October/November 2019
President's Message
It’s hard to believe that the month of October is upon us. We’re feeling brisk evenings with brilliant sunsets. Our flowers and gardens are hanging on, sending out their final gifts to us in the form of end-of-season produce and blossoms. Summer may be in the rear-view mirror, but fall offers its own form of plentiful bounty. Clubs are starting their new year in earnest with programs to entertain and enlighten us.

Already, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to attend numerous garden club meetings across the state. My goal is to visit and engage with as many clubs as I can during my two-year term. It’s an opportunity for clubs to get closer to The Federation, while at the same time I learn more about each of you and how The Federation can help you thrive. I welcome your invitation to visit.

Another successful Plant Science Day is in the books. Held at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s Lockwood Farm each August, the event is better and better each year with lectures and demonstrations. Make sure that you include it on your calendar next year. 

I attended Gardening Study School in my role as President as well as a student. It was personally fulfilling as it marked the completion of my fourth course. The schools are led by excellent instructors covering pertinent and informative topics, with some schools offering field trips. I urge you to look into attending the schools The Federation offers over the coming year. 

A significant highlight during the month of September was the Tree Swallows Migration Cruise on the Connecticut River arranged by Tours Chair, Kathy Lindroth. It is an example of the types of unique experiences that are available through The Federation. The magnitude of the swallows coming together to roost at dusk is wonderful to see. Great tours are scheduled for 2020. Be sure to check them out on The Federation’s website. 

Held just last week, Club Presidents’ Day was a huge success. The theme for the meeting was “How We Can Help You Thrive.” Content for the meeting included sharing what we’ve learned from the last three statewide symposiums about the challenges that clubs face and provided club President’s with tangible ways to use The Federation to help clubs to succeed and thrive. The principal benefit was bringing everyone together – attendees from 65 clubs and Board members − to advance garden clubs throughout the state.

October is shaping up to be a busy month. There are many opportunities to take part in various events.

Flower Show School, Course IV, is being offered October 16-18 at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.

The always popular Beyond Beginning floral design workshops started in September and continue in October and November. These workshops are extremely popular and fill up fast. Check the website for more details. 

I’ll be attending the New England Garden Club Meeting in Woodstock, Vermont later in the month, October 28 and 29. It’s open to all members of The Federation.

We’ll close the month with the always popular Awards Meeting at Aqua Turf Club in Southington on October 30th. It’s the opportunity to recognize the impressive work of clubs and their members from the past year. I look forward to seeing you all there. 

I’m excited to announce that the schedule for the 2020 Connecticut Flower Show, “Spring into Connecticut,” is available online. Review the schedule – then volunteer, exhibit and join the fun. 

Last, but certainly not least, a Federation-sponsored tour to Japan (sold out) runs November 5-18, 2019.

Upcoming Events
Join us at the Annual Awards Meeting, October 30, 2019
Plan to join us on Wednesday, October 30 th , for the 90 th Annual FGCCT Awards Meeting and Luncheon at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. Reservations must be received by Friday, October 25, 2019. Click HERE for easy on-line registration and click HERE for mail-in registration.

This promises to be a wonderful day, when over 80 State, Regional and National Awards will be presented for the exceptional work Club members have done during the past year. You will see some of the winning projects documented by colorful display posters. It is wonderful to learn how much Clubs have accomplished.  You’ll come away with ideas for projects your Club can undertake for your town.  

Please note ─ this is a very popular event and we anticipate high attendance, so seating is limited. Register Online or Mail-in Registration can be made - up to 10 registrations with a single payment. Click the buttons below for Online Registration , Mail-in Registration Form, Meeting Details , Vendors/Descriptors or to visit the Awards Website page.
Nan Merolla,
FGCCT Meetings Chair

I hope to see you there. If you have any questions, please contact me.
Please join us at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford at an NGC Standard Flower Show for some Club competition!
By Pat Dray
If your Garden Club is looking for a fun project this winter, consider entering the upcoming FGCCT, Inc. sponsored NGC Standard Flower Show “Spring into Connecticut.” The show will be at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from February 20-23, 2020 and will include a Club Competition Class in both Design and Horticulture.

