Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

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November Program
City Green: Public Gardens of New York with Jane Garmey
November 7, 2018
coffee: 09:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
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Annual Appeal Stuffing Party
November 13, 2018
9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Lapham Community Center Dining Room
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Bulb Planting @ Lee Garden
November 16, 2018
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lee Memorial Garden
click for more info ...
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Bulb Planting @ Lee Garden
November 19, 2018
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lee Memorial Garden
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Bulb Planting @ Town Hall
November 26, 2018
10:00 am
Town Hall
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Holiday Wreaths & Greens Workshop
November 28, 2018
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
New Canaan Nature Center Green House
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You can find a complete listing of our programs on our website by clicking
Presidents' Letter

Now that we are seeing some fall colors, it is easier to believe that the holiday season is approaching quickly.   After our Greens and Wreath Workshop on November 28, the Beautification League will take a break from our official projects and have some time to enjoy Thanksgiving and the December holidays.

We want to thank all the members who worked all spring and summer to make the hanging baskets, triangles, Lee Garden and many public areas in town look great.   Under the leadership of Faith Kerchoff, Yvonne Hunkeler and Kathy Lapolla for Lee Garden; Kathy Lapolla, Brian Hollstein, and Barbara Wilson for the Triangles; Eileen Boehme, Ann Brookshire, and Bianca Romano for the hanging baskets; and Liz Orteig for Traveling Trowels, so many of you continued our mission of making New Canaan especially beautiful this year!

Our October luncheon was a great kickoff for our 80th year - thank you Gloria Simon.  Our speaker, Marta McDowell, was outstanding.  Thanks to the Program Committee, we can look forward to another year of informative and entertaining programs.  Also, we are planning a special event in the spring to celebrate the Beautification League's 80th anniversary.  We will need help with this - stay tuned.

After several years of discussion and planning, and under Peggy Dannemann's guidance, the "barn" in Lee Memorial Garden is finished.   We now have an indoor work space and a terrace looking over the garden.  Recently, the Woodman family donated a beautiful print of dried hydrangeas to hang in the barn.  We hope you can come visit when the barn is open in the spring.

We hope to see you at the November 7 meeting to hear Jane Garmey talk about the well-known, and not so well-known, public gardens of New York City.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Barbara and Karen

hanging baskets 4 years
What do our new hanging basket chairs, Eileen Boehme and Bianca Romano have in store for us in 2019?

A Note of Thanks from Tonya Gwynn


Many thanks to all for the good wishes and the lovely chrysanthemums from the Beautification League.  My wrist is getting better day by day and I hope to be back to normal in a few weeks. 
Tonya Gwynn

November Program

Jane Garmey program heading

This will be our third visit from renowned garden writer Jane Garmey.  She is delighted to share her garden knowledge and experience with NCBL members and friends at our November meeting.

Jane explores not only the well-known, but the under-visited gardens of New York City, and details the vitality, variety, and beauty of the city's landscapes and the growing appreciation of how gardens enhance the quality of urban life.

Download a flier for this program by clicking HERE.


Our Annual Appeal for the 2019 season will be starting soon ... with a STUFFING PARTY!

Please come, bring a friend, and get our major fundraiser off to a great start!

Stuffing Party Flier



We have 3 different kinds of bulbs and areas to plant them at Lee Garden.
Come on Friday November 16, or Monday November 19, 11am - 2 pm 
to help us plant bulbs for spring!

Learn what a tete-a-tete is!
Learn what a goose eye narcissus looks like!
Refreshments and hot cocoa served!

Daffodils Lee Garden
Narcissus in Lee Memorial Garden.

On November 26 we will remove the current plants from the Town Hall containers and plant tulip bulbs.  The bulbs will then be ready to be covered with evergreens after the Holiday Greens Workshop.

Town Hall planter tulips 2017
Town Hall tulips from spring 2017.

Wednesday, November 28
New Canaan Nature Center Greenhouse
(note new location at the Nature Center this year)

Come and join us on Wednesday, November 28, at 8:30 am at the New Canaan Nature Center Greenhouse to make the wreaths that decorate many of our public buildings in town.  We will be working in partnership with the Garden Club, an annual tradition and great opportunity to mingle with our friends in New Canaan's other garden group.  No experience is necessary as we will show you what to do.  It involves attaching fresh cut greenery to wooden frames with staples.  Bring hand pruners, if you have them and gloves.  There is no reason to call in advance.  You can just show up!


