February/March 2024
President's Message
The winter season is finally upon us. Historically, this is the time we are inundated with seed catalogs. There haven’t been as many this year. I miss the opportunity to peruse them and make my list for the upcoming planting season. We are all using our computers more so fewer catalogs mean fewer trees being cut down to make paper! Ah, my theme “Care for Our Air, Plant a Tree” or in this case, save a tree. 
FGCCT is part of a wider gardening community. Take note of the various initiatives and visit both the New England Garden Club, and National Garden Club websites. NGC just released a new children’s book, My Green is Gone, by NGC President Brenda Moore. My club purchased a dozen and distributed them to the elementary schools in Wallingford. NGC has also created a program to allow members to be recognized as an NGC Certified Wildlife Habit and as an NGC Certified Pollinator Garden. Information on the NGC projects is available on the NGC website under the “programs” tab. I filled in the application yesterday!
The Presidents' reports have been the impetus for several FGCCT programs this year. Our Treasurers' Zooms, produced by John Davis and MaryAnn Lynn, were great successes, as was the Awards Zoom organized by Vonice Carr. Coming up in March will be our first of four roundtable opportunities. The 2024 President's Annual Report form will be updated, streamlined and available by February 1, 2024. I received reports from only 52 out of our 113 clubs last year, so please take the time to complete them. Who knows what new initiatives may come out of this year’s reports. The Annual Reports are found in the Members Area under forms. [Reminder: username = fgcct, password = Charteroak*2022]
I take any opportunity on hand to tout my theme, “Care for Our Air…Plant a Tree.” This time of year, we should also be caring for our indoor air with houseplants. Spider plants, Pathos, Philodendron, Parlor Palm, Aloe Vera, Ficus and Peace Lily all help clean the indoor air of several or all the following chemicals: benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, carbon monoxide and xylene. Of course, we all know houseplants also improve our mood! We may be stuck inside for another couple of months, so take some time to visit Doug Tallamy’s Homegrown National Park website and seriously think about a tree you can plant this spring as well as making a donation to “Penny Pines” at the NGC website. 
Most of us pull out our cell phone camera when we see an image that moves us. Arabella Dane is the driving force of the New England Garden Clubs Photography Group. You can read their Newsletter here. There is an opportunity to register for an NEGC Webinar (for a $10 fee) with Rick Sammons on March 11, 2024, at 4PM. I look forward to updating my cell phone camera skills! 
I look forward to seeing you all at the Flower and Garden Show, “Bursting into Spring,” in a few weeks. The committees have been hard at work creating what will be a winning show!
In friendship,
"Care for Our Air"
Happy 2024 to all. Our President’s Project is ongoing and I am happy to tell you that your club can participate by donating $68.00 to the National Garden Club “Penny Pines” project
I would like to thank everyone who has notified me about their clubs' contributions to the Penny Pines Project. The following clubs have sent in their donations to NGC.
  • Bristol Garden Club
  • Greens Farms Garden Club
  • Stonington Garden Club
  • Wallingford Garden Club
Please continue to email me at [email protected] with plans, ideas, and contributions.
Upcoming Events
"Bursting into Spring"
February 22-25, 2024
CT Convention Center, Hartford, CT

Plans are under way for “Bursting Into Spring,” the 2024 CT Flower Show, which runs from Thursday, February 22 through Sunday, February 25, 2024 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Lynda Brown has graciously volunteered to chair the show again this year. Everyone on the committee is hard at work preparing for the show.

There are still openings for submissions. Anyone who is a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., or any amateur gardener can enter horticulture. Think about entering a specimen from your home, including trees, shrubs, and houseplants. Online registration is open. The majority of your specimens must have been in your possession for a minimum of 90 days. Exceptions include combination plants, which need to have been growing together for at least 6 weeks. Arboreals must have been in your possession for at least 6 months.

There is still time to volunteer and to make plans to carpool with friends to attend this once-a-year opportunity for a breath of spring in the winter. Reduced-price tickets are available for members of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc. Buy your tickets early before the February 9 deadline for discounted prices.

—Linda Kaplan, Public Relations Chair
Flower Show Hostesses Needed!