The Horticulture Division “Connecticut Historic Gardens” Club Competition will be Section P – Wells-Shipman-Ward House & Garden, Class 70, “A display of cut needled evergreens.” For this class, you’ll need a minimum of seven (7) cut arboreals grown by two or more club members and displayed in an artistic manner. Specimens should be related, such as all one plant family, one genus, or with similar characteristics and should give the appearance of being individually exhibited.

The Design Division “Inspiration from the Landscape” Club Competition will be Section G - Roaming on the Weekend, Class 19 “Following the Connecticut Antique Trail.” For this Class, your Club will design a vignette, which is a functional section of a room, terrace or patio or similar area that must include a floral design. The vignette may also include container-grown plants and or other plant material.

As your Club holds its fall meetings, these two classes will make an interesting topic for discussion. Who knows, your Club may take home one of the Club Competition Awards that are offered.
Floral Design Workshops ~ Beyond Beginning 2019
If you want to improve your floral design skills, there is always room for one more to join a Beyond Beginning workshop. Coming this fall: 
* European Designs(ADV) - October 4, (CAES) New Haven
* Duo Creative Design - November 1, (CAES) New Haven  
Whether you want to learn new skills and techniques or get ready for the CT State Flower Show in Hartford, you will certainly be inspired by the workshops. T his photo uses the container that will be used in the Nov 1 workshop on Duo Designs to make a beautiful 2 sided Creative Design for holiday tables.

For additional info, including registration forms - Visit our Website . Don’t forget that you can always sign up to be on the WAIT LIST for a workshop (no cost). Cathy Ritch
Join the Fun! Tour with Gardening Friends
Upcoming trips ~
  • The Historic Virginia Garden Week tour, April 20-26, 2020
  • The Pacific Northwest Gardens, Sept. 9-17, 2020 with 2 night optional extension to 9-19, 2020
  • Brandywine Valley will be June (TBD)
October 16-18, 2019 
Arlene Field, FGCCT President 
Suzanne Bushnell, New England Regional Director 
Gay Austin, NGC President 
The Kellogg Environmental Center 
500 Hawthorne Avenue 
Derby, CT 06418 
Articles of Interest
Ahh, To Be Skinn y
By Renee Marsh
I have become obsessed with skinniness.  Not my own of course, I was born zaftig. In horticulture terms, let’s just say I have dense branching with a pyramidal habit.  No, what I have come to covet are skinny trees. From a garden design standpoint, making use of vertical space is the best way to add another dimension and layer of interest. Though honestly, I just want to get in more plants per square foot and going skinny adds zip without eating up space. 
 Skinny trees are referred to as columnar or fastigiate. Technically the terms are not the same but the distinctions are fuzzy. In general, columnar trees have a single trunk and shorter uniform branches and fastigiate trees have multiple trunks or branches that grow upwards and close together.  For either, this narrow growth habit is more pronounced in young trees. Older trees tend to widen out some (sigh, don’t we all).   In general, these skinny trees can be used as a tall, narrow vertical screen or as a specimen plant where the unique growth form becomes a sculptural element. 

Being a Doug Tallamy fan, I find skinny oaks exciting.  Oaks are incredibly important in our ecosystem but how many can you fit in a small garden? Well, at least one. Think Quercus palustris ‘Green Pillar’ (Pin Oak) (40’ x 8’) or Quercus x warei ‘Nadler’ (30’ × 6’). ‘Green Pillar’ is native and ‘Nadler’ is a hybrid between the English and white swamp oak.  Both have a sculptural framework of upswept branches that is striking in the winter.  
For skinny and statuesque, try Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’. This sweetgum can reach 60 feet but its tight, short branches spread a mere 6 to 8 feet. The red fall color is spectacular, it’s fairly fast growing, and like oaks, it’s the larval host plant for many different butterflies and moths. Go native! 

The award for skinny in a great dress goes to Fagus sylvatica Red Obelisk’ (European Beech ) (50’ × 12’). The deep purple, crinkled leaves are just plain flashy and the smooth silver bark makes it fetching even without clothes.
As much as deciduous trees thrill me, it is the conifers I covet.  If you are going for skinny and straight, Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'  (Emerald Green Arborvitae) (12’ × 4’) is a popular choice but I prefer Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot's Spire’ (12 – 16’, 3 – 4’) for its twisted tight-growing foliage and short spirally branches. It doesn’t get as wide a bottom either (hmmm…).

