October 2016
This month brings the 87th Annual Awards Meeting, where we honor the accomplishments of our members during the past year and celebrate the colors of our state with the Judges Council Flower Show. See below to register for this lively luncheon and to get to know Trish Manfredi, who created the theme and schedule for this flower show.

We also offer Flower Show School, and look to our Horticulture Chair for creative ways with Amaryllis bulbs. And, then it is time to look ahead to the 2017 Connecticut Flower and Garden Show with the inspiring theme of "Woodland Enchantment."

For the Club Calendar, click here.
* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

President's Message

" The Col ors of Co nnec ti cut "
At this time of year  the colors of Connecticut change from the delicate hues of spring and the vibrancy of summer, but they are equally beautiful. In my garden I watch the contrast of a monarch butterfly against a native purple aster or a bright yellow Goldenrod. We love to see fields of bright orange pumpkins. We enjoy both the variety of color and taste of the bountiful produce at the stands of Connecticut's many farmers' markets. And we all await with great anticipation the change in leaf color of our trees.

Dry conditions this year may have an impact on both the timing and the color. As we all know from experience (or from Gardening Study School!), dry conditions can limit photosynthesis, which limits sugar production. And less sugar can mean less vibrant leaves. Timing is even trickier to predict since warm weather early in the season can accelerate it, while warm autumns tend to delay change in color. And because of the drought, it may be hard to tell if trees are turning color or just suffering from lack of water. Whatever the color, I will enjoy the magical change. To me, monochromatic blends of ochre and rust can be as beautiful as bright orange and red.

Speaking of the fall color, be sure to register soon for the 87th Awards Luncheon at the Aqua Turf Club on October 26th where "The Colors of Connecticut" will be in glorious display. That is the title of the Judges Council Standard Flower Show, which  we can all enjoy before lunch. This is a great opportunity to see horticulture and designs from some of the top exhibitors in the state...our flower show judges.

And you will have the honor of hearing from our guest, Sandy Robinson, National Garden Club President, as she joins us for the meeting and show.  A number of other New England State Presidents and the New England Region Director will also join us.

This, of course, is the meeting where we recognize clubs and individual members for their accomplishments in the past year. I hope you are among them, but even if you do not take home an award, you can take away inspiration from hearing about the exciting projects and accomplishments.  I hope to see many of you there, including a few of you who have never attended before. Don't miss this opportunity to view...

* Jane Waugh

A wonderful day is planned by the FGCCT for October 26th at the Aqua Turf in Plaintsville, CT.  Clubs and individuals will receive silver awards for the outstanding work they have accomplished throughout the past year.  You will learn about many projects that you may wish to undertake at your club.

A highlight of the day will be the Standard Flower Show, "The Colors of Connecticut," that will feature the wonderful floral designs by our CT Judges Council with such delightful classes as "Sunset in New Haven" and  "The Blue of the Sound."  Horticulture exhibits will line the left wall of the room and be judged for their excellence.

Six vendors will be available for your shopping pleasure and raffle tickets will be sold for your chance to win one of the vendors' gifts.  

For $31.00 you will have an informative day, an opportunity to view the best of floral designs and a delicious lunch. Choose beef, chicken, salmon or eggplant for your entree. Send in your check today as registrations close on October 19. Click below for the Registration Form.

I look forward to seeing you on October 26th.

* Margaret Hopkins
Meetings Chair

Flower Show School

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Flower Shows

If you're planning a flower show in the next few years, you'll learn much of what you need to know at Flower Show School Course IV. Our curriculum includes schedule writing, requirements for a Standard Flower Show, and the procedure for judging horticulture, functional tables and exhibition tables.

Course IV is being offered November 15-17 at The Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, CT 06418.  NGC-approved instructor Sandi Joyce will be teaching Flower Show Procedure and Horticulture, and NGC-approved instructor Jackie Davies will be teaching design.

To download a registration form, click here: http://www.ctgardenclubs.org.