This year we are using the Sign Up Genius platform to sign up for hostess slots. 
Hostesses will get free entrance on the day they volunteer as well as free parking. Duties will include monitoring the exhibits to prevent handling and being the face of the FGCCT by answering questions. Board members will be on hand to assist with any questions. A Hospitality Room is provided for volunteers only to hang your coat and enjoy light refreshments. Kathy Lindroth

** Publicize Your Club at the CT Flower Show! **
The CT Flower and Garden Show attracts 40,000 attendees and we would love to showcase your club! Space will be available at The Federation’s Membership Table for you to publicize your Club or upcoming events. Printed publicity pieces are welcome. Plant Sales and May Markets are excluded (unless part of a tri-fold). You may drop off your publicity pieces at the Membership Table while you are at the Flower Show or send them in advance to 31 Silent Grv, Westport CT 06880. Questions? Contact: [email protected]
NOTE Deadline for Discounted Tickets for FGCCT Garden Club Members!
Save the Date!

95th FGCCT Annual Meeting and Luncheon
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Aqua Turf Club
556 Mulberry Street, Plantsville, CT
“Popular Orchids for the Home”

ART CHADWICK of Chadwick Orchids

In 1989, Art founded Chadwick and Son Orchids Inc. along with his father, who has been growing orchids since 1943. Art is a regular on the orchid society speaker circuit, and since 2002 has penned an orchid advice column for several newspapers. Art is also author of The Classic Cattleyas, widely considered to be the definitive book on large-flowered Cattleya orchids. He has the distinction of naming Cattleya hybrids after the wives of the last five U.S. Presidents.

Books and orchid plants will be available for purchase.
Doors open at 9 AM!
The event will begin at 9:15 AM with 45 minutes of social time and shopping.
The business meeting will begin at 10 AM, followed by the program. Lunch will be served at 12:15 PM.
Vendors will include both the familiar, favorite sellers and some new ones. All sales benefit the Federation and help support our projects. We will also again conduct our very popular drawing with items contributed by the vendors.

Luncheon includes Salad and Breadbasket, Dessert, Coffee/Tea Service. Cash Bar Available.
Make your entree selection through the registration form.
 Cost is $45 per person
Questions? [email protected]
Treasury Notes

Update for Treasurers on Card Processing Company Reporting to the IRS

The IRS has delayed full implementation of the $600 threshold for Card processing companies to report aggregate activity to the IRS. For calendar year 2023, your club will get a 1099 K only if your card receipts aggregated more than $20,000 and had more than 200 transactions. The threshold for calendar year 2024 will be reduced to $5,000. Just make sure that the Tax Identification number on your club’s profile with your card processor (e.g., Square or Paypal) is your Club EIN, NOT the Social Security Number of one of your officers.

Form 990 Deadline

Your tax-exempt garden club (organization) is required to file an annual information return (990, 990EZ or 990N). Organizations that do not file for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status. 

IRS Form 990 is due by the 15th day of the 5th month after your accounting period ends.  

Upcoming Form 990 Deadline:
  • If your organization’s accounting tax period starts on October 1, 2022 and ends on September 30, 2023, your Form 990 is due by February 15, 2024.

If your club's (organization’s) tax-exempt status is automatically revoked, it is no longer exempt from federal income tax. Consequently, it may be required to a file federal income return.

NOTE: The slides from the Treasurers' Workshops held in December are available in the Club Corner under Tips>Financial Management/Taxes.

— John Davis, Treasurer, MaryAnn Lynn, Assistant Treasurer
Upcoming FGCCT Schools …
Landscape Design School, Course 1 (Virtual)

The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s (FGCCT) Virtual Landscape Design School (LDS) is March 26-27, 2024 via Zoom. This year we are doing Course 1 of NGC’s new curriculum. Everyone is welcome to attend (whether or not they are garden club members). Each day runs from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Lecture outlines, instructor bios & lecture schedules will be provided via email a week or so before the start of the course. 

  • The curriculum is divided into four courses; one course is offered in CT in March each year.
  • Courses may be taken in any order.
  • Students are encouraged to attend all four courses; however, each course stands alone.
  • Lectures are presented by Landscape Architects and other professionals in the field.

Garden club members earn NGC Landscape Design Consultant status by:

  • Attending all four courses and receiving a grade of 70 or better on the optional, multiple choice, open book online exams.
  • Completing all four courses within seven years.

Garden club members may join the Landscape Design Council as a Provisional Member after passing two courses. Council activities include field trips, programs and other aspects of continuing education.

NOTE: If you have taken LDS courses out of state, please be sure to let us know. Send an email to LDS Chair Sue Kelley or LDC Chair Susan Laursen.

