November 2016
Let's give our congratulations to all our Award Winners this month! Then get ready for Flower Show School and the 2017 CT Flower and Garden Show, and meet the woman behind the show, Cathy Ritch. In Eye on Horticulture, you can learn how to have color in your November garden. And perhaps your club will be inspired by the wonderful project undertaken by the Colchester Garden Club at Cohen Woodlands.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Click here for the Club Calendar.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

President's Message
Dear Garden Club Members,

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our sold-out Annual Awards Luncheon at Aqua Turf last week.  It's hard to say which thing was the highlight since there were so many of them this year:

*    The accomplishments of our clubs and members exemplified by the many awards distributed,
*    The discussion by Bronze Medal recipient, Margaret Larom, of her work in food production for all,
*    The inspiring words of our National President, Sandy Robinson, focusing on the value of garden club membership and the importance of allowing our youth to have unscheduled creative time to enjoy nature,
*    The displays of so many of our garden clubs' projects,
*    The beautiful Judges Council Standard Flower Show, the COLORS OF CONNECTICUT,
*    And much more!

So many individuals were involved in making the whole day a success that I couldn't possibly list them here, but a big thank-you to each and every one of you.  The results of a huge amount of preparation work were appreciated by our special guests and all who attended.

One of the themes that lately seems to come up frequently is related to sustainable gardens and food production.  We heard it in Margaret Larom's discussion as well as in the project descriptions of many other award recipients. Tis the season of bounty in our state, if not in many parts of the world. And with my interest in oak trees, I recently heard of a new twist I thought I'd share with you.

Aside from food for the squirrels, we don't often consider the oak tree's acorns as part of the usual autumn food crop, certainly not like other nuts such as walnuts or almonds.  But, like most nuts, they are a valuable source of protein and quite nutritious, if somewhat bitter from the high level of tannins.  Acorns were consumed by humans in ancient times. More recently, acorn flour has been part of the Californian Native American diet, and is still used in Korean food, especially to make soba-like noodles and a special savory gelatin. Making the flour is a multi-step and tedious process involving leeching, peeling and grinding.  Perhaps that's why the price online ranges from $30 to $60 per pound. Foodies say they can tell the difference in flavor between red oak and white oak flour. It is, of course, gluten free.

Now, the twist I just heard from Pat Dray, whose yard was full of acorns this year. A visitor at her door asked if she could collect the acorns.  She used a giant brush-like roller to sweep them up for her company, Walden Hill. This is not meant to be an ad, but just an example of how one New England organization, presumably for profit, has a philosophy for sustainable, local and delicious food. Taken from a tradition in southwest Spain, this group is raising hogs for local market consumption using the nutrient-rich diet of acorns! Free clean-up for Pat - free food for the hogs.

So go plant that native oak tree using the $200 contribution from The Federation before the deadline of April 1, 2017.  And enjoy all of Connecticut's local bounty at your holiday table this season.

* Jane Waugh
FGCCT President
The Bronze Medal

The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc. is pleased to give our highest award, The Bronze Medal, for the year 2016 to Margaret Larom, of Clinton, Connecticut. In giving the award we are recognizing the efforts and achievement of Mrs. Larom and her volunteers in taking idle land behind the Episcopal Church of the Holy Advent in Clinton and turning them into a fabulous Food for All Garden that has supplied literally tons of food for the local food pantry.  This is a study in determination and effort that our board felt could stand as a model for other religious and civic groups. Thoughtful land stewardship can produce an outcome beyond our wildest imaginings.

Margaret started in 2012 with a 1.6 acre lot of jungle behind the church-and a vision. Gathering input from community leaders, contacting civic groups, filling out grant applications were the start. But the practicalities of clearing the land, installing deer fencing, irrigation-all things we have struggled with ourselves-were a challenge. She never gave up. By spring 2013, after a local farmer cleared the land, seeds were planted, came to life, and what had been a Field of Dreams became a Garden for All.

