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September 2018 Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 2018 Newsletter



I have a question to pose to you:  What do we, as the GCFM, do to stimulate volunteers to work at all levels of our Clubs?  What interests our members to volunteer and how do we cultivate the spirit of working together to make our communities and State a better place to live?  My question isn't rhetorical nor is it necessarily directed at ourselves.  I see it in various other organizations as well.  As I travel throughout the State I hear common concerns.  Who's going to take on the tasks at hand?  We need someone new for ... (whatever the task is).  I see members staying on for another term until someone can be found or taking on leadership roles that they've done in the past.  They should be commended for seeing a need and doing something to help.  But, they can't keep on doing it year after year.  We want to mentor new leaders to be there when the time comes. On the other hand, I also hear members who might be interested in helping out, but are afraid to ask.  Or, perhaps they don't understand what they would do and the time it would take.  My first thought is what is a volunteer?  What makes a volunteer a volunteer?  Why do we volunteer?  One definition that resonated with me is "To choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one's basic obligations."  This definition is from the Introduction to By the People.   I ask that you think about why you volunteer and how you can share that enthusiasm and willingness to take an active role in the GCFM, your club and your community.  Then, please think about how we invest that into our club members who are hesitant to expand their roles in jobs that can give them satisfaction and a chance to get to work with people they haven't reached out to before.  On a lighter note, the GCFM Fall Conference is just around the corner.  Mark your calendar for Monday, October 29thLisa Colburn will be the keynote speaker on "A Garden for all Seasons in Maine."  Lisa is the recipient of the 2017 GCFM Stella Dearborn Garden Award and the New England Garden Clubs' Lena F. Wagner Perennial Garden Award.  The afternoon will be highlighted by Lisa LaGrange giving a design presentation featuring topiary and Kokedama pieces, all celebrating the fall and Christmas season.  The Registration Form has been sent to Club Presidents and is also on the GCFM website.  Please join us.  See you in October!  Judith


With the end of summer and fall color on the horizon, it's now time to register to attend this year's Fall Conference, scheduled for Monday, October 29 starting with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.  This year's theme is "A Year in the Garden in Maine".  Lisa  Colburn, author, avid gardener, and member of the GCFM will be our morning speaker.  Her topic will be "A Garden For All Seasons in Maine".  If you need ideas of how to spark interest in your 2019 garden, be sure NOT to miss Lisa's presentation.  Our afternoon program features a presentation by Lisa LaGrange of Augusta on "Topiary and Kokedama for Fall and Christmas."  What is Kokedama?  Marilyn Traiser, Chairman of Judges Council, has experimented with this design, and tells us it is the practice of removing a plant's root system from its container, surrounding it with soil and wrapping the clump in moss.  It's then held together with string, ribbon or wire (see photo).  It can be suspended or placed on a saucer or other non-binding form to catch any water that drains from it.  Marilyn informs us the design originated in Japan and says it's fun to put together!  Fall Conference is hosted by the clubs of the Kennebec District.  Besides our two speakers, we'll have a business meeting, the presentation of NEGC awards, a buffet lunch, vendors, a raffle table, as well as the ever-popular "resale of gently used items".  Cost to attend is $30 (Members) and $40 (non-members).  Details on how to make your checks out and where to send them along with the Registration Form can be found on our website HOME PAGE by clicking this link.  You'll see the REGISTER for Fall Conference button on the right side of our HOME PAGE.  Club presidents will also be receiving an e-mail with the form attached to disseminate to members.  All forms need to be postmarked no later than October 15thLate Registration (postmarked after October 15th) will be $45.  If you still have questions, contact June Nickerson-Hovey by clicking this link.


If you were with us at this year's Convention, you had a chance to get a glimpse into plans for the 2019 Convention to be hosted by the clubs of the Piscataqua District.  Dates have been set -- June 18-19, 2019.  The theme will be "Building Communities Through Gardening."  The venue is the lovely Village by the Sea Condominium Resort in Wells, Maine.  The resort is located adjacent to the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge and close to the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm.  Attendees will have the chance to explore these jewels of the Southern Maine coast in a guided nature walk.  In a change from recent conventions, the accommodations are condominiums instead of hotel rooms.  Those attending will have the choice of either one or two-bedroom condos with private baths for ALL bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, a dining area, living room, and private decks.  The Resort also has both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.  The two-bedroom units have a washer and dryer, making it a great opportunity to extend the length of your stay into a vacation!  The group rate will be $129/night for the one-bedroom unit and $149/night for the two bedroom unit (plus 9% tax).  These rates are good for a week from June 14 through June 20.  You can reserve your condo NOW by calling the Resort at 1-800-444-8862 or 207-646-1100.  Please note that there are no elevators at Village by the Sea.  If you require a ground floor unit, please indicate this when you make your reservation.  If by chance the Resort runs out of ground floor rooms, the adjacent Elmwood Resort has ground floor rooms and is offering the same convention rates.  Watch for more information about the 2019 Convention in future newsletters.


