Holiday 2020
Volume 8, Issue 5
What slender campanili grew
By bays, the peacock’s neck in hue;
Where, here and there, on sandy beaches
A milky-bell’d amaryllis blew.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

In keeping with our study of the “Language of Flowers” for our GCA Flower Show next September, the amaryllis stands as a profound symbol of love, beauty, and determination. Frequently given as a gift during the holiday season, the charming amaryllis flower is often viewed as a sign of festive cheer. Remember, flower color speaks its own special language. Gifting a red amaryllis, for instance, is a profound symbol of love and passion, while a white amaryllis implies purity and sympathy. Do not confuse the pink amaryllis with a red one! A pink amaryllis is a sign of friendship between people of all ages and genders. Purple is reserved for nobility, or those who are truly spiritual.

The amaryllis also signifies hope and achievement, which is apropos for our members, even during a pandemic. Photographs taken by Sara Alijani, Missy Eliot, Mary Fowler, Liza Grant, Alice Hughes, Tish Szurek and Suellen White were all included in the Zone XII Fall/Winter 2020 publication of “Through the Lens.” We also have two members in the final contest for GCA’s FOCUS magazine’s “America the Beautiful" Photography Contest. Congratulations also go to Missy Eliot, an approved GCA Horticulture judge, joining judges Dodie Jackson for Horticulture and Bonnie Grenney for Floral Design. GCA Emeritus judges are Hope Connors, Sissy Gibson, Marilyn Wilson, and retired member, Susie Sheridan.

The awe and wonder of the holidays are upon us. Amaryllis is an ancient Greek word meaning “sparkle”. May your holidays sparkle with the lights, laughter and love around you.

Cheers to a New Year!
Kay Malo and Lisa Gould decorating pots for the winter at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Mark your calendar!

Wednesday, December 2
President's Council Meeting
10 a.m. via Zoom

Wednesday, December 2
Conservation/Horticulture cocktail hour and discussion on the movie, Kiss the Ground
5 - 6 p.m. via Zoom

Thursday, December 3
Conservation Committee hosts Conversation with Dr. Diane Lewis focused on healthy watersheds
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. via Zoom

Tuesday, December 8
GCD General Meeting
11-11:30 a.m. via Zoom meeting
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Holiday Greens pickup at Nina Sisk's house, 576 Circle Drive, Denver

Thursday, December 10
Flower Show Botanical Arts Information Session with Dodie Jackson
"Design and Selection of Botanical Arts Materials"
1 - 2 p.m. via Zoom

Friday, December 15
Program Perk Program
5:30 p.m. via Zoom
See details below

Thursday, December 17
"Got Photos?" Landscape Photography
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. via Zoom

Monday, January 4
Photography Field Shoot
9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, January 6
President's Council Meeting
10 a.m. via Zoom

Thursday, January 7
"Got Photos?"
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. via Zoom

Tuesday, January 12
GCD General Meeting
"My Path to the River" by conservationist and photographer Michael Farrell about the Platte River time-lapse project
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Zoom meeting

Wednesday, January 13
Floral Design Committee meeting
9 - 10 a.m. via Zoom

Thursday, January 14
Flower Show Botanical Arts Information Session with Dodie Jackson
"Ta-dah! Putting all your botanical talent to create a one of a kind masterpiece."
1 - 2 p.m. via Zoom

Friday, January 15
February Newsletter submission deadline

Thursday, January 21
GCA Photography Conference
via Zoom
January General Meeting
Michael Ferrell and
My Path to the River

Michael Farrell is co-founder of The Platte Basin Timelapse project. Farrell is a 47-year veteran of public media. For the last 45 years, he has produced documentaries about the culture, history, and environment of Nebraska and the Great Plains.

Farrell teamed up with nature photographer Michael Forseberg to bring his award winning The Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild to an international television audience.