President Jane Waugh and Former President Dee Mozzochi present the Bronze Medal to Margaret Larom.
By two years into it, 150 volunteers had put in 6000 hours and used 60 grants and gifts-in-aid to produce 9,700 pounds of vegetables. Between 2013 and 2016, a total of 26,000 pounds of produce had been grown for the local food pantry, which services not only Clinton but reaches needy people from miles around. They leave with garden bounty, a smile on their faces and a bouquet of flowers hand-picked from the garden.
You will find Margaret in the garden summer through fall ALL day on Wednesdays - weeding, picking produce for the food pantry (which begins at 4 p.m.), encouraging volunteers, leading and educating school groups, scouts, conducting tours for garden clubs and civic groups.  Then you will find her sorting, packaging and labeling with the residents of Peregrine Landing, the continued care facility next door.  
On Saturdays she works with the volunteers and at any other time during the week when needed. To Margaret "It's so much more than just a garden."  It's a project, an ongoing experiment and a gift--with those involved becoming a community that is constantly learning, growing and sharing.
All this is accomplished under the vibrant, yet modest, leadership of Margaret Larom who, when asked what her capacity is in this garden, states simply, "Just call me the Coordinator."  She is enthusiastic, energetic, inspiring, fun and SO much more!

* Dee Mozzochi
Former FGCCT President

Below is one example of the impact of the Food For All Garden as described by student, Chen Ying. 

I am always contented to do things that can help others. I went to a garden called ''Food for All" with my Nature and Volunteerism class on July 13th. This garden is a property of the Episcopal Church. It serves fresh vegetables for those who cannot afford them on every Wednesday evening, helping them live a healthier life style.
It was a beautiful sunny day. The work I was given that day was to remove weeds, because weeds may rob lettuces' nutrients. We used trowels to help us scoop out some weeds that had deep roots. But generally, we used our hands. I love the feeling when touching the soil. Since I had taken a class about soil, the more I learn about soil, the more respect I have toward it. Soil is like a mother of all beings. Although it is not alive, it brings life to the earth. It breeds plants, and also allows animals to survive. It also holds the weight of civilization. Without soil, we could never have developed into the modern world that we have today. By pulling up the weeds, I felt like I communicated with the soil.
Besides this, while removing the weeds, we learned more about each other. Beyond thinking, we felt free to chat. We could discuss all the topics, from the name of your little brother to the economics issues in Europe. Compared to the prudent atmosphere in classrooms, the atmosphere in the garden was casual and relaxing, letting us share our opinions candidly. We talked while working. Because we didn't have to look into each other's eyes and guess what the others were thinking, we could say anything directly.  I AGREE WITH YOU 100%!!!
While we were not chatting, I had a conversation with myself. I was thinking about how those people lives' changed with the vegetables grown in this garden. Their contented smiles came to my mind when I imagined the picture of them having a meal with these fresh vegetables. And I didn't feel tired or hot anymore.  I also considered what else I could do after I go back to my country since there are also a lot of people who need help in my homeland.
This experience in the Food For All Garden let me be grateful of this land, learn more about my friends, and ponder what else I can do to make the world a better place. By doing things for others, we take the responsibility of the society. If everyone does a small good deed, the whole world will change.


And more Awards...

At the FGCCT Awards Luncheon on October 26, 2016, at Aqua Turf, in addition to the Bronze Medal, 39 silver awards and six Special Certificates were presented; seven Tribute awards; 15 Certificates of Individual Achievement; 61 Club Certificates of Achievement; 26 Citations; three Scholarships; one Love-ly Garden Award, and one Club Certificate of Appreciation.

Federation Awards Chair Janet Spaulding has joined Silver Manager Inge Venus next to the  display of all 39 silver awards.

National President Sandy Robinson (center) and NER Director Vera Bowen (behind Sandy) attended our October 26, 2016 Awards Luncheon at Aqua Turf. They are joined by Vermont State President Susan Hinkel (L-R); Massachusetts State President Betty Sanders; Connecticut State President Jane Waugh; Sandy; Vera; New Hampshire State President Jane Goodwin; and Rhode Island State President Catherine Moore.
Newly installed First Vice President Inge Venus
is joined by National Garden Club Board members and former FGCCT Presidents Maria Nahom and Jacqueline Connell. Seated are Jane Waugh; National President Sandy Robinson;
and NER Director Vera Bowen.

