September 2016

Only seven months remain to take advantage of our President's Native Oak Project. Read below to learn how you can earn $200 by planting a tree! That's one way we are reaching out to benefit those around us. Another is our efforts to pass on an appreciation of nature to our youth; yet another is our support of Garden Therapy and World Gardening.

As garden club members, you also benefit by studying in one or more of NGC's schools or by taking the Beyond Beginning floral design workshops. You can also learn about the plight of our bees and how you can help, about the historic role of milkweed pods and about an underused shade plant, Kirengeshoma.

Finally, FGCCT is gearing up for two major events, the fall Awards Meeting and the 2017 CT Flower Show. Plan to take part in both.
Click here for the latest Club Calendar.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

President's Message
Dear Fellow Gardeners,

This month, back-to-school season, I want to remind you of two of the important benefits you enjoy as a member of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.:

1.    Back to School - Courses We Offer in Connecticut

We nurture and encourage our children and grandchildren as they head back to school at this time of year.  But don't forget to spend some time developing your own interests and increasing your knowledge of your favorite subjects, which include "gardening" for all of us. Curiosity about our surroundings is what keeps us young - that plus all the bending and digging we do, of course.

I'm amazed at how many of you have never tried one of our schools.  A huge benefit of membership in The Federation is that we offer all four NGC schools every year here in Connecticut. In so many states, attendees must travel hundreds of miles to attend, and they have the additional expense of overnight accommodations. Each of the schools concisely covers a variety of topics packed into just two days. The third day is the optional test.

Gardening Study School's deadline to enroll is NOW for the September 13 and 14 course.  Call right away if you're interested in a class enjoyed even by Master Gardeners after their much lengthier and more demanding program. Subjects covered this month include pruning, flower-growing techniques, microclimates and plant classification, plus there is a field trip to the Marsh Botanical Gardens. The class is held at The CT Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.

Environmental Studies School on September 28 and 29 is titled "The Living Earth- Land and Related Issues." The subjects of environment and conservation are increasingly the focus of our National organization and CT clubs; they are topics critical for our world and our children. These two days are a great way to increase your knowledge and inspire action. The class is held in Derby at the Kellogg Environmental Center and always includes a great field trip.

And while you're marking your calendar, you may want to add Flower Show School (It's not just for judges!) on November 15 and 16 and Landscape Design Study School next March 21 and 22.

2.    Back to School - Some Basic Arithmetic about the Native Oak Tree Project

Before you know it, the Native Oak Tree Project will be ending on April 1, 2017. So unless you plan to dig in March, now is the time to obtain and plant your tree.  Here's the basic math: The Federation has budgeted $200 per club for a tree. So far, 34 clubs have participated and requested reimbursement. That means that for the rest of you, we are holding $18,400 in reserve, just waiting for you to claim it. This is an easy way for you to make a gift to your club's community.

See the article below by Barbara Deysson, State Project Chair, handling the Native Oak Tree Project, which includes more detail of how to take advantage of the program.

Enjoy September's bounty. Take a course, and plant a tree as we all continue...

* Jane Waugh  

Given to 
Your Garden Club 
in the amount of 


Good for one Native Oak Tree from 
The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc.

Offer expires April 1, 2017


Coupon not needed to collect $200.


This is The Federation's second year of the native oak tree project. So far 34 Connecticut garden clubs have participated planting a total of 47 native oak trees in public sites. Pin oaks, northern red oaks, white oaks, swamp white oaks, scarlet oaks and even a black and burr oak have been planted in parks, at town halls, schools, historic homes and community centers. The project will extend to April 1st, 2017. This means that you need to get the tree planted and paperwork to me by that date in order to get your reimbursement of up to $200 toward the cost of the tree.

Take advantage of this program, help the environment, encourage beautification and support our state and national tree. It is easy. Here's how.

1.    Choose a public location and get permission to plant there.
2.    Buy the native oak (feel free to discuss best choices with me).
3.    Get tree planted.
4.    Email me receipt, location of tree, maintenance plan (a few sentences), a digital picture, name and address of where check should be sent.

Please feel free to call or email me to discuss tree types or nurseries stocking oak trees if your local nursery can't help. Emailing me the paperwork is important so that I can share the info with others involved. I can then forward the picture to our newsletter editor (be sure to name individuals in the photo). I also need to send information to our treasurer for reimbursement and to our Federation Chair for our oak tree scrapbook.

We hope that you will participate.

