Member Login Calendar Contact Us
November 2015

Thyme To Garden!

November 2015 Newsletter


As I write my column I’m looking out my window and still seeing spectacular Fall color in the woods surrounding my home. Whether it’s taking a scenic drive to see the colors change, gathering up the last of my dahlias, or harvesting my root vegetables for winter soup, spending the Fall in Maine is something I love. It’s also a season we celebrate the color orange. In October I traveled to Freeport to participate in the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival hosted by L.L. Bean. The festival was a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine in Casco, a haven for children with life threatening illnesses. (You’ll see I got my picture taken with a work of art by master pumpkin carver Moe Auger). That same weekend Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens also celebrated with a giant family pumpkin event, as did the McLaughlin Gardens. In fact, members of the Foothills Garden Club helped carve the hundreds of pumpkins at this year’s McLaughlin Garden festival. So I hope you too will get out and enjoy these last days of Fall before we have to exchange our leaf rakes for snow shovels!! As we look ahead to another Maine winter, I know many clubs are planning workshops to celebrate the holiday season. Whether we’re gathering to make festive holiday arrangements, creating Christmas wreaths to spruce up our towns and historic buildings, sharing holiday cheer with our friends at Christmas teas, or raising funds for projects by hosting a festival of trees, the clubs of the GCFM continue to embrace the season! And remember, gardening doesn’t have to stop when the ground freezes! Get your bulbs ready to force and your amaryllis potted up. Brighten a room with blooming cyclamen, Christmas cactus, and the many colors of poinsettias! Before you know it, bulb and seed catalogs will be arriving in your mailbox. Finally, I mentioned I’d be renaming the newsletter for the duration of my term as your President. Who knew coming up with a newsletter name would be as hard as naming a child or a pet! But after much thought, I’ve decided on Thyme to Garden (and before you know it, it WILL be thyme to garden)!


Twenty-six members of the Federation traveled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on October 20th and 21st to attend the New England Region’s Annual Meeting. Maine had the largest contingent in attendance of any New England state this year. The Federation took home five awards handed out by Vera Bowen, New England Region Director and special guest, NGC President Sandra Robinson (pictured above with some of our members). See our news article on NER Awards. Programs included a history of floral design in New England and a documentary film on the life and gardens of Celia Thaxter. We also learned that Maine continues to lead the other New England states with the largest number of Blue Star Memorial Markers in place—twenty-nine!


Taking Care of Your Selfie was the theme of this year’s Fall Conference where attendees heard from two dynamic speakers who covered issues relating to growing healthier plants to improve our own health and expanding our diet choices with seaweed and kelp. Dr. Tim Howe, an internist with Parkview Hospital and founder of the Life Style Choices Program, challenged his audience to rethink what we’re doing to our soil and ultimately how to grow healthier plants. He shared a website that would help people understand the microbiology of healthy soil— For those interested in following a more plant-based diet, he recommended they see the film Forks Over Knives and visit the website Paul Dobbins, President of OCEAN APPROVED, educated the audience on the growing market in Maine and abroad for seaweed and kelp farmed right off the Coast of Maine. Seaweed salad samples were also taste tested by many in attendance! For more recipes using seaweed and kelp, you can visit the OCEAN APPROVED website. The day was capped off by the presentation of New England Region awards. (Pictured above is Harriet Robinson of the Foothills Garden Club receiving the Lina F. Wagner Perennial Garden Award from GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell and GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty.)


During the New England Region Annual Meeting in Portsmouth, NH, the Garden Club Federation of Maine came home with five awards. The six New England State Federations submitted a total of forty-three award applications with twenty-eight awards given. Suzanne Bushnell, GCFM President accepted the awards on behalf of the Federation. Those awards were then brought to Fall Conference where Suzanne and Kathleen Marty, GCFM Awards Chairman, welcomed the winners to the podium. The Federation itself actually took home two awards—the Helen Hussey Champlin Award for the State with the largest number of NEW members, and, the Mildred Black Pettit Award for the State with the largest PERCENTAGE INCREASE in NEW members. For individual awards, Harriet Robinson of the Foothills Garden Club, was presented the Lina F. Wagner Perennial Garden Award along with a check for $100. This award is given to an individual garden club member for creating and maintaining an outstanding perennial garden on public or private land. Harriet’s garden is filled with perennials and vegetables and is a haven for pollinators. The Harpswell Garden Club came home with TWO New England Region awards. (Pictured above are Mary Maroney and Ann Standridge of the Harpswell Garden Club with Suzanne Bushnell and Kathleen Marty.) The first was the Sears Civic Beautification Award for their work to create and maintain the gardens at the Harpswell Historic Park. In 1995 the Club collaborated with the Harpswell Historical Society to actually move an historic building onto land owned by the Club and then designed seven gardens to create an historic park. The other award was the Excellence in Teamwork Award given for an outstanding project completed by a garden club in collaboration with another organization. The Harpswell Garden Club’s project actually started back in 1968 when they partnered with the United States Navy to create a Memorial Garden adjacent to the new Navy chapel at the Brunswick Naval Air Station. Today the Club still maintains that garden as well as the Friendship Garden, teaming up with the Brunswick Naval Museum and Memorial Gardens group since the Navy closed the Base in 2011. Congratulations to all our winners and to those clubs and district who also applied for awards! Read the article on NER awards here. (Submitted by Kathleen Marty, GCFM Awards Chairman)