Space does not permit us to list the top awards received at the National Convention held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May of this year and the  top  awards at the New England Region Annual Meeting/Awards Luncheon held in Milford, Massachusetts, on October 18th.

Left: At the NGC Convention in Grand Rapids Michigan, NGC Board Member and former NER Director and former FGCCT President Maria Nahom with NER Director Vera Bowen. Right: FGCCT President Jane Waugh with NGC President Sandy Robinson.

A list of all of these awards will be featured in our upcoming December issue of the CFNEWS.

* Inge Venus
Ist Vice President

2016 Love-ly Garden Award
Recognizing Gardens and Gardeners was a delightful experience for all of us judges. It is exciting to stroll through a place in nature cultivated with a loving human touch. This year we saw many of the same New England plants, but the plots were amazingly different.

We had nine gardens on the 2016 Love-Ly Garden Award Tour. Each garden beautifully surrounded the gardener's home. We traveled to Clinton, Riverside, Madison, Redding, Wilton, Bethany, Trumbull, Shelton and Fairfield. The homes differed from unique peaceful garden sanctuaries, magnificently carved neighborhood woodsy gardens and awesome rolling garden homesteads. All were Love-ly Gardens.

The 2016 Award was given to Andrea Belous, a member of the Arbor Garden Club of Clinton. Andrea has a passion for growing plants. Her garden is a blend of natives, tropicals and edibles. The entrance garden complements the shoreline community. The use of curved full beds makes the intimate back garden feel bigger. After more than 30 years of gardening, this artistically designed property has grown into a welcoming, peaceful and gorgeous garden with a soothing feel.

Love-ly Garden Award Winner Andrea Belous flanked by Gardening Consultant Council members Joanne McKendry and Katherine Patrick.

Please invite us to your garden for the 2017 Love-Ly Garden Award Tour. Every garden is worthy of recognition.

*Joanne McKendry
Love-ly Garden Award Chair


Scholarship News

At the Annual Awards Meeting and Luncheon on October 26, The Federation awarded scholarships to three recipients, Cara Donovan, Amber Collett, and Vinay Ananthachar.

FGCCT Scholarship Winners Cara Donovan, President Jane Waugh, Scholarship Chair Judy Joly, Vinay Ananthachar and Amber Collett.

Cara Donovan is a joint degree student at the School of Public Health and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale. She grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island, and graduated from Connecticut College in 2008 with a major in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies. Her interests are in improving human health and the environment through sustainable food systems.

This past summer she worked with New Haven Farms to evaluate the impact of their Incubator Garden Program for low-income residents with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Her thesis research explores the barriers and facilitators to access and utilization of nutritious native and traditional crops in child and infant feeding in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She currently works as a research assistant for the Connecticut Mental Health Center on their Food Transformation Initiative - an effort to incorporate food and nutrition into holistic health care practice.

Prior to starting her program, she worked at CitySeed in New Haven as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, and later as Mobile Market Manager. In her spare time she enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and just being outdoors.

Amber Collett is pursuing a Masters of Environmental Science at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Her mixed-methods research explores the intersection between human and ecological community resilience in complex urban environments. As both a researcher and practitioner, Amber seeks to create cross-sector collaborations that result in greening projects that beautify vacant lots and create long-term ecological research opportunities. In the future, she hopes to continue working with major foundations, community residents, hospitals, elected officials, city planners, designers, and nonprofits to build unique coalitions to promote human and ecological dignity.

Mr. Ananthachar is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) with more than a decade of experience in energy efficiency. He has a BS in Engineering from Bangalore University, India, and a Master's Degree in Solar Energy from UMass. Mr. Ananthachar works at Eversource Energy in Berlin, Connecticut. He is responsible for planning, developing and evaluating energy efficiency programs. He regularly examines state and federal policies and evaluates their impact on utility energy efficiency programs.  

Mr. Ananthachar also serves on technical committees at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), where he actively participates in the development of building energy standards, handbooks and guidelines.