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair
[email protected]

Southwest Conservation District
Conservation Fair
  at Lockwood Farm in Hamden
Oct 4th 10-5 Students
Oct 5th 10-5  Community

Donations to Garden Therapy & World Gardening

Date         Garden Club            Garden Therapy        World Gardening

              1/1/2016    Glastonbury                                                      $25.00
                      2/2             Cheshire                         $25.00                      $25.00
                      3/6             Danbury                                                           $25.00
                      3/15           Greens Farms              $100.00
                      4/4             Wallingford                     $50.00                       $50.00
                      4/6             Guilford                          $25.00                       $25.00
                      4/13           Haddam                         $50.00                       $50.00
4/29           GC of Old Greenwich                                    $100.00
                      6/10           Kensington                    $25.00
                      7/1             Mt. Valley                       $50.00                       $50.00
                      8/5             North Stonington           $50.00

                      Total as of 8/15                             $375.00                     $350.00
The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., thanks the above clubs for their generosity in the cause of Garden Therapy and World Gardening.

As you start your new club year, consider sponsoring one or more children in a National Garden Club Youth Contest.  Any child can enter.  All your club needs to do is collect the entry, add your club's and the child's name and address to the back and send it in before the state deadline for each contest.  The Deadline is usually in January or early February.  Your club will receive more information, including deadlines, soon.  You can find detailed information and contest rules by clicking on Youth Contests on the National Garden Club website ( but for now, here are the basics:

    Poster Contest;   Woodsy Owl or Smoky Bear      grades 1-5
    Poetry Contest:  Theme--Bees, butterflies and me     grades K-9
    Sculpture Contest:   Made of recycled material:     grades  4-8

And don't forget to include a Frightened Frog project on your club agenda!

Spotlight:      StoryWalk® * Colchester Garden Club
Katherine Kosiba, President

The last spotlight was on a project completed by two groups that worked together to make a garden at a school in a neighboring town.  This month's spotlight is on a venture undertaken by several diverse community groups, including the Colchester Garden Club, designating a small volunteer committee to develop a StoryWalk® at their local town open space park.  The goal of the StoryWalk® is to help build children's interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both adults and children.

Through a casual conversation in late 2015, members from the Colchester Garden Club, Cragin Memorial Library, Colchester Children's Collaborative (C3), Colchester Land Trust and Community Wildlife Habitat of Colchester discovered they were all interested in developing a new children's literacy initiative for the community.   In just a few months a proposal was developed and approval obtained from the town's Board of Selectmen to install the StoryWalk® at Cohen Woodlands.  Cohen Woodlands is an ideal location for this endeavor, being a 200+ acre park that is certified as a Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
Colchester GC President Katherine Kosiba with Kate Byroade, Director of the Craigin
Memorial Library.

A station on the StoryWalk.

This volunteer committee decided to develop a StoryWalk® with the focus on books relating to nature and wildlife for the pre-school child.  The temporary stations have pages of a book affixed and laminated on stiff cardboard, then stapled to wooden tomato stakes.  The stations are laid out at intervals on a family friendly trail and the book is read as the child walks along the trail.  An activity sheet created to accompany the book read is available at the end of the trail for the child to complete. 

Kosiba with Byroade and Cathy Shea, a
member of the Colchester Land Trust.

The book will be changed periodically (every 6-8 weeks). The group has input into book choices and different members will develop the activity sheets. The library purchases the books and in the future will take donations from groups and individuals for future StoryWalk® book selections.  

The initial funding came from a grant received by the Colchester Children's Collaborative with many of the materials donated for free.  A local Boy Scout has expressed interest in constructing the permanent stations for his Eagle Scout project and has begun the process.  With this small volunteer group of different community organizations working together, the first book's temporary stations were created and installed for the start of summer vacation.  Total cost of this project:  the expense of the book and tomato stakes.   (What's next for Colchester and Cohen Woodlands? The completion of an educational butterfly pollinator garden.)

* Ann Germano
Youth Chair


Gardening Study School, Course III, will be offered September 13-15, 2016, at CAES in New Haven. Highlights include lectures on pruning ("How close to the stem do I need to cut that branch?"), micro-environments ("Why can't I grow a healthy daisy in that spot?"), factors that influence plant growth ("Should I pile leaves over my shrub roots in the fall?") and techniques for growing outdoor flowers ("What can I do to make my perennials thrive?").  

