CFN Masthead

Volume 77, Number 10*  DECEMBER 2014   

In This Issue
Contact Links
Information Links
Join Our Mailing List
Support Our Advertisers!

Adv. Manager
for guidelines.


5.5"W x 4"H      
 $ 120.

3"W x 4"H  
$ 60.

3"W x 2"H  
$ 30.

January 10 
is the deadline for the
February 2015  

Mt Laurel

We bring another productive year to its close with the FGCCT Awards acknowledging our members' achievements. Note the upcoming deadlines for NGC awards, too. And it is time to get serious about the 2015 Flower Show, Ports of Call. Read this issue for ways in which you can contribute.

Don't miss Lois Nichols' historic look at pollinators, Jacqueline O'Connell's selection of native shrubs, and Pamela Weil's warning about Rose Rosette Disease.

Sadly, we must say farewell to two important members, Joan Cox and Susan Parr. But we'll end on a bright note by wishing all a happy, healthy holiday season and New Year.

Click here to see what's on the Calendar this month.


Lynn Hyson, Editor
President's Message 
Happiest Holiday Greetings, Fellow Gardeners:        

'Tis the season for
kindling the fire of
hospitality in the hall,
the genial fire of
charity in the heart.
                    - Washington Irving

The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., wishes every member The Merriest of Holidays and a Happy, Healthy New Year!  
This was a very busy fall season for our clubs, the state and the New England Region. The state sponsored three study schools followed by a spectacular sold-out Awards Meeting with its exquisite "A Bountiful Connecticut" flower show.  Now it is time to relax and recharge with family and friends, study garden catalogues and dream about what might be come spring and summer.  
A delightful way to experience an early spring in the middle of winter is to  attend The Federation's Flower Show, "Ports of Call," at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, February 19-22, 2015.   Please enter or volunteer to be a hostess--you will be enchanted traveling around the globe as you view floral designs, horticulture, special exhibits, and photography inspired by the world's most exciting destinations.
The downtime of winter would also be the perfect time to certify your backyard with the National Wildlife Federation for the state Backyard Habitat Contest.  Then let your club president know.  Club presidents are asked to send their final tallies with NWF certification numbers to Barbara Romblad, Office Secretary, by April 1, 2015.   The winning clubs will be announced at the Annual Meeting, April 15.    
Over the cold months, please put out seeds, suet and fresh water for our feathered friends.  They do so much to brighten our winter landscape.

Have a  safe and joyous holiday season!

*  Jacqueline Connell


Mary Sullivan, GCC Chair, presents the Love-ly Garden Award to Sandy Lindh. Photo by Inge Venus.

The winner of the 2014 Love-ly Garden Award is Sandy Lindh of the Riverside Garden Club.  Her outstanding garden is located on a busy thoroughfare and yet provides a peaceful oasis for the owners.  The entry garden is lined with boxwood which has been grown by Sandy.  Large trees and topiaries shield the house from the noise of the street.  

The shade plants (astilbes, hostas, impatiens) continue from the front into the back gardens and are complemented with seating areas for entertainment and relaxation.  These areas also contain potted plants and interesting sculptural accessories that enhance the property and make it appear much larger than half an acre. 

There is a well labeled herb garden and compost areas for providing natural mulch to the gardens.  Sandy has a very positive view on gardening, is informative and willing to share her knowledge of gardening.  

Congratulations to Sandy for achieving a Love-ly Garden!

* Mary Sullivan, Chair
Gardening Consultants Council

To see the complete awards booklet, please click here.

National Garden Clubs Awards Applications Due

If any club currently has a project whose completion date went beyond the FGCCT deadline of May 31, 2014, 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 or go directly to the NGC website at and click on "Awards."

* Janet Spaulding
Awards Chair

Save the Date!

 Candace Morgenstern will be our featured speaker at the
FGCCT April 15, 2015, Annual Meeting at AquaTurf in the Plantsville section of Southington, CT.
Deadlines for Publications Awards

Publicity Press Books and Newsletters for the year 2014 are due to Public Relations Chair, Becky Paul, by January 25.

