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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Holiday Wreaths & Greens Workshop
November 28, 2018
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
New Canaan Nature Center
more info to come ...
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January  Program
Impressionists in the Garden: From Vista to Vase
January 9, 2019
coffee: 09:30 am
program: 10:00 am
New Canaan Nature Center
more info to come ...
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You can find a complete listing of our programs on our website by clicking
Presidents' Letter

Hi Everyone!

The Lobsterfest is over--many thanks to all for your assistance--and it's officially autumn, the uniquely colorful season of New England. Do take a walk or ride to soak in the glory before getting bogged down with winter.  All the rain we have endured supposedly bodes for a leafy rainbow this year.

You might begin with a visit to Lee Garden where a group of volunteers led by Faith Kerchoff, Yvonne Hunkeler, and Kathy Lapolla have planted and pruned all summer, and the garden looks great.   The train station and the mail box drop-off area on Pine Street look well tended thanks to Liz Orteig and her Traveling Trowels.

Of course this means we have seasonal chores, including storing everything we used all summer!  We hope you have better luck with wintering your dahlias when they are finished than yours truly.  Send us your photos.  And keep weeding!

Our dedicated Annual Appeal team will be starting soon. Many thanks to  Rose Bauersfeld, Dody Whitehurst, Eva Wingate, Tonya Gwynn and Karen Hanson.  We hope you can pitch in to help us raise the funds that enable us to do so much throughout the year.

Because both Waveny House and the Country Club of New Canaan are undergoing construction, some of our traditional events in 2019 will be held elsewhere.  Be sure to check the newsletter and website to verify events and locations.  Thank you Betsy Sammarco, editor-in-chief, and Lisa Ferrante, webmaster extraordinaire, for keeping us informed.

Don't hesitate at any time to contact us or anyone on the board. We're here to help!

Barbara and Karen
NCBL Banner
Welcome Our Newest Members!

Susu Hamady
Eniko Szatai

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.


A "Thank You" from our Autumn Luncheon Chairman

Our 2018 Autumn Luncheon was a success!  None of it could have been done without our chairman, Gloria Simon.  Thank you again Gloria for a wonderful event.  Photos and information from the luncheon will be posted in our November newsletter.  In the meantime, here is a note of thanks from Gloria:

I want to thank everyone who helped make the October 4 Luncheon at Woodway Country Club so successful.

First, my appreciation to Lisa Ferrante, Robin-Bates Mason, and Betsy Sammarco who did such a great job publicizing the event.  Thank you to Jacqueline Harmody for the magnificent flower arrangements at each table.

As always, Carol Seldin, Gerda Smith, Jolly Frank and Nancy Malling found us an outstanding speaker who wowed us with her knowledge about the history of the White House gardens.

And a personal word of praise to Libby Butterworth for aiding with the many tasks that helped the event run so smoothly.

For all of you who attended:  your spirit and enthusiasm made the day a fun one to remember for us all. 
 -- Gloria Simon, Chairman, Autumn Luncheon


Hospitality Volunteers Needed

Hospitality volunteers needed:  we need 3-4 people to help with food items for our November 7 meeting!  

If you can help, please email Cindy Still,  stillcj@aim.com .  Indicate if you can bring a sweet or savory to serve 10-12 people.  Suggested items include; coffee cake, cheese plates, breakfast breads, muffins, fruit platter, deviled eggs, or similar items.  Purchased or home made items are welcome and please bring on serving platter.  Thank you!   

coffee and snacks

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Fall is For Planting ... Bulbs!

There will be some bulb planting opportunities both at Lee Garden and at Town Hall.  Watch for email blasts!  Many hands will make for a blooming spring!

bulbs in a row


Are you dividing, pulling, digging your plants this fall?

digging plants

If you are working on your own gardens this fall, we may be able to use the plants you are throwing away.  Before tossing them, give our Civic Beautification chairs, or our Triangle chair an email or call to see if they can be used around town.

