Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

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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 about Les Quatre Vents
March 6, 2019
coffee: 9:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
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April Program
The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change with Ken Druse
April 3, 2019
9:30 - 11:30 am
New Canaan Library
Joint meeting with NCGC
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May Program
Seizing Beauty-Photographs Inspired by the Old Masters with Paulette Tavomina
May 1, 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
Hello Members,

Is it winter or spring?  Shall we dig in and hunker down with catalogues, or dig in the garden? Whatever the weather might be it is time to think about tree work - be it pruning or just cleaning up. Alternatively, enjoy your houseplants.  It's time to feed them now that the days are getting longer.

There are a lot of NCBL activities to stimulate us.
On your mark, get set - our 80th anniversary party beckons.   Please mark Sunday, April 28 on your calendars.  Contact either Karen or Barbara to lend a helping hand.

We hope you are addressing annual appeal envelopes.  Rose Bauersfeld and her team:  Tonya Gwynn, Karen Hanson, Dody Whitehurst, and Eva Wingate did a super job of organizing and distributing the mailing materials.  We all know how important this appeal is; the funds that are donated allow us to continue our mission of making New Canaan beautiful.  It takes a village!

We are looking forward to another interesting speaker at our February 6 meeting.   Jolley Frank, Nancy Malling, Carol Seldin, and Gerda Smith have done a great job in lining up our speaker once again.  Carpooling to the program would be a good idea, especially if there is foul weather.   We don't want anyone to be turned away due to parking problems.

The mail drop area at Pine and Park is about to get new plantings.   The town recently made major improvements to the curbing, and now our Civic Beautification team led by Faith Kerchoff and Rob Carpenter, is getting ready to plant.

Finally, do you have any ideas for field trips - near or far?  Several members are interested.  Just call or pop us an email.

Enjoy every minute.

Barbara and Karen

February Program

note: please carpool to this program to allow parking for all attendees

Brighten up your winter days and come to a presentation on: 
"Spring Flowers of the Northeast:  A Natural History"  by Carol Gracie.  Carol will talk about these ephemeral beauties which will soon make their appearance in our landscapes.  

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Carol Gracie is retired from The New York Botanical Garden, where she was Director of the Foreign Tour Program and the Children's Education Department.  She later worked in the Science Division, making dozens of trips to South and Central America as a tour leader on botanical collecting expeditions.  Her work has resulted in the naming of seven newly discovered tropical plant species and one new genus for her (including two named jointly for both Carol and her husband).  She is a co-author, with her tropical botanist-husband, Scott Mori, of the two-volume Guide to the Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana.  Carol has since returned to her earlier interest in local flora and is the photographer and co-author, with Steve Clemants, of Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States (Oxford University Press, 2006).  Her latest book, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, was published in 2012 by Princeton University Press.  Carol is currently working on a book about the natural history of summer wildflowers.

Books by Carol Gracie will be available for purchase.
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Presenting Our March Program:

The Gardener movie heading  
The Gardener

Come to our program in March where we will show S├ębastien Chabot's captivating and award-winning documentary about one of the world's most beautiful and ambitious private gardens, the 20-acre Les Quatre Vents in rural Quebec.

Chabot's 2009 interview with its then 84 year old creator, Frank Cabot, is the basis for this loving look at Cabot's garden and the joy Cabot finds in creating his natural masterpiece.

You can view the trailer to this visually beautiful documentary HERE.
The movie itself is 43 minutes long.

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Celebrate With Us!
April 28, 2019

save the date


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Calling all popcorn makers! 

Hospitality needs 3 - 4 members to bring food for the March meeting.  We will be enjoying a movie that day, so popcorn is welcome, along with baked goods, fruit, and other breakfast items.  Please email Cindy at  stillcj@aim.com , and include what you can bring .  

We also need people to bring food for the April joint meeting with the Garden Club.  Email Cindy at stillcj@aim.com if you can help.

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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

Annual Appeal 2019

The Annual Appeal thanks all volunteers who took bags of envelopes to address.  Bags are to be returned at the Wednesday, February 6 meeting. Please return all pages and any extra envelopes in your bag.  If you are not able to attend the meeting please contact one of the Annual Appeal members for other arrangements.

Thank you!

Rose Bauersfeld,  rbauersfeld@yahoo.com
Tonya Gwynn, tonyagwynn@yahoo.com
Dody Whitehurst, dody@dodywhitehurst.com
Eva Wingate, evawingate@aol.com


Lee Garden Report

Amidst the cold and frost in January, there were blooms in Lee Garden.  The winter blooming witch hazel ( Hamamelis sp.) has started to bloom already.  Last year, these shrubs were in full bloom March 1.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the blooms on these shrubs as we continue into February and March.  You can take a look for yourself by going to the garden and walking down the main path, Wood Road.  Multiple witch hazel shrubs can be seen about half way down the path on your right.

Witch Hazel Lee January 2019
Witch hazel starting to bloom at Lee Garden.  (photo: Faith Kerchoff)
January Program
Wonderful Impressions

Robin Hoffman of ArtScapades gave a presentation that was informative, fascinating and fun.  

