Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

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Shopping Event at Against the Grain
December 13, 2018
4 pm - 8 pm
Against the Grain
91 Main Street
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January Program
Impressionists in the Garden: From Vista to Vase with ArtScapades co-founder Robin Hoffman
January 9, 2019
coffee: 9:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
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February Program
Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History with Carol Gracie
February 6, 2019
coffee: 9:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
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March Program
The Gardener: Enjoy the award-winning film
March 6, 2019
coffee: 9:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
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You can find a complete listing of our programs on our website by clicking
Dear Members,

Tis the season ...

It is holiday time - that hectic time for everyone, but we hope you take some time to enjoy the season too.   As we conclude this year of 2018, here's what is happening:

Ty Tan and Jill Ernst ordered, organized, and worked on the greenery to dress up the town, just in time for the annual Holiday Stroll.  The Greens Workshop was  held at the end of November; you can see the results of our busy members in this newsletter. Our Hospitality chairs, Cindy Bamatter, Cindy Still and Robin Miner, who have been enthusiastically filling our tummies, provided wonderful treats for us too.

We owe a sleigh full of gratitude to Rose Bauersfeld for her initiative in organizing the "stuffing" party at Lapham a few weeks ago.   Ably assisted by Karen Hanson, Dody Whitehurst, and Eva Wingate their efforts to get a head start on our ever-important town-wide solicitation brought out many members. Everyone had a good time sharing both chatter with old and new friends as well as enjoying a delicious lunch and door prizes.  Thank you, Rose.   This might well be a new NCBL tradition.  More to come on the mailing of our envelopes ...

In addition to the new, we have an exciting "old" to celebrate.   We plan to celebrate NCBL's 80th anniversary with a very special event on Sunday, April 28.   We need to form a committee to go forward.   Please contact Barbara Beall if you can help.

Plan to start the new year at our January 9 meeting when we will hear Robin Hoffman speak to us on "Impressionists in the Garden: From Vase to Vista."

Have a wonderful and joyous holiday season!

Barbara and Karen

againstgrainShopping Event at Against the Grain to Benefit NCBL
Against the Grain logo
Against the Grain has partnered with NCBL for a shopping event on December 13.  Enjoy wine and appetizers while shopping at this unique, local store, and 10% of all sales will be donated to NCBL.  All are welcome, so tell your friends!

Thursday, December 13
4 - 8 pm
Against the Grain
91 Main Street, New Canaan

Against the Grain photo
Chris and Neen from Against the Grain.

A bit about the store:  Our goal at Against The Grain is to provide quality hand-crafted products from all over the country and world.  In the spring and summer, we offer the best quality outdoor furniture, custom built to help our customers achieve that perfect outdoor space.  During the holidays, you will find unique, hand-made products ranging from cutting boards, bowls, candles, and ornaments, to creative games and puzzles for adults and children.  We are always bringing new items to the store and our customers love to explore all the cool and unique items we've discovered throughout the years.
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artscapadesJanuary Program

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Robin Hoffman Jodi Stiffelman
Co-founders of ArtScapades, Robin Hoffman and Jodi Stiffelman.

Flowers are made for Impressionism. When we think of the Impressionists, images of vibrant landscapes and beautiful bouquets come to mind.

In a special lecture ArtScapades has developed for gardening groups, Robin Hoffman will discuss how gardens and flowers played an important role in the periods of French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, as well as American Impressionism.

ArtScapades will present works by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, and Childe Hassam, paying special attention to the flowers they painted. 

Robin Hoffman and Jodi Stiffelman, of ArtScapades, began teaching art appreciation in 1998. They have presented at libraries and museums in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Florida, and are delighted to have been asked to speak at the New Canaan Beautification League.

You can download a flyer by clicking HERE.
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Save the Date

NCBL will be celebrating 80 years of service in 2019!  Stay tuned for more information on how you can celebrate with us!


If you know of any member who is ill, hospitalized or has lost a loved one, please let Libby Butterworth or any of the membership chairs know.

Libby Butterworth, 203-801-0862, eabutter@gmail.com
Sara Hunt, 203-966-3313, skhminky@optonline.net
Margit Mills, 312-925-3861, margitmills@gmail.com


New Canaan Gets "Decked Out" for the Holidays

On November 28, NCBL joined forces with the New Canaan Garden Club to make the wreaths and other greens that decorate our town.  Reports from the morning all indicate that it was a great time!

Many thanks to our chairs, Ty Tan and Jill Ernst for organizing and taking care of the little hurdles that popped up with ease.

Town Hall and Nature Center planters, wreaths for prominent town buildings like the post office and police station, the train station fence garland, and arrangements for Town Hall offices were made that morning and will be appreciated by all!

Wreaths and Greens 2018
Wreaths and Greens volunteers were busy.

Town Hall holiday decor
The Town Hall new entrance looks beautiful.

The new entrance pots are gorgeous and festive!  Underneath the greenery in each pot, t here are 200 tulip bulbs, kindly donated by Chris Schipper of Colorblends.  These will be blooming in spring.

Town Hall pots 2018
200 bulbs are planted in each pot and the festive greens cover them for the winter.

