Meeting & Program:
Restoring Nature's Relationships at Home with Doug Tallamy
(joint meeting with NCGC)
March 8, 2017
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am program
New Canaan Library Lamb Room
Flower Arranging 101
March 30, 2017
10:00 am - noon
Waveny House Sitting Room
Meeting & Program:
America's Most Spectacular Garden in the 1920s with Stephen Byrns
April 5, 2017
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am program
New Canaan Nature Center
Meeting & Program:
May 3, 2017
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am program
New Canaan Nature Center
Lee Garden Azalea Festival
May 21, 2017
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Olive and George Lee Memorial Garden, 89 Chichester Road
Meeting & Program: Annual Meeting and Fun Cooking and Healthy Eating with Tracey Medeiros
June 7, 2017
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am program
New Canaan Nature Center

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."
-- Audrey Hepburn
A Letter From Our Presidents

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." - Charles Dickens 

What we need is many of those March days when we get either rain or snow to fill our reservoirs.  Maybe we could have it be all rain and all after sundown as in Camelot.   New Canaan, Darien, Stamford, and Greenwich have been especially hard hit by the drought. We are told by Aquarion that we need to cut our water usage by 20%.   This will be a real challenge for us and our gardens, so treasure every drop of rain. 

The Victorian Tea organized by Gloria Simon was fabulous, and we have the pictures to prove it!   Bianca Romano and her volunteers created the lovely centerpieces that were on the tables. The Victorian Tea was a purely social event, organized for our members, a chance to just enjoy one another's company, and a reward for all the hard work we do. 

On Wednesday, March 8, we will hold a joint program with the New Canaan Garden Club at the New Canaan Library.  Doug Tallamy's talk, "Restoring Nature's Relationships at Home," will focus on how to reconnect our gardens to the biodiverse natural world that surrounds us. Tallamy seeks to reverse the modern trend of replacing native flora with turf grass and gives us tips to return our environment into a place where the natural order of plants, berries, bugs and bees can be sustained.   Don't miss this acclaimed speaker! 

On Thursday, March 30, Shirley Stancik and Susan Bergen will once again teach us how to arrange flowers.   You can save so much money by arranging flowers yourself for your dinner parties or for bouquets for friends.   This is a fabulous opportunity that is offered to our members free of charge.  Sign up now!   It's really a lot of fun. 

Karen Hanson and Angie Brenninkmeyer wound up last year's very successful Annual Appeal.  We received 530 donations for a total of $59,284.  Bravo!   Under Peggy Jay and Judy Johnson, we have just mailed out this year's Annual Appeal letters.  Thank you to all of you who have addressed envelopes for the Appeal. This is such an important effort for us as it enables us to carry out our projects like buying flowers for the hanging baskets and planters; buying flowers, plants and bulbs and providing maintenance and landscaping for the triangles and other areas we sponsor; and for funding the exceptional programs we offer to our members and the community. 

The snow drops are up!  They are our harbingers of spring.   Triangle volunteers will be soon going into action, clearing away leaves and branches to make way for new growth. Look for bulbs to be popping on triangles, at Town Hall and at Lee Garden. 

The clocks spring ahead on March 12...Happy Spring!

Sara and Faith signature  

snow drops Lee Garden 2017
snow drops at Lee Garden February 2017
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A Tribute to Ann Gillerlain 
By Faith Kerchoff 

Member Ann Gillerlain, age 93, died on February 9, 2017.   Ann had been a member, and Honorary Member of the Garden Center/Beautification League since the 1950's!   Imagine all the changes she saw in the town and in the club.   There will be a memorial for Ann in the spring. 

Ann was a neighbor of George Lee on Chichester Road.   In 1956, George asked the Garden Center if they would take his garden when he passed.   The GC helped him in his garden and with the plant sales that he held every year.   Ann was the executrix for the estate after he died in 1978, and at his service she read a beautiful tribute that was written by Pat Erb. 

Ann's daughter, Debbie, writes, "Mr. Lee and his garden played a role in our families' life.  As a little girl, I would visit with him in his yard, and he would pick daffodils for me to bring home.  From our kitchen window, we could look out at his magnificent landscape. Gardening was a love of Mom's and a few days before she passed away, her aide Rose asked her who she was talking to, and she said she was saying goodbye to her garden." 

Ann's son Brian Olsen, who was at New Canaan High School with me, became a "Plant PhD".   She was very proud of that and felt that it was in part because of a childhood spent at Lee Garden.   Several years ago, when she was in better health, we had some afternoon visits, and she gave me some papers that she had about the garden for our records.   Her yard on Elm Place had a wonderful woodland garden with azaleas that George had given her.   It was a reflection of Lee Garden. 

We would like to replace our old bridge in the center of the garden with a new bridge and dedicate it to Ann to commemorate her years at the garden.  Her family loves the idea. 

People wishing to contribute in Ann's memory can send checks to NCBL/New Canaan Beautification League, P.O. Box 4, New Canaan, CT 06840.  Write Ann Gillerlain Memorial in the note section.

Ann Gillerlain and Susan Bergen
Ann Gillerlain (L) and Susan Bergen at Lee Garden, Mother's Day, May 14, 2004
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note: this will take place at the NC Library!

Restoring Nature's Relationships at Home
with Doug Tallamy

March 8, 2017
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am program
New Canaan Public Library - Lamb Room

Doug Tallamy 


Specialized relationships between animals and plants are the norm in nature rather than the exception.  Tallamy will explain how our yards and gardens are essential parts of the ecosystems that sustain us.  Come to our program and learn how we can use our residential landscapes to connect the isolated habitat fragments around us and what we can do to make our landscapes living ecosystems once again.

