CFN Masthead

Volume 77, Number 6 *  JUNE/JULY 2014   

In This Issue
Contact Links
Information Links
Join Our Mailing List
Support Our Advertisers!

Adv. Manager
for guidelines.


5.5"W x 4"H      
 $ 120.

3"W x 4"H  
$ 60.

3"W x 2"H  
$ 30.

JULY 10 
is the deadline for the AUGUST    

Mt Laurel

This is a month to think big, before we relax into the lazy days of summer. Let's think about gardening on a national--even global--level with National Garden Week and the impact our own backyards have on our planet. And think about the service men and women who deserve a Blue Star Memorial, along with the club members who have earned our recognition with a Tribute Award or Love-ly Garden Award. Let us also thank the clubs that have made such generous contributions to our FGCCT Scholarships, which carry our mission into the future.

Don't forget to check this month's Calendar, filled with garden tours and other great events.


President's Message

Celebrate National Garden Week, June 1-7, 2014

Greetings Fellow Gardeners,

National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) proclaims National Garden Week to encourage us to take pride in our communities by fostering cooperation among local groups interested in educating the public about gardening.  Download the National Garden Week Poster and National Garden Week Proclamation at

Many of our clubs have their Annual Meetings in May and June, and quite a few are celebrating club anniversaries.   Congratulations to all of you on your garden club year.   Whether your club is 5, 10, 20, 50, 75 or 90 years old, all clubs can rejoice in the work we are doing to beautify our cities and towns.  In aggregate, we are making our state and region a healthier, more vibrant place for us, our children and grandchildren.  With 250,000 NGC members worldwide, imagine the difference we are making to our planet!  

Your state president recently had the honor of representing you at the NGC National Convention in Norman, Oklahoma.  It was a joy to hear about all the outstanding projects clubs are undertaking --bringing water to villages that do not have a fresh supply, replanting our nation's forests and weather-devastated areas, honoring our veterans, working with children and funding scholarships, feeding the hungry with community vegetable gardens--world-wide NGC projects are infinitely varied and very impressive.  While it was interesting to see a bit of the plains (all regions have their charms:Oklahoma has friendly people, a big sky overhead and mighty minerals below)--it was great to return home to the ocean and the rolling hills of New England bursting with greens of all shades and fabulous flowering fruit trees.

Speaking of our own backyards, this creating a backyard habitat project is really paying off for my yard--I hope it is for you.  By adding feeders, natives trees, shrubs and groundcovers, small water features like birdbaths and a fountain, and tolerating a few extra weeds by foregoing chemicals, my yard has become a kaleidoscope of flying colors this spring.  Along with subtle beauties of grey or brown and besides the usual gold and purple finches, blue jays and cardinals, for the first time we have breeding pairs of Baltimore or Eastern orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and the piece de resistance, an impossibly blue indigo bunting! Our violets are abuzz with 3 different varieties of bees--the whole yard is alive with flying friends.

Good news about our state Plant Native Trees and Backyard Habitat Contests:  The Federation Board has voted to change our way of designating club size to align our state with the NGC categories for Award purposes.  Instead of just small, medium and large clubs, we are adding an extra-large club designation.  The categories are Small-29 members and under; Medium-30-59 members; Large-60-99; Extra-large-100 plus members.  This means we will be able to offer an additional native tree award for each of our contests.  Please use this growing season to plant native trees.  The Plant Native Trees winning clubs will be announced at the Fall Awards Meeting.  The Create Backyard Habitats contest continues until next spring.  As the end time for each contest gets closer, we will be asking clubs to send their tallies to our Office Secretary.  More information is available on the state Federation website,

Happy Gardening and Happy Summer!