Please send to Becky at:  259 Saw Mill Road, Guilford, CT 06437

* Becky Paul
FGCCT Public Relations Chair

A Standard Flower Show
CT Convention Center
February 19-22, 2015


We're one month closer to our state flower show - only three months left to take a look at your horticulture and see what you can enter in the Horticulture Division of the show, "Ship Ahoy."

Just as a cruise ship is essential to a cruise, horticulture is essential to our flower show.  There are a total of 56 classes of horticulture that you can consider entering.

From a simple arboreal branch ("At Anchor") to an exotic orchid ("The Bridge"), I'm sure many of you have lovely specimens that you can enter.

Can you believe it! 56 classes of horticulture: from cacti and succulents (regular size and miniatures), to orchids, forced bulbs, container grown plants for foliage or flowering, dwarf plants, trained plants, arboreals, miniature arboreals, heritage plants, AND combination planters (dish gardens, planters, terrariums or troughs).

Let's have a banner year for horticulture entries this year!  All the information you need to make an entry is in our Ports of Call Schedule which you can see online at The Federation's website,



We have so many exciting Sections in this year's flower show, Ports of Call.  Please be sure to go to The Federation's website  to see the final schedule.  

While you're there, be sure to see our newest addition to our state flower show -the Photography Division, "Tour the World."  This division will have two sections that will include a total of six (6) classes with six (6) entries in each class. They are:

Section A - Going Places
Class 1. Vacation Memories - A Color Photograph, showing family or friends enjoying nature, while on vacation.
Class 2. Bon Voyage - A Photograph of a seascape, islands, ocean, or first sights of shore.
Class 3. The Journey - A Still Life Photograph pertaining to travel (guidebooks, tickets, shipboard menus) incorporating plant material.

Section B - Seeing the Sights
Class 4. Foreign Forests - A Photograph of any exotic tree(s) or flower(s).
Class 5. Capturing a Sunset - A Photograph of a sunset in color or black and white.
Class 6. Icicles, Glaciers and Snow - A Photograph showcasing winter.

I'm sure many of you take wonderful photographs.  Won't it be fun to enter (only Federation members can enter!) and win a ribbon and also have thousands of people admire your work?  Please contact the consultant for this Division, Leslie Martino, [email protected], 203-389-4434.

Ten weeks and counting....

* Barbara Bruce
2015 Flower Show Chair

From the
Judges Council Corner

The 2015 Flower Show sponsored by The Federated Garden Clubs of CT.  in Hartford is fast approaching. Horticulture is an important part of the show.  Entering Horticulture is easier than you think.  Here are some tips about what the judges are looking for when giving out blue ribbons.   In Connecticut in February, the horticulture is limited to potted house plants and some evergreens and some forced bulbs.

Starting with container grown plants:
1.    Container grown foliage plants should be centered in a pot that is proportional to the plant's size. The pot should be clean and unstained, with a saucer. Clay pots and green plastic pots are encouraged.  However, heritage plants may remain in their original container.  
2.     Grooming is most important. The plant's leaves may be washed with a gentle spray of warm water. Remove dead leaves or flowers, insects, diseased and damaged tissue.  A fine cuticle scissor can be used to do the trimming.  Also some foliage can be removed to achieve a more balanced appearance in the pot.
2.     The soil surface needs to be clean and free of debris.
3.     Please inspect closely to make sure there are no insects or fungus present.  The plant can be treated with a household-safe insecticide.
4.    A mature, unusual species or variety is more likely to win a blue ribbon.
5.     The plant must have the correct biological name. Today, with the internet, names have become a lot easier to find.
6.    The plant should be healthy and vigorous with new growth showing with even placement of stems for balance, and foliage should be evenly distributed throughout.   No surface treatment of foliage is permitted.
7.    Since most houseplants are growing in soilless mix, additional fertilization throughout winter is suggested at one-half the strength for most plants.

Cut evergreen specimens:
8.    Needles should be removed from the stem area that will be below the water.
9.    The specimen container should be clean and the appropriate size for the specimen.
10.     The specimen should not exceed the length specified by the show schedule.