The course features a "hands on" component in the form of a visit to Yale's Marsh Botanical Gardens, which will be a special learning experience. An online visit to will introduce you to the amazing collections--Carniverous, The Desert House, The Tropical Collection--and raise your interest in participating in this course.    

Leading the course are three outstanding individuals:
Eric Larson, Manager of Yale's Marsh Botanical Gardens, will discuss pruning techniques and micro-environments in the garden.  He will lead participants in a Teaching Tour of Marsh Botanical Garden at Yale University.  

Judith Hsiang, Cooperative Extension System, is a UConn Certified Advanced Master
Gardener and coordinator of the New Haven County Master Gardener Office.
She will share her expertise about plant classification (taxonomy) and techniques for growing outdoor flowers.

Dr. Neil Schultes, Associate Agricultural Scientist, Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology, CAES. His work as a molecular biologist studying aspects of metabolism in plants and disease causing microorganisms makes him especially qualified to discuss factors that influence plant growth.

* Katherine Patrick
Gardening Study School Chair

[email protected]

A Perspective on ESS, from its outgoing chair

My garden club has 10 meetings a year. One is an annual luncheon. One is a holiday tea. Of the remaining eight meetings, one has a conservation speaker.  

We all know what an enormous number of topics are under that golf umbrella or are under the umbrellas of horticulture, flower design, or garden/landscape design.

Environmental Studies School offers eight topics over two days and a field trip.
Narrowed down to four courses scheduled in as many years, each course has its own emphasis.

From September 28-30, 2016, ESS Course II, Series 3, held at Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, will emphasize "Land and Related Issues." We will offer eight superb speakers to discuss seven topics designated by National Garden Clubs, Inc. and one "elective," chosen by me.

I look at this as a year's worth of prime conservation programs offered over two days.

As my six-year term as Chair of ESS ends, I invite you to come and see how much fun we have, and revel in the level of instruction. You can take these courses in any order. You can take them for credit or for the joy of it. You can invite friends who are not members of garden clubs. Please join us, and thank you for the playground you gave me for six years.

* Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School Chair


Flower Show School-It's not just for Judges

Flower Show School, Course IV, will be held at Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby from November 15-17.  Our two NGC approved instructors, Sandi Joyce and Jackie Davies, will be sharing their knowledge of horticulture, design, and flower show procedure.  Sandi will be teaching the horticulture and flower show procedure curriculum focusing on woody perennials and collections and displays. Jackie will cover  the principles and elements of design and focus on table designs. You will walk away with a wealth of knowledge-and some fun ideas on how to decorate using collections and displays of pumpkins and gourds as well as table designs.

Remember, you can attend one or both days of Course IV, but must attend all sessions to take the optional exam or to refresh.  Registration forms are available on-line at or from [email protected].

* Pat Dray
Flower Show School Chair


SERIES 3: September-December 2016

A Participant's Review of Beyond Beginning Floral Design Workshops

The Beyond Beginning Floral Design Workshops are delightfully entertaining and informative. People arrive with smiling faces, eager to approach worktables abundant with flowers and supplies.

Knowledgeable teachers discuss and demonstrate the techniques and mechanics used in the featured design.  Afterwards, workshop participants eagerly begin working on their own creative designs.  You have the option of recreating the instructor's model, utilizing a newly learned technique, or creating your own unique, creative design with the given materials.

Enthusiasm, passion, and creative ideas fill the room.  Compliments abound as designers, judges, and teachers visit the worktables, giving assistance and helpful advice on request.

Once the designs are completed, participants walk around the room to see all the designs.  This walkabout is my favorite part of the experience because I get to see how amazingly creative people can be.  Using the same materials, some people come up with totally unique designs that reflect their individuality and taste. Other people skillfully incorporate the learned techniques into a stylistic design of their own. And of course, others expertly reproduce the demonstrated design or add a new twist or element.

Everyone does his or her own thing and the collective results are AMAZING!
At the end, teachers and judges discuss and comment on individual designs if asked by the designers. These critiques are most helpful because they highlight the strengths of your design. Also, the suggestions to move a leaf, add a flower, or remove some foliage from the design are invaluable and most welcome.

I always leave the workshop with a new technique or two, some new ideas, and a great design that I can't wait to bring home to show my family and friends.  For me, the particular workshops have lasting and on-going effects. Besides the new techniques and styles I've learned in the workshop, I continue the learning process by "fine tuning" my design. Over the next couple of days I have great fun re-arranging components, removing a leaf or two, and changing the design ever so slightly in the pursuit of perfection and my own style.