In a lecture created specifically for gardeners and garden clubs, Robin spoke about the impressionists Monet, Renoir, van Gogh, and Hassam.  She skillfully explained the relationship these artists had to the flowers and landscapes they so famously painted.

Robin Hoffman ArtScapades

Crowd at January Program
It was a full house at our January program.  (photo: Peter Hanson)

Here is just a small sampling of information from Robin's talk:
  • Monet favored a particular species of peony because it was long lasting in a vase.
  • Monet told many that his gardens were his greatest work.
  • Monet and Renoir both gardened, but in differing styles.
  • It is thought that the foxglove plant shown in one of van Gogh's paintings may have been used as a medication treatment for van Gogh at the time.
  • Hassam painted often at Celia Thaxters Cottage off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire, in Cos Cob CT, and other areas on the coast of CT.
January program
Karen Sneirson, Robin Hoffman, Barbara Beall, Nancy Malling, Carol Seldin, and Gerda Smith.

You can read more about ArtScapades by clicking HERE

ArtScapades compiled a list of the artwork mentioned in the presentation and where they can be viewed locally.  You can download this list by clicking the image below:

ArtScapades Artwork list thumbnail

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January Flower Arrangement

Jacqueline Harmody used the theme of the program, impressionism, as inspiration for her bouquet.  Roses and hydrangeas were paired with the wispy stems of Delphenium and Thlaspi to create a light and airy feel.

January flowers
The flowers in this beautiful bouquet are: 'Playa Blanca' roses,
HydrangeaDelphenium , and  Thlaspi  'Green Bell'.


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Grasses and Seasonal Maintenance

Some gardeners cut their ornamental grasses once they've turned brown in late fall.  Others, keep the brown foliage and stalks throughout winter.  Whether you keep your grasses up in the winter, or cut them down, it's simply a matter of taste.   Keeping the foliage and stalks can have its benefits as it can look beautiful against the stark winter landscape and the birds enjoy them also. 

NCBL has their own beautiful example of ornamental grass in the winter.  The Route 123 and Parade Hill intersection is home to the NCBL triangle maintained by Val Monaghan and Shirley Stancik.  They have kept the tall ornamental grass up for the winter.

Parade Hill Route 123 triangle
Parade Hill Route 123 triangle close up

If you keep your grasses in the winter, snow and wind can create a mess of them, weighing the stalks down, making them floppy and unattractive.  Bianca Romano shared a tip to help prevent this:  before winter, tie a bungee cord near the base of the grass, which would keep the stalks together and tidy, preventing wind and snow from getting into the middle of the stalks, causing them to separate and fall.

If you do leave your grass for the winter, don't forget to cut them down before spring arrives.  The roots and new growth need replenishment from the sun and water and the new green growth needs room to sprout.  To read a great article from  The Spruce that describes an easy and tidy way to cut down your tall grasses, click HERE.

Want to try grasses but are a bit intimidated by the large and tall varieties?  There are shorter grasses also, such as this type Rob Carpenter currently has in his garden:

hakonechloa rob carpenter
Hakonechloa macra (Hakone Grass), a Japanese native, forms a low edging in Rob Carpenters garden this winter.

Rob usually cuts his grasses down before winter, but didn't get to it this year.  How lovely it is in this form in the middle of winter!  To read more about Hakone Grass click 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! 

NYBG classes at NCNC 
New Canaan Nature Center serves as a satellite site for the New York Botanical Garden Horticulture and Flower Arranging classes.
See the course offerings at NCNC by clicking HERE.

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Bartlett Arboretum logo

The Arboretum is hosting a Backyard Gardening Series with a speaker every month.  Click HERE and scroll to see the list of speakers.

The Arboretum also hosts Professional Landscaper Classes.
Click HERE for more info.

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Lewisboro Library
Sunday, February 10, 4:30 pm

This documentary takes us inside the creative process of author and landscape designer Piet Oudolf, visiting his own gardens and his signature public works (eg. The High Line). Sponsored by the Lewisboro Garden Club and Copia Home & Garden. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.

Click HERE to register.
Click below image to download a flyer of the program.
Five Seasons flyer image 
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Doug Tallamy presents:
A Guide to Restoring the Little Things that Run the World

March 7, 2019
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Darien Library

This event is sponsored by the Darien Nature Center, The Garden Club of Darien, the Darien Library, The Gardener's Center & Florist, Rowayton Gardeners, the Norwalk Land Trust, Tree Conservancy of Darien and the Darien Land Trust.

Click HERE for more information
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This Winter, Think Spring
Learn about Native Wildlife Gardening at Norwalk Community College

Taught by Elizabeth Craig, Advanced Master Gardener and 
 Jacqueline Algon, Advanced Master Gardener
2 Sessions
Begins: 2/26/3019
Tuesdays 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Tuition: $50

Click HERE to see more information and to register.

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

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The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy Presents:
Paradise Found
6:00 pm Monday March 11, 2019
At the Parish House of the Madison Avenue
Presbyterian Church
923 Madison Avenue
New York, NY

Click HERE to register and for more information.