As the November 1st deadline approached, LDS Chairman Harriet Robinson found herself in an enviable position—all her work to bring the Landscape Design School back to Maine resulted in Course 1 being sold out!! This is a tremendous success not only for Harriet, but also for the GCFM as well. With both members and non-members signing up for the course, some clubs are finding they’ve attracted new members who have a better appreciation for what garden clubs can offer. For those lucky enough to take the course, they’ll be taught by professionals from many disciplines. They include Dr. Lois Berg Stack (U. of Maine), Jeff Levine (City of Portland Planner), June LaCombe (June LaCombe Sculptures), and Amy Bell Segal (landscape architect with Terry Dewan & Associates) just to name a few. The school will be held November 19th and 20th at the Episcopal Parish of St. Mary’s Church in Falmouth. Our gratitude goes out to the St. Mary’s Garden Club who worked with Harriet to facilitate a venue for the two-day school, as well as volunteers from various Stroudwater District clubs assisting with the two-day course.


The Federation is embarking on the first-ever U.S. study of home gardener pollination habits! Partnering with the University of Maine, GCFM members will be supplying answers to a survey that evaluates what we plant in our gardens and why we plant certain specific flowers that attract pollinators. According to Dr. Samuel Hanes, Professor of Anthropology and one of the lead researchers on the project, this is the FIRST survey ever done in the U.S. that actually asks gardeners what they’re doing to help attract and protect pollinators. In a presentation to the attendees at Fall Conference, he stated the results of our surveys will help university research and outreach not just here in Maine, but across the country. Part of a larger study called The Pollinator Security Project, initiated in 2011 to study pollinator communities in the Northeast, ongoing research is meant to address pollinator security for fruit and vegetable crops in this part of the country. The survey is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which believes home gardeners can provide an important source of support for commercially important crop pollinators. The other research institutions involved are the University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, the University of Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of Tennessee. We’ll be inviting Dr. Hanes to give us periodic updates on the results of the survey. It’s IMPERATIVE that you return the survey as soon as you receive it at your upcoming Club meetings. Also, DO NOT give this survey to anyone who is NOT a member of the Garden Club Federation of Maine as it will skew the statistical analysis. For more information on The Pollinator Security Project, read our news story.


It’s that time of year again when the deadlines for submitting NGC award applications for Youth Activities are just around the corner! Both elementary and high school students are eligible to participate. Maine has a tradition of fielding winners in several categories. If your club works with youth, or, you’re interested in getting started, contact GCFM Youth Activities Chairman Margot Haertel at The first deadline is next month (DECEMBER 10) for the NGC Youth Poetry Contest. Other important 2016 deadlines are: High School Essay Contest (JANUARY 20); Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest (JANUARY 22); Outreach Report and Local Chairman’s Report to accompany poster entries (JANUARY 22); and Youth Sculpture Contest (FEBRUARY 1).


Kathleen Marty, GCFM Awards Chairman, has announced the deadline to submit your award applications to her for consideration of National Garden Club awards. She must receive your electronic applications no later than JANUARY 8, 2016! The time period covered for NGC Awards is January 1–December 31, 2015. There is one exception to this award deadline and that is for Publicity Press Books which is JANUARY 25, 2016. If your club plans to apply for an award, please don’t miss these deadlines since Kathleen must forward all applications to the NGC shortly after those dates mentioned above! For a complete list of NGC Awards, go to the Awards tab of the NGC website. If you have questions about awards, contact Kathleen at