The deadline for registering for this year's 2nd Annual NEGC Annual Meeting and Connecticut Symposium at the Water's Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook, CT is fast approaching!  The Annual Meeting registration deadline is September 17.  The deadline for reserving a room is September 15.  The final day for registering for the Symposium is September 30.  After that date, a $10 late fee is imposed.  The Annual Meeting portion of the event begins on Monday, October 15 with a cocktail reception at 6:00 followed by dinner at 7:00.  At noon on Tuesday, the Awards Luncheon will conclude that portion of the two day meeting.  Beginning Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut Symposium will follow and last through Thursday, October 18th.  You DO NOT have to be a floral designer to attend the Symposium!  All garden club members are invited to attend and learn more about floral design.  The Connecticut Federation can now take registrations and payment online.  You can also go online to print out a registration form and send it by mail with a check if you prefer.  To access their website to download the Registration Form, and see the line-up of speakers, click this link.  To reserve a room, call the Water's Edge Resort at 1-800-399-5901.  Mention the Connecticut Garden Club Meeting to get the group rate of $152 (plus tax and resort fee).  If you choose to make online reservations, click this link for the Water's Edge Resort.  The group code is #290876.  For those of you who might be interested in attending and DON'T want to drive, you can take Amtrak from Boston's South Station to the Old Saybrook, CT station. Frequent taxi service is available from the train station to the resort (six miles).  Cost for the train for those 65 and older is $66 round trip.  Service to Connecticut would be on the Northeast Regional train.  Concord Coach Bus Lines provides frequent service from Portland to South Station ($40 round trip).  For more information on train service go to the Amtrak website by clicking this link.  For information about bus service to Boston, click this link to Concord Coach Lines.


Please take note that the New England Garden Clubs, Inc., the organization that is made up of the six New England garden club federations (Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont) has recently changed its website domain name.  You'll now have to type in a NEW website address to replace the old  The NEW address is  This is of particular note because all garden clubs which put out a yearbook, ALSO have to put in the front of their yearbook the correct address of the New England Garden Clubs, Inc. website.  Whether your club publishes a yearbook or not, club presidents should pass this new website address on to their members.


Group 4, Session 4 of the Judges' Council series of floral design classes continue through this fall and winter.  We want to remind you that you can now download the Registration Form from our website.  Click this link to our HOME PAGE to find the Floral Design Class button which will take you to the Registration Form.  You can then print it off and mail it in with the appropriate fee.  The workshops are held at the Auditorium of St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Road (Rt. 88), Falmouth, Maine, starting at 10:00 a.m.  They'll be held on the FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month unless otherwise noted.  Each of the remaining classes cost $10.  Non garden club members will pay $15 per class.  Checks should be made payable to JUDGES' COUNCIL OF MAINE, and sent to Linda Frinsko, 24 Mountview Road, Gorham, ME  04038.  Complete descriptions of workshops and materials to bring will be e-mailed to attendees prior to each design class date.  Here's the schedule of remaining classes:  October 3 -- Parallel Design; November 7 -- Grouped Mass Design; December 5 -- Creative Mass Holiday Design


At the recent GCFM Board Meeting in Augusta, Judges Council Chairman Marilyn Traiser announced that her group is now prepared to offer some financial assistance to members who might be interested in studying to be a Flower Show Judge.  This assistance is possible because of the success of the ongoing Floral Design Classes being taught by members of Maine's Judges Council.  Because the GCFM is not able to offer a Flower Show School in Maine, those interested in becoming a judge must attend an NGC affiliated school out of state.  Often the closest state offering classes might be either Connecticut or Massachusetts who have larger state memberships.  If you're interested in finding out more information, contact Marilyn by clicking this link.


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  Deb Gray, President of the Longfellow Garden Club, provided this article.)  Longfellow Garden Club in Portland has joined the long list of ‘celebrities’ featured in the iconic Reny’s television commercials.  The ad was filmed in the Longfellow Garden and appeared on the local NBC, ABC and CBS stations during the second week in August.  In case you missed our four seconds of fame, here’s a link to the video:  It all started when President Deb Gray contacted Reny’s on a whim and asked how performers were chosen for this prestigious honor.  Apparently, talent is not a requirement -- just enthusiasm!  So fourteen members donned their aprons, collected their tools and gathered in the Longfellow Garden on a sunny day in July.  The three-man production team from Dirigo Marketing arrived and led us in a few practice rounds of "Reny’s, a Maine adventure!”  Having mastered the lyrics, we were ready to film.  The crew took several shots of us singing and then a couple of audio takes to be sure we had the right level of energy -- and no sour notes.  It was great fun and will certainly be a boost to Reny’s business.  Garden clubs have now earned a place in Maine’s television commercial history! 