Course Fee: Full 2-day Course $100 + NGC Fee $5 = Total: $105     
Flower Show School 2024

Are you interested in learning more about flower shows or ready to take the first steps to become a judge? Consider enrolling in Flower Show School, Course 1. It is open to all garden club members and is scheduled for April 18 and April 24-26, 2024. Flower Show School 1 teaches all the basics of design, horticulture and procedure. Although not required to begin with FSSI, it is a very beneficial way to start. In-person classes will be held at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, CT. 
April 18: Flower Show Procedure—Zoom class and exam
April 24: Flower Show School 1 Design
April 25: Flower Show School 1 Horticulture
April 26: Exam

Registration information and further details will be available on the FGCCT website. Flower Show School 2 is tentatively scheduled for October 2024.
Public Relations

Now that we are actively preparing for the CT Flower Show, think about publicizing the event and your club’s participation in it. Promoting the Flower Show in your local communities is a great opportunity to encourage people to join your club.
Consider writing a press release and sending it to your local newspaper and radio station. Most local papers and radio stations do not charge for press releases. Many of them also have a social media page. Write a brief article explaining why you enjoy attending the Flower Show. Talk about your club’s participation in the Flower Show, describe your favorite displays from last year and mention the classes that you have attended. Point out how much fun you had last year participating in the Show’s weekend events. Consider adding a photograph from last year’s Flower Show. Finally, mention the topic being presented at your March club meeting and invite guests to visit you. Post a contact name and number for more information.

— Linda Kaplan, Public Relations Chair
Regional Roundtables are coming!

Have you ever wanted to speak to your counterparts in nearby Clubs? The Federation is pleased to announce that it will be holding Regional Roundtable Events in 2024. Club Board of Directors are invited to exchange information and ideas on topics including: Membership, Fundraising, Finances, Programs & Events, Social Media & Promotion, and more. 

The Roundtables will take place for Clubs in 5 Regions: Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, Northwest, and Central Connecticut. Our current schedule is:

  • March 7, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Waterford Town Hall, 15 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, CT
  • April 3, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: St. Luke’s Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road, Westport, CT
  • Other dates/locations to be announced.
For more information, contact Nan Merolla, FGCCT 1st VP
News from the Gardening Council

In 2024 the Penny Jarvis Lovely Garden Award Committee will be accepting award nominations from April 15 until August 15. Pray for no drought or deluges so everything looks its best. In the spirit of its benefactor, the award is presented to someone who has a love of gardening. Nominations are open to all FGCCT garden club members and may be made for one’s own garden or for another member’s garden.  
Shelley Hedberg, Chair of the Lovely Garden Award Committee, encourages you to nominate your own lovely garden or, perhaps, another club member’s garden! The evaluation process begins when the garden is nominated, visited within two weeks and critiqued by members of the Committee. It ends when the committee tallies the votes and reports its decision to the FGCCT Awards Chair. The FGCCT will donate money to the charitable organization of the award recipient’s choice. The Award winner will receive a Certificate of Recognition at the October meeting, with mention made of their choice of charity. Stay tuned to the FGCCT website for the Lovely Garden Award application link on April 15! 
Attendees of our Gardening School Course 4, Series 8, held on Sept. 13-14, 2023, via Zoom, have received verification from NGC of their consultant status. The following CT consultants have been recorded and dated in Good Standing until 12/31/2028: 
Gardening Consultant Refreshers 
Shelley Hedberg Watertown, CT 
Joanne McKendry Brookfield, CT 
Gardening Master Consultant 
Cheryl Cappiali Milford, CT 
Gardening Master Consultant Refresher 
Cheryl Basztura Trumbull, CT 
Be of good cheer! There are only 62 days (about 2 months) until spring begins and only 89 days (about 3 months) until you may nominate someone for the Lovely Garden Award! 
 — Cheryl Cappiali, Gardening Council Chair 
More 2024 Tours: 
May 1-May 4 ~ Washington DC and Annapolis (wait list only)
June 23-July 7, 2024 ~ Scotland with Yorkshire Extension (a few spots)
July 21-23 ~ Cape Ann
August 10-17 ~ Glacier National Park (wait list only)
October 24-November 3 ~ Sicily
Keep checking the website for new tours!   

— Kathy Lindroth, FGCCT Tours Coordinator ~ 860.836.3407 or [email protected]
More About NIPs …

January is here and now we will be getting ten cents back for each bottle returned EXCEPT for those little NIP bottles.
State Rep. Joseph Gresko, House Chairman of the Environmental Committee, will propose a bill during the upcoming session in February to leave it up to individual municipalities whether to ban the sale of nips bottles.

He states that every municipality has an issue with the litter from these “little NIP bottles. The problem is, they also receive money from fees collected for these bottles that will probably be one reason that they will not go along with this legislation."