While at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Mr. Ananthachar wants to build deeper awareness of energy and environmental policies.  He expects to receive a Master of Environmental Management in May 2017 and plans to work for a national or international organization with a focus on renewable energy policies. Mr. Ananthachar is a native of Bengaluru, India.

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair

The Federation Welcomes a New Affiliate Member - Connecticut's Historic Gardens

After approval at the September Board meeting, The Federation welcomes a new affiliate member, Connecticut's Historic Gardens.  Formed in 2004, they are an organization of 15 historic sites and gardens throughout the State.  The group came together to increase the awareness of their respective properties.  They participate in the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show and they also initiated Connecticut's Historic Gardens Day, which in 2016 celebrated its 13th consecutive year.  Check out their website at

* Arlene Field
Second Vice President and Membership Chair


The Daytime Gardeners of North Haven. planted a white oak at the Town Library/Cultural Center in North Haven.

The Garden Club of Hartford planted a white oak at the Windsor Ave. entrance of Keney Park in Hartford.

The Milford Garden Club planted a red oak at the Robert Treat Parkway Esplanade in Milford.

From left are Dan Masella from the SWCD and Milford Garden club Members: Cheryl Capiali, Katherine Patrick, Ellen Beatty, Bunny Elmore and Marilyn Wardell..

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair


Gardening Study School, Series 7, Course III, was held September 13-15 at CAES in New Haven.  There were 23 students enrolled in the course, including a student each from Maryland and Virginia.   Also attending the classes were three Gardening Consultants Council (GCC) members who were refreshing and two people auditing.  Three students completed their fourth course and have become Gardening Consultants:  Jane Waugh, Marilynn Klepfer, Jeanette Barrows and Sarah Turechek.  Those completing two courses and becoming Provisional members of the GCC are:  Kristina Archambault, Nolini Barretto, Lisa Cocco, Judi Freudenburg and Rita Giannotti.  Congratulations to everyone and welcome to the GCC!

Congratulations also go to Shelley Hedberg of the Watertown Garden Club, this year's recipient of the GCC Penny Jarvis Scholarship.  Shelley will receive the scholarship each year until she completes the 4 courses.  

For the first time, the school was run by a committee instead of a chair, so many deserve recognition for the time and effort that made the school a reality.   A special THANK YOU goes to Katherine Patrick and Ellie Tessmer for organizing the school curriculum, contacting the professors, proctoring and making everything run so smoothly.  Thanks also to Lesley Orlowski, registrar and "general manager" at the school, Joanne McKendry for arranging the lunches and helping Mary Sullivan with coffee breaks, Martha Shea (proctor in training) and the support of the FGCCT Officers.

* Mary Sullivan
Scholarship Chair, Gardening Consultants Council

The November Garden
In my humble opinion, November is the bleakest of months when it comes to gardening. Everything has stopped growing, the anticipation of regeneration is still months away and the beauty of winter has not quite arrived. So, in order to enhance the November landscape I look to two different species of shrubs whose brightly colored berries help to warm it up.

I know we are all familiar with Ilex verticillata, the native winterberry holly whose lovely red berries are a staple in holiday d├ęcor, but there are cultivars of Ilex verticillata that produce berries in shades of yellow, gold and orange. I particularly like Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold' that, despite what the name implies, produces a beautiful soft orange-color berry. It is a female cultivar so you will need a male cultivar that blooms at the same time to pollinate it. Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman' will do the trick. One male shrub is sufficient to pollinate up to 10 female shrubs. I purchased a smaller size of the two aforementioned shrubs and planted them in the same hole so the berryless 'Southern Gentleman' would be less obvious.

The growing conditions for winterberry are basically the same for all varieties. They are hardy in zones 3-9. They are upright shrubs that attain a height of eight feet. They prefer damp to wet soils with a pH on the acidic side. They will produce the most berries if given full sun to light shade. Early spring is the best time to prune them.

