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January 2018


JANUARY 2018 Newsletter

THYME TO GARDEN!

UNDER THE GROW LIGHTS!

It seems like just yesterday when I sat at this keyboard writing notes for the November newsletter.  Now the holidays have come and gone and we're toe deep into the New Year (albeit a cold toe!).  Here are some of my musings as we come into a very busy year for the GCFM.  Maine is such a wonderful place to enjoy the holidays.  It was delightful to visit communities as they dressed for the season and see the beautiful decorations adorning the towns and people's homes.  I'm confident that many of our clubs were key in creating this spirit and the good cheer of the holidays.  In particular I want to highlight the success had by the Kennebec Valley Garden Club.  Each year they decorate the Blaine House in Augusta and each year it just gets better (see photo).  The Victorian theme this year was nostalgic and inviting.  I was fortunate to enjoy all three groupings and visit with GCFM members that I don't see often enough.  We all had the pleasure of enjoying the company of First Lady Ann LePage as she graciously stayed throughout the course of the day.  It was a wonderful experience to be part of the event.  Please think about coming next year as it's a great way to begin the holidays.  Our clubs are so active!  For example, clubs in the Portland area are helping to create the Portland Museum of Art's "Art in Bloom" show from February 14-18 (see related article).  The galleries will be filled with a blend of colorful floral arrangements designed to accompany many works of fine art "conjuring the magic of springtime in the midst of winter."  GCFM will participate in the Maine Flower Show March 22-25 at Thompson's Point in South Portland (see related article).  GCFM will have an information booth and members Kathleen Marty and Barbara Longstaff will present a program on bees and other pollinators.  Please sign up to volunteer at the booth as it's a great way to get our name out there.  Plus, see what's in store for 2018.  Thanks to the Harpswell Garden Club and Suzanne Bushnell in particular, the Gold Star Marker project in Brunswick is on its way to being a reality (see related story).  It's so important to remember the sacrifices made by our military men and women.  Freedom isn't free and the cost is dear.  I'm so proud of the Harpswell Garden Club for their thoughtfulness.  THE ANNUAL CONVENTION IS COMING!!!  Please mark your calendars for June 18-20 at the Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg.  We'll be able to enjoy the ambience of traditional Maine on the coast.  Many activities and programs are scheduled such as the garden tour and Standard Flower Show.  NGC President Nancy Hargroves will also be with us.  Convention Chairman Vicky Marr has written a great article for this Newsletter.  I call your attention to it because I couldn't say it any better.  We're very close to getting the Registration Form and Schedule of Events posted on our website.  Check back on our HOME PAGE and be sure to register early.  Room reservations are available now and the rates are the same as the last time we stayed there.  You can also get the same rate if you stay a few days either side of the Convention.  Consider making it a family retreat as the resort lends itself to "Maine Vacationland".  Finally, I'm sure most of you are like me as we get through the next couple of months.  I've dog-eared nursery and plant catalogues in anticipation of new plants to select for my small garden.  Please enjoy!

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO THE 2018 CONVENTION!

For a "Pure Maine" experience, you'll want to start planning your trip to the 2018 GCFM Convention, Celebrating the Summer Garden at Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg, June 18th to the 20th.  Planned by the five clubs of the Medomak District (Bath, Boothbay Region, Camden, Topsham and Wiscasset), this Convention promises to provide a unique and relaxing experience for all who attend.  Below is a summary of some of the highlights.  (NOTE:  At press time the Registration Form was being finalized and will be available on the GCFM website in late January.  Copies will also be sent to Club Presidents for distribution at upcoming meetings.)

MONDAY, JUNE 18 -- OPENING DAY

Featured this year will be a Standard Flower Show, "Maine Vacationland", sponsored by the GCFM Judges Council (photo at left is from St. Mary's G.C. Flower Show).  The show opens at 5:30 till 7:30 p.m. on opening day and will run through Tuesday.  (See related article on the Show below.)  Attendees will have a chance to learn all about the new NGC floral designs and also have a chance to enter the competition themselves.  Also on Monday evening GCFM State Life and NGC Life members will gather around the outdoor Gazebo for a reception honoring their contributions to the GCFM and NGC scholarship funds.  The reception begins at 5:00 p.m. and runs to 6:30 p.m. with light fare being served along with a special P. Allen Smith-inspired strawberry lemonade.  Background entertainment will be provided by the High Winds Flute Choir, a group of 14 local flutists.  The Reception is open to all current State Life and National Life members, or, you can sign up to join at the Convention.  Click this link for the State Life Application Form. 

TUESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

One of the most anticipated events of our convention is always the Garden Tour.  Elizabeth Lakeman, Chairman of the Garden Tour and other members of the Bath Garden Club promise a fabulous event featuring seven spectacular gardens along the Phippsburg peninsula.  One of them was featured in the April 2017 edition of Down East Magazine.  The gardens represent a wide variety of sizes and styles -- from small to large, sunny to shady, and woodland to coastal.  You'll enjoy the diversity of the Phippsburg area.  (NOTE:  A more extensive article on the gardens will appear in the March issue of the GCFM Newsletter.)  Two workshops are currently scheduled for Tuesday.  BoomerTech Adventures is planning a hands-on photo workshop to teach attendees how to effectively use smartphones and tablets to take winning close-ups and landscape pictures of flora and fauna.  If you plan to sign up for this class, however, you'll need to already know how to operate your camera application.  The class will be limited to 30 participants.  The second workshop will feature Charlene Sassi, a Wiscassset Garden Club member and potter, who'll offer a demonstration on how to make beautiful garden containers from hypertufa.  Tuesday evening, nationally recognized speaker and radio personality Paul Parent will be our keynote speaker.  Paul promises to present a fun, exciting, and entertaining discussion on "Ideas for Colorful Summer Gardens."  He's hosted his Paul Parent Garden Club every Sunday morning on his syndicated talk show for the last 34 years.

WEDNESDAY -- OUR FINAL DAY OF THE CONVENTION

We're pleased to announce that our honored guest, NGC President Nancy Hargroves, will present an imaginative and interesting program on fall and winter container gardening early Wednesday morning before our Annual Meeting.  Entitled "Witches, Turkeys, and Reindeer", Nancy will show us how we can extend ordinary summer container gardening into year-round container gardening with creative holiday highlights.  She'll also give us an update on her goals for the duration of her term as President of the National Garden Clubs, Inc.  Our Annual Meeting features Marta McDowell, a garden historian who'll use her wit and insight to provide us with an illustrated talk based on her book "All the President's Gardens."  If you love history and gardening, you won't want to miss her presentation.  Marta will be available to sign books after the Annual Meeting is adjourned.

OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CONVENTION

If you haven't already done so, we advise booking your room as soon as possible for the best selection.  Just call Nick Saunders, Rooms Manager at Sebasco Harbor Resort at 207-371-5073, or click this link to send him an e-mail.  Be sure to ask for the GCFM Convention rate.  Details are being worked out for what's being called the Sebasco Trails Scavenger Hunt.  Check back later for more information on this adventure.  Attendees will also be encouraged to explore the city of Bath with its quaint shops and restaurants.  Discount tickets will be available for those who might want to visit one of Maine's premier museums, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.  A complete Schedule of Events will be posted on our website along with the Registration Form very soon. 

"MAINE VACATIONLAND" -- A STANDARD FLOWER SHOW

We're thrilled to announce that a Standard Flower Show with the theme "Maine Vacationland" will be a feature of the 2018 Convention!  Sponsored by the GCFM Judges Council, the show opens to the public on Monday evening, June 18th at 5:30 till 7:00 p.m., and will then run from 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19th.  This is a chance for attendees to learn what a Standard Flower Show is all about as well as an opportunity to learn some new floral designs listed in the new NGC Handbook for Flower Shows.  Also, the show provides opportunities to highlight your own design and growing skills.  The Flower Show Schedule has six design classes using favorite Maine vacation activities as titles for each design section.  Each section will have three design classes with four entries.  Judges Council members hope that many of you will enter one of the classes.  You may enter the show even if you ARE NOT planning to attend the Convention, and, you will not be required to pay the Convention Registration fee.  There will be Design Consultants to help you with explaining the designs and answering any questions you have.  Design entries will be accepted on Monday, June 18th from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.  All entries MUST be preregistered!  For more information contact Sandra Blake Leonard at 207-249-5521.  There will be thirty-three classes in the Horticulture Division (see photo of horticulture class from St. Mary's G.C. flower show) which includes perennials, bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, iris, container grown plants, trees and shrub specimens, and combination plantings (such as patio pots).  Horticulture classes are open to any amateur gardener.  Specimens will be accepted on Monday, June 18th from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.  All horticulture plant material must be fresh and grown by the exhibitor.  When entering, please have a card with the botanical name and common name for the specimen indicated on the card.  Other things to know:  combination plantings entered must have been planted together for at least six months.  Each exhibitor must provide an identification card of plants used.  No artificial plant material is permitted in any exhibit in any division.  If you wish to enter a horticulture specimen but don't plan to attend the Convention, you may do so.  Remember the time period (stated above) when entries will be accepted.  Plant material used in designs does NOT need to be grown by the exhibitor.  As soon as the Flower Show Schedule is complete, copies will be distributed via email to GCFM Board Members and Club Presidents for distribution to Club members.  The General Chairman of this year's show is Linda Frinsko, 207-839-3878.  To send Linda a question about the show, click this link. 