I can't think of a better way to spend a morning than being part of the BB Workshops with such happy and creative people who are showing their expertise and passion for floral design.

* Peg Townsend
The Garden Club of Newtown & Town and Country Garden Club (Newtown, CT)

Here are the details about Series 3 of Beyond Beginning Workshops to build on the floral design skills that you already have...

Classes are held at CAES (New Haven) Jones Auditorium.  The dates for Series 3 (10 am-12:30 pm) are:

September 9 (Creative Containers 101 & Secrets of Easy Floral Mechanics),
September 30 (Leaf manipulation),
October 14 (Weathered wood),
November 4 (Create your own/design interpretation), and
December 9 (a Creative Holiday design, suitable for home use).  

The December 9 workshop is suitable for beginning designers.  The cost per session of $30 covers materials; $5 cost for 'Create your own' session on November 4.

If you have any questions, email Cathy Ritch at [email protected].  To register, send a check made out to FGCCT ($30 per class you wish to take, $5 for November 4) to Cathy Ritch, 11 Old Fire Rd, Trumbull, CT 06611.  Include your name/email/garden club/phone number/class dates desired.  Space is limited.  Priority will be given to new enrollees whose checks are received first.  E-mail confirmations will be provided.  Overflow enrollments will be placed on a wait list with an option to audit/observe for no charge.  You will learn something even if you audit/observe.

* Cathy Ritch
Flower Show Chair

Put Wednesday, October 26th, on your calendar now.  That is the 87th FGCCT Awards Meeting and Luncheon at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.  Come to receive your club's awards and hear about the wonderful projects that other clubs have worked on during the past year.
A highlight of the day will be "The Colors of Connecticut" flower show presented by the Connecticut Judges Council.  Designs and Horticulture will fill the hall with wonderful sights to behold.  Our best vendors will return to offer their lovely gift items. Hope to see you there.

* Margaret Hopkins
Meetings Chair

The Colors of Connecticut will be showcased at this year's  always exciting biennial  Judges Council Flower Show at the Awards meeting.   The regions of the state will be portrayed in 24 creative floral designs representing the color wheel, including "Orange Sunset over New Haven" and "Views of the Blue Sound."

Outstanding horticulture will be organized around various artistic media. Educational exhibits will highlight our national president's interests in the environment. The standard flower show is organized by the Judges Council, and entries are limited to all levels of judges, including
student judges and student exhibitors.

* Trish Manfredi
Judges Council Chair


The 106th Plant Science Day had gorgeous weather and a large turnout on Wednesday, August 3rd. This is the free all-day event at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's Lockwood Farm in Hamden, CT. Topics of interest to all ages were covered, including an update on the Zika Virus, growing hops in CT (yes, you can then brew your own beer), bee keeping and climate change.  

Tour buses traveled around the property describing various crop experiments being conducted. Keynote speaker, David Leff, who has been a lecturer in a Federation School, spoke about Frederick Law Olmstead, very appropriate for those in Landscape Design Council, where he is the focus this year. This was held in the beautiful all wood pavilion newly built since last year. Arlene Field set up The Federation's membership table where we attracted lots of interested gardeners. Be sure to put the first Wednesday of August on your calendar come next year!

* Jane Waugh

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

Two views of the lavender garden of Maureen Rohmer of the Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown.

Here are two views of the gardens of Arline Shanley, Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown.

The September Garden

A stately and elegant plant that starts to bloom in the late summer shade garden may be difficult to find.  Search no more, Kirengeshoma is one such plant.

The horticulture world has been indecisive about it, originally classifying it as a member of the
Saxifragaceae family, but it is now included in the genus Hydrangeaceae. There are two species in this group. Kirengeshoma palmata is native to Japan and Kirengeshoma koreana, as its name implies, is a native of Korea. Sometimes, however, K. koreana is listed as a subspecies of K. palmata. Enough technical talk - both are lovely and are similar in appearance and growing requirements. K. koreana is taller and its flowers a little smaller. So below, the information listed will apply to both types.

Commonly called Yellow Wax Bells, Kirengeshoma will attain a height of four feet with a similar spread. The stems are strong and straight and will gently arch to the side. The large leaves are a rich, dark green resembling those of a Maple tree. I think they look more like those of a Sycamore. Each year it will increase in size, forming a large clump, becoming shrub-like in appearance. The flowers are a lovely soft, butter yellow. The pearl-like buds emerge round, elongating until eventually opening to a five-petaled, narrow one-and-a-half-inch bell.   Not the showiest flower in the garden, but the overall effect is quite charming.