Another genus of shrub whose berries will add great color to the November landscape is Callicarpa. Commonly called beautyberry, it is a deciduous shrub whose late fall show is spectacular. The first time I laid eyes on this shrub was when I was picking my daughter up from college for Thanksgiving break. On either side of the granite-walled entrance gate, I was greeted by two huge purple waterfalls. A breathtaking pop of color at an unexpected time of the year, the graceful arching branches laden with clusters of shiny purple berries were absolutely stunning.

There are many species of Callicarpa. Callicarpa americana is native to southern U.S. while others are native to Asia, Australia and South America. Callicarpa dichotoma is a species native to Korea that does well here in Connecticut. Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' is a pretty shrub that starts to put on its show a little earlier than other varieties. It is hardy in zones 5-8 and will produce the most fruit if planted in groups. It will attain a height of four feet with a slightly larger spread, preferring moist, well-drained soil in full to part sun. It blooms on new wood, so a hard pruning in late winter, early spring will promote good flowering.

Both Ilex verticillata and Callicarpa dichotoma are rather nondescript when in bloom, but the transformation of their blooms results in a beautiful show at a much needed time of the year. So if you're looking to add a little warmth to your November garden, these two shrubs will bring the heat. I love the orange berries of the 'Winter Gold' winterberry with the purple berries of 'Early Amethyst' beautyberry planted in the same vicinity. To me there is something very "Currier and Ives" about it, very apropos for this time of year.         

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair


An Advanced-Standard Flower Show 
CT Convention Center 
February 23 - 26, 2017 


Calling all amateur horticulturalists!  Although February 23-26 seems a long way away, November is here.  November 22 is the 90-day ownership deadline for container-grown plants or arboreal specimens you plan to exhibit in the state flower show, "Woodland Enchantment."  Exhibitors who submit three or more entries will be given a ticket for free admission to the CT Flower and Garden Show.  

If you don't plan on making any plant purchases, it is time now to take a good look at your houseplants to assess grooming or repotting.  If you repot, remember that containers should be clean and neutral-colored.  No cachepots will be allowed, and if you plan to double pot, do so unobtrusively.

If you decide to repot, pot up one size only; for example, if your plant is in a 4" container, pot up to a 5" container.  When staking a plant, do that unobtrusively also.  Use a neutral colored stake with raffia ties.  The object is to show off your plant, not the staking!  Bring an appropriate-sized saucer for your potted plants.  Make sure you check all plants for insects and diseases....if a diseased plant is brought in, it will not be accepted.

The Horticulture Division, "Whispers from the Woods," offers 57 classes in 13 Sections, from Cacti and Succulents to Orchids, Forced Bulbs, Foliage and Flowering Container Plants, Topiaries, Arboreals, and even Combination Planters.  Two Sections include dwarf or miniature foliage or arboreal specimens.  Dwarf or miniature exhibits are eligible for the NGC Elfin Award.  Other Top Awards include five (CT) Mary Lou Smith Awards of Merit, two Grower's Choice Awards, an Arboreal Award, the (CT) Elisabeth Swain Memorial Propagation Award, and the  Award of Horticultural Excellence.  The last award is given by the judges to the named exhibit that is considered the finest in the entire Horticulture Division.

There are many opportunities to enter your favorite or unusual plants and many chances to win an award!  February can be a challenging time to transport horticulture, but plants can be safely packaged with bubble wrap or plastic to protect them from the elements.  When arriving at the CT Convention Center, drive to the Loading Dock (directions will be emailed to exhibitors when you email your entry information to Cindy Marien for pre-registration).  There will be designated carts for exhibitors to use at the Loading Dock. If several members of your garden club plan to enter horticulture, perhaps one person can bring in all exhibits.  

Please go to for the complete "Woodland Enchantment" schedule.  I hope to see YOU and your wonderful horticulture in February!

* Ronnie Schoelzel    
Horticulture Coordinator

Meet Cathy Ritch

Born in Bridgeport, this year's CT Flower and Garden Show Chair, Cathy Ritch, lived in New
Jersey and then New York State, where she met her husband. Both worked for IBM until Cathy retired and moved around the world as IBM transferred her husband.