The bottles, which sell for $1 to $5, cannot be redeemed for a deposit because there is no physical place for them in the machines where other bottles and cans are returned. There are also no plans to get a machine that will accomplish this.
Instead, legislators put a five-cent surcharge on the nip bottles; that goes back to each community. Connecticut cities and towns have received nearly $9 million from the surcharge.

About 90 million NIPS bottles per year are sold in Connecticut. Municipalities are required to spend the money on litter reduction, but not necessarily on efforts tied to getting rid of the NIP bottle litter. A city such as New Haven probably won’t vote for a ban because they get about $110 every six months from the surcharge.

Please keep an eye out for this legislation and let’s act on it. I will let you know when your input is needed. Write your legislators and tell them that what we have now is not doing anything to address the NIP litter. If you start picking them up, you will realize the extent of the problem. The legislative process will shed light on what people think about the issue.

— Gerri Giordano, FGCCT Legislative/Government Action Chair
From NGC: Plant America with an Espoma Organic Grant
From NEGC: A Gift Tote for Your Favorite Gardener
Articles of Interest
Grafting — The Best of Both Worlds
By Renee Marsh, FGCCT Horticulture Chair
I have always been fascinated by plant propagation, especially grafting. In essence, grafting is the botanical version of mixing and matching that involves combining the upper part of one plant (the scion) with the lower part of another (the rootstock). It is a horticultural feat that dates back to around 3000 BCE when Chinese horticulturists started grafting fruit trees.
So why graft two plants together? Well, because we want the best of all worlds and the rootstock and the scion each bring different desirable attributes. Rootstocks control hardiness and soil tolerance, disease resistance and fast growth. Scions bring qualities like exceptional fruit or beautiful flowers or interesting foliage. Many—I dare say most—fruit and citrus trees, grapevines, roses, weeping and ornamental trees and conifers are grafted. 

There is one caveat on all this plant mashup: grafting works best with closely related plants within the same genus. The similar genetic makeup makes them more compatible, resulting in a more robust and viable grafted plant. There are some inter-genus dalliances, to be sure, but those are rare. It’s easy to spot grafts if you know what to look for. Grafting scars are distinctive marks where the rootstock and scion were joined. They take years to heal and rarely disappear entirely. It can be a small seam or bulge on the main stem; the exact location of the scar depends on the grafting technique used. For some plants, like fruit trees and roses, the graft union may be buried below the soil level. The decision to bury the graft union depends on factors such as the type of plant and environmental conditions but just be aware of it.
Weeping trees are commonly grafted to create that distinctive form and get them up off the ground. Take for example a weeping cherry. A vigorous and hardy rootstock sapling is cut several feet above the ground, and scion from a cherry with cascading branches and eye-catching spring blooms is grafted at the top of the cut-off trunk. And voila! This is done for deciduous trees as well as conifers like weeping hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula').

Japanese maples boast a wide array of grafted cultivars, each prized for its unique features. There are the weeping Japanese maples such as 'Crimson Queen' and 'Dissectum Atropurpureum,' with their finely dissected foliage and cascading form. Some are upright like 'Bloodgood,' known for its stunning foliage and 'Sango Kaku,' or Coral Bark Maple, renowned for its striking coral-red branches. There are Japanese maples which are naturally vigorous and grown from seed. These are referred to as "own-root" or "seedling-grown" maples and if someone is selling seedlings out of their yard, that is what they are. My garden has a number of these as well as rootstock plants I saved from the dumpster. No breeding but I like them just the same.

It all sounds wonderful right? Well, sometimes there is trouble in this horticultural paradise. Grafts can fail and lead to trouble. Interestingly, the impetus for this article was just that, a lumpy graft on a weeping elm (Ulmi glabra 'Camperdownii') in a friend’s garden. When a graft fails to establish properly, it leads to the formation of a bulge or callus. The bulge is a result of the plant's effort to heal and compartmentalize the damaged area. There is nothing to be done and, as one would suspect, this is a weak point for the tree but not a death sentence. 
The other common problem I see, and I see it often, is rampant growth from the rootstock. Graft failure often blocks the pipeline for water and food moving up the trunk and that leads to suckering as the energy of the rootstock seeks an outlet. Here is a Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls') that is being tortured in a restaurant parking lot — this is an understory tree for crying out loud! Anyway, the obvious problem is that those large straight limbs are growing out of the rootstock. Then there is this rather interesting looking “weeping” cherry.
In this case the rule is simple: any sprouts or branches that appear below the graft scar should be cut off immediately. If not, the rootstock will overpower the scion and well, that’s just not nice. Cut the unwanted limbs back to the trunk, using proper pruning technique of course, and keep an eye out because more will grow when you turn your back. 