NOTE:  Nov. 18 was the last date for purchase of a horticulture exhibit for the February flower show.  According to the schedule:  "All entries must be fresh and in the possession of the exhibitor for at least ninety (90) days (11/18/14) except Combination Plantings in Section M which must have been in the exhibitor's possession for at least six weeks.

Also, according to the schedule (and NGC rules), "Top Awards cannot be given to improperly named entries."  Entries  must have a complete, correct name in order to garner a Top Award.

Plants do so much to brighten our homes in the winter.

* Jessica Fischer
Flower Show School Chair

 for 2015 Flower Show

There's still time to sign on as staff for the FGCCT flower show, PORTS OF CALL!  We are looking for hostesses and hosts to help guide our visitors through the exotic stops on our voyage and show them the beauty of the local flora and fauna.   Not only is this a way to ''cruise the high seas," but you receive a FREE ticket to the show!  Call a few friends and sign up for a two-hour shift. 
Contact Cathy Ritch, Hostess Chair, [email protected] or 203-452-5918

* Cathy Ritch
Hostess Chair


Plan for Spring 2015, members and friends! Southern hospitality and gorgeous gardens await us as we journey to Charleston, South Carolina.  Charm is the operative word to describe the cobblestone streets, preserved homes and historic buildings that simply radiate taste and old world sophistication.Our trip is April 6 through April 10th 2015.

Exclusive access to a Charleston Garden Club member's personal garden (with a special tea/luncheon served)  should be a wonderful way to start our four day journey. We will also see the two projects the Charleston Garden Club maintains : The Phillips Simmons Garden  and The Joseph Manigault House.  Our visit coincides with the Festival of Houses and Gardens in Charleston (ticket included).

You will be taken to the only working tea plantation in our United States for a tour. A private garden on Kiawah Island will enchant us all. In addition we will visit the Kiawah Conservancy Group for a garden lunch and discussion on the native plantings there.

Middleton Place, the oldest landscaped gardens in America that survived the Revolution and the Civil War will also be included.

Free time is also woven in so you can shop, walk and just take in the divine sights and smells of camellias and more that will be blooming when we arrive. Keep in mind there is limited space so if you are interested please reserve early!! Bring your best friend, perhaps this could be a great Christmas/ anniversary gift to you or a loved one....the possibilities are endless!

Daily breakfast, 3 dinners, 3 lunches  tours and transfers, private garden visits, coach transport to airports for all flights as well as 4 nights in a centrally located hotel are included. The price for all this is $2100 (to share a room) with a Single Supplement of $450.

For more information, click here for the complete brochure. You may  contact Kathy Kobishyn [email protected]
(203-915-6017) for more information. A brochure can be mailed to you at your request.
Alicia Carew (Carew Travel) has carefully created this wonderful trip to the Palmetto State. You may contact her as well with any questions at 800-621 1113 or [email protected].

Thank you so much!

* Kathy Kobishyn
Tours Chair

Scholarship News

Our scholarship winners are so grateful for the financial support that FGCCT has given them. We have received many heartwarming notes.

Our capable, dedicated recipients were honored at the Awards Luncheon at the Aqua Turf on October 29th.
We will highlight one student each month so you can join in the excitement that they share. The achievements are amazing.

Congratulations to Shane Feyers,  Eric Fine and Margaret Sackrider, all of Yale School of Environmental Studies and to Dustin Munson of Eastern Connecticut State University, Environmental Studies.
Shane Feyers also won an NGC Scholarship.
Please continue to support this fantastic scholarship fund so we are again able to support our future applicants. Donations range from $25 to $1500. This month we thank the Town and Country Garden Club of Newtown for their $150 contribution to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund.

Congratulations also to the many clubs that sponsor their own community scholars. A BIG Thank You to all who make this possible.

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair


If your club is interested in participating in the FGCCT Yearbook Contest, please submit three copies of your 2014-2015 Club Yearbook to our Yearbook Manager as soon as they become available.

David Pritchard,
16 Ashlar Village,
Wallingford, CT 06492,

Clubs with a 2015 Yearbook may submit three copies at the beginning of the year, but no later than April 1, 2015.