Plans are being finalized for the 2016 Convention, The Gardens of Eden, to be held June 15th and 16th at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel in historic Bar Harbor. Early arrivals on Tuesday, June 14th will also find suggestions for things to do on the Island, including an event for our National and State Life Members. The St. Croix District will be our hosts as we celebrate the 85th Anniversary of the GCFM and the 100th Anniversary of Acadia National Park. The theme is taken from the early name for Bar Harbor (Eden) when it was first incorporated as a town in 1796. One of the Convention highlights will be a garden tour which will include historic gardens as well as small intimate gardens. More information will be available in January when we open the Convention for registration. In the meantime, rooms are now available to be booked at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel where most rooms have a view of Frenchman Bay (see photo above). This year you’ll be able to either call the hotel or book your room online. Our group code is GARDEN061416 and our group name is GARDEN CLUB FEDERATION OF MAINE. The website for reservations is The phone number is 1-800-336-2463. The hotel will honor the group rate for three days prior and three days following the Convention, based on availability. Rooms are spread across three different buildings and range from $169 to $189 with one room still available in The Willows (no view of the water) for $109. Do NOT delay in making a reservation as rooms will go quickly! (Submitted by Barbara Loveland of the Bar Harbor Garden Club and Convention Chairman).


The GCFM Board of Directors recently voted to participate in an NGC project to name an official State butterfly. This will involve submitting a proposal to our State Legislature to name the White Admiral (pictured in flight at left) as the State butterfly. This butterfly was also chosen by the Maine Butterfly Survey to be its symbol. The survey was a seven-year project of the Wildlife Resource Assessment Section of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Colby College, and the University of Maine at Farmington. The purpose of naming the White Admiral is to increase public awareness and appreciation of our native species and habitats in Maine. This is a northern butterfly, its habitat being northern forests, especially near water and open areas which makes it a common butterfly throughout our State. (Read the full article on the White Admiral written by Pat Snyder, GCFM Board member from the Orrington Garden Club and a seven-year participant in the Maine Butterfly Survey)


The NGC is trying to make your Christmas gift giving just a bit easier this year by offering some new items through Member Services. How about a lovely scarf, new charms or a charm bracelet, or a sign for your garden? Check out the NGC Member Services. You also might want to pick up a new children’s book, The Frightened Frog, which not only helps out the NGC but also will teach your child or grandchild about the perils facing our frog population. It’s only $10 and it too is available on the NGC website. If you’re interested in a sign for your garden that not only shows you care about our wildlife but at the same time helps one of the NGC partners, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), log on to the member’s side of the NGC website and click on the link for the certified wildlife habitat offer (good through the end of December at $35 for a sign and one year subscription to the NWF magazine).


Our congratulations go out to Judy Stallworth, GCFM Treasurer and member of the Bath Garden Club who took 4th place in the Swan Island Dahlia Company’s annual photo contest. Judy’s photo of her Bishop of York yellow dahlia (at left) with the Monarch butterfly earned her a $60 gift certificate to spend on Swan Island dahlias, the largest dahlia grower in the U.S.


If you change your e-mail address we need to hear from you! Send any e-mail address changes to Also, we encourage all our Club Presidents to have your members sign up for the newsletter! It’s easy to do! Just have them go to our Home Page and click on the bottom link to subscribe. If a member has a problem, have them send their address to You can also send your sign-up sheet to GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell and she’ll make sure they get on our mailing list ( We also encourage everyone to check our website on a frequent basis. New stories are being posted on the News/Activities page. Photos are being added to the Gallery (link at the bottom of the Home Page). And check the Calendar to see events being added as we learn about them.


November 19–20
Landscape Design School, St. Mary’s Church, Foreside Road, Falmouth, ME. Info: Harriet Robinson at
December 8
Blaine House Tea, Governor’s Mansion, Augusta, ME, sponsored by the Kennebec Valley Garden Club. Three sessions: 9:30–10:15 a.m.; 11:00–11:45 a.m.; 1:30–2:30 p.m. LIMITED SPACE WITH RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. RSVP after November 9th to Sharon Ann Paradis, 622-3632 or
December 10 Deadline for 2015–2016 NGC Youth Poetry Contest (see related story above for ALL deadlines for Youth Awards). Info: Margot Haertel at
January 8 Deadline for NGC Award Submissions to get to GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty (see related story above for additional deadline). Info:


Suzanne Bushnell


Garden Club Federation of Maine

Unsubscribe from this list

Related Articles:
No News For this Zone. Please Try Later
Search Articles:   

Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter
Discover More

Contact Us

National Garden Clubs, Inc.
New England Garden Clubs
U of ME Cooperative Extension
Site Map

Copyright ©2015 Garden Club Federation of Maine. All rights reserved.
Site design by Elm Street Marketing Essentials.