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July 2017

JULY 2017 Newsletter



(Editor's Note:  It's our pleasure to introduce you to our new GCFM President, Judith Tarbox!)  I want to thank you for your confidence in me to serve as President of the Garden Club Federation of Maine.  It is a great honor and I will do the best I can.  I would be remiss if at this time I don't thank our prior Presidents and Board Members for their sage vision and leadership of GCFM.  Thank you!  The significance of the important role we play within our communities and across the State is totally amazing.  I gained an even greater appreciation of our impact while attending the National Garden Club's Convention in Richmond, Virginia, this May.  The clubs of NGC have greatly influenced our communities throughout the United States and our international affiliates.  Our states share so many similarities across our diverse geography.  The same can be said about Maine where we can have completely different environments within a 10 mile radius, yet we embrace a common purpose.  PLANT MAINE -- SUSTAINABLE HOME GARDENING is my President's theme.  It was a difficult choice because there are so many options.  I wanted to keep in consonance with the National theme of PLANT AMERICA and the New England theme of NEGC PLANTS FOR EVERYONE.  So, I looked at what I'm trying to do at home, using local, native plants as much as possible.  My space is small and mostly shaded.  I plant and watch each year, learning about the plants that will best survive my inexperienced efforts.  I believe each garden is its own unique ecosystem that can be played upon instead of having its inherent qualities changed.  You'll hear more in the future.  I want to thank Nancy Atwell for being my sounding board as I honed in my message.  By this time you may be saying, she is not a designer or landscaper.  True, I continue on the road of discovery.  I try to be a good listener and build upon your experience.  I look forward to an interactive term.  We all have experiences to share and the wisdom of what happens as we try new things.  Together we can continue to make a difference in our communities and Maine.  Please share your insights and thoughts to further improve our fine organization.  We truly do have a significant impact in all that we do.


I grew up mostly in California, attended California State University, Sacramento and received an M.A. in Social Anthropology.  I had joined the Naval Reserve while a sophomore and, since I couldn't make up my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was commissioned as an Ensign and began active duty in Coronado, California.  I'm a graduate of Defense Intelligence School and the National War College.  Fast forward -- I had served a total of 36 years when I retired as a Captain.  In the beginning I did a couple of tours in intelligence and found that I really liked the communications transmission, so I crossed over to telecommunications.  I commanded the Naval Communications Unit in Cutler in 1989-1991 where I fell in love with Maine.  I was promoted to Captain and had command of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station back in Coronado.  I retired in February 2001 while serving as a staff officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  My late husband Tom and I found our lovely, old home in Camden in 2002.  We had a small patch of grass in the front yard and lots of weeds elsewhere.  I came into the Camden Garden Club in early 2003 because, like so many others, I wanted to learn more about gardens and I now had one to play in.  Offices I've held since then include Club Awards Chairman, Club Treasurer for four years, then VP and President.  In 2008 I was the Registrar for the GCFM Convention at Sebasco Harbor Resort.  In 2009 I began a six year period as GCFM Treasurer and during 2013-2015, I was the Assistant Director of Medomak District.  I have just completed two years as 1st Vice President of the GCFM and am now the President.  These are some of the experiences upon which I plan to rely as we go forward.  Some of my other interests include being a 28-year member of Rotary International, a long-time volunteer at our regional Chamber of Commerce and I feel like I'm paying back when I work the election polls.  Personally, I'm an avid knitter and love reading cook books and trying out recipes.  I dote on my cat, Orion, and bring him to activities that allow pets.