If deer are a problem, go for skinny junipers.  Juniperus chinensis ‘Trautman’ (15’ x 4’) is a narrow, bluish gray-green spire with the look of an Italian Cypress. Then there is our native Juniperus scopulorum 'Blue Arrow' (Blue Arrow Juniper) (12-15' x 2-3'). The dusky blue shade of this juniper makes it a colorful addition to any garden. 
Then there’s weepy skinny.  Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ´Van Den Akker´ (Weeping Alaskan Cedar) can reach 21´ tall while remaining only about one foot wide. The weeping blue green branches hang tight to the trunk and end with a little flouncy skirt at the base.  But wait, then there is ‘Sparkling Arrow’ (30’ x 3’) with a creamy-white variegation. Frosted skinny! Be still my heart… 
And finally for skinny with attitude there is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro’ (Wissel's Saguaro False Cypress) (18-20' x 2'). Its blue-green branches look like arms. Zone 6 on this one though. For those up in the Connecticut hills, there is Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Spiralis’ (Dwarf Hinoki Cypress) (5' x 3'). It’s tightly wrapped side branches spiral outward and upward like little green flames.  

So there you have it – how to add height but not girth – at least in the garden.    

Images from top to bottom/left to right: Green Pillar Oak, Slender Silhouette Sweet Gum, Red Obelisk European Beech, Degroot's Spire Arborvitae, Blue Arrow Juniper, Van Den Akker Alaskan Cedar, Sparkling Arrow Alaskan Cedar, Wissel's Saguaro False Cypress, Spiralis Dwarf Hinoki Cypress
Read about the President's Project - 'Out with Invasives, In with Natives'
The theme of Arlene Field’s President's Project is “Out with Invasives. In with Natives.” Recognizing the ecological imbalance created by invasive plants flourishing across the state, Arlene is encouraging club members to take back our landscapes, starting with our own yards and gardens. The first course of action is to learn to identify these 'weeds on steroids' and how to control and dispose of them. Weeds tend to be plants that are a problem in man-made environments − such as dandelions in a lawn. Invasives are also weeds and a threat to biodiversity. It is paramount to replace invasive species with native plants to prevent recolonization of the invasive species. 

My first article as State Project Chair is an overview on identification, control, and resources that are available. Visit the President's Project on our website.

By Ellie Tessmer, President's Project Chair
The Daytime Gardeners of North Haven collaborate w/the North Haven Historical Society to host a farm dinner!
One hundred people gathered in August for a farm-to-table dinner on the property of Sue Brockett Lorusso and her husband, Jim, in North Haven.  The event was a collaboration with the Daytime Gardeners of North Haven and the North Haven Historical Society. Guests enjoyed a four-course dinner and also toured the Brockett’s Farm Museum filled with antique farm tools, the Christa Jo Glass Studio with beautiful fused glass and stained glass gifts, and Walt Brockett’s fully-equipped woodworking shop tucked away in the hay mow of the old barn. If that was not sufficient, dinner guests also enjoyed seeing the visiting animals, including mammoth donkeys, llamas, goats and sheep, which were brought in from Guilford by Kim Brockett Cappelli. Historical farm photos and a display of tractors, dating from 1950 to the current time, provided additional farm atmosphere just beyond the dinner tent.

By Sally Brockett
Congratulations to The Federated Garden Club
Scholarship Winners!
By Margareta Kotch
Mary Schoell received $ 3,000 from The Federated Garden Club Scholarship Fund
Mary Schoell is a master’s student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where she researches salt marsh ecosystems. Her thesis looks at the effects of sea-level rise and hurricanes on salt marshes at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Connecticut. After her undergraduate career, she worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlantic Ecology Division as a restoration ecologist. She is passionate about contributing to the protection and management of marine and coastal environments through research. When she isn’t treading through a salt marsh, she can be found swimming in the ocean, rock climbing, hiking a mountain, or tending to her garden.
Lauren Hickey received $2,000 from The Federated Garden Club Scholarship Fund
In May 2019, Lauren also received a $4,000 scholarship from The National Garden Club’s Scholarship Fund. On the recommendation of the Federated Garden Club's Scholarship Committee only ONE CT student( resident) is qualified to receive this yearly award.

