Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

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NCBL  at The Farmers Market
May 18, 2019
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Azalea Festival
at Lee Memorial Garden
May 19, 2019
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Lee Memorial Garden on Chichester Road
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Hanging Baskets Assembly
May 23, 2019
10:00 am
Irwin Park Barn
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Marching in the Parade
Memorial Day
May 27, 2019
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Annual Meeting: CT's Historic Gardens with Laurie Masciandaro
June 5, 2019
9:30 - 11:00 am
Dear Members,

Our 80th anniversary celebration was a wonderful event!  Thank you, thank you, to the following members whose hard work made it happen: Rose Bauersfeld, Libby Butterworth, Karen Hanson, Jackie Harmody, Sara Hunt, Dave Hunt, Faith Kerchoff, Kathy Lapolla, Penny Mardoian, Barbara Mechanic, Margit Mills, Liz Orteig, Betsy Sammarco and Ty Tan.

As we begin our 81st year of civic beautification projects, we should be proud of all the work that has been done, and enjoy continuing to make New Canaan a special place.

Our busy season has begun, and there are many opportunities to volunteer - Lee Garden, Traveling Trowels, and Triangles. Also, many hands will be needed later this month to prepare the 200+ hanging baskets which will be hung in town.  See our newsletter notice below to help.

Lee Garden is always beautiful, but this month it is at its peak and shouldn't be missed!  The annual Azalea Festival is Sunday, May 19th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Bring your family, friends and cameras to enjoy the azaleas at their peak.

We had such a good time marching in the Memorial Day Parade last year, that we plan to be there again on Monday, May 27.   This is a great way to get exercise and participate in one of New Canaan's best civic events.   Please contact Robin Bates-Mason to sign up.

Happy gardening!

Barbara and Karen

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Please Join Us in Welcoming Our 
New Member! 

Krystie Inman

NCBL Annual Meeting and Program

June 5, 2019
9:30 - 11:30 am
New Canaan Nature Center
Laurie Masciandaro
Site Manager of Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT
Laurie will introduce you to the history and beauty of fifteen distinctive historic sites and gardens that have joined to form 
Connecticut's Historic Gardens.

CT Historic Garden Map

The book, The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast by Jana Milbocker will be available for purchase.

For more information on CHG ( Connecticut's Historic Gardens) click on the logo below.
CHG logo
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Our Annual Meeting in June will include membership voting on (2) motions:
1.  We will be voting on our Board of Directors for 2019-2020.
You can view the nominated slate by clicking HERE.

2.  We will be voting on changes to our by-laws.  In summary, the by-laws will now designate an Executive Committee, which will be separate from our Board of Directors. 
You can view the proposed changes to the by-laws by clicking HERE.
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Jeanne Gnuse garden
Garden Tour
Following Our Meeting!
Jeanne Gnuse has graciously offered a tour of her garden to our members after the June meeting.  Information on where to go and how you can join us will be given at the meeting.

We hope you can come!

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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

You can print it out and mail your membership in, or bring it to the June meeting.


It's time again to assemble our 220 hanging baskets.  This is one of the most recognizable contributions NCBL makes to our town and you can be a part of it!  Bring a pair of gardening gloves and come help on:

May 23, 2019
10:00 am
Irwin Park Barn

This activity takes very little time if we have a lot of hands!

Last month, our baskets were just starting to grow in the greenhouse ...

Hanging basket babies 2019

... and they will soon grow into this lovely plant and color combination:

hanging basket colors 2019

Come be a part of the action!
Many thanks to Eileen Boehme and Bianca Romano, our Hanging Baskets Chairs, for organizing this year's baskets.


We have one last opportunity to brighten the tables in the Waveny Dining Room for our seniors before summer arrives.  Sign up for any of the below Mondays by emailing Betsy Bilus at enbilus@gmail.com  We will assign an experienced partner if you are new to this project.  It should be easy to find flowers in our gardens at this time of year.  Looking ahead, our next opportunity to provide flower arrangements for Waveny will be in September, October, and December.

June 3rd:  A simple "spruce-up" is need this day as the Horticultural Therapy Group will provide fresh flowers on Wednesday.