* Jacqueline Connell


...the hard work of club members. Recognize and show appreciation for the people who do the work.  Whether they're a club leader or someone who works hard to get a job done, let us know!  We are accepting nominations for TRIBUTE AWARDS in the following categories:

*    Civic Development
*    Conservation
*    Design
*    Garden Therapy
*    Horticulture
*    Landscape Design
*    Youth
*    All-around Excellence

What are Tribute Awards, you say?  Well, they are different from the awards that clubs have submitted nominations for this year.  They are separate awards determined by The Federation's Second Vice-President as a way to honor individuals who have made a real impact on your club and community through their efforts. 

Individuals can be nominated by ANYONE in their club.  To nominate a club member, you may submit a letter explaining who the candidate is and all of their contributions that make them worthy of this distinction.  The letter may be emailed to [email protected] or sent by standard mail to Leslie Martino, Second Vice-President, FGCCT, Inc., 70 Penny Lane, Woodbridge, CT  06525. Please include your contact information in the letter. The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2014.  Recipients will receive their awards at the Annual Awards Luncheon on October 29, 2014.

Another way to recognize individual efforts in your club is to honor that individual with a CONNECTICUT LIFE MEMBERSHIP to the Federation. A life membership is obtained by submitting a letter, again to the Second Vice-President , using the contact information above, outlining why the individual is being recognized by your club.  A $100 check should accompany the request.  You will receive a congratulatory letter from the Federation and a beautiful pin and card to formally present to this individual. This is a great idea for your club's annual luncheon. This honor differs from the National Garden Club Life Membership, another option available to recognize club members.  Contact Leslie Martino as above for more information.

* Leslie Martino
Tribute Awards Chair

FAQ: The Blue Star Memorial Program?

What is the Blue Star Memorial Program? 
Originally called The Blue Star Memorial Highway Program, the program was adopted at the 1946 Annual Meeting of the National Council of State Garden Clubs (now the National Garden Clubs, Inc.) and conceived as a "ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state" to honor World War II veterans. The program has since grown to honor all men and women who had served, were serving or would serve in the armed forces of the United States and includes three different types of Memorials--Highway Markers, Memorial Markers and By-Way Markers. 

What is the difference between the types of marker? 

Highway Markers are permitted on highways and at highway rest areas.

Memorial Markers are permitted on the grounds of National Cemeteries, Veteran Administration Medical Centers and any other appropriate civic location, as approved by the NGC Blue Star Chairman.

By-Way Markers are permitted in parks, historical sites and other civic locations.

If our Club is interested in placing a marker, what are the steps? 

One of the first steps is to work with your local government officials to obtain permission to place a marker. You should also determine who will install the marker and then maintain the site--e.g., the highway department, parks department, etc.  

Your marker will also need approval from the State and National Blue Star Memorial Chairs, as well as your State President. Once you have all your approvals, you can order your marker and begin planning the placement ceremony.

How long does it take to get the marker?

You should plan for a two-month time frame from ordering to delivery.

Is there a cost to place a marker?

Yes, the markers range in price from $1410 for a Memorial or Highway Marker to $470 for a By-Way Marker.
My role as the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., Blue Star Memorial Chair is to assist you and your Club with this special project. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me either via email at [email protected] or via telephone at 203.877.7092. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

* Patricia Dray
Blue Star Memorial Chair


Pollinators versus Pesticides

The name "neonicotinoids" refers to a group of new (neo) nicotine-like systemic insecticides of which there are 7 members. These insecticides were developed in the mid-1990s for commercial crop use against chewing and sucking insects.   They are applied in a variety of ways, particularly as a soil drench or foliar spray. The plant's vascular system takes up the chemical so that it is found in all parts of the plant. It acts on the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. The application rate for neonicotinoids is much lower than older organophosphate insecticides, and they have lower toxicity for vertebrates. However, the neonicotinoids on garden center shelves for home use can be applied at much higher concentrations than those for agricultural use.

