Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

Hi  Everyone!
What a very busy spring for all of us!

We marched.  We celebrated.  We planted.  We weeded.  We toured Lee Garden.  We even voted in our new board members and voted on our updated by-laws.  Thank you Betsy Bilus for working through the by-laws with us.   Phew!  And, we are still going strong.

None of this could have been achieved without our strong membership and volunteers.  We salute and thank each and every one of you.  Hospitality, Newsletter, Website, Membership, Finance, Triangles ... the list goes on and on.

Faith Kerchoff put our long history into perspective with her knowledge and insight at our last monthly meeting.  The audience was mesmerized.  Thanks so much, Faith!  You'll see photos from that day in our midsummer update.

Have a restful summer.  We will see you all in the fall!
Barbara Beall and Karen Sneirson

As Officially Proclaimed:
May 2019 Was New Canaan Beautification League Month!

You can read all about this great honor by clicking this link:


Letter to the Editor

Co-presidents Barbara Beall and Karen Sneirson wrote a beautiful tribute to NCBL and a "thank you" to the residents of New Canaan for their support.  You can read this letter by clicking on the link below:

Autumn Luncheon 2019 header

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Please Join Us in Welcoming Our 
New Members! 

Barb Achenbaum
Kirsten Gregorio
Ulrika Veroude
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Membership Renewals
Membership renewals and dues are upon us!  
 Anyone who has joined since January 2019 does not have to pay dues for the coming year, 2019-2020.
To download the membership form, click HERE

Please print out the form and mail it in to the address listed on the form.

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly in Lee Garden.

NCBL is proud to be a partner in the New Canaan Pollinator Pathway.  New Canaan's involvement in this initiative to increase habitats for pollinators in our area is currently being developed.  You can find out how you can become a Pollinator Pathway partner at the program launch hosted by the New Canaan Library on June 18, 6 - 7:30 pm.  See the link below for more information:

To learn more about the Pollinator Pathway, see its informative website at this link:   https://www.pollinator-pathway.org

Thank you to the following volunteers who will be arranging flowers for Waveny dining hall in June.

June 3rd:  Betsy Sammarco
June 10th:  Bianca Romano
June 17th: Jane Campbell
June 24th: Eva Wingate and Joan Hayenga

Lee Garden Wish List

Are you spring cleaning?  Lee Garden is in need of the following:

  • an under counter refrigerator
  • a space heater
  • hose reels
  • hose nozzles
  • garden tools
  • garden statuary
  • a bird bath

If you'd like to donate any of the above, please contact Faith Kerchoff at:

Post Office Drop Box Planting

For our 80th anniversary year, NCBL redesigned and replanted the Post Office drop box area on Pine Street.    Through our Annual Appeal and other fundraising efforts, NCBL paid for all the work and the plants in the project and our volunteers supplied much of the hands-on work in getting the area planted.

NCBL had planted the area 12 years ago, but many plants died and others had overgrown their space.  A renovation was desperately needed!   Member and landscape designer Ty Tan of Ty Tan Designs came up with the landscape plan for the area. 

Civic Beautification chairs, Rob Carpenter and Faith Kerchoff, along with committee members Kathy Lapolla and Yvonne Hunkeler made plant lists in the winter, focusing on low maintenance plants, and plants that would bloom throughout the year.

The town crew, led by Mose Saccary, helped by removing large shrubs and placing large boulders on the hill to stabilize the soil.  The town has also added and improved the irrigation in the area.  Plantings included Witch Hazel 'Arnold's Promise' (blooms from February to April), a yellow Magnolia 'Diane', various spring blooming bulbs, rhododendrons (including two orange Azalea Exbury 'Gibraltar'), sedges, grasses and various carefree plantings.  Among the plants of interest are Nepeta, Amsonia, Coreopsis, Geranium sanguineum, Phlox stolonifera and Salvia.  Annual zinnias and dahlias were planted this year also.

post office planting 2019
One view of the Post Office planting designed by Ty Tan and planted by NCBL volunteers.

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To All Who Helped With the Post Office Box Drop-Off Planting:


hedgehog bouquets

Many thanks to:
Ty Tan whose design is awesome and is our expert on placing plants,
Rob Carpenter who helped source the plants along with Ty and who is also our auger master,
Faith Kerchoff for communications and logistics,
Kathy Lapolla for inspiration and planting support,
Yvonne Hunkeler for her visual and planting acumen,
Fanny Moran for her can-do help,
Gay Clarke for her hillside planting balance,
Lally Jurcik for being a new member to jump in,
Our presidents Barbara Beall and Karen Sneirson who planted with us,
Kathy Demarco and her "just tell me where to plant" attitude,
Sandy Siegel our true plantsman,
Tracy Phillips our energizer bunny,
Sara Hunt our weeder extraordinaire,
Robin Bates-Mason for doing a dump run,
Gerda and Robert Smith who came by for moral support,
Mose Saccary and the town crew who once again added their might and machinery,
And finally, to town residents who were disrupted on their way to post mail yet were gracious about it.