June 10th:

June 17th:

June 24th:

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:

May 18
Farmers Market
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

NCBL will be at New Canaan Farmers Market on Saturday, May 18 from 
10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Intersted in helping out at the table for a shift?  Please email Robin Bates-Mason at  rbatesmason@gmail.com .

Farmers Market Table
Robin Bates-Mason, Libby Butterworth, and Karen Hanson talk to a resident at the Farmers Market 2018.

Interested in marching in the Memorial Day Parade with the New Canaan Beautification League?  We are still looking for marchers and members interested in helping plan for the parade.  Please e-mail Robin Bates-Mason at rbatesmason@gmail.com if interested.

The parade will be held on Monday, Memorial Day, May 27.

Lisa Ferrente parade
Lisa Ferrante had fun marching in last year's parade.  You will too!

A Big Dig at the Post Office Drop Off

  In April, NCBL volunteers Rob Carpenter, Yvonne Hunkeler, Faith Kerchoff, Kathy Lapolla, and Ty Tan worked with our town crew to get large shrubs planted at the post office drop off area.  To stabilize and prepare the nearby slope for planting, the town brought in very large rocks.  This was a combined effort of the NCBL and our town to improve this area.  Further plantings will be done in early May.

Post Office planting
Ty Tan, Rob Carpenter, Jimmy Peck, and Faith Kerchoff plant a witch hazel.  Not pictured are Kathy Lapolla and Yvonne Hunkeler.

Rocks at Post Office drop off
It took big plans, big machinery, and big rocks to get the job done.  Jimmy Peck guides a large rock into place.

To see more photos of this day, click on our Flickr album at this LINK.
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We Cleaned Our Mile

Earth week culminated in a town wide cleanup.  NCBL collected garbage at the Locust Street parking lot.  Let's make every day Earth Day!

Greg Brown and Faith
New member Greg Brown and veteran member Faith Kerchoff, at the Locust Street lot for Earth Day cleanup.

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Town Hall Tulips

Our Town Hall planters are blooming magnificently!  We are so grateful to Chris Schipper and Colorblends for donating the bulbs for the planters once again.

town hall tulips 2019

Have you ever wondered what happens to our Town Hall tulips when the spring season is over?  They are often recycled into other areas of town such as our triangles, Lee Garden, and the train station.  The beautiful tulips below are from last year's planters and were transplanted to the train station.  This photo shows them in full bloom in April.

Train Station Tulips
Hyacinth Highlight

The Thrift Shop triangle, with its daffodils and hyacinths, was stunning this past month.

thrift shop triangle 2019

Mondays and Fridays
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Work and Learn Days

Sign up with Faith Kerchoff at faithkerchoff@hotmail.com to receive notices about our woodland garden, and what is currently in bloom.

Lee Garden bridge in April 2019 rain
Lee Garden after our heavy April rains, is still picturesque.  Photo: Robin Bates-Mason.


May 19, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Lee Garden Azalea Festival

See the breathtaking display of azaleas in bloom.  Bring your friends, family, and camera!

Olive and George Lee Memorial Garden
89 Chichester Road, New Canaan

Lee Garden in full bloom

George Fox path
Meet George Fox
George is a senior at St. Luke's School and likes gardening and the outdoors. He approached us about doing some volunteer hours in April and May.

He has seen the garden go from dormant to blooming in the last few weeks. He is a self starter and eager to learn about the garden and plants as they develop. For example, he has seen black fern roots grow to fiddle heads, and then to unrolled fronds, and finally develop into tall ferns. 

We asked him to create a trail in a path of ivy-covered rocks.  The path was very uneven and hard to traverse since you couldn't see where you were walking.  The path has been used to bring hoses over to the far side of the garden in July and August for watering.  George removed the ivy, removed any rocks he could, leveled the path out, and added mulch. Some of the rocks were used to line the sides of the trail.   It's a beautiful addition to the garden!   Thank you, George.
fiddleheads Lee Garden
Fiddleheads in April will soon develop into fronds in May.