Tallamy collage

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Departments of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.  Besides his research and teaching, he has authored the books Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, and The Living Landscape.  He is also a regular columnist for Garden Design Magazine.

We are so lucky to have Doug Tallamy speak ... don't miss this program! Download a program flier HERE.
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Presenting April's Program:

Stephen Byrns April 2017

Stephen Byrns, President of Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, presents the history, design and current restoration of Samuel Untermyer's timeless gardens in Yonkers.

April 5, 2017
New Canaan Nature Center
9:30 am coffee
10:00 am presentation

To learn more about Untermyer Park and Gardens, and view some spectacular photos, visit its website HERE.

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Annual Appeal 2017
Over 6,000 envelopes have been sent for our Annual Appeal.  The following is an excerpt from a thank you note from Peggy Jay and Judy Johnson, our Annual Appeal chairs:

" ... Today Judy Johnson and I were able to send off both the first class mailing (700 pieces) from New Canaan and 5549 envelopes from Stamford. 

Thanks Faith for your participation and experience. Thanks to Sara for  following up and to Betsy, our crafty newsletter enthusiast.

We are grateful to Karen Hanson, Jane Campbell , Yvonne Hunkeler, Ceci Murray, Debera Prosek Simpson, Judy Bentley, Libby Butterworth and our many cooperative volunteer scribes for their efforts." ...

Peggy  and Judy

Thank you to everyone involved in this year's Appeal.  From the envelope writers to our organizing chairs, it is the teamwork that makes our League run.  You have all helped raise the money that our League puts to use in educating and beautifying our town.
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Shirley and Susan
Susan and Shirley from last year's workshop.
March 30, 2017
10 am - noon
Waveny House Sitting Room

Our first class was so well received that we had to do it again!  Join  Susan Bergen  and  Shirley Stancik  as they teach our members the basic steps to creating splendid floral arrangements for all occasions.   
Please bring your own clippers and a selection of flowers you wish to use.   Glass vases and additional flowers and fillers will also be provided.

Please R.S.V.P. by March 27  to:
Susan Bergen  to attend.  
This is a member only event.
Hurry, as space is limited !

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NCBL Banner

Let's give a big round of applause to our newest members:

Lauren Dayya
Barbara Dennis
Ali Neeleman
Joyce Weisenseel

We are so happy you have joined our League!
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books and vase


To borrow any of the titles from our NCBL Library, send an email to Faith.
Thank you to Sara Seelert for the donations of:

The Complete Book of Herbs by Emma Callery
The Naming of Flowers by Anne Halpin
Euphorbias by Roger Turner
Wedding Flowers by Fiona Barnett
The Last Flowers of Manet by Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge
Pruning, Step by Step by Christopher Brickell

... and thank you Susan Smith for her donations of:

The Tulip by Anna Pavord
The Gardens of the Vatican by Linda Kooluris Dobbs and Kildare Dobbs
Summer Notebook by Carolyne Roehm

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Aquarion Logo

There is an emergency request from Aquarion to reduce our water usage by 20%!  To get tips on how to do this and stay up on our drought situation, see the CT Aquarion link HERE.

Victorian Tea Memories header

What a wonderful time we had at our Victorian Tea!  The following note was sent by Gloria Simon, our chair for the event:

"Thank you to everyone who made the Victorian Tea on February 1 such a success.

A special note of appreciation to Betsy Sammarco who did the beautiful invitation for our event and Bianca Romano who created our wonderful centerpieces.

I was especially grateful for all the help in setting up and cleaning up this labor-intensive event.  Thank you to Joan Hayenga, Eva Wingate, Tracy Phillips, Libby Butterworth, Eileen Boehme, Peggy Danneman, Ann McCullogh, Sara Hunt, Faith Kerchoff, Carol Seldin, Barbara Mechanic, Betsy Sammarco and Liz Orteig.  Please forgive me if I forgot anyone's name.

The food was delicious and bountiful.  The friendship and conversation were even better!"

Victorian Tea 2017
There was a full house at our tea .

Gabrielle Winter (l) with Gloria Simon (r) who organized the wonderful event!  Gabrielle was a guest at the tea.

The food was a creative smorgasbord as each attending member brought a dish.

Eileen Boehme and Bianca Romano.  

Sara and Faith
Our presidents, Sara and Faith, gave a warm welcome and League update.

Ceci and Nancy
Ceci Murray and Nancy Malling

Meryl Margery Georgene
Meryl Vallar, Margery Gardner, and Georgene Frantz.

Libby Gloria Kathy Joan
Libby Butterworth, Gloria Simon, Kathy DeMarco, and Joan Hayenga

Susan Bergen Sandy Hogan
Susan Bergen and Sandy Hogan

Sarina Vetterli and guests
Sarina Vetterli (right) and most welcomed guests.
quince centerpieces
quince and nests
Bianca arranged all the flowers for the day including these whimsical arrangements for the food table using real quince branches and ivy.  She fashioned the bird nests herself from the ivy!

These are just some of the photo we have from the tea.  To see more photos, click HERE for our Victorian Tea Scrapbook.



How lucky we are to be a short drive or train ride from the New York Botanical Garden.  A special event running now through April 19, is The Orchid Show: Thailand.  Click HERE for more info.

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NYBG Classes at the Nature Center


The New York Botanical Garden is holding classes at the New Canaan Nature Center!  How convenient it is to get top notch training from some of the best instructors in the country right in our own backyard!

The next upcoming class is listed below.  To read the class description and to register, click  HERE .

Landscape Design : Thursday, March 9, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm