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November 2018 Newsletter

NOVEMBER 2018 Newsletter



Remember our Veterans on November 11th and 12th.  Why two days?  The 11th falls on a Sunday and then is observed as a federal holiday on Monday.  What can we do as GCFM members to help commemorate the occasion?  We have Blue Star Markers all over the State and a Gold Star Families Memorial Marker in Brunswick.  Each one should be prepared as for a "dress inspection."  Wreaths, flags and flowers go a long way in sprucing up the Markers and showing we care.  Then in December, please join me as I watch the Wreaths Across America caravan as it travels through Maine and beyond to bring wreaths on December 15th to Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,400 additional locations in 50 U.S. States, at sea and abroad.  That organization gives so much to all of our families; it's very special they are Mainers.  The Kennebec Valley Garden Club (KVGC) celebrated its 90th anniversary in October with the dedication of a bench at the Viles Arboretum in Augusta.  Hope Weston, a long-time member of KVGC attended and we are together in the photo shown above.  Hope is GCFM's most senior member and we were all delighted she joined us for the day!  Fall Conference was a BIG success  We had over 160 registrants, which is awesome.  In addition to the business meeting, we learned about ways to make our gardens interesting throughout the year.  Yes, including winter.  As a matter of fact, your garden may have a very different look as you see snow glisten on bare limbs or a mound where you wouldn't expect it.  Also, a thought provoking idea is to look at our front yards through the perspective of our neighbors in addition to the view from our front door or windows.  How do people see you?  A different view entirely.  In the afternoon we saw a demonstration on Kokedama and Topiary arrangements, which were then auctioned for our Scholarship fund.  Of course, the presentation of the NEGC awards is a major highlight of Fall Conference.  It was so wonderful to see several of our clubs and their members receive recognition for the many things they do.  It was also fabulous for the GCFM to be given a couple of awards.  The Helen Hussey Champlin Award for largest increase in membership was totally unexpected.  All of us are concerned with declining membership, so to know people are drawn toward garden clubs and community engagement is uplifting.  We also received the New England Wildflower Society Award for the educational programs using native plants in garden landscape.  This has been a key element in my President's theme "Plant Maine -- Sustainable Home Gardening."  In addition, we were published in the Fall 2018 NATIONAL GARDENER for "Maine's Native Plant Educational Programs."  I would be totally remiss if I don't say Nancy Atwell and Harriet Robinson were instrumental in making the programs such successes.  My most sincere congratulations are extended to the Kennebec District and the Co-Chairmen June Nickerson-Hovey and Barbara Robbins for the wonderfully planned and orchestrated 87th Fall Conference!  Thanksgiving is upon us -- a time for sharing with family and friends!  Then, just when you think you can't take another bite, we come into the Holiday Season.  GCFM clubs play an important role in decorating our homes and communities.  It is always wonderful to enjoy the festivities highlighted by such beautiful decorations.  Please enjoy the spirit of the season!


An enthusiastic crowd (and in a few cases "costumed" in our photo below of GCFM Board members Carmen Weatherbie, Judy Stallworth and Marianne Dodge) came out on a rainy day to participate in this year's Fall Conference at the Augusta Civic Center.  With the theme "A Year in the Garden in Maine," members learned from GCFM member Lisa Colburn (Veazie Garden Club) how to make their gardens more striking in all four seasons.  Lisa is an award winning gardener and garden author.  She gave the attendees gardening tips on how to direct the view of visitors in the garden by using things like structures, meandering paths, and even trees, shrubs and plants to lead visitors to certain focal points.  Lisa also talked about how walls and raised beds can bring plants closer to the eye.  Things like a trellis, arbor, pergolas and tuteurs can add structural interest, especially in the winter months when plants have died back and the structures are covered with snow.  Lisa also showed before and after photos of her own home in Maine and how she's developed her extensive gardens over the years.  Our afternoon speaker was Lisa LaGrange, (photo at left) longtime professional floral designer and co-owner of Jellison Traders in Augusta.  Lisa, who's been recognized in the past as Maine's top floral designer in the florist industry, showed attendees the process of making Kokedama designs from small plants (see photo at left).  Using plants such as orchids, cyclamen, and ponytail palms, Lisa removes the soil and then wraps the bare roots in a wet moss mixture, finishing the Kokedama by wrapping the moss in thin wire.  The plant can then be used as a hanging display or put in a small dish.   Her other creations were larger floral designs using fall foliage, common vegetables, and colorful fall flowers.  The day ended with the awarding of several New England Garden Club Awards (see related story below).