Thank you!

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Planting with an auger

Are you wondering what the reference above to Rob Carpenter and the auger is all about?  See teamwork in action at this YouTube link:

Post Office planting with an auger
Post Office planting with an auger

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Town Hall Planters Get Ready for Summer

The tulips in the Town Hall planters were replaced with new plants for the summer.  Helping with this effort were Eniko Szatai, Kathy Lapolla, Rob Carpenter, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Faith Kerchoff.  They look beautiful!

Town Hall planter day May 2019

See more photos of our Town Hall planting on our Flickr album HERE.
Karen Hanson hanging baskets
Karen Hanson and a new hanging basket.
220 hanging baskets, in a lovely color combination, were assembled in record time again this year.

The 2019 Basket Experiment

Our hanging basket chairs, Eileen Boehme and Bianca Romano, are experimenting with 31 of our baskets this year.  31 baskets were transferred to their hanging containers differently than the rest:  Miracle Gro and Soil Moist, were mixed together with potting soil and town mulch.   The experimental baskets were removed from their plastic pot and added directly to containers of the soil mixture. Those baskets were marked with ribbon and along with the town crew,  Bianca and Eileen will monitor their performance over the summer.

Hanging basket experiment
Left: 2 baskets marked "experimental" with ribbons. Right: Bianca Romano makes a soil mix to use on 31 of the baskets.
Hanging Basket group photo
Faith Kerchoff, Peggy Dannemann, Sara Hunt, Libby Butterworth, Hanging Basket chairperson Eileen Boehme, Rob Carpenter, Kathy DeMarco, Hanging Basket chairperson Bianca Romano, Liz Orteig, Ann Brookshire, Karen Hanson, Betsy Sammarco, and Agneta Aspinwall.  Not pictured but present that morning were Robin Bates-Mason, Angie Brenninkmeyer, Lally Jurcik, and Sharon Pierce.

To see all our photos of our Hanging Baskets 2019, go to our Flickr album HERE.
NCBL had a fun time at the Farmers Market in May.  It was a great way to meet residents and let them know what we do!

Farmers Market May 2019
Libby Butterworth and Karen Hanson meet and greet at the booth.
Truck in parade

NCBL volunteers chanted this cheer as they marched down Main Street and residents lining the street yelled right back with their approval and "thank-yous".

Ann Brookshire and her grandchildren, along with Ceci Murray, and Eileen Boehme rode with Linda Foscato in Linda's antique 1947 Ford pickup. Our banner was carried in the front of the group by Kathy Lapolla and Karen Sneirson and was also displayed at the rear of our group on the back of Linda's truck. 

Bales of hay used in the truck were donated to the New Canaan Nature Center for their animals after the parade.

Parade Michele Sloan
Almost twenty members decorated their rakes and marched in the parade this year. photo: Michele Sloan

Many thanks to Robin Bates-Mason for organizing our league in the parade again this year.  To see all our photos from that day, see our Flickr album HERE.

Azalea Festival

Perfect weather combined with perfect blooms led to a wonderful
Azalea Festival this year.

Azalea festival day
Many azaleas were in peak bloom for the festival.

Lee Garden barn azalea festival
Faith shows a visitor the raised beds by the new Lee Barn.
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Stone stair entrance to the secret garden.
The Secret Garden

Lee Garden now has it's own secret garden within its gates.  Yes, there's a secret garden within our secret garden.  This new area was the vision of our Lee Garden chairs, Yvonne Hunkeler, Faith Kerchoff, and Kathy Lapolla.  The secret garden has two entrances.  One entrance consists of stairs made of the stones from the area, and the other is an arbor donated to us from the United Methodist Church in town.  In early May, Faith, Yvonne, Kathy, Gay Clarke, and Sandy Siegel started planting various woodland plants there.
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SLOBs morning crew
SLOBs Prepared Paths

Many thanks go out to the New Canaan High School SLOBs who prepared the walking paths with wood chips in May.

Leading the SLOBs project was Alex Tchir, assisted by brother Nicolas Tchir,  
Faith Kerchoff, and Adson Hanrattie shown in the photo to the left.
As the day progressed, more help arrived and the paths were ready for the Azalea Festival!

SLOBs crew May 2019
Left to right: Jody O'Donnell, Nicholas Tchir, ryan Corbett, Jack O'Donnell, Alex Tchir, Jennifer Tchir, and Faith Kerchoff.  Not show, Adson Hanrattie.

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Faith in the garden
Have You Heard the Podcast?

Faith Kerchoff was interviewed for the a new podcast produced by the NewCanaanite called  "0684-Radio0".  Mike Dinan interviewed Faith about the history of Lee Garden, some of the changes it's gone through, and what you can expect when walking through our woodland.  Faith gave wonderful anecdotes relating to the garden and the people who have loved it and cared for it throughout the years.  If you haven't heard it, you must!  Just click on the link below and scroll to the podcast titled: " 0684-Radi0: Hidden Gem of New Canaan (May 9, 2019)".