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was provided by Suzanne Bushnell, Chairman of the Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Project for the Harpswell Garden Club and the GCFM Newsletter Editor.)  Coming up with a concept for a patriotic garden is a project that can intimidate the best of gardeners.  Luckily, my Club (Harpswell) has been involved in the creation of new gardens in the past.  For our new Gold Star Garden, I turned to one of our long-time members, Mary Maroney, who is a talented landscape designer and has designed previous gardens for our Club.  Mary's "mission" was to come up with a plan for a red, white and blue patriotic garden.  By early spring, Mary had her design laid out and had determined the number of plants needed (by color), the amount of soil and mulch needed, identified the plants we should purchase to carry out the patriotic theme and how far apart they should be planted to eventually create "waves of color".  One addition she made was to create a gold star pattern on one side of the garden using yellow French marigolds surrounded by deep blue lobelia.  Early on we'd decided to use the "lasagna" method of gardening since the Park, where the Marker would be located, had seen little rain, with soil compacted as hard as a rock.  Trying to dig out the grass and soil to lay out a kidney-shaped garden of a little over 165 square feet would have been daunting.  Using a long garden hose that had been softened by the sun, we were able to use it to lay out the shape.  Then using marking paint, which disappears in a short period of time, we were able to outline the overall shape of the garden and the path leading up to the Marker.  We then dug out a six inch wide "trench" that marked the boundaries of the garden (see photo above).  Three days later, a crew of nine Club volunteers went to work.  With the "lasagna" method, we had to soak dozens of newspapers in buckets of water, eventually laying six layers of newsprint over the entire garden (see photo at right).  This would help to "suppress" the underlying grass -- eventually breaking it down.  We then moved 2 1/2 cubic yards of a soil/compost mix onto the wet newsprint, shaping it as we went along to allow for a sloping effect.  One "complicating factor" was that we had to move another cubic yard of donated mulch from 300 yards away in a courtyard garden, maneuvering up a few steps with heavy wheelbarrows of mulch.  All told, it took about 4 1/2 hours that day to complete the garden from laying the wet newsprint to spreading the mulch after planting the flowers.  Within a month, the flowers had spread through the garden creating the intended waves of color (see finished garden photo).  It's been a challenge keeping the garden looking good with little rain and excessive heat this summer -- and no source of water close at hand.  All water must be brought in jugs from home.  Nonetheless, the garden has created an incredible display of color throughout the summer!  Everyone who sees it comments how beautiful the garden is and what a lovely setting it creates to honor our Gold Star families.


(EDITOR"S NOTE:  This article was provided by Emily Adler, Medomak District Director and a member of the Garden Club of Wiscasset.)  Members of the Garden Club of Wiscasset, involved in the restoration of the Nickel's Sortwell House Garden, were recently invited by the organization Historic New England to attend a celebratory tea.  The occasion was to recognize the winning of a National Garden Club Award for the combined collaboration in restoring the Nickel's Sortwell Garden to its 1930's era appearance.  Mrs. Sortwell liked the colors purple, blue, ink and white, and the plants at the garden follow historical photos and archives.  (See photo of members of the Garden Club of Wiscasset and members of Historic New England.) 


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was provided by Fran Girard, President of the Foreside Garden Club.)  Until this spring, the Foreside Garden Club maintained a perennial garden at the Falmouth Memorial Library in Falmouth.  The library's building expansion, planned for this past summer, necessitated the relocation of some shrubs and plants since the new expansion would be where current plants were located.  The landscape architect for the project couldn't utilize these plants, but planned to give the Club a spot for a new garden.  So on a very cold and rainy day in May, Foreside members dug up the plant material and prepared it for inclusion in their annual Mother's Day Plant Sale.  The half dozen peonies that had been planted years ago were dug and divided into dozens and dozens of specimens that were among the first items to sell out.  The Club encouraged shoppers to "buy a piece of Falmouth history."  In addition, many of the daffodil bulbs, which had been purchased from the GCFM fundraisers over the years, also went to new homes.  One of the Club's members, Polly Burke, had an inspired idea to donate the larger shrubs and extra peonies and bulbs to the Falmouth Historical Society to bolster the landscaping of the Woods Road Heritage Museum, an 1835 farmhouse that had been moved to its current site at 60 Woods Road in Falmouth in 2005.  The Society had limited funds to landscape the building and was thrilled to accept our plant donations.  Several Club members came and joined in the dig-fest.  In August the Club received a lovely thank you and picture of the newly established shrubs and plants surround the Museum.  Suzanne Farnham of the Historical Society expressed the Museum's thanks and noted "creating a garden bed took some time, but the shrubs and peonies have been installed.  The bulbs will be put in a bit later.  The gardens will be beautiful next year!"  (See Museum photo above.)