If this all fascinates you, I highly recommend you try grafting. I tried to graft tomato seedlings once—oh yes, that is a thing —with zero success but still harbor dreams of being a grafting queen. The book to read is The Manual of Plant Grafting: Practical techniques for ornamentals, vegetables, and fruit by Peter T. MacDonald, which covers various grafting techniques and has good pictures. Even if you never end up doing it (kind of like reading cookbooks but never cooking), it will give you an appreciation for the science, and art, of grafting.
Japanese Knotweed — An Existential Threat
By Holly Kocet, Garden Club of Newtown & Co-Chair, FGCCT Conservation Committee
Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum syn. Fallopia japonica) is native to Asia and is one of the most invasive plants in the world. An herbaceous perennial and a member of the buckwheat family, knotweed was introduced to North America in the 1870s for its ornamental appeal and to stabilize streambanks. This plant is an aggressive invader of forest edges, wetlands, stream corridors, and drainage ditches in Connecticut and across the country.

Knotweed has several identifiable and unmistakable characteristics. Emerging in early spring, new growth is bright purple with furled, spear-shaped leaves resembling asparagus. The stems of knotweed are bright green in color and flecked with red. Hollow bamboo-like stems can grow to a height of 11 feet. Leaf petioles have a reddish tinge and an obvious zig-zag habit. Leaves are shaped like a garden spade with a straight back and can be up to 6 inches long. Aromatic and finger-like blooms appear in late summer.

How does Japanese Knotweed spread? Knotweed reproduces primarily by vegetative regeneration of rhizomes, (horizontal underground stems) and above-ground crown material. The crowns on a mature knotweed plant can be massive but what’s going on below ground is even more concerning—an extensive network of rhizomes from which many shoots will sprout. Orange in color, rhizomes will snap like a carrot when removal is attempted. Even very small fragments of above- and below-ground plant material can give rise to new plants. Knotweed thrives on disturbance, both by natural means and with human activity. Transportation of soil containing rhizome fragments is a major cause of knotweed spread.

What kind of problems are associated with Japanese Knotweed? While it is not believed knotweed damages structures that are sound, it is opportunistic. If there is a weakness such as a gap or crack in pavement or concrete, knotweed will infiltrate these areas. Damage can occur to pavement, walls, foundations and outbuildings. And knotweed is easily spread during landscaping and development activities.
Mature stands of Japanese Knotweed are aesthetically displeasing, especially as they accumulate litter along roadsides, parks and open spaces. Substantial in size, knotweed can be a significant sightline hazard for motorists. Eradicating large infestations can be a laborious and expensive. An infestation might devalue a property, or a new home buyer may unwittingly inherit a knotweed problem.

The ecological impact of knotweed is significant. It thrives in a variety of habitats. Once established, it forms large, dense stands, displacing native flora and fauna. It is a serious threat to riparian areas, where it can survive severe flooding. Stems can wash into rivers and streams and quickly colonize shores and islands. Knotweed stands can restrict access to riverbanks. The litter that accumulates in knotweed stalks can also suppress native flora, thereby reducing habitat for wildlife.

What is it about knotweed that makes it so prolific? Well, for one thing, it is not fussy. It grows in a variety of soil types and doesn’t mind poor soil. It is an extremely hardy species. In Japan, it thrives in bare volcanic gravel and lava fields beneath Mount Fuji and even above the tree line. Knotweed is also an extremely active plant. A single stand of knotweed can produce more than 230 shoots. In this way, it forms monocultures, suppressing everything else.

What makes knotweed so difficult to deal with? 1) Rhizome growth is extensive—rhizomes grow laterally up to 7 feet from any visible growth and even farther if rhizomes follow a natural or man-made channel in the ground. 2) Rhizomes can reach depths of 3 yards or more, making removal even more difficult. 3) Knotweed rhizomes can actually remain dormant for up to 20 years.