Attendees at the 2017 Convention, From the Forest to the Sea, were treated to three days loaded with events!  Whether it was the garden tour (attended by more than 160 avid gardeners), or the watercolor workshop (so popular that a second workshop had to be added), Convention registrants had something to fill each day.  197 people registered to attend this year's Convention, sponsored by the Stroudwater District.  Some of the highlights included the State Life Reception held at the Maine Historical Society.  While it was originally scheduled to be held outdoors in the Longfellow Garden, strong winds and the threat of rain forced the event to be moved indoors.  State Life and National Life Members were treated to great food and the music of a local group known as the Cul de Sax.  Suzanne Bushnell, GCFM President, welcomed attendees and Barbara Longstaff, GCFM 2nd VP and Scholarship Chairman, announced the newest State Life Members.  She also introduced one of our two GCFM scholarship winners, Marnie Williamson (Mary Lou Marks Smith Scholarship winner).  On Tuesday a large crowd listened to Eric Topper of the Maine Audubon Society who talked about the benefits of using native plants to welcome nature to our back yards.  After his presentation, registrants headed off to the garden tour, spent time in Freeport, or took part in two watercolor workshops (photo at right).  Tuesday evening's weather was beautiful and attendees at the keynote dinner were able to enjoy drinks out on the patio.  The evening speaker, Thomas Rainer, a landscape architect from Washington, DC (pictured above at left with GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell and Karen Rea, Convention Chairman) provided a look at how our gardens could be designed to reflect more of what you'd see in nature as opposed to more formal gardens.  Dinner guests also had the opportunity to hear from Neil Lash, our National Garden Club Award of Excellence winner from the Heirloom Seed Project at Medomak Valley High School.  The final day of the Convention started with a well-attended early morning bird walk.  GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell then convened the GCFM Annual Meeting which included an hilarious presentation by our luncheon speaker, Neal Sanders.  After lunch, our two GCFM scholarship winners were introduced (see related story) and then the election of new officers was held (also in a related story below).  The day was capped off with the presentation of numerous GCFM and NGC awards by Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty assisted by Suzanne Bushnell.  At the end of the Convention, Suzanne was presented with a lovely sculptural water fountain by incoming GCFM President Judith Tarbox on behalf of the GCFM Board of Directors (photo at left).


One of the highlights of this year's Convention was the election and installation of our new elected officers.  Former GCFM President Shirlene Gosline (Kennebec Valley Garden Club and GCFM President from 2007-2009) did the honors of installing our new officers.  They are from left to right in the photo: President Judith Tarbox (Camden G.C.); 1st VP Barbara Longstaff (Eliot G.C.); 2nd VP Harriet Robinson (Foothills G.C.); Recording Secretary Carmen Weatherbie (Longfellow G. C.); Treasurer Judy Stallworth (Bath G. C.); and Assistant Treasurer  Marianne Dodge (St. Mary's G.C.).  We wish them success as they lead our Federation for the next two years through June 2019.


At Wednesday's GCFM Annual Meeting, 2nd VP and Scholarship Chairman Barbara Longstaff did the honors of introducing the newest winners of GCFM Scholarships.  This year we were pleased to have TWO winners!  Marnie Williamson (photo at left) was presented the Mary Lou Marks Smith Scholarship Award for $1,000.  She's a Freshman at Southern Maine Community College in Portland and is enrolled in the Department of Horticulture.  Marnie's passion for plants and her desire to improve the lives of others has inspired her to continue her education after graduating from SMCC with studies and professional training in horticulture therapy.  Our second winner is Angela Masse, (photo at right) a junior at the University of Maine in Orono.  She's enrolled in the Department of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.  After graduation in 2018 with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Horticulture and minor in Horticulture Business, Angela plans to add a one-year MBA Program to her education before starting out on her dream of owning and operating a greenhouse business in Central Maine.  Angela not only won the GCFM Scholarship for $3000, but also the NGC Tempie Dahlgren Scholarship in the amount of $4,000!  Congratulations to both our winners!


On opening night of the Convention, the newest State Life Members, who've joined since last year's Convention in Bar Harbor, were announced by 2nd VP and State Life Chairman Barbara Longstaff.  They were honored at the reception for State and National Life Members at the Maine Historical Society.  The newest members are: Ann Vanosdol (Camden G.C.); Pauline Mullins (Milo G.C.); Sally Butler (Central Maine G.C.); Carol Green (Bucksport G.C.); Dorothy Ritsko and Dianne McMullan (Bar Harbor G.C.); Patricia Herbert and Marilyn Noble (Foreside G.C.); Sharon Ann Paradis (Kennebec Valley G.C.); Wendy Zarella (Seacoast G.C.); Harold Radochia (Old York G.C.); Judy Burgess, Mimi O'Neill, and Claire Tomlin (Boothbay Region G.C.); and Elisa Civello (Harpswell G.C.).  Becoming a State Life Member is the primary source of scholarship money for the GCFM Scholarship fund.  You can become a State Life Member by making a contribution of at least $50 to the GCFM Scholarship Fund.  Oftentimes clubs will honor outgoing club presidents or long-time members with a gift of a membership.  For more information, click this link to our SCHOLARSHIP page and then scroll down to the State Life Membership Form Application.