* Pat Dray
Flower Show School Chair


Meet Trish Manfredi

Before you attend the upcoming "Colors of Connecticut" Flower Show, meet the woman
behind it, Trish Manfredi, our Judges Council Chair and 2018 New England Region Symposium Chair.  A native of southern Maryland, Trish had a 4-H flower arranging project beginning a lifelong interest.   After working at the University of Massachusetts as a Home Economist  and administrator , she earned a Ed.D. in Educational Research and later worked at UConn.

When someone brought a collection of old canning jars to her office, Trish began researching fruit  jars and got hooked, joining an antique bottle club,  where she met her second husband, Peter. They live in a 1760 house in  South Glastonbury where they have a part-time business, Domestic Cow Antiques and Events. They specialize in vintage CT milk bottles, and Trish even sells containers with her flower arrangements in them.   She has country-messy gardens, and a collection of houseplants.  Trish likes to mix colorful foliage and  flowering annuals in old wheelbarrows, as well as in pots in brightly painted old chairs, a good way to minimize critters eating the plants.

Manfredi joined Country Gardeners of Glastonbury in 2005.  She has served as Vice President and has just completed several years as Treasurer. " Club members who were flower show judges encouraged me to go to Flower Show School.  I started with Course IV and somehow passed," she says modestly.  She worked her way to student judge becoming eligible for Judges Council. Then she was asked to be Design Chair for Judges Council    writing the schedule for the designs  exhibited at Council meetings.  She became an accredited judge in 2011. Trish has served as Vice Chair and, since May, Chair of Judges Council.

In 2012, Manfredi joined the FGCCT Board as Chair,  NER Symposium for 2013. After the symposium, " I got the idea to do an entire show around tables with a Connecticut theme, " she says, resulting in "A Taste of Connecticut"  for the Judges Council Show at the 2014 Awards Meeting.  She's won design awards at CT State Flower Show and the People's Choice Award at Fine Arts and Flowers at Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford.  She was invited in 2015 to participate in design challenges at the Massachusetts Quadrangle Museums and at the Wadsworth in both 2015 and 2016.  At these events, she and other designers are provided with containers and floral material and must create their designs on the spot.

Manfredi also travels around New England and New York judging shows and demonstrating flower arranging.  She says, "It's fun to see how clubs in other state do things. You can learn a lot." Her husband often travels with her and keeps his eyes open for materials that might work in Trish's creations.

Trish and Peter have volunteered for the last 10 years with Siamese Cat Rescue. They serve as foster parents for rescued cats and help transport them to new homes.  Caring for one or two cats at a time, they have fostered 58 Siamese cats.  Trish even manages to integrate her interests when she creates flower centerpieces for the Annual Luncheon of the New England Siamese Cat Rescue!

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

The Suffield Garden Club planted a white oak tree at Stony Brook Park in Suffield. Present at the planting were Aggie Schulte, project chair, Kathy Remington, Vice President and Gloria Clark, President of the Suffield Garden Club.

Town workers place the tree under supervision of local landscaper Jim Mather, a supporter of the Suffield Garden Club.
With the tree are (left to right) Aggie Schulte, Project Chair, Kathy Remington, Vice President, and Gloria Clark, President of the Suffield Garden Club.

* Barbara Deysson
State Project Chair

It's been another tough year if you're a monarch...

As you probably know by now, monarch butterflies are in serious decline.  Predictions from MonarchWatch for 2016 are that "the area of trees occupied by monarchs in Mexico this winter will be similar to that measured in 2014 (1.13 hectares)," a discouraging drop from the hopeful rebound  (to 4.01 hectares) in 2015. It has been a tough year for these beautiful creatures, with a devastating late winter storm in March 2016 - estimated to have killed up to 50 percent of the overwintering butterflies in the largest of the Mexican colonies, El Rosario - to persistent drought and exceptional heat in many of the breeding regions, reducing availability of both nectar plants and milkweed.

New research indicates that availability of abundant late summer/early fall nectar sources during the migration may be as critical to the survival of this incredible phenomenon as milkweed during the breeding season, so look around your early fall garden. Consider adding asters, agastache, goldenrod, heleniums, late-flowering eupatoriums, and other fall bloomers; these beauties need fuel for their journey south.

These wonderful pictures of a monarch emerging from its chrysalis were taken by Cheryl Cappiali of the Milford Garden Club.