During their time working together, Farrell and Forseberg (who presented to GCD last year) generated the idea behind the Platte Basin Timelapse Project. Using timelapse technology applied through an entire watershed to document water use, this pair mounted cameras in Colorado’s high country, near dams and reservoirs of Wyoming, and throughout Nebraska's prairies to answer the question, “where does our water come from?”

Farrell is an accomplished fine art and wildlife photographer and his work has been featured in many exhibitions as well as publications.
New Members?

The Membership Committee encourages you to invite prospective GCD members to our January 12th Zoom meeting featuring conservationist and photographer, Michael Farrell. If you would like to invite a prospective member, or have any questions about membership, please contact Margaret Garbe or Jane Davis. Applications are due by March 1st
Conservation Study Conference
by Amy Mower

Wasn’t the Conservation Study Conference in November fantastic?
What a powerhouse of informed speakers delivering so many important messages to all of us.
The GCA conservation committee did a fantastic job and thanks to Suellen White for her insightful interviewing!

As you know the GCD conservation committee is concentrating on our watershed to insure healthy water quality. Diane Lewis, who is a Bedford Garden Club member, started the Healthy Yard Project in 2018, and is now taking this initiative to include all watersheds within the U.S.

During the conference, Diane addressed the Mississippi Watershed, which is a massive watershed that drains 41% of the United States and provides 27% of the nation’s drinking water. Seven garden club zones are within this watershed, Colorado being one of them. Nutrient pollution has increased 29% in the Mississippi Watershed between 2000 – 2010, creating dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in blue/green algae blooms and aquatic die-off. The human body is made mostly of water, and when you introduce contaminated drinking water, small amounts of chemicals can accumulate, causing cancer, diabetes and neurologic disorders. Diane showed a NASA image demonstrating that there is more turf growing in the U.S. than soybeans and corn combined. So, what we do in our own backyard matters!

Scott Bosse, Northern Rockies Director of American River, spoke about how to conserve and restore our watersheds. He works in the Bozeman field office and addressed some realities of conserving our watersheds in the arid west. The main focus is to keep our headwaters safe. Often this involves working with the Wild Scenic Rivers Act to safeguard rivers within public lands. Tantamount is maintaining our riparian corridors and keeping the natural vegetation along the rivers. Studying the hydrology, sediment transport of our rivers while minimizing development and pollution is vital.

Actions to accomplish these safeguards are dam removal, which helps restore the natural hydrograph to an area. Spring floods and lower water flows throughout the summer promote the cottonwood and willow riparian areas, which support 75% of the bird and mammal populations. The sediments that are released from dam removal re-establishes the ecosystem and supports more biodiversity. By creating vegetative buffers, developers cannot build within 300 feet of a river and 150 feet from a stream. Scott spoke about Big Sky Ski Area, which uses its wastewater to irrigate four golf courses. When there was an overflow of wastewater, the Gallatin River suffered, casting an unnatural neon green algae bloom. Encouraging growth on the hillsides, rather than along the waterways will keep this nutrient pollution away from the streams. Also joining your local watershed coalition is important. Click here to join.

If you missed any of these talks, you can access the GCA website and listen to them on your own. Click here to watch.
Landscape Field Shoots
by Suellen White

This month the photography committee will be out capturing landscapes, developing and honing their skills.

Many of the photography committee met last month at DBG for our second field shoot, concentrating on macro photographs. Our Zoom meeting: Got Photos? lasted almost an hour with fabulous macro photographs, fun discussions and suggestions.

Field shoots will continue throughout the year on the first Monday of each month at 9:30 am. Our Zoom Got Photos? meetings will be on the first Thursday of each month following the field shoots. All are welcome to the field shooting and for the follow-up Zoom meetings, whether you enter the photography show, share photos or not. All camera styles including iPhones are supported and welcome.