The most effective control method for Japanese knotweed is to prevent its establishment in the first place—monitoring our yards, borders and roadsides and removing newly established plants before they become established. Proper disposal is important. Knotweed should never be placed in brush piles or town landfills. Green Shoots, a company that specializes in invasive plant control, suggests putting shoots in a black plastic bag in full sun to dry out before disposing as trash.
Japanese Knotweed is on the CT Invasive Plant List. As such, it is “prohibited from importation, movement, sale, purchase, transplanting, cultivation and distribution under CT General Statute 22a-381d.”
The CT Invasive Plant Working Group’s (CIPWG) Invasive Management Calendar cautions that cuttings left on the ground provide opportunity for regeneration and further spread. And a study by Jones et al., 2020 concluded that cutting and mowing doesn’t destroy knotweed. There are “No examples of successful long-term invasive knotweed management using this treatment programme.” And because mowing is a very efficient way of spreading knotweed, it is concerning that road crews continue to mow knotweed along our roadways.

There is no question Japanese Knotweed is a serious threat to landowners and the environment. Large stands are difficult to eradicate. However, serious and thoughtful consideration should always be given when considering chemical treatments and their impact(s). That is why seeking the advice of a licensed chemical applicator with experience in the treatment of Japanese Knotweed and with an understanding the plant’s physiology is important. While a homeowner might want to get rid of this plant as soon as possible, it is a mistake to treat a knotweed plant too early when carbohydrates are being sent to new growth in stems and leaves. Any herbicide applied at this time will only cause top-kill and not be carried down to the rhizomes. A study done by Jones et al., 2018 determined that late-season chemical applications are most effective in controlling knotweed. Knotweed control specialists agree that treatment is most effective when done in late autumn after flowers have passed but before the first killing frost.

Despite all the negative aspects of Japanese Knotweed, this is an invasive that might be controlled and even eradicated in our towns and cities. Unlike Japanese Barberry and Winged Euonymus (Burning Bush), that have overtaken our forests and wild areas, I do believe there is hope for Japanese Knotweed. But we have to let our representatives know of our concerns. Several state legislators have told me that if they don’t hear from their constituents, they focus their attention on other issues. Legislation is needed to address invasive species in our state and especially for Japanese Knotweed.

The United Kingdom has been dealing with Japanese Knotweed for many years. While it is not against the law to have knotweed on your property in the U.K., homeowners cannot allow knotweed to spread into wild areas or encroach on neighboring properties. Also, mortgage lenders in the U.K. are reluctant to lend on a property where knotweed has been identified. There is no question that knotweed negatively impacts the aesthetic value of a property. It should never be allowed to encroach on neighboring property.

There are many groups around the state actively battling invasives… land trusts, gardeners, conservation groups. I would like to take a minute to extend my appreciation to all the garden clubs and individuals who are doing this work in their towns. I would especially like to recognize the West Hartford Garden Club for their work at Spicebush Swamp Park, removing invasive Buckhorn and replacing with native species. I would also like to thank the Westport Garden Club for their work at Grace K. Salmon Park in removing invasives such as the dreaded Tree-of-Heaven and this hellish invader, Japanese Knotweed. Stars All.
SPOTLIGHT on our FGCCT Affiliates!

Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA)
Founded in 1895, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) was the first private, nonprofit, conservation organization to be established in Connecticut. Their mission, to connect people to Connecticut’s forests, parks, and Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails, and to ensure these special places are protected and well managed for future generations, is firmly aligned with The Federation's conservation commitment and our President’s project encouraging us to “Care for Your Air.”

Their vision to inspire active, lifelong engagement with Connecticut’s abundant and well managed forests, parks, and trails by building a vibrant and diverse conservation community is reflected in the work they do, including putting forward a conservation agenda for Connecticut’s future and communicating their top recommendations to legislators on state and federal priorities each year. CFPA announced the hiring of Andy Bicking as its next Executive Director in December. Bicking is currently the Director of Government Relations and Public Policy at Scenic Hudson, where he has worked since 2000. He began his role with CFPA in January 2024.
In addition to their annual Connecticut Trails Day in June, CFPA hosts year-round events that include trail hikes and educational programs, often at the James L. Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton. Their calendar of events is posted on their website.
Their publication, Connecticut Woodlands, has been published since 1936. This well-respected quarterly print magazine is a benefit currently reserved for members and supporters of CFPA and is full of stories written by a diverse and continually changing group of authors. If you have ideas for new stories, want to comment on something you’ve read, or would like to contribute your own stories, photos, etc., the Editor of Connecticut Woodlands, Timothy Brown, would love to hear from you! 