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Patrick Comins Gave Advice and Guidance

Patrick Comins, executive director of the CT Audubon Society visited Lee Garden in the afternoon before his talk at the library on April 4.  He met with Robin Bates-Mason, Susan Bergen, Kathy Lapolla, and Betsy Sammarco to give advice and guidance on increasing the value of our property to pollinators and other wildlife in our area.  Our Lee Garden chairpeople (Kathy, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Faith Kerchoff) are taking his words to heart when planting and planning for the future of the garden.

Patrick Comins at Lee Garden
Betsy Sammarco, Patrick Comins, Susan Bergen, and Kathy Lapolla walked Lee Garden together.  photo by Robin Bates-Mason

April Program in Review

Robin Bates-Mason

Robin Bates-Mason, NCBL member and president of the organization Planet New Canaan, began the morning with a brief talk entitled "Wishful Recycling".  The goal of her talk was to let the audience know what can and what cannot be recycled, and what happens when a non-recyclable item is placed with single stream recyclables.  Often, a contaminate can ruin tons of recyclable product.  Robin showed a list of the top offenders found in recyclable material at the Material Recovery Facility:

1. Plastic bags (even if they contain the recycle icon on them).
2. Hoses
3. Cords
4. Shrink wrap from products
5. Straws
6. Loose bottle caps (bottle caps attached to the bottle CAN be recycled)
7. Plastic utensils
8. Batteries (there is an appropriate place at our transfer station for these)
9. Toothbrushes
10. Paper cups and lids
11. Styrofoam
12. Food take-out containers.

The take home message of her talk was: "When in doubt, throw it out.  But also find out."

How can you find out how to correctly recycle in CT?  Go directly to the Recycle CT website where you can learn more and search for the correct way to dispose of a particular item.  Click on this link RecycleCT.com or click on the logo below:

Recycle CT loto 
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The Main Event: Ken Druse

To a packed house, Ken Druse talked about our Earth's climate change and the need for shade in our lives.  Explaining that successful gardening often comes with inspiration from the wild, Ken described the layers we see in the land around us, from the upper canopy, to the ground cover, and gave us examples and his personal experience with plants suitable for each layer.  

Ken Druse and books

Here are just a few pearls of wisdom and anecdotes from this gardening guru:

Ken plants strawberry begonia in his stone wall.
His worst weed is Anemone candadensis.
He loves double bloodroot as it blooms much longer than the single species.
Instead of double digging his compost into his garden soil, he lays it on top.
Since there is no bare soil in nature, Ken avoids having bare soil in his own garden.

He gave us far too much information to write about, so we suggest getting Ken's book,   The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change,  in order to learn it all!

Ken is now working on his 20th book, The Scentual Garden.  You can read more about Ken at his website KenDruse.com.

Ken Druse and chairs

G erda Smith, Barbara Beall, Ken Druse, Ellen Zumbach, Carrie Corcoran, and Karen Sneirson stop for a photo.

More April Program Highlights 

Members were greeted by our lovely Membership Chairs.  What a great way to begin our day!

membership april 2019
Sara Hunt, Margit Mills, and Libby Butterworth.

Jacqueline Harmody graced us with three arrangements this day.  This one, on the hospitality table, is particularly sweet.

April bouquet

Cindy Bamatter, Robin Miner, and Cindy Still combined efforts with the NC Garden Club to give us a delicious hospitality table.

April Hospitality
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May 7 - 9, 2019
The Myth of Persephone
Garden Club of America Flower Show
Darien Garden Club
Click  HERE for more info.

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Bartlett Arboretum logo
May 11 : 10:00 am - 3:00 pm : Plant Sale
June 13 : 6:30 - 8:00 pm : Margaret Roach

Click HERE to see all events and for more information.

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May 11 open garden
May 11, 2019
Copake Falls & Hillsdale NY
Garden Conservancy Open Garden,
Plant Sale, and Classes All Day

Visit Margaret Roach's Garden and take a class from gardening experts.
Click HERE to see the schedule and to register.

GardenConservancy Logo

Click HERE to see more Open Day Gardens in our area.
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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.