How can we help?

I've had numerous inquiries from garden clubs seeking sources for purchasing milkweed plants. Local nurseries tend to carry the better-behaved varieties, such as Asclepias tuberosa ("butterfly weed"), but you can find a much wider range of options at the state's native plant nurseries, with Natureworks in North Branford and Earth Tones in Woodbury both being excellent sources. Ask at your local nursery; if they don't already carry milkweed varieties, they might be willing to stock them. Spread the word! The Branford club came up with a terrific solution: members can pre-order any (or all!) of four different varieties of milkweed, which the club will order from a Connecticut wholesale nursery. The plants will be picked up next spring and distributed at the club's May or June meeting. What a great way to encourage members to add milkweed to their gardens!

On the subject of milkweed propagation, I will once again this year coordinate milkweed seed collection for MonarchWatch, part of an ongoing collaboration between National Garden Clubs and that organization.  Now is the time to begin collecting pods if your club wants to participate this year. Make sure the pods are DRY before you pack them up in Ziploc bags to send to me. Check for milkweed bugs (those black and red rascals) and DON'T send those! LABEL your seeds as to milkweed variety. You do not need to separate the seeds from the silks (though you may if you wish) - you may send the complete pods, but be sure the seeds are ripe (pods beginning to split, seeds brown). Complete instructions are available at http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/seed-collecting-processing/

Mail them to me and I will send them on to MonarchWatch in Kansas:

Marty Sherman
41 East Hill Road
Woodbury, CT  06798
The monarchs thank you!  

* Marty Sherman
National Project Chair

The October Garden
I find October is a good month to look back at the growing season past to reassess the garden's successes and failures. I particularly like to evaluate my annual planters while they are still fresh in my mind.

Last December I wrote how I mix Amaryllis bulbs with Coleus in planters on the patio. The easy access to them on the patio helps with two things. First,  I can water and fertilize them regularly and, second, I can remember where I planted them when the time comes to remove them from their planter so they rest to insure this winter's bloom. I mention this now because October is the month to remove them from the soil, cut off the leaves and let air dry for a day or two. When dried, wrap them in newspaper and store in a cool, dry, dark place for four to eight weeks before replanting them.

My bulbs are looking especially lush this year despite the drought conditions we experienced because the one aspect of gardening that I am diligent about is watering my planters. I've planted the Amaryllis bulbs in the garden among my perennials other years and they do not fare as well as when they are where I can easily water them.

I am pleased to report the planters I grew them in were a success too. In one instance I used three Amaryllis bulbs placed equal distance apart around the outer perimeter of a medium-sized planter and placed a colorful Coleus in the center. At this point, the Amaryllis are doing double duty. They will not bloom now but the foliage adds interest to the planter while storing energy for their winter blooms. The effect was simple but lovely.

The other planter that worked surprisingly well for me and cost next to nothing contained three Amaryllis bulbs, one large bulb of Eucomis (pineapple lily) and three small pots of Oxalis that I purchased at the grocery store on St. Patrick's Day and kept alive by placing in a sunny window after the holiday. I used a green variety of Oxalis but a purple variety would be just as pretty. The Eucomis I used had been overwintered several times before this planting. It was a large purple-leaved variety, but any large variety would work. Again, I placed the three Amaryllis bulbs evenly spaced around the outer perimeter of a large pot. I placed the Eucomis bulb in the middle, filling in the spaces between the Amaryllis bulbs with the Oxalis. The clover-like Oxalis has pure white flowers and grew to be quite a bit larger than when purchased. The Eucomis flower looks like a pineapple sitting atop a stem that emerges from the center of the bulb. The leaves of the Eucomis and Amaryllis are very similar. To my eye it all worked. Since all three of the plants are bulbs that can be over-wintered in much the same manner, I'm looking forward to using them again year after year.

A great, simple look that can be achieved with little effort and virtually no cost rates as a success in my book. Sometimes less really is more.  