When finished with the wreaths, and weather permitting, we will then be going to the Town Hall to add evergreens to the large rounds planters by the new entrance and rectangular planters by the old front door.  Dress for the weather if you can help us with this part of the holiday decorating.

Ty Tan and Jill Ernst 
Holiday Greens Chairs
Pine branch

Are you pruning or trimming your evergreens this year?  If so, bring your branches to the Nature Center to be used to create the wreaths that will decorate our town!  Starting November 15 through the morning of the 28th they can be brought to the front of the Nature Center greenhouse near the potting shed.  On the 28th, we will be creating our wreaths for the town.

Holly trimming
Donate your evergreen branches this month!


Dining Room Arranging in October

Take a look at some of the arrangements made in October for the Waveny Care Center dining room.  The residents look forward to the change in arrangements every week.  We heard that one resident in particular, takes photos of the arrangements and posts them on social media!

Anne Tropeano and Betsy Sammarco combined bunches of mini roses with donated Boston fern fronds for arrangements in mid October.

October 13 arrangement
arrangement entryway october 13

Arrangements by Betsy Bilus and Liz Kunz combined classic fall flowers and colors.

Waveny arrangments Bilus and Kunz
Liz Kunz Waveny


The Town Hall in Fall

Our Town Hall planters have been changed out for the fall season.   Yvonne Hunkeler, Kathy Lapolla, Faith Kerchoff, Ty Tan, and Rob Carpenter (who took the photo below) added mums, pumpkins, and gourds to the overflowing pots at the entrance.

Town Hall Team
Town Hall Fall collage 2018


Creative Forces Behind the Barn

The photo below was taken one crisp fall day and captures the creative forces behind the new Lee barn.  Pictured left to right are Faith Kerchoff, Peggy Dannemann, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Scott Phillips, AIA, LEED.  Peggy was the construction manager for the project and Scott the architect.

New Shed Peggy and Scott

What color is that anyway?

Many have commented on how much they like the stain color of the barn.  It is subtle and blends into the woodland landscape.   For all who have asked, the barn color is:
   BM Mesa Verde Tan barn stain  
Benjamin Moore Mesa Verde Tan (AC-33)

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A Lovely Donation

David and Kim Woodman have donated a beautiful signed print of dried hydrangeas by artist Manabu Saito to Lee Barn. 

Saito was born and educated in Japan, then received a degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York City.  He began his botanical career designing at the New York Botanical Garden.  His botanical illustrations have appeared in Audubon, National Geographic, and numerous other magazines and journals.  His works have been included in many books and have been exhibited in Botanical Gardens and museums throughout the world. 

The Woodman family had known Manabu for many years.  David's parents live in Tucson Arizona and Manabu had relocated there from Brooklyn, NY for the last years of his life.  They were extremely close.  The signed Hydrangea print presented to the NCBL was chosen by the Woodman's as a gift to the new barn and as a remembrance of the family's  collaborations at the garden. Charlie, David and Kim's son, was a member of SLOBs (Service League of Boys), that worked in the garden on several projects in his tenure at New Canaan High School.  We will treasure this gift!

You can read a New York Times article about the artist by clicking HERE.

Woodman donation
From left to right: Faith Kerchoff, David, Charlie, Kim Woodman, and Carol Seldin.

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New Plantings

Help was hired for pulling out the overgrowth of ivy in a central part of the garden.  Sedge plugs were planted in its place, foxglove and hellebores were transplanted to the area, and columbine seeds will soon be spread there.  If you take a walk through the garden this fall, you can see this area take shape!

Sedge planted at Lee
Sedge (Carex oshimensis EverColor 'Eversheen') planted in a central area of Lee Garden.

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Tulip Trees at Lee Garden

An autumn walk through Lee Memorial Garden in October displayed the distinctive tulip tree leaf and its brown cones in various stages of color and decay on the woodland floor.

Tulip tree leaves and samaras

The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is native to much of the eastern United States, and is usually the tallest tree growing in a particular region reaching heights from 80 to 150 feet tall.  The leaves, flowers, and fruits can be positioned high up in this tall tree, that one may not be able to see them until they have fallen to the ground naturally or broken off by squirrels and other critters. 
The tulip tree is not related to the tulip, but is so named because of it's "tulip-like" leaf shape and "tulip-like" flowers.  The tulip tree is also called the yellow- poplar, but is not part of the Poplar genus.