The original Town Hall entrance got a holiday make over also!

Ty Tan decorating
Ty Tan adds a finishing touch to a tree at the original Town Hall entrance.

To see more photos of our town's new festive holiday decor, click HERE.

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Tulips Planted in Town

NCBL bought one thousand Spring Blend daffodils from Colorblends to plant in the pocket of land along Farm Road.  This area was recently dug for gas lines and our town crew helped us in our efforts to revitalize the area and bring daffodils back to this very visible piece of land.

Daffodil planting farm road
(l) Town employees Teddy Yarrow and Tony Zallo helped us get the daffodils planted.
(r) Once a hole was dug, the bulbs were placed.

Rob Kathy Faith Yvonne daffodils
Rob Carpenter, Kathy Lapolla, Faith Kerchoff, and Yvonne Hunkeler comprise the NCBL crew that did the planting that day.

See more photo from this effort in our Flickr album by clicking HERE.


Center Bell Gets a Clean Up

One November morning, Betsy Bilus, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Susan Weatherley, spent a productive couple of hours tidying up the Center Bell triangle for winter.

Center Bell clean up
Susan and Yvonne prune back overgrown bushes.

Betsy tells us the weather was perfect and the company delightful.  They pruned back the lavender stalks, overgrown rose bushes and red-twig dogwood, dug up the verbena, and raked leaves.   It was an enjoyable way to spend the morning!

Center Bell clean up
Susan, Betsy, and Yvonne at Center Bell triangle.


Lee Garden Report

The following report was submitted from our Lee Garden chairs on the current status and activities going on at Lee Garden:

  • Repositioning of the fence has started and should be done soon.  
  • Water has been shut off for the season and hence, there will be no bathroom until spring.  
  • Books and files in the barn are being stored in big tubs to winterize and to keep the critters out.
  • Fanny Moran, Sandy Seigel, and Kathy Lapolla helped plant bulbs at the garden in mid November when the temperatures topped out at 50 degrees.  Thank you to our volunteers and to Chris Schipper from Colorblends who donated grape hyacinth bulbs for the garden.

How can you help now?  Anyone, anytime, can walk through the garden with gloves on and do the "azalea shake"!  All you have to do is run your hands through the branches to get the leaves out of the bushes before heavy snows weigh the branches down and possibly snap them.

We also welcome you to pick up fallen branches and bring them to the pile in the parking lot.

  Be sure to visit this time of year when the lack of foliage allows other details of the woodland to become visible.  A walk through the garden this time of year reveals the beautiful colors and details of fungus and lichen on branches brought down by past storms.

Lee Branches lichen and fungus
These branches were found during one short walk through the garden in November.

Team Lee:
Kathy, Faith, and Yvonne
Our November Program

Celebrated garden writer Jane Garmey returned to the NCBL with a wonderful program on the public gardens of New York City.  Jane stressed that "public gardens do matter" and they make a difference to the city and its various neighborhoods.  She talked about many of the gardens featured in her book, and shared how these gardens were born, often arising from unusual circumstances and coincidences, and mostly arising from the passions of individuals.

Jane Garmey collage
Jane Garmey delivered a great program in November.  Photos: Michele Sloan (l) and Peter Hanson (r).

November program crowd
The crowd at our November program learned about the origins of many public gardens in NYC. Photo: Peter Hanson

If you missed her informative talk, you can view it from the NCTV channel 79 taping by clicking HERE.

You can find more copies of Jane's book, City Green: Public Gardens of New York, at Elm Street Books.

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November Hospitality

Thank you to those who helped with the wonderful food for our last meeting.  We enjoyed a great variety of food and received rave reviews from everyone!

Thanks to:  Faith Kerchoff, Betsy Bilus, Judy Bentley, Debera Prosek, Fanny Moran, Liz Kunz, and Robin Miner. 

We still need volunteers for February and forward, so please sign up.  Contact Cindy Still at  stillcj@aim.com.   

Hospitality November
treat table november program

November Flowers

Many thanks to Jacqueline Harmody for her most lovely flower arrangement!  Once again, we were treated to beautiful Free Spirit roses that are just perfect for fall with their soft tangerine color and touches of pink.

November flower arrangment
Items in this stunning arrangement are: rose hips, Bells of Ireland, Free Spirit Roses, and white hydrangeas.

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If the Program Wasn't Exciting Enough ...

There was more excitement in the Nature Center building directly after the program when member Susan Weatherley used a restroom stall only to find out she wasn't alone!  A baby snake was slithering around the stall also and with the help of Nature Center director Bill Flynn, and other NCBL members, the snake was captured in a bucket.   Bill released the snake outdoors to the delight of the nursery school children there.

Snake in bucket
Susan Weatherley found this small, baby snake in the Nature Center restroom.

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Stuffing Party a Huge Success

The Annual Appeal Committee thanks all the volunteers that helped stuff envelopes at the Stuffing Party!  The Stuffing Party took place in the dining room at the Lapham Community Center.  It was a wonderful time, with lunch and prizes to add to the fun.