The Zone XII Leadership newsletter featured 10 images from our GCD photographers. The newsletter was titled: Zone XII Through the Lens. It was so excited to see your photos showcased! Kudos to all Zone XII photographers who captured the essence of Fall and Winter across our vast zone. (If you want to see the newsletter, email Suellen White,

We hope everyone is getting ready for “Language of Flowers,” GCD Flower Show. Photography registration opens January 1st at 9:00am - to GCD members only. The schedule describes the classes in detail, here is a thumbnail description:

Class I – one or more flowers on a flat backdrop
Class II – three distinct phases of a flower’s life in a triptych format
Class III – natural landscape in early morning or late evening
Class IV – macro image of an intricate flower
Class V – Panorama

Classes are limited to six participants so register early! Remember you don’t need to have your images ready, but you must register intent. You will have time to work out all the details next spring and summer. Click here for the schedule on the GCA website. Click here for the schedule on the GCD website.
Stepp Garden Inspiration by Suellen White
Garden Club of Denver
Zooms Together
by Mary Fowler

While our November GCD General Meeting was held via Zoom from our respective homes, attending members were still able to connect in a personal way. After an informative presentation by The Park People and Denver Forestry, members enjoyed something new: BYO Lunch and breakout sessions with a random group of our fellow members.

While group leaders were armed with talking points, our members had no shortage of topics to discuss. From the recent fires in the Grand Lake community, to my positive experience with the Community Forester Program, we all agreed the small groups were a great opportunity to connect with individual members. Kudos to Meg and Cindy for breaking down new barriers for the club!!
Overwintering Tender Succulents
by Marilyn Wilson

The objective of bringing your tender succulents inside is to keep them alive, not to put on new growth. Succulents inside your house need light and very little water.

Turn the container weekly to keep them from growing toward the light source. Water only when dry or if the leaves look dry and shriveled.

Watering is best done by soaking the container from the bottom. The leaves don't like to be wet. Let the soil become dry before repeating the process. If the plant grows in an uncharacteristic manner, you are watering too much.

Don't forget: watch for mealy bugs.
Don't Forget To Vote

The GCA’s FOCUS magazine published on November 20. It included the voting for America the Beautiful contest. Please vote! Voting will conclude on December 15, and the winners will be announced in the January 12 issue.

Several GCD members entered photos. At least two members have photos in the final contest.

You can vote by clicking here.
Suellen White and Mary Fowler hard at work documenting Bea's garden. Photo by Holley Sanford
Garden History and Design
by Holley Sanford

Documenting a Magical Garden
for the Smithsonian

Our committee was approved by the GCA earlier this fall to formally start the process of documenting Bea Taplin’s beautiful garden for submission to the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. At the beginning of October, on a picture-perfect fall day, Bea graciously allowed Suellen White, Mary Fowler and I free reign of her garden to take some photographs and begin the documentation. The garden looked magical and her dahlias were in spectacular form. A few weeks later Lise, Suellen and I went back and chatted with Bea about the history of the property, the garden and her inspirations. The documentation process should take about a year to complete as we will be taking photographs throughout four seasons. We feel privileged to have this opportunity and are thrilled it will eventually become part of this historical archive.

Parks: Where Nature
Meets Community

Beginning in April 2021, The Garden Club of America will mark Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.’s 200th birthday with a new initiative called “Parks: Where Nature Meets Community." Among other events all GCA clubs will have the opportunity to tie the current needs of their communities to Olmsted’s revolutionary work in parks and public landscapes with a club project. There is a wealth of information about this upcoming event on the Garden History and Design page on the GCA website and it is well worth a look. This will be a wonderful opportunity to visit some of the Olmsted-designed parks in the Denver area. So look forward to some GH&D field trips next year!

Gardens of Instagram

Although travel is limited, it is still fun to take a virtual trip through some garden Instagram accounts. A few I enjoy are: The Denver Botanic Gardens, Smithsonian Gardens, Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer Gardens, Huntington Library, New York Botanical Garden, The Butchart Gardens, Kew Gardens and The Garden Conservancy. I welcome recommendations for more.
Join us for our first Program Perk this December 15 at 5:30!