Civic Beautification: Faith Kerchoff, Rob Carpenter
for Triangles contact:   Kathy Lapolla


Waveny Care Center Flower Arranging

Thank you to the following members for volunteering in October and December:

October 15: Betsy Sammarco and Anne Tropeano
October 22: Liz Kunz
October 29: Bianca Romano and Eileen Boehme
December 10: Megan Morales
December 17: Judy Gilroy
December 24: Megan Morales
December 31: Liz Kunz

Betsy Bilus will be sending out our 2018-19 Guidelines along with a blank expense form and information on where to obtain flowers.  Betsy is available to answer any questions that may arise.

Faith Kerchoff Waveny September 2018
Faith Kerchoff arranged these beauties for Waveny Care Center in early September.

Dahlias at Waveny
Liz Orteig created these simple but stunning centerpieces for the week of the 24th.

Triangle Report

Our triangles all over town are looking happy and well cared for in spite of challenging weather this summer.  Notice the spectacular elephant ear plants (Colocasia) Claude Colabella planted at the Oenoke and West Road triangle.  

Oenoke and West Road triangle
Hosta and elephant ears of the Oenoke and West Road triangle.

Oenoke and West Road triangle

The Collabella's planted elephant ear plants in two areas on the triangle.  When a breeze blows through, or a car drives by, they sway gently as if waving to say hello.

 Did you see the lovely blooms at the New Canaan Thrift Shop triangle?  The plants were from Elaine Pauley's garden, donated by Dr. Nick Rutigliano who purchased her home on Millport Avenue.  Elaine's plants can be found in several locations around town.

Thrift Shop triangle September 2018

There is a beautiful succession of plants at the Thrift Shop triangle:  daffodils and grape hyacinth start the season, followed by yellow loosestrife ( Lysimachia puntata and evening primrose ( Oenothera ).  The obedient plant (shown above and below) blooms late summer into fall.  Liriope lines the edge of the area.

Obedient plant

Do you know why this plant, Physostegia virginiana is commonly called the obedient plant?  The flowers can be pushed perpendicular along its spike and will "obediently" stay in that postion.  You can read more about this North American native plant HERE.

You may have noticed the spectacular black-eyed Susan plants on the Carter Street and Route 123 triangle, tended by Faith Kerchoff and Bianca Romano.  They compliment the bright red color of the "Welcome to New Canaan" sign.  Brian Hollstein, Joan Hayenga, and Sara Hunt decided to do a similar planting on their triangle (that also has the same red sign) at Gerdes Road and South Avenue.

Welcome new triangle volunteers:  Jill Ernst, Judy Gilroy, Fanny Moran, Deborah Rose, Sarina Vetterli, and Simin Zendehrouh.  Watch for a new plantings on County Club Road and Route 123, thanks to Sarina.

We currently care for 28 triangles.  Approximately 17 have one volunteer, so there is always a need for more help, and it's always fun to work with a partner.  

As fall approaches, Triangle chairs will email volunteers alerting them to the clean up routine and town leaf removal.


The Town Hall in Fall

Our container plantings and landscaping along the Town Hall wall were full and colorful even in September.

Town Hall container
Container plantings at the new Town Hall entrance.

Zinnia town hall
This zinnia planted itself into the pavers under the large containers!  What a surprise!

monarch on town hall planter
Ty Tan caught this monarch getting some nectar from a  Lantana before making its trip south to Mexico.

Town Hall rose and sedum
The fragrant yellow roses by the wall were stunning next to the pink sedum.

Town Hall front container
The traditional planters by the original entrance are overflowing.


Critters in Our Woodland

Salamanders at Lee

Various critters inhabit our woodland garden on Chichester Road.  Yvonne Hunkeler took this photo of a spotted salamander (left) that Faith found while digging around in the garden.  Betsy Sammarco lifted a rock to find two redback salamanders (right).

Read more about the spotted salamander HERE.
Read more about the redback salamander HERE.