Lauren is a rising senior at Bowdoin College in Maine. She is majoring in Environmental Studies and Government and Legal Studies. She is passionate about food justice, namely ensuring that everyone, especially historically disadvantaged groups and communities, have access to fresh and healthy food. She leads the Bowdoin Organic Garden club which teaches students about growing local, organic food and engages the campus community in conversations about food justice. She spent a summer traveling throughout Maine to research the state's food system-- from potatoes to blueberries to the Common Ground Fair. Following her semester abroad in Bolivia this past spring, she wrote a children's book based on her independent research project on climate resiliency in agricultural communities in Bolivia. It's currently being published and distributed to communities throughout Bolivia as well as friends and family in the U.S.. She is incredibly grateful to receive this scholarship which will support her in finishing her undergraduate degree and pursuing her post-graduate adventures in whatever form they may 
Stephen Kelly received $ 2,000 from The Federated Garden Club Scholarship Fund
Stephen Kelly is a junior in Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut. This Summer 2019 he has been an intern with William Kenny Associates, an Ecological Services and Landscape Architecture firm based in his hometown of Fairfield, CT, helping to design private pollinator gardens for local clients. In addition to this, he has been working at the WKA-owned NATIVE plant nursery, selling and installing northeast native plants for private residences, gaining perspective on the processes involved in the construction of landscapes. He has particular interest in the ecological implications of community development and ultimately hopes to work in the public realm, developing spaces and practices which enhance environmental and human health. Beyond Landscape Architecture his interests include writing, hiking, and singing with his UConn acapella group "Notes Over Storrs".
Announcing NGC 2019/2020 Award Opportunities for Youth of All Ages
By Dottie Fox
Smokey Bear / Woodsy Owl Poster Contest: Children from first through fifth grade are invited to participate in the 2019/2020 National Garden Clubs, Inc. Poster Contest!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. are giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of wildfire prevention through original drawings of Smokey Bear. Read more about the contest

Click the links below for Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest Local Chairman report form, the Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest Teachers report form and Students Outreach Local Chairman report
High School Essay Contest: 2019/2020 theme - "CHALLENGES IN PRESERVING OUR NATURAL HABITATS" The High School Essay Contest is open to High School students attending 9-12th grades. A
$1,000 National Garden Club Scholarship will be awarded to the National Winner. If the winner
is an underclassman, the $ 1,000 scholarship will be held. Click to learn more .

Poetry Contest : 2019.2029 theme - "ADVENTURES IN THE GARDEN" The Poetry Contest is open to students in Kindergarten through ninth grade. This competition enables youth to embrace their creativity through the art of writing. All of the winning entries will be compiled into a booklet, which will be made available to the winners .  Click to learn more .

Youth Sculpture Contest: 2019/2020 theme - "ENCOURAGING YOUTH TO KEEP OUR PLANET GREEN" This contest encourages students to keep our planet green and to get involved with saving the environment. Students in grades 4 through 8 are eligible to create a sculpture of recyclable, reused, and reduced materials. The sculpture is limited in width to 81/2 inches by 11 inches. Height should be proportional to width.  Click to learn more .

Below are links for publication release form and youth sculpture form. Please visit our website for all Youth Projects.
Donations by Garden Clubs to our Scholarship Fund, Garden Therapy & World Gardening Fund.
We thank the following Garden Clubs for their recent donations to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund and the Garden Therapy. Our appeal is still ongoing for the remainder of the year to give all of our clubs the opportunity to make a contribution in the amount of their choosing and forward it to our Office Headquarters at PO Box 854, Branford, CT 06405.

Margareta Kotch is Scholarship Chair and Peggy Lajoie Garden Therapy & World Gardening Chair
Publications from National Garden Clubs, Inc. and
New England Garden Clubs, Inc.
Useful tips on how to navigate the CFNews, how to use online calendar and how to submit a calendar event - click buttons below.
Deadline to submit articles/photos, ads and calendar events for the December/January issue of the Connecticut Federation News is November 10, 2019. Please submit to:

Joan Burgess

Barbara Rombald
PO Box 854, Branford, CT 06405
Ellie Tessmer

Direct Circulation Queries to: Office Administrator , FGCCT, PO Box 854, Branford, CT 06405
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