Award winners will be announced next year at the October 28, 2015, Awards Luncheon.


 New photo collages of recent events were prepared by Inge Venus and are now posted on the following pages of our website

1.  Awards Page:  NGC and NER winners;  Bronze Medal and Tribute award winners; FGCCT award winners; club displays and group photos.  Also, the 2014 Awards booklet.

2.  Education Page:  Gardening Study School Course I;  Environmental Studies School Course IV (includes boat trip).

3.  Flower Show Page:  Judges Council 2014 Standard Flower Show "A Bountiful Connecticut."  Also posted on Councils Page.

4.  Tours Page:  Upcoming Spring trip to Charleston in April, 2016.

* Inge Venus
Web Chair
Lynn Hyson
Milford Garden Club Sponsors Photography Exhibition:  "A Harvest of Coneflowers"

The Milford Garden Club will stage a juried photography exhibition, "A Harvest of Coneflowers," throughout December 2014 at the Milford Public Library.  The primary focus of the exhibit is to showcase and celebrate the community's spirit, pride and involvement in growing and enjoying the city's official flower.

Last April, to celebrate the 375th Anniversary of the City of Milford, the Milford Garden Club proposed the adoption of an "Official Milford Flower," the native plant Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus,' commonly known as Eastern Purple Coneflower.  Following the Board of Aldermen's unanimous approval of the Coneflower's designation, the cultivar was planted all over Milford by the public works department, by local businesses and by home gardeners during the spring and summer seasons of 2014.  

To promote continuing public awareness of this native plant, the club encouraged citizens to chronicle the growth of their Eastern Purple Coneflowers through photography.  During the summer, the public responded to the club's invitation and submitted for publication photos of Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' growing in civic, business, and home gardens.

"We've been delighted at the public's enthusiasm for the Milford Flower project," said Mayor Ben Blake, who supported the club on the proposal to the Board of Aldermen.  "We hope the library show will strengthen native plantings in the community." 


"A Harvest of Coneflowers" will feature framed photographs taken by members of the Milford community.  In addition, the show will feature information and displays about native plants and club activities.  In January, 2015, a slideshow of all photos submitted by email will be published on the Milford Garden Club website,, and its Facebook website, * Joan M. Crimmins
Milford Garden Club


Pollinator History 101

Did you see the movie Jurassic Park?  Not very realistic, was it?   What actually was happening between the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras was a lot of evolution, in both the plant and animal kingdoms, specifically flowering plants, and insects.  This meant that the flowering plants and their pollinators were co-evolving.  The first insects  were solitary wasps with insect prey, from which solitary bees with their vegetable diets evolved. Bees and flowers became mutually dependent as they co-evolved.  The oldest fossil record of a bee dates back to 100 million years BC, a bee in amber in a mine in Myanmar (Burma).

By 13,000 B.C, humans had discovered both the pleasures provided by honey, and its source, bees. This cave painting depicts early honey gatherers. Fast forward to about 3000 B.C. to Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Since earliest times one of the pharaohs' titles was Bee King. Honey bees were highly regarded, appearing in artwork found in the pyramids.  Containers of honey were included in the grave goods unearthed by archeologists, and the honey was still edible. Hives were simple baskets covered with mud, and transported up and down the Nile on barges to areas where they were needed for pollination.  (Moving hives by truck from one region to another is a variation on an old theme.)

A Sumerian tablet written 2000 BC described the use of honey as a drug and ointment.  Aristotle (300BC) referred to honey as being a good salve for sore eyes. Both the Egyptians, and later, the Romans used honey for paying taxes. Honey was used for dressing wounds, as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

In Medieval times, bees and their products were important for providing food and as a source of light.  Bees wax was the material of choice for illumination, particularly in churches.  Keep in mind that other sweeteners were lacking, making honey  extremely desirable for its role in food preparation.  The hive material remained very similar to that used by the Egyptians - reeds covered with mud.  These structures were called "skeps".

When the colonists arrived in America they brought with them Apis mellifera, and all the traditions for nurturing these invaluable creatures. For more information on pollinators and their co-evolution with native plants, see Doug Tallamy's book, Bringing Nature Home.