AWARDS WORKSHOP SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY

Since many clubs are or will soon be considering which GCFM awards to apply for, we'd like to offer another AWARDS WORKSHOP to learn new and/or additional information.  Please mark your calendar for Monday, Feburary 12th from 10:00 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. at the Viles Arboretum.  The address is 153 Hospital Street in Augusta, not too far from the Viles Home where our Board meetings are held.  Club Presidents, Club Award Chairmen, District Directors and/or appointed members from your club are all welcome to attend.  Since the winter this year is offering LOTS of challenges, please note that if we have a storm and the public schools are closed we will CANCEL the workshop.  Please RSVP to Kathleen Marty, GCFM Awards Chairman, so she can plan on the space needed.  Click this link to e-mail her no later than FEBRUARY 7th.  Your name, e-mail address and phone number should be provided in case we have to cancel the class.  Please bring your laptops or tablets this time as we hope to have projection so you can see the topics being covered.  If you have specific questions in advance of the workshop about the awards, e-mail those to Kathleen as well by clicking this link.  See you on February 12th!

GOLD STAR MARKER PROJECT ENTERS NEXT PHASE

The Harpswell Garden Club is pleased to announce that enough funds have been raised to order the First Gold Star Families Memorial Marker for Maine.  While many clubs find fundraising one of the hardest parts of the process, Harpswell was able to reach their goal of $1470 in just one month.  Extra funds raised beyond the goal are being used for expenses such as the creation of a garden surrounding the base of the marker.  Harpswell Garden Club member and former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell is continuing to lead the effort to bring the marker to Maine.  With the order on its way to Sewah Studios of Ohio to fabricate the marker, her attention now turns to planning the Dedication Day Ceremony slated for Saturday, June 23rd at 10:00 a.m.  The location of the marker will be the P-3 Park at Brunswick Landing (in photo), formerly known as the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  Suzanne is reaching out to veteran's groups in the local area to identify Maine's Gold Star families so they can be invited to the ceremony.  She's also working with the Brunswick Naval Museum, who'll be helping to host the reception after the ceremony, and the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority who has donated the land for the marker.  The latter group has agreed to actually install the marker for the Club.  Whether it's a Blue Star Marker or a Gold Star Marker dedication, you can see that many details are involved with a dedication ceremony.  To learn more about the NGC's Blue Star/Gold Star Marker project, click this link.  To learn more about the history of Maine's Blue Star markers or to learn more information about possibly bringing one to your area, contact GCFM Blue Star Chairman Linda Redman by clicking this link(NOTE:  At press time, we learned that the Franklin Garden Club is in the process of ordering a new Blue Star Marker.  As soon as we have more information, we'll pass it on in a future issue of the Newsletter.)

PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART HOSTING ART IN BLOOM

Several members of GCFM clubs will be participating in the Portland Museum of Art's own Art in Bloom scheduled for February 14th to the 18th.  According to the promotional material from the Museum, "The exquisite pairing of fine art and flowers for Art in Bloom provides inspiration for an entire evening of gallery talks from botany enthusiasts, historians and floriculturists".  The artwork being paired with floral designs are from the Museum's permanent collection.  One of the designs will be paired with glass pieces designed by the famous artist Dale Chihuly.  The Museum's Cafe will be serving flower-inspired cocktails during the event.  Attendees will also have the chance to learn hands-on tips for floral arranging while they take in the exhibits.  Clubs with members displaying designs are from the St. Mary's Garden Club, Cape Elizabeth Garden Club, Gorham Garden Club, and the Longfellow Garden Club.  Hours for the Museum, the cost of tickets, and directions are posted on the Portland Museum of Art's website which can be accessed by clicking this link.

