Holiday Greens Workshop
December 3rd
8:30 am - noon
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NCBL Board Meeting
December Board Meeting has been cancelled.
January Program
NC Land Trust: Past & Future 
January 6th
9:30 am
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Annual Appeal
Appeal Bag Pick Up
January 6th
Following program presentation
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Victorian Tea
February 3rd
11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Waveny House

A Letter From Our Presidents

Leaf piles and a chill in the air signal a change of seasons... and the two newly installed red Welcome to New Canaan signs at Gerdes Road and the Carter Street / Rte. 123 intersection are welcoming.

November saw two outstanding programs.  Our thanks to Carol Seldin and Amy Weber Reid!  The affable Maureen Laning inspired us with her arrangements and attention to detail.  A week later, Susan Bergen and Shirley Stancik presented Flower Arranging 101.  It was a hands-on success with attendees making many beautiful arrangements.

Members enjoyed an evening of treats and shopping at Goldenberry, on Cherry Street, to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Member Deb Hecht is owner of this shop, and she collected donations at the door, and gave a percentage of the shopping to the NCBL. Thank you Deb, Mia and Ken!

Triangles are being cleared of leaves and readied for winter. The end of November saw our Town Hall planting "part two" being finished, which included bulb planting - thanks to a generous donation by Chris Schipper of Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs.

With the holidays tip-toeing in, members have graciously volunteered to brighten the tables at Waveny Care Center.  Our next round of  Waveny table decorating will take place in June.

With holiday gifting in mind (and making your own wish lists!), here are some items to tempt you.  Four books highlighted at the Flowers 101 workshop were:  Flower Arranging Secrets by Jane Godshalk, A Passion for Flowers and her newest book, At Home in the Garden by Carolyne Roehm,  and Garden Bouquets and Beyond by Suzy Bales.

To understand the landscape around us, this fascinating book is an eye opener:   Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy.  The late Joan Sargent, master gardener, said if she could only have 3 books in her library this would be one of them!
If you want winter reading to curl up with, consider Michael Pollen's,
In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore's Dilemma.  Enlightening!  If you have teens on the list, they should get Fast Food Nation
by Eric Schlosser.  This book should be required reading in schools.  If they share it with you or you get your own, you will find it amazing.  It's available in paperback.

Coming up on December 3rd, NCBL is doing what we do best:  beautifying New Canaan!  It's the annual GREENS WORKSHOP run by Liz Orteig and Sharon Johnson (more below).  A group of volunteers will collectively make 'from scratch' the giant sized evergreen wreaths that decorate the town buildings during the holidays. Bring gloves and clippers and help us affix greens to giant wooden frames.  This is a joint activity with the Garden Club, who will be providing refreshments this year.  If you have evergreen branches, large pine cones, holly or boxwood you would like to share, clip it and bring it.  Afterward, we need a few volunteers to put greens in the planters at Town Hall, the train station, and the large planters in town.

May your own holidays be joyous, and balanced; not too rushed that you can't enjoy a quiet walk outdoors. When you shop, park at the farthest area and enjoy the walk to the store.

Wishing you an evergreen holiday season filled with holly, mistletoe and poinsettia!

Faith and Sara

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Thursday, December 3rd
NC Nature Center 8:30 am

Come and join us on Thursday, December 3rd, at 8:30 am at the NC Nature Center to make the wreaths that decorate many of our public buildings in town.  We will be working in partnership with the Garden Club, an annual tradition and great opportunity to mingle with our friends in New Canaan's other garden group.  No experience is necessary as we will show you what to do.  It involves attaching fresh cut greenery to wooden frames with staples. Bring hand pruners if you have them.

Please let Liz Orteig know if you will be coming!


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Annual Appeal Header
Many thanks to everyone who helped us make the 2015 Annual Appeal so successful!

On January 6th we will start working on the 2016 appeal, for mailing on March 1st.

We are encouraging everyone to address envelopes again this January.  You will be able to pick them up at the Wednesday, January 6th NCBL Program at the Nature Center. The "appeal bags" contain a list of addresses, cover letters, bookmarks, remittance envelopes, and envelopes to address.  Handwriting the envelope makes a difference in personalizing the mailing.  Again, we are NOT allowed to write a personal note of any kind on the letter this year (per post office bulk mail requirements).  

Thanks for your support of this important fund raising campaign.
 "Many hands make light work".

Looking forward to seeing you in January!  

Enjoy the season!

Karen Hanson
Angie Brenninkmeyer

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Waveny Flower Arranging 
Volunteers for December

December 7th : Liz Mallozzi 
December 14th : Judy Gilroy 
December 21st : no volunteer needed 
December 28th : Liz Orteig 

Contact Bianca Romano to volunteer.  Our next Waveny Flower Arranging month is June 2016!

Waveny Flower Arrangement Guidelines 
can be found HERE
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A warm welcome is extended to our newest members:

Gracellen Magill
Carolyn Alter 
If you know of anyone interested in joining NCBL, please share this newsletter with them.  They can download a membership form from our website or click HERE to download a form.

