Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

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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 Library
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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
click for more info ...
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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,

The days are getting longer and the sun is moving north - signs that spring is coming. Our March meeting will feature a film about the beautiful garden of the founder of the Garden Conservancy, Frank Cabot, which should inspire us to think about this year's planting projects.

As we start thinking about our gardens, please send any gardening tips and advice to Betsy Sammarco for the column in our newsletter. All of us are happy to learn about time-saving tricks and tips to make our gardens grow better.

The 80th Anniversary celebration committee is in full swing planning our party that will take place on Sunday April 28. To have an organization of volunteers working to beautify New Canaan, remain active for 80 years, is an accomplishment we should be proud of, and it deserves a celebration. It is interesting to note that the New Canaan League of Women Voters was established in 1939 also. It was a good year for strong women!

We are fortunate to live in an area with so many lovely gardens open to the public, and we hope to arrange for at least one field trip this spring. Please contact us with suggestions.

Faith Kerchoff, Kathy Lapolla and Yvonne Hunkeler will soon be starting spring cleanup in Lee Garden and could always use your help. After our February program on wildflowers please remember that Lee Garden is a wonderful place to see many of them.

Hope to see you at the program on March 6th at the New Canaan Library.

Barbara and Karen

Attention!  Our March Program will be held in the New Canaan Library Lamb Room!

Coming?  Please respond by clicking HERE.
The Gardener NCL  
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 approximately 88 minutes long.

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Presenting Our APRIL Program with the NC Garden Club:

"The New Shade Garden: 
Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change" 
with Ken Druse

Wednesday, April 3
9:30 am: coffee
10:00 am: program

Due to space limitations, this program is limited to NCBL members only.

Ken Druse book and headshot

Ken Druse plumbs the depths of shade once again - 20 years after the publication of his best seller, The Natural Shade Garden. This time, it's a totally new approach designed to tackle the challenges that have arisen due to our changing climate. The low-stress environment of shade (cooler temperatures, fewer water demands, carbon sequestration) is extremely beneficial for our plants, our planet, and us. Ken details new ways of looking at all aspects of the gardening process, in topics such as designing your garden, choosing and planting trees, preparing soil, dealing with deer, and the vast array of flowers and foliage - all within the challenges of a changing climate, shrinking resources, and new weather patterns.
Ken knows that the best defense is to create a verdant retreat - he says, "The garden of the future will be in the shade." 

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

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Celebrate With Us!
April 28, 2019
Look for your email invitation coming late March.

Anniversary Celebration

NCBL Banner

Please Join Us in Welcoming our New Members! 

Zari Malekzadeh
Joan McLaughlin

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Bleeding Hearts cropped small
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


 We need volunteers  to bring food to the April meeting with the Garden Club.  Suggestions include baked goods, fruit, cheese plate, 
 Easter themed sweets, etc.

Contact Cindy Still  stillcj@aim.com.   
Thank you to all who have so generously helped this year. It is greatly appreciated!   coffee and snacks  
Annual Appeal 2019

The 2019 Annual Appeal Committee thanks the volunteers who helped address approximately 7,000 envelopes. Appeal l etters will be sent on 
Friday March 1.

Annual Appeal 2019
Dody Whitehurst, Faith Kerchoff, Karen Sneirson, Barbara Beall, and Rose Bauersfeld thank donors.

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

Woodman book donation
Book Donation

Before moving out of town, the Woodman family donated eleven gardening books to our NCBL lending library.  The titles are shown in the photo to the right.  If you'd like to borrow any of these books, please contact Faith Kerchoff.

Lending Library now Online

Did you know NCBL has a growing lending library?  You can now see all the titles on our website by clicking on the 'More' tab and selecting 'Lending Library'. Thank you Faith Kerchoff and Lisa Ferrente for bringing this feature to our website!

lending library online
It's very easy to locate the Lending Library on our website.

Davenport Ridge Triangle June 2018
To our Dedicated Triangle Volunteers:

As we head into spring, it's a good time to schedule one last clean up in the beginning of March and when the snow clears, to prepare your triangle for the mulch application anticipated next month. Please remove leaves, debris and broken branches. Let the Triangle Volunteer Coordinators (Barbara Wilson & Kathy Lapolla) know your needs, especially if there was winter damage on the shrubs or trees, that need extra attention. Mulching those triangles that need mulch will begin the first week of April. 

Thanks for all your hard work to make New Canaan Beautiful.

Kathy Lapolla
Barbara Wilson

Lee Memorial Garden Report

In early February, Lee Garden volunteers walked the garden paths together, reviewing the status of plants and trees on the property. 

Lee Garden walk
Lisa Carpenter, Rob Carpenter, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Kathy Lapolla. Others present not in the photo: Faith Kerchoff, Stephanie Hutter, Betsy Sammarco, and Sandy Siegel.
Lee Garden walk
Trees were assessed for any winter damage.
Snow drops were making an appearance in that day.