Hardy in zones 4-8, it grows best in moist, humus-rich soil in shady sites. During dry spells it may require additional watering. Kirengeshoma is best propagated in the spring just as the plant begins to put out new growth.

Other than a little additional watering during dry spells, this plant has few disease or insect problems and is not a favorite of deer. However, if you like to attract hummingbirds to your garden (and who doesn't), Kirengeshoma will do the trick. Several hummers would frequent mine on a daily basis.

Kirengeshoma is a tall plant providing a great backdrop for other shade lovers. It looks great with Hosta, especially large-leaved varieties, Ligularia, Hakonechloa and ferns.

They were hard to find in the trade a few years back, but are much more readily available now. I bought mine about 20 years ago at the end of the season in a quart pot for one dollar. I didn't even know what it was but for one dollar I figured I couldn't go wrong. Looking back on it now I think it was one of my best garden expenditures.   

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair
Did you know...? Milkweed has come to the rescue before!

Asclepias (milkweeds) were named after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the plants.

Eighteenth century Europeans used milkweed for numerous home remedies including removing warts and age spots. Native Americans included milkweed in their diets and early Canadians made a type of sweetener from milkweed flowers. Seventeenth century Europeans wove milkweed silk into clothing and Native Americans used the warm milkweed clusters to line their children's cradles, swaddle their babies and line their buffalo robes.
During World War II, school children collected milkweed pods so that the fluff could be used to fill Mae West Life Jackets. The motto of the day was "Two bags save one life!" meaning two bags of milkweed fluff-a pound and three-quarters-would keep a downed serviceman afloat for hours.
Photo courtesy of "Recollecting Nemasket."

"It's been estimated that more than 11 million pounds
of milkweed were collected by the end of World War II."
Christian Science Monitor

Before the war, life jackets and flight suits had been filled and insulated with seed floss from kapok, a tropical tree grown on the island of Java in what was then the Dutch East Indies. However, by 1944 during World War II, the Japanese controlled the area where the kapok trees grew-a substitute needed to be found.

The natural choice was the common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca). The silky white hairs or filaments are hollow and coated with wax, giving them properties of lightness, buoyancy and water resilience very similar to kapok. But for the US government to plant the milkweed for seed production would have taken three years, as it takes that long for milkweed plants to produce seed.

So instead, a national campaign was launched in 1944. Children throughout the nation were encouraged to gather milkweed pods. They were provided with open mesh onion bags in which to gather the seed pods. Hundreds and thousands of sacks were gathered to be sent to the factories that made the flotation devices used by American soldiers during World War II.

"Canada and about 29 American states east of the Rockies
were involved in the campaign, which furnished
about 2 million pounds of milkweed floss to the armed services in one year."
Christian Science Monitor

[A fascinating account, with photos, of the World War II milkweed collection campaign is here.]

And now, some 70 years later, milkweed is on the front line of another life-saving mission: to save the monarchs! Once again this year, FGCCT is encouraging member clubs to collect milkweed pods to send to MonarchWatch for habitat restoration. If your club would like to be involved, contact me.]

* Marty Sherman
National Project Chair


The Problem

You may have noticed that there just aren't as many bees visiting your gardens these days.  Bees, especially native bees, are in trouble primarily due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides. Climate change and pathogen spillover from managed bees to wild bumblebees are also cause for concern.

Historically local farms with open fields have always benefited bees, providing them a source of food (nectar and pollen) as they do the work of pollinating crops and the wildflowers that thrive around the edges of planted and fallow fields. But as farmlands disappear with housing development, these essential habitats and food sources are lost.  More home development creates more lawns with turf grasses that are dead zones for wildlife. And to maintain these "green carpets," more pesticides are used by many homeowners or their lawn care professionals.

Also, on many existing farms, farmers are using Roundup-ready seeds when planting crops. In this way they can spray their fields with Roundup (Glyphosate), effectively killing weeds in the fields, but also killing wildflowers surrounding the fields including milkweed, a very important source of nectar for bees and the only host plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
The use of new systemic insecticides called Neonicotinoids (Neonics) has been devastating to native and European honeybees. These chemicals are very toxic to bees. They are widely used in agriculture on food crops and on flowering plants in nurseries, garden centers, and by growers. They are readily available to homeowners for use on lawns and gardens and only labeled in small print as active ingredients by their chemical names: Imidacloprid, Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Thiamethoxam and Thiacloprid. These chemicals are systemic.  They get into every part of the plant including the flower's nectar and pollen. Neonics are long-lasting in the soil and can leach out into water sources. They are toxic to fish and invertebrates. Neonics are also toxic to birds. Many birds, including bluebirds, are insect-eaters and all baby birds, regardless of species, are exclusively fed insects and caterpillars.  These chemicals are bad news for wildlife.