Stuffing Party
The room was alive with conversation and a good deal of stuffing took place.

Please note that bags to be addressed will be handed out at the Wednesday, January 9 meeting. We will email all volunteers reminders on January 7. If you do not plan to attend the meeting we will make arrangements to get the bag to you. Please email Rose Bauersfeld, rbauersfeld@yahoo.com, with any questions.

To see more photos from the stuffing party, click HERE.

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Walter Stewart's T-Bills donated to NCBL

Walter Stewart's Logo oval

Thank you to those who donated their Walter Stewart's T-Bill balances to NCBL last month.  This is a charitable event Walter Stewart's promotes to give their customers a chance to give back to the local organizations of their choice.   Many thanks to those who chose NCBL.

Another Chance to Donate December 13 - 19:

Walter Stewart's is having one more chance to donate your T-Bills this year.  
  Shoppers can donate their T-Bills to the NCBL at checkout between December 13 and 19.  Walter Stewart's will match the donations.

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More Luncheon Photos

There are plenty of luncheon photos thanks to one of our NCBL photographers, Michele Sloan!  You can view them on our Flickr album by clicking HERE.  

Luncheon table


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Battling Boxwood Blight

A devastating fungal disease has been affecting boxwoods in at least 24 states, including Connecticut, since 2011.  The fungus, Calonectria pseudonaviculata infects leaves and stems and needs to be detected early to avoid widespread infection.  

Early symptoms include brown spots on the leaves, which will enlarge and coalesce.  Eventually, the leaves drop and complete defoliation occurs.  Infected stems are identified by black streaks that start from the soil line.  The infection can appear similar to other boxwood diseases and a particular plant can have multiple infections in addition to the blight at the same time.  An accurate lab diagnosis can confirm disease.

Boxwood Blight from Tamke.com
Boxwood blight on leaves.  Photo obtained from Tamke.com | Tamke Tree Experts NJ

Boxwood blight has been easily spread in home landscapes and in nurseries due to the planting of unidentified infected nursery stock.  The sticky spores can also spread from plant to plant by adhering to people, animals, insects, tools, shoes, and clothing.

The disease can be controlled with the following measures:
  • Plant only disease free new boxwood.
  • Purchase plants free of any symptoms including leaf spots or stem lesions.
  • If symptoms are noticed, have the plant checked with a local diagnostic laboratory.
  • If boxwood blight is confirmed, remove the entire plant, double bag it and place in the trash.
  • Do not mulch or chip infected boxwood.
  • Fungicides can be tried as preventative and control measures.

Watch your Wreaths!
Infected boxwood has been identified on Christmas wreaths around the country.  If you think your wreath is infected, call the nursery where you obtained it.  If boxwood blight is confirmed, dispose of as above.

Click on the links below to read more about boxwood blight:

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Ty Tan Grows Saffron

Ty planted 300 Crocus sativus bulbs this past September.  In early November she was ready to harvest the saffron!

Crocus sativus Ty Tan
Ty's Crocus sativus in bloom (left) and harvesting the saffron (right). Photos from Ty Tan.

It needs to be pointed out that Crocus sativus is often confused with Colchicum autumnale.  They bloom at the same time and resemble each other. To make matters even more confusing, Colchicum autumnale goes by the common names of Autumn crocus and meadow saffron even though it is not a crocus, nor does it produce saffron.  All parts of Colchicum autumnale are poisonous and should not be eaten.  It is only Crocus sativus that produces the spice saffron.

Great online reference that helps tell the difference between Crocus and Colchicum:  Click HERE.

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Robins in the Winterberry

Soon after having a flock of cedar waxwings in her pokeweed shrub, Betsy Sammarco had yet another flock of another birds in her garden.   In late October, a flock of robins came to her winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and ate all the fruit on the shrubs.  She was able to watch and enjoy them from a nearby window and take photos.

Robin in winterberry
A robin eats a winterberry fruit in Betsy's yard.

The winterberry serves many purposes in the home landscape including providing food for many species of birds.  You can read more about our native  winterberry HERE.

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Contribute to our Newsletter!

Email newsletter editor Betsy Sammarco @ esammarco@optonline.net with a tip, trick, or tale from your own garden! 

Copia Home and Garden  

Holiday Workshops at Copia Home and Garden
475 Smith Ridge Road
South Salem, NY

Take a creative workshop at Copia.  Current workshops include holiday wreaths and centerpieces.  
See dates and register for the events online or by phoning:
Click HERE to register online
or call  (914) 533-7242.

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NCNC logo 
Winter Wonderland
December 15
11 am - 2 pm

Click HERE for more information.

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Carriage Barn Arts Center
Deck the Walls Holiday Exhibit
November 30 - December 14
carriage barn deck the walls
Click image for more information.

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Bartlett Arboretum logo

Professional Landscaper Classes:  Click HERE for more info
All About Terrariums with Tovah Martin | December 12, 1-3pm: Click HERE
Climate Change with Dr. Mitch Wagener | January 17, 6:30-8pm: Click HERE

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Coming in February at the Hartford Convention Center:
April in Paris Flower Show
Click HERE for more info.