On October 16th NEGC Awards Chairman Suzanne Bushnell presented NEGC Awards to the six Presidents of the New England State federations at the NEGC's 2nd Annual Meeting.  Those awards won by GCFM clubs and individuals were then presented October 29th at our Fall Conference.  It's very exciting that GCFM and seven clubs submitted a total of ten award applications.  Many thanks to the following clubs:  Bath; Boothbay; Bucksport; Ellsworth; Brewer Garden & Bird; Ellsworth; and Seacoast.  Handing out the Maine awards were GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty assisted by GCFM President Judith Tarbox and NEGC Awards Chairman Suzanne Bushnell.  Congratulations to the following winners:  NGC Member Award of Honor representing New England Region -- Judy Stallworth (Bath Garden Club) who was also honored at the NGC Convention in May; Lina F. Wagner Perennial Garden Award (included check for $100) -- Elizabeth Lakeman (Bath Garden Club) who also received an earlier award as the Best All Around Gardener of the Year from the GCFM; Sears Civic Beautification Award -- Seacoast Garden Club; Marie E. Lewis Conservation of Natural Resources Award -- Bath Garden Club; Helen Hussey Champlin Award (for largest increase in membership from the previous year) -- Garden Club Federation of Maine with 132 members; Mary Stone Garden Therapy Award (Honorable Mention) -- Bath Garden Club; New England Wildflower Society Award (for an educational project involving native plants) -- Garden Club Federation of Maine (see photo above of Nancy Atwell and Harriet Robinson between Suzanne and Judith, who coordinated the project); National Gardening Association Award -- Ellsworth Garden Club; Joyce A. Kimball Container Gardening Award (included check for $25) -- Bucksport Garden Club; Yearbook Award for Clubs with 45-69 Members (First Place among all six New England States) -- Kennebec Valley Garden Club (see photo of KVGC President Ellen Jackson receiving award at right).  Kennnebec Valley also received a first place award in this same category from the NGC in May.   In addition, GCFM President Judith Tarbox received a Presidential Citation (from NEGC Director Sue Hinkel of Vermont) for her willingness to step forward to take on the NEGC Treasurer's job when the previous Treasurer moved out of the New England area.  Another award that we just missed winning was the Mildred Black Petit Award given to state garden club federations with the largest percentage increase in paid memberships. This year it went to Rhode Island who beat Maine by one-tenth of a percent!  Congratulations to all our clubs who've invited and encouraged new members to join.  Keep up the GREAT WORK!  (Contributed by GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty.)


Attendees from the six New England state garden club federations met at the Water's Edge Resort in Connecticut to share information during their 2nd Annual Meeting and receive regional awards (see related article above)NEGC Director Susan Hinkel of Vermont, indicated that the Region has finished the steps to become its own 501(c)(3) non-profit and  completed the transition from the New England Region to the New England Garden Clubs, Inc.  She also noted that with the resignation of Steven Dates as Treasurer, GCFM President Judith Tarbox has agreed to become the new NEGC Treasurer.  A couple of issues were brought up during the business meeting: the decision to not offer a region-sponsored scholarship and the growing difficulties for state Judges Councils to put on individual state symposiums.  It was noted that all six New England States already give scholarships as do many individual clubs.  There was a concern that the funding for a regional scholarship might not be possible year after year.  A vote was taken and it was decided to not pursue giving a region-sponsored scholarship.  On the issue of symposiums, it was suggested that State Presidents  talk to their Judges Council about a proposal to have future symposiums held in Massachusetts (considered by some as a centrally-located state among the six New England states), and then have the other state Judges Councils pitch in to put on the symposium.  This issue was to be discussed at the Connecticut-sponsored symposium at the Water's Edge Resort which followed the NEGC Annual Meeting.  Two banquets were held during the two days of the Annual Meeting.  The Monday evening banquet saw three designers in a design challenge, interpreting a painting of a ballerina (see photo above).  The Tuesday Awards luncheon was highlighted by the passing out of 33 awards to the six state federations.  NEGC Awards Chairman Suzanne Bushnell teamed up with NEGC Director Sue Hinkel to give the awards. (See photo of Judy Stallworth receiving the Member Award of Honor representing the New England Region from NEGC Awards Chairman Suzanne Bushnell).