Our Pollinators

Like the European honeybees raised in hives by beekeepers, our native bees - bumble bees, squash bees, mason bees, orchard bees, sweat bees, and others - are responsible for pollinating our trees, shrubs, flowers, and many valuable food crops such as pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, blueberries, and apples, to name just a few. Pollination of plants and trees is essential for our existence, since much of the food we eat is dependent on pollinators and our trees clean the air we breathe.

Bees and flowers have a symbiotic relationship. It is not the intention of bees to pollinate flowers. They simply go about their business feeding on nectar and collecting pollen/nectar to feed their brood of young bees. As they do this, the pollen sticks to the hairs on their bodies and is transferred to the next flower, effectively pollinating it. Likewise, a flower's purpose is to be pollinated for reproduction.  Since they cannot move, flowers have evolved strategies to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, beetles, etc., to do the work for them. They do this with a variety of shapes, colors, patterns, scents, and of course, sweet nectar.

Bees Are Misunderstood

Many people incorrectly group bees with hornets, yellow jackets and wasps, which are aggressive insects. And the reason they are aggressive is that they have large hives to protect. European honeybees can also be aggressive when threatened for the same reason. Native bees, however, do not have large hive colonies to protect. They are docile and rarely will they sting.

Native Bees Are Special Pollinators

Bumblebees and other native bees are active for longer periods of time than their European honeybee cousins. They tolerate cooler temperatures so they are out in the morning and continue pollinating until late in the day. They also appear earlier in spring and remain longer at the end of the summer/fall season.

But survival of the bumblebee is tenuous. The queen of the species is the only one to survive over winter. She must start a new colony each and every year. It is critical for her to find food early in spring, not only for herself but to lay eggs and start her new colony. That is why homeowners are encouraged to plant early bloomers such as blueberry, maples, willows, dogwood, and apple trees, and to tolerate dandelions and clovers in their lawn areas because they are so beneficial to bumblebees. Continuous bloom of flowers during summer for nectar and pollen is also important to sustain the colony to raise young to replace aging bees (lifespan is short). Providing flowers in late summer and early fall is critical in preparing the queen for the long winter ahead. Fall plants that are especially important as nectar sources are goldenrod, asters, anise hyssop, verbena, cosmos, and zinnia.

The Good News Is That We Can Help Pollinators

*    Provide flowers, flowering plants, and trees that bloom throughout the growing season.
*    Plant a variety of flowers of different colors, shapes and sizes.
*    Plant flowers in mass; clusters of flowers will attract more pollinators.
*    70% of native bees nest in the ground. Be aware of these nesting sites in bare ground, near a clump of grass, or an abandoned chipmunk hole. Remember, ground-nesting bees are not aggressive, like hornets and yellow jackets, and are so beneficial to flowering plants.
*    Provide water in your garden for pollinators.  A shallow dish with stones works to provide a perch while they drink.
*    It is best to avoid pesticides on lawns and gardens. Know what your lawn care professional is using on your lawn areas.  Do not use Neonicotinoid or broad spectrum pesticides. Choose instead safer alternatives to pesticides.
*    Make sure you have a pest problem before applying any insecticide or fungicide. One bug doesn't mean you have a problem. A pest needs to be abundant enough to cause damage.  Also, most insects are not garden pests and many are beneficial, preying on the very insect pests you may be trying to eliminate.  
*    Mowing your lawn a little higher will make it thicker, which can crowd out weeds and make it more drought resistant.
*    Tolerate other plants in our lawn. Many low-growing wildflowers like clover can tolerate mowing. They are beneficial to pollinators and can also improve the soil, the basis for a healthy lawn.
*    Reduce lawn areas; native plantings provide more benefit     birds and butterflies.  
*    Butterflies also contribute to pollination. Their caterpillars feed on very specific host plants. For example, the Monarch caterpillar only eats milkweed while Black Swallowtails eat plants in the carrot family: fennel, parsley, dill, and Queen Anne's Lace.  Learn to identify various butterfly caterpillars and protect them. They grow quickly, so please tolerate their chewing. Including these host plants in your garden will reward you with beautiful butterflies.
*    Spread the word to family, friends, and neighbors about the importance of pollinators and how to protect them.