These new, improved insecticides pose issues for pollinators.  The chemicals in treated plants translocate to the pollen, nectar and plant exudates, and also persist in the soil.  Honey bees take contaminated  pollen and nectar back to the hive, and ground nesting bees encounter the toxins in the soil.  Sub-lethal effects include disruptions in navigation, communication and foraging behavior.  Larvae fed from the contaminated pollen and nectar exhibit slower than normal development. Articles in two issues of the journal Science provided the evidence for those effects.

Neonicotinoids do not cause CCD (colony collapse disorder), but disrupt already stressed colonies.  Further studies are needed to address the risks to honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees.  These insects are responsible for pollinating crops and fruits that add $15 billion to the economy annually.

When you purchase garden or lawn chemicals, be sure to read the labels and warnings carefully.

* Lois Nichols
Special Projects Chair


Black Cherry Trees
Black cherry (Prunus serotina) is native to Eastern North America.  A small, narrow tree with a columnar-to-rounded crown, it grows in USDA Zones 3-9 in full sun to part shade in average, well-drained soils. 

Cherries may be difficult to transplant as they develop long tap roots.  They are valued as ornamentals for their profuse spring bloom with fragrant white flowers, attractive glossy summer foliage, and yellow to rose fall color.  Older trees develop dark, scaly bark that adds interest to the winter landscape.

Cherry trees are one of the most important trees gardeners can plant to sustain wildlife.  They provide food, shelter, cover and nesting habitat. Cherry trees provide a source of nectar for many pollinators such as butterflies, honeybees, flies, ants and hummingbirds.     Black cherry, along with chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) and pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), ranks third in the number of butterflies and moths it supports.  Copious producers of berries, cherries sustain birds for weeks in late summer. 

Some gardeners may hesitate to plant native cherries, according to Doug Tallamy in Bringing Nature Home, because they are a favorite of tent caterpillars in early spring.  However, these caterpillars are eaten by many bird species and also bats.  As Professor Tallamy notes, "If you can learn to tolerate a tent or two in the spring, your cherries [and plums] will provide valuable bird food all summer long."

The hard, reddish brown wood was traditionally used to make veneers; furniture, such as cabinets; paneling; gun stocks; tool handles; and musical instruments. The inner bark was used historically as a cough remedy, tonic and sedative, but is poisonous in large amounts.  The fruit has been used to flavor brandy and rum as well as for wine and jelly.            

Because they are some of the first trees to flower in spring, in folklore,  cherry trees symbolized the health of the earth and the joy and bounty of nature.

*Jacqueline Connell


Keep Kitty Indoors

Cats in the United States kill an estimated 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds each year according to a 2013 Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service analysis.  The scientists also found that cats kill 6.9 billion to 20.7 billion mammals a year.  While feral and stray cats are the biggest culprits, about half of the 80 million or so companion cats in this country roam freely at least part of the time, catching an estimated 1.9 billion wild animals a year.  Cats compete with owls, hawks and other important native predators that aren't subsidized by people and need their prey to survive.

Some facts:
*    Cats kill more wildlife in spring and early summer than any other time of year because fledgling birds and other newborns have not developed any physical defenses or awareness to the dangers of their world.

*    If you keep your cats indoors, they avoid getting hit by a car, catching feline leukemia and being attacked by dogs. They are also protected from poisoned food, pesticides, cat fights, fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, getting lost, getting stolen, steel-jaw traps, human cruelty, gunshot wounds, puncture wounds and wild animal attacks.  This is the short list.

*    The average life span of a cat that goes outdoors is 2 to 3 years, whereas an indoor-only cat can live 15 to 20 years.  While it is true that cats enjoy sunshine, fresh air and exercise, they do not need to go outside to be satisfied.  Some creative planning on the part of their human guardians can help indoor cats live fully.

There are so many reasons to keep your cat indoors rather than letting him or her out.  A wonderful article by PAWS, "Keeping Cats Safe and Happy Inside Your Home," is a must read for any cat owner.  Here is the link:
A correction:  When you have your backyard certified by the National Wildlife Federation, please send your name, certificate number and name of your garden club to the FGCCT Office Secretary, Barbara Romblad, [email protected].
Also, please include me on the email so that I will know how we're doing.