The slate of officers nominated to lead the GCFM during the 2019-2021 term were announced at this year's Fall Conference.  Nominations were also opened to the floor to the attendees at Fall Conference, but none were offered.  The following have agreed to accept these positions if they're confirmed by delegates voting at the 2019 Convention on June 19, 2019 in Wells, Maine: President - Barbara Longstaff (Eliot Garden Club); 1st Vice President -- Harriet Robinson (Foothills Garden Club): 2nd Vice President -- Ann Vanosdol (Camden Garden Club); Treasurer -- Fran Girard (Foreside Garden Club); Assistant Treasurer -- Cindi Kimball (Bucksport Garden Club); Recording Secretary -- Sue Luce (Harpswell Garden Club); Corresponding Secretary -- Fran Moore (Camden Garden Club).  Thank you to these members for volunteering to lead our organization into the future!    


Plans are well underway for next year's GCFM Convention to be held June 18th and 19th at the Village by the Sea Resort in Wells, Maine.  At the recent GCFM Fall Conference, Convention Chairman Sue Luby (York Garden Club) released some of the details about the line-up of speakers.  John Forti, an Eliot resident and well-recognized in the horticultural community as a lecturer, garden historian, and garden writer will be our keynote speaker and present a program entitled "Eat Your Yard!"  Mr. Forti has an extensive background in the New England area, having served as the Curator/Director of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH and Director of Horticulture at Plimoth Plantation Museum in Plymouth, MA.  He also co-founded and served as the Board Chairman for Slow Food Seacoast and serves on the Biodiversity Committee for Slow Food USA.  He has thousands of followers on Facebook where he blogs as The Heirloom Gardener. Also appearing at the Convention will be Martha Chiarchiaro from Massachusetts who'll be lecturing on "Floral Images Through the Ages."  Ms. Chiarchiaro holds a Master's Degree in Art History from Williams College and has been lecturing on topics dealing with art for more than 30 years.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to go on the ever popular garden tour.  Educational workshops and tours to places like the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge will also round out some of the other activities.  It's not too early to make your accommodation reservations at the Village by the Sea.  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. Let them know you're with the Garden Club Federation of Maine to get the special group rate.  More information on the Convention, including when the online Convention Registration Form will be available, will appear in our January 2019 GCFM Newsletter.


Whether your club is already working with youth, or wish to begin, here are some ideas for seasonal youth projects.  With the holidays soon upon us, a walk to find some natural resources is always fun, and then coming inside to make those into centerpieces will make a family celebration even more special.  Youth can also make table decorations for a retirement community and deliver them once completed.  Children also like to learn about what creatures live in their back yards.  A study of native birds is always fun to conclude with making bird houses or suet feeders.  Children of all ages love being read to.  The book The Saved Seed (available on the NGC website) is a great story for this time of year since it's about the life of a pumpkin seed (see Linda Bonin of the Boothbay Region Garden Club reading to children).  A good resource for garden related projects with some good ideas for indoor gardening is the Maine School Garden Network.  Their website, which can be accessed by clicking this link, has lots of ideas.  Their newsletter also has a section with lessons.  Gardening on a small scale can be done using an old wagon that is easily portable to capture the light, or it can be placed under a grow light.  The NGC also sponsors some contests this time of year which are time sensitive.  The Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl poster contest is for children in grades 1-5.  The poetry contest is for children in grades K-9, Special Education, and ELL students K-9.  The theme this year is "Pop Goes the Seed."  The sculpture contest is open to children in grades 4-8 and the High School essay contest is for grades 9-12.  Its theme is "The Impact of Bottled Water on the Environment and Water Supply" and must be between 600-700 words.  Information for all these contests can be found on the NGC website by clicking this link to their YOUTH ACTIVITIES page and must be submitted to the State Youth Activities Chairperson by mid-January.  If you're working with youth and wish to share your ideas, or if you need resources to begin working with youth, contact the Youth Activities Chairperson, Ann Vanosdol, at or by clicking this link(Contributed by Youth Activities Chairman Ann Vanosdol.)