* Holly Kocet
The Garden Club of Newtown & Protect Our Pollinators


Eyesore No More!
In the Spring of 2014, Victoria Sansing and the Litchfield Garden Club (LGC) Projects Committee moved forward with a civic project to reconstruct the South Street traffic island. Monies raised through various LGC civic fundraising events were earmarked to cover the cost of the project.

After a lengthy process of gaining approvals from both local and state agencies, construction commenced in Spring 2016. The project was successfully completed in two weeks. With the requirement that nothing grow more than 2-1/2 feet in height, the sun-loving plantings included Stella d'oro daylilies, autumn joy sedum, grasses, compact spreading cotoneaster, dwarf spirea and small mounding spruce. The island now affords a pleasing four-season view to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

* Doreen Tango Hampton
Chair, LGC Public Relations

Judges Update

Congratulations to the following Judges, who join Deb Osborne as Student Judges:

Margaret Colby
Cheryl Damiani
Ginni Donovan
Amber Parr
Margaret Townsend

Congratulations for the following Judging Advancements:

Deborah Vallas is now an Accredited Judge.

Jerre Dawson and Kymrie Zaslow are now Accredited Master Judges.

The contact information for all Judges can now be found on The  Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., website:

A Reminder for Garden Clubs Having a Flower Show.  When you are beginning to prepare a list of what Judges you would like to invite to judge your show, please remember to contact me as I maintain the list of Judges who are in need of a Judging Assignment in order to refresh their Good Standing.  We ask that you consider helping these Judges to reach their goals by inviting them to your show.  Once you have a list of Judges, you need to send it to me (a quick email works) so that I can confirm that those asked are in Good Standing to Judge.  This is important if your show is planned for the spring or summer, as Good Standing expires on December 31 if a Judge has not met her requirements to refresh.  It is a critical step if you are having your show Evaluated with the possibility of applying for a top National Flower Show Award.

* Janet Ward
Judges Council Credentials Chair


Future FGCCT Tours
Hello fellow gardeners, I would like to introduce myself.  I am Donna DeSimone from Kensington Garden Club, the newly appointed FGCCT Board of Directors Tours Coordinator.

Just wanted to say I am looking forward to working closely with Alicia Carew at Carew Travel to bring fun, exciting and memorable destinations to our trips.

We are in the process of planning a trip to New Mexico for May 17th to 23rd , 2017.
Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos will be on the itinerary, which will feature extraordinary gardens, museums, culture and cuisine.

One example of a garden tour is that, happily, we will be there during the Lilac Festival in Taos. A beautiful drive through the mountains to Taos will also include the Taos Pueblo.
A detailed itinerary is in the planning and will be available in the Fall along with the cost of the trip.

Please save the date and give some thought about going on this extraordinary trip.

* Donna DeSimone
Tours Coordinator


Mountain Valley Garden Club has donated $50 to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund.


At the 96th Annual Meeting of the Cheshire Garden Club held in June, two graduating Cheshire High School seniors were each presented with a $1,500 scholarship award.   Both students will continue their higher education and plan to matriculate in environmental sciences.

Russell Jasman (at left) and Owen Brown being presented with their scholarship award checks by President Ginni Donovan and Scholarship Chair Ann O'Hara.

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair

Flower Show Symposium and New England Regional Meeting
Registration Deadline is September 17, 2016!

Please consider attending the next regional Flower Show Symposium in Milford, Massachusetts (this side of Boston) October 18-20, 2016. Topics include horticulture instruction on ferns and daffodils and a design presentation on the "Ins and Outs of Space". This fun symposium is open to all club members, not just judges. And if you're going, consider including the New England Regional Meeting in your plans. A dinner on October 17th followed by the 82nd Annual NER Meeting on the 18th is a good way to learn about the activities of other states in New England and to meet fellow gardeners from the area. I hope you will join me for these events. Registration forms may be found under meetings at

* Jane Waugh

Connecticut Flower Show 2017:

Don't you just love to be in the woods, listening to the sounds of the wind, the wildlife, and the water?  Connecticut has some of the most beautiful woodlands.   In fact, 54% of our state is covered with trees, making us the 13th most forest- covered state in the Nation.   Considering the importance of trees to our State, NGC, and our President, Jane Waugh, this year's Flower Show Committee has chosen the theme Woodland Enchantment for the 2017 CT Flower and Garden Show, which will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from February 23-26.  