Enjoy your backyard.

* Anne Harrigan
email: [email protected]

Do You Know a Love-ly Garden?

Applications for the Love-ly Garden Award are due to me by June 15. The application and directions are found on the Website under Awards.

* Mary Sullivan
Scholarship News

We thank the following clubs for their generous donations to the FGCCT Scholarship Fund.

Connecticut Valley Garden Club $50
Farmington Garden Club  $50
Garden Club of New Milford $100
Greens Farms Garden Club $100
Hortus (Greenwich) $100
Middletown Garden Club $50
Olde Ripton Garden Club $50
Garden Club of Old Greenwich $200
Stamford Woman's Club $100
Wallingford Garden Club $50
Wilton Garden Club $500

* Judy Joly
Scholarship Chair
Study Schools Set for Fall

Flower Show School, Course I, will be held September 10-12, 2014 at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.   The students will need to get their applications in by August. You can find the brochure and application on the Federated Garden Clubs of CT web site under Education Program.
This course is the beginning of the four-course sequence and is a great place to start.  Students who have attended these courses were pleased by the way they enhanced their understanding of design and horticulture. The Flower Show School's first course is a good way to start thinking about becoming a judge. 
* Jessica Fischer 
Flower School Chair 
Gardening Study School will be held September 23-25, 2014, at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.  This is also Course I and will cover a wide variety of topics of interest to all gardeners.  These include:  Basic Botany, Soils, Houseplants, a Plant Propagation activity, and a special lecture on growing orchids.

* Cheryl Basztura and Joanne McKendry                       
Gardening Study School Chairs

The dates for Environmental Studies School have changed.  CT ESS will now be held October 14 -16 at the Kellogg Environmental Center.  The Living Earth, Course IV: Water and Related issues, is a fundamental overview and will include a local field trip.

* Polly Brooks
Environmental Studies School

Meet Theresa Waltz

As a member of the Evergreen Garden Club in Glastonbury, Theresa Waltz served on the Glastonbury Council, which coordinates the activities of five garden clubs. That's how she got to know Donna Nowak, who asked her to serve as Recording Secretary for The Federation. Theresa did that for two years before becoming our Corresponding Secretary.

In addition to handling the correspondence for FGCCT, her duties include arranging the venues for all the Federation meetings and Study Schools. Little did Theresa know that her job would be especially challenging when the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) closed for extensive renovations. Until 2012, The Federation had use of their Jones Auditorium for all meetings and school sessions. Suddenly Theresa had to scout alternatives.

"I had to find locations that were inexpensive and accessible to members from all over the state," she says. "I called and visited 20 places." Her efforts led to meetings at the Connecticut Forest & Park Association in Middlefield and schools at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, among other sites. For her service above and beyond, Waltz received a Presidential Citation at this April's Annual Meeting. "It's still a surprise to me," Theresa says modestly.

About 6 years ago, Waltz moved from Glastonbury, where she kept a five-level garden among many trees, to Manchester, where she lives atop a hill with views of sunsets and few trees. In this large new yard, she has planted small trees and shrubs with a minimum of perennials.

Still a member of the Evergreen Garden Club, she has also joined the Manchester Garden Club. Theresa says they are completely different. Evergreen is a small club--about 20 members--with long-term, older members. On the other hand, Manchester's club is 80 strong, including many men and active community involvement.

Theresa says she enjoys her involvement with the Federation because, "they are a wonderful group of people--so competent, knowledgeable, educated and professional. And they are all trying to give back on some level."

And, she tells us, "We should be back at Jones Auditorum for our meetings in March, 2015."

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor  

The June Garden

Every year I struggle with the weeds in my garden. From time to time I'll win a battle, but they always win the war.
With this in mind, I asked Todd Mervosh to name the worst weeds we might find in our cultivated perennial gardens and landscapes. For now, never mind turf or forest weeds--no less important, but not our subject here.