* Lois Nichols
State Project Chair


Native Evergreen Trees and Shrubs for the Winter Landscape

Evergreen trees and shrubs delineate the "bones" of the garden when deciduous plants have lost their leaves.  They add color to the landscape and provide cover and berries for birds and other wildlife.  

Traditionally evergreens were brought indoors in December, especially to celebrate the Winter Solstice and to remind the inhabitants that even though the frigid winter was upon them, evergreens represent the promise that spring will come again.  Christmas trees continue this tradition to the present day.  Balsam fir, Abies balsa
Balsam fir, Abies balsamea.
mea, has always
been a favorite.   The only native fir in northeastern America, it is most at home in moist, acid soils in cool areas.  The dense foliage provides very valuable roosting shelter in winter. 

The scattered seeds of fir, pine and spruce trees are eaten by a wide variety of birds including juncos, jays, finches, grosbeaks, nuthatches, cedar waxwings and chickadees.  Grouse even eat the needles of fir, spruce and pine.  Smaller or dwarf varieties of these trees can function as shrubs in the winter landscape adding fragrance as well as many shades of green.  

We enjoy festive indoor holiday decorations made from juniper, hollies and bayberry while birds enjoy their berries outdoors.  Over 54 species of backyard birds use junipers for food, over 49 use hollies.   The delightfully fragrant bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica, was used by the colonists for making candles.  At least 86 bird species eat the small waxy bayberries.  The less common, Eastern Spicy-wintergreen, also known as Teaberry or Checkerberry, Gaultheria procumbens, was used for both fragrance and flavor.
Bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica.

Checkerberry, Gaultheria procumbens.

 One native groundcover worthy of special attention for the winter landscape is Red Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.  It is useful as a shrub border, for erosion control on a hillside, and for naturalizing.  It displays shell pink to white flowers in spring but it excels in winter with its dense, medium green foliage and red berries.
Red Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.

Planting native evergreens allows you to dress up the hall and hearth of your home with verdant boughs and at the same time adds warmth to your heart knowing you are giving a boost to Mother Nature's creatures in winter when they need it the most.

*  Jacqueline Connell

Branches of Christmas trees may be used as a mulch over roses, bulb beds, rock gardens, perennials which have evergreen foliage and plants in the coldframe.  The boughs make a light, airy mulch which shelters both soil and plants from the sun.  It prevents harmful soil heaving and injury to plant cells which results from alternate freezing and thawing.

Christmas trees may also be bound together to form a teepee shelter for birds.  Bird food may then be scattered under the evergreens and ground birds fed in spite of snowstorms.  Grit and water are also important to birds.
                                  --Edwin Steffek in The Gardener's Almanac, 1939

EYE ON HORTICULTURE: The December Garden

As the gardening year comes to an end, I asked Dr. Sharon Douglas at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven to reflect on this past year and to share her expertise and insights regarding diseases in the ornamental landscape. Dr. Douglas is Chief Scientist and Head of the Department of Pathology and Ecology.

Dr. Douglas said that "weather is always a big factor" in the garden. This year, our cool, prolonged wet spring created ideal conditions for fungal and other disease problems throughout the garden. "Overall, we had a higher level of plant diseases than some years," she said.

Last winter's extreme cold also took its toll on some garden plants. Hydrangeas, the bigleaf types in particular, which bloom on wood formed the previous year, were zapped by the "Polar Vortex."  Many plants throughout the state showed extensive dieback and poor flowering, if any.

"This summer's drought will cause problems in the future," said Dr. Douglas, "as drought can weaken a plant and make it more susceptible to winter injury." Summer drought conditions were either "moderate" or "abnormal" throughout the state.

"Boxwood blight (found in Connecticut in October of 2011) continues to be a problem," she said. "Our nurseries have done a good job of controlling it but infected plant material has been brought in from other states and I continue to see new incidences."

Deadly Rose Disease now in Connecticut

But the big news of 2014 is Rose Rosette Disease, previously suspected but unconfirmed in our state.