We think that there is something for everyone at this show, starting with Merlin the magician to welcome you.  For those who like to listen to the sounds of the woods, we'll have woodland sounds.  For those who like to see creative floral Designs that show the "Secrets of the Woods," we'll have 64 beautiful Designs.  If you really like photography, we'll have "Snapshots of Nature" to bring you into the woods.  Want to learn something new about the woods, be sure to look at our Special Exhibits "Beyond the Woods."  For a show with the title "Woodland Enchantment" we're hoping to have hundreds of spectacular Exhibits in the Horticulture Division.  Look around your yard and inside your house at the plants you currently own.  Consider buying a new plant before November 22nd and try to bring home a blue ribbon or several.  If what you really want to do is visit, there will be time to talk and share ideas with Garden Club friends from around the state.

We, "The Arborists," as the Flower Show Committee is called this year, hope that you'll be inspired by our Schedule for Woodland Enchantment.  It will be posted online at the beginning of September.  A copy will be delivered to your email account via Constant Contact.  
Consider entering our State Flower Show or volunteering to help.  We need you to make this show a success!  We need painters, helpers for setup and cleanup, clubs to host hospitality, judges clerks during judging, and hostesses during the show.  Most of all...we need come see the show and be inspired when you return home to get more involved in issues and activities that concern us as members of Garden Clubs.

Please call to be part of the Show....enter an Exhibit or be a volunteer.  Remember volunteers get free entry to the show!  I'm really looking forward to meeting you at Woodland Enchantment.  Look for me under the Enchanted Tree.

* Cathy Ritch
Flower Show Chair

Meet Donna Nowak

Long a pillar of The Federation, Donna Nowak now serves us as Flower Show Schedule
Chair, helping to make sure that the schedules of CT member garden clubs follow the rules of National Garden Clubs.  "I'm in a nice little niche now," she says.

You might have guessed from her accent that Donna is a southern gal. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, she lived in west Texas and eastern New Mexico before returning to Louisiana when she was ten. It was at LSU where she met her husband, Fred. After several more moves, the couple came to Connecticut "with three children and a cat," Donna remembers, for his job at Pratt & Whitney.

Donna has been a member of Country Gardeners of Glastonbury Garden Club for 40 years where she served as Treasurer, and President.  In 1996, she entered the 15th Hartford Flower Show titled "Just for Fun." After winning a Blue Ribbon, she was hooked and ultimately became the Flower Show Chair in 2004 and 2005 without the benefit of having been to Flower Show School. By the time she was Chair again in 2008, Donna had attended Flower Show School and become a Flower Show Judge.

Donna has also successfully completed two more of the four National Garden Clubs Schools: Landscape Design and Environmental Studies.  In the future she hopes to complete Gardening Study School.

In 2005, Donna became Second Vice President of The Federation and ultimately the President, from 2009 to 2011. Nowak's Presidency was embodied by her state project, "Nourish the Earth-Garden With Mother Nature." The children's garden at the CT Science Center was also part of her presidency. Continuing to serve, Donna was the Alternate New England Region Director, 2013-2015.

Today, Donna continues her interest in flower shows by serving on the state Flower Show Committee where she has written the Schedule, "Woodland Enchantment," for the 2017 Connecticut Flower Show.

When home, Donna does both gourmet and "down home" cooking for her family, including her two appreciative grandchildren. Though she enjoys trips with her husband to watch birds, whales, and butterflies, Donna hopes to continue to be an active force within her garden club and The Federation.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor  

On June 5, 2016, former FGCCT, Inc., President, 1979-81,  Elizabeth Riebe, passed away at 97.  She was a life member of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., Flower Show Chair (1979) and Judges Council Chair, accredited Life & Master Judge & Instructor and designer.  She was awarded numerous citations by past FGCCT presidents for her dedication, most notably The Federation's Lillian M. Rathbun Award in 2004.
"She so loved the design aspect of it all," her daughter  Barbara said; " I cannot rightfully express to you the depth of meaning it had in her life and by association so many other club members throughout the state as well as my sister and myself.   My mother began with the Country Garden Club of Monroe and was a member for nearly 27 years.  Later she moved to Woodbury where she joined the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club, and subsequently, moved to Southbury and joined the Southbury Garden Club.  She maintained an active role in both clubs for many years."

Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.
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