You may not know that in Connecticut we have our very own Weed Scientist. Todd has worked at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in Windsor for 20 years. Todd explained that most weed
scientists train in a College of Agriculture, because a weed scientist specializes in weed management for agricultural crops. "However," said Todd, "in the last decade invasive plants have given a whole new dimension to our work."

So here we go with Todd's pick of Connecticut's Seven Worst Weeds in the cultivated landscape:

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris
On the Connecticut Invasive Plant List,  mugwort spreads by rhizomes. If you dig it out, remove every root fragment because each root fragment can grow into another plant.  
The leaves of mugwort look a lot like those of a chrysanthemum and it is also called wild chrysanthemum. The first time it appeared in my garden it was surrounded by chrysanthemum leaves, and I thought it was a new variety of mum. Good trick on me.

Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Hedge bindweed
Field bindweed
These viny weeds, related to morning glories, are tough to control because they grow quickly and their roots grow very deep. The best control is to dig up the seedlings as soon as you see them.

Canada thistle  (Cirsium arvense)  
This is on the Connecticut Invasive Plant List. Canada thistle is another weed with rhizomes. Like mugwort, colonies of Canada thistle are connected with an extensive system of underground stems. Canada thistle reproduces from seed or pieces of root left in the soil.

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)  
The trick here is to pull or dig this native perennial weed early in the season before the nutlets form on the roots. If you try to pull it up later in the year, the nutlets will break off the roots and stay in the soil. It's very difficult to pull it up and get all of the nutlets.

Quackgrass, couchgrass, devilgrass
(Elytrigia repens
This is a non-native perennial grass that spreads by seed and rhizomes.

Field horsetail
(Equisetum arvense
This weed looks like a little pine tree. It's a native plant (very ancient and primitive) but can be troublesome in the garden.

The folks at UMass Extension have assembled a great weed identification tool. Go to Weeds are organized alphabetically by common name.

If you live in Connecticut and want to identify a weed on your property, take a photo and email it to Todd Mervosh at [email protected].

I found this quote on the Internet from Daniel Pipes: "If you cannot name your enemy, how can you defeat it?" So now that we can name some of our enemy weeds, can we defeat them? Sure, when pigs fly.

* Pamela Weil 
Horticulture Chair

Milford Adopts Official City Flower

To support the City of Milford's celebration of its 375th anniversary, The Milford Garden Club proposed and the Board of Aldermen recently voted to adopt Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus', Eastern Purple Coneflower, as the city's official flower.  In so doing, the city joined others with floral symbols, such as San Francisco (Dahlia) and New York (New York Aster).


Members contacted the Chamber of Commerce and others in the business community to enlist support for the city flower initiative.At this year's May Market, many visitors reported that they had read about the flower through local news sites and were happy to purchase the city flower plants that were on sale.  The club developed a "City of Milford Official Flower" brochure and distributed it at the sale.  This civic project is a positive and ongoing contribution to the civic and environmental health of the city. 


These are the criteria that led to the choice of Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus':

*       Connecticut native plant, used by Native Americans

*       Easy to grow and maintain

*       Supports environmental health

*       Bright flowers attract bees and butterflies

*       Deer resistant, drought tolerant and wind resistant

*       Long bloom time:  June through August

*       Thrives in full sun and grows in a variety of conditions

 *        Attractive in home gardens, outside businesses and in    municipal spaces

*        Inexpensive and widely available 


The Milford Garden Club will be planting Eastern Purple Coneflowers in the gardens they maintain and plans to hold a photo exhibit of Milford's Coneflowers at the Milford Public Library in the fall.


Bunny Elmore, a member of the club's new Official Flower Committee said, "We look forward to a time when public, private and municipal spaces are vibrant and glowing with the Eastern Purple Coneflower as an annual celebration!"