Membership to CFPA is $35 per year and includes a subscription to the magazine, discounts on printed maps and books, The Rocks, Roots and Trail newsletter, invitations to special events, and the ability to vote on CFPA business. The Non-profit Organization / Club Membership at $100 offers the opportunity for up to two uses of the meeting room on a reservation basis. Visit their website to explore all CFPA has to offer!
In the Club Corner
"Club Corner" is a place for clubs to showcase recently completed club achievements and activities. Has your club done something unique (or uniquely successful?) that you'd like to share? Visit "Club Corner" on the FGCCT website for more news from clubs! (Note that this area is not for upcoming events—you can post those on the FGCCT Club Calendar.)

Send photos, along with a writeup (200 words or less) and photo captions, to [email protected] to be considered for inclusion. Please ensure you have appropriate permissions for all photos. We reserve the right to edit copy and select photos for inclusion.
Featured Club: The Garden Club of Madison
Founded in 1924, the Garden Club of Madison is dedicated to sharing the art, science, and pleasure of gardening, horticulture, artistic design, and environmental conservation. The Club meets on the second Tuesday of most months, engaging professionals in their fields as guest speakers to educate and inspire Club members on the topics of gardening, horticulture, floral design, landscape design, and environmental issues. Members are also encouraged to participate in the Horticulture Program and Design Program, which are organized and judged by members whose credentials include National Garden Club (NGC) Accredited Judge, Federated Garden Clubs of CT (FGCC) Landscape Design Council, and Master Gardener.
The club’s many projects around town are highlighted on their website, along with plant lists. Highlights include:
“Madison’s Going Daffodils” with more than 5,000 daffodils planted in 12 locations on the Daffodil Trail throughout the town.

Bauer Park, a 64.5-acre former farm owned and managed by the town of Madison. The Club assumed the management of its apple orchard and the Club’s Organic Gardening Group plants and maintains an experimental/educational plot located in the Bauer Farming Project. The Club also launched the “Bees at Bauer” program and developed two hives that each contain 12,500 honeybees, winning both National Garden Club and Federated Garden Club awards.

Garden Therapy: Since 1964, members of the Club have planned monthly garden-related activities to engage and stimulate senior-center residents’ interest and enjoyment. 

Allis-Bushnell House Perennial Garden
In association with Madison Historical Society, the Club developed perennial gardens to complement the house, built in 1785 at 853 Boston Post Road.
Deacon John Grave House
In coordination with the Deacon John Grave Foundation, the Club designed and maintains two traditional perennial gardens located between the house and barn at 581 Boston Post Road. The Club’s Native Plant Walk, located in the wooded area along the east side of the house, features native and woodland plants along a shaded pathway with seating. 

East Wharf Beach Seaside Gardens
Located at East Wharf Beach Park on Middle Beach Road, these lush gardens have been designed to thrive along the shoreline and provide year-round beauty and habitats for wildlife.

Veterans’ And 9/11 Memorial Gardens
At the Madison Town Green, these gardens honor veterans who lost their lives in service of our country, and citizens lost during the September 11 attacks. 

The Garden Club of Madison has given 100 wonderful years of service to their community. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

More Club News …
Cheshire Garden Club Sponsors Two Successful Events

Members of the Cheshire Garden Club took part in two major events recently—both of them in the same week! After a pause of four years due to the pandemic, the much anticipated 40th Annual Holiday Luncheon was held at Aqua Turf on Dec. 6, 2023, featuring Floral Designer Heather Potter, seven vendors, many raffle items and several tables of fresh greens arrangements, swags and wreaths. Staging this much anticipated event was a complement of six members of the Club who didn’t mind being kept busy for the many guests, including our Federation’s President, who enjoyed “Let’s Celebrate Together.”
While these activities were taking place, that same week another event happened simultaneously: the Club’s 69th Annual Holiday Door Decorating Contest. Any Cheshire citizen may enter one of six categories, including Front Door, Entire Front, Vintage Home, Youth Motif, Garden Club Member, and Public/Business. The entries in each category are then judged, and the winners have their photo taken amongst their lovely displays. Together with a narrative, the photos are submitted to the local newspaper, The Cheshire Herald, and published at year’s end with a full-page display.

This year’s nominations included entries close to the Southington border; others on the east side near Meriden; one all the way to the south near Hamden; and a couple closer to Prospect on the west side. Although this project involves quite a bit of driving around town, seeing the happy faces when winners are declared makes it all worthwhile. In addition to the paper copy, this event was also covered on The Cheshire Herald’s E-edition and their website.
Arbor Garden Club of Clinton Announces Leadership Changes

December’s Arbor Garden Club of Clinton's meeting and holiday party was held at a local family-owned restaurant where the cozy setting, fine food, and gift exchange made for a very festive evening. However,  the event also marked a celebration of a very different kind.