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Got Shade?

Do you have a window box in a shady area and are stumped for plant suggestions?  Take inspiration from this window box planted by Kathy Lapolla at the Lee Garden shed:

Window Box Lee 2019
This north facing window box at Lee Garden is planted with Begonia "Angel Wing", Chartreuse Coleus, and Creeping Jenny.

To see more photos of Lee Memorial Garden, see our Flickr album HERE.
May Program in Review

Photographer and stylist Paulette Tavormina gave us the history of her professional work and how the threads of her life came together to bring her where she is today.  We heard the stories of how her photographs are put together with technical precision. 

Thanks to NCTV79, you can see this enchanting lecture by clicking HERE.

May program slide
A slide from Paulette Tavormina's program.

May program speaker and chairs
Gerda Smith, Jolley Frank, Paulette, and Carol Seldin.

May program lunch
An after program lunch was enjoyed by Bianca Romano, Libby Butterworth, Paulette, Gerda, Eileen Boehme, Carol, and Barbara Beall.

80th Anniversary Celebration

The celebration of our 80th anniversary was a success and a lot of fun.  Approximately 150 members and guests came to celebrate our history and our future!  

80th anniversary crowd
Photo by Peter Hanson.

NCBL presidents
Current and past presidents at the event gathered for a photo. In front are current co-President Barbara Beall, Sara Hunt, current co-President Karen Sneirson, and Penny Mardoian. In back are Faith Kerchoff, Ann McCulloch, Debbie Raymond, Penny Young, Judy Bentley, Judy Neville and Carol Seldin. Past president Jane Campbell was also present but not in the photo.

To see all our photos from this wonderful event, see our Flickr album by clicking HERE.

To read the New Canaan Advertiser online article about the event click HERE.
coffee and snacks

The Hospitality Committee would like to thank all the volunteers who brought food this year!  NCBL so appreciates the time and effort that goes into this - and it makes meetings more enjoyable for all our members.  The food has been so delicious and beautiful.

Thank you!  

Hospitality Chairs
Cindy Bamatter
Robin Miner
Cindy Still


I want to thank a few people without whom, this newsletter wouldn't happen.

Many thanks to Sara Hunt who would proofread the newsletter for me from time to time.  It is a big job and much appreciated!  Please note that any errors in this edition of the newsletter are mine and mine alone as I did not ask Sara to proofread this month!

Sara Hunt
Sara Hunt center has proofread many newsletters this year.  Photo is from our 80th anniversary celebration and pictured left to right: Karen Hanson, Sara, and Kathleen Corbet.

Many thanks to photographers Michele Sloan and Peter Hanson.  Your photos bring the newsletter to life and I so appreciate your eye and the photos you send me!

Michele and Peter
Many of the photos submitted to the newsletter are courtesy of Michele Sloan (in pink shawl) and Peter Hanson (in pink tie).  Photos from our 80th anniversary celebration.

With appreciation,
Betsy Sammarco
(newsletter editor)
Garlic Mustard
(Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic mustard is an invasive biennial weed that was first brought to the United States by settlers from Europe in the mid 19th century.  It was most likely brought to this country for use as food or medicine.  The trouble caused by this weed is two-fold:  not only does it crowd out our native woodland species, it also secretes a chemical which kills off beneficial mycorrhizal fungi in our soil.  This chemical can account for its dominance in forest ecosystems.

Luckily, small populations of garlic mustard can be easily pulled out by hand.
The keys for hand removal success include:
1.  Pull the plant during flowering, before the plants produce seed.  (At the time of this writing, many plants have already gone to seed).  
2. Pull at the base of the plant and try to remove the entire root.
3. Pulled material will complete flowering and set seed, so be sure to bag and dispose of pulled plants.
4. Revisit pulled sites as often as possible to re-pull plants that re-sprout from left behind root fragments. 

Garlic mustard
In its second year of life, garlic mustard produces tall flowers. photo: Betsy Sammarco

You can read more about garlic mustard ( Alliaria petiolata ) at these links:

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England: contains good photos of the plant in its various stages of growth.  Click on the small photos to enlarge them.

Michigan State University: About Garlic Mustard: an easy to read informative page on garlic mustard.

Many thanks to member Susan Miley who brought our attention to this invasive weed.
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Ticked Off! Invasive Plants and Lyme Disease - A Surprising Connection
June 12
6:30 - 7:30 pm
New Canaan Library Lamb Room

Click HERE for more information and to register.

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The Garden Conservancy Open Days Program

Click HERE to see Open Day gardens in our area.
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Pollinator Pathway
New Canaan Pollinator Pathway Launch
June 18
6 - 7:30 pm
New Canaan Library: Christine's Garden
Click HERE for more details.

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Newport Flower Show
The Newport Flower Show:  Audubon Artistic Adventures
June 21 - 23
Rosecliff, Newport, RI
Click HERE for more details.