling, with a particular interest in archeology that has taken them to Greece, Egypt, Central and South America, the Galapagos Islands and Macchu Pichu. Her other interest is photography.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor
Youth Activities

One of the 2015-2017 National Garden Clubs President's Projects is "The Frightened Frog," and there is a wonderful book,  The Frightened Frog,  which can be used as part of your youth programs.  This book is colorful, easy reading a powerful message.  (See the delightful review by an 8-year-old girl from Stamford, below.)  These books cost $10.00 and you will be able to purchase or order them at the Annual Awards Meeting in October.

Our president, Jane Waugh, and I encourage each club to offer a frog-themed youth program.  Many children are fascinated by frogs and most children know and love Kermit the frog.  This frog theme can be used to teach our children about many environmental issues and about important ways to help save and protect our environment.   We hope you will be able to find a way to incorporate this theme into your club calendar.

I know that some clubs are small and some have not done any youth programs. So, here are a few suggestions for very simple, easy and quick ways to use the frog theme:

*    Purchase a frog poster and, with permission, post it in a library.
*    Develop a tri-fold cycle, habitat and threats to frogs.
     Ask to display it at a public or school library.
*    Purchase the book and donate it to public or school library.
*    Purchase the book, read it at a story hour and then donate it to
     the group.

Many of you already work with youth groups and may have your own ideas; but here are some more involved programs for you to consider:

*    Develop a one-day Life Cycle of Frogs program for your group.    
*    National Garden Clubs (NGC) offers a standard lesson plan for     
     grades K-4. Use all or part of it for an after-school enrichment 
     program or a scout group or school Earth Day Program.
*    Offer an early-Spring field trip to look for pollywogs.
*    Offer a late-Spring field trip looking for frogs and habitats.
*    Have a scout troop collect pollywogs and give to a school with
     supplies so children can watch them grow.

Let me know if I can be of any help to you.  I think the children will love the frog programs and I know you will have fun with them.  If we all work together, we can help turn the Frightened Frogs' world into a safer place.

Also, consider encouraging the children in your programs to enter one of the many National Garden Club contests for youth (  These are the contests for Elementary and Junior High or Middle School:  
*    Smokey Bear/ Woodsy Owl Poster for grades 1 through 5. Please
     contact Inge Venus at [email protected] for info about the poster
*    Poetry for grades K through 9 (theme "Croaking Leaping Frogs.")
*    Youth Sculpture for grades 4 through 8.   
*    On the High School level there is an Essay contest (theme:  "Don't
    Let the Frogs Croak.") and a Distinguished Service Project Award.

For more details on all NGC Youth contests, visit the NGC website at:
Remember that even though these are national contests, the entries first must be submitted to the FGCCT. The Connecticut deadlines are in January, so it is best to plan to have students prepare their entries before their winter holiday school breaks. You may establish a contest for a group or submit individual entries. Feel free to contact me with questions at [email protected]

 * Ann Germano
Youth Chair

A Testimonial about The Frightened Frog from Julia, age 8, Connecticut:

"I loved reading the book. I read the book 5 times! The book says the frog's world is becoming polluted, and I think that is very true.  But the book also says that we should try to help and I think that is wonderful."
Reminder to Sign up for Environmental Studies School (ESS)

ESS meets the 1st week of October this year!

Find the registration form in the marquee of our website at, fill it out, and mail the form and registration fee to Meredith Penfield, 68 Camp Dutton Road, Litchfield, CT 06759.

If you have further questions regarding the school, please contact Polly Brooks, Chair, ESS,  via [email protected] or 860-567-4292.

*Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair

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

As our summer draws to a close, it's time to start thinking about our state flower show. This year's show will be held from February 18-21, 2016.  As always it will be at The Convention Center in Hartford.

The title of this year's show is "In The Spotlight."  Picture a show with designs interpreting the "Performing Arts."  It' going to be an exciting show!  The drama of the opera and theater, the excitement of award-winning movies, circus acts, music and dance.

Our first design section is "Let's Go To The Movies."  Here the designs include "Titanic," a creative, underwater design, "Avatar" (think of the colors you can incorporate!) staged on an 18" square by 42" high pedestal, and "Star Wars," a creative floor design  staged in a 3' square space with a 4' x 6' backboard.

Are you getting interested?  I hope so!  The schedule will be available in the fall.  Your club President will get a supply at our President's Day Meeting in September.  And it will be available on The Federation's website

Keep reading my monthly articles for more information.  I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in Hartford in February.

*Barbara Bruce
2016 Flower Show Chair

Scholarship News

The Norwalk Garden Club has awarded Amanda Turner, from Norwalk High School, a $1000 scholarship.  Amanda will be a freshman attending Delaware Valley University and will be majoring in Environmental Science/Botany.

Manchester Garden Club awarded its annual $1,200 scholarship to Emma Oellerich, who recently graduated from Glastonbury High School as part of their Agriscience and Technology program.  She will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall, majoring in Horticulture. 

Emma Oellerich.

Lyme Street is Growing....

Flowers that is! ...This was the first summer members of the Duck River Garden Club of Old Lyme have launched a "Welcome Garden" Program on Lyme Street to encourage town businesses to embark on beautification projects like those in other surrounding towns.

The businesses that participated in the program this year included:                     
Edie Freeman of EF Watermelon, 24 Lyme Street, and Jeff Cooley of The Cooley Gallery, 25 Lyme Street, both have beautiful container gardens welcoming visitors from out of town and locally.  Village Shops' new owner, Lee Mergy, offers two beautiful berms complete with special benches to encourage shoppers to take a rest on Lyme Street while shopping at the Chocolate Shell or at Garvin Studio and Gallery.

A little further up Lyme Street, Gail Steven's, owner of Nightingales Acoustic CafĂ©, 68 Lyme Street, uses flower boxes to give an informal coffee shop style (along with music) to encourage visitors. Next door, Lisa Maynard, The Hair Gallery,  shares a striking array of pink geraniums and impatiens.

We additionally want to thank the many Old Lyme Main Street residents who take pride in their plantings in our quaint New England town.

We encourage participation in next summer's efforts to create a "Welcome Garden" in Old Lyme. Call Kathy Burton 860-434-8024 or Barbara Rayel 860-434-2354 for more information about this program or about membership in Duck River Garden Club.


London's Chelsea Flower Show and
The Glorious Gardens of Kent, England
May 20-28 2016

Three renowned gems of the Royal Horticulture Society, The Chelsea Flower Show, Kew Gardens and Wisley are just a few of the various treasures featured on the FGCCT annual spring tour. We spend four days exploring Kent, long considered the "Garden of England." Sissinghurst garden, Leeds Castle, the charming town of Tunbridge Wells and the cathedral city of Canterbury are among the treats in Kent. A full day at Chelsea and a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum plus free time fill your three days in London. For a brochure: contact: FGCCT Tour Coordinator: [email protected]  or call  203 915 6017.

*Kathy Kobishyn
FGCCT Tours Chair

Share Your Garden  
 A view of the garden of Jane Vouros,  Civic Chair of the Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown.

 Here are four views from the gardens of Arline and Ed Shanley. Arline is a long-time member and former president of the Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown.






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 OCTOBER 2015 ISSUE  


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

CT Federation NEWS

Published monthly except January/July


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

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


Direct Advertising Queries to: Diana Abshire, Advertising Manager

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


Direct Circulation Queries to:  OFFICE SECRETARY, FGCCT

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



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Mt Laurel