* Joan M. Crimmins

Milford Garden Club


FGCCT Holiday Tour

Are you a fan of "Downton Abbey?"  Magnificent paintings and art?  Gardens and homes decorated for the Holiday Season?  Well if you ticked off yes to any of these, then save the dates of December  2nd and 3rd for an FFT (Fabulous Federation Trip) to satisfy your whims. Details on this trip will come soon, but the dates are set, so mark your calendars now!  
Among the sights we will be seeing are the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (PA) , Winterthur (Delaware)  and Longwood Gardens, Kennet Square (PA). We will be staying overnight and traveling by coach bus. Everything will be planned for your convenience and comfort. Hope to see you on this wonderful trip.

* Kathy Kobishyn 
Federated Garden Clubs of Ct Tour Coordinator  
203 915 6017 or 203 876 9376 



Our world cruise continues.  The second Design Section of the 2015 Flower Show takes us across the Pacific Ocean to "The Far East."  What a fun section this is--small designs, all staged in eye-level, lighted boxes. The small flower designs are always very popular, both with the public and the designers. We'll have 12 delightful entries competing for the Petite Award. 

Our first port is "Picturesque Bali," the perfect island destination where we can create a small, multi-rhythmic design.  The next stop is "Cosmopolitan Singapore." Here you can interpret this title into whatever design type you like.  The third destination in this part of our world cruise is "Luminous Kobe," where a small panel design can show the beauty of this large city by the sea.

We still have four more exciting destinations to visit in Design.  We also
need all hands on deck to help with our Horticulture Division, "Ship Ahoy."

Then we can travel the "7 Blue Seas" of our Special Exhibits Division, which includes both Educational Exhibits and Artistic Crafts.  And last, but not the bit least, is our new Photography Division, "Tour the World."

What fun we're going to have!  Don't forget, PORTS OF CALL, a Standard Flower Show presented by the Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc., February 19-22, 2015, at the CT Convention Center.  Schedule coming soon!

* Barbara Bruce
2015 Flower Show Chair


The updated list of our 2014 Board of Directors is now posted on our website. You may open it by clicking  here.


After having lost three Colorado Blue Spruces the winter before, Cheshire Garden Club member Nancy Bauer and her husband Dr. Peter Bauer, had them removed and redesigned the entire area with flowering ornamental shrubs and Spring bulbs.  In mid-May their front yard was ablaze with color from Purple Gem rhododendrons and dozen varieties of tulips not only in the redesigned area but also in front of the white split-rail fence facing the street - a feast for the eye for passing motorists.  They have been awarded the Club's Beauty Spot of the Month on several occasions.

Submitted by Inge Venus.





To maintain your garden club's Tax Exemption status, your club MUST file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EVERY YEAR. You must file a form 990, 990-EZ, or 990N (the e-postcard).


Clubs that fail to file an annual 990-series return or notice, for three consecutive years, will AUTOMATICALLY lose their tax-exempt status.



or Go To, then click link for "Charities & Non-Profits."



JULY 10:

Deadline for AUGUST 2014 ISSUE  


Email Articles and Photos to:
[email protected]
Email Advertising to:[email protected]
Email Calendar Items to:[email protected]

CT Federation NEWS

Published monthly except January/July


Direct Articles/Dates/Events to:   Lynn Hyson, Editor    

49 Seventy Acre Rd., Redding, CT  06896     203-431-0613


Direct Advertising Queries to: Diana Abshire, Advertising Manager

26 Diamond Hill Rd., Redding, CT  06896    203-938-1114


Direct Circulation Queries to:  OFFICE SECRETARY, FGCCT

P.O. Box 854, Branford, CT  06405     203-488-5528



Our Mission Statement 

To coordinate, stimulate and encourage higher standards in all aspects of Garden Club work


To protect and conserve our natural resources, preserve our heritage and promote civic beauty.   Federation logo


6,788 Members


131 Clubs


15 Affiliates 

Mt Laurel