Walking through the garden in late spring or early summer, you can see the beautiful tulip tree flowers that have fallen to the ground.  

tulip tree flower
A tulip tree flower fallen from its branches this past May.

Take a walk through our Lee Garden woods this autumn.  Look up at the trees, but don't forget to look down!  You'll find pieces of our beautiful trees on the ground too!

Read more about the tulip tree on the  CT Plant Database.
Autumn Luncheon

We were very fortunate that our Programs Committee was able to reschedule our snowed-out March 2018 speaker for our Autumn Luncheon in October.  

Autumn luncheon 2018
Nancy Malling (programs), Carol Seldin (programs), Marta McDowell (speaker), Gerda Smith (programs), and Barbara Beall (co-president) take a break at our Autumn Luncheon.

Marta McDowell spoke with expertise on the subject of her book All The Presidents' Gardens.  She engaged our audience with questions and laughter.  Did you know that the magnolias planted by Andrew Jackson are depicted on the Jackson $20 bill?  Did you realize that  Rutherford B Hayes and his wife started the Easter Egg Roll and were the first to start the tradition of planting memorial trees on the White House property?

Marta shared these facts and more of her favorite vignettes from her book.  You can read more about Marta and her publications by clicking HERE.  Please note that Marta shared that her book on Emily Dickinson will be re-published soon in color.

Marta speaking
Marta McDowell quizzed the audience often during her talk.
Luncheon book and arrangement 2018

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The Luncheon Flowers

Jacqueline Harmody is a new NCBL board member in charge of the flower arrangements for our special events and programs.  Gay Clarke, Gerda Smith, and Carol Seldin helped Jacqueline prepare the arrangements for the luncheon. 

luncheon flowers volunteers
Gay Clarke, Gerda Smith, and Jacqueline Harmody pose behind the lovely arrangements.

jacqueline harmody

Jacqueline is the co-founder of her floral business,  Fleur2U.com.  Fleur2U delivers fresh cut bundles of flowers from the farm to your table.  There is no florist or middleman involved so you get high quality blooms for a fraction of the cost of a florist.  They deliver to New Canaan and surrounding towns and accommodate special orders on request.

Email jacqueline@fleur2u.com to be added to their email list.  The email list will include what is available for that coming week.  You can find her website  HERE.

luncheon table flowers

Jacqueline's  arrangements for the luncheon received rave reviews and left many people wondering what types of flowers were used.  
Jacqueline filled us in:

luncheon flowers and names


The NCBL Executive Board meets monthly and thanks to our lovely Hospitality crew (Cindy Bamatter, Cindy Still, and Robin Miner), the board enjoys snacks during the meeting.  Last month, everyone went bananas for Robin's cream puffs.  Robin was so kind to share the recipe with us:

Download the recipe by clicking HERE.


Garden Talk header  
Fall Care of the Canna Lily

Canna Lily Bianca

Bianca Romano likes her canna lilies!  The stunning tall flowers, growing nearly five feet, make a statement in many areas of her yard.   They have a hard time surviving our winters however.  Bianca shares how she saves her cannas in the fall for planting again in the spring.

 Once the flowers start to die off, Bianca digs them up.
She shakes the dirt off the rhizomes, lets them air out a bit, and then cuts the green stalks off about 3 inches up the stem.  Bianca then places them in her garage for next year!  Bianca said that replanting in the spring is easy as they do not have to be planted very deep.  At this point she also divides the rhizomes to increase her number of plantings.

Canna lily dug up
Canna lilies dug up and view of the rhizomes.

Thank you Bianca for sharing your garden and experience with us!

Read more about the canna lily HERE.
(scroll down to the section on the canna lily)

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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! 

Copia Home and Garden  

Holiday Workshops at Copia Home and Garden
475 Smith Ridge Road
South Salem, NY

Take a creative workshop at Copia.  Current workshops include holiday wreaths and centerpieces.  
See dates and register for the events online or by phoning:
Click HERE to register online
or call  (914) 533-7242.

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NCNC logo
Holiday Market
November 28 and 29
NCNC Holiday Market
Click image for more information.

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Carriage Barn Arts Center
Deck the Walls Holiday Exhibit
November 30 - December 14
carriage barn deck the walls
Click image for more information.