BOSTON MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS ALSO SPONSORING ART IN BLOOM

Art in Bloom, the Museum of Fine Arts salute to spring, is slated for April 28 to April 30th in Boston.  An Evening Preview Party is scheduled for Friday, April 27th from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Tickets go on sale in February.  Called the Museum's "annual festival of fine art and flowers", visitors get the chance to see the MFA's fine collection of paintings paired with magnificent floral interpretations.  Daily events include tours through the galleries, flower-arranging demonstrations, snacks and lunch in the Art in Bloom Cafe among European paintings, and outdoor walking tours.  Special guest speakers this year include British floral designer Joseph Massie, winner of five consecutive Gold Medals at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show, and is considered one of Europe's top botanical artists.    Another speaker is celebrated event planner Bryan Rafanelli who'll share his experiences, inspirations, and unforgettable memories from events he's designed around the world.  For more information on ticket prices, show hours, and how to buy tickets to hear guest speakers (separate ticket needed), click this link to the MFA's website.

TIPS ON SCORING HIGHER WITH YEARBOOK AWARDS

Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring home a yearbook award?  We've asked GCFM Yearbook Chairman Shelly Hanson, who's been spending a lot of time lately scoring yearbooks to be submitted for NEGC and NGC awards, this very question.  We specifically asked her to tell us about some of the common mistakes she sees.  Often times it's simple things -- like not putting the State of Maine on your yearbook cover.  If you were to examine the list of points that the NGC gives for yearbooks, you'd see that something as simple as this will cost you 2 points!  The NGC also asks that you put not only their website address but also the NEGC's website address in your yearbook.  Again, little things like this cost you points.  The NGC puts their biggest emphasis (and thus, gives the most points) in the area of PROGRAMS and PROJECTS.  For example, if you don't list the projects that your club performs, you'll lose 15 points.  They also want a more detailed description with the location of the project, the chairman's name, the number of participants and the donations given to the project (worth a whopping 20 points!).  Many clubs will insert a copy of their bylaws, their budget, awards received, and a list of their former presidents.  Unfortunately, the NGC gives you ZERO points for these "options" -- something we think is important but they feel is optional.  Programs are also highly scored.  You'll get 14 points for a wide variety of programs and another 14 points based on the variety of speakers you have.  The NGC also wants you to briefly tell of the qualifications of your speakers (3 points for this).  So, as you can see there's a lot more to putting together a prize winning yearbook than many of you might think!  To see all the NGC Award Rules click this link and scroll to Page 26 to see the section on yearbooks!  And by the way, make sure your yearbook editor SEES this as well!!

MAINE FLOWER SHOW IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

The Maine Flower Show, owned and produced by the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association (MELNA) is just around the corner -- this year scheduled to run from March 22nd to the 25th.  A special preview party is slated for the evening of March 21st.  Once again, the venue will be 8 Thompson's Point in South Portland.  In promotional material MELNA is promising more garden displays, more exhibits and more planting than any other local show.  This year will feature 14 design gardens and 115 exhibits.  As we did last year, the GCFM will have an exhibit booth (see photo from last year). Once again we'll be looking for members to help staff the booth.  If you're interested in helping out, contact Stroudwater District Director Carmen Weatherbie by calling her at 207-317-0733 or by sending her an e-mail by clicking this link.   Also, former GCFM President Kathleen Marty and GCFM 1st Vice President Barbara Longstaff will present a joint program on pollinators.  Their talk is scheduled for Thursday, opening day of the flower show.  Tickets for the show are available online by clicking this link.  General admission price is $20, $15 for seniors, and $10 for veterans and spouses (only available on Friday admission).  If you order your tickets online you'll also have to pay a processing fee.  Tickets will also be available closer to the show date at local nurseries.  MELNA is actively looking for volunteers to help with many aspects of the show.  For as little as four hours of your time, you'll get free admission and a free t-shirt.  Contact Kerry Ratigan at 207-615-6271 or by e-mail by clicking this link.