In October of 2014, scientists at CAES confirmed (by molecular confirmation) the presence of Rose Rosette Disease in Connecticut. This virus is transmitted by eriophyid mites that feed on roses. And it attacks all our favorite garden roses - Knockout, carpet, hybrid tea, climber, and shrub - as well as the ubiquitous multiflora rose.

Dr. Douglas painted a grim picture: Once the rose is infected, the disease is systemic and the rose will die - small plants may be killed in about 2 years, whereas larger plants may gradually deteriorate over a period of 5 or more years. There is no cure. "The plant must be removed completely, including its roots," she said. However, the surrounding soil is not infected.

The best method of combating Rose Rosette Disease is early detection and watching for its symptoms: deformed and crinkled leaves, witches brooms, excessive thorniness, deformed flowers and bright red new shoots that are different from normal new shoots. As soon as you see suspected new infections, prune them out to stop the virus from becoming systemic. Removing multiflora rose in the vicinity of the landscape (100 yards) can be helpful.  And try to control the mites with horticultural oil applied weekly from bud-break and throughout the growing season.

I always welcome winter because I am happy to have a break from gardening. I don't enjoy winter's sharp cold, but I do enjoy these months of dreaming about what I will do in the garden next year. Winter gives me time to assess the past and plan for the future. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all!

* Pamela Weil
Horticulture Chair

Meet Arlene Field

"It was always my desire to become a Master Gardener," says Arlene Field, who has just become our Federation's Second Vice President elect.  And that was the first thing she did after retiring her position as Executive Secretary for a company president. Also in 2002, Arlene began "shopping around" for a garden club to join, because her hometown of Monroe doesn't have one of its own.

As soon as Arlene visited the Long Hill Garden Club, she knew she had found her place. "They are such a wonderful, welcoming group," she says. Over the last dozen years she has served as Secretary, Vice President, Program Chair and Artistic Chair for her club.

It was Nancy Lenoce who tapped Arlene's talents for the FGCCT Board when she asked Field to take on Garden Therapy. Arlene held that seat for the full 6 years and is now in her second year as our Recording Secretary.

Along the way, Arlene has attended a number of the FGCCT Study Schools, including all four Flower Show school courses. "Flower Show School is so much fun!" she remembers, "but I have no desire to be a judge so I didn't take the exam." Instead she has exhibited in the shows and worked as a clerk.

With the help of Pattie Pitts, she created last year's prize-winning vignette, "The Potting Shed."  "We actually built the walls in my garage and did a mock-up of the design."

Field has got her yard certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. "At first I thought I couldn't do it, but I started to look around at my garden and realized, of course I can. It's so easy!" She and her husband Bill both love to garden. "To me that's therapy, to be out there without the telephone, no internet, no music..." The big challenge in Arlene's garden is spraying to control the deer. "The herbs are easy, they tend to themselves, she says. What used to be a mostly shady garden has recently become sunnier, thanks to storms taking down trees.

Arlene has one 31-year-old son who recently married and has just given her a grandson. She is happy that they are as close as Newtown.

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

In Memory of Joan Cox

Joan Cox, who retired as Tours Coordinator in April, died November 11th, 2014.  She had coordinated a number of delightful tours for The Federation, though none so memorable as the three-week tour of English Gardens she led for the Danbury Garden Club in the early Nineties.

A former President of the Danbury Garden Club, she served in many capacities over a 44-year span of activity in the club.  She was currently Finance Chairman for the club.  For a number of years she organized the club's outstanding November luncheon, which featured many nationally known designers.

Joan was passionate about her garden club activity, and was a Life Member of The Federation.

* Helen Pritchard

Blue Gentians were still blooming in late November in Inge Venus's garden. Inge is a member of the Cheshire Garden Club. Photo by Inge Venus.


Susan Parr, longtime FGCCT Board member and NER committee member, died October 21, 2014.  She retired three years ago from her position as FGCCT's Historic/Memorial/Public Gardens chair.  

Susan began her Board positions in 1993 as Conservation and Preservation Chair. Other positions have included Books, State and National Projects, and Wildflowers/Native Plants.