We're pleased to announce the winners of GCFM awards and NGC awards which were handed out at the GCFM Convention in Freeport.  Because the list is so extensive, we're providing a link to the entire list now posted on our website. Some of our clubs were successful in winning national awards.  They included the Harpswell Garden Club (overall winner) of the Lucille Droege Mauntel Conservation Award for their work to eliminate invasive plants in their town; the Ellsworth Garden Club (overall winner) for Memorial Landscaping of a Highway Marker for the new landscaping of their Blue Star Marker in Ellsworth; the Bloomfield Garden Club (1st place - medium club) for the Service in Action Award - Bee Gap; the Longfellow Garden Club (Certificate of Merit) for the Tommy Donan Award for their work to create a system for visitors to identify the plants in the Longfellow Garden in Portland; and the St. Mary's Garden Club (purple rosette) for a Standard Flower Show Achievement Award #5 for their June 2016 "Say I Do" flower show which featured a bridal theme.  Also getting recognition at the NGC level was the Orrington Garden Club, who received a Certificate of Commendation for their yearbook in the small club category, and Callan Eason, sponsored by the Bar Harbor Garden Club, in the NGC Youth Sculpture Contest, receiving a Certificate of Commendation.  Congratulations to all our winners at the State and National level!


The GCFM and the McLauglin Garden and Homestead in South Paris will co-host a Native Plant Symposium on Tuesday, August 29th.  The address of the McLaughlin Garden is 97 Main Street (Route 26), South Paris, ME.  Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the symposium getting underway at 9:15 a.m.  Registration forms were sent to each club President in June to distribute to their members and were available at the 2017 Convention.  If you want to attend and don't have the registration form, contact Nancy Atwell by clicking this link.  The deadline for registering is August 21st.  Cost for GCFM or McLaughlin members is $20.  An optional box lunch from a local restaurant is an additional $20.  Talks will include information about endangered plant species, an orientation walk through the McLaughlin Gardens, and lectures on topics such as plant propagation, using native plants in gardens, and preservation of community natural areas.  An optional field trip at the end of the symposium is available for those who'd like to see the many native plants that Harriet Robinson has in her Otisfield garden, not far from the McLaughlin Garden.  Harriet is the President of the Foothills Garden Club, GCFM 2nd Vice President, and an active volunteer at the McLaughlin Gardens.  Speakers will include Dr. Lois Berg Stack (ornamental horticulture specialist), Shawn Jalbert (consults on landscape restoration), Michael Murphy (teaches classes on horticulture through the New England Wild Flower Society), Lee Dassler (founding Director of the McLaughlin Garden), Jean Potuchuk (Maine master gardener and author of the blog Jean's Garden), and Kristen Perry (McLaughlin Garden horticulturist).  To learn more about each of these speakers, the registration form provides short biographies.


With the success of the first series of floral design classes, the Maine Judges Council has scheduled a second series of six classes.  The first class was in July with the next class scheduled for Wednesday, August 9th at  St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 42 Foreside Road in Falmouth.  The cost of the class (if you didn't already sign up for the complete series of six classes) is $10.  The class will focus on the mechanics of creating a traditional mass design using flowers from the garden.   The class starts at 10:00 a.m.  For more information or to register, contact Marily Traiser by clicking this link.  For those of you who read the Maine Sunday Telegram, Tom Atwell, who authors the MAINE GARDENER column, did a great article on the floral arranging classes offered by the Maine Judges Council in his July 16th column in the SOURCE section.  Thank you to Tom for giving the GCFM some wonderful free publicity!


It's time once again for awards -- this time the New England Garden Clubs, Inc. awards based on work done during the time frame June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017.  Please note this is a different award year than the GCFM and NGC uses.  Consider all the club projects and activities done during this time frame.  Award applications -- three page maximum which can include photos -- need to be submitted to GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty by August 18th.  The complete list of Regional awards and the 2017-2019 Award Application Form are on the NEGC website which can be accessed by clicking this link.  The rules and award form are found under the AWARDS tab.  If you have any questions, contact Kathleen Marty by clicking this link or by calling her at 207-633-7439.  As mentioned in the May GCFM Newsletter, former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell is the new NEGC Awards Chairman.  She's excited to assume this new position and is hoping many GCFM clubs will apply for regional awards this summer.  As a reminder, club yearbooks are due by November 1st to be considered for awards.  Since Fall Conference is later this year (November 14th), please mail and/or give your copies to your District Director who can turn them in at the August 21st GCFM Board Meeting in Augusta.  You can also send them to Kathleen Marty in one package and she'll distribute them.  The following individuals need a copy:  Judith Tarbox (GCFM President); Shelly Hanson (GCFM Yearbook Award Chairman); Kathleen Marty (GCFM Awards Chairman); Mary Ericson (GCFM Club Program Chairman); and your District Director.  Some clubs also exchange yearbooks with other clubs in their District.