It was in the late 70's, during their year in Japan, that Cathy studied the art of Ikebana, her introduction to flower arranging. "I had a whole day to fill up, and that was what the stay-at-home women were doing," she recalls. In the 80's, they lived in both France and Germany and Cathy hired out as a gardener and worked for a florist. All this time, they maintained their home in Trumbull, moving their furniture with them. "Our furniture has more frequent flyer miles than most people do, " jokes Ritch.

When they finally settled in Trumbull, Cathy joined the Long Hill Garden Club to learn about horticulture. But Emeritus Judges Terry Soleson and Evelyn Shapiro were giving flower-arranging workshops and Cathy got hooked. She served as President of the club and about 10 years ago started the  "Flower Power" design group. She and other members of the group would practice flower arranging. "When Terry and Evelyn started critiquing our designs, that was a turning point-when I started learning a lot, " says Cathy.

She also attended FGCCT Flower Show School in the 90's and worked her way up to be an NGC Accredited Judge. "I don't think I'm the most creative person in the world-I do okay. I really have to think about things, I work hard at it, " she says modestly. Her efforts have resulted in her arrangement being included in the New Britain Museum of American Art's "Floral Expressions" show as well as the Visions of Beauty calendar in addition to the state Flower Show.

Still modest, Ritch calls her garden "a work in progress. The bones were here, but I wanted flowers." So she came home from Europe and "dug and moved things around." Now she has a large vegetable garden and a wetland garden with moisture-loving plants. She likes native plants and texture, and low maintenance-no roses!
"I especially enjoy if I can take something from my yard for a design," says Cathy.

"I also enjoy teaching at the Beyond Beginning Workshops, I can share what I've learned and encourage people to find their inner creativity," she says. Ritch started Beyond Beginning in an effort to increase the number of designers in The Federation. She went to the Judges Council and said, "We've got to teach classes!" With their support, she says the workshops are "very viable. We have other teachers now and a wait list for the classes."

Looking forward to the 2017 CT Flower and Garden Show, "Woodland Enchantment," she credits Barbara Bruce with the inspiration and says she and Donna Nowack have developed the schedule. "I think it will be a fun show, it will be different. I've got the best team ever!"

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

NGC Awards Applications Due

National Garden Clubs Awards Applications Due

If any club currently has a project whose completion date went beyond the FGCCT deadline of May 31, 2016, but will be completed by November of this year, they may complete the NGC Awards Application and submit it directly to Awards Chair, Janet Spaulding, before the December 15th deadline.
For an application form, go to our website at 
* Janet Spaulding
Awards Chair
[email protected].  


Publications Awards
Deadline December 15

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

1. Three different issues of your newsletter, either as hard copy or electronically.  Winning ones go to National Garden Clubs (NGC) by January 15th.   Awards Year is January 1st to December 31st.

2. One original copy of the following:  Blogs; calendar; club history; cookbook; educational pamphlets; Facebook page; manuals; newspaper columns; power point presentations; scrapbook of special events; videos; websites.

Your submissions will be judged and may be forwarded to the National Garden Clubs for consideration for one of their awards.  Please submit any of the before-mentioned publication items your club has developed during the year.

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

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

* Barbara Bosco
Public Relations Chair
24 Old Still Road, Woodbridge 06525
Club Yearbook Contest
If your club is interested in participating in the FGCCT Yearbook Contest, please submit three copies of your 2016-2017 Club Yearbook to our Yearbook Manager as soon as they become available.  The deadline for submitting your current Yearbooks is November 15th.
The Yearbooks will be judged according to National Guidelines and the highest scoring Yearbook in each of the six Class sizes will be sent to the New England Region (NER) by their February 1st deadline.

Clubs with a 2017 Yearbook may submit three copies at the beginning of the year, but no later than April 1, 2017, and will be included in next year's judging.

Award winners will be announced next year at the October 25, 2017, Awards Luncheon.
* David Pritchard
Yearbook Manager
27 Ashlar Village,
Wallingford, CT 06492
[email protected].