After nine years of exemplary service as President, Ginny Casanova passed the torch to Lisa Wickersham, who has worked alongside Ginny over the past three years as Secretary and concurrently as Ways and Means Chair for the past two years. Ginny was thanked for her unwavering passion for our club and commitment to our members and community. A member of the Arbor Garden Club of Clinton for over ten years, Ginny will continue to serve on club committees and as coordinator for FGCCT's Environmental School. Lisa, who moved to Clinton five years ago from South Salem, NY, had been a long-time member of the Lewisboro Garden Club where she served as President, Vice President, and Publicity Chair, which led to writing a weekly Garden Club Notes column for her local newspaper. 

Other newly announced  officers include Mj Lanzillotta, Vice President; Sue Schaedler, Secretary; Sandy Pardes, Treasurer; and Sue Schreck, Assistant Treasurer. Doris Fallon will continue on as Corresponding Secretary. The creation of a new Youth Committee, expansion of roles, and addition of several new members and special projects should make for an exciting 2024!
Installation of new officers (L to R); Sue Schaedler, Secretary;
Lisa Wickersham, President; 
Mj Lanzillotta, Vice President; Sandy Pardes, Treasurer;
Sue Schreck, Assistant Treasurer
Arbor Garden Club of Clinton ends the year supporting
Toys for Tots; a few Executive Committee members
with outgoing President Ginny Casanova
100 Years Young!

A member of the Hill and Dale Garden Club of Glastonbury celebrated her 100th birthday on 1/19/2024. Connie Abbott (pictured at right) joined our club in 1994, where she served on various committees, the longest term being on our Scholarship Committee, which chooses a Glastonbury VoAg student every year to be the recipient of a $1000 scholarship. Connie has always been an active and contributing member of Hill and Dale and one we can always count on to do an exemplary job at whatever she undertakes. Hill and Dale Garden Club salutes Connie Abbott and all of her accomplishments in our club.
Would you like to see your club recognized in the CFNews Club Corner? Let me know what you are excited about! [email protected]
Donations to FGCCT's Scholarship, Garden Therapy and World Gardening Funds
We thank the following Garden Clubs for their recent donations to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund.* For almost 40 years, the Federation has awarded scholarships to college and university students who major in Agronomy, Botany, City Planning, Conservation, Environmental Studies, Floriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Land Management, Landscape Design, Plant Pathology, or allied subjects. We welcome donations of any size. Our appeal is ongoing to give all of our clubs the opportunity to make a contribution in the amount of their choosing.
Scholarship Donations since the last issue of CFNews
Enfield Garden Club
Essex Garden Club
Evergreen Country Gardeners
$ 100.00
$ 200.00
$ 100.00
Please send all Scholarship Fund donation checks to the appropriate chair (see below). Make checks out to "FGCCT" with the appropriate Fund listed on the memo line.  

*Please note that due to the deadline for articles and information for the CFNews, some donations may not be received and deposited in time to be included in the bi-monthly donation acknowledgement, but will be included in the next issue of our newsletter. 

For World Gardening & Garden Therapy:
The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc.
Attention: Rosemary Bonaguide
PO Box 902
Wallingford, CT 06492
For FGCCT Scholarship Fund:
The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc.
Attention: Carole Fromer
PO Box 902
Wallingford, CT 06492

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FGCCT is on Facebook and Instagram and we love to post your news and photos! Please send upcoming events, club activities, civic projects, milestones, and hort tips. Include photos and a brief writeup of the news your club would like to share. The best format is text in an email with jpg photos attached. Take active photos showing members at work or showcasing beautiful gardens, flowers, and plants (please name the flower if it is a hort only photo). Let’s follow each other! Send submissions to [email protected]
Just a reminder …
Please send all correspondence to the new FGCCT office:
The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc.
P.O. Box 902
Wallingford, CT 06492
Did you recently elect new officers? Email their names and contact information to us at [email protected] so they will receive Federation correspondence. If you need assistance, please contact FGCCT Office Administrator Joan Lenart at [email protected] or by phone at 203-488-5528 on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Deadline to submit articles/photos, ads and calendar events for the April/May 2024 issue of the CFNews is March 10, 2024. Please submit to:
Martha (Marty) Sherman

Ellie Tessmer
Reminder from NGC: The National Gardener is ONLINE (and free!)

The official publication of the National Garden Clubs, The National Gardener, appears quarterly, and features articles of interest to environmentalists, gardeners, landscapers, floral designers, educators and photographers. Subscribe here.
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