GCA has provided a wonderful on-demand video on Revolutionary Gardeners featuring Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon, and Peter Hatch, Director Emeritus of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello. The video is 41 minutes long and divided into 10 chapters.

Watch the video at your leisure and then join us on Zoom on December 15 at 5:30 p.m. for a brief discussion and drinks! Members are encouraged to get in the revolutionary spirit by enjoying a beverage popular during Colonial times. Be it George Washington’s favorite dark porter laced with molasses or a lovely French wine as preferred by Thomas Jefferson (the more expensive the better for T.J.) or a nice hot cider - join us on Zoom for a virtual cocktail hour and discussion of this fabulous GCA exclusive video.

You'll find the video link on the GCA website under the link for “Read, Watch, Shop” or by clicking here. Look for a reminder email and Zoom link in early December.
Floral Design
by Nina Sisk

Despite the COVID pandemic, the tradition of the Holiday Floral Design Workshop continues. This year our focus is creating Outdoor Winter Pots. The program follows our GCD Zoom meeting on Tuesday, December 8th. Please arrive between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to pickup prepackaged greenery at 576 Circle Drive. You can either stay to view the hands-on demonstration (masked and socially-distanced, of course!) or simply watch our "how to" video from home, which will be available by December 6th. Reservations were required for this program.

Join us as we get into the Holiday Spirit!
Some Tips for Designing
Your Outdoor Pots

Start with an empty pot. Form a ball of chicken wire to insert in your container or fill with dirt. (Do not water before arranging as the dirt may freeze.) There are some advantages to utilizing dirt as the greenery will draw on the soil's moisture and arrangements will stay fresher longer.

Gather your greens and other elements you would like to use, for example: Red Dogwood Branches, Evergreens (Pine boughs, cedar, fir, juniper & boxwood), Holly Branches and berries, Magnolia leaves, Birch sticks, Pinecones, Curly Maple, Seeded Eucalyptus, or Dried Hydrangea. Go out into your yard and start clipping, or visit your nearest nursery for supplies.

Start in the center with some of your taller greens and branches to establish your framework. Or, if it is being viewed from only three sides, start in the back with your taller pieces.

Create the "skirt." Add those hanging and "spilling" pieces to cover the edge of your container.

Once you're satisfied with your skirt add some of the other evergreens: use whatever you have on hand. You are looking to fill the space between your skirt and the taller center (or back) elements.

Embellish with your other ingredients: dried hydrangea, pinecones, holly, berries, etc.

These outdoor planters are easy to make and add a gorgeous statement to your winter outdoor décor.
Amy Mower, Janet Manning and Lise Woodard mask up for TrashBlitz Denver 2020.
TrashBlitz Denver 2020
By Janet Manning

OK, I must admit I’m a self-confessed trash nerd. I even went on a VIP tour of Denver trash facilities a few years ago. Trash is a huge problem, one that doesn’t go away easily or without consequences and it’s plastic trash that, to me, it the most troublesome. GCA even has a position paper on Waste Management.

Amy Mower, Lise Woodard and I participated in TrashBlitz last month to help with this community-based project that used volunteers to measure trash, especially plastic, in many metropolitan areas throughout the country. Armed with our face masks, gloves, data card and clipboard, a large bucket, and kitchen tongs to use in picking up the trash, we met at one of the randomly generated, predetermined locations to pick up and document all the trash we found in that area in the course of an hour or so. Our starting point was 17 Random Road in Cherry Hills Village, a suburban area of large homes on very large lots. At first glance, it didn’t seem like we’d collect that much trash; but, over the course of an hour, we had collected a large bucket full. (I also did a week-long collection of all the plastic trash I accumulated in my home during that whole week. I had an even larger bucket full!) The data that we collected is being tabulated and we’ll get a detailed report by the end of the year.