Becky Barlow, Valerie Monaghan, and Susan Smith   
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Wednesday January 6th 2016 
9:30 am Social
10:00 am Presentation
New Canaan Nature Center

New Canaan Land Trust Header
Chris Schipper Land Trust  
Please join us on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 for "New Canaan Land Trust: Past & Future" presented by Chris Schipper, President of the New Canaan Land Trust.  Since he joined the Board of the Land Trust in 2012, Mr. Schipper has worked tirelessly to support the mission of preserving open space, wildlife sanctuaries and the scenic beauty of New Canaan.  The Land Trust was awarded "Organization of the Year" by the New Canaan Advertiser in 2013 and is currently one of the largest property holders in New Canaan.  The non-profit organization protects and cares for 367 acres of diverse woodlands, meadows, orchards and wetland marshes: 261 acres outright ownership, 50 acres under conservation easements and 56 acres formerly held by the New Canaan Audubon Society.  Come hear about the important activities of the Land Trust such as The Stewardship Program for youth as Mr. Schipper raises our awareness of the vision of this special community resource.

New Canaan Land Trust logo
You can visit the New Canaan Land Trust website HERE.
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Congratulations to Keith Simpson   
Keith Simpson (left) and Jerry Miller (right) from the NC Community Foundation

Congratulations to NCBL Vice-President Keith Simpson who was honored with other outstanding community volunteers by the New Canaan Community Foundation on Thursday, November 19th.  Keith was inducted into their Hands-On Hall of Fame for his volunteer work and his numerous civic projects that have added so much to our New Canaan landscape.  
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Lee Garden

There are signs of Christmas and the winter season at Lee Garden.  A plant native to swamps and wet woods in the eastern US, winterberry (Ilex verticillata), keeps its red berries through much of the winter.  You can see this beautiful shrub "in person" at our Lee Memorial Garden near the bridge.
    Lee Memorial Garden Winterberry
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Home for the Holidays

We were inspired on November 4th as we watched Maureen create five beautiful arrangements before our eyes.

To see more photos from this November program, click HERE.

Did you miss this program?  You can see a video of the entire program HERE

Maureen's shop, Bedford Village Florist, has a 50% off sale on fresh flowers every Thursday from 3 - 6pm (cash or check only for sale).

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Shirley and Susan
A Wonderful Time Had By All! 

A big thank you to
Susan Bergen
and Shirley Stancik for sharing their talents with us in this fun and informative workshop.  Could a Flower Arranging 102 be in our future?!  
More photos coming next month! 

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Around Town

Amy Weber Reid shared this photo with us of her Christmas cactus in full bloom!  How beautiful and great timing! 
    Christmas Cactus Amy

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Did You Know That image
                                          (a new monthly NCBL newsletter column)

Did you know that poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the United States and Canada?  The poinsettia was named for the amateur botanist, Joel Roberts Poinsett.    Poinsett was a former US congressman, the first Minister to Mexico and Secretary of War.  In 1828 he discovered the colorful plant growing in Mexico and sent it back to his greenhouse in Charleston, South Carolina.  Poinsett had a fascinating life traveling Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and South America.  He med many influential people like Czar Alexander of Russia and Jacques Necker (Louis VI's Finance Minister) and his daughter the famous writer, Madame de StaĆ«l.  Despite his travels and experiences, he is remembered today for discovering this Christmas plant.

In Mexico and other warm places, the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that grows from 10 to 15 feet.  The botanical name for the poinsettia is Euphorbia pulcherrima which means "the most beautiful Euphorbia".  The brightly colored parts of the poinsettias, usually viewed as flowers, are really colored bracts (modified or specified leaves).  The yellow flowers or cyathia are found in the center of these bracts.  Poinsettias lose their bracts soon after the flowers shed their pollen.  Contrary to popular legend the poinsettia is not poisonous.  However, eating the awful tasting leaves can make you sick, and the sap can be irritating to those who have a latex allergy.

For a healthy, long lasting poinsettia:

Choose a healthy looking plant (no wilting or drooping) whose height is 2-1/2 times the diameter of the container .
Choose poinsettias whose bracts are completely colored.
Choose a plant with green leaves down to the soil line.  
Choose flowers that are green or red-tipped, for they will last longer than those that are covered with yellow pollen.
Do not choose plants that are encased in plastic or paper or crowded together with other plants as they will deteriorate rapidly.
Do not choose plants with wilted leaves and wet soil (indication of root rot).

Once your plant is home, place it in a sunny spot free from drafts with room temperatures from 60 to 70 degrees F.  Keeping it even cooler at night with temperatures between 55 - 60 degrees F. can extend its flowering life.  Make sure your poinsettia has good drainage, and water the poinsettia when the soil is dry.  Do not fertilize it until it stops flowering.  Then fertilize it lightly - no more than once a month with a water soluble fertilizer.  
To get your last year's poinsettia to rebloom for Christmas, you must to put it in total darkness nightly for 14 hours for 8 weeks ahead, from about October 1st to early or mid-December between 5 pm and 8 am.  Any exposure to light during that time can keep in from flowering.  You can cover it with an inverted cardboard box. The environment should have good humidity, and the temperatures must be below 70 degrees F.  This process is called photoperiodism, and it requires at least 12 - 14 hours a day of darkness for at least 5 days in a row to change color.  Chlorophyll, a green pigment, is necessary to turn the leaves green.  When you plunge the plant into total darkness while it is in its full leafing stage, the only color that it can produce is the beautiful red we love.

For more on the total life cycle and care of the poinsettia, read the following on the internet:
by Nikki Phipps, author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden  

How do the leaves of Poinsettia Plants Turn Red by Rick LaVasseur

poinsettia tree trip advisor
A poinsettia tree at Biedenharn Museum and Gardens.  Photo source:

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