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Autumn is the time to see seed pods in the garden, and seed pods can be beautiful!  Take a look at these from a Cimicifuga, hosta, and jack-in-the-pulpit below.
seed pod
hosta seed pods
Jack in the Pulpit seed pod

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Fall Blooms at Lee

 Take a fall walk in Lee Memorial Garden and you'll see these plant blooming among others:

Hardy begonia
Hardy begonias donated by Rob Carpenter.

turtlehead and goldenrod
Turtleheads  (Chelone) and goldenrod  (Solidago) .

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The Terrace

The terrace is done!  We were very happy to have Stecks Nursery of Bethel as the best bid contractor for the new terrace.  The terrace was made with pavers that look like bluestone and is porous to absorb the rain.  It is from this terrace that George Lee wanted his garden to be seen, especially by his wife, Olive.

Lee Garden terrace before and after

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Pruning Day with the Chainsaw Gang

Many thanks to Steve Pinney and John Kerchoff, who wielded their chainsaws and worked with Faith Kerchoff and Yvonne Hunkeler to do major pruning of old and dead branches.  Many thanks to the town crew for picking up our massive branch pile in the parking lot!

Lobsterfest Centerpieces
Traditionally, NCBL provides centerpieces for the Annual Rotary Club Lobsterfest.  This year Betsy Bilus, with Ann Brookshire and Debera Prosek Simpson, decorated mums and ornamental kale for the tables.

Lobsterfest centerpieces

After the event, the plants were planted at God's Acre and the Town Hall by Kathy Lapolla and Tracy Phillips.
God's Acre Fall 2018
Town Hall steps fall 2018

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Farmers Market

Thank you Robin Bates-Mason, Fanny Moran, and Libby Butterworth for staffing the table at the Farmers Market on Saturday September 22. 

Farmers Market 9 2018


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Trying Something New

Bianca Romano's mom always wanted to grow peanuts, but never had the chance.  It was  something Bianca wanted to try in her memory.  At a Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour this year, she was gifted a two inch peanut plant to try.

Bianca grew it in a large pot, and in July it bloomed with yellow flowers.  Her trial was a success as you can see in the photo below.

Bianca peanuts

Bianca has since learned that peanuts grow best when planted in the ground, as opposed to in a pot, so more roots can take hold.  She'll be planting peanuts again next year in this way.

Bianca's goal is to try something new in her garden every year.  On next year's list ... hops!

You can watch Bianca reveal the peanuts she grew in this video by clicking HERE.

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Pokeweed Surprise

Betsy Sammarco had surprise visitors to her yard on September 14.   She tells her story below:

An American pokeweed came up accidentally in my yard a year ago.  I briefly thought about removing it this year, but after hearing Patrick Comins, CT Audubon Society director, at our June meeting describe it as a beneficial plant for birds, I decided to let it be.  I am so glad I did!

pokeweed plant

One Friday morning, I saw a commotion in the shrub out of the corner of my eye.  Upon closer look, I saw a flock of cedar waxwings eating the pokeweed berries.  It's been years since I've seen these birds, so I grabbed my camera and started taking photos through the window.  Wanting to get closer, I stepped outside and was surprised that they remained on the bush even while snapping photos with my old and noisy camera.

cedar waxwing

cedar waxwing

As in true waxwing fashion, these beautiful birds came, they ate, and they left.  As of this writing, they haven't returned.

American pokeweed ( Phytolacca americana) is a weedy perennial that can grow to resemble a small tree.  It has many names including poke, pokeberry, pigeonberry, and inkberry.  The entire plant is poisonous to humans however many will eat the young leaves after properly cooking them to deactivate and remove the toxins.  Native Americans used the berries as ink and as remedies for a variety of maladies, and the plant is being investigated currently in the medical field for its use in cancer treatment.  A true perennial, it will die back to the ground, but the tuberous root remains alive and sends up sprouts in the spring.

Birds that eat the berries include catbirds, cardinals, orioles, waxwings, sparrows, robins, finches, and jays.

This photo shows the different stages of the fruiting part of the pokeweed: flowers, unripened berries, and ripened berries.

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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! 

Bartlett Arboretum logo 

Champion Trees Tour
Sunday, October 21, 2018
3:30 pm - 4: 40 pm

for more information and to see more events, click HERE.

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