An enthusiastic audience (see photo at left) attended the July 17th workshop at the Viles Home in Augusta to learn about applying for awards, suggestions for improving their individual Club Page on the GCFM website, and tips on using the GCFM website.  Attendees were also encouraged to send photos to Kathleen Marty to put on our Facebook page.  Thanks to all of you who attended and asked some great questions.  If you were unable to attend and have questions about the award application process, please contact Kathleen Marty by clicking this link and she'll be happy to answer any and all questions.  We've updated the electronic applications and hope you'll find it easier to complete.  When applying for ANY award, be sure to make a copy of the award form before clicking SUBMIT (hit the CTRL - P buttons).  Once you click the SUBMIT button for a GCFM award, you should receive a message that says, "Thank you for your submission".  If you DON'T receive that message, your application DID NOT GO THROUGH and you should try to resubmit the award application.  If you're successful, you should also receive a message that says, "Your Awards Submission has been Received."  If you're adding photos to the the application, please be sure that they aren't oversized.  That may prevent the application from going through.  More information will be on display at Fall Conference.  If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Kathleen Marty.  Thanks to all clubs who sent representatives to the workshop and for applying for awards! (Workshop presenters pictured with GCFM President Judith Tarbox are Suzanne Bushnell, Kathleen Marty and Fran Moore).


The 86th Fall Conference Registration Form is now available on the GCFM website HOME PAGE.  Click this link to access the form.  The date of the Conference is Tuesday, November 14th and the theme for this year's Conference is What's Under Your Tree?  Heather McCargo, Executive Director of the Wild Seed Project will be the morning speaker talking about how we can use the woodland under-story as a design model for shady gardens.  Heather is the former head plant propagator at the New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods.  She is an educator with 30 years experience in plant propagation, landscape design and conservation.  The afternoon speaker is Jeff Karter, a well-known florist in the Waterville area who'll be doing three fall arrangements that will be auctioned off after his presentation.  Cost to attend is $30 for GCFM members and $40 for non-GCFM members if your registration form is postmarked by November 3rd.  After the deadline, the fee to attend is $45.  The Conference is held at the Augusta Civic Center.


The Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs will be the host for the First Annual Meeting of the New England Garden Clubs, Inc. and NGC Symposium.  The date for the Annual Meeting is October 30th to the 31st and the Symposium is October 31st through November 2nd.  The location is the Crown Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island.  Registration forms are now available  on the NEGC website by clicking this link and then clicking on the link to the 2017 NER registration form.  This form also serves as the registration form for the 2017 Symposium sponsored by the Rhode Island Federation.  The opening day program for the annual meeting is scheduled to be a flower show with designers from all six New England States expected to participate..  It's anticipated that some of the new NGC floral designs will be on display.  The Tuesday Annual Meeting program is still being finalized. 


Lisa Colburn of the Veazie Garden Club is the recipient of the Stella J. Dearborn Award as the GCFM's Gardener of the Year.  The award was presented to Lisa at the recent GCFM Convention in Freeport.  She was nominated by Carol Arnold, a member of her club.  Lisa provided the photo at left which shows a lovely garden area along her driveway.  She is a passionate gardener, an author (The Maine Garden Journal) and has her own blog.  Her yard might be considered "small" but she packs a lot of flower power into this space!  Carol noted in the award application that Lisa has rock gardens, succulents, container gardens, vegetable and fruit gardens, and many flowers that attract wildlife, butterflies and birds. She also has over 75 trees and shrubs.  If taking care of all these gardens isn't enough, Lisa also overwinters tropical plants in her basement to add the "wow" factor to her containers and yard the following season.  Congratulations to Lisa!  As the Maine Gardener of the Year, she'll now go on to the Regional level to compete against other New England Garden Club State winners.


August 9
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth                FMI:  Marilyn Traiser
August 21
GCFM Board Meeting, Viles Home, 71 Stone Street, Augusta
August 29
GCFM Native Plant and Wildflower Symposium                                            McLaughlin Garden, South Paris  FMI:  Nancy Atwell
September 12-16
NGC Fall Board Meeting
St. Louis, Missouri
October 30-31
NEGC First Annual Meeting, Crown Plaza Hotel, Warwick, RI
Oct 31-Nov 2
NGC Symposium, Crown Plaza Hotel, Warwick, RI
November 2-3
Landscape Design School Course 3
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth   FMI:  Harriet Robinson
November 14
GCFM Fall Conference, Augusta Civic Center, Augusta




Judith Tarbox


Garden Club Federation of Maine

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