We didn’t pick up all this trash just because it was a beautiful day to be outside. The goal of the project is to document the types of trash, especially plastic, that are found in areas all over the country. The data collected will inform efforts to reduce plastic production at its source.

Some types of plastic are particularly difficult to recycle and some are especially toxic (specifically numbers 3 and 6). Plastic pollution is found from the mountain tops of Colorado to the bottom of the deepest oceans to the human gut. When the results of this study are made available, I’ll let you know what we might be able to do as individuals to advocate for policy changes. And in the meantime, I’m always trying to reduce my own use of plastic, not always an easy thing to do!
Membership Task Force
by Jane Davis & Margaret Garbe

In the past few years, some of our valuable, older members have resigned from GCD, and we all feel that loss. In an effort to engage and retain our older members, a task force was formed, headed by Membership Chairmen Jane Davis and Margaret Garbe.

The task force took a poll to see what prompted the members to resign. The conclusion was that these ladies did not resign to make room for new members, but because it was a natural progression of not knowing many of the younger members, having trouble connecting on the computer, transportation, and just being tired.

After several meetings of former Membership Chairs and members, the task force decided to propose a new membership category: “Emerita”.

Janet Manning drafted language for the policy changes adding the Emerita position. Changes to the Policies need only a vote of approval by the President’s Council which will meet January 6, 2021.

Many, many thanks to the Membership Task Force for resolving our dilemma.

Proposed Emerita Language

    5. When an Active member who has contributed to the Club for 25 years or has reached the age of 80 years or is no longer able to participate due to circumstances beyond her control, this member may resign from the Club and be invited by the Immediate Past-President to become an Emerita member. An Emerita member is no longer a member of the Club or GCA; therefore she pays no dues. She is invited to GCD events at the discretion of the Executive Committee and receives GCD communications as requested. A list of Emerita members will be maintained in a separate section of the Club directory and on the GCD website.

   2. When an Associate member who has contributed to the Club for 25 years or has reached the age of 80 years or is no longer able to participate due to circumstances beyond her control, this member may resign from the Club and be invited by the Immediate Past-President to become an Emerita member. An Emerita member is described above in Section I.B.5.

    The Immediate Past-President shall
    4. Oversee the Club’s Emerita members
      a. Contact long-time members to ascertain their membership needs.
      b. Reach out to newly-resigned members who qualify for Emerita status to determine their interest.
      c. Maintain the list of Emerita members and invite them to GCD events at the Executive Committee’s discretion.
GCD Board and Committees

Executive Committee
President: Meg Nichols
Vice President: Cindy Scott
Corresponding Secretary: Bar Chadwick
Recording Secretary: Alice Hughes
Treasurer: Maureen Barker
Director: Missy Eliot

Committee Chairmen

Admissions & Membership-elected:
Jane Davis & Margaret Garbe

Awards & Founders Fund:
Sally Obregon

Bulletin & Communications:
Sarah Young

Conservation National Affairs and Legislation:
Lisë Woodard & Amy Mower

Denver Botanic Gardens Committees:

Cutting Garden:
Genie Waters & Linda Zinn

Fete Liaisons:
Debbie Davis & Nan Procknow

Flower Arranging:
Debbie Davis

Holiday Décor:
Lisa Duke & Ann Ellis

Directory (Roster):
Amy Slothower & Megan Mahncke

Floral Design:
Nina Sisk & Cora Wheeler

Committee Chairmen (Continued)

2021 GCA Flower Show:
Missy Eliot & Nina Sisk

Fund Development:
Liza Grant

Garden History & Design:
Holley Sanford

Muffie Dahlberg

Leslie Liedtke & Nancy Schotters

Nancy Jones & Martha Veldkamp

Hope Connors

Marianne Sulser & Mary Talbot

Missy Eliot

Suellen White & Deborah Foy

Caroline Rassenfoss & Tish Szurek

Ann Crammond

Visiting Gardens:
Lindsay Dodge

Kathleen Woodberry
& Elizabeth Weigand