Cohen Woodlands Butterfly Pollinator Garden Project
Colchester Garden Club - Katherine M. Kosiba, President

In 2010, Colchester was the first Community Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in Connecticut. The Colchester Garden Club is one of the partner organizations of this volunteer initiative with recertification occurring each year through educational programs, activities and projects.  (Note: The second Community Wildlife Habitat to be certified in Connecticut is Windham/Willimantic by the Windham Garden Club.)  

In 2016, Colchester First Selectman, Art Shilosky, took the NWF Mayor's Monarch Pledge that focuses on action steps to establish or improve Monarch habitats locally.  The completion of the Cohen Woodlands Butterfly Pollinator Garden contributed to this initiative by redesigning and expanding an abandoned butterfly garden into an educational demonstration garden over a three-year period. The garden is now certified as a Monarch Waystation through MonarchWatch  and the Cohen Woodlands is certified as a NWF Wildlife Habitat, a designation that individuals may pursue for their properties.

The Cohen Woodlands Butterfly Pollinator Garden is an Advanced Master Gardener community outreach project in partnership with the Colchester Garden Club and Colchester Public Works headed by Katherine M. Kosiba (CGC President and Advanced Master Gardener).  Club members and Master Gardener interns have assisted with garden preparation, planting, mulching and ongoing maintenance.   A local Girl Scout troop, earning their Gardening badge, contributed by planting zinnia seeds in pots in March, then planting seedlings directly into the garden in June.  The bulk of the funding for plants was provided by three consecutive grants through the generosity of the Connecticut Master Gardener Association, with other donations from the Colchester Garden Club, its members and other sources.  

Part of the project included the development of a brochure with tips and resources to develop a butterfly garden and a list of plants in this garden. The brochure may be downloaded from  During three seasons, there are labels for each plant variety in the garden created by another club member/master gardener.  Plans are underway for a large informational board adjacent to the garden to educate visitors.  

To further promote gardening for butterflies and pollinators, the Colchester Garden Club sponsored two information tables at the local town hall and library from June through August for visitors to pick up educational materials including the American Beauties Native Plant Lists for Butterflies and Bees.  In August, the club provided three garden tours for residents and local groups at the Cohen Woodlands Butterfly Pollinator Garden where visitors were rewarded by seeing Monarchs, other butterflies and caterpillars, and even hummingbirds.  In September a booth was set up at the Colchester's Children's Collaborative Family Fun Day with Monarch-focused children activities and information for parents on butterfly gardening.

The entrance to the Cohen Woodlands garden.

Brownies helping to plant the garden.

A view of the Butterfly-Pollinator Garden.

Visitors touring the garden.

Cohen Woodlands is a wonderful destination for any garden club's outing with its natural open space (206.21 acres), gazebo, picnic tables, Butterfly-Pollinator Garden, Colchester Story Walk for children, two ponds, fields, marshland, marsh viewing area, small streams, and three short hiking trails.  With advance notice, the Colchester Garden Club may be able to conduct a guided tour of the garden for interested clubs.  Also, consider walking the area and identify native plants on the property.  To finish the outing, there are local/area restaurants, garden centers and farms to make the day into something special for all.  If your club or town is interested in gardening for wildlife and becoming certified as a National Wildlife Federation - Community Wildlife Habitat, you may want to consider hosting an informational program with Katherine M. Kosiba, Colchester Garden Club email: [email protected] / 860-267-4471 or Pam Wright, Windham Garden Club, email: [email protected] / (860) 456-2036.  There are many things you can do to Save the Pollinators.

* Katherine Kosiba

President, Colchester Garden Club

In Memory of Lina Wagner

The Federation was sad to learn of the passing of Lina Wagner on October 16th, Federation President from 1977 to 1979 and member of the Simsbury Garden Club.

Lina was a guiding force in the Elizabeth Park Conservancy since 1977 when it was founded to save the historic rose garden.   She was also instrumental in the reconstruction of the Elizabeth Park Perennial Garden. Lina will be missed.
Share your garden
If you have a particularly nice photo of your garden, we'd love to share it. Email a .jpg file of your picture to [email protected] and we will try to include it in an upcoming issue of the CF News

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