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was provided by Vicky Marr, President of the Topsham Garden Club.)  The Topsham Garden Club participated in the 164th Topsham Fair from August 7-12.  The Club entered an exhibit with a theme of "Best of the Old into the Future" (see photo).  The overall theme for the Exhibition Hall was "Pride in the Past, Faith in Our Future."  The Club created a montage highlighting composting, bees and honey, raised bed planting and hydroponics, vegetable gathering, canning and returning to the "Farm to Table" movement.  The Club was rewarded by winning the blue ribbon and a cash prize of $150!


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This article was provided by GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty.)  It's not too early to start thinking about applying for NGC Awards.  The award year for the NGC is January 1 to December 31, 2018Applications are due to Kathleen Marty by DECEMBER 15th.  (Exception:  Yearbooks are due to Shelly Hanson by November 1st.)  Has your club completed projects for any of the following:  Community Service Projects; Community Beautification; Environmental/Conservation; Floral Design; Historic Preservation; Gardening; Landscaping; Native Plants; Memberships; Publications; or Youth?  If so, please find the NGC award that applies.  Also, consider applying for NGC Special Project Awards.  The complete list of NGC awards and rules are on the NGC website at under the AWARDS tab or by clicking this link.  Award applications are a three page electronic form with a few exceptions. Click this link to take you to the award application form.   If the club wishes to apply for an award, I would be happy to assist when completing the application.  Please take extra care completing the application per NGC Procedures.  Yearbooks are due to Shelly Hanson by NOVEMBER 1st along with a yearbook for the following:  GCFM President; State Awards Chairman; and Club Programs Chairman.  You can bring them to the Fall Conference on October 29th.  Any questions about awards, please feel free to contact Kathleen Marty by clicking this link or by calling 207-633-7439.  


At our GCFM Convention in June, NGC President Nancy Hargroves announced that the NGC has decided to offer a second round of PLANT AMERICA community project grants.  Originally, the NGC had indicated only one round of grants would be offered during Nancy's two-year administration.  But because of some extra funding and donations, the NGC will be offering more grants THIS year as well.  The deadline to apply is October 15!  This year, the Ellsworth Garden Club was one of only 40 clubs nationwide who received a grant.  So don't delay if your club is interested in applying!  To see what's required and to download a copy of the application form, click this link to the NGC website.


In your last GCFM Newsletter (July) we mentioned that many awards were given out at the GCFM Convention.  We now have the entire list posted online in our AWARDS section of the website.  Click this link to see all the NGC and GCFM winners from the 2017 Award Year.


The National Wildlife Federation has invited all garden club members to take part in their first annual Garden For Wildlife Photo Contest.  Entries are being accepted from September 10 to October 12.  Photos may be submitted in one of the following four categories:  People in Wildlife Garden; Close-up Native Plants and their Wildlife Visitors; Wildlife Observed where People Live, Work, Play, Learn and Worship; and Wildlife Garden Habitat Features and Landscapes.  The first prize winner will receive $1000 and the runner-up will receive $500.  For more information click this link to the National Wildlife Federation.


Sept 12-13 
Landscape Design School, Course 4, St. Mary's Episcopal Church Auditorium, Falmouth
October 2
GCFM Board of Directors Meeting, Viles Home, 73 Stone Street, Augusta, 9:00 a.m. Coffee; 9:30 a.m. Board Meeting
October 3
Floral Design Class sponsored by GCFM Judges Council, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth
October 15-18  
New England Garden Clubs, Inc. Annual Meeting and Symposium, Waterside Resort and Spa, Westbrook, CT                                                 
October 15
Deadline for GCFM Fall Conference Registration
October 15
NGC Plant America Grant Application Deadline
October 29
GCFM Fall Conference, Augusta Civic Center, Augusta
November 7
Floral Design Class sponsored by GCFM Judges Council, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth
December 5
Floral Design Class sponsored by GCFM Judges Council, St Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth
December 15   
NGC Award Applications due to GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty


Judith Tarbox

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