Landscape Design School (LDS) Course Number Four was held in September.  Forty-two people registered, some coming to refresh their knowledge from as far away as Georgia, Virginia and Massachusetts.  LDS Chairman Harriet Robinson announced at the Fall Conference that the school actually ended with an unexpected profit which she hopes can be used to help finance another school series in the future.  While she's not able to continue as the Chairman of LDS, she hopes someone else might be motivated to step forward to build on the success of this series of courses.  She noted that some of the students were brand new to the NGC Landscape Design School and were unable to attend all four courses.  Many would be interested in doing so.  The framework and possible instructors are in place for organizing the program.  If you'd like to find out what's involved in leading this effort, contact Harriet by clicking this link.  Harriet also mentioned that as a result of completing all four courses along with required testing of LDS, which is considered a major achievement, Maine now has many new certified Landscape Design Consultants!  Congratulations to the following:  Tom Atwell; Linda Belmont; Mary Boulos; Marianne Dodge; Kathy Fabish; Judy Florenz; Betty Jordan; Jana Kibbe; June McClean; Karen Rea; Sethany Roberts; Harriet Robinson; Patraicia Rzeszutko; Jane Smith; Jenifer Stewart; Anita Wihry; and Donna Welhelm.


Session #5 of the Judges' Council series of floral design classes were just announced with new classes running March through August of 2019.  (NOTE:  We'll be putting the new Registration Form on the HOME PAGE of our website soon.  In the meantime, the form currently there can still be used for the December class.)  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.  If you sign up for the entire course of 2019 classes (six total) you'll pay $50.  Otherwise, single 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 for 2019:  March 6 -- Petite Design; April 3 -- Tray size place setting for one person; May 1 -- Underwater Design; June 5 -- Angular Design; July 3 -- Tapestry Design; August 7 -- Mass Design suitable for a dinner party.  In addition, don't forget there's one more class scheduled for this winter on December 5 -- Creative Mass Holiday Design. (Photo above of recent Parallel Design Class.)


If you were at this year's Fall Conference you may have seen a display at the back of the meeting room depicting the outline of the State of Maine.  A closer look would have revealed all of the Districts making up the Garden Club Federation of Maine were shown in various colors and labeled.  Soon you'll be able to see all the clubs within those districts labeled with information such as meeting time, day, location, and possibly a contact number or website address.  The GCFM CLUB FINDER is a web-based tool that allows the public to search for and get directions to any Maine federated garden club. This entire project is the brainchild of Kennebec Valley Garden Club President Ellen Jackson who happens to work for the State of Maine and has a background in developing maps.  After working as a volunteer at last year's Maine Flower Show in Portland, and fielding questions from the public about whether there were garden clubs in certain areas of the State, an idea quickly developed in her mind.  Ellen recognized that many people use their cellphones as mini-computers, including trying to locate everything from restaurants to public buildings.  In her view, it was only natural to try to develop a mapping app for folks to find information about local garden clubs!  Ellen notes that the CLUB FINDER tool is still in draft form so any comments, corrections or suggestions are welcome.  Ellen plans to work with Linda Redman, GCFM Blue Star Marker Chairman, to add information about our Gold Star and our Blue Star Markers spread across the State. (Ellen Jackson contributed information for this article.)


Mary Maroney of the Harpswell Garden Club was recently honored by the Maine Master Gardeners Association of Cumberland County with the 2018 Beautification and Enhancement Award.  Her patriotic color-themed Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Garden was the overall winner for this year's award given annually by the Master Gardeners Association.  In the message sent to Mary it was noted that her garden design was "unique and meaningful, especially for families who have lost loved ones while serving in the military."   Not only did Mary win the award, but her request to have the Garden designated as an approved site for local master gardeners to acquire volunteer hours while working there was also granted.  Mary has been a master gardener for 15 years and has created other lovely public gardens for the Harpswell Garden Club.  Congratulations and well done, Mary!