She was a Life Member of The Federation and NGC. As a longtime member of the Cedar Mountain Garden Club, she developed, in conjunction with the Newington Garden Club, a program and boutique where she had outstanding designers featured, like Bob Thomas and Tony Tedesco.

Susan loved being Books Chair, taking the books to Federation and club meetings all over the state and to non-Federation events such as The CT Horticultural Society. However, it has been her passion for wildflowers and advocacy against invasive plants that has led to many exciting events in our state.

Under her chairmanship, a committee of 11 began meeting with Dr. Les Mehrhoff as advisor and consultant to compile The Preservation List of Connecticut Wild Plants.  Les asked to include a tentative list of invasive plants, which later that year gave rise to the CT Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG).  The booklet published in 1997 led to all participants receiving Tribute Awards in Conservation. The pamphlet also won a New England Region Conservation Award for The Federation. The 2004 revised version is still in use.

More important, it led to the creation of CIPWG, which is headquartered at UCONN.  Susan was a charter member of this group, and led The Federation to become a regular sponsor of CIPWG's biennial symposium on invasive issues.

With the death of Dr. Mehrhoff, the Leslie J. Mehrhoff Award was created to recognize an individual, group, or organization that has made significant or commendable contributions toward awareness, prevention, control, or management of invasive plants in Connecticut.
In 2012, Susan Parr was the first recipient of this prestigious award. Quoting Donna Ellis: "Susan was the heart and soul of invasive plant advocacy in Connecticut.  She attended the first meeting of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) in 1997 as a representative of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.  She has worked tirelessly for 15 years to educate the public about invasive plants in our gardens, communities, and natural areas.  Through her efforts, The Federated Garden Clubs selected invasive plants as a focus in their educational programs and promoted the use of alternative replacements.  Susan was always the "idea" person, both behind the scenes and in the forefront to continually raise awareness of invasive plant issues.  Her enthusiasm and excitement were clearly evident as she talked to others about how we can all get involved with invasive plant activities and their impact on the environment."
Susan used Federal Highway Administration program ideas to begin "Operation Wildflower" in the state of CT. Three areas around the state were selected at which wildflower gardens were to be planted. To fund the project, Susan decided a statewide raffle for a Wildflower Needlepoint rug would be just the ticket. The project raised over $14,000.00 with the winning ticket being drawn at the April Annual Meeting in 1999. "Operation Wildflower" formed the backbone of the Book of Evidence that garnered a NGC Member Award of Honor for Susan in 2006.

Susan's love of wildflowers also led to the creation of a "Protect Wildflowers" license plate sponsored by and imprinted with The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut and a picture of Mountain Laurel. The plate is still available.

The Special Exhibits Division at the CT State Flower Show was another love affair for Susan. Her goal of bringing many and varied educational exhibits to the public and to garden club members was realized from 2001-2007. Under her leadership, Susan arranged four stamp cancellations at the Flower Show.   She believed that the Special Exhibits Division was the most important part of the show as it introduced the public to the concerns and activities of what we as garden clubs do.

Susan also received the Pauline B. Tyler Award from The Federation in 2012. The bowl is for excellence in promoting conservation or conservation legislation. Susan's leadership will be unequaled because she was so creative about getting people on board.

* Donna Nowak





To maintain your garden club's Tax Exemption status, your club MUST file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EVERY YEAR. You must file a form 990, 990-EZ, or 990N (the e-postcard).


Clubs that fail to file an annual 990-series return or notice, for three consecutive years, will AUTOMATICALLY lose their tax-exempt status.



or Go To, then click link for "Charities & Non-Profits."




Deadline for FEBRUARY 2015 ISSUE  


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

CT Federation NEWS

Published monthly except January/July


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

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


Direct Advertising Queries to: Diana Abshire, Advertising Manager

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


Direct Circulation Queries to:  OFFICE SECRETARY, FGCCT

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



Our Mission Statement 

To coordinate, stimulate and encourage higher standards in all aspects of Garden Club work


To protect and conserve our natural resources, preserve our heritage and promote civic beauty.   Federation logo


6,822 Members


143 Clubs


15 Affiliates 

Mt Laurel