* Liz Rinaldi
Horticulture Chair


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

Our Connecticut State Flower Show, Woodland Enchantment, promises to be a beautiful show.  The Design Division consists of  six Sections containing 13 exciting classes.  Following are some highlights:

Section A, "Ever After," is the show's Club Competition.  Garden Clubs will use their imagination to create a Functional Buffet Table for six depicting a Fairy Tale.  This is where your garden club can shine with its creativity.  It's one of the most popular sections with the public. 

Section B, titled "Midnight Dreams,"  is made up of three classes of small designs.  Each design is no larger than 8" in any direction.  The entrants in Class 3, "Queen of the Fairies," will be Novices Only - defined as one who has never won a Blue Ribbon in a State Standard Flower Show.  This section of small designs always fills up first because it's the favorite of so many - both designers and the public as well.  

Section C, titled "Off the Beaten Path," contains 3 classes of Tables!  One class highlights an Exhibition Table, Type II.  That means the table exhibit is an artistic arrangement of table components without consideration for functional placement.  Members of Creative Arrangers, I'm talking to you!  

In Section E, "The Winding Path," we are again including a Companion Class titled "Emerald Walkway," where a novice designer works with another designer to complete their design.  The companion can be a judge, a friend, or any other helper the Novice needs to feel confident.  This year Class 11 is a  Contrived Decorated Tree representing a fantasy to be staged on a pedestal.

Class 13, "Trail of Crumbs," is a Stretch Design and Class 14, "Wicked Stepmother," is an Angular Design.  Calling all Beyond Beginning Students!  

This year's show also features three wonderful Artistic Craft Classes in the Special Exhibits Division III.  Artistic crafts are exhibits using plant materials to combine horticulture, design, and craft work to add interest and beauty to a flower show.  

Class 6 - "Magic Circle" is a Floral Bracelet.
Class 7 - "Golden Egg" - Decorate an Egg.
Class 8 - "Invitation to the Ball" Decorate a mailbox (supplied by the committee and yours to

Another important feature of this show is that design entries can be brought in earlier, on Tuesday at noon, and with just a phone call we'll have someone to help you transport your components to the show floor.

So you see, there's something for everyone!  Advance registration in all Design and Artistic Craft Classes is required by December 16, 2016.  But why wait?  Download a copy of the schedule from our website ( www.ctgardenclubs.org) and decide which class (or classes) you'd like to enter.  Our consultants are waiting to hear from you and can answer any and all of your questions.

* Kris Urbanik
Design Coordinator
[email protected]

Federation Business
Board of Directors Update

It is with extreme regret that we must inform you that due to unforeseen personal issues, Leslie Martino has submitted her resignation as First Vice President of The Federation Board. Our Bylaws state that the Second Vice President automatically moves into that position. However, due to health issues and other considerations, Arlene Field declined to take the position.  Therefore, the Nominating Committee now had to fill the position of First Vice President for the remainder of the term. The Committee proposed that Arlene Field continue her term as Second Vice President through April 2017 and that Inge Venus be named First Vice President to fill the unexpired term of Leslie Martino through April 2017. Both were elected at the September Board Meeting.


Nominating Committee

Our Federation's Nominating Committee has been activated and is accepting nominations from garden club members interested in being considered for a position on our Board. Please let us know what areas interest you.

The following positions are open:

Next year there will be additional openings. Feel free to contact any one of our committee members, as follows:   

Pat Dray, Garden Club of Orange [email protected]
Melanie Goldstine, Redding Garden Club  
Rodney Hayes, Branford Garden Club  [email protected]
Donna Nowak,  Former FGCCT President [email protected]
    Ronnie Schoelzel, Chair   [email protected]
Carol Steiner, Wilton Garden Club  [email protected] 

* Ronnie Schoelzel
Nominating Chair

Updates to the FGCCT Website

 The following updates have been made to our FGCCT website:

1. In the marquee, all upcoming schools and FGCCT sponsored events.

2. Main tabs on the left side of the home page:
    Updated Calendar; Addendum to Program Speakers booklet; 2017 CT Flower Show Schedule "Woodland Enchantment"; updated
List of Invasive Plants; photo collages of Beyond Beginning Workshops, Flower Show School Course III, and Council trips; updated list of CT Life memberships and Tribute Awards.