IS YOUR CLUB A NON-PROFIT UNDER THE GCFM "UMBRELLA"?

(EDITOR'S NOTE:  We've asked Marianne Dodge, GCFM's Assistant Treasurer, to fill us in on the responsibilities of clubs who're non-profits by virtue of being under what's termed the GCFM "umbrella".  Your club may not fall into this category; but for those that do, you may want to read this article!)  Every December or January I get a list of our umbrella clubs from the IRS.  Being under the "umbrella" means your club is considered a non-profit  by virtue of applying to be under the GCFM's non-profit filing status.  Not all clubs have this distinction.   I have to make corrections on this list, add clubs that applied to us to come under our umbrella in the last year, change presidents' names and addresses, and file that with the IRS by mid-February.  Clubs currently under our umbrella are:  Bloomfield; Mt. Blue; Bath; Camden; Topsham; Hampden; Milo; Orrington; Sebasticook; Eliot; Old York; Pleasant River; Buxton; Foreside; St. Mary's; and Scarborough.    Boothbay Region, Wiscasset, Gorham and Harpswell are 501(c)3s in their own right.  Those "independents" have to file paperwork just like Judy Stallworth (GCFM Treasurer) does every year for the GCFM.  Our umbrella clubs only have to file an e-postcard.  They do this online -- it can't be done by surface mail.  This has to be done by October 31st, five months after the fiscal year.  Technically, as long as they do this once in a three-year span, they're fine.  But if they miss three years in a row, the IRS kicks them out of our umbrella.  It's NOT an insignificant cost to reapply as one of our clubs found out.  They have to apply to the IRS first, then apply to us to come under our umbrella.  As it's easy to forget whether the task has been taken care of each year, I encourage the clubs to take care of it on a yearly basis.  Every July I send an e-mail to our presidents of the umbrella clubs reminding them to both file their e-postcards and to send me a copy of their financial report.  Unfortunately, not many clubs remember to send me the report.  Also, filing the e-postcard is not an intuitive process, particularly for members who aren't computer savvy.  I've helped some people via e-mail and over the phone.  This year, I sat down with my own club treasurer as she filed our e-postcard and we took a screen shot of every step of the process.  I've put together an instructional PDF that I attached to my reminder e-mail to the clubs.  I'd send this to club treasurers but I don't have their names.  Whoever does the filing needs to know the club's EIN number and the president's contact information.  I also have this information on my form from the IRS and can give it to anyone whose club has misplaced that information.  What happens is that one person usually takes care of this for a long time but sometimes forgets to pass this relevant information on to the next person!  So it's imperative to keep the proper people informed if you're a club president or a club treasurer and passing the job on to someone else.  If you have questions about being under the GCFM "umbrella" or want more information about possibly filing to become a non-profit, you can contact Marianne by clicking this link.

NEW ENGLAND WILD FLOWER SOCIETY LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS

The New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) is reaching out to all the New England states looking for enthusiastic people who have a commitment to plant conservation.  The Plant Conservation Volunteer (PCV) Program engages volunteers to collect information on rare plants and their habitats across all six New England states.  The majority of the work focuses on rare plant monitoring.  It's an excellent opportunity to put your botanical skills to work, learn more about the flora of New England, meet other botanists, and help preserve the state's natural heritage.  If you're interested in more information, click this link to fill out the electronic application.  All applications MUST be submitted by February 1st!


 IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER

January 2018
Registration for GCFM Convention begins
February 7
Floral Design Workshop, St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Rd., Falmouth    FMI:  Marilyn Traiser
February 12
GCFM Awards Workshop, Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St., Augusta  FMI:  Kathleen Marty
February 14-18
Art in Bloom, Portland Museum of Art
March 14
Floral Design Workshop, Viles House, 73 Stone Street, Augusta              FMI:  Marilyn Traiser
March 22-25
Maine Flower Show, sponsored by Maine Nurserymen and Landscape Association, Thompson's Point, Portland
April 11
Floral Design Workshop, St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Rd., Falmouth     FMI:  Marilyn Traiser
April 23
GCFM Board of Directors Meeting, Viles House, 73 Stone Street, Augusta

                                                                  

Cordially,

Judith Tarbox
President
president@mainegardenclubs.org


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