On October 12th the Bucksport Garden Club presented a gift of bronze statues to the Buck Memorial Library in Bucksport.  The bronze statues of two young children reading story books were mounted on stone and placed in the garden near the library entrance.  Bucksport Garden Club members have cared for the library gardens in spring and fall for many years as part of their community beautification projects.  The statues were placed at the 131-year old library as a symbol of the importance of reading in the lives of young children.  Freshwater Stone and Brickwork of Orland donated their time and expertise to mount the statues.  (Contributed by Susan Steingrass, President of the Bucksport Garden Club.) 


Members of the Bath Garden Club participated in the October 6th Community Involvement Day on the Bath waterfront.  Community organizations gather every fall to share their activities and stimulate interest from the public.  Community Involvement Day is usually held on the same day as the very popular Bath Farmers Market which also is located on the waterfront and draws a tremendous crowd of people.  Pictured in the photo are President Colby Kavenaugh, Vice President Leah Zartarian, Membership Chairman Kay Kavenaugh, and GCFM Treasurer and Bath Garden Club member Judy Stallworth.  The Club table included membership brochures, information about projects, and flowers to distribute to interested visitors.  Flowers were provided by members Karen Doyle, Judy Stallworth and Becky Kresovsky(Contributed by Judy Stallworth of the Bath Garden Club.)


Now is the time to consider applications for NGC awards.  Those applications are due to GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty by December 15th.  NGC award applications need to go through the GCFM Awards Chairman as NGC does not accept applications sent to them directly by individual clubs. 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.  Some of the awards to consider for your club:  Flower Show; Community Service and Beautification; Environmental Concerns; Conservation; Historic Preservation; Gardening; Membership; Publications; Youth; and more. I am available to work with clubs who wish to apply for NGC awards.  District Directors, if asked by clubs about NGC awards, please email me and/or have the club call me at 207-633-7439(Contributed by GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty.)


A brand new award named in honor of former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell was announced at the recent Fall Conference.  The Suzanne Bushnell Website Award will be given for the first time at the next GCFM Convention in June 2019.  It's modeled after the NGC's award given to outstanding websites.  Two awards will be available next year for websites in the categories of: site developed by a club or district; and site developed professionally for a club or district.  More details of the award will be posted to our website under AWARDS in the near future.  Suzanne is one of six members who comprise the GCFM Website Committee.  She also teams up with Kathleen Marty and Fran Moore to update the website, answers questions from the general public e-mailed to our site, and helps members, who reach out to the GCFM for help to navigate our site.


Veteran's  Day is just around the corner and many of our clubs have Blue Star Markers (and now a Gold Star Marker too!)  Honor our vets and their service to our country by decorating your Marker's site.  And when you do, send a photo to our Facebook Administrator Kathleen Marty by clicking this link.  It's also time to update those CLUB PAGES on our website!  If you're having trouble, contact Fran Moore by clicking this link, who can help you out.  For clubs who are adding new members, PLEASE SIGN THEM UP FOR THE GCFM NEWSLETTER!!  Contact Newsletter Editor Suzanne Bushnell by clicking this link if you need help.  Finally, your Newsletter Editor is interested in hearing from any clubs or districts with newsworthy events our members would enjoy reading about.  Contact Suzanne by clicking this link.


November 11 
Veteran's Day -- remember to decorate your Markers
December 4
Blaine House Christmas Tea sponsored by the Kennebec Valley Garden Club; FMI Ellen Jackson
December 6
Floral Design Class sponsored by GCFM Judges Council, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth; FMI Marilyn Traiser
December 15  
Deadline to submit NGC Award Applications to GCFM Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty; FMI Kathleen Marty                                      
Mid January
Deadline to submit your Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl, Youth Sculpture, Poetry, and Essay Contest applications to GCFM Youth Activities Chairman Ann Vanosdol; FMI Ann Vanosdol
February 13-17
Portland Museum of Art's Second Annual Art in Bloom event
March 6
Floral Design Class sponsored by GCFM Judges Council, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Falmouth; FMI Marilyn Traiser


Judith Tarbox


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