3.  In the password-protected Login site:
Updated club directory; updated judges roster; minutes; Budget and Balance Sheet; amended bylaws; FGCCT annual report; and monthly CFNEWS in pdf and Constant Contact format.

* Lynn Hyson and Inge Venus
Website Team
Frightened Frog Project ....Four Ways....Plus More  
Wallingford Garden Club Youth Chair:   Linda Miller

The Wallingford Garden Club Youth Chair has been very creative in developing Frightened Frog Programs.  Three of these programs were open to the community, and the one school-based program led to another opportunity for the Wallingford Garden Club to work with more children in a new garden program.

Book Donations:  The Frightened Frog books were purchased and donated to all eight Wallingford elementary school libraries and to the children's room in the Wallingford Public Library.  

Displays:  A tri-fold display board titled, "Please Help Keep Frogs Alive" was made and placed in the nature corner of the children's room in the public library.  The Frightened Frog book as well as other frog related books completed the display. These items were also part of the Wallingford Library Environmental fair in February.

Public Event Programs:  Two public programs were planned and advertised by fliers as well as on the public library calendar of events.  The first program was a Frog Walk at the Tyler Mill Preserve in Wallingford.  Helen Stowe led the group to a vernal pond where she taught about frogs and their natural habitats.

The second program was held at the public library.  Biology teacher and award-winning environmentalist, Representative Mary Mushinsky, spoke about frogs, their life cycle, sounds and habitats.  She had a jar of eggs to show the children.  At the end of the program, the children were given packets of frog facts, activity sheets and a craft project to do at home.

School Program:  The Frightened Frog was read to the third and fourth grade classes at Pond Hill Elementary School

And More:  After reading the book at Pond Hill School, the teachers asked if the Wallingford Garden Club would be able to help replant a garden on the school grounds.  The Janet Donavan Memorial Garden honors a woman who had taught at Pond Hill for many years, but now it needed to be restored. This is a large space with three raised beds and seven ground-level beds.  Garden Club members held three training sessions for the children. After they had cleaned and restored the beds, they planted vegetables, flowers and herbs.  Home Depot donated plants and seeds. Plants left over from the Garden Club plant sale were used.  The children decided that their families would be responsible for care of the garden over the summer; they watered, weeded and harvested.  All produce was donated to Master's Manna, a Wallingford Service Agency that offers food and support to local homeless, and low- and moderate-income families.   Wallingford Garden Club will continue to work with the children at Pond Hill School throughout the school year.

When you offer public programs, you will often interest parents as well and will get great publicity for your club....perhaps even some new members!  Think outside the box...it is not hard to put together a display panel.

* Ann Germano
Youth Chair

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
Barbara Deysson, our State Project Chair, shared this view of her garden in the Shippan  section of Stamford. 
FGCCT Tour to New Mexico

Southwest Garden Delights

May 17-23, 2017

Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque

The FGCCT week-long tour to lovely Santa Fe, historic Albuquerque and ancient Taos will showcase the delights of the southwest. With New Mexico's sunny, clear weather, this promises to be a refreshing spring sojourn. 

The trip begins with two nights in Albuquerque, followed by four nights in Santa Fe.  As always, the trip will be fun and educational. We will be hosted by local gardeners and experts, who will show us gardens that are water-conscious, fragrant, efficient and productive.

The focus is on unusual variety - xeric plants from North American deserts and New Mexico habitats and an incredible selection of water-wise and native plants.

Highlights of the trip will be the annual Lilac Festival in Taos and visits to private gardens in Santa Fe.

The arts are another attraction.  An array of world class museums is sure to please - Tours of the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the International Folk Art Museum  are just a few that will enrich the tour. 

The three major New Mexico cultures, Native American, Spanish/Mexican, and Anglo all contribute to make this a memorable trip.

The scenic beauty of the low desert in Albuquerque, and the mountain settings of Santa Fe and Taos will surprise and delight as will the stunning architecture and delicious local cuisine.

The trip is a work in progress and details will be available in early October.

Contact the new FGCCT tour coordinator to be added to the list for a brochure.

* Donna De Simone 
FGCCT Tour Coordinator
[email protected]
Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.
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