There were plenty of moss covered rocks and trees at the garden, despite the winter cold.  We were able to see moss spores release when we gently brushed over the pods:

Click the 15 second video below to see the spores release.
Moss Spores in February at Lee Memorial Garden
Moss Spores in February at Lee Memorial Garden

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At the Connecticut Flower and Garden show last month, free soil pH testing was offered by UCONN Extension.  A sample of soil from Lee Garden was tested:

Soil testing1 

The result?  The pH of the soil from this particular area was 5.5 which is acidic and appropriate for the azaleas growing there.

Soil testing3

UCONN Extension will test your soil for pH, nutrient value, and more, for a small fee.  Follow the instructions at this link: SOIL TESTING UCONN

February Program

Carol Gracie wowed us with her botanical knowledge and detailed photos of the spring wildflowers of the northeast.

Carol Gracie February program

Carol gave us many interesting details of the life of wildflowers in our region, such as:

  • The mayapple will only produce flowers if it has two leaves.
  • If you want to see Hepatica in early spring, you will need to go on a sunny day as they only bloom when sunny.
  • Some insects will drill holes into dutchman's breeches to reach the nectar.
  • The only wild multiplex cultivar of bloodroot was found in Ohio in the early 1900s.

Carol mentioned these references for native plants and wildflowers in our region:

The Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College: ollege:  http://www.sunywcc.edu/about/npc/


New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods:

If you want to learn more about the stories and details of our spring wildflowers, you can check for copies at Elm Street Books or order Carol's book online HERE.  NCBL has a copy of this book in our lending library.  Contact Faith Kerchoff if you'd like to borrow it.

As the program came to an end, Gerda Smith added her own helpful hint. Take along a 10x magnifier glass when looking for wildflowers. You'll be able to see all the interesting details Carol Gracie talked about.

Carol Gracie and NCBL
Karen Sneirson, Gerda Smith, Carol Gracie, Barbara Beall, and Carol Seldin

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February Hospitality

Hospitality and cookies February program

Many thanks to Cindy Bamatter, Robin Miner, and Cindy Still for organizing the lovely and yummy coffee and snack table.

A few members asked for the recipe for the Chocolate Spice Hearts. These were made by Faith Kerchoff and she used an 'oldie but goodie' recipe from Creative Ideas Magazine Jan/Feb 1990. You can download the recipe HERE.

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February Flowers

Jacqueline Harmody created another lovely arrangement for our hospitality table.

February program flowers

The February arrangement contained Pink Floyd Roses, Alstroemeria, and Thlaspi Green Bell.

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Copia Workshop

Members gathered for a workshop in February at Copia Home and Garden and created a living woodland centerpiece.  Member and Copia owner Jenn Cipriano, guided us as we picked live plants, dried pods, and decorations to create a 
 one-of-a-kind centerpiece for our home.

Lisa Ferrente's woodland creation.

In attendance were: Cindy Bamatter, Eileen Boehme, Libby Butterworth, Lisa Ferrante, Yvonne Hunkeler, Sara Hunt, Faith Kerchoff, Betsy Sammarco, Carol Seldin, Ann Tropeano, Barbara Wilson, and Eva Wingate.

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Winter Blooms

Many gardeners wouldn't think of winter as being a season of blooms, but a visit to Rob Carpenters garden would open ones eyes to the possibility of blooms in winter.  

The first bloom of winter in Rob's garden is wintersweet, or Japanese allspice ( Chimonanthus praecox ).  This deciduous shrub is native to China and produces fragrant flowers. It is hard to describe the fragrance, but it lovely and has been compared to that of jonquil.

Chimonanthus praciox
Chimonanthus praecox - fragrant winter bloom

You can read more about wintersweet HERE.

Chinese and Japanese witch hazels were in full bloom in Rob's garden last month. He has many different varieties, each one sporting a flower with unique color:

Hamamelis x intermedia _Diane_
Hamamelisintermedia 'Diane'
Hamamelis x intermedia _Arnold Promise_.jpg
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

intermedia 'Fire Charm'
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Fire Charm'

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Moonlight'
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Moonlight'

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Birgit'
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Birgit'

The leaves of the Japanese and Chinese species of witch hazel provide great fall color also.  

One of our native witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, blooms in the winter also, while our other native witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, blooms in the fall. You can read more about all the species of witch hazel  HERE.

Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT is holding a workshop about witch hazel entitled "Magical Witches of Winter" on March 16 from 12:30 - 2:30pm.  There is a small fee associated with this program and you can view more information and register HERE.

Not technically a bloom, but another source of color in Rob's garden, are the fruits from his Chinese lantern plants ( Physalis alkekengi).  The orange fruit can be seen through the dried and lacy covering that remains in winter.

Chinese lantern

If you are thinking of growing Chinese lanterns, be aware that it is an invasive plant in our region, spreading by both seeds and deep rhizomes.  All parts of the plant are poisonous.  You can read more about the Chinese Lantern HERE.

Thank you Rob for letting us visit the winter 'blooms' in your garden.

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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 Hidden Life of Trees
with Peter Wohlleben
March 12, 2019
6:30 refreshments
7:00 program
Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium

For more information, click HERE.

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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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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.

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Gardener's Center and Florist logo
March 16
11:00 am
Gardener's Center & Florist, Darien
Raised Bed Gardening Seminar